Hmm, it was holidays, snowstorms, elders who needed help. . . now tomorrow, I'll begin work in the '09-'10 tax season. I don't know how many hours I'll work each week until April 15. Then lambs will start to come.
Adventures since Christmas:
After blazing paths (with a shovel) to all the barns on this farm site-- which are all at least 75 ft. apart--
the sheep are all re-combined into one-gender groups after breaking up breeding groups. 20 ewes, 4 rams, total. Two rams here, two there. I'd put them together, too, but all the stars are not in alignment yet. . . electronet, port-a-huts, never mind--we are getting there.
I decided to take Shawn the aberrant-horned ram in to the butcher-- he was sort of a bully with EVERYONE, ewes or rams (though, not people) and I just didn't want him to damage sheep, buildings, or gates with his thick horns. A buyer who wanted him could not drive the two hours to get here, and I could not hold him 'till spring. Let's hope he left me some beautifully-fleeced lambs.
He was the first ram that we pulled out of a breeding group. It was beginning to blizzard, on Dec. 23rd, and we knew he wouldn't let his ewes get into the shelter (PIG!). So we ambushed him in the portahut, stuffed him into a BIG dog crate, and lifted his 125-150 lb. crateload onto a sled-- on which we sailed him across the barnyard with the greatest of ease! Great system--we'll use that again!
Without rams, the twenty ewes are happy in the big, shabby lean-to that they spend winter, pregnancy, and lambing days in. It's about 15x20 feet. Big enough for 20 ewes, I guess. Now that the rams are out, I can visit with them more comfortably-- there are Christmas lights and a horse-sized heated water pail in there, with a nice straw floor. It's been below-zero cold for a week, but the youngest ewes have been leaping and hopping lately when I visit, a very funny sight.
There are a few frail elders in my life who have needed lots and lots of help, lately, so that's taken up my extra time--
but my own little family is doing fine and we had nice holidays together. We saw the movie "Avatar" on Sunday, what fun that was!
Now, tomorrow it's back to an office--
while the ewes in the barn grow rounder until spring--
and I spend time spinning and knitting with ladies who love those activities. It's a nice time of year.