Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Too busy to post. . .

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.


Terri D. said...

Hey Gail! Happy to see you post again. Clever idea about the crate/sled moving idea. Very clever. What lean-to do you put them in?

Jean Kannel said...

I started tax season on tues. Before we know it, April 15th will be here, right?

Gail V said...

Hi Jean, farmer-cousin! Let the taxes begin!
And Terri,
the lean to is the bad old one, farthest, kitty-corner, from my house. It's pictured, in its glory, in http://littleredoakfarm.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html
last Feb. 09's post. I'm just grateful I can string an electric cord to it for lights and a pail! And it needs cleaning every 5 years!

Connie Peterson said...

Glad you are doing well with this snow and cold. Have fun doing taxes. Candy is up in Marshall with daughter - they are both working for HR Block this season.

Here comes the wind!!!

Candy said...

Hi Gail. I'm up in Marshall and working with taxes again. Three days into it and I already miss being home. But I have my wheel, Maple's wool, and my knitting with me. So hopefully I'll get enough done to start the shawl this spring. Stay sane..April 15 is that far away.

WeekendFarmer said...

Hi there. Greetings from NJ : ) .

I spent an year in Bemidji...so I feel connected to everything MN. Lovely flock you have there.

Is it too late for breeding? I did have the ewes with the ram (they are still together)..but I am not sure if he has done much! I was going to bring another ram for a month. Too late?