Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I really do have sheep.......
I spend alot of time taking care of the sheep, but it seems they don't get much of the 'limelight'. I've found that if I'm not careful the sheep will consume all my time, so I try to keep some balance there. I enjoy the sheepies, but they are labor intensive and quite spoiled and demanding! Also there are so many off-shoots from the sheep that I'm finding more interesting all the time--there is cleaning the fleeces, sending them off to be processed, playing with the roving, felting and (hopefully someday) learning to spin, plus maybe taking up knitting or crocheting again...... (see it never stops!). This is in addition to the daily taking care of the sheep, breeding and lambing season, marketing the sheep and their wool, and of course the always dreaded paperwork associated with any business.
I'll soon be getting my hands on some of the wool spun from one of my grey shetland wethers, Callum. J. is spinning it up for me and this will be the first from 'the ground up' yarn I've gotten from my sheep. Very exciting!
This week, I'm working on gettting the 9 girls who will be put in with the ram ready for breeding season. I'm worming them and doing any pedicures that are needed.
Feet are in pretty good shape this fall, so I'm pleased. I usually trim once in the Spring and once in the Fall. Its interesting to note who has 'good' feet, or who might have feet that tend to grow rapidly and those that have a slightly off gait so that their feet don't wear evenly. Since the days are getting so short, I only have a little bit of time to work on them in the evenings, so I pick two victims each night. This works well, and isn't too stressful on any of us. :-) I catch them (its best to get the crafiest ones out of the way first!!), turn them up on their bottoms, check eye lid color, a basic check of condition, trim hooves and worm. Then once they are on their feet the 'victim' gets two animal crackers for all their 'pain and suffering'. I've got a few girls that have to at least have one mighty fit during the process. So far I've gotten several bruises, a couple of cuts from the hoof trimmers and worm medicine in my eye when it richoceted off the back of Willow's throat. I have six girls done, only three to go, plus Redford the ram. He will get his pedicure and worming enroute to the girls pen next week. Once I get the ewes seperated with the ram, then I'll concentrate on the weanlings and older sheep that are not being bred this year, so that everyone will get a fall worming and hoof trimming if needed. I'm taking somewhat of a break this year so am putting less ewes in with the ram. Sometimes things just get too overwhelming during lambing season, so I opted this year to just put 9 ewes with the ram. My hopes are to sell one as a bred ewe, and only lamb out 8. I'd like to enjoy lambing a little more this coming year than last years very hectic but productive one!
For those of you who like sheep and want to see lots of sheepie pictures, check out my website at http://www.fairlightfarm.com/ where you'll read about and see pictures of the Shetlands, Dorsets and crossbreds that live here. Pictures included are Gracie and her baby girl Hope, Melody, who is a Dorset/Merino Cross who surprised me by having this huge black spot, coming from all white stock, and lastly is Drake, a Musket shetland ram.