Well here we are at the start of a new year! I always love New Year's Day because it's time to start over and get organized, clear out the clutter of the previous year. Time to start fresh.
BUT my goodness, it's COLD out there! We had -22F this morning and we got up to +2F this afternoon, the forecast is for -26F tonight. The sheep take it in stride, in fact the ewes have been kicking up their heels quite a bit lately. So far the chickens and the geese are taking it well too. Last night was the first time I've closed up the chicken's barn all winter.
Diamond and Opal, two BFL/Shetland cross ewe lambs, left this afternoon to go live in Alexandria, MN -- it's even colder there! Mabeline will join them on Thursday. She's Opal's mother and Diamond's grandmother. I'm glad to see her go to a good home with other sheep in her line. She's my last white Shetland ewe. I always loved the fact that she rooed easily and carries spots and is an all around friendly sheep with great fleece.
I'll probably be in the market for a polled white ram lamb next summer to use on my Shetland ewes next fall. Preferably one who carries moorit, modified genetics and spots and has a low micron 3-5" staple. It goes without saying that he would need excellent conformation too.
I've got all my rams together again and I'm hoping Greyson (the Shetland ram lamb) will be okay. We've still got open ewes cycling in another pasture and that makes the rams edgy. Granite was really going nuts the other night. I had him all alone for a few days but put Harwell in with him when the cold temps were setting in. Late in the afternoon of New Year's Eve Granite was really agitated. So I decided to get Harwell out of there and let Granite cool his heels alone again. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans, it turned out that all the rams wound up together again. It was amazing how high Socks and Greyson leaped though the open gate to get in with Granite and Harwell. And little Greyson didn't back down from Granite this time around. I've kept an eye on them and they seem to be getting along well now. Finally! We have one more Shetland ram lamb to add to the group when he gets back from breeding ewes in Isanti, MN. I'm not looking forward to that.
Shachah is doing well. I've seen no sign of his arthritis acting up in this cold weather. He stays with the ewes most of the time now. I found out that he loves warm water on his dry dog food. So usually he's happy to run to his calf hut while I follow with his food. The blue moon we had this week made the nights so bright, I could see Shachah barking out in the moonlit, snow-covered pasture. Not sure what he was barking at, but having him out with the ewes eases my mind.
I want to wish all my blog readers a peaceful and enlightening new year. If you are a shepherd or an artist, I hope you create things that make YOU happy. If your creations turn out to be what you are striving for and give you satisfaction, don't worry about what other people (or judges) think of your choices. But always leave room to grow and change your mind as you gain experience and insight. Life is not stagnant, it's a flowing stream. We never know where it will take us.
Last New Year's Day I would have never imagined that we would have a big white LGD living at our house. I would have never imagined that I would be the Secretary of the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association and the Treasurer of the Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America. Yes, the year ahead is already full of new challenges for me, and who knows what else I'll manage to squeeze in there! Here's a hint though, I'd really like to get some calves this spring. :-)
I'm sorry to say that I've had to enable comment moderation on this blog due to recent spamming. I guess that's the way things go these days...