Wednesday, October 20, 2010

lessons from the farm

I’m feeling it folks feeling the burn of a long season a long week and a long day. There is just so much to do on this farm. We’ve put our ram in with our ewes so breeding has begun and we’ve managed I think to get at least six goats bred so far, and I say I think because when Linda and I came home a couple of days ago the buck/ram pen door had finally given way, and every goat, sheep and llama was in the ram and buck pen. Yea. So this date is marked on the calendar as a maybe ½ the flock and ½ the herd was bred. I was only planning on breeding 10 Does that’s all I can really handle milking by hand, and that’s about 5 gallons a day during peak. I have 20 does so it’s now probably not likely but possible that more have been bred, I will know in 150 days what went on that day.

It turned out the break in was a blessing too, it gave us the opportunity to separate the yearling sheep that we did not want to bred and leave the rest in with the ram. The goats were easy to get out they come to us and pine for attention, so knowing goats we just had to pat em’ on the head, “goats will be goats”. So now we’re ready to roll. We’ve been working on a new shelter out in the pasture for the breeding ewes that’s almost complete and we’ll be turning them out on fresh pasture hopefully by Friday.

We’ve had a terrible coyote problem and have lost three lambs in the last two weeks. We have two dogs and a llama but there is just so much area for them to cover and they go for the smallest weakest ones, the ones who wander away from the flock. They strike about every 4 days before sun up and 2 days ago they had the audacity to leave their calling card 50 feet from the barn, so we’ll be doing some intervention. We have a friend that is an avid hunter who has volunteered to help us. We’re getting their pattern and habits down so that gives us a slight window into a solution. The thing is we have a lot of land here and a lot of woods and really no neighbors so its firkin wild kingdom out there. We’ve gotten away with very few losses this year comparatively. So I have to keep things in perspective. This is a flock management issue. The dogs are doing their job the best they can, the llama too and now it’s up to us to intervene.

On that note we’ll be increasing our guard dog population and bringing two new Great Pyrenees pups in. We’ve chosen Pyrenees because of their guarding capabilities and their gentleness toward humans and children. We do have a lot of folks and kids come through the farm, Pyrenees generally do not find humans a threat to the flock but there are other breeds that will, and we just can’t take that chance. So, Great Pyrenees seem to be the best choice for this farm. The two that we have now are wonderful! I hear them barking all night. I love that sound!

The dark morning is coming to an end and the fog is heavy on the pasture and the pond. What a beautiful sight, I love fall. I have to remember to stop and lift my head and not miss it, in spite of all the work and chaos I can’t forget to breathe.

No comments: