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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Spring Chores

Operation "Sheep to Grass" at work

The grass is really growing now! Yipee! The sheep are hungry for the taste of the green, and are pushing against fences, forcing just one more little inch of space to reach the grass on the other side. Operation "Sheep to Grass" is now in progress. I took a few pictures the other night of the girls and lambs after letting them out on a narrow strip that separates my back and side yard from their pen and the neighbors pasture. They ran here, they ran there, grass hanging from their mouths, their eyes on the next delectable treat. The lambs didn't figure out how to get out the gate until it was almost time for the mom's to come back in. There was allot of wailing, with a few half hearted responses from the ewes. They are up to an hour tonite. The strip of grass is getting mowed quickly and they are already starting to complain about how all the good stuff is gone!

One of Tab's extremely cute ewe lambs!

Tonight I plan to work on fencing the lilacs in, so that maybe by tomorrow night I can let them out on the front. That should keep them busy for the rest of the week in the evenings. Then it'll be time to start them on their 'real pasture'. Its looking good--allot of clover this year, so I'll need to be careful and make sure no one over does it at first. The minute the sheep hear my truck pull in they start in bellering at the top of their lungs. It could drive one mad, as they don't let up until I let them out. Some are more talented and artistic than others and will let their voices trail into a long mournful wail.

Usually I let the sheep in without fencing the lilacs, since they are only on the front a short while, but this year, after the toll the ice storm took on the lilacs and then the hard freeze, I just didn't think they would be up to a third assault. I priced some welded wire today, (39.49 for 100 foot) and surprisingly its not too expensive. I have already installed step in plastic electric posts and will get 36 " welded wire and attach to these posts. I'm hoping this will work as a temporary, easy to move fence. I know it would not likely work if the sheep were in there all the time, but I think maybe this will deter them for a short term situation. I hope.

The Shetland ram pen is almost ready to let the boys out there for a while too. I still need to 'fence in' a tree to keep them from chewing the bark off, but that shouldn't take too long. Last night I chopped thistles out of there (courtesy of my neighbor, whose fields are full of 'em), and this morning I sprinkled some old alfalfa hay over the new grass that is trying to grow where we burnt a brush pile. The boys were sure 'it was time' and they were headed out to grass. What fits they threw. Blue the big Merino ram and his buddy are headed onto new grass too, as soon as I get a 'hanger' limb of wild cherry cut out of there and disposed of. Lanny took matters into his own hooves the other morning, and pushed down/hopped over a badly abused cross fence between them and another small paddock. He was in there happily devouring clover, when I spotted him. As I stood and stared, it was the old---is that sheep on the wrong side of the fence debate. No, he isn't, I think I can see the wires, yes he is--he can't be over that far and not be out of his pasture......

I've been building fence, grazing sheep, picking fleeces and rolling roving for the last week, so that consumes most of my 'free time'. I'm also working on my sad little yard, trying to convert more areas to garden space (my grass is pathetic). I've got a tiny 'salad garden' planted but not up yet, which I hope will yield spinach and assorted lettuces, if Sue the chicken doesn't find a way to break in to it. I also planted some eggplant (which some kind of bugs immediately tried to devour), ornamental gourd seeds and some morning glories. I'm hoping to turn the back yard into a pumpkin patch to have some sheep fodder for fall. Since I want it to eventually 'look pretty' too, I planted the morning glory seeds, some lavender and rosemary plants and still have some tomato, and other herb plants to get in the ground. I hope to buy some pepper plants and who knows what else when I go to the store this week (I have no control when I walk into the plant section.) I try and restrain myself with the thought that somebody is going to have to plant all those newly bought plants!

On a cheerful note, we are finally having some flowers blooming again. After the five day hard freeze in April, we lost all our beautiful blossoms on the flowers and trees. Now a few hardy Iris have poked their stems up and are budding out. I saw two clematis blooms on the vine the other day(normally its covered!). My 'specialty' peony is going to bloom I do believe as well. (all the old fashioned peonies got their buds frozen off, as they always bloom earlier). And last but not least are the lovely pink evening primroses, that are in full bloom. I love the primroses--they are a no care plant that spreads and blooms almost all summer in 'difficult' places. My Grandma gave me a start from hers many years ago. She has passed on since then, but the flowers continue to proliferate and they often remind me of Grandma and her passion for plants and flowers.

Have a good week!

All the Shetland Lambs minus one (Little Deb, who stays with her Mum all the time!)--Try to tell that mob apart!!


Allena said...

I understand, I am almost done making a divider section so that the ram boys can be in back with a double fenced section and the house between them and the ewes. I hope that will keep any accidents from happening LOL. The sheep here can't keep up with the grass, I had to mow last week, and now again this week. I need more so I can be lazy lol

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

What a nice bunch of dark, rich color!

Allena said...

Michelle, they are beautiful aren't they?