Sometimes I fantasize about a real vacation - you know, the kind where you put clean clothes in a suitcase, check to make sure you have your airline tickets, then go off without a backwards glance, to someplace where you get clean sheets every day, someone turns down your bed, you can pick up a phone and food is delivered - you get to read all those gazillion books in your 'to-read' stack. You can get a massage. Cripers. Okay, I wouldn't request clean sheets every day, nor new towels (think of all that water, fuel, soap wasted). I would worry about where that food came from, was it local? Humanely grown? Organic? The book part sounds lovely, though. Hahahaha, how I've changed. And for the better.
So, instead of the aforementioned vacation, my actual vacation consisted of checking off as much as possible from the "to-do" list -- in August-like temps. Seriously, we went from March to August in less than a week. But, the sheep have been moved to grass a couple of times, the lattice house has been cleaned out, the rabbits moved in, as well as their chicken TV - aka, the meat chicks. I've cleaned out the shed, with the exception of two rabbit cages which need tending to, and, most importantly, I've planted the garden. I've still got one bed to go but that is the squash bed and it will be planted this coming weekend, hopefully.
One of the real pluses of being home for (gasp) six days in a row, is that I have been able to spend some quality time with the furred, wooled and feathered folks on the farm. Lots of dog walks, cat scratching, chicken watching, and lamb squeezes.
The youngster hens are now in the little coop with a screen door for viewing purposes. They are at that wonderful tweenage stage where every new thing brings them to a stunned standstill. They are glued to the screen door, watching with obvious fascination the goings-on of the big chickens. The rooster crows and you can almost see the frisson of a thrill running through the little mob. If only they knew...
Speaking of the rooster, I will have to try and work out this camera dilemma. He is one of the most beautiful, stunning roosters I have ever seen. I had heard lots of good things about the breed - Barnevelder - and they really are wonderful chickens. Large, lustrous, gentle. They lay big, dark brown eggs and are calm compared to the rest of the crew. I can see why bringing them back as a breed is such a worthwhile cause. By the time the afternoon heat hits us, the only hens out and about are the Blue Andalusians. The heat doesn't bother them at all. They remind me of Jack Russell terriers - they are always busy.
The lambs are HUGE. Except for Juniper, thank goodness, as I still can go out and grab him for my lamb fix. He is very sweet (like his mother) and lets me snuggle. He likes to sniff my face and seems to like being toted around. I do love that lanolin smell.
Which reminds me of something else I have (almost) checked off my list - skirting Flora's fleeces. I am down to the last two. I don't recommend skirting a thick, VM-filled, heavily lanolined fleece during 90+ degree, humid weather. But I couldn't bear to go outside, and I didn't want to do any of the inside chores - so I happily worked on the fleece. It was hot enough that the cats were pooled on the floor and leaving me alone, which is quite a coup.
During my six days, I had also found a source for sheep minerals. This has been a bugaboo, as I have been trying to find a loose mineral mix that doesn't have molasses (as in the blocks) and has no copper. My vet's husband is a distributor for a manufacturer that I have researched (Vigortone), so I drove up about an hour north to pick up the minerals and mixing salt. It helps to have someone with which to split the order (50 lb bags of each) - thank you, Mel - and it sure makes mixing easier when you can do it in tenths.
All the laundry was done and dried on the line, rhubarb was cooked multiple times. The barn guys got extra baked goods, my grass got mowed, my future yard sale is getting organized, and, all-in-all, it was a productive time 'off''. The only regret I have is not getting the chicken coop cleaned out. It was just too darn hot and humid to tackle that. But it looms in front of me, so maybe this next weekend will be more temperate. And I could sure use that massage....
Coming up? Time to sort out the lambs.