I must have been a very good shepherd this year because Santa has come early and built me a beautiful feed alley for my new sheep barn. I've started with a shot of the old sheep barn and the evidence that I need a bigger barn. All my feed slots are filled and the lambs are eating off the floor. Not a tragedy, but since I'm not quite done building my flock yet, it's only going to get worse, so I put on my best cute face and TA-DA! a new barn for me and my ladies!
Here's my little glow worm showing off the alley mid-build.
The diva never misses an opportunity to pose.
So here is the nearly complete alley. It's high enough off the ground that the sheep don't have to bend down to eat, I'm above them to feed them, but just low enough that Mark doesn't hit his head on the low ceiling. It's going to take some skilled tractor driving to be able to clean out, but according to calculations, is doable. So we'll see! I'm ecstatic! Especially since the estimate was given that the sheep may be in the new barn as early as this week!! Whoohoo!!
We are hoping to be able to finish up this year's tattooing (a job I infamously put off EVERY year until the last possible minute) and do one last garlic juice deworming before moving them. Most of the ewes look really good, but the lambs are not doing as well as they should. The last two that were born were..er...svelte when they were born and never really caught up, so they will be getting a good dose to help them out. I don't remember telling you about the garlic juice when we did it the first time, but I can honestly tell you that it is one of the smelliest jobs I have ever endeavored. We drench (which just means to force feed) a good shot of pure garlic juice and grapeseed oil for each animal and while they get most of it, it is inevitable that some is going to end up on hands, clothes, faces, boots, etc. And we all know how garlic likes to stick around. Ugh. So gotta suck up that job sometime this week!
I shipped my last three ram lambs last week and we decided, for the first time, to keep one for ourselves. I don't tell my customers this as a rule, but I'm not much of a lamb fan really. So we just kept the legs, the loin chops and then got the rest made into sausage. It should be arriving any day now and we will have sausage for sale! I'm hesitant to call it organic however, since I suspect the spices are probably not organic and our last inspector indicated some questions over meat grinders and how they can be thoroughly cleaned between conventional and organic meat and whether they actually are, in a busy butcher shop. So, we have sausage made with certified organic lamb for sale! (It's all about the spin! Good thing I have a degree in Spin Doctoring, care of Mount Allison University!)
For Mark's side of things, he has the tractor and blower in prime condition for the year and had no major incidents on his first snowfall this year. Let's hope that holds out all season. He also just turned 30 on the 11th and we had a little get together to celebrate with some of this friends. It was a great time and I think we relived enough of our youthful past to keep the big round number from getting to him. Carol, Wendell and Martha were nice enough to keep the kids for us that night too, so we had the luxury of sleeping in (although a 7 am wake up probably doesn't count as a sleep in for most people it was like gold for us!)
Christmas preparations continue and now that the bitter cold winds have left us for at least a couple days, the kids can get back outside and help with chores again and the such. It's pretty pathetic when we drive over to the farm to do chores because it's too cold for the kids. The next project is heading to the woods to find a tree. We found a little grove of firs last year, so we'll be going back to that, but it's kind of slim pickin's, so we can't be too picky. I think every tree is the best one every year, so it won't matter. I just like the hunt!
I reminded Mark that we should go when it's mild and he in turn reminded me of last year when we went when it was 'mild' and got bogged down in the mud with the four wheeler and our tree got wrapped up in the tire and we had to pressure wash it when we got back to the barn. I've never washed a tree before and to be honest would like to avoid it again if possible. Although, evidently it made for a good story! And the tree was fine in the end! That's why you put trees in corners of houses, to hide the muddy side, right?
Whew, lots of bad grammar and poor punctuation in this entry. My spin doctor profs would be upset with me. That's what happens when you've got one kid crawling up your back and the other waking in thier crib as you type in a flurry!
Hope this finds you well!