What a joy to welcome new children to the farm. Little fluffy silly ones!
A week or so ago the boys and I brought 2 ewes and 2 ewe lambs to take up home in our pasture and barn. They’ve been getting to know every nibble and cranny of the place since. As soon as we unloaded them, they buried themselves muzzle-deep in timothy grass, alfalfa, and clover! Now, anytime that Damaris doesn’t know where the little girls ran off to, or she hasn’t heard from Eva in a while – sure enough, we look down into the pasture. Tiny feet are sweeping along the tall grass chasing bleating sheep in front of them. If it was simply an exercise plan we were after, this would be it ;
By our calculation, it has been something like 50 years since this farm has hosted any livestock. From what we’ve been able to gather, this farm once ran cows, pigs, and horses. The barn has been empty for a long time (OK, not really empty…you wouldn’t believe the amount of bat guano [poop], scrap lumber, and deteriorating clutter we’ve had to clear out!). It’s fun to bring some life back to it, and work it with purpose again.
Of course, we are complete noobs when it comes to animal husbandry. The first couple of evenings of having the sheep were spent with the whole troop chasing and calling, calling and chasing the sheep through the pasture to get them into the barn. Talk about exercise!
Two days after we got our sheep, I let them out of the barn and into the pasture around 6:30 in the morning. Chore done. Dust off my hands. Hop into the truck. Off to work I go.
Damaris was down in the kitchen with our early riser (the only one), Providence, and saw me drive down the driveway. At that same moment she hears Providence, looking out the back window, clap her hands and exclaim: “Oh, Sheep!” It only took Damaris a moment to realize that the lovely idea of our daughter seeing sheep in the morning was not so lovely if they could be seen from the back window – the sheep were out! It was a jail break!
Thankfully the sheep let themselves be lured back into their stall with some tempting treats and didn’t take advantage of the countryside open to explore all around them.
It’s been almost two weeks now, and things are settling down. Eva has found her new joy of playing Little Bo Peep. She is up and out of the house each morning visiting the lambs and ewes and letting them into the pasture. She slips away at dusk and tells them all ‘goodnight’ as she give them treats and closes them in their stall. It’s so much fun to see them warm up to the kids now in their pasture and become a part of our little farm life.
I’m sure there will be more mishaps and hyjinks as we figure out this flock…and as the flock figures out just how clueless of shepherds we are! Still in the unknown for us is breeding (two ewes are ready to be bred this Fall), lambing in the Spring, meat sales, and milking! Stay tuned!
a thought, Nathan