Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rain, rain, go away

If nothing else, we can always say that the weather is interesting here in Kentucky. Last week it was 4 degrees one morning, yesterday and today in the 50's and then tonight it is supposed to be in the single digits again. Standing at my kitchen window this morning, I noticed the activity around the bird feeders could only be described as frantic. Somehow the birds always seem to know when the weather is going to change drastically. The ice on the koi pond is almost gone now, but will be back again tomorrow.

The sheep are standing out in the field, rather stoically with their backsides to the wind and rain. I would so much rather this moisture come in the form of snow. Slipping and sliding around in the rain while putting out the sheep feed and hay is one of the worst farm chores, as far as I'm concerned. Everything and everyone stays so much cleaner when the ground is frozen. When I open the gate for the ewes to come into the grain feeding area, there is always a mad scramble and I usually end up soggy from being up against their fleeces as they rush by.

About this time of year I start really looking at those fleeces and wondering what sort of shape they are going to be in at shearing. The shearer will be coming in about a month, so that I can get their fleeces off before lambing starts. I know--it sounds cruel to shear them when it is cold, but it is better for all concerned. The fleeces are very clean so far, because the ewes have not been in the barn (and therefore, not sleeping in the straw and pulling hay out of the feeders onto themselves and everyone around them). Also, without their fleeces it is much easier for me to analyze their physical condition and, most importantly, if they are getting ready to go into labor. The lambs will drop down to get into position and this causes the ewe to hollow out in the flank area. With 5-6 inches of wool covering, it sometimes doesn't show. The actual delivery process is much cleaner without all that wool and it is much easier for the lambs to find the milk bag. Once the ewes are shorn, they will be kept in the barn, where it is much warmer, until they have grown a little wool back to insulate themselves.

There have been some rumblings of thunder off and on today, which explains why the Great Pyrenees have not been seen. Two of the three are terrified of storms and head for the barn at the first sign a storm is coming. Abby, who 10 years old now, is the most traumatized. She finds something to get under inside the barn and stays there until it is over. Buddy, who is 9 years old, has only been with us a few months and he is also nervous when it is stormy. Only Hannah, our youngster at 5 years seems oblivious, which is strangely surprising because she is more weird about other things than any Pyr I have ever known.

One of the constants on the farm is awareness of the weather. I have friends living in town who are able to go from house to attached garage to parking garage without ever actually being exposed to the weather. Living on the farm with livestock to care for means being out in it every day. Most days I find that a good thing---not so sure about today!


  1. I get to be your first comment! You are off to a good start. You have great photo opportunities with your setting. I hope you share some of your spinning and knitting soon! Can't wait.

  2. Thanks so much for your good wishes, Susan. Spinning and knitting content coming soon!