Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yarn Along (A Day Late) - Goodbye July

The drought continued on through the end of July and into the beginning of August.  We switched the sheep over to the pastures that lie to the south of the barn and let them have free range over it all to try and stretch their time outside.  We did finally get one day that gave us a half inch of rain and some misty conditions that lingered into the next morning.  It felt like a monsoon after such a length of days without rain.  As there was no lightning with the rain we locked the sheep out in the pasture so they'd get a decent bath.  It made a huge difference!

I usually carry beet pulp pellets in my pocket as treats and Peanut hung back hoping for another serving as everyone else trooped out to the field.  I told her I'd give her more later and she then followed the flock.

It's almost foggy enough to lose sight of them in the tall brown grass.

The mist also showed lots of spider webs in the flower bed.  These are sheet weaver spiders and they are quite abundant this year!

This one is a high achiever!

 I can imagine this web as the setting for some children's story about a spider, since it looks very home-y and inviting.  If you're a spider.....otherwise I guess it's more like a Brothers Grimm children's story.

The owl hasn't been hanging around much lately, at least not during daylight when the birds would alert us, but I did find a calling card in the grass.  I just love the tawny, rusty colors.

Andy completed a four day clean out of the lower barn.  It was quite overdue but first the skidsteer needed repair necessitating dismantling many components and installing new parts (which we were lucky to find considering how old it is), then the tractor needed some parts, and finally the manure spreader needed parts too!  And of course none of it was on a shelf somewhere - each thing had to be ordered and 'we can get it in tomorrow or Monday' which required extra trips to town.  Thankfully, the sheep were still on pasture during those 4 days so there wasn't any shuffling from pen to pen required.


The rain we did get wasn't enough by any means to reverse the drought and so the flock was confined to the barn/barnyard/feedbunk complex and put on dry hay starting last weekend.  To say they weren't happy is to put it mildly.  The hay is leftover from last year - not unwholesome but tired and not as nutritious as it once was - but it will work as a maintenance diet since we aren't feeding lambs or moms needing to put condition back on.  Thank goodness we don't have a bunch of lambs to try and give really good nutrition to - we'd be buying something.  The sheep complained loud and long and ran to the gate anytime we went into the barn but after much grumbling and a few days time they settled into the new routine.  We hope it won't be more than a few weeks and that we don't have to dip into the new hay in August.  That is ALL needed for winter, especially since getting any second cutting is looking pretty iffy.

The old ewes get a separate pen where we can feed grain, alfalfa pellets and some of this year's hay on the ground so it's easy to eat.  They might have a couple of full mouths of teeth between them all.  :-/

We're using the 'picnic area' out in the feedbunk which gives more room for everyone.

And having more bodies outside and fewer inside keep the barn as airy and ventilated as possible when it's in the 90s as it is now.

While Andy did the grunt work in the lower barn I've kept plenty busy in the wool shop.  I've gotten out  over a dozen more reserved fleeces in the last few weeks as well as the occasional order for roving or a few pounds of raw Cotswold, and I've still managed to get fiber washed and dyed to send to the mill to be processed into roving.  This is going to be new batches of Wine Country, Blue Jeans and the black and white fiber is a combo of black alpaca and white Cotswold lamb which will give some pleasant shade of gray (I'm not real picky there - I'm sure it will be nice!).

There's been blessed little knitting going on here but I have been listening to books while I worked.  I've gotten through The Ridge which was interesting and had some plot twists I wasn't expecting.  Then I went to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and immediately followed it with the second book of the trilogy, Hollow City.  I'm loving this series!  The action is fast, the characters are interesting (besides the obvious peculiarities, like being invisible or having a swarm of bees live inside you) and the language is rich and satisfying.  I'm dying to listen to the third book but the library doesn't have it to download as an audio book yet.  Curses.   I'll have to see if it's available on CDs instead.  I must find out what happens!

Joining in with Ginny.....


  1. Well, I'm glad you got *some* rain. You can have some of ours (in Savannah, GA), however, we get wild afternoon thunderstorms - not the sort of "outside" where one would want to have sheep.

    I went to the dentist yesterday. I have a lot of sympathy for your "old girls."

  2. I am glad you got some rain. We have had none and none likely soon.

  3. My Irish friend calls those spider webs 'fairy rings'.

  4. Beautiful photos, and I did not know about Sheet Weaver Spiders! They have left a few calling cards in my yard recently too!

  5. It's helpful to me to hear how you handle the drought. We're dealing with the same issue. Poor sheep.