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.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hardy, self seeding Four O'Clocks in full bloom
It's 84.2 degrees, with humidity at 70 % and it's just hot. I tried to get out fairly early (after sleeping in a little on my only sleep in day), but it was already warm and sticky. When it starts getting this hot, it's best to just lay low in the house for the middle part of the day.

This morning, I wanted to try and shear Rouen my black Shetland ewe, who had some mats in her fleece from the 'rise' after shearing. Rouen has the distinction of being the oldest sheep of the flock, as well as being somewhat of a pistol. If Shetland's had leadersheep, she'd probably qualify. She can open gates, by pushing or pulling them; She senses weakness in a wired panel, thirty foot away; she knows when 'something is up' while the rest of the flock are clueless that they are about to be trapped and wormed. She can also take down a grown woman, by strategically blindsiding them on the leg at full speed (don't ask). However she is also one of the sweetest, friendliest sheep I've seen. She has a silly little habit of extending and twisting her head up in the air and weaving it around when she wants attention. Thankfully, she had all her radar down this morning, and I was able to snag her while feeding the girls. I haltered her and tied her in the barn (double knots, and gate wired shut behind her, just in case) while I finished chores. When I got back, she had managed to push the gate almost open, but was still firmly tied. I led her up to a shade tree and tied her up and proceeded to snip and clip with my big pair of scissors. One side only had one mat, but the other was littered with them. I ended up just shaving her down all over. She looks a bit choppy, but all in all not too bad. She was very good, and got lots of consolation cookies. I love Rouen's fleece, even if it's not considered desirable by some. Her outer fleece is rather coarse, but when you get in under there it is buttery soft. She is considered 'double coated' and her undercoat can be pulled apart from the outer longer, coarser fibers so they can be spun separately.

After Rouen had her beauty treatment, I had to clean out and put another bale of hay in Blue (Merino ram) and Lanny's little round feeder. While forking out the old hay, my pitchfork broke off at the base, drat it. Luring Blue and Lanny into their hoop house, I got them shut in there, so I could put out the new bale. (I don't go in the pasture with Blue...nuh uh). I had the bale on the dolly, but I had to drag it through some trees, and managed to get covered with sticky hay chaff. I was also sweating like a pig. I was happy to get that job done.

Then I loaded up four bags of river rock I got yesterday and rolled it on the dolly to the back yard. I'll work on dumping it later. It's always nice to have things ready to go though, when a project needs doing. While I was surveying the work of the 'path in progress', a patch of weeds drew me in and had to yank quite a few out before I could turn and walk away.

Gearing up for the hot day, I put new batteries in Eddie and Sue's (the two chickens that live in the yard) personal fan. They stay penned up on Saturday and Sunday so Boone can be in the yard, and then are let out during the week. So on the weekends, even though they are in the shade, they need some airflow on them when it's this hot. I'll turn it on a little after noon. The hall needed sweeping and bug dusted and spraying too, so the dogs would have a nice coolish place to spend day. I'll turn their fan on later too.

Lately I've been trying to cook more 'dog food' instead of buying so much. With canned food up to .75 cents a can, it mounts up fast, and the dogs love the homemade stuff. I usually try and find cheaper meats, or wait for sales. I use gizzards and hearts, chicken parts, hamburger, some pork (sometimes you can get a good buy on scrap pieces), and boil them all up together. Any edible meat scraps from my 'frig go in as well. I always remove the bigger bones, but leave in the softer crunchy ones. Then I boil up rice and green beans, and add them and Brewer's Yeast into the meat mixture. Sometimes I'll add a can of pumpkin as well. They love it. The old gal (Ariel) won't hardly eat much anymore, but she generally likes this mix. If I make a big batch it lasts all week. When I got back in the house, I started boiling up some chicken that I got on sale yesterday, and then did some other household chores. Sweeping the floor, laundry and gathering up the trash to burn, always something needs doing.

I was awfully hot and tired and cranky by the time I got done, so I took a shower to cool off, and have been doing nothing (but computer playing) for the last hour!

In other news, I sorta have my spinning wheel up and working. However I can't get the leader thread to go onto the bobbin! It just piles up at the orifice and continues to twist it's little heart out. Any ideas, anyone????

Have a good weekend!
King of the Barnyard with a few of his ladies, being early birds and beating the heat!


Anonymous said...

Pretty flowers and nice chickens!

Tina T-P said...

Get hold of Kathy at Sheep Thrills - she is a master at diagnosing spinning wheel problems. T.

Corinne R. said...

I'm laughing, wondering how many cans it would take to feed Boone!
Are you going to Jefferson?

Tammy said...

Thanks Amy!
Tina--I will try and talk to Kathy, she really helped me out with it awhile back. I don't have that much time to fool with it right now, but I've been practicing the treadling part anyway!
Corinne, It takes ALLOT! :-) Although not as much as that first year, I didn't think he'd ever get filled up. No, I won't be at Jefferson. It's hard to get away from the farm, since I'm the sole 'operator' of the place. Sounds like it'll be fun though!