Sunday, September 13, 2009

Battening Down the Hatches

It's a very busy time of year around here. The race is on to get things done before the weather turns cold. We've spent the past three beautiful days getting fall chores done. Friday the kid and I did a major clean out of the chicken coop. You just wouldn't believe how the cob webs accumulate in there, then the dust falls on them and it's like a scene from a bad horror movie. The chickies love it when they get new bedding in the coop although they find it annoying that their egg laying has to be interrupted in order to do so. I just know all that clucking was telling us to hurry up.

Saturday was a million little chores like cleaning the mud room, harvesting a few veggies, some cooking and baking and getting a load of straw tucked away in the barn. Found yet another source for hay so I'm trying to let my paranoia of not having enough go. It's hard being a first-time shepherd, everything makes you paranoid. I know the girls are tired of me poking and prodding on them to check and see if they're fat enough. I don't think Sophia is fat enough. Although I don't know how long it should take them to recover from having lambs in the spring. Maybe she's normal? Or maybe I should be giving her an extra boost of grain? See, it's hard. When you have newborns the doctor tells you when to start them on cereal or whatever. With sheep, nobody tells you.

Later that day, the Engineer built a new window to replace the old one on the East side of the coop. The old one was one we had found in the barn and tried to recycle, unfortunately after one year of use it was literally falling apart. Willa's first puppy training session rounded out the evening. Some folks don't bother to train their livestock guardian dogs. They don't need any training to learn how to protect their flock. They do that by instinct. But she's going to be an ENORMOUS dog and if we don't teach her not to jump on people she'll flatten little ol' me like a pancake. I could do the training without going to class, but we also need to get her used to getting in and out of the vehicle. She'll need to go to the vet occasionally and I sure as heck won't be able to lift her hiney up in there.

Greener pastures was the goal for today. Willa apparently wants to grow up and be an archeologist. She found something sticking out of the old burn pile we thought we had buried. She pulled on it and one thing led to another until there was a crater the size of meteor. So everybody moved to a new pasture today. I was afraid of what might lurk toward the bottom of that pile so the Engineer built a sieve and sifted through 100 years of garbage. You wouldn't believe the crud that was in there. At some point there must have been a tragic porcelain doll incident, there was the head of a garden rake, a Victorian hinge, some chain -- a little bit of everything. While he was busy with that I raked and seeded the perimeter of the pasture where there had been a lot of browse growing earlier in the year. The sheep did their job of clearing it very, very well. Tomorrow I'll over-seed the whole pasture with a good pasture mix to try to boost the nutrient content. Did you know September is the best time of year to plant seed?


RaNae said...

Wow what a busy weekend you had but so much accomplished I bet that feels good to get so much checked off the list. Have a good week.

Michelle said...

Christine, are you a member of any of the Yahoo Shetland lists? They have been a wealth of information for me, and are great places to ask questions. Anyway, try to keep in mind that Shetlands aren't SUPPOSED to be fat sheep, although a couple of mine would beg to differ. And the older ewe that I bought last year, who is wormed, vaccinated, and gets a special allotment of grain morning and evening along with lots of third-cutting orchard grass, is always thin. Still, she has produced multiples every year of her life with lots of milk. Go figure.

Karen Anne said...

If you unearthed interesting stuff, you could put it on ebay. I collect old bottles from my great grandfather's bottling works, and there is a whole bunch of people who collect old bottles and similar items, often found in old debris piles

Lori said...

Sheesh, and I'm having a hard time getting my dead flowers cut back!