3SheepstotheWind

  (Grand Isle, Vermont)
3 Sheeps to the Wind farm
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When is the Ark floating by???

Tilling, rowing, planting, shearing, raising, fencing and a bit of barn repair. No rest for the weary as my Mom would say.  Even with the dreadful weather, we have been busy building the farm stock and facilities.  A few new additions to the farm: a guard llama named buddy, 30 turkey poults and some baby chicks and ducks.  
I thought of renaming buddy to "Rudolph" because the sheep won't let him play in any reindeer games......Ol' Buddy just loves the sheep, but they don't quite like him.  They have negotiated an armistice and tend to at-least tolerate him lately.  They even share the sheep shed with him - joy!  But  all are now a bit shy and sheepish (pun intended) as the flock was sheared 2 weeks ago without too much trouble.  Then we got to Ol' Bud.  Several surprises here: 1) llamas are very strong animals and can easily drag one farmer around yard by halter rope 2) now better understand the need to essentially hogtie llamas to shear them 3) llamas can make the most god awful LOUD noise when they want to 4) said strong llama is not all that big under the billowing hair that gets shear off 5) llamas can spilt the most vile green globs of goop when distressed 6) after 2-3 days of sulking llamas are back to old fun loving self!  We now have 13 sets of fleece to process and turn into yarn.  My daughter is interested in "spinning and hooking" with the local ladies.  Yes, I did a double take on that phrase also.  
New birds on the farm.  We switched to heritage breed turkeys this year as most folks don't want a 42 lb Mongo bird over flowing their oven.....  30 Narragansett and Midget Whites arrived as day old poults.  We lost 2 to sickness, one to drowning (in sheep tank) and gave two to a friend to raise.  There are several BIG differences with the older breed turkeys vs new mutant whites: 1) Narrs look alot like wild turks 2) at 10 days old they can fly WELL, Very Well (story later) 3)heritage turks just love grass 4) they eat a lot less than mutants.  OK, Story on the flying at 10 days - I moved the turks out of my basement into the "ark" (mobile poultry house I built) as they were getting too big for their boxes.  Everyone was doing great - growing, healthy, feathering out.  So, I open the door for a short while to allow them to get out side.......  BAD IDEA!  My 5' high fenced in area did not have a caged in roof !  I had turkey poults everywhere!  Took me 45 minutes to get all but one back into the ark.  That one adventurer took off for the tall grass.  I spent the next 2 hours combing the area looking for it.  I get a call the next morning from my neighbor that a small white turkey is in her back yard.  I run over and when I approach the little bugger, it FLIES 300 yards down the field about 4' in the air.  All the while with me running behind!  When it finally tires and crash lands into the grass, I nab it and place back with the others.  I now have a chicken wire roof over my turk area.  I am considering cutting their flight feathers until they are older.  I want to release them into the big pen, but I need to keep them in.  It is a conundrum and a dilemma.....  We also picked up 3 new baby ducks and 10 new baby chickens (Arakanas and Buff Orpingtons).  The Arakanas lay a teal blue egg and the Buffs are just pretty birds....  Got them in a dog crate in the hen house under a heat lamp.  I hate to see my electric bill!!!  
The gardens are in good, so-so and sad conditions.  Corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and the vines plants are doing well.  Onions, beans and peppers are doing OK and my squash just plain won't grow!  Must be the wet weather rotting the seeds, but everyone else loves the rain.
Forgot to mention, 7 of my girls are pregnant and expecting in late July to mid August.  My wife is terrified I won't be in town when they lamb, but I have faith in the timing of a female.  Even sheep know the most inopportune time to go into labor.....grin.  Why so late?  The previous Sheppard did not turn the ram in with the ewes and forgot to tell me.....  So, when I got them back to my farm, I wasn't thinking that I had to keep them separated.....  Nature has a way of taking care of business on it's own!  I can only hope that the births are as hands off.....  On the plus side the lambs will be ready for Easter.  Sorry if you object, but we cannot keep male sheep and stay in business.  A farm is a business not a zoo.  We must make the hard and unpleasant decisions to keep this enterprise going.  One the fun decisions to make: we will need to focus on one breed of sheep.  Instead of Romneys, Shetlands, Icelandics, Jacobs, Tunis, etc.  But we can wait to make that one.....
 
Have a great summer everyone;
John and Penny
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