Sunday, March 13, 2011

War Ponies

I trimmed feet on all un-bred sheep yesterday. There are 9 sheep in that little group, 6 yearlings and 3 older wethers. Song had a delightful time holding them in a corner for me so I could catch each one, flip it, trim the feet, and then mark it so I knew who was done. I was using a piece of red marking chalk that had fallen to the storage shed floor then been swept out with the leaves. I spotted the red lump sitting in some ice and decided to use it up. The chalk was fairly well saturated with water and rather crumbly so I marked up the front of their faces rather than into the fleece. The color came out extremely strong with the wet chalk, a rich red stripe up between the eyes of each animal.

This morning I went to feed and had Fina push the sheep back as always while I put out the feed. This little group was eager to dine and as I was working they came back towards me, stopping about 15 feet from Fina who was parked between us. They stood there, heads up, proudly defiant, but not quite ready to actually try to get past Fina. They were arrayed on a little knoll above me, and looked like a group of war ponies. Heads up; ears up; war paint on. About half of them are Clun mules so they even had speckled faces like Appaloosas. I almost expected them to shake their heads and snort.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mud vs. Faux Mud

I’d like to announce that roughly 10% of my barnyard is now mud. This required close inspection to be sure that it was not the faux mud that comes from 2 inches of liquefied sheep shit on top of ice. This year I’ve tried the solution of scraping the manure into piles. On the really wet days it is quite easy as the vile slurry slides nicely on the ice. Of course with a bit more melting another layer of ice disappears and I find another inch or two of shit, again on top of a slick base of ice. It is like one of those cakes with many layers of chocolate cake and raspberry jam, except there is nothing pleasant about these layers.

Yesterday I stepped off one of the well worn and manure carpeted winter paths and sunk into snow above my knee. So I've a long ways to go before I can actually work dogs. However the weather is persistently warm and the melting continues. And I've got a couple lambs born yesterday, the first of the season. Boys, but healthy boys with a good momma who has lots of milk. They should grow up big and tasty.