Modern Stories Along the Anza Trail

Antonio: Shepherd

Listen to an interview with Antonio:

Interview Text

Tony: (laughter) OK

Interviewer: Alright, your name is?

Interviewer: And Tony, you’re a sheepherder, right?

Tony: Yeh, I’m sheep herd; I’m herder. We work with the sheep. I’m put the water, but I got, we’ve got other friends. They move, they make fences for the sheep.

Interviewer: So, when the sheep are here, do you normally put them in fields that are already plowed, and they just eat the remainder?

Tony: First, we put them in Sudan grass.

Interviewer: You say, Sudan grass? And that’s a type of grass?

Tony: Yeh, and when come the wintertime, sometimes, you know, it’s a lot of rain; we put the lambs in Bermuda grass.

Interviewer: Oh, ok. Well, you are from Peru, is that correct?

Interviewer: Were you a sheepherder in Peru, also?

Tony: Yeah, my family and all my neighbors, they’ve got cows, sheep, and horse.

Interviewer: And what state are you from in Peru?

Interviewer: Junin?

Interviewer: And that’s the name of a town also, isn’t it?

Tony: Yeah, it’s the middle, in the sierra, and the center of Peru. Near to Lima, but it’s in the mountains.

Interviewer: In las sierra?

Tony: In las sierra.

Interviewer: So, you’re really fluent in English. Did you learn that here, or did you learn that back in Peru?

Tony: Well, I worked in the northern states, in Montana, and that area, everybody speaks English. So I need to speak English, and my friend told me, “You are in the United States, so you need to speak English. When I moved to Peru, maybe I need to speak Spanish.” So that’s the first time I began to try to speak English.

Interviewer: Do you have a family?

Tony: No, I’m alone.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Tony: Thirty-two.

Interviewer: And how many years have you been coming back and forth doing this here?

Tony: Well, I come every three years, but I’m here eleven years.

Interviewer: All told. You’ve been doing this eleven years?

Interviewer: When you go back in the summer, and you’re out on the BLM land, will you be by yourself, just you and the sheep?

Interviewer: And how long will you stay out there by yourself?

Tony: Uh, well, one herder got, sometimes, a thousand sheep.

Interviewer: Uh hunh.

Tony: And with the babies, maybe other thousand so, when August or September, you’ve got two thousand. It’s only for one herder. And you’ve got your horse in some areas, or two dogs for help you, so, you’re only good friend, I think, is your dogs. The Border Collie…

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