Now that I’m back on my feet more, choretime is a bigger proportion of my day.
In the morning, I first check the status of the bales we are feeding. Right now, we are feeding some mediocre first-cut hay, so we give the sheep pretty free-access to their chow. While they eat, I have the opportunity to look at them closely. Some of the older ewes show their pregnancy quite plainly, with sagging tummies and udders just starting to bloom. Others, especially the Border Leicesters, look like the same chubby sheep as before. Fred sniffs a ewe now and then, but even he seems certain that they’re all set.
If we need more hay, Matt will bring it in with the tractor. But I will check the water. Through trial and error, we’ve determined that “three” is the optimum number of 22-gallon heated waterers. The sheep always muck them up with hay after a few days, so I clean one or two waterers out completely every day to prevent slimy buildup. Yuck.
Outside of the main barn, we have two pairs of sheep in special quarters. Because Fred would fight our other two rams, “Bob Loblaw” and “Oliver” have a suite all their own with a cozy stall and a small outdoor area. Oliver has an intestinal issue at the moment, so he’s getting daily Pepto Bismol to top off his hay ration.
We also have two Border Leicester lambs that we noticed weren’t competing well for food. They are very timid and retiring and had become too thin. They now have a stall of their own where they can enjoy regular grain feeding.
A significant but pleasing change between this year and last is our ability to properly house our rams and separated ewes. Instead of a tent in the back yard, they have a safe, enclosed building that effectively breaks the wind. Because of this, we can maintain unfrozen water for them and monitor their health more closely. After losing a ram to bladder stones possibly caused by dehydration over the winter, we are glad to have the correct facilities now.
I am offering 20% off our scarves at Our Etsy Shop Offer code: FLEECENAVIDAD
The photos don’t quite do these justice. Five of the scarves are made from the last of my Cormo yarn and two from our natural-color Bluefaced Leicester. The softness, comfort and drape is unmatched. Even wool skeptics will find these scarves next-to-the-skin pleasant. Dad and I are really proud of these gorgeous scarves. We think they are a sustainable gift worth giving (or a gift to yourself- after all, you’ve worked hard this year!)
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions.
So I am just starting to walk again.
My doctor made Physical Therapy sound optional, but given that I’m already in physical therapy for abdominal issues, I’m hardly going to skip making sure that my feet will be okay for years to come. It’s no surprise that my physical therapist observed that I am really, really strong, but have little flexibility. Labor that involves restraining animals and lifting heavy loads will do that. This is a good time for me to focus on my overall body capabilities so that I start farming again at the top of my game.
I am just starting to walk comfortably into the barn and out of it. Without good control of the ball of my foot and my big toe, I have to take it easy. I am not confident that I’m going to be able to control the clutch of the tractor sufficiently, so I am holding back on doing tractor work for the time being.
Matt has done a fabulous job with the sheep. It almost seems like a boon – he’s developed his own handling habits and ability to evaluate the sheep. Without me to help, he’s harnessed his own observational skills and grown his confidence. I can’t thank Matt enough for managing everything while I’ve been on the couch.
The sheep also recognize Matt’s work, as they now run to him first for petting and attention. I don’t think I’m a stranger in their eyes, but I can hear the “where have you BEEN” in the way the sheep respond to me. I wish I could go headlong into handling them and feeding them again, but I have to be very cautious that I don’t twist my ankle or get my foot stomped. I am still fragile, and it stinks.
Some scenes from the barn, now that I’m back in it: