At this writing, at dusk on March 11, the wind is out of the north at 31 miles per hour, gusting to maybe 45. It was warm until mid-afternoon, when the wind rose, and the sheep were reluctant to eat their breakfasts until it cooled off, the result being that when their evening rations, oats and alfalfa, were put in the manger, half of them were still out on the pasture and had to be urged in.
That feels like Summer, and we’re not yet into Spring. Lambing will start at the end of the month: are we ready?
The senior ewes are ready. Not having wristwatches, they’ve handled the Time shift; they go out to pasture a couple of hours after sunrise, and come in an hour before sunset. These days they’re wearing nine or ten pounds of wool and carrying a lamb or two. Last year’s lambs are still with them and they greet every occasion for travel as a chance to leap and caper, so it’s time – high time – to move them away from the expectant moms.
The dogs are looking forward to the mid-April respite from the cares of coyote duty, when coyote pups are born and the packs don’t roam as much, but in the meantime they keep a careful count that all are safe. What will determine the distribution of sheep is grass. It’s been a dry Winter. When will we have cool-season grass enough that it won’t all be eaten in the first day or two? And the warm-season grasses, the bluestems and Indian grass and gramas, when can they be pastured? Have we enough hay until then, whenever “then” occurs?
In the meantime, the Gerania are pressing against the window panes and Artemis the cat is beginning to look heavy laden. We’ve checked the flock for parasites and they’re all vaccinated for Over-eating disease and Tetanus. The lambing pens are in place.
We’re gaining. Are we ready?
©Jerry Wigglesworth, March 2014.