Sunday, May 31, 2015

Uh-oh...I Lost My Sheep

In a matter of days it happened. The pasture went from lush to waist-high.

And, when Raven, the border collie, couldn't see the sheep through the grass, I knew it was time to do something.

So, I've started mowing the pastures.

We usually mow pastures about three times a year. In early June, July and late fall. It's a process that crawls along--the tractor speed varies from 1-2 mph. And there are acres to mow.

But it's a break from digging, rototilling, weeding and barn cleaning. When mowing, I watch the swallows swoop behind me, scooping up bugs. I savor the breeze brushing my skin. And, I have hours to think and daydream.

When finished--and we're not there yet, I have a place to work the dog.

And the sheep look lovely on freshly mowed pastures.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Stop and Watch the...

It's easy to get caught up in the farm's endless "to-do" list. We spent the weekend, mowing, trimming, tilling the garden, weeding, removing thistles from the pastures, planting, cleaning stalls, vaccinating lambs...

But, every once in a while, I was reminded to stop and enjoy the farm. Mama Hen and her chicks were a constant source of entertainment.

Hatched six days ago in a lamb stall, they spend their days scratching and pecking. Here's Mama Hen giving a lesson.

Sometime another hen ventures into the stall.Mama Hen is quick to puff up, but then they settle into scratching and pecking again. Here's Mama Hen and the Intruder.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Never Underestimate a Determined Hen

In February, when temperatures stayed below zero and I pulled a bale of hay from the barn, I discovered the hen's first nest. Frozen eggs fell to the ground.

Undeterred, the hen moved to a new location--bales of hay closer to the ground.

But those bales disappeared as winter lingered and lambs were born.

The hen gave up on making nests in the hay bales and moved to a lamb pen.

The grass greened, and the lambs and ewes moved to pasture.

The hen sat and sat.

Most mornings, I felt sorry for her and offered her a bowl of grain and some water. She squawked at me, but accepted the food.

I calculated the days.

When it passed 21 days--the incubation period for eggs, I told her to give up.

She ignored me.

And, this morning, I discovered why. As I was feeding, I saw a chick peeking from her feathers, and then another.

This evening there are three chicks.

And I am leaving her alone.