We raise Border collie and Livestock Guardian Dog puppies. I favor the red Border collies, although it is a recessive gene like black sheep. Candy, a daughter of my old dog Suzie, just had pups. She is on the trail with Eutemio and the coming yearling ewes. She had two female pups and one male pup (all red) a couple of days ago. I told Eutemio I could bring them home, but I think he needs her as a working mother. He has tied the pups into a feed bag onto his saddle. I plan to keep one of the females as my personal dog.
Monthly Archives: March 2013
It’s that time of year when we fertility test the bulls. All who pass get to go hang out with the cows in the summer. It’s sort of like getting your teeth drilled in order to have a happier future.
Constant Readers know that each spring, we shed lamb about 350 ewes. We raise our own bucks, Hampshire and Rambouillet, and their mothers lamb early, before the main lambing in May and June.This year, the lambs will start to come around April 1st. Lambing goes a lot better if the ewes are shorn ahead of time. A few days ago Rindy Harkness, proprietor, crew boss and shearer of Top Notch Shearing, showed up with her crew and turned out 380 sheep in six hours.
We never forget what a privilege it is to be raising children alongside our cows, sheep, horses, dogs, llamas, etc. Today, the three “big kids” (8, 6, and 4) went out to work with Siobhan’s 4-H steers, check the cows who are about to calve, and just play in the slush and snow.
At this time two years ago, we were buried in snow and wondering how we would make it to green grass without buying a lot more expensive feed. As it turned out, green grass was even further out than we imagined. We quit feeding in early June, but would have kept it up if we hadn’t run out of hay. It flooded most of the summer–rivers and meadows alike, as we scrambled to grow hay and save structures.
Last year, the winter was mild all the way through, but in March, we were thinking we could count on the spring rains. Again we were reminded of the the old saw, “only fools and newcomers predict the weather”–and we didn’t think we fit in either category. The last rain came on May 2nd (I remembered because we had just started to shear) and didn’t see dark clouds again until early July.
That turned out to be part of a wide-spread drought–one that affected other parts of the country much more severely than it did us. The resulting spike in corn prices is haunting us still.
So far, the winter has been an “easy winter”–the kind we used to pray for. We haven’t had to buy much extra feed, which is lucky because, largely due to the drought, hay and grain are at record prices. Last year’s dry spring has made us cautious though. The federal and state land management agencies have been sending out letters warning of possible cut-backs in grazing for sheep and cattle.
Tonight the time springs forward. One of the neighbors asked me, “Are you hoping for spring?”
My reply–“Actually, I’m hoping for a little more winter.”