Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anticipation

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. Usually, this time of year anyway, is kind of slow time for shepherds. We're waiting for our "Christmas". We're waiting for the lambs to be born.

Most of us plan our breedings carefully. I do have friends who have experienced a few "oops" this year - mainly when a ram with other ideas than cooling his heals jumps a fence and parties with the ladies he finds in the next field. Most of us know who was in with whom and in approximately 147 days or so, the results will make an entrance to the World.

This is the first year I have used a ram lamb - ever. I like older rams. They know their job, the main reason for them to be around anyway, and take their work very seriously. Skittles was that way...just show him the girls, turn him in with them, and be prepared to remove him a couple of weeks later. "Nuf said. The older guys show confidence and smoothness which the ladies seem to like. You can almost hear the Barry White music in the background.

Loki, on the other hand, is a young punk. I say that lovingly as I do enjoy watching him bounce around the pasture for the pure joy of life, nothing more. He was too young at fall breeding season to have an agenda. The world is/was his oyster, so to speak. Then he gets put in with a bunch of girls. Most are old enough to be his mother, too. What the heck is that shepherdess thinking? Why am I in here?

Then it hit him. Hmm. Maybe there is something to like about girls after all. Clumsy and not assured enough of himself to make things go smoothly, he courted the girls one-by-one. I remember the looks on the girls' faces back then, looking at me as if to say, "You've got to be kidding, right? This punk?"

So, now we wait. Approximately 145 days ago, Loki was seen to, ahem, cover one of the girls. Almost two weeks now, it was obvious after shearing that apparently Loki did both figure out which end was which and huge fleeces (even back last fall) not-withstanding, did figure out what this Ewe Dance business was all about.

Right now the Waiting Game is going on with the shepherdess. The girls are playing their cards very close to the vest even though they look like water balloons on toothpicks. When they lie down, bellies spread out on the ground around them. Ripples can be seen if you watch long enough - babies trying to move around or find room in cramped spaces. And as the girls move about, you'll see one suddenly stop, mid-stride, lower her head and wag her tail furiously. Those darned kids are kicking me again. Quiet down in there!

But just let me get the barn ready for the new arrivals and we get a day of horrific winds as well as the chance of snow again. The high temperature for tomorrow is supposed to be in the 30s F. I was just getting used to the 60+ F weather, too, darn it.

But spring is the shepherd's Christmas. We hope everyone does fine through the lambing and moms and babies all are healthy...

...this is when we get to see what colors, patterns, and "flavor" our best laid plans have made. We only hope Mother Nature will give her approval. C'mon, Amanda...I'll take three little girls this year instead of the two bruiser boys you usually have. Please? I'd really like to show my granddaughter what a lamb is.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Status Quo

I thought I would share a few photos from around the place, taken in the past two months. They'll give you an idea as to the amount of snow we I had to deal with this winter. Oh, my DH was help, but he had to be very limited due to the surgery he had in the Fall. He was the one who called the guys to get the driveway plowed out after the Big Snows.

The first photo is of the barn roof during the snowstorm. All we could see was the weather-vane.

The Barn Roof in the Big Snow

[caption id="attachment_653" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Loki, complete with purple oil on his horns where he scraped them playing with the wethers."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Too much snow!"][/caption]





The boys before the attack. Little do they know the shearer will be here Sunday.
Things are getting back to a sort of normalcy here. The boys are healing, slowly, but making progress. The girls seem to be fine although we won't really know until next month if the stress of the dog attack had any effect on the lambs they carry. Two of the girls, Ailee and her mother, Amanda, have porked up to where I will have to shorten their rations a bit or get them moving more. I may have been working hard during the snows, but the ewes had The Good Life in the barn - eating bon-bons and laying around all day long.
I remember seeing a sort of treadmill for farm animals on one of those antique-finding shows on TV. Boy, could those girls use one. ;) I wonder if they have a YMCA for sheep???
And I have started getting ready for spring and summer activities. One thing is for sure...one can not wear one's self out shoveling snow, then do all sorts of housework and cooking. Now that snows are melting fast, the creek is running full-bore, it's time for me to start the projects I set aside during this winter.
I'm pretty sure the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits (aka the DH) will appreciate a cooked meal now and then. ;-)
NOTE: Thank you all for asking about the boys' recovery and the court proceedings. Unfortunately, as we are still going through the court proceedings I can not make a comment on them except to say everything is going well. The young man who owns the dogs has, so far, been making restitution for the veterinary expenses. We won't know the complete outcome until sometime in May.