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Snowed In

We’ve had some weather here lately. Worried about the sheep last week, especially the ram lambs, who had no shelter, I tried to get them to go into the barn. But they would not go! I put treats in. I tried everything. So, that was frustrating.

So I drove the truck up the hill and go some straw bales from Gary, (“You think they might nibble on it?” he asked. “They might,” I said. “Yep. They might nibble on it some,” he said.)  I trudged out into the ram pasture with my straw bales and my tarps (they don’t co-ed anymore, not after last year’s big surprises!) and I set up a quick shelter for our little rams, out of tarps and straw bales. It was already sub-zero when I did it, so the quality left something to be desired. But, it was good enough. It worked! Everyone survived the 2-3 days of -30 degrees. Huzzah!

(Incidentally, the temperature went up fifty degrees on Friday, and it was still below freezing! I thought that was funny.)

Afterwards, the shelter I had built looked pretty shabby. The sheep had started to eat the straw supports in the center of the lean-to. I climbed in and adjusted things. I added some ropes and tie downs. Yesterday, though, I deemed it unsuitable and decided that today I would dismantle it.

 

and then,

 

a snow storm.

 

I went out to see the sheep today. Many of them had not bothered to take shelter from the snowstorm, as was evident by their snowy fleeces.

 

Silly sheep.

I counted five dumb little rams, which made my heart pound quickly, as I’m supposed to have nine dumb little rams.

 

I thought perhaps the ram shelter had collapsed on some of them.

I ran (sort of, as best I could) down to the shelter that had been looking iffy, and sure enough, it was collapsed. Were the missing sheep inside, trapped?

I could see, through a little window in the shelter, something move. I couldn’t make out what. Kind of looked like a horn, though.

Snow had taken down the middle of the lean-to. I would have taken a better picture, but I was really worried about the sheep. Did they suffocate? Were they okay? If they were in there, they were completely silent.

 

I dug and dug and pulled tarp away. It was covered with three inches of ice and a foot of snow on top of that. When I finally got it dug out- and cut away some ropes that were supposed to hold things up, but ended up getting in the way- I pulled the tarp back and discovered four healthy, annoyed little ram lambs.

Lamb Solo looks like he’s mad at me. Maybe it’s just because I feel guilty.

 

That little wood wall on the left, which was supposed to make a good wind block, also served to completely trap the four little sheep inside when the roof partially collapsed. But they did have a “window,” a.k.a. a hole in the wall- so suffocation was never a danger. Look in the upper right part of the photo, and you can see the tarp caving in because it’s so full of snow. It was a soft cave-in. I just had ropes and straw bales holding things up. Part of the problem, I think, was that those silly lambs were munching on the supports (which were made of straw)(Gary warned me).

I know. I should have read The Three Little Pigs. Never make houses out of straw, right? But my options were limited. The ground was frozen.

I fixed it all up so this won’t happen again. Tomorrow, a different adventure will come, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

Coloring Inside the Dreams

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Teaching Lambs to Use Gates (Shepherding the Modern Way, Instructional Tape 1.)

In this shepherding demonstration, I utilize voice command to teach lambs how to walk through a gate by telling them to “Go through the doors,” or “use the gate, Lambicans,” in a highly exasperated tone. When their performance is not satisfactory, I let them know by saying, “Seriously? You don’t see that?” because everyone knows that four day old lambs understand sarcasm, and respond well to critique. You can see that the end result is highly satisfactory. I let the lambs know they have done well by muttering “dorks” under my breath. This lets them know who’s boss!

 

Right after I recorded this, and shut the gate, I turned around and noticed that Yoshimi and her new lamb, Spock, were still on the wrong side fo the gate.

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Surprises of Spring

We didn’t breed the sheep this year, because we have enough sheep! We did get two lambs and an adult ewe from a friend last fall. So, that made twenty-five. “When are you lambing?” everyone in the sheep community kept asking.

“We aren’t lambing this year,” I told everyone.

SURPRISE!

Today I noticed a new little wooly one. Where the heck did that come from?

Some observations led me to the mother- one of last fall’s lambs that we got from a friend. She was only about five months old when we got her, but the only explanation is that she was pregnant upon arrival. Either that, or virgin birth. We should probably name him Baby Jesus.

Happy spring, everyone!

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Don’t Look in the Pasture

We got new sheep on Sunday. Two lambs, a black and a white one, and then an old sheep named Sofi. Sofi was Melissa’s pet. All three of these sheep are adorable and very sheep like. They don’t have horns or anything, like our other ones. The new ones are Corriedales. Zanimal wanted to take care of the new sheep, so I didn’t feed them today. I just looked at them over the fence, and decided they looked fine.

After Zanimal got home from school, she immediately went out to feed the new sheep some hay and corn. And then came back with a strange and horrified look on her face.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, but… there’s some pigs or something dead in the pasture? I don’t really know what they are.”

“Maybe they are half eaten pumpkins?” I said.

“Then why do they have hooves?”

We went out to investigate. And, inside the small pasture where we are keeping Sofi and the two lambs, there were… ugh. Weird looking dead things. Looking up close, I decided they were deformed, hairless lambs that Sofi must have birthed. Sofi watched from a distance. So did Zanimal. The pink things had hoofs, and tails, and they had no hair, but they were just the right shape for lambs, except they had some deformity in the face. It was like their jaw bones were soft as pudding.

Both were clearly dead.

Looking at them, I could so easily see how people in old times believed in witches and strange, terrifying things in the night. And terrifying things in the day the day. I was queasy and I asked if Zanimal was okay.

