Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Visit to the Taj Baahal

We've had a warm spell this week relatively speaking so Andy took the opportunity to do the mid-winter barn cleaning in preparation for shearing and lambing.  Even using the skidder and stockpiling the manure rather than spreading it as he goes it still takes three full days.  Right now we have the ewe flock separated into five different groups within the barn.  This is partly so we can feed some groups differently and partly because if the full flock ran together there would be a woolly tidal wave at feeding time and somebody would get hurt.  Consequently, when we clean the barn it becomes an exercise in Musical Chairs to switch groups from one pen to another.  Happily, Andy created a pen area out in the feed bunk last fall to house one breeding group.  That became the place to park a group while cleaning their area.  It's new, bright and airy, and has everything a sheep could want so we call it The Taj Baahal.

While it's comfy, it's not 'home' to this group so we coerced tempted them to move there by luring them with the grain bucket.  Once the grain was gone it dawned on them that they were stuck.

Jolly is not impressed and would really rather go back, thank you very much.

Helll-oooo.  We're done here.  Let's go already!
Crap!  They're actually leaving us out here!  There they go!
As much as they didn't like being in a strange place (a hundred feet from their normal area!  Gasp!) they trooped right back out there the next day since grain was involved.  Then we moved another group into the vacated cleaned area so we could get the second area done, and so on.
Everyone is now back where they belong on nice clean bedding and feeling much cooler.  The pack will build back up to just a nice amount by lambing in late March.
Gads!  Lambing is just five weeks away!  Time to boost vaccinations in the flock and schedule shearing.  Just when I thought I had a little breathing room to Get Stuff Done.  Sigh.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Wonderland

As much as I don't like the winter I have to admit that yesterday morning was lovely by any measure.  We have to have freezing fog at night with a tiny breeze but not enough air movement to be called 'wind'.  And then you need perfectly clear skies and bright sun the next morning.

Everything was a study in blue and white and tinged with gold.

All vertical objects had large but delicate plates of frost growing from them.
And a half hour in the sun undid the magic.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Stills - Circles

This will be an easy one this week, you can find circles everywhere. For a real challenge find some circles in odd places.....

Part of our buzz pile.  As yet unbuzzed.  If we don't need it this year we will be all happy that it's seasoned for next year.
Circles within circles.
A circular tire that seems pretty darn happy to be retired. you see the sheep face??

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nasty Nemo

Despite the name, this winter storm promises to be nothing like the cute and harmless little orange fish.  While we aren't getting slammed as many closer to the coast will be, we are still getting enough of a storm to to require some extra preparations.  Rolling doors have been closed where possible, enough extra hay was brought down from the upper barn to last a couple of days, the generator battery has been charged up, plans changed to eliminate a road trip.... in short, cover up and hunker down.

At least things are pretty at the moment.

The rams have the most exposed living quarters since the loss of the big rolling door to a bad wind storm last year.  Andy never did get time yet to construct and hang a new one.  Happily, the sheep could not care less that we can't close it up.  The jagged thing is a chunk of door hanging by the roller on the overhead track, silent testimony to the power of serious wind.  Since it's sixteen feet up it's not a hazard to anyone, just a reminder of a job that needs doing when possible.

The snow was falling fast and straight down - pretty and quite peaceful if you are wearing a heavy wool coat and sitting comfortably on dry bedding.

Little BB is now a full grown ram but still as sweet and affectionate as when he was little.  He loves to be petted and made much of.  We never did castrate him since he was so ill as a lamb and now it doesn't really matter since he can live with the big rams.  He gives as good as he gets, so he's certainly not bullied by them.  While common sense and experience eventually teach every shepherd not to trust a ram 100%, he really feels like the exception to that.  Two seconds after this picture he had his nose stuck in the camera.

The big Cotswold boys are trustworthy around people but they are so likely to suddenly turn to bash a fellow ram that it's good to keep an eye on them. 

I resent that.  This permanently drooping ear from fighting is just a coincidence.  Could happen to anybody.
Oh yeah?  Come over here, Curly, and I'll make the other one droop too.
He would, too.  Rocky is a chief instigator when trash talk turns to action.
Rams.  Sigh.