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.
Monday, September 22, 2008
It seems like I have lots of things I want to post about, but the words just won't come. So until then just a few observations. My Internet randomly and repeatedly goes off and on, which is very frustrating, and not good for motivation either!
Autumn is here officially on the calendar and in the gradual turning of the trees. The garden is almost finished and the few remaining plants are tired and weary looking. The leaves on the trees are filled with holes from bugs and curl up brown spotted on the edges. The very air seems quieter, hushed as if waiting
impatiently for the cooling breezes and frosty nights.
Autumn on the farm means getting prepared for winter and putting things right for the coming cold months. It also means that another cycle of sheep raising has come. The lambs from the Spring have been sold, with only the keepers staying. In a few weeks breeding groups will be set up and ewes separated and put with the ram.
The rams, Blue and Jeff are noticeably stinkier, as they come into rut and make themselves attractive to the ewes. I find myself holding my breath as I pass by them. Jeff the little grey Shetland ram has developed quite a mane of 'scadder' (hairlike long fibers) around his neck, as he always does during the fall. He looks quite silly, but then he isn't trying to impress me.
I'm still awaiting hay delivery, with 16 big rounds due anytime. I don't know if there will be more square bales, but conditions have been favorable for it. So far, for the first time in years, I haven't had to feed hay to the main flock and shouldn't have to, until October.
The wood pile has to be tidied and re-stacked and is next on my list. I've already started working on it, and I think there is about a cord still left. I hope my wood guy comes through for me. If not, there is still quite a bit of wood stacked here and there from the big Ice Storm.
Sue (the chicken) seems to be doing okay without Eddie. She is lonely acting, and hangs out with Ariel quite a bit during the day. She has started crowing. It sounds extremely awful.
Ariel herself seems to be doing better these days, so I'm thankful for the extra time. When I was trying to get her to eat, I stumbled onto 'Cesar' wet food and she really liked it. Now can you spell spoiled rotten? (A-R-I-E-L) Cesar food comes in tiny little plastic bowls with peel off foil tops. She eats one in the morning, and one at night. It has to be topped off with something extra yummy as well (like shaved turkey). It can't be mixed in though, and she prefers there to be a couple little piles of turkey leading to the bowl, with some draped over the side and few pieces on the food itself.... Cesar food is also pretty pricey, but what can I say? In fact, I think Ariel is eating better than she has ever ate in her life (she has always been very finicky....).
I've been busy trying to update my website. With most of the lambs sold, it's now time to work on listing fleeces and some of the lovely roving I just got in.
Now is a good time to trim limbs, and the sheep always enjoy the treat. I borrowed my Dad's long pole limb trimmer to get a few more grapes down (success! now just to stem and cook them down), so while I had it up here, I trimmed limbs away from the house. The sheep have had a good couple of days snacking on leaves from the limbs.
There will be much to do over the next few weeks; putting a new tarp on the hoop house so it will be water tight, fixing fence to keep the breeding group secure, moving the ram over here (from Allena's), hopefully posting photos of the breeding group (just one this year, and only six ewes!), stacking wood, winterizing the chicken pens, trimming up the yard and gardens, and, well you get the idea. It's allot to get done, but there is always something pretty satisfying about tucking everything away for the winter. I'm hoping for a nice long cool fall, and vacation is coming up soon, so I'll have some time to work on those projects.
Have a great week!