Sunday, October 05, 2014

Lovely Fall Sunday Morning

I got out early with the doggies while the frost was crunching under my boots.   The morning was already giving way to a lovely sunny fall day.  The sheep and goats were out grazing already.  I am still in awe of the wild beauty of the pasture in the early morning.  It is the perfect time to give thanks in my Church of the Universal Shepherd.  We wandered back down to the barn to check on everything.   I love to do my morning chores in my long, plaid nightie and boots with a sweater that is quickly removed when I build up some heat.  The barn is my favorite place at this time of year.  The flies are gone in the barn, but, sadly, still active inside the house.  I have several tasks in the morning including carrying water and grain to the front barnyard for the dogs, chickens and ducks, and more to the driveway where the chickens and two remaining Swedish Blue ducks live.  So far they've eluded the fox.  I'm planning to bring them inside the barn when it starts snowing but they won't like it.  The rabbits get fed and watered morning and night, with snacks of fresh hay stuck in the doors for snacking.  My new sheep, Gippetto, Finute, Edie and Erin (they came with those lovely names) are still in quarantine in the pig run which stretches the full length of the barn and offers them views of the barnyard and hillside. They are very healthy and sturdy.  The ewes have thick coats of lovely black wool.    I saw Louie, Wensleydale ram number one, on the hillside, trotting after a ewe, checking her back side for the signal that tells him if the time is right for mating.  I still have not seen him successfully mount a ewe, but he is trying, and I'm not always outside to look.  Some sheep prefer privacy - the ewes not the rams.  I don't think they care.  I'll let Gippetto out as back-up in another month.  I'd like all my lambs to come on spring vacation in April.  Wouldn't that be lovely?    With my luck - not a chance.  I had a very productive day yesterday with a batch of Lemongrass soap that set up very nicely.  Soap is tricky and most people take it for granted with so many people doing it.  Truth is if you are not very careful you end up with a failed batch that has to be re-poured.  I got two more knitting totes partially completed last night.  Summer School put a real dent in my production and I'm struggling to get back into speed.  It took me two hours to cut out three totes last night.  When I was too tired to sew any longer I sat down to cut out soap wrapping fabric and spin some yarn from my latest roving.  I still have three more runs to get shipped home before the next wool show.  So much depends on how well I do.  Many repairs are waiting, like the sliding wooden doors on the East End which have been bashed to bits but sheep pushing through.   Fence must be repaired.  Once again time has run away with me and many jobs will have to wait for spring.  With spouse laid up for three months things had to be put off.   The big barn cleaning and manure spreading on the fields will cost me a fortune.  Why do I do it?  This life is amazingly wild and wonderful, with never a dull moment.  With all the anguish and heartache, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  It challenges me and keeps me outside in the fresh air.  The farm keeps me healthy, mentally stable, and young.  I love the smell of wool and manure in the morning.  Without my sheep I would be as fat as a cow, sitting on the sofa knitting sweaters and reading books all the time, sorting out my antidepressant, blood pressure and rheumatism pills.  No thanks!

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