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Journal of our Summer 2007 Intern, Charlie Martin.

An unedited journal from our Summer 2007 Intern.  A very interesting read.

Introduction

Hello, I am Charles Martin, the immediate past intern for Eric Harlow. As I transcribe this I am in my first week of classes in my junior year of college at Eastern Oregon University. On campus I am very involved, serving as an ambassador for the Agriculture program, playing varsity polo, and working as the Vice President for Financial Affairs in our Student Government. I also have a personal interest in sheep production as a way to get started in agriculture.

            I learned about the opportunity of this internship while I was doing some research on lamb marketing in Oregon. That is how I found the ďFine LambĒ website, which led me to Ericís Harlows Hills, and the internship announcement. This internship has been, quite literally, one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Besides learning a great deal, I also had a variety of surprises and fun times. My journal, as transcribed, is much the same as originally written. I have left it this way to preserve the experiences as they happened, and as I saw them. I apologize in advance if it is not the easiest read, I have added paragraphs, where possible, to help a little. The first entry is a bear to get through and covers about the first week of time.

 

Journal:

June 22, 2007              Friday              9:10 pm

 

            The sheep are all put up for the night and we have ate diner. This sheep herding is definitely quite the experience. Originally, I was planning on doing my internship this summer learning about sheep and the sheep business, five days a week, and working for the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Station (CBARC) twenty hours per week helping with a research project. I am still doing both of these things. The big difference is that I planned on the sheep being near Milton-Freewater on crop residues. However, as life goes, plans change. So now I am in the mountains, learning to and helping to herd sheep. Admittedly, I had my doubts about this herding. At first, when Eric called and told me of the change in plans I was really excited because I knew it would be cooler temperature wise in the mountains. Then the week before I got here, which was also finals week, I started to really thing about the situation more. I was concerned about not having the ability to take showers, or use my cell phone, or have regular interaction with a variety of humans. Just think of how dirty you feel after a couple days with no shower, so that was likely my greatest worry. Now, after a week of being up here I think that I am pretty acclimated. I also work at the CBARC so I have been there for two days so far.

Last Thursday was the first time I had ever been up to the sheep camp. I needed to get my internship forms signed by Eric. The funny thing is, there is no cell service up here, so I could not contact him for directions to the allotment. Luckily, I had met Cameron earlier in the spring when I first contacted Eric so I at least had a name of someone who might know how to get to the allotment. After a couple of phone calls I got the directions. So I finally made it to within 3 miles of the camp, and after taking about every wrong road, found Eric, or more accurately, spotted sheep.

            The sheep, being pretty new to the whole idea of being herded havenít stayed together the best. The first Friday up here, I came to realize that this could be a workout. Pretty much I just move around constantly trying to intimidate sheep away from where I do not want them to be (At this point I had no horse to ride, and no dog to use). The sheep have been improving as time goes on though. We moved camp on Sunday across the road to another water hole, or more accurately, a man made pond. This was the first time I really used Gale. Being the smart dog she is, she ran back to find Eric after a while and scared me half to death that I had lost her. Sunday night, I headed to Milton-Freewater with the horse Jackson in tow, to get his shoes put on.

 

June 24, 2007              Sunday

            We didnít put the horses in the night pen last night. We had hoped they would stay around but they didnít. Sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 this morning they decided to leave. They traveled up the power line to the south-east and ended up in a large open area. So we didnít get the sheep out until about 9:00 this morning.

 

June 25, 2007              Monday

            Today was kind of a wreck. The ewes did not want to stick together and graze any certain area. Eventually, we pushed them out of the meadow we had grazed earlier and into a little wooded valley for the rest of the day. Then we kind of let them meander for the rest of the day. Time sure is going faster now than earlier. Jackson the horse threw a shoe today. Luckily the tire on the 4-wheeler is fixed now so it is in commission now. We are planning on setting up a separate pen for the horses at the next camp so they donít harass the sheep all night.

 

June 30, 2007              Saturday

            Herding the sheep is going well. So last Wednesday we let the ewes spread out quite a bit through the day. It ended up being 8:20 by the time they were gathered by the pond. Then Eric caught a lamb with fly strike and ran it back up to the camp. Needless to say the ewes didnít want to go back to camp and it was dark by the time they were penned up. The horses ran away this morning when I fed them. All was well until I was eating my bowl of cereal and saw Jackson walk by the camp trailer. I went outside, and they took off back to there normal run away to spot in the open field.

 

July 1, 2007                 Sunday

            Today went well. Chauncey got cut on barbed wire. It was quite the ordeal. She freaked out and started spinning and jumping. So, I jumped off and she almost ran over the top of me in the process of taking off down the road. Once she came back we noticed about four good cuts on her right hind leg. The gather went pretty well tonight. However, I am pretty sure we missed some ewes because one of the black lambs is missing. Eric went to the Dry Creek to pick up a water trailer. When he got back he filled the tank. While at the pond he found a very fly struck lamb that we had been looking for all day. After doctoring it I cooked bacon and eggs for diner. This was the first time I have cooked since coming up here. I am enjoying the work more as I get used to it.

 

July 2, 2007                 Monday

            We are grazing right up against the edge of the allotment right now. It is interesting keeping the sheep on the right property without offending any of the neighboring property owners.

 

July 3, 2007                 Tuesday

            It is warmer up here on the mountain today. We are in the process of moving the camp right now. Actually, I am herding and Eric is moving camp. Chauncey is a very evil horse. She is pretty herd bound and it makes life not fun.

 

July 9, 2007                 Monday

            Well, the last week has been eventful. Wednesday I hauled Chauncey down the hill with me to get a shoe put on that she threw off. Thursday was 107įF at the research station. A whole lot warmer than I am used to, too say the least. Saturday morning, as I was feeding the horses, Jackson bit Chauncey and she ran over the top of me and knocked me down. My knee is a little swollen now. Sunday I didnít ride because my knee was bothering me pretty good at that angle. Today is supposed to be warm again. Eric has more of his sheep showing up today. Life will get interesting herding the newcomers in the next week.

            At 1:00 pm Eric went to meet the truck driver and get the sheep unloaded. Hopefully, all will go well and there wonít be any catastrophe. The sheep are pretty calm today. They are in the woods and have a lot of feed. Gale is getting pretty tired lately. The south side of the allotment does not have water on it. Eric may have to start hauling water with his tanker truck. Days are going by quite a bit faster now than previously. It seems like just the other day when I got here.

 

July 18, 2007               Wednesday

            Another week and a half have passed. The time is really moving fast. I missed writing about the last camp we were at. We moved again on the 16th. It looks like I get to spend Wednesday and Thursday nights back in La Grande. This will be the highlight of my week.

 

August 8, 2007

            Only 10 days to go before we ship the lambs out. The ewes get shipped in 13 days down to the stubble. On August 1st I saw a cougar on the South side of the allotment. It was in the road about 30 ft from me, so I chased it down the road on Chauncey. This was definitely one of the most interesting things so far.

 

From this point I missed writing in the journal. The lambs were shipped successfully, and the ewes followed the day after. I learned a very different side of running sheep. They ewes were on wheat stubble. Suddenly, there was time to accomplish tasks, or simply get an oil change and read a paper.

            I was privileged to work with Eric constructing electric fence, and also taking it down. This internship was hands on and informative throughout. I was able to accomplish my personal goals and then some. If you would like to know more about the internship or my experiences I can be reached at martinc3@eou.edu.

 

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