On Thursday, after dithering around about how I was going to get everything accomplished in the one non-rainy day (or so they said) this weekend, I ended up taking Friday off to gain another dry day (or so they said). A genuine Mental Health Day. I had an appointment to get my hair cut early in the morning, then came home, put on my Hazmat suit and tackled the chicken coop. Every second wheelbarrow-full, the skies opened up and it poured. It took me six loads. And then there was the scraping. I did not, however, give it the white glove treatment (hahahaha), so there are still a few things that need doing - sweeping down the ceiling and walls, cleaning the windows, repairing a window, replacing their door. But it is cleaned out, the nesting boxes are all filled with clean, fluffy shavings, and I needed a break.
So I had a glass of iced tea and tackled the goat barn. I took out their feeder and dragged a cattle panel through two paddocks and three gates (that was SO much fun, I just can't wait to reverse the process), and fashioned a fence that bisected their run. It just fit, so I was greatly relieved. I managed to lure the goaties to the other side (non-barn) of their area, then tied about fifteen pieces of baling twine on both ends to secure it. Then there was the issue of luring in the sheep and llama to a much smaller and alien space. I did what I always do - I started with Norman. If there is food involved, Norman is first. If Norman goes first, the other two can't stand it and are close behind. That just leaves helping Apria and her challenged sight find her way through a strange gate. But it worked.
Just as I was settling my stinky, sweaty self into a chair with a glass of wine and a two-dog blanket, a series of events had me doing a fast and furious clean-up and then I went out for a pulled pork dinner with one of my favorite neighbors. His wife wasn't up to it, so there I was. Since this is a small town, we were teased unmercifully and I am sure the rumor-mill was churning away. Let them talk - I had her permission.
Saturday dawned overcast and murky. My shearer was supposed to arrive around 8:30A, so I did a little fancy footwork and got the llama and sheep separated and sheep closed in the goat barn. The goats, meantime, managed to survive their new surroundings barnless (they did have a nice, roomy Dogloo) and spent the morning screaming at me. I was inches from hanging a "Free to ANY home" sign around Sage's neck and putting her out at the curb. My shearer did not show up until a quarter past ten. So much for the rest of my plans. The wait did afford me the chance to actually get organized and ready for him, however, so I am not complaining. I had my CDT vaccine portioned into syringes, the wormer drench and drencher, and the hoof trimmers. He brings his own, but I prefer using mine on my sheep - because I KNOW that I disinfect them. Joe always brings his sidekick - his son, Carter. Carter's been coming with him since he was a toddler (he's now about six) and it's rather nice to have him old enough that I don't have to run around fearing for his life. He settled under the pines on an upturned bucket and played some video game, bursting into gales of laughter every now and then (Joe says he's a ham) and mimicking Sage to the point where she gave up. I may have to hire him.
It didn't take long to get everyone finished and I was shocked when Norman stood naked-ish. He is very thin. I realized that I had been treating him like an Icelandic - and not feeding him grain. Norman NEEDS grain, poor boy. The other piece of business was to deal with Linden's hoof rot. Gak. Thankfully, Joe did what needed to be done, as I don't have the heart to trim down that hard. It always leads to bleeding - but it is necessary to start the real healing process. So there I was, hoping that no one from PETA would come by. I had one slightly malnourished sheep and another with a great bloody foot. My nice routine is now on its ear*, as I have to find a way to feed grain to Norman twice a day - without the rest of them (except Apria) - and I have to start the Kopertox again on Linden's hoof. I was happy to see that the bleeding stopped fairly quickly, but it is still sore and he barely walks on it. And, just to make everything all tidy and finished in a pretty bow, the temperatures dipped, the rains haven't stopped, and my sheep are naked. At least they have their nice dry run-in shed.
By the time I got everything cleaned up and put away, it was too late to go to the presentation at the library. I was disappointed, but what can you do? And, since my coffee date had bailed on me, too, I put on my gloves, grabbed some seed packets and my stirrup hoe and headed out to the garden. I did a lot of weeding and planted bunching onions, collards, chard, and kale. This way, I am guaranteed we will get a frost. Just to make sure that I squeezed in enough to take advantage of the dryish day, I also repaired and reinforced the bottom of the POS chicken coop I had gotten from a friend. I managed to get it done before the rain started, thanks to all the supervisors there to 'help' me. My Speckled Sussex, Dotty, is extremely insistent on helping.
Part of working so hard was my desire to block out the news I received on Friday. One of my favorite new friends - the young farmer I had visited in January who was building up a farm on which to raise his young family - had been killed in an ATV accident earlier in the week. He leaves behind his lovely, young family - wife, toddler daughter and a baby on the way. It shook my foundations. It made me indescribably sad.
On the Lovey front, she has managed to charm everyone she has met. I took both granddogs up to VT on Sunday to do errands, and for Lovey to meet her grandparents. She sashayed up to my mother and gave her the adorable look - it was over in seconds. She is such a good dog; smart, joyful, funny. I had left her in the house twice with no supervision and the only casualty was a corner of a piece of newspaper. Last night, as I was getting ready to move her to her crate for the night, she placed upon me such a mournful gaze that I caved in and let her sleep on the sofa next to Scrappy all night. I am very pleased that she is making such good progress. She even mastered "sit" in three tries. Of course, it MUST involve a treat to work. More work needs to be done.
Then there is the sharing issue....
This morning's routine was still off - as it was the first time I had to paint Kopertox on Linden's hoof and he was his usual self - eely. I managed to paint his hoof, his leg and my sleeve. Things are fragrant again. Norman got his dish of grain, but I am struggling with a way to feed him without having to give the Icelandics anything - not even an oat. This is not easy.
On the WIP front, I am down to sewing on the last strip of my potholder rug! With any luck, it will be finished by Wednesday. I am happy about the way it turned out and am thinking about working something up that is similar, but makes use of the 420 fleeces I have managed to accumulate. Make that 423. Pictures to come.
In the kitchen - I made a batch of GF blueberry muffins from a new cookbook and they were good! Still not like the regular, but tasty. I used up the last of my wild blueberries - I still have a gallon freezer bag left. The muffins were a hit in the barn Sunday morning, but I think those guys would eat just about anything. I also roasted a chicken, made some awesome GF crackers and my favorite Carrot Rice. Being rather desperate for anything green, I harvested a big mess 'o dandelion greens and cooked them up with some bacon and balsamic vinegar. Ah....
*This makes me think of a new 'old' saying that my dairy farmer neighbor told me Sunday morning - "When the oak tree leaf is the size of a chipmunk's ear, plant corn." Hoot!