Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oh Crap!

Not again.
Do you have days that start like this?
Why do I do it?
I don't know.
It beats what I was doing before.
Well, you all remember the little yearling ram who started out his breeding pen by breaking off the 6 inch post and getting a new bunch of girls.
Yesterday, he decided he was bored. We have all seen the signs that the breeding charm is worn off. No one seems ready, the rest are done. What will your ram do with himself in the meantime? It seems that mine decided to butt everything in sight. Unfortunately, that included girls trying to reach the hay in front of his nose, and the poor trees inside his pen. After a few hours of thump, thump, thump, this shepherd decided she didn't like mr ram any more. I took him out and made a note of when I could safley expose his girls again. Since it was raining.....hurray!....I put him in a new pen I had constructed for my show ram. This time of year shetland rams like to play king of the pasture....which has on several occasions caused unnecessary bleeding and horn problems. Thus, I constructed a safe place for my yearling ram to stay until Naile. Well, mr-I-like-to-butt neatly de-constructed that same pen over night. I awoke to no ram in pen, and an open gate into the ewe pasture. There were several other signs of over-night ram-play. Punched out fence sides. Broken off panel fasteners. Pink ram's heads. And I went over to see if I could find any rumpled butts in the barn.
It's been raining, but I found my wayward ram inside the barn with a couple of interested ewes....and I removed him to the far side of the creek. There he can fend off other bored boys, and run away from mrs cat. Haaa! Serves him right!
Dang rams. Scratch mr-yuglet-sokket-in-black off next years breeding pens. I don't like him anymore. Five months from today, I had better not find my non-breeding girls scratching holes in the barn straw....or mrs shepherd will finish what mrs cat has left.
I sure do miss my head ram.
Hope all your ewes are frisky, and all your rams, gentlemen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What is today?

It's about three days after Windchime was bred....I should write that on the calendar. Unfortunately, I often write the possible breeding dates on my calendars only to throw them away before I need that information.
Are you breeding sheep yet?
Why not?
In the north country, I used to put my rams in with my girls in November. Down here, in perpetual fall country, it seems the girls are ready sooner. It must have more to do with the level of the sun---not the temperatures. Although, I did notice the first morning under 60 the girls were frisky. It's not even November, and I'll bet a third of the penned girls have ruffled backsides. Sometimes, I notice. Sometimes I don't.
We have almost worked our way thru the 50 bales of alfalfa hay. We bought it so the girls would have more inclination to breed. Our own hay is mostly red clover. They like it....but it contains estrogen....so can mess with sheep breeding. I ran out for a few days and threw them clover anyway....Only two of my pens have grazing....I have to feed them something!
What has changed in your life? In mine, I have sold and moved over a dozen sheep. Wow....I really can sell some of my sheep. It is amazing how the fields can look so full of sheep after that.
I have finally thrown our great pyr puppy outside....and the older one too. It isn't 105 degrees anymore, and they can survive just fine outside.
The energy for the move was the day all the dogs were sleeping inside, and I heard dogs barking ourside. OK, I ran out without a dog...or a gun....and as it turned out I should have brought a collar or rope with me. I had two mongrel looking hound type dogs IN my ram pen. My big horned, four-times-larger rams were running in a group around the fence. Keeping away from the barking dogs was their intent. I coaxed one of the pups to the gate and man-handled him to the road gates. After I threw him/her outside I returned to get the other one....only to find the first climbing under the fencing to get back in. Bother!
Why don't people keep collars on their dogs? After I finally grappled them out in the road....I found a leash wound into my fencing. One of my son's quick fixes for a falling board. I made a choke chain with one end for one pup....and a choke chain for the other pup....then dragged them both into carriers already in the back of my pickup. Fortunately, the dogs didn't bite me. Didn't look like they had bit the sheep either. I drove them a couple of miles down the road and let them out with a bag of chips. Well, no it didn't solve my problem....but it was better than shooting them.
Yes, I worked on the bad fence....and threw my dogs outside too. At least they can bark to let me know my sheep have company. I have three more breeding groups to put together. I started a pen yesterday...but there is the possibility of storms later today....I'll wait 'til tomorrow to put some sheep together.
I'm down to three ewes lambs for sale, and I have three keepers in the pasture. I also have three that will go to Naile with me. Did I tell you about my fruitcake? Everyone has had their share of wild sheep. I have had this yearling in a pen and taken her out on a halter for two weeks now....she is still a fruitcake! I had the winning yearling registered, she was perfect! Then, accidentally I looked at her teeth. Her bite just didn't look perfect....everything else did!.. I figured the judge would notice. So now I have miss fruitcake to take with me. She walks fine on a halter if I am not looking at her....but let me move my hand and she is on the ground with her eyes bugging. Silly sheep!
What am I changing????? Well, I am doing the dishes. I'm picking out a color for the livingroom walls. I have plans to go north and visit before the snow flies. I have gone to look at houses. Did I tell you I collect houses? I'm down to two and an office building....I NEED another house. I already have a "hole in my head". Between breeding and lambing is the perfect time to work on a fixer-house. Nothing like a shopping trip to Lowes to cheer up a gloomy winter day! What do you do for fun? When did you do it last?
Yesterday? Last week? Months ago? Better have some fun today....those tomorrows have a way of going fast. Read a book, bake a pie, make a potroast!
I know what I need.....popcorn balls!

