Sunday, June 09, 2024

March to July in one week

That's what it felt like, weatherwise. The month of June started cool and wet (yay for rain!) and ended hot and sunny (back to watering the garden). Speaking of the garden, it's looking good. Some of our new strawberry plants are even blooming, along with some tomatoes and bell peppers. A neighbor had extra tomato starts, so I planted two more (a Beefmaster and a Red Torch) Friday afternoon.

Poppy and I had a fine time at the agility trial last Sunday, qualifying in all three of our classes and winning two of them. (A friend recorded video of  all three runs; let me know if you want to see them.) She has figured out the photo booth, and poses like a pro. 😁

While we were gone, Rick spent hours turning our chicken run into Fort Knox – almost. He covered the big gaps between fence and roof with wire, and filled the gaps between rafters with scrap wood. He ran out before he could fill in all the rafter gaps on the driveway side (north), but so far the raccoon has not scaled that side, preferring to approach from – and escape to – the woods (south and east).  I still run out to chase it off when I hear the hens sounding the alarm, but feel much better about their safety. With continued success, the pullets can keep growing!

On the shepherding front, I've finally skirted the last of the 2024 fleeces and started halter-training lambs. In spite of my initial disappointment with some of the professional shearing results, it turns out the suspect fleeces just needed a thorough skirting to remove second cuts. When I scissor-shear them myself there ARE no second cuts to deal with so seeing them always makes me cringe, but the cost, extra skirting time, and small loss in weight may be a worthwhile trade for the physical toll exacted in doing the fleece harvest myself. But by next spring I will have detachable sides for my stand which should make it easier on me and the sheep, so I may tackle it again  – depending on how many sheep I have.

Halter-trained sheep make shearing and other husbandry tasks easier, so working with this year's lambs has been on my mind. One night last week when Bud and Blossom ran to the barn stall where they used to stay instead of into the Sheep Sheraton where they were supposed to go with their dam, it was time; they are getting rather big to carry. Oh, the drama! Bud is a 'leaper;' Blossom is a hybrid of 'leaper' and 'flopper.' The next day I introduced Bitsy to the indignity of constraint; she behaved a bit better than Bud and Blossom. The next morning I haltered Bitsy along with her mother to lead them out to pasture from the barn (where Blaise gets extra groceries); now I do that every morning so Bitsy is well on her way. Now to work with Bud and Blossom more and get started on Bernice and Bethany, and trim all their little hooves, as well.

This week I'm holding down the fort alone. My guys flew off to Texas early this morning to rent a truck, pack some designated items for us, and hopefully clear out Dad's shop and some of the garage to facilitate Mom's planned move. This is risky business, sending men to go through all kinds of tools and other 'man bait;' Rick and Brian could end up bringing back a ton of stuff for which we have no space instead of taking it to the auction house as requested. Cue ominous music....

Deep breaths; focus on beauty and chores and the little (very little) I can control.

A quote I thought worth sharing:
I'm sometimes asked “Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?” I answer: “I am working at the roots.” – George T. Angell, reformer (5 Jun 1823-1909)

That's it for the start of June here at . . .


Leigh said...

Poor Bud and Blossom; what tortures can the humans inflict on poor little lambs! I don't know if it's the same thing for sheep, but for goats, the only thing worse would be to make them stand out in the rain, lol.

The three hens in the nest box makes a great shot. I hope the improved chicken coop fortifications do the job.

Garden looks great! May it flourish for you this year.

Michelle said...

No, Leigh, my sheep don't mind rain. Good thing, because I understand Shetland is a windy, rainy place! The three IN the box are the same as the three ON the boxes, the three pullets still sticking tight together trying to avoid hen-pecking by the adults. High hopes for the garden!

Jeanne said...

Sorry to be a bit late in making a comment or two!

I really enjoyed all the pictures, as well as your text.

I would love to see the video or Poppy's runs. It's so nice that she's doing well in agility. I love the photo of her in the photo booth.

I hope your version of Fort Knox is working out well.

The halter training pictures are fun.

Are Rick and Brian back from Texas? I hope that all went well.

FullyFleeced said...

"the indignity of constraint" :) I love that. Hope everyone is progressing in their halter training. Your lambs are impossibly adorable

Michelle said...

It's never 'too late,' Jeanne; comments are emailed to me and I enjoy them whenever they come! Fort Knox is working as intended, and Rick and Brian hope to arrive sometime tonight.

Thanks, Denise, lambs ARE cute but grow up so fast! When I trimmed the ewes' feet this week, I put halters on the lambs to just wear around the fold so they could get used to the feeling without any other pressure. Still haven't tried to lead Bethany and Bernice....