Monday, September 19, 2011

Not an easy life

So here is what happened; This summer things got so hot and dry here that it was impossible to move the electronet fence that we use to rotational graze our sheep. Not only that but we were having breakouts quite regularly and once out the 78 lambs and 48 ewes would make a B-Line to the then semi-productive garden. I called Premier the fencing company I buy from to ask advice. The gentleman on the phone told me it being so dry the sheep wont get the charge. so there is nothing I can do, but he said if I'm having trouble getting the posts in I can take my drill out and drill pilot holes for the spikes.

Okay that is and would be impossible, I have 7 fences each with 14 posts double spiked. and I'm gonna drill holes in the ground??? Then I found out the company is based in Iowa. Lush green, soft earth and a even soggy. No one, who hasn't witnessed a drought of this severity could imagine what life has been like it Oklahoma. But anyway....

I moved all of the lambs and ewes into the 10acres I use for the goat pasture.Its completly fenced in and very secure. I figured its better just to feed hay etc and not have to worry about chasing sheep for a little while. A little while ended up to be longer than I ever imagined. The beautiful goat pasture is no pasture at all now. Its pretty bad and I'll need to make sure I can let the pasture rest for about 6 months or longer before I put anymore animals on it. It is well fertilized.

The rain we had off and on was like a long lost friend you worried about constantly. When were they coming back? were they alright??? why haven't they called or written? Then they just show up. No questions, no answers just their presence is enough and you hope they stay long enough to catch up. But just as swiftly as they came, they leave. No promises of a return.

The rain allowed me to put the lambs back out on pasture. They needed it. We weened two weeks ago and have been in a very small area. The ewes are still socializing with the goats and non are too happy about it, but that's how it must be right now. I'm able to let the goats and the ewes out onto another area that is not fenced and so far its an arrangement that is helping. The ewes are coming back with fat bellies and the goats milk has been wonderful. But I'm back to moving fences at least for the lambs and I pray the rain or at least heavy morning dews will make my job just a little easier. Its really staggering to me how long and how much effort it is to move these fences. Then add in getting water, shelter and power to the fences and you seriously have racked up some hours.

But its not forever, in November 12 lambs will go to the processor and in one more month 12 more and then 12 more the month after that. so I have to keep in mind what I am doing is necessary, good for the animal, good for the end result, which is meat. When I look at it those terms I think it shouldn't have to be easy all the time. I should be putting as much thought into this as I am. I've never once expected or demanded an easy life. But never asked for a hard one either. So I teeter. some days are better than others and some days I want to bury my head in the sand and cry. Today I'm up and grateful and ready to take on some big projects. We're moving our hoop houses so were disassembling and getting the new location ready. Next week we'll plant them for our winters' harvest.

1 comment:

Sustainable Change said...

Reminds me of watching the Beekman Boys slaughter their pigs for meat for the winter in the episode, Extra Value meal. Changes the whole way you look at the food you eat...I can't remember Brent's exact words but never again would he drive thru McDonald's for 99 cent burger because he now understood the value of the sacrifice of the animal.
It can't be easy...Best Wishes for a wonderful fall.