Yesterday I found out exactly how it feels to be punched in the nose...and just how hard a ram's head is.
Our BFL ram is a gentle and friendly soul. He's the first to run up to the gate for scritchies (his favorite spot is along the neck where fleece meets hair.) Sweet Piper is also a gentleman when it comes to feeding time, so the fault was really mine. Stupid Shepherd.
I was dumping their breeding season corn/chow ration into the feeding pans from the mixing bucket as usual, except that Trista, one of the ewes, just had to get her foot in there and flipped it. So I leaned over to flip it back up. Which of course startled Piper, who swung his head up and clocked me square in the nose. It didn't hurt much, I certainly didn't see stars, and my glasses didn't even get a scratch, but the next thing I know, blood is spewing (lovely word spewing, and very appropriate) from my nose and mouth. Yuk!
So there I was, trying to breath without swallowing blood, sheep are wrapping around my legs waiting for the grain, and the dogs are barking for their dinner. Thankfully the hubby heard my garbled screams and rushed over to see what all the commotion was about.
It took two ice paks and almost half an hour for the bleeding to stop. Then it was time to choke out the blood clots. Way gross!
Did I mention that Piper is also something of a character?
Today it was time to take the Halloween pumpkins out to the pasture for seeding. Allowing them to break down over the winter gets the seedling vines started at just the right time. Usually the sheep ignore the pumpkins.
So out I go, 5 foot 5 inch me, with a swollen nose (so the eyeglasses don't sit quite right), wobbling along with two ten pound pumpkins. Naturally my sheep entourage had to tag along and the two LGD were being typically helpful - translation - underfoot. First I placed the smaller white Lumina pumpkin on the ground. Sheep ignored it, dogs...well did what LGD do. They marked it. While the white pumpkin inspection was going on, I moved a bit further away to place the big orange pumpkin where its seedlings would have plenty of room to grow. And here comes Piper.
You can't fool this ram. He knew the pumpkin was FOOD. He pawed at it, he licked it, he tried to bite it. I wish I had a digital recorder to take a picture of his determined assault. When those attempts all failed he started butting it...right across the pasture and out under the fence.
So I trudge up to turn off the electricity and go fetch the pumpkin. I did this three times before giving in and breaking the pumpkin for Piper to enjoy a feast. Thankfully he didn't overdo it and the ewes thought it was gross.
A yes, just another wonderful weekend shepherding!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It's finally stopped raining and OMG...sun has actually broken through the clouds! The miserable wet and wind weary flock has rushed out to gobble up all the lush green grass.
For awhile I thought I was going to have to build an ark and load the animals two by two. I think Virginia was hit with more rain from Ida than Alabama where it came ashore. The trees have been stripped bare with few exceptions...and of course all the leaves are filling the house gutters to overflowing.
The crepe myrtle near the arbor gate is the only one left showing full color in beautiful shades of peach blush and gold. I'll have to gather some of those seed pod clusters for an autumn wreath as soon as they dry out.
In the garden the garlic is showing green tops and winter peas are starting to flower. Up against the fence we have a rogue nasturtium that is just blooming...in mid-November! I think it's a little confused.
For laughs, I couldn't resist this picture of our resident commedienne...Selene. She is one of two natural colored Coopworth ewes we acquired from Deer Run in the spring.
Can't wait to get my hands on that fleece.
And speaking of fleece...and fiber...my triangle loom (an early Christmas present) has arrived! Can't wait to get going on some lovely shawls and afghans.
Off to weave...
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Introducing the K9 Rogue's Gallery of Laingcroft...
First we have the Freeloaders. These are the dogs that don't really have a job to do, but we love them anyway. There is our Boomerang Baby, the Portuguese Water Dog. Try to throw something away, she brings it back. She is the Clown, a neurotic nut case, instigator, and comic relief. Then we have the West Highland White Terror, also known as the Enforcer. A regular running dynamo, he is our resident tennis ball de-flocker and K9 cleanup crew. The Dyson has nothing on this living vacuum when it comes to crumbs on the floor.
We actually have working dogs too, though at first glance, they are a lot less active than the Freeloaders. Our rescue Border Collie falls into both categories since she lives in the house, but still earns her keep. Inside she is the Queen of the Pillows (or any other soft surface), outside she is the Flock Master.
Guarding the goats is our Anatolian Shepherd, who is also death to chickens. We are trying to find the right home for her - with goats and people to love, but no free ranging chickens to chase.
Her daughter, an Anatolian/Maremma cross is an excellent sheep guardian and general Shepherd's Helper. This actually means she is a glove and tool thief extraordinaire with a knack for getting in the way.
Her sire, a Maremma, is simply King of the Farm.