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The Pied Piper of Sheep and Goats

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February 13, 2012 by Terry Ropp

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Bug Scuffle Road recently had a unique moment in its history — a parade down the road led by the “Pied Piper.” On this day, my husband Larry, Linda and Marvin Jones, Carolyn Jones-Kelley, and Marc Adamczyk, led a mixed herd of sheep and goats from David Stills’ property south of us to the Jones’ property north of us.

The purpose of the move was to change the pasture in which the herd was grazing. The parade was led by Carolyn, who enticed the animals to follow her by shaking a bucket of corn. To keep them interested, she occasionally drizzled kernels of corn much like Hansel and Gretel in the Black Forest. The animals were entranced and followed. All was not like in the fairy tales, however. Marvin was in the back with a long rope that he would sling out in case any stragglers thought they wanted to turn aside. The snaking rope, which caused no harm, merely startled them back into the correct path.

The others were involved in the parade, too. Linda was the advance guard in her pickup truck. Occasionally, she got excited and jumped out of her truck to take pictures. She was far enough ahead to warn any traffic that might be coming down the road. Those vehicles could get through if they drove carefully and slowly, which they did. One problem was that by the time they got back to Marvin, they wanted to visit about what was going on. Obviously that was not such a good idea however enjoyable it might have been. Two passersby did mention, however, that years ago cattle, used to also be driven down this road. But certainly not with the Pied Piper.

In the back of Linda’s pickup truck were two Pyrenees named Molly and Durango, the herd’s normal guard dogs. The presence of the dogs far ahead also enticed the sheep and goats to follow. Larry and Mark, each in a Polaris, rode on each side of the herd in order to block any animals from straying into open gates or driveways. An- other problem was Linda was supposed to stay way ahead of the herd. However, sometimes Larry caught up with her, and they visited until the sheep caught up with them, causing a delay. Then the Pied Piper, Carolyn, had to remind them of what they were supposed to be doing.

You may remember Larry’s remarkable driving ability. On one day, he tried to drive under a guide wire on an electric pole. Needless to say, that didn’t go too well. The guide wire caught the back wheel and whipped him around like a flag in a gale. It also jarred him a bit, but I doubt he’s learned his lesson even yet.

Mark and Carolyn are newbies to the area. They arrived from Arizona in the fall with Carolyn working as a registered nurse at Washington Regional Medical Center and Mark working with the herds. They bought John Brown’s place after John decided to give up cattle and buy a smaller acreage just for his horses in Prairie Grove.

Terry Ropp

Terry Ropp is a freelance writer for several publications, including the Washington County Observer, and a semi-retired educator of almost forty years. She moved to Arkansas in 2005, feels at home for the first time in her life, and enjoys writing about her new state. You may e-mail her at terrymerrill@hotmail.com.

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