Friday, December 28, 2007

Sheep on Holiday

Rachel and her ewe flock had a little adventure last Friday...
Bombarde had decided all of his ewes were bred so he busted out of the "girls" pen. He made his way to the round pen where Unicorn and his two ewes were and tried to bash his way in. Of course, Unicorn had to bash from his side of the horse panels. Kavan in the other round pen dented the fence up pretty good too. But everything held fast...thank goodness.
This all happened after Clancy and I had left for work. When Clancy came home from the mill at lunch time, he encountered Rachel's ewe flock on Spur Corner. Spur Corner is a hairpin curve on our township road about a half mile from our house. Two old trails, Gotter's and Spur Road, cross there. If the girls had decided to get off the beaten path, they would have had several hundred acres of woods to explore. Fortunately, they weren't fond of the deep snow in the ditches so they were sticking to the plowed path.
Clancy managed to herd them all the way home with his S-10. Dolce led the flock, Rachel brought up the rear, and Anna Belle, on high alert, pogo hopped all the way. Once back in the yard, the girls followed Clancy and his tub of grain nicely into the pen.
Bombarde, on the other hand, was not to be distracted from his siege on the round pen. Clancy put him in the dog kennel and he demolished it before Clancy could finish lunch. On his way back to work, Clancy put Bombarde in the heavy duty sheep hauler we reunite rams in. There was a little too much space in it for one ram, though. Bombarde smashed that to bits too and escaped again. He was back to beating on Uni's pen when Clancy got home from work that night. So he was tossed in the smaller round pen with Kavan and Tormey. (At that point I don't think Clancy cared what happened to him, just so long as he didn't get out again.) The boys probably tussled a bit, but everyone was still healthy and alive the next morning.
Today, Clancy and I put Unicorn's two ewes back in with the rest of the girls and we reunited all the rams. Our box for that had been demolished so we just sprayed them all down with perfume and put them in together. Kavan instantly knocked the little stub of his horn off, and he started bleeding. But that was the end of the fighting right there.
Unicorn, with his impressive horns, is back to being top ram. Kavan, with a sore scull, will probably be on the bottom rung for a while. Bombarde and Tormey are in the middle, just trying to stay out of every one's way.
Hopefully, we will have peace and quiet now until early April when lambing begins.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Almost Time...

Christmas was wonderful this year. We spent an evening with Clancy's mom. We attended the candlelight service on Christmas Eve at our little country church in Puposky. On Christmas Day, we celebrated with my siblings and parents at my brother's house. It was just a lovely holiday through and through.
Wednesday was back to work, and work is pretty busy at the ski hill during the vacation break.
This evening I walked past the chick tub in the living room and noticed little heads peering over the edge at me. I knew the chickies weren't little fuzz balls anymore, but I hadn't realized they were big already.
Only one chick has tiny bits of down left on it's head. As soon as that one feathers out just the last little bit these darlings are going out to the coop. They have totally outgrown the tub, and any day now one of them is going to figure out how to hop through the slight space I left for ventilation. I'd rather not have chickens fluttering about the house. It's bad enough having them in a corner. They are starting to smell like chickens. The bedding has to be changed frequently to minimize the odor.
How do I get myself into these messes? This is the third time in two years I've raised chicks in the house.
All the good reasons for bringing the chicks in are fresh in my mind. Going back over the events as they played out, I'm sure I would have made the same choices. So I might as well just accept the situation. I'm raising chicken's in the house...again. And they are so cute, just like baby animals always are...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Counting My Blessings

