I Love Ewe – a Farmyard Valentine Story

The morning began with an increase of temperature by about 30 degrees from the previous days.  The wind howled as a new front blew in and the horses had broken loose and were kicking it up near the boys’ pasture.  Whirling alpacas hummed their excitement, disapproval, …concerns?  The unconcerned buck rammed into his three-sided shelter for no good reason. Our startled ram behaved as the compass in the middle, directing me to the horses’ current position.

After finally corralling the crew and completing chores, everyone resumed winter grazing and routine for the day.   I went out for a gallon of milk so as to be able to give Princess Peppermint, our new piggy, her midday slop.

Home again, warmed up the milk to bring out to Princess, and added to the noon-chore list:  feed ducks (again) since Peppermint ate all of their food, free the ram from the electric mesh fencing while he tries to bust into the ewe’s pasture, collect eggs.

Yes, our fabulous Shetland ram, Thistle, had entangled himself in the electric barrier between pastures while pursuing the gentle giant Cotswold, Hester, on the other side.  Her mom, Lavender, just watched while her daughter threw herself at him. The rest of the Shetland flock, and Laurel, the Merino, took advantage of the lack of competition for hay and ignored the flirting.

I was exasperated at the scenario of electric entanglement, ram horns, flirting sheep, unwed mothers…  Picture me, smelly overalls and all, climbing around the woven wire, the electric mesh, crook in my right hand, boots getting stuck in the weave, repositioning frozen and broken posts, keeping a horny ram at bay.

They just wanted to kiss.

With the waning afternoon light, so waned the passion over the fenceline and by 3:00, Thistle, and Hester, were onto new hobbies.  Thistle picked up hassling Indie, the alpaca, and Hester & Lavender settled into afternoon naps next to the pasture shed.

A little while ago I watched Thistle approach the fencing.  Zap!  The fencer apparently works again.

For today, the Cotswolds stay where the Cotswolds belong, the Shetland ram stays where the Shetland ram belongs.

King of the Pasture

King of the Pasture

Fences

Fences

Look away, Pansy

Look away, Pansy

More hay for us

More hay for us

Laurel wants to see what all the fuss is about

Laurel wants to see what all the fuss is about

Hester & Thistle, Lavender looks on

Hester & Thistle, Lavender looks on

Just a Kiss

Just a Kiss

 

 

 

6 responses to “I Love Ewe – a Farmyard Valentine Story

  1. I’m sorry to have to be a ‘downer’ on this one Tammy … but the situation you describe is a potentially dangerous one. I think I have told you before that we have lost rams before … not to plastic mesh … but to high tensile. Now that Thistle has ‘tested the waters’ he knows he can get just a little bit of lovin’ through the fence. Is that fenceline juiced? How long will it be before he wants more? And how long will it be before he really gets tangled … and you’re not home? You need to give this some thought. We always pasture rams at some distance from the ewes and never allow them to comingle like this via an adjoining fenceline. I think I need to take time off from the job here and come on up and build some high tensile fences for you! D PS: Sorry for being the ‘heavy’ on this one … I’m feeling just a bit guilty … but there it is.

    • Hi Dave: Yes, it’s not a good situation. Part of my cup of angst about having a ram, and a buck, on my farm. The fencer does hold a charge, sometimes, and when it’s on, there aren’t any issues. But on that particular afternoon, it chose not to hold a charge temporarily. And you’re right, it is enough of a hindrance that I don’t go far. As in today I was supposed to go to the VT Farm Show but because of the farm theatrics,just can’t leave without someone in my stead. And so it goes. Because of winter limitations, I’m without many options for where to put my flocks. My horses escape their pasture and I have to move them in with my goats, my goats can escape the sheep pastures else I’d put them in together and move the ram to the electric braid where the goats are. I can’t put the ram in with the goats because he’s too bossy and might hurt them. And so it goes. Also, the ram and the alpacas fight, of late, and so that is an added stress. But I am having a hard time moving the alpacas to a new pasture. Owning a ram and a buck was not my first choice, but I had a hard time arranging the breeding without taking the ram for good. The farmer that owned him just couldn’t keep him any more. Meanwhile, he’s not a bad ram at all. He’s quite sweet, when he’s not fighting with the alpacas, and he’s very handsome. I just have to get a better pasture-situation for the ewes.

      I am grateful to you for your sharing. No problem. I know you understand the anxiety surrounding the situation beyond the sweet images.

      Hope you and Joanna are hanging in there during this very cold and snowy January. I don’t know if it’s colder and snowier to me because I have more animals than I’ve had in the past, or if it’s truly colder.

      February soon!

  2. Got ya … sounds like you’re experiencing some of the same barnyard logistics we used to here. So, now that I know you’re ‘on it’ I won’t worry about it any more. Some day you can write a book about life on the farm … my contribution would include our current situation which is (are you sitting down?) … no water in the house! The pipe between the house and the spring has developed a break, unrelated to the cold weather but very much related to old age. Now we’re having great fun; it’s good we have an overabundance of 5-gallon buckets! Have you seen the movie Baby Boom with Diane Keeton? If so … do you remember how she reacted when she found out her well had run dry? We’ll, imagine Joanna doing the same thing the other day right here! D

    • OH NO! My mom is having leaky pipes in her old farmhouse, too, also not cold-related but unfortunately timed with the cold. Gosh I wish I could be down there to help you guys! Glad to know you’ve got the winning spirit to get through it. Dang, as if it wasn’t enough trouble watering everyone in this weather!

      Today was an especially productive day for me -got my poor alpacas out of the paddock that my ram was in so they won’t be battered/troubled by him anymore. He was giving them a run for their money over the past few days, adding to the stress of the situation.

      Was able to free up the gate on a paddock that is not adjacent to the ram’s paddock/pasture – moved the ewes to a more remote daytime location and it is far enough away to allay the drama of the past weeks. It only took me two extra hours to re-route. Hopefully will save me hours of trouble in the future as well as any ram-damage, in any form or fashion! And today’s bright sunshine means the electric mesh is fully charged.

      Good luck with the water-woes. Darn! Hope things improve rapidly.

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