Tuesday, March 31, 2009

something about winds

Spring wind, a fact of life. Sometimes it blows to dry the lands after winters snows. Sometimes to break up the ice. Seems to me sometimes it just blows for the heck of it.
Without the winds....it would be quite warm here. The clouds have blown away, the sun is out....and it is almost warm enough to enjoy walking outside. But the wind still blows.
There is a phrase about a wind blowing something good....OK...so my mind is old....ill wind?
Well, I'm hoping these winds blow something good your way too.
We are ranging here between spring showers and wind....I was down to the old house yesterday....the men were still working on the new siding. Seems it was raining while I was away this weekend. So siding is going up slowly. They were on the back side of the house, on the roof, complaining that they were almost blowing off. I hope they didn't. I finally remembered my staple gun, and tried to fasten my 8 foot window's plastic back down....It would appear to me that 4 feet of window can have plastic over it....but not 8 feet of window.
Today my husband had to leave for a while....so I stayed here...walking to the barn or the top of the hill every few minutes to watch the sheep.
I hate leaving when lambs are coming don't you? It must be just awful to have to go put in hours at work during lambing season. We used to have plenty of help in Wisconsin. The children would come home for days or weeks to help keep and eye on expectant mothers.
My best shepherd daughter would complain about losing days out of here social life by taunting me with "I like sheep" sung in a sing-song manner. I don't blame her. I remember one busy day in the spring when she took a break in the house for about 10 minutes and came back to find me busy trying to breathe life into a lamb that was pulled. "Can't I leave you for a minute without you losing a lamb? she cried. No....I guess not.
For me lambing has always been a life or death struggle. Every year we had more lambs...and every year we had more strange things that kept all of them from living. I tried...believe me, I tried...to stay awake for every birth for the three week surge of lambing season. It seemed if I stayed awake, I could shake lambs and save a few.
Now I know there are lots of folks out there who have never lost a lamb....or a kid. There is something about holding a dying lamb that makes a person feel so inefficient, and incapable, and small. Perhaps a sunbeam into the vastness of human life here. One of the shepherds was sending questions a while back about life experiences. One was being there when a person died. Frankly, I think that is no ones business. But the whole space and time between life and death is certainly brought to mind as we tend these helpless little creatures, that we call our friends.
Perhaps you can tell, as you read, that I view lambing as a bit of a struggle. I left my husband a few years back, with only two ewes to go. One lambed overnight, and he found the lambs just fine in the barn in the morning. The other went on a wild ride of labor....finally presenting my poor hubby with the wrong feet. He pulled and saved the lamb. A good feat, for felllow who had never pulled a front facing lamb either.
It's been too cold here this spring for me to shear the few pregnant sheep yet. Sure would be nice to see what is going on....but I wouldn't want to be out in this wind without a sweater either.
I wanted to say, that when I am home I can look to see what is going on. I enjoyed the sheep pictures, and I'm sorry to hear Karen lost some of her old friend horses this winter.
I am actually surprised we haven't had trouble with our older ewes here. All I have lost, so far, was two ram lambs to the kitty. On that note, I did lose the little kitty I was feeding while my neighbor was gone. Poor baby slowed down on the street. I'll miss that cat. She was the first to welcome me to my old house in the morning. Fortunately, I have a photo.
I enjoyed the photos of the volcano, and the foggy swamp too. I did mail some photos to a friend. I am just as bad as ever with photos. The old house stands as still as possible for pictures....but sheep do not. I did get a photo of Augustine....but I cut her head off....figures....one of the prettiest ewes around, and all you can see if her behind. Oh well.....maybe you are not missing much by not seeing my photos.
Sorry it took me so long to say nothing. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a story.

