Monday, May 31, 2021

Watching And Looking

Last night I posted a picture of Maisie and Big Moose clocking in for guard sheep duty and wondered "aloud" how long that had been going on.  On the blog I'd just click on a label for either Maisie or Big Moose and be able to quickly scroll back.  On Instagram...it's all there, but you have to scroll back and back and back and back and back to find it.  I've made 5,695 posts :-o.


It started the night before Hank died. I took this picture as I was sitting out on the hill with him for what I think we both knew was the last time.  They were looking over at him...or me...or maybe already the far hill.  
 
5,695 memories.  Some heartbreakingly sad...but grateful for every one.

 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Now You See It...


...and by afternoon, you don't...


...but don't worry.  They will be back the next morning :-).

I've never grown (or actually even seen) flax before.  It's the blue flowered plant.  Each morning it's covered in the sweetest little blue flowers and by afternoon they've all fallen off and are wilting on the ground below.  The next morning?  Once again covered in sweet blue flowers!

The B Garden is continuing to delight.  Almost every day I walk through and see something new blooming.  Some flowers are familiar from last year.  Some are brand new.  I'm still mostly seeing bees of all shapes and sizes and only a few butterflies and moths.  No monarchs yet, but that's not uncommon...sadly.  The milkweed is abundant and waiting for them!



Monday, May 24, 2021

Ba-roo!


Last week was a bit of a blur between out of town company, in town company, unwanted company, and, oh, it got hot...which is also an unwanted guest who never pays attention to the pineapple at the foot of the bed :-/.

The Evening with the Sheep was just about perfect and we had super fun guests including some folks who'd travel quite a few hours to come to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and visit the farm.  It was nice to talk sheep and wool and see Auntie Reg and Miss B working the farm shop.  It felt almost like we'd gotten the band back together :-).

Monday afternoon brought an unwanted guest to the farm...a coyote hunting in the front field (!).  Luckily I had the ATV handy and I raced after it "barking" as best I could and chased it off the farm.  I locked up the sheep and stayed on high alert, but didn't see anything on Tuesday.  Wednesday afternoon, two different coyotes came through the front field and I once again did my best Hank impressions and chased them away.  I've not seen anything since.

There could be several scenarios at play here.  They've figured out Hank is gone and are getting bold, a neighbor has done some clearing and disturbed their home habitat or another neighbor has terminally cleared the coyotes Hank spent years training to stay away and new untrained coyotes have flooded in the now open territory.  It could very well be all of the above.

I don't really want to get into a long discussion about how we should or should not handle this situation and why we have not brought in a new guardian dog...  These are very complicated situations and situations we are considering very carefully.  Just know that we are working hard to keep the sheep and lambs safe and our biggest concern is probably the chickens.  What I do want to tell is an interesting story about Salt.  

At 16 years old, Salt is in no way able or expected to intensely guard a flock of sheep even on a small farm.  She is very frail and her hearing is gone, but she still occasionally walks down to patrol the creek and make her presence known and her vision and sense of smell is pretty strong.  If she sees or smells  something amiss, she has a wonderful deep "Ba-roo!" that echoes through the farm and that alone is  still quite helpful...and comforting.  

Salt smelled trouble the other evening.  The sheep were all out doing a last bit of grazing before I locked them up for the night.  There were sheep in the lower paddock, both sides of the wet weather creek and back behind the arena.  I was standing at the gate by the barn watching everyone and she came up beside me and asked to go in.

She walked through the gate and stopped in front of the horse stalls looking to the back of the farm, her nose in the air.  She carefully watched for about a minute and I could see her nose working and then she released the first "Ba-roo!"  

It sounded like her normal "Ba-roo!" which is a sort of a down turning sound, if that makes sense.  The sheep continued grazing.  The second "Ba-roo!" kind of rose at the end...and every single sheep immediately came racing back to the barn.

Hank must have had different barks as well because, like Salt, sometimes he'd bark and the sheep would stay put and sometimes he'd sound an alarm and call them all in.  I hated that I could never tell the difference.  When there was trouble he'd bark constantly until he felt the situation had been handled.  Salt's single "Ba-roo!" gives me more time to think.  I hope there are some coyotes out there who are doing some thinking, too.

Oh, look!  Here's a flashback where you can hear both dogs!  



Friday, May 21, 2021

The Cool Moms


While the main flock continues to bake in the barn summer after summer when they could be hanging out under a cool shady tree...I just can't figure it out...Krista and Short Round take the lambs to the cool(ish) shaded "rabbit sanctuary" every afternoon.  

I walked (staggering in the wilting heat) out there to take some pictures of them this afternoon and realized I have over two weeks of pictures on my camera that I've never even looked at, much less shared.  The lambs are getting so big.  

They are finally doing pretty well.  They and their mom have had a bit of a tough go.  Glad things are looking better as the heat next week is going to be awful for everyone.  More pictures and stories to come.  In the meantime, here's a new puzzle.


