It went from snow on the ground to warm and sunny really quickly.  Now all of a sudden we are faced with getting early Spring tasks done fast.  We have to repair the greenhouse.  We have to get seeds started.  We will have to start thinking about getting the hot house organized, a spot for pigs prepared and clear the garden for rototilling.  Plus I am hoping to rototill and replant one of the fields when it dries out enough.  Here is part of the garden with the hoop and green house that need work.  Tom bought bricks and windows for the greenhouse already.

I was noticing today how much louder spring is than the winter.  You can hear more birds chirping and the frogs have started croaking.  I tried to capture these sounds for you, but I kept being interrupted by sounds of lawn equipment, motorcycles and planes, also sounds of spring.  I didn’t think you wanted to hear those sounds though.

I have been Spring cleaning.  I have washed windows, washed the curtains, steam-cleaned rugs, scrubbed grout and organized some of our outbuildings.  It is amazing how much lighter the house is after cleaning the windows.

In animal news, the old Welsummer rooster has his harem back, and he has started crowing again.  Another nice sound to hear!

And today I noticed a father and his two sons at the hay feeder.  The resemblance is striking.  They are (from right to left) Wendel, Hansel and Bambam.

Happy Spring!


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A Change in the Barnyard

We butchered three red and black young roosters on Tuesday.  At least two of these roosters were mean and beating up on our old Welsummer rooster.  One may have been innocent.  But anyway, they are in our freezer now, and the barnyard has changed.  There is an emerging nice, good-sized and handsome rooster.  We are looking for a replacement for top rooster as our Welsummer is getting old.  He may be the one.

He actually does have two legs.  He was just holding it up for the photo shoot.  Here is another photo showing two legs.

Our old Welsummer is perking up after the harassment has ended.  Here he is eating some worms I exposed for him.

There is a group of Faverolle cross roosters that tend to hang out in the front of the barn. So far they have been well-mannered.  One of them may be the chosen one.

This guy has turned into the mean rooster.  He is constantly attacking another rooster that looks just like him but does not have the speckles.  He is not bothering anyone else but man is he mean to that one poor rooster.  It is only because he is scrawny that he is still alive.  But that opinion might change.

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Our New Winching Stand and Spring Sheep Maintenance

Here are the majority of our sheep penned up and ready for their maintenance.  You can see that they are nervous.

There are three older Shetland ewes (Heidi, Wilma and Moni) in their nursing home pen.

Plus there are two lame Shetland wethers (Hazelnut and Huey) in their pen to keep their feet dry.  And then there was only wily Shetland ewe Jemima who refused to get caught in the pen.  So she was our first (victim?) on our new stand. Here she is all winched up and ready for hoof trimming and copper bolusing.

Here is the front view  We are using our old head-piece.

Here is the view from the back.  It was fairly easy to move them onto the stand from the back and move them to the head stand to be secured.  Then winch them up.

stand base

Here in the winch mechanism.

winch on stand

Here is Tanya, our Gotland mix ewe, on the stand.  She is a fairly tall sheep, and the stand did not get tippy at all with her on it.  And you can see how I do not need to bend to trim her hooves.

tanya on stand

And here is one of our shortest Shetland sheep, Harlen, on the stand. I still do not need to bend much at all to do his hooves.

harlen on stand

Here I am with Bambam on the stand.

bambam on stand

The biggest hazard we had was the chickens.  They like to eat the hoof bits as they fall to the ground.  So you have to be careful when you bring the stand down that you do not accidentally squish one of them.

hazard chickens

The height was even good for Tom to give the copper boluses.

Tom giving copper boluses easily

Here is Hodor on the stand.  He was not being terribly cooperative, and Tom threatened to make him into a White Walker.  I may have been tired at this point, but it made me crack up.

Hodor on stand

And here is our Cotswold Dete, our fattest sheep, on the stand.  It held her up well too, and there were not problems with winching her weight up and down.  There was one other funny thing Tom said (again I may have been tired).  I thought it would have been nice if we had heated up our wood fired hot tub to use after the maintenance.  He said he would get the gardener on it.  I laughed so hard.

Dete, our fattest sheep, on the stand

And here is Wendel, another of our short Shetland sheep getting his head piece adjusted for his height.

Wendel with Tom on stand

So the new winching stand was a resounding success.  The only change we will make is to cut the length of the head-piece so the bottom of it does not hit the ground when we are winching the stand down.

Tom is willing to make one for you too for $400, if you are interested.  He is also planning on using these concepts to make a winching stand for his motorcycle.  So you can let us know if you are interested in a custom stand for items other than sheep.  As we continue to get older, this stand is going to be a back saver, and we are completely thrilled with it.

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