Friday 6 February 2015

The gang

A neighbour has written, "How are all the gang?" which I am using as a prompt.  I have struggled with where to begin on a new post.  So, here goes...

Ruby continues to recover well from her surgery.  The abdomen has healed beautifully, faster than Millie who is older.  The fresh straw bedding poked her shaven belly and she developed some red welts.  I solved that by putting a t-shirt on her.  In addition some days have been extremely cold and the t-shirt helped with that too.

There are non-dissolving stitches on the insides of both of Ruby's hind legs where the vestigial dew claws were removed.  These have bothered her.  I expect because it involved the bone that this was a painful area.  And so she has licked them a lot.  I purchased the more expensive "no chew" Vet wrap that has a bitter taste and wrapped the wounds.  I know it was bitter since I was short hands and grabbed it with my teeth.  Yep, it's bitter, alright.  I left the barn and returned shortly and figure the wraps lasted about seven minutes before they were off completely.  I didn't bother to try again.  It's been more than ten days now and she is leaving them alone.

And then there are the sleeping arrangements.  I lined Ruby's swimming pool with straw and then when she got a red belly I put the wool blanket over top of that.  Nights it was really cold I gave her a hot pack too.  A few times though I've opened the stall door and Lucy the ewe lamb is standing in the swimming pool.  Lucy is a riot.  She has become so friendly, almost like a bottle baby.  She nibbles at my clothes - which is not always desirable.  I think that Ruby thinks she's a sheep and Lucy thinks she's a dog - !

A blurry photo of Ruby wearing her (my) t-shirt cuddled with a hot pack in her swimming pool.

Millie has kind of moved up to the Big Barn with Ruby out of commission in the Small Barn.  Millie's "suite" as Hubby calls it, in the Small Barn is where Ruby along with Lucy and Clover, are residing.  Millie seems to be sleeping in the hay pile under the overhang.  She can get into the Big Barn but chooses not to do so.  She does have a sleeping spot in the Lean-to of the Small Barn but when the wind blows a certain way this is not the place to be.  Most mornings she has frost in her hair.  Only a few mornings has she seemed cold and once she eats and has a few hugs she's fine.  I did find her under the chicken's light one cold morning as I was finishing up chores....

Humphrey kitty spends less time in the rafters and more time on the hay pile.  I now feed him inside the Big Barn on the hay rather than in the hay storage area at the north of the barn that is inaccessible to the others.  I have seen Humphrey on the ground in the barn too so he is getting around.  Millie seems less inclined to go after him.

A new mate is on order for Humphrey and I heard tonight he is ready to make his debut.  Perhaps on Monday....

The hens are good.  The Reds are all frost bitten on their combs.  Egg production is up.  Today I found a secret stash of five frozen eggs.  In this weather I have to gather the eggs quickly before they freeze.  Frozen eggs are not wasted as they are cooked up for the dogs.

The sheep are all well.  They are eating well, which is very necessary to manage the cold temperatures.  I am feeding some of the second cut hay I got for lambing.  Lambing will stretch from early April to early June.  I kept more sheep than planned and will have exactly enough hay only.  The first cut hay is getting very low so I have increased the second cut hay I am feeding.  The sheep love it.  We have to be careful not to get trampled at feeding time.

When it was milder a few weeks ago the sheep actually went around the barn, but otherwise they go outside to eat and back inside to eat.  Feeding them outside forces them to get some sunshine.  In addition it's less to muck out later!  The sheep eat and then rest.  They find the spot out of the wind and in the sun - if it's out to play that day - and chew their cud.  Afternoon chores begin at three thirty to allow the sheep time to eat before tuck in time at about six.  The times change slightly as the day length changes.

Recent personality drama at my volunteer work has reminded me of what I don't miss about working.  I have considered stepping down however; other than the personality challenges and the long drive, I like the work I do there.   Yet, the whole purpose of joining was to immerse myself in the fibre world to get motivated.  I'm not sure that happens...  I am taking a weaving course beginning this weekend and a workshop or course is always inspiring.

On any given day I am quite happy to be in the barn.