Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April Showers....bah humbug! (Jen)

It just goes along with Spring. Every year I now curse the skies about this time and I despise the merry saying "April showers bring May flowers".

Bah humbug. I believe we've gotten around 7 inches of rain in the past 5 days and its still raining as I type this. I actually used to like rain, I like the dreary days, the gloomy skies and the rolling thunder. What I don't like is MUD. I really hate mud. As a kid growing up on a dairy farm, mud was our enemy. Cows create mud pits that when you walk thru them, you loose your boots...and then your balance. No fun. Thankfully sheep don't create as deep a mud pit as cows do but with this much rain, it just doesn't matter. Mud is mud, it all sucks.

Today I drove home from work in driving rain. Thankfully I had my JD Robb book on tape to keep me sane. By the time I got here, the rain had let up some and I trudged in to get my work clothes on to do chores. Normally I don't mind chores, especially when lambs are involved. However, when mud is involved, I don't. I mixed up Eve's meager milk ration (we're beginning weaning, thats a whole nuther blog), grabbed the Pyrs food and headed out. I could see Daisy's head peeking out the door, waiting for dinner. I scooped up grain for the ewes, emptied out the water from the troughs and soon as the grain hit the troughs, they all come flying out the door. They're no fools, they don't want to stand in the rain any longer than necessary. I slosh back for more grain to fill the creep feeder for the lambs. I enter the lambing shed and ICK, it is really nasty in there. That happens when the sheep spend all day in it and the rain is soaking the bedding around the openings. I continue on to fill Eve's bucket with milk before she tackles me and then go to the creep feeder to fill the lambs trough with grain.

I should explain how the creep pen is set up. Basically its surrounded on 3 sides by cattle panels, the other side is the wall. We cut a hole in one cattle panel just big enough for the lambs to go thru so the ewes can't get in. This allows the lambs to eat as much grain as they want, when they want. They don't over do it because they're still getting a milk from mom.

Well, today while I was pouring the grain in the creep feeder, Rose, one of the yearling shetland/BFLs, decided to sneak in (stupid me left the gate slightly open). She's kinda skittish so when I attempted to shoo her out, she decided the hole cut for the lambs was her only escape. Didn't seem to occur to her that the gate was was still standing open and was how she got in (duh). Needless to say, she didn't entirely fit thru the hole. The force of her attempt, removed the cattle panel gate from its homemade hinge and off she went across the shed with the gate around her middle. She didn't get far. She headed for the door to the garden and got stuck. So I grabbed her back legs which were tangled in the panel, untangled them and pulled her back thru. She was quite relieved.

However, by this time the rest of the ewes had easily gained entry to the creep feeder. Not so hard when the gate is missing. Ever try getting ewes away from a trough full of grain?? Not so easy. I banged the bucket on their heads, grabbed ears and necks but every thing I grabbed was slick with rain, mud and lanolin...and soon so was I. Tell me again why I do this??

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