Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Project du Jour

When our girls were young, I spent a great deal of time reading aloud.  One year, I read more than 300 books to them. I know. I kept a list!  That did not include the favorite books we read over and over and over. While I don’t remember most of them line for line…the stories and concepts come back regularly.  That’s why EVERY time we start a project, I think of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

There’s always one more thing that needs to be done, something we never could have predicted happens or we go off on some new tangent and find ourselves in the middle of a whole new set of issues.

Every year there is some new challenge, some new twist on the everyday commonplace rhythm of farm life.  It might be a series of weather anomalies, odd animal behavior, or plant and/or pest issues.  Life on the farm is a constant learning experience.

This year is no exception. 

When we turned the ram in with the ewes, it was with the intent that the girls would all get bred and deliver their lambs within a fairly short period of time.  They did breed…and that was good. We didn’t realize that fourteen of them would get bred in a two day span…meaning that the majority of the ewes will be popping their babies at the same time. The predicted arrivals should happen around January 14th.


The Boss generally builds little “jugs”, or mothering on pens to house the ewes and their newborns for a short period after birth. The "jugs" allow the mother and lamb(s) to bond, the tiny newborns are sheltered from the elements and the bigger animals. In the past, we have had somewhere between two and four of these little pens. As the ewes lambed, we just rotated through the jugs, cleaning in between.

With all realization that so many lambs would be arriving in such short period of time, he decided to take action sooner rather than later.  There is nothing worse than trying to build some make-shift pens in the cold, in the middle of the night, with all the ewes flipping out all around you.  No, it would be better to get on the project prior to bringing the ewes to the barnlot.  The sheep are of absolutely NO help when it comes to working in the barn…for that matter, I cannot think of even one instance when they were ever of any help, in the barnlot OR the field.

ewes "helping" during a paddock change

So, prior to the return of the ewes to the barnlot, the Boss planned the job…we made a few hundred trips to town, and he got on the project du jour....the project of the day.  Okay, the project of a couple of days. There are nine jug pens all set up and ready for the serious lambing to begin in a couple of weeks.

Now that he has completed the jug planning/building, he’s on to planning the next project.

…and the next and the next…

           ...those projects...they just keep coming…

                        days of the week!

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