Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Springtime in December

We've been having warm, damp weather in the mid-70s this week, very balmy and pleasant. Outside, some of the birds have been singing their spring songs, and some of the ewes, when I let them out to graze in the yard, started bouncing around like April lambs, stampeding up and down the driveway, hopping straight up in the air like Mexican Jumping Beans, and clashing their horns together in big, dramatic, mock-battles.

It's fun to see them so happy and frisky, enjoying the weather. By the time the weather gets this warm again, they'll be heavy with lambs, and won't feel much like bouncing, so it's nice they get the chance to play while they can.

I again spent most of the day at the computer, doing horse, sheep, and fleece related emails, and putting the finishing touches on my Sheep Inventory paperwork I need to have prepared for our Scrapie Inspection tomorrow.

I had most of the Inventory done two months ago, but then we sold another sheep and this year's lambs registrations numbers are in now, so I updated that info and then checked the whole thing over for errors or omissions. It feels good to have it all organized---and I'm really relieved that Ken saved all my files when my computer died, so I didn't have to redo the whole 14-page Sheep Inventory list from scratch!

A couple of fleece buyers who have been thinking about fairly large orders contacted me today to finalize their orders. If their checks arrive soon, we might have enough money to buy the next batch of hay, and possibly pay the electric bill.

With luck, it will be just enough to tide us over until I can finalize a few of the horse sales that are pending!

I also found out today that a friend of mine has had a wonderful new opportunity come up in her life that means she will be dispersing her flock of Icelandic sheep. She has given me first dibs on purchasing a group of her best ewes next summer, which I'm very excited about.

Not only will it give me a chance to expand my flock (which I've been wanting to do as soon as we have sufficiently reduced our horse numbers) and add several excellent unrelated bloodlines to my flock, but these sheep are also pre-selected for good heat and parasite resistance, which is one of my top breeding priorities here. So, now I have until next summer to save my money to buy those six ewes.

She's also offered me her trained Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog. We're seriously thinking about it. There are coyotes, foxes, and occasionally bears in our area, so a guardian dog really would be a good idea. But I know that they are not like other kinds of dogs, so I'm doing more research before I say yes, to make sure I'm prepared to do it right, if I take him.

If we get him, we'll probably try to find a good home for our other two large dogs, Ruby and Jesse, which is something we've been thinking about anyway. They are great dogs, but now that we live on a farm, they get very little attention and serve no useful purpose. I really think they'd be better off with someone who would play with them and enjoy them more.

But all that can be decided later. Now I just have to print out my Sheep Inventory and get ready for bed!

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