A day like every other around here, in which animals are discovered to be where they don’t belong while others dutifully stay put. Yes, I had to haul Max & Nite Nite out of the chicken grain bin and off our mound-system more than once. They are the Arabian/Quarter Horse cross and Shetland pony that have been escaping nightly from the horse pasture and acquainting themselves heavily with the various poultry grain-bins around the farm, as well as lush greens wherever they decide to pause. It has been frustrating keeping up with them.
And then there were the Shetland Sheep break-outs to deal with. Just when I solved the problem of how to keep Pansy & Nikki in their pasture with Balrog-the-Ram and Ruva-the-bossy-ewe, well, the second and third pastured baa-baas decided to have a mixer. The reason they were separated is because one was full of boys, two of which are old enough to breed, and the other was full of girls either not old enough to breed or needing a year off.
And turkeys are everywhere around here! So I enlisted Char to help me convince everyone to go into one pasture and then systematically separate them into the appropriate pastures and at the same time leave the turkeys in just one pasture. The turkeys are really quite liberated around here, but I felt it was a good evening to put a stop to that.
So now we’ve got sheep all where they belong and turkeys where they belong. Once again the pony escaped, but we dealt with that at a later time.
My husband arrives home and we discuss the weather. Tomorrow the Shearer comes and the forecast is for rain: lots of it! We decide we should get the sheep all into the barn so as to keep their fleeces as dry as possible before shearing. It is much easier to shear the sheep dry than wet. This means we have to ready three different stalls for the three different groups. Aw shucks, I’d just done such a great job cleaning the barn the week prior and wasn’t really ready to get it all soiled again! But alas, it is a barn and it does make sense to bring everyone in this evening to capitalize on the extra hands to help as well as the keeping of dry fleeces.
So back out to the barn and the pastures and this time with another plan. The barn stalls get fixed up with straw, hay to munch, water buckets and grain troughs. We make “chutes” for the sheep to pass through to the appropriate stalls when I lead them in, and off I go with a scoop of grain to bring them in. I first go to the breeding group’s pasture and open their gate. Then shake, shake, shake the scoop and they stampede up into the barn. A little confused, I shake, shake, shake again to the other stall, across the aisle, and they file in to inhale the grain that is in the trough.
Door #1 shuts!
Now to retrieve the boys. Shake, shake, shake goes the scoop as I head down the long chute to undo their gate. They are a bunch of sweeties and have no problem finding their way up and across the barn aisle into their appropriate stall.
Door #2 shuts!
Last, but not least, the girls! They are very confused as I unlock their gate and try to get them to walk around it(it opens the wrong way, sending them opposite from where I want them to walk) and to follow me up the darkening chute to the barn. Some of them figure out where they’re going, but then two of the ewe lambs, Winky & Daisy, insist on being difficult. After several minutes of trying to convince them to follow me, they make their way to the barn and then fall into a dead run to join the others after they hear their baa-ing voices.
Door #3 shuts!
And they’re in. So great, now I just have to get the bowling balls, I mean little fatties, I mean young Freedom Rangers, into their stall. I also have named them the “Underfooters” because they insist on being underfoot. It is truly a dance, the dance of the Underfooters, as I try to step in and amongst them placing their waterers and their grain troughs into the stall for the night. Their crops were loaded as they’d been foraging all day, but they still had room for the nightly incentive to come inside and gobble up grain! Finally every last one was rounded up and I shut the door on that stall for the night.
There were a few more things to feed/close the doors on such as the barn kitties and the layer hens’ coop, then the doggums to be fed and finally the grill is on to make burgers for some hungry people who live here too! At about that time, friend T shows up at the front door and asks if we want a 4-legged friend. “Small or large?” I ask. “Well, sort of small, but you know her anyway!”
It was Nite Nite again, and she’d been wandering by the driveway when T pulled up.
We decided that she might like a night in the barn for a change and so Char led the way. The following photos depict our notion of inviting her for dinner, first, but then a change of plans when Jim gave us a firm “N-O!”