Friday, July 13, 2018

And Stay Out!

The pasture the sheep were rotated out of is starting to put on some new growth but the lack of rain is really holding it back.  They are still being turned into the farthest pasture at the bottom of the knoll and in this heat they troop up and down the hill a few times a day for a drink, walking past the short new growth that's just across the fence.  The pasture they are in isn't as poor as it looks right here but some of them have been giving the old fence a workout by pushing their noses as far as they can to reach a few tender blades of new growth. Some sections are now loose and floppy and bellied out. 

Fuzz is apparently one of the chief offenders because last evening we found she had "accidentally" fallen through under the fence (that's what she claimed - once the nose goes, the rest of the body follows, she says) and was stuck on the green side while everyone else watched with envy.  They must not have seen her actually go under of there would have been a mob scene and chaos.  As it was, we got her haltered and back where she belonged but nobody had fun doing it.

So today Andy Fuzz-proofed the fenceline.  It's not in sad enough shape to require a major overhaul but something needed to be done.

Behold our fast fence fixer!  Looks like some kind of wicked vampire killing device. It's a good sturdy foot long ash stake. Note the nail on the upper end pointing down.  Andy made two dozen of these and we worked our way down the line, catching the lowest wire under the nail and pounding them in tight anywhere the fence was floppy.

We used them all.  Some places needed two since the ground dipped and made the gap just too inviting.

Even out in the open the flock decided the pounding was something Not Good and they took themselves to the very farthest end of the lower pasture.

When they work their way back and come up the hill for a drink I'm sure they'll test the fence (at least Fuzz will - sheep learn really fast when food is concerned) and then we'll see if we found all the weak spots or not.  Fuzz will tattle if we missed some.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Time To Go Camping

Camping - where you get out of the house and live closer to nature without the familiar amenities.

The sheep are now camping in the bunk at night for the duration of this hot spell.  Being creatures of habit they are bound and determined to stay in the barn at night, making themselves hot, breathing stagnant air and turning it into a quagmire.  For their own good we have barred the barn door, set up a water tub and bedded down the bunk where they can stand under four gigantic fans when they come off pasture for the night. Even without the fans going it's a dry, airy space and very pleasant although the decor is plain.

They grumbled quite a bit the first night.  Everyone wanted to get to 'their spot' in the barn to settle in but the gate stayed closed and they eventually gave up and slept in the bunk.

There's a barnswallow nest on top of the old fence charger (no longer used but never removed) and the youngsters will be fledging soon.  Hopefully they'll be less likely to come to grief without the sheep tramping back and forth.  The barn cats are a danger but a careless hoof would kill a youngster too.  We love our swallows.

The parents were really not happy with me standing beneath the nest and I caught both of them swooping at me. (Twelve o' clock and nine o' clock)

Andy opens the barnyard gate and heads to the lower one while the sheep meander behind.

Once through the lower gate they head over the knoll to the lowest pasture.  The pasture they have cycled out of, to the right, was clipped and is starting to green up again although it's still pretty short. 

Because the lambs and mommas are fenced close to the back of the barn we had to move the outdoor water station for the main flock.  Instead of the usual place on the east barn wall, it now sits along the fenceline below the locust grove in a fairly flat (with the help of a shovel) spot.  You can never have too many hoses or Y fittings to run water somewhere!

The lambs are growing well. So far we see no drawbacks to lambing in May.

And with only eleven it's a lot easier to make friends with everybody.

This is Peppermint Patty, the lamb from Taffy who is the very round large ewe from the last post.  She may follow in her mom's footsteps and be willing to eat just about everything.

A moorit boy (brown) and one of the colored Cotswold twins.

Ophelia is the mom of the colored Cotswold twins.  She's very personable and her lambs seem equally quiet and friendly.

"Of course we're friendly!  We are good and smart sheep.  We know who feeds us."

Friendly sheep are sooo much more pleasant to work with!