Friday, May 14, 2021

The Parable Of The Leaky [Bag]


I've already had some happy surprises in the B Garden this spring.  Some seeds apparently needed to go through a cold winter to be ready to grow and bloom this year. These orange wallflowers are new and have been blooming their hearts out and I have blue flax making a show as well.  That gorgeous red clover is back already, too.  

I'd been collecting bags of new seeds to sow this spring and I finally got them scattered last night.  I've hopefully added even more colors, more sizes and shapes, more varieties.  Some are annuals, some are perennials, some are self seeding.  I can't wait to see what shows up next!  

I brought in (fingers crossed) two new varieties of milkweed for the garden and had a bag full of common milk weed seed pods I'd collected and saved from last year that I wanted to scatter along the wet weather creek running through the front field.  More milkweed in more locations.

As I walked along the creek bank crumbling up the seed pods in the bag to make them easier to scatter, I knew that some were just breaking apart with the seeds falling loose to the bottom of the bag.  I wasn't worried.  When I got to the end of the downy bits I'd go back over everything with the pile of loose seeds.  

When I got to the end of the downy bits though, the bag was empty.  There had been a hole in the bottom and now seeds were scattered all along where I'd walked.  This was not exactly where I'd wanted them, but maybe closer to where they'd feel more comfortable, up a little higher and away from the water if we got a big rain.

I like "accidents" like that and it reminded me of one of my favorite stories about the leaky bucket who thinks it's too damaged to be useful, but actually is dribbling water all along the trail helping the flowers grow and bloom.  I think a lot of us need to be reminded that we are leaky buckets.  Now I just need to remember that we need to mow one pass further away from the creek.

Here's a new puzzle :-).

* * * * *

Don't forget about the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and Bluegrass Classic Stock Dog Trial this weekend.  The Evening with the Sheep is looking to be fun as well.  Come on out!


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Continuing Education

The thing I was most looking forward to in bringing Short Round and Krista and their lambs here was watching the lambs race and play.  The second thing I was looking forward to was the "continuing education" of how to care for the ewes and lambs.

I've been very fortunate for several years now to spend a lot of time in the lambing barns at Final Frontier Farm and Tring Farm.  I am fairly competent caring for ewes and lambs in the first several days after lambing, but they leave the nursery pens and head to the big field while I stay in the nursery caring for the next batch of ewes and lambs...  

I knew two 10 year old ewes was possibly going to be a bit of a challenge, especially as Krista's little ewe lamb started life with a bit of a handicap.  Maggie's doing much better now, but in getting to this point we've had some other issues arise which we've dealt with as we've gone along but I did think the other day that I was getting a little more continuing education than I'd hoped for ;-).

Caring for animals is always stressful. Sheep don't really "love to lay down and die on you" as is commonly repeated.  Sheep are prey animals and they are wired to never show weakness in case a predator is watching.  Watching your sheep closely is the best way to catch a problem before it becomes a serious issue.  

I frequently walk to the barn worried about what I might have missed. Are the ewes up and grazing?  Resting and chewing cud?  Udders okay?  Lambs getting enough to eat?  Someone looking droopy?  What's that poop look like?  Am I missing anything...?

This morning I got to the barn and only saw the two ewes out grazing.  It's cold (awesome weather I might add :-) so I wasn't panicked that the lambs were missing.

Ellie was tucked in some straw just outside the door.

And Maggie and Christopher were snugged together inside the barn.  

All three lambs were doing the same thing, so I felt good that everything was okay.  That freed my mind up to think about whether the lambs had decided it was too cold to get up early or if their moms told them to stay put while they went out for some breakfast.  And that's the sort of continuing education I was hoping for :-).


Monday, May 10, 2021

Possum's Wool Beds


I took this picture yesterday. I really needed to get some fleeces skirted, especially if I'm hoping to find them good homes this Saturday.  It was raining and cold and Possum looked so cozy tucked in on the skirting table that I couldn't bring myself to disturb her.  


As I was starting to type this blogpost this morning, I noticed that she'd moved from her normal morning spot on the washroom floor to a cozy little cubby spot under the table.  That's a felted wool laptop carrying bag.  The girl loves her wool :-).

I WILL have some Possum beds fleeces skirted and for sale at the Evening with the Sheep on Saturday.  I'll try to negotiate a good price for you, but she may drive a hard bargain ;-).  I'll also post them on the website starting next week.

  

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Good Momma's Day

Maggie started losing interest in the bottle yesterday and this morning didn't want it at all. Best Mother's Day present ever :-).  

Of course we'll still keep a close eye on her and Christopher, but I think we might be over the hump.  Krista's had a rough week with some udder issues, but through it all she's been very patient and caring.  A good momma.



Sadly, all efforts to change names have failed and Short Round is...short and round and getting rounder by the day.  Saint Tim says pretty soon height won't be in play at all and she's just going to be round.

And she's a good momma, too :-).

New puzzle!


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