Monday, October 08, 2007

change is in the wind

Have you ever gotten up an wondered what is coming next? We all know fall and winter are around the corner. Just after this 80 degree weather is done. There is a cold front trying to inch across Missouri. Hopefully it will have a little rain with it....if it gets this far.
I'm sorry I have been gone so long. It looks like a lot of other people have been gone too. I see the mssba group had another fall get-together. How nice it is to share stories and plans with sheep folks!
I went to see what everyone was writing about today. Couldn't find much....I suppose you couldn't either. Some of my links wouldn't open. Maybe someone was writing? My thought for today.
What do you need to change?
Is you life ideal today? What would give you some joy tomorrow? We really need to stop living life in the tomorrows and definitely not in the yesterdays....and get some todays in today!
You know, when we live on farms with livestock, we are contunually putting things away for tomorrow. We store wool, we store hay....we freeze food, We put away clothes....we store old stuff. My dear friend just had a flood. Not the outside kind, this was inside....and only happened in her house...not in her neighborhood. This is the kind of event that sets us back...it changes how we look at life...at things. Especially things. How many things do we all save that are not good for anything.....except to remind us of the past? I don't know about you folks....but I have lots. Perhaps these extra things make a new place feel like home to us. We have a box full of memories.....so we must be home. This is a good coping skill for our mobile society. I have lots of boxes....lots. Not as many as at my other home....but more than I should be keeping.
So what do you need to change today? Do you have so many old memories that you can't live today? Fall is a good time to take stock of where we are...look back at the year we have been living...and spend some wintertime planning our next forray into whatever life has for us.
One of the things I have been storing away is sheep. Surprise! I keep sheep. Lots. They don't fit in boxes.
Aside from all my little pet sheep, I have three dogs. Two are mentally and emotionally unfit. Likely because they live with me. I have Molly the goose. Why? You ask? Because! I have presently 9 cats....yes, they are all fixed. Some like to go outside....some would rather stay inside. Lucky actually would rather go outside at night...but, because she was a city cat and doesn't have front claws....she really shouldn't go outside in the wilderness at night. As I remember they removed front claws so the cats wouldn't claw holes in our furniture. Which should mean that all puppies should be de-toothed. This last one has chewed holes and parts off most of my household objects. Which brings me back to losing household objects.
What if, like Katrina....all our possessions were lost? We would have to grieve....because whatever furniture and other posessions we have around us....they reflect something of us. So....are we actually less because we have parted with something...or someone? No. I don't think so. I have been selling some of my older "packed away" pet sheep. It seems a hard thing to do. I can't tell you how many I have offered to sell...and then tucked inside the barn again. I suppose because when we raise or purchase a sheep. We are creating dreams of what ever little lambs might come about because of that sheep. So as I sell some of my pet sheep. I am giving up the dreams for myself and passing them on to the person buying my sheep. Now that sheep is part of their dreams. So if I give up...say, that little yellow plastic cowboy hat that I kept, because it was part of my youth, and part of my grandparents home....do I give up the memory? No, I think I could remember my youth and grandparents without it. Am I going to? Not today....maybe some day.
We took a trip. Really! We were going to visit our son, but found we didn't have time or the help to be gone long. So.....
We went to the beach. I like the beach. It is so very different from the life we live. I might get tired of it....I don't know. We had two days driving time to get there....one night on the beach and two days driving time to get back. Just the right amount of time. Kind of.
We really need to thank our oldest son for spending a week of vacation time from his job...to take care of our sheep, dogs, cats, goose....and neighbor. Children do take care of their parents.
So I have a little shock at being back. A little shock at what plans I need to make...at what possessions I need to keep....or not. At how much time I need to spend being a shepherd....a wife...a mother...a friend. I thought since at least one of my friends is changing right now. Some of the rest of you might be too. And....I want to encourage you to do just that. Change. Live. Enjoy. Love.
On that note....I am going north in the next two weeks to visit my brother and my children. So if there is anyone you know who could use a couple of nice shetlands. I am bringing the truck, and could tuck a couple in for you or some beginning shepherd who has a dream.
Dreams.....they are the beginning, if we only act on them.