I Love The Other Three Hundred and Sixty Three!

Out of the 365 days that make up a year,
there are only two that I'd like to skip...
the yearly pig vaccination day,
and the day before sheep shearing.
Both of those days are truly nightmares
in the midst of an otherwise quiet, pastoral life.

"Why the day before sheep shearing?" you ask.
Well... it's the day before that we must get the sheep from their yard
up to a stall in the barn for overnight safe-keeping.
That way they are in place and ready to go
when the sheep shearer arrives.

My two sheep are notoriously bad at walking to the barn
(as in the whole neighborhood sometimes has to help).
As soon as the sheep suspect that something different is happening,
they become wary and completely stubborn.
They have evasive maneuvers even the NFL can't top!

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to give it a try all by myself.
I figured they would be less suspicious if I tried to 
nonchalantly move them myself.
I called them in from the front pasture...
yes, they do come when they are called,
"Sheepie, sheepie, sheepie!" in my high-pitched,
come-hither, barn voice.

I was able to get a collar around Hope's woolly neck
and lead her (with crackers in hand) out of her pen
and into the driveway...
one step forward, two steps back.

Little by little, with lots of spins and twirls, we inched our way
up the lane towards the barn.
She tried, at one point, to hide in the juniper bush.

She also launched a major protest and went down on her belly,
refusing to move.
Griz came over, hissing of course, just to see what was happening.

Unable to move a sheep "on strike", I called in the reinforcements,
and Hubbs came to the rescue.

Eventually with a whole lot of pushing and pulling,
we successfully got her into the barn.
Then it was time to get Faith.

Without Hope, Faith was a little easier to lead.
In fact, she took off running, with me clapping and 
whooping and hollering behind her,
and Hubbs holding on for dear life.

Five minutes later, two exhausted and totally stressed-out sheep
were safely stowed in the barn,
and two exhausted and sweaty humans were
beyond glad that that particular ordeal had ended.

They stood facing the wall as if to say,
"If we can't see you, you can't see us!"

Thank the Lord, that little chore is finished for another year.
You may wonder how we will get them back to their yard.
That's the easy part.
We simply open the stall door and they make a run for it...
right back where they belong...
and where they feel safe.
Sheep vaccinations are scheduled for morning, and shearing in the afternoon.
By day's end, the whole ordeal will be behind us,
and the sheep will start the summer somewhat naked.

Unfortunately, we still have pig-vaccination-day looming out in the future.
But that is another story for another day!
(I am getting stressed-out just thinking about it.)

We also had a visit from the farrier yesterday.
Everyone cooperated fully, and the farrier finished in record time.
Such good horses and donkeys!

After four solid days of planting, planting, planting,
my garden is full and finished.

I've planted tomatoes (too many), sweet peppers (tons), hot peppers,
several types of beans for drying,
cucumbers, squash, watermelon,
and herbs.
Also...broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage
onions, potatoes, carrots, beets,
sugar peas, lettuces,
radishes, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and even more lettuces...
which were all put in several weeks ago.

I also planted a large bed full of giant zinnias for cut flowers,
globe amaranth and Hopi red amaranth for dried flowers.

Now all that is left to do is weed, water and wait.
And keep this crazy flock from making nests in the garden boxes!

After everything is better established
I will give you a garden tour.
And yes... Minerva will soon be making an appearance.

In the midst of this social distancing, 
when I am really missing time with friends and family...
I was delighted that so many of you showed up yesterday
for the open house at Maven Haven.
I promise we will spend more time there together...
having tea and dreaming!

I was asked about the dimensions of this little cottage.

It's tiny from the outside,
but once inside, it's 10 X 12 foot interior feels quite spacious...
almost magically!

I am so glad you enjoyed your visit!
I'm looking forward to more... maybe even in person one day!


Lisa said…
My worse day when we had the farm was hay day! Lordy Lordy I hated hay day.
Dianne said…
Just dropping in to say that my beautiful wrap arrived yesterday. I love it and will wear it with pride. I'm so happy I won the drawing. Thank you so much, Bev, for it.
littlemancat said…
Your Maven Haven's beautiful - maybe someday,a cup of tea there and good talk?
I Googled Hopi red amaranth - looks lovely. Are you going to use it for dye?
This N That said…
Sounds like a "not so much fun " time at BHA..Looks like hubs was recently shorn too..Is he as hard to pin down?? I'll bet you don't use Ritz crackers.Your garden looks amazing..You have been busy for sure..It's all ready for Miss Minerva's arrival...Happy shearing..
Maybe you need a sheep herding dog? Just for that one day per year, LOL!
jaz@octoberfarm said…
the sheep story matches our experience every time we have to put willie in the car. this morning was the first grooming in months and he was no easier than before. he becomes dead weight and 2 of us have to puck him up and it's a total struggle. the moment he sees the groomer, he almost jumps out of the car and runs to get in. go figure! is that the sheep's wool rug that you made in maven haven? i love it.
Kim said…
Your once chocolate brown sheep (faith?) is now very light in color. Is that common as they get older?
I wonder if you worked on making that a positive experience on a weekly or more often basis, it would be less stressful for everyone. I have no experience with sheep, so I don’t know what would motivate them. Crackers? Or another special treat they only get when they make the short journey?
Unknown said…
Oh our neighbors had a pet pig and the first time the vet came I was certain they were killing the pig! Wow could that pig scream! I called to check to make sure everything was OK and found out that it was just annual check up time. I can see why you are stressed out if the girls carry on like that too. Pray that sheep day goes well. Lisa G in TN
You have a beautiful farm and such a tender heart for your animals. It's always a pleasure to read your posts.
How do you keep the birds and squirrels from eating your garden? We have half inch chicken wire around ours and that eliminates the chickens and bunnies from eating. Those pesky squirrels wait until the melons are just about ready to pick, climb the fence, and then fill themselves. It's so maddening!! Patty McDonald
farm buddy said…
Life with sheep is good; life with sheep and a Border Collie that knows what to do is SPECTACULAR!!!!
Your farm looks beautiful, as always!
deodar said…
Oh my word, I can sympathize. I have a kune kune barrow, Percival, he recently got his vaccine. There were three women-myself, the vet and her tech-in hot pursuit of one pig. The vet even tried laying flat on the goats' raised platform and sneaking up on him from above. Finally cornered, vaccine administered and just like that the hysterical shrieking stopped and one very po'd pig took off for the farthest reach of his yard.