Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Wardrobe

One of the our seasonal tasks is coating the sheep once full time hay feeding starts in late fall.  We were lucky this year with the weather and were able to keep the flock out on pasture up until deer season began.  Because our feeders are designed to minimize chaff contamination we held off a bit more to get other things done and the fleeces didn't suffer but we finally took the time to get at it.  It's not a fast job that we can do in one day, it's more of a process.

Having washed and mended all the coats after the spring shearing (OK, the washing and mending dragged through the summer and into fall) we pulled them back out of storage and put them in piles by size from smallest to largest.  Then we started penning small groups of sheep and put coats on all the non-Cotswolds first.  Their fleeces are such that chaff falls in and stays in so getting them coated first was the priority.

Minnie and Flower in their clean clothes.  

Coating the non-Cots took us a full day.  Handling each ewe was a chance to trim hooves if needed, clip off a felty lump from under a chin, check eye scores and body condition, and then put on the coat.  Sometimes the size that looked right was too big or too small so we'd switch..... it took a while.  

When we did another round of coats a few days later it became apparent that we were going to run out of sizes 37 to 41.  We had decided to coat all the sheep in the flock this year.  The Cotswolds that we coated last year did fine with no felting and minimal distortion of their curl character so we're going all in this year and doing everybody.  The cleanliness makes for a better product and it's easier for me to get a fleece skirted, too.  It was no surprise we would need more of some sizes but you don't know for sure which ones until you get into it.  We've been using Rocky Sheep Suits for years and will continue to do so but they are behind in production right now so while our order of sizes 37 and 39 and 41 is in their queue I also went over to The Wool Tinker and ordered intermediate sizes 38 and 40.  I hope to see them this coming week.  

Right now the Cotswolds are still quite clean but just sitting in the bedding will attract contamination when your friends drop hay bits on you or walk by and kick bedding on you.

So while we wait for coats to arrive the sheep go about their winter routine - walking back and forth from one side of the barn to the other, checking to be sure there isn't some better hay somewhere that they're missing out on.

And of course doing some recreational cat sniffing whenever the opportunity arises, in this case it's Clem passing through on his way to the sunny ledge above the hay manger.

The ventilation fan isn't really this loud - guess the phone just has a good microphone.

Hopefully we've ordered enough of all the sizes to get the job done this time.  And in a month we'll be changing everyone up a size to accommodate the growing fleece.  I hope we catch a warm spell by then!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Walking By The Woods

...on a snowy evening.  So quiet all you can hear is the snow falling.

Holly's more enthused about snow than I am but knowing I was headed home made it almost pleasant.  If only I could hold on to that peaceful, snow globe feeling all winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wait For It.....

"Mom's so busy this time of year that it just doesn't pay to stand around waiting for her to put something in my Kong.  But I'm patient.  I can wait...lying down and comfy........ sigh....."

Don't let her fool you - she's not nearly as neglected as she makes out.