Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quick, Before it's August!

I tried posting earlier this month, but the pictures weren't posting to the blog properly, so I gave up. But in case you were wondering, the hay was finally delivered, a day or two after I posted. So now we have 60 plus ton of hay lined up in various places for winter feeding. (Big sigh of relief).

I did participate in the Tour de Fleece this year. That was part of what I tried to post earlier this month when Blogger was giving me fits. I do have fibery pictures, but they are slightly out of date, so I think I will take new pictures and post those next month. I did not spin as much as I would have liked, but I did spin a bit. I was very pleased with having spun any amount, as it has been so freaking hot and humid here. Of course, much of the country is actually hotter than we are, but there are reasons I live in Wisconsin - one of those being family, of course, but one of the other reasons is it is cooler here than in regions to the south of us. And Milwaukee (about 30 miles east of us) received about 11 inches of rain in July - I think they said we normally get about 3 and 1/2 inches. June was also wet. The pastures look very nice, due to all the heat and rain - so do the mosquitoes.

In pictures today, I give you Chickie. She is the sole survivor of our previous batch of chicks - from several years ago. She and her flockmates would roost in the barn, usually above the lambing jugs, which tends to get messy, if you know what I mean. But over time, coons or something got to the rest of the flock, so now she is alone. Which makes her very friendly, so here she is on our deck. Soon, though, she will have help in keeping the bug population down, as our spring chicks our getting very big and some of them will move here to our part of the farm (they are currently residing in the coop across the road at Mom and Dad's). I hope they adjust to their new home and I hope Chickie adjusts to them (not very original with the names, am I?)

Before the mosquitoes moved in this summer, I managed to get a few hanging planters planted. Petunias grow pretty well for me (as does the Queen Anne's Lace, which you might notice encroaching on the pots) - I don't seem to have much luck with pansies or violas, though.

But what I always seem to have a bumper crop of is thistles. I probably shouldn't show this picture to my fleece customers - but they are awfully pretty and I love the birds and the butterflies that feed off of the nectar and the seeds. We do try to get rid of as many as we can, but they seem to get away from us every year.

And for the obligatory sheep picture, here are the ewes and lambs out on pasture.

We tried something different this year, in that we put the Shetland ewes and lambs in with the big whites. The Shetland pastures get a bit sparse as the lambs grow, so, since the other girls have a large pasture, we thought they might like to share. The pastures are adjacent, so all it took was opening a gate. It makes it easier for the shepherd (me), as I only have one ewe/lamb group to rotate every day or so and one group of rams to feed (the rams are a bit hard on fences, so they are more confined and are fed hay most of the year - but there are only five of them, so it's not too bad - and, Larry and Nicholas feed them more often than not, so it's really not too bad for me!) The funny thing is - sheep are such creatures of habit - even though the ewe flocks have been merged, the Shetlands usually go to their original area at night and the big, white girls stay in the area that they were used to.

Well, if I don't get this posted soon, it will be August. Forecasts for the coming week are for temperatures still up in the 80's - I would kill for some highs in the 70's - and there is more rain in the forecast. At this rate, school will be starting and I will have accomplished much of nothing this summer (did I already say that I don't do well in hot, humid weather - no ambition, no desire to do anything but sit in front of the fan, maybe knitting a dishcloth. Watching TV is about as active as I get in this weather). But soon, regardless of the temperature, we will have to take the culls to market, lambs will have to be weaned, decisions will have to be made as to which lambs to keep and which to sell, sheep will have to be moved to new pastures. Maybe August will be cooler - one can always hope!