The Month of Thanksgiving – Day Twenty-Four

Giving thanks today for ancient herbal wisdom and those who share it —

— Laurie Ball-Gisch at The Lavender Fleece who introduced us to pumpkin and carrot treats among many other things. She shares her thoughts on shepherding both on her web-site and in numerous articles in national magazines.

— Melissa at Skylines Farm for sharing her garlicking recipe and schedule. She also shares her extensive knowledge and experience on many topics including pasture management on her web-site. Skylines Philosophy is inspiring.

— Juliette de Bairacli-Levy (1912-2009) and her book The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable. Her pioneering work in holisitic veterinary medicine resulted from her time studying herbal medicine while living with gypsies and farmers in Europe, Turkey, North Africa, etc.
This generous sharing of knowledge has helped us raise our sheep in a more organic, more sustainable manner. For this, we are truly grateful.

The Month of Thanksgiving – Day Twenty

Giving thanks for the tools and truck lights that enabled us to finish placing our breeding groups together on Wednesday. A quick summary of the day –
::: winds averaging 22 mph all. day. long.
::: taking down old fence, putting up new paddock fencing, making lanes for moving sheep
::: finished trimming hooves and crutching
::: drenched all the adults with a mixture of garlic powder and molasses (will devote an entire post to this sometime soon); attempting to sort breeding groups as we go
::: it is now almost 5 p.m. getting dark and beginning to rain, still windy 🙁
::: going over to the other side of the pasture, we find the rams and put the breeding harnesses on using the truck lights to see – warning, this is not for the faint of heart
::: take Saul, on halter, back across the pasture, retrieve his girls and head down the hill to his assigned paddock… get everybody down the hill using a flashlight, through the gate.. unfortunately when we try to shut the gate the girls take off back up the hill at a trot
::: finally catch one of the girls and manage to get her through the gate to keep Saul company overnight
::: head back up the hill, adjust lanes to move Liam’s group up to his paddock
::: go to Liam’s paddock and there are two sheep not one standing at the gate, this is not good
::: get halters on both and discover that Hercules has broken through a tubular, wire-filled gate
::: fix the gate with a rubber mallet and tools shown above; put up another temporary electric fence to protect the gate from another jail-break
::: back to the barn then back up the hill bringing up Liam’s group
::: bring out Aragorn’s group into the barn pasture
::: move Poseidon’s group to the nursery area awaiting his recovery from last Sunday’s injury
::: take down most of the lane fencing after finally locating Saul’s runaways, get them into a pen in the barn
::: it is still raining, still windy… give up until morning light… thankful that we are finished… almost

The Month of Thanksgiving – Eighteen

We are thankful today for temporary electric fencing. This seemingly insignificant contraption has made the lives of the shepherdess/s soooo much easier! With our fencing we are able to —

… create numerous paddocks within our perimeter fencing for rotational grazing

… separate paddocks for each breeding group

… utilize the hay field way over there for grazing with the help of a solar energizer

… release the bio-mowers in the barnyard

… create a nursery area for new mamas and their little ones

… create new paddocks for weaned lambs (with several empty paddocks between them and their mamas)
The list just goes on and on and on…
So thank you, Mr. Temporary Electric Fencing Inventor Guy!

The Month of Thanksgiving – Fifteen


Upon the hill so bright and clear
Stands the church we love so dear
The church was founded by our fathers fifty years ago
There it stands upon the hill beat by rain and snow

Every Sunday rain or shine, we went through the door
To attend Sunday School alike for rich and poor
And in our early childhood, each and every lad and lass
Did not want to grow so old we had to leave Miss Eva’s class
But when we became reconciled to our older fate
We had Aunt Bertha for our teacher and thought that she was great
As we grew to man and womanhood all our interests still
Centered around the little church that stands upon the hill

Some had left us, how we missed them, when we met to pray
For now they rest in God’s acre just across the way
In World War One, our young men were called to go
To fight for their country against the foreign foe
When the war was over most of them came home
Got married, settled down never more to roam
Now their children run over farm and shout at will
But on Sunday come to worship in the church upon the hill

Lots left the hill and country and scattered all around
On farms, in villages, cities and in many little towns
From Baltimore to San Francisco from Maine to Florida
You can find Mt. Olivet’s children all along the way
I believe that looking back upon their childhood still
Their thoughts will return with longing for the church upon the hill

Years rolled swiftly by, our children all are grown
And like the birds of the air some from the home have flown
Our sons were called to fight in World War Two
And many were the heartaches felt by me and you
They were in all of Europe, some in Africa
Many they left behind them when they came away
Others were in the Pacific zone and helped to take Japan
I think that we can always say, “They do the best they can.”
But God was with Mt. Olivet’s boys, each and every one
He brought them safely home again, when the war was won.
Now again they are answering to our country’s call
And we pray that God in heaven will not let them fall
But bring them all home safely, if it is his will,
To worship once again in the church upon the hill.

When our work here on earth is o’er
And we make our last trip through the door
Across the road to the cemetery fair
For our last sleep with kinfolks there
May our children and their children too
Take up the work with love to do
The Master’s will and carry through
For fifty years or more

Written in 1950 by our grandmother, Lena Gertrude Dixon Wiles, to celebrate the 50th birthday of Mt. Olivet, our family church.