Winter Feeding

The sheep and the rest of the animals have worn icy paths between feeding areas and shelter.  They traveled back and forth, back and forth to eat and then to find shelter from the snow and wind.  We’ve been feeding the two groups farthest away from the barn via sled, as the snow got too deep for the ranger. 
We should have changed the rams’ marking crayons during this most recent storm, but decided not to. Four of the ewes were marked the second breeding cycle.  We decided to take the chance that they were caught the second time around or that they will be bred by the clean-up ram.  As soon as there is enough snow melt, we’ll break up the breeding groups and move all the ewes to the barnyard.  While the snow has been beautiful, we are really looking forward to a few days of milder weather.

Barn Helpers

While the weather outside has been frightful, life in the barn has been delightful for the barn cats.  They are always eager to help, following along as we trudge through the snow usually complaining loudly all the while.  Anxious to get back to the barn, there they are always ready to provide more help and a good dose of entertainment.  Spot, of course, is always enthusiastic about a game of cat and mouse.

While we thought that Muffy, the dog lover, was being unusually cat-friendly with Pumpkin snuggling up with her for warmth.  In reality, she was just trying to annoy her enough to get her to move from what Muffy has claimed as her napping spot.
And Davita… what can you say about Davita… well, her motto is “Leave no bucket unturned.”  If you are ever trying to track her down, just follow the trail of over-turned buckets.  It will lead right to her.
If you’re looking for a little more farm entertainment, please head over to Sprout ‘n’ Wings Farm.  Michaele has a wonderful post about “The Winter Farm”.


Looking through some photos we’ve taken for Shutter Sisters’ One Word Project, we’re reminded of how much we wish we could show you pictures of the shepherdess/s going about the farm chores in beautiful hand-knit sweaters and yes, maybe even mittens.  As we go through the day, we sometimes have visions of Grandma Lena in her flowered work dress and apron gathering eggs in the chicken house.
Truth is… we are messy… chores often become more like a scene out of a slapstick comedy than a farm living magazine.  Barn cats pounce out of hiding to attack coverall-covered legs.  Rams get that look in their eye and send a shepherdess sprawling down a muddy wet hillside.  Our well loved, leather gloves are worn until the fingertips are frayed, because honestly, that’s just when they are really getting broken-in.  By the time we get back to the house our quilt-lined flannel shirt’s pockets are full of hay, muddy baler twine and other treasures depending on the day’s adventures.
But… one day… one day, we’ll surprise everyone and show-up at the chicken coop in a feed-sack-like-flowered work dress, an apron with large pockets and a beautiful basket to gather the eggs.  And maybe… just maybe, we’ll do some non-hay-feeding-chores in one of those beautiful hand-knit sweaters.  When it happens… don’t worry… we’ll be sure to take pictures!

Don’t forget to comment on Monday’s post!  You could be the lucky winner of a 2013 Sheeps and Peeps Calendar!

Making Adjustments

The snow has almost disappeared.  Bent and broken temporary, interior fencing has been popping out of what remains.  The hope is that today and tomorrow we will get everybody, if not back in place, at least in a new more appropriate place. 

This particular co-habitation is not supposed to be taking place.  Poseidon and Aragorn, the rams, managed to walk out of their paddock several days ago and have been chasing Hannah and Hermione (and each other) ever since.

Bella, however, has had other ideas and has established herself as the care-taker and peace-maker within this group.  It has been a joy to watch her at work.   

We’ve finally been able to feed hay to the ram lambs in the corral, so they have at least been able to get out of the barn.  We’re hoping to repair and reorganize enough in the next couple days to get all the lambs out of the barn and back into secure paddocks.  Everyone is safe inside the exterior fencing (which we still need to make it all the way around to check for downed limbs) but it is kind of chaotic inside that fencing.  At least, so it seems to the shepherdess/s who are used to having some semblance of a plan for each season.
So today begins, two weeks behind in the fall chores, and a new plan being created somewhat on the fly.  Oh well, as Leonard Bernstein, once said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” 

Almost Summer

After weeks of seeing relatively few deer, mostly bucks and yearlings, they are back out in full force and new life seems to be everywhere. During the last week, our family has come upon a fawn hidden between fence rows, ran over one with the hay mower which miraculously was unhurt except for a very small cut on its leg, carried a very shaky newborn out of the road and up a bank and almost hit one while brush-hogging. When a mama deer tells her fawn to stay put… it stays put! We are so glad all these encounters had happy endings.

In other news, our haymaking season has begun.  Saturday was a beautiful day to get the first 215 bales in the barn.  The two frosts and snow we had in April really set the broad-leaved plants back and our yield was significantly lower than last year.  We’re hoping for some good grass-growing summer weather and a thick second cutting.  We are so thankful for family that helped… from the mowing, tedding, raking, baling, stacking, unloading and more stacking…all the way down to the littles who cut up tomatoes and mushrooms for the meal that Mom and Lena had ready when the field work was finished.  We are blessed.

While We Were Walking

Don’t think for a moment that the Moving into March walk went unnoticed by the farm dwellers.  They definitely recognize when there is anything out of the ordinary, and are never at a loss for words. 

“I think you are going the wrong way!”

“We ran all the way down here… we thought you were bringing the hay!”

“What are you doing down there?”

“We’ve been up and down this hill four times.  Aren’t you finished taking pictures?”

“You better be coming up out of there with hay!”

“Don’t make me come down there and get you!”

Kitchen Window Entertainment

Facing a sink full of last night’s dishes is a whole lot easier and much more entertaining, when in the company of these little friends.  The flurry of activity, their song, their acrobatics at the sink window’s platform feeder never fail to provide amusement.  Although they might make the whole process take just a little bit longer than really necessary, dishes are done with a smile on your face.

I Feel Pretty

Everyone wonders why it takes so long to do the morning chores.  Well it seems like there is always a helper… or two or three.  Sometimes it’s all a bit distracting… but hey… there are lessons to be learned here.  This weeks lesson – We all need to stop and enjoy those ‘I Feel Pretty’ moments.