began to rain ice droplets!
I feel my blessings when I sit with a cuppa, listen to the sounds of the wood burning and the cast iron expanding in the wood stove on mornings like that. That morning, though, I was going to bring home Lina.
Lina is our newest Icelandic ewe, and she can make you ride a sheep rodeo as well as any ram. Just ask me how it went as I was checking her over and giving her a garlic drench and a nutritional supplement! She is an assertive girl. But lonely. Because she was an only sheep at her previous home, and was trying to make friends with the chickens. The chickens enjoyed riding on her back. Lina figured getting pooped on was part of friendship. Ouch! She had not had a hoof trim in 8 months; no regular mineral supplementation; a patch of lawn for a pasture… Not that her humans did not care, they didn't know about sheep. Finally, they got a position as farm helpers up in Vermont and Lina needed a new home. Well, I saw that face and read about her story and… you know.
So, weather delayed things a bit but I brought her home yesterday. The girl has a healthy pair of lungs - she
bellowed through the first hour of the trip, then settled in and tried to make peace with the fact that things that are normally stationary – like trees and houses – were now flying past. And when we arrived and it was time to walk down to her new place, Lina did a few Olympic-class high jumps but the halter held, and then – “OMG! Other sheep!! People of my own kind!!” My flock was plastered against their fence watching this young lady come towards them, with the boys already going “Oooh, she is hot!” You see, it is breeding season now and things begin to get interesting and unpredictable in the barn.
I had just pulled in with Lina in tow when Louie showed up. He had brought overgrown greens from the garden for the chickens, and wanted to say “good-bye” to Coffee, Jr. He knew Coffee might get sold and leave for his new farm before the day was out. He watched in amazement as Lina fought the halter, I held her fast, stroked her when she stopped and we steadily made our way down the
In another few minutes, two wise-women shepherds pulled in – Lisa, who owns Cranberry Moon Farm in Cummington, and her friend Wanda, an experienced shepherd a warm, warm human-being. Shepherds love the barn – so we hung out, happily freezing, as Wanda looked over Coffee, Jr. and decided she wanted him. And what does Coffee do, the little devil? He walked right up to Wanda and planted a kiss on her nose. WatchingWanda, I could see that she saw shooting stars, the earth moved, and it was all over -- Coffee had her at first kiss. Later in the evening, a gentleman from upstate called and he is interested in Ram-Beaux! So no Camp Freezer for any of the boys.
I think Lina brought us blessings: In the few days that she has been on the scene, my two remaining ram lambs sold, and I get to keep them both until after they’ve bred their ewes here. That is a huge gift! I get to keep their excellent blood lines on the farm. Plus, lambs from a Coffee, Jr./Lina marriage are likely to be gorgeous full brown Moorit with fleece reaching down to the ground.
Lina will stay in a separate pen for 3 weeks – that is standard quarantine. I am pretty sure she is healthy – just a bit copper and cobalt-deficient from her looks, but let’s not take any chances. The boys will have to be content with flirting from a distance. Aahh! Young sheepie love!
And other happenings?
I slice-seeded the pastures, then limed and sprayed the soil with a bio-nutrient and microbe mix, so I am hoping for great forage next spring. The broilers are in the freezer. This year’s birds grew to 6.5-7 lbs in 9 weeks and I tell you, they taste great! The wood is in and stacked – 4 cords of it. Winter hay is in. The turkeys I am raising with Janet at Steady Lane farm for the Christmas table are growing. I am about to start a course through CISA for women in farming that gets rave reviews from participants. The soup and pilaf mixes took a bit of a
back seat while I was running after my life (never did quite catch it!). Now that it is soup season, I gotta get out there and take samples to markets, step up the demo’ing and get them into people’s tummies.
Oh, and learn how to skirt and card fleece, and felt, and…yeah right! Anybody want 7 bags of Icelandic fleece that are sitting in my bedroom?
Blessings to you all! Until next time.