“Yeah, I just want to go play Minecraft now,” she said.

So, I found a container with a lid. I put them into it. I carried it across the yard, and I started to dig a hole.

It takes an incredibly long time to dig a hole. It’s a pet peeve of mine in movies, how little time it seems to take people to dig a hole. Digging a hole to bury something (or someone) is difficult and time consuming. Sometimes, the ground is so hard that you just can’t dig a hole at all. I would like to see a murder mystery show where the entire program, the person is just desperately trying to dig a hole and failing at it. But I digress…

I dug the hole and them put them into it. I apologized to them.

“I’m so sorry. You just weren’t meant to live in this world.”

Then I covered them with dirt.

I reflected that, if they were just a little bit more deformed, I could have put them in a glass jar and sold them to some perverse curiosity shop, probably in San Francisco.

A petting zoo up the road lets people pay to come and watch sheep be born. Those people who own the petting zoo are insane. So much can go wrong! And when it goes wrong, it goes so, so wrong.

My friend Jane used to have sheep, before the internet. She once had a sheep born with two heads. It lived for a couple of weeks. They fed it with a bottle.

“The only problem,” she said, “was that we didn’t know which head to feed.”

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Mulder “Muppet,” Sheep Gigolo

Mulder isn’t really our sheep. Some kind friends have loaned him to us, so that he might get it on with our lady sheep and make more black sheep with great wool! My idea is to eventually make felted top hats with the black wool from all of the sweet little black lambs.

Muppet
Isn’t he cute as a muppet?

This is the second time they have pimped him out to us. The first time, they couldn’t quite remember his name when we picked him up. We thought that tuft of hair on top of his head made him look like a giant muppet, so we named him “Muppet.” Then his family companionators called a couple of days later and said they remembered his name was “Mulder.” By that time, we were already having lengthy conversations with “Muppet,” so the name stuck. I guess Muppet is his street name, for when he’s gigoloing.

Mulder enjoys his work. He’s enthusiastic. The lady sheep sometimes look as if they wish he weren’t quite so eager. But they like him better this time than last year, I think. At least they aren’t running away this time. They huddle together and cautiously peer at him from a safe distance. Give them a few days, though, and they’ll like him a lot (if last year was any indication).

Mulder the Muppet ram
The ram is confident. The ewes are cautious.

He’s a gentler breed than our Jacobs, and also (as you can see) hornless. This makes for an interesting aesthetic: all of the females have big horns, and the male has no horns. Muppet is completely comfortable with his masculinity, and he doesn’t worry about that sort of thing.

Last year’s lambs are a nice bunch, small and black, but all except one are male. We’re hoping for more ewes this year.

 

P.S. Thank you, Mo and Ned, for loaning us Mulder. He’s great.

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Princess Pink Horn

Princess Pink Horn

Princess Pink Horn

Princess Pink Horn will make her debut at the fourth annual Jangle Soapworks Open House on December second, 2016 at the #1 Old School House at 110 North Second Street, in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. The open house will run from 4 to 8 PM. Our little art show/ local maker fair coincides with Mount Horeb’s annual Festive Eve. The whole town will have great deals on gifts of a higher caliber than you are probably used to. Come and take advantage of good deals on one of a kind art! Or, just buy people the usual crap you get them this time of year. It’s the thought that counts, right?

The Open House Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1632605080370546/

 

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Meet the Sheep: Cloudy Wether

Cloudy Wether

Cloudy is such a jerk. He just rams everyone. 

Cloudy was a bottle lamb. He grew up with us feeding him, and he looks at people as his peers. And what do rams do with their peers? Well, they ram them. 

I don’t know what to do with Cloudy. He has great wool, but if you want to go anywhere near him, you have to carry a big stick and poke him with it whenever he looks too excited. He’s actually pretty easy to control. It’s just this idea that we have an animal who charges at us at every opportunity that is a bit bizarre. It’s like staying in an abusive relationship. I currently have a giant bruise on my leg, because I forgot about carrying the big stick the other day, and he rammed me. I scolded him. I don’t think he really understood.

Cloudy Wether
Cloudy Wether

We could butcher him and eat him. Except, you know, he’s our baby Cloudy.

When he was a baby lamb, his mom rejected him. He was so pathetic and sad. He had one ear that wouldn’t stand up. It just flopped over. We thought we still might eat him someday, him being a ram, so we called him, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Then I castrated him, and we changed his name to “Cloudy Wether.” So, you see, we are a bit attached to him. So we keep him in a separate area from the more gentle sheep, and we can admire his massive horns from afar.

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Counting Sheep

Every day, I go out and count the sheep, making sure no one got eaten in the night. I look them over and see how they’re doing. An easy way to tell they are all right is to drive a little farm vehicle beside the pasture, and if they all run after it- well, they’re probably doing okay. I took a movie of this yesterday on my tablet. Then I edited it in the youtube editing feature, which I had never used before. You can tell. I got a little carried away. I hope you find this amusing, anyway.

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No Black Sheep

I don’t want to sound all judgy or anything, but these sheep could have worn something a little less racist looking to go to the Dane County Fair last summer.

 

kkk-sheep-3 kkk-sheep-4 kkk-sheep1

 

These sheep were our neighbors (our sheep were in a pen next to them). Their people were really nice people. Am I weird to think these sheep look like they belong in the KKK?

 

P.S. Update: Yes, they do also look like WW1 flight suits. Bad Ass Husband agrees, too. Okay. I am crazy, then.