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.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking A Break...

I'm in the house, taking a break. I'm giving myself one hour of guilt free time to recuperate, before heading back out.

You see the kittens are in confinement. And it makes me feel guilty. At the moment though there is no choice. That is, if I want to get anything else done. Over the last few days the little hotshots have discovered how exciting, how thrilling it is to come into the yard with a big bad dog or two. Boone is fine as long as I'm there to make sure he minds his manners, otherwise....

Tempe---trying to get her to hold still for a photo is nigh impossible!

Need I say the instigator is Tempe? Big surprise I know.

This isn't really another cat post though, so I'll detail the escapades later...if I have the energy.

This post is about......sheep! Finally... However no pictures. I was too busy doing to take pictures this time. I'll get some of the breeding groups soon though.

The breeding groups are together. Yes! I started out this morning feeding the sheep late, so I could get the other critters cared for first. Then I captured the Shetlands while they were feeding, and scrunched them up in a small pen. Much to my dismay over the last week or two some of the ewes have shown up with cockle burrs in their wool--despite me walking the pasture before I put them in there.

My goal was to catch one, clip out cockle burrs (these were mostly around the neck and face wool, thankfully), worm, feed three animal crackers--most important step-- and sort into one of two pens. Rosemary, Luna and Willow went into the east paddock. Rouen, Duckie, Blackberry, Tabitha and the three ewe lambs, Persia, Eve and Rosetta all went back into the main flock. (Hopefully not to be bred this year). Rouen had been particularly distressing me with her cockleburry head. Ever bit of her topknot was covered in them. She got her whole head, cheeks and much of her neck wool trimmed...and loved every minute of it! She looks quite dashing..not. Anyway, once I sorted all those out, that left two in the catchpen--Chickie and Lark. Those two were going to be led down to Jeff's pasture, which is halfway across the place.

Unfortunately for my Dad, when I got to that point, he happened to show up and I enlisted his help in taking them down there. Moving two at once is much easier than trying to lead/drag one. Even at that, it's a chore. I wish they were halter broken but they aren't. Despite Chickie choking herself down once, it went pretty smooth.

After securing them in the (empty) paddock, I headed back out to the barn lot. Now came moving Jackdaw and Selena across the paddock to the east pasture, to joining Rosemary, Luna and Willow. This went remarkably well, even though JackieD veered off course to eat at the hay bale. (I believe we can see where his priorities are....sigh..). Selena was trying to be crafty, but by being patient and working with her, she went into the catch pen easily. Then it was just a matter of opening the gate into the pasture. Woot!

One group safely put together. Now it was back down to Jeff's pasture. The other day I had put up a catch pen, so it was only a matter of putting up a temporary alley way between their two pastures and coaxing Jeff and Cal to go through the alley into the catchpen. This took a while. As I've mentioned they are scardey cats. Plus Jeff was sure those forms moving through the brush on the other side were wolves..even when they baa-ed. Finally though, you could see the idea starting to stir in Jeff's mind...girls?? In he went with Cal right behind him. I had them! Then I made the catchpen smaller, put the halter on Jeff and tied him up out of the way. Reminder to not use a slipknot next time! I captured Cal, who was a real toad, and kept sitting down, while I was worming him. I wrestled him into the pen I had set up for him. Which he does not like. He does not want to be separated from the mean ram, thank you very much!

While my back was turned for two and half seconds Jeff untied himself and took off, with a slip halter on, dragging the lead, chasing the girls. argh..... I had a few panels I needed to set up and secure so I went and did that, muttering under my breath. After making me want to throw myself on the ground and kick and scream, Jeff eventually came close enough for me to grab the lead rope. Then I tied him with a hard knot, and trimmed his feet, wormed him, and put raddle on his chest. And that was that. Breeding group two set up.

Off to the house I went to try and rid myself of aromatic ram smell, eat breakfast/lunch and rest a minute. Just in the nick of time too, as it started pouring down rain for a little while Now if everyone will just stay where they are suppose to! I'm very, very glad to have that chore out of the way. It will be noisy and restless around here for a few days, but that is just part of it.

Now, my hour is up and I'm off to let out the poor kitty prisoners and work on the blasted gate for their play pen. If I can get it done today they will have a nice large play area--and only total freedom when I'm watching them like hawks!

The frenetic energy of kitten....


Michelle said...

Methinks you have created a very complicated life for yourself! Oh wait, that's MY life, too. Slightly different details, same three-ring circus. Sigh. What we do to have animals in our life!

Brenda (Prairie Daisy Handspun) said...

Wow, I think you needed more than an hour's break! Glad you got everybody situated...we'll be looking forward to pictures. :)

p.s. I still haven't found the sock email.


Tammy said...

You got that right Michelle, but as you mentioned...I'm not alone in that boat! ;-)
Brenda, I'll try and re-email that this week sometime. Keep forgetting...