barn so I can move the electric fence and make a new paddock. Tillie knows now when I am going to make a grab for one of her horns, and she ducks lightning fast. We don’t associate sheep with lightning fast, but here we are on my tiny
farm! Fortunately, when she gets into the grain bucket, she forgets to monitor and I get her. So, first she went this morning, kicking and bucking and trying to hunker down so I wouldn’t be able to pull her. A combination of holding a
tight grip on her horn with one hand and showing her grain in my other hand, plus a fair amount of pulling got her in.
Marsha, of course, followed the leader. The sheep Marsha has none of human Marsha’s spunk, but she is so lovable. When I sit in the paddock with them, Marsha will come and put her head on my chest, gazing into my eyes (she has long, light brown eye lashes); she wants to be scratched at the base of her horns, gives me snuffle-kisses, and loves to hang out with my arm around her neck. I noticed this morning how
similar the curly white wool on top her head is to human Marsha’s hair.
Coffee, the little guy, saw his opportunity to eat more grain than he can usually get when the two larger ewes are around. So he stayed in the paddock and ate. He needs all he can get, he is a growing boy. Then when it was time to get him into the barn, he said, “I’m a ram – you can’t tell me what to do!” I said, “Oh yes, I can!”, and grabbed him by the horn and
put him on his butt. Sheep don’t struggle when they are on their rump, with all four feet in the air. In fact, there is a contraption called a “sheep chair” – you back the sheep up to the chair and make her/him kind of fall back into it, and
there you have it: A sheep sitting in a chair on its rump, with all four feet in the air - hilarious!
This was little Coffee’s first lesson in Who-Is-Boss-Around-Here. I am sure we’ll have many more.
I am also reading about the nutritional needs of Icelandic sheep, and I am now sure I am about to kill them of malnutrition. I can’t believe how many knots I just added to my stomach. But…we are going to do a frost-seeding in October, with a good pasture mix plus forage chicory and bird’s foot trefoil seed mixed in (they are proven effective against
internal parasites) so our pastures next spring will be rich and lush. I am also planning to get some mineral and herbal supplements for their diet now. Human
Marsha used to say, “God lives in you as anxiety”. Do I know!
I am Ipek,
the chef-owner of the Turkish Kitchen and beginning farmer of the Mini-Farm on
West Road. Both these businesses sprouted after a 20+ year corporate career
spent on airplanes and in hotels and conference rooms. Now that I traded my
black business suits and pumps for jeans and muck boots, I am having the best
time of my life. I also teach online at NYU, and manage to follow, at least a
little, the advice of Thomas Jefferson, who said to set aside 8 hours/day to
manual labor, 8 hours to intellectual pursuits, and use the remaining 8 hours
for sleep and social time. (He must have been a loner, or did not need much