When I was about 6 or 7, my mother signed me up for the children’s choir at our church. The first song that we learned was Bringing in the Sheaves.
I had no idea what sheaves were. My imagination filled with images of sheep scampering across a meadow as I sang, LOUDLY, “Bringing in the Sheep”.
Bringing in the Sheep resurfaced in my mind when I attended the sheepdog trials at Fosterfields, a living historical farm in Morristown, New Jersey. Sheep scampered across a meadow. Close behind was a Border collie.
Border collies were introduced to Scotland by the Vikings, to herd reindeer. Patient, agile, obedient, and quick-witted, they are specifically bred to be partners to those raising livestock. They can size up a situation, respond to sudden changes, and “read” the sheep.
At the trials, sheep were let loose as shepherd/dog teams competed against each other. The purpose of this and other trials is to assess the breeding stock and further improve the Border collie breed. Each team was timed and points were deducted for mistakes.
The shepherds gave whistle clues to their dogs as they moved the sheep together through a course in a straight line, causing them the least amount of stress and getting them into a correl.
The Border collies had varying amounts of experience. The sheep were totally uncooperative.
Watching the Border collies at work was amazing.
They clearly loved being outdoors, doing their jobs. If they could sing, I have no doubt that the words would be, “We will come rejoicing, bringing in the sheep.”