Thursday, November 8, 2012

Never a dull moment

Who says living in the country is quiet and peaceful? I guess if you like just empty space around your domain it would be tranquil, but throw a few animals on that space and see what happens!

This week Bill and I took the plunge and added four more sheep to our little flock of four. Our good friends Janice and Lewis Cox run a successful (and beautiful) flock of sheep in Lake City. We've learned so much from them, and successfully bottle fed two of their orphaned lambs. This past June we added our first ram to be papa to the flock. All we needed were more girls to really get production rolling.

Janice invited me to come see what she had available from this year's lambing. How do you pick? I wanted them all of course. I picked out four and then took Bill with me on another day to pick them up. Janice was so patient with me. She walked all the sheep into the corral, separated out the lambs from the flock and got them sorted. I looked over all the lambs a second time. Of course I changed my mind, picked out different ones and we loaded them into the dog crates on the back of the truck. Thank God they fit! We got them home, let them out into an electric netting circle connected to the turkeys and I got a phone call. Janice said that in the mixing of the flock again, I had gotten one that was already spoken for. Drat! She said she would come exchange her, no problem.

Well, on her farm, with gates and corrals, and shoots, it was no problem. But on my farm, only flimsy electric netting held them in. These weren't bottle fed babies like I was used to either. They didn't want to have humans touching them, no way, not one bit.

When Janice came, getting the lamb off the truck was easy smeasy. Getting one lamb out of five scared lambs flocking and running around was a different story. We tried catching, cornering, diving for a leg, and then shooing them into the cage we had taken off the back of the truck. Not good. They pushed through the netting, and headed toward the other end of the pasture! The other sheep started calling to them. The ram was especially enthusiastic--he knew they were girls. Thankfully there was a fence and a gate between them.

After locking up the older sheep in their small pen, we herded the crazies into that side of the pasture and then, after many attempts, got them to go into the old garden area that had a fence around it. It took us an hour and a half.

 I learned something. Sheep aren't easy to pick up and move like chickens. Bill and I could barely manage getting them into the truck and driving them over to where they were supposed to be. Of course we locked up Mistake Sheep safe and sound for Janice to take back home. I think our friendship survived. We made a memory for sure. The first thing Bill said when we were huffing and puffing was,"We need to build more fencing."   

The top picture is the four new ones with the one we raised here on our farm. (Ours has the collar.) See all the grass the chickens and turkeys have made for them?