Friday, March 27, 2009

spring, round two

a roof over my head.....yes, in spite of the spring rains, we now have a roof.
We don't yet have new lambs. We are expecting some....maybe more, since we had "horny" the ram out with the girls one morning. That is a reference to what is called a "rack" in other animals.
Contact me....if I don't have the lamb you need....I know where the lambs are falling....whatever state you are in.
I am hoping this spring storm is not affecting many of you shepherds. I'm sorry I have not been writing. I have been leaving the house at 7:30....to get to the old house at 10 or so....and leave about 4 or 5 hours later to come back home.
Did I mention the cistern? The workmen uncovered a big hole under the back porch floor.
Although I could not see to the bottom. There was room down there to park a volkswagon. Maybe a VW bus! The thing started out at 4 feet wide and got bigger as it went down. Yesterday, the leaves came up to the top.
Yes, my constant trips with my little green yard cart....have filled the pit.
My question is.....where do I put the rest of them????
I still have both sides of the house to rake....I still have part of a big hill in the front to rake....OH my, do you suppose those leaves willl settle enough to double the amount in there?
Funny thing about finally achieving roof.
I climbed a ladder into my house for the first time in three weeks, and walked up the stairs to bask in the solid roof....only to stare out at the trees thru the sides of the house. Seems that the recent inch of rain was raining in the walls, instead of the roof. Do you know what happens when old shingles are scraped off a house? Tiny grains of 100 years of shingles fall thru the cracks in the roof....then rains wash the grains into pretty droplets on the floor. I have sandpaper on the floor along with pieces of old boards that fell down instead of off. With the hammering and shoveling on the rooftop, some of the remaining BB windows broke....leaving nice piles of sparkly glass on top of my sandpaper.
Today....if it's not raining....I am supposed to get siding to cover up the wide cracks in my side walls. That will be different, since there were years of shingles covering the walls before.
People are stopping in the street to say how nice the roof looks.....and are we putting the porches back?
I told the banker and the contracter yesterday...that by the end of the month I will be running to the bank to say I can't afford the porches. Did they think I was kidding?
On the subject of lambs arriving. The ewes tend to watch the weather....the worse the weather, the faster the lambs arrive. So watch out all you northern shepherds...if there is icy rain and snow....those ewes will be digging holes in your barn hay for you-know-what!
You know why so many of us prefer to lamb outside on grass? Because the ewes dig big pits inside, big pits in winter's rotten hay, much of it wet and smelly....and the poor little lambs are plopped into puddles of goo, and have to stagger to their feet astride piles of old hay their moms threw all over the floor. When we lambed in Wisconsin, the ewes would all try to lamb inside an old horse stall. We had to change the hay in there after every dozen ewes, because they all wanted to lamb where some other ewe had labored. The hay would get slippery with labor fluids.
Sorry...I hope no one was eating breakfast out there.
Shepherds deal with the craziest things. Right now I am watching carefully....when I am here...because the inch of rain started the dam running in the rams pen....the water seeps out and runs between the barn and the west pastures. The ewes have to jump thru the water...and I sure don't want a new lamb going thru that water.
Have a wonderul friday...and I hope all your lambs are the best and most beautiful lambs you have ever seen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

spring is come, the grass is riz....unless there are big trucks driving around your house.

lambing time. Wow, I read a few blogs today.....this is my day off. We usually do something together on Friday's, but my hubby is working today. So I actually have a computer to use.
Congratulations to all those lucky shepherds with new lambs. And congratulations to those with new goat babies too. All spring babies are fun.
I enjoyed the picture of the old house posted by my northern friend Karen, and the trip to the antiques shop posted by my older friend, Pat. Older in time of friendship that is.
We had shingles delivered yesterday on top of our old house in Arkansas. The local newspaper even published a photo and story of us. Slow day in the news....or everyone is shocked we bought the old place.
Anyway, since we have dial up it takes too long to comment on blogs, and I just wanted to say it is exciting to see photos of all the new babies, and things you are all doing. Mostly, I am driving to keep an eye on the work being done....and rake a few feet of leaves, nuts and branches. This may take me all summer.
I am aware of three little ewes out in my pasture sporting little udders. Still waiting to see what mr Peanut has accomplished.
I got photos of some more lovely spotted lambs from Denise, in Kansas. Congratulations all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

new lamb!

It is spring! I am a foster mommy! Minwawe Tassell just had her first lamb yesterday at Allena's farm. A lovely moorit and white smirslet sokket EWE!!!!
I am sooooo happy.
Still watching here.....but I am glad everything went well with Tassell, and her new shepherd.
I hope I haven't missed any others new lambs....if I did....Congratulations! and happy spring. Still trying to get a new roof on the old house. It no longer looks like it's roof is made of swiss cheese.