Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Horizons

The sheep always know when we're shifting them into a new pasture.  This time they were clued in by our work to fence them away from a diversion ditch with some standing water.  Pounding posts brought them to the door of the barn where they saw us and started yelling.  The ditch water wasn't deep enough that anyone would get in trouble crossing it, but there's always somebody wanting to swill down that nasty stagnant crap instead of walking to the nice clean water tub.  Not this year!  A couple of rolls of old snow fence makes a dandy barrier around the wet spot.  Then it was The Big Moment.

Sheep Parade

Sheep are funny - when faced with a new pasture they don't just put their heads down and start eating.  They first have to run joyously over all the nice forage to see just how big the pasture is.  They do trample and waste some grass this way, and folks who practice daily rotational grazing, where they move the fence just far enough to expose one day's worth of serious grazing, are cringing.  But we aren't that intensive and this works for us.  So, off they go into the great beyond.

Yay!  We're going.... Beyond The Fence!

Over the horizon!

"No sheep left behind."

Once they've trooped out of sight, Andy can open the gate to the pasture they just finished and get in there to brush hog it down short.  This encourages the plants to grow again and also opens up the ground to sunlight which helps to make life hard for any parasite eggs and larva lurking on the damp ground.  It doesn't kill them all, but it does cramp their style to some extent.

Mow, mow, mow your grass

Throughout the day the flock makes the trek back up the hill to get a drink (NOT from the ditch) and then stand in the shade for a while.

O, hai ! *

And at the end of the day they come back in for the evening.  They're plenty full and ready to just sit and ruminate on life - literally.

Wide Load....Coming Through.

Andy stands at the door to prevent pushing and shoving.  Kids.

"Hi, B.B.  Had a good day?"

We've already set the table for the lambs with their creep ration.  They don't get a lot of grain, but enough to make them "bloom" and also train them to come in and be worked around every day.  They aren't so little any more!  They push and shove sideways and their butts do The Wave to the left or right.

Dancing cheek to cheek. (apologies to Fred Astaire)

The nice warm day also brought the Mock Orange to full bloom.

And the Stone Crop.  My kind of plant.  Grows on rocks, looks nice and asks for nothing.

While everyone else was outside being industrious in one way or another, Dexter was holding down the window sill.

Man, watching the new little rug rat is exhausting!

Nice work if you can get it. for translation.


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