It's been a week of change and adjustment in the sheep fold. First losing June, and then after a flurry of emails, finalizing the sale of five more of the flock. While I needed to sell this years selected individuals it is always hard to see them go. I'm very thankful that they sold, as I have way too many sheep, and I needed badly to get the numbers down to a more manageable level.
The flock seems positively small now, after going from 27 to 22 in just a few days. The four ewes that sold were the Merino cross girls (Melody and Suzy) and their half Shetland ewe lambs from this year (Opal and Pearl). I'm so happy that this tight little family gets to stay together. They are joining several Shetlands that came from Locksley Field's to create a nice fiber flock for their new owner. In October, Fairlight Drake, my lovely home raised ram will join them and finally have a harem of his own. Since the introduction of the Shetland breed on my farm, my goal has been to eventually have a balance of Shetlands, with a few of the white Merino crosses (individuals who will live their lives out here), and with the sale of these four ewes, for the first time the adult Shetland ewes outnumber the 'big white sheep'. It seems a bit strange. My other goal was to keep the ewe flock under 20. I'm still not back there yet, but I also have four other Shetlands that are for-sale (two ewes and two wethers) so I have hopes that I'll actually be under the maximum sheep by the end of the year. Of course we know that won't last long once lambing rolls around in March!
The people that bought the four girls and Drake, Judy and Mike, seem like extremely nice folks. They are new to sheep, but not to livestock, and are eager to learn all they can about the sheep. They have a good size acreage that they need grazed and Judy is interested in learning the fiber arts. We walked around and looked at all the sheep, a few of the fleeces, and some roving. Lots of questions. The four sheep girls were so very well behaved, and were quite calm meeting their new owners. With Judy and Mike assisting I was able to get their tags in and then we haltered the older two and one at a time pushed and pulled them to the Suburban-Slash-Farm Truck (back seats removed, hay bales for a barricade and ta-da--a very comfy sheep ride) and then lifted them into the back. We were able to carry the weanlings and shove them in. The girls were all relieved when each Momma and each baby saw that they were still all together. I sure wish all my sheep were halter broken though! 'Possum's don't have anything on a sheep when they decide to sull up! I later got an email from Judy that the girls didn't go too many miles down the road before they 'bellied up to the hay bar'. For pictures of these sheep you can visit my Fairlight Farmwebsite.
We are having a patch of lovely cooler weather, with lower humidity and it reminds that Autumn is almost here. The next few weeks promise to be busy as I get stuff ready for a garage sale and also taking a few sheep to display at a local Celtic Festival. (More on that later) Before we know it the frost will be on the ground and it'll be time to clean out the wood stove and start that first fire of the season!