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, October 09, 2007

Vacation...It's hard Work....

Griffin checks out the girls while the girls check out Griffin!

....but I still love it! This is officially day two of a week's vacation. Whew, it goes by fast. And boy am I already sore and tired! ha.... Nothing a heating pad and Tylenol won't cure though.

Since I put everything off to the last possible minute this year, I am still scrambling to get the girls their pedicures and wormings before going to the ram. The rest of the sheep will get theirs too, but these girls are first on the list.

Yesterday, it rained some in the morning. One minute it was hot and overcast and the next this huge dark cloud bank came up. By then I had captured Blue (The big mean Merino ram) to trim his hooves and worm. The plan was to catch him and his buddy wether, Lanny Wilson and get them both done. Alas Lanny is so stinking scared of everything, I didn't get him. I was about half done with Blue when the deluge came so I didn't pursue trying to figure out a way to catch Lanny. I just finished Blue and let him go. I'll have to ponder it, and come up with a way to get him wormed at least. Blue has nasty feet--mostly from an inexperienced new Shepherd (me) feeding too much grain to an undernourished, half starved young ram lamb. He finally grew and got fat, but I think I foundered him a bit in the process. Anyhoo, in the best of times they are long and tend to grow funny. Blue is quite tame once you catch him, but any other time he would cheerfully like to do me in. Since I don't have any kind of chute or table, and he is far too big and stout for me to 'take down' anymore my technique is to simply lure him along the fence line where I've made a little alley with cattle panels (he always falls for this!). Once he gets in there and busy sampling the grain, I squish him between the fence and panel and wire it all up tight. Then I shove a nice stout stick in front of this front legs and one behind the hind legs. Then I halter him and tie his head up, so he won't slobber and chew on me. Usually he will fuss around with his feet, but in the end I just wait him out and trim the feet like a horse. Worming is absolutely no problem--he loves the stuff and sucks it down as fast as he can---getting the syringe away is usually tricky. I was glad to get this done though.

Next on my list was finishing the catch pen and re-working Blue and Lanny's feeding situation for the winter. I plan to feed them square bales (if I ever get any)until the weather is cold and the rains are pretty much gone. If I feed them a round bale now, with the warmer temps and rains, most of it will rot and mold. The shelter for these boys is a simple hoop house (made out of a wooden ground frame, with a 16 ft cattle panel bowed over it, and tarp over that.) I have attached it to the side of the girls barn, so that only one end is open. The end that is attached to the barn, has now been reworked, with hay feeders installed so I can easily toss hay into them and it will be in the dry. While I had the boys penned up I went ahead and picked up limbs and threw on the burn pile and then set an old haystack on fire (see above for reason ;-)

I also got the breeding pasture and pen checked over and some panels put up in 'iffy places' (like my chicken pen that last years flock demolished for a few twigs of green.)

Allena called later in the afternoon and then brought Griffin and Mist over. I went ahead and caught up the Shetland girls after she called, as I was afraid it was going to rain. The sheep won't cooperate in the rain and would have headed for the barn instead of the catch pen. This left me quite a bit of time to get the three girls that were headed to her place wormed and pedicured. I also was able to get all the lambs wormed. The three girls did pretty good but they still are a bit hard to load at times. Certainly not as bad as it could be I'm sure. They got impromptu halter lessons on the way to the truck. Actually leash lessons! Mist and Griffin unloaded fairly nicely and walked sedately to their pen. The girls all ogled Griffin when he was put in the pen next to theirs. I think they were all a bit impressed. He is a nice looking little feller. He is actually a lovely, lovely fellow! They won't share a fence line except at feeding time.

This morning, I got four more of the ewes wormed and hooves trimmed. I turned Tabitha and Willow in with Griffin and Mist, so that Mist wouldn't get swarmed with bossy ewes all at once. These two are fairly mild natured and so far everyone is doing fine. I turned them all out on grass so that kept them quite occupied.

Tomorrow is the day when I'll turn the rest of the ewes (hopefully) in with Griffin and have the breeding pen officially set up.

I have a long list of stuff I want to get done, but I'm sure it'll not all get marked off. I'm also just enjoying doing chores in the daylight, eating a late breakfast, having time to do Bible study and walk my dogs. Its just real nice to be more relaxed for a change.

Well, I best get back to work! I'll be posting the other breeding group as soon as I get pix of them.

1 comment:

Kathy L. said...

Whew! You need to go back to work, Girl! You need your rest! :)

Great way to use cattle panels for an ornery ram! Brilliant! I have one of those "hammock" things where you have to back them up into it, then can do feet, etc. And I'm way behind this year!

We don't think about breeding groups until late this month or next, depending on our schedule next year. I try to plan for better weather, but since we can and have had snow any day of the year here, I might as well just do it to fit when I want to be watching ewes.

I hope you get to s-l-o-w down a bit to have a nice rest in there somewhere.