I was feeding hay the other morning and noticed the tiny buds on the basswood tree near the ewe pen. It has always amazed me how nature is never static, never pausing, even when we tend to think it is. The heartbeat of life does not give out. The pulse is strong enough to hear through the blanket of snow and ice. The unfurling of vernal exultation would not happen unless life was undeniable all winter long.
Maybe it's my Scandinavian heritage, but I really could hibernate with the rest of the sensible omnivores of northern Minnesota. If I'm not sleeping by 9pm there is no getting up the next morning. Light therapy would help, but I haven't had time to get to town to check into light bulbs. So I try not to fight it...If I go to bed very early and use the dimmer switch on my bedroom light to wake up gradually, I can get through the day without being too grouchy. I can go to work, get the chores done, eat supper with the kids, connect with Clancy for a few minutes each day, and go back to bed again.
As far as drugs go, I'm already on two anti-depressants that are often prescribed for SAD. Light helps...exercise is the best remedy. The other day I danced for two hours to the music of Hairspray. I couldn't sleep for 24 hours afterwards. I think 30 minutes a day would be about right...but I haven't been disciplined enough to start that routine. What a vicious cycle SAD can be!
But I wanted to write about the blessings in my life...
The best thing about this year is that, even though I sleep a lot, I'm not feeling depressed in my mind. I don't have that "all is for naught" feeling. I don't wish I could not exist. I don't want to cry all day long. This is amazing for me. I don't take it for granted.
I'm also really proud of my family. The boys are so fun to be around. They are such great kids. It makes me happy just knowing I get to be their Mom. And I love my husband. He's such an incredible person to spend my life with. I've made a lot of mistakes in life, and yet God has blessed this marriage and held it together when I didn't have the strength to. I am truly fortunate to feel in my heart that my husband is my favorite person.
There are other people in my life that are truly fantastic too...My immediate family is so wonderful to me. Clancy's mom is always there for us. I have extended family that really cares about me...neighbors that are always watching that consider me part of their family...and true friends that pray for me and enrich my life beyond description.
I am not alone. All the love and friendship in my life is a direct blessing, straight from God. He never gives up on me. He understands that spending time in the dark cocoon of an early bedtime is actually a monumental improvement upon the despair I used to wallow in. He's taking care of me, and I know it.
There are lots of little good things going on right now too.
Our five hens give us about 4 eggs a day! We can eat all the eggs we want to now without getting sick...The Christmas tree is up already. It's the first time in probably 5 years that it got put up before Christmas Eve. Our friend, Gail, made another kitchen cabinet this weekend. I now have a cabinet around the dishwasher...and one of these days that dishwasher will get hooked up and one of my housekeeping dreams will come true.
And now I'm running out of time...a busy day is ahead and I haven't even finished my list of blessings. But that is the joy of having faith in God, I think. Once we focus on our blessings, we realize the list is endless. We know we are cared for. We know we are loved. God is looking out for us.
It makes me shake my head in wonder, actually. It's hard to fathom a concept so immense. But I think of it in the most natural sense-like the march of the seasons, or walking across a frozen the line from the last song in Hairspray...
"You can't stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky. You can wonder if you want to but I'll never ask why. So if you try to hold me down I'm gonna spit in your eye and say...You can't stop the BEAT!"

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

Does Bombarde look happy? Well he should. I just gave him another ewe today: Rai Min.

Didn't I announce to the world that I don't breed ewe lambs here at Boston Lake Farm? Well, yes I did. The old adage "Never say never," springs to mind.

The following is a small list of my rationalizations:
We've had some heavy weather here in the past few days...and now the temperature is supposed to drop. I'm having a very hard time getting all the chores done in the morning before going to work, and in the evening before it gets totally dark. Bombarde and Rai Min were both doing their best to destroy the fence between themselves. I finally had to close off the barn to Bombarde and his two adult ewes to keep him from Rai Min. This evening, as I was laboring under 30 pounds of outerwear, and still freezing, I decided Bombarde and his girls couldn't go without that shelter anymore. Of all the pens, theirs is up on a bald hill. The barn blocks north winds, but these storms are blowing in from the south.
My resolve was worn down by my own susceptibility to the cold. I opened up both barn doors, and rammy-lamby wishes came true.
I might get the group disbanded before Rai Min gets bred. But I have to accept the fact that there will probably be consequences for my sympathetic decision. At least she is a nice big ewe lamb. Bombarde was only slightly larger in size. And at least she is being bred for a May lamb.
Ah...I'm reaching...Tsk, tsk, tsk

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Plowing Out

It snowed and snowed yesterday. This morning, all is calm and it's time to plow out.
I've been keeping track of the weather for the past three years and this is the first time we've had such a nice snowfall this early in December for a while. It seems comforting, somehow.
The boys are out playing in the drifts, and maybe they will go skiing later. Meggie ran outside first thing this morning and barked her head off at the new white world. She always lets us know when anything is slightly amiss in the yard. In her mind, she thinks things are supposed to stay just as she left them. Heaven forbid anything change overnight while she's not there to keep track of it.
Winter has arrived in earnest. All the chores seem a little bit harder slogging through a foot of snow. But it is beautiful, none the less.