Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time marches on!

It has been a very long time since I have posted.  Time is marching on, and by the end of the day, it seems I am just ready to shut my eyes...

We are just about into the winter solstice.. thankfully, the days will get longer starting on the 22nd, I believe of this month.  For that I am grateful.  I was at a meeting yesterday late into the day, and I could not believe how dark it was at four o'clock.

I have made some improvements to the farm- the floor of the mixing room has had 3/4" crushed stone added to raise the level, as it was getting absolutely soupy when it got rain (bank barns have less than wonderful drainage at times...).  I had wanted to get stall mats, but after learning they were 100 lbs each, and I needed several, I decided to hold off.  But, winter was coming.. so I rented a truck, and headed out to Tractor Supply to go get them.  My friend Mark and I put them in, I laid some straw on them and  we were good to go.  Soon after I finished that, we had our first freezing rain storm, and the floor stayed dry!!

I have been working Johnny a bit, but sort of hit a blockage in our progression and then I learned, by having gone to another place, that Johnny needs more than just balancing at this point, he needs to work the sheep.  So, we are now going to be moving out of the round pen and let his brain get stuck into the whole process.  I really like Johnny.  He has a great temperament, almost funny at times, and is keen as mustard on sheep, but not crazy.  I love his looks too.  Smooth coats are the way to go in terms of keeping your house clean!

Joe is doing great.  He just turned three, and now I have a dog who I not only can trust to bring me the sheep- using his head, and to push when needed in any circumstance, but now he has some nice style coming through.  So funny, when I think back to how he was a rank novice dog, to how he is now...I am reminded that *so* much changes as they grow up... he certainly was not inordinately special as a youngster, but one thing he did have was a connection with me.. that I think is very critical;  a dog who has an inborn need to learn and work with his trainer..

The flock is doing well, and I expect to start lambing some time in early February.  There is one Cheviot ewe who I don't think is bred, but I am not sure.  I sold the ram off rather early in the breeding season, so it is quite possible she cycled out of sync with the rest.  I have sold several Cheviots, and am only keeping the ones I truly like, so though numbers are down, we are in good shape in terms of quality.

Christmas is almost here, and I really am not ready.. but then I am never ready... this year seems worse!!!

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