Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snowy Woolies

It began raining Sunday morning, changing to snow by mid-morning and snowing heavily all day and into the night. On the Sunday afternoon chore run, Jordan discovered a leak in the stock tank and attempted to fix it. We had a week of cold temperatures before the snow, with lows getting down to between 5 and 9 degrees above zero. Even though there is a heater in the stock tank, those cold temperatures tend to be hard on the watering systems. Hopefully Jordan got it under control and the small pond in the sheep pen will dry up now.

Most of the sheep have been raised from lambs and follow Jordan whenever they can. They are watching him as he began working on the tank. Sheep are well suited for cold weather and even though they have shelter to get out of the rain and snow, they prefer to stay out in the open. They also tend to enjoy eating snow when it is available instead of drinking from the free flowing water source Jordan has worked so hard to keep in working order! Shhh - listen. Do you hear a soft chuckling as they watch Jordan work in that freezing cold water?!

Marvin seems oblivious to the snow piling up on his back, head, and ears. He came under the shed only long enough to eat a few bites of hay, then was back out into the swirling flakes. I feel the same way, having a really hard time staying indoors for long when the soft crystals call.

Until next time, may dancing with the flakes warm your soul.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wild and Wooly

We came home on Friday to a flock of missing sheep. Not only one pen of sheep had gone adventuring, but all three pens were out. True, the ram, Jim, was hanging out with Sebastian, the Clydesdale, and that pasture fence is far better suited to a large horse than a short-but-wide and crafty wooly. The ewes had somehow popped a gate open and I am sure it was just too hard for Jim to keep from joining the party. Look out, girls! The one that is really puzzling, though, is the pen of market lambs. No gates were open, no fences looked scooted under and they are definately too high to jump. Hmmm, only the sheep know, and they aren't talking. Anyway, they all willingly followed the pickup back to their safe pen where feed and water are plentiful. We ran them all into the barn and re-sorted back into the right pens again, tied the gates shut and hoped for the best. Time will tell who wins this one.

Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm, so I took advantage of the mild weather and scrapped my plans to clean and bake for some long-awaited yard work. The sun felt wonderful and the roses look much better. About 4:00, the wind changed and the clouds moved in. By Sunday morning it was snowing and cold. It snowed hard while we were in church, but then it was done - just a skiff. KP and Taylor came for a visit this weekend, it was great to have them in church and for lunch together afterward. That makes two weekends in a row now, yaay! We were even able to take a family walk in the sun last week, one of my most cherished family activities.
Most of the stock tanks have heaters in them, but some need to have the ice broken and thrown out daily in order to keep water to the livestock. I love the cold weather. The brisk air makes you feel so alive and refreshed, but it does make chores harder. Here in this part of Oregon, our cold snaps are usually quite brief and mild compared to other parts of the country. I miss the cold and snow that I grew up with in the mountains, but it is easier on the stock and we don't have to feed for as many months down here.
Until next time, may the cold refresh and invigorate you and may the snowflakes fall upon you softly.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

After the Storm

Last night brought rain and a sprinkling of snowflakes, but this morning was clear and beautiful, with just a tease of spring to the air. It was a wonderful morning to work on outside chores, and plenty there were.

Feeding was first on the list, as always. Being a good neighbor is just part of country life and Jordan was feeding cows today in addition to our family's own livestock collection. I pushed hay off the wagon while Jordan drove as carefully as any 17-year-old can through the rough feedground. There is only one calf so far. He is looking a little lonely and I would bet he would like a playmate his own age. Those old cows just don't get out and romp much anymore.

Sheep are a curious critter and tend to get into trouble because of it. One of the market lambs had a slight injury to his cheek. After treating it with a product called Red Kote, the poor guy looked as if a major catastrophe had occured. Red Kote is a spray-on medication and is extremely bright red. He probably would have healed up fine without it, but he would not have been as festive! We should be starting to lamb around the middle of February if everything goes as planned. The ewes are decidedly plumper than ever now.

Jordan is in the process of breaking his Clydesdale, Sebastian, and was able to put a headstall on him for the first time today. He may need several more days of becoming accustomed to the blinders before the bit goes in. Sebastian was intersted in licking the bit, but kept curling his lip, so obviously did not find it appetizing. It is an aquired taste, I have heard.
May the sun shine upon you. Thanks for stopping by the farm. Until next time - Happy Trails to you!