Anyway, what's happening down on the farm? Well, a lot actually. The vineyard has come to life and we are mowing, spraying, weeding, pruning, shoot positioning, and scouting for pests. We've had a fairly dry spring thus far and cooler than usual lately. I have not put in the garden yet, and it's just as well because it's been in the 30s and 40s overnight this past week or so. I did manage to buy all the transplants that will eventually become the garden, but I'm currently tending them on the deck, until I can clear out the beds and get them into the ground. The cool temps have been a blessing for the sheep as I have not yet had a chance to get them sheared. That's scheduled to happen today. I'll post pics of their nakedness as soon as the deed is done.
I did manage to finally rescue the yard from the sheep. Several weeks ago, Greg had to go to Germany for a week and one of the last things he said to me before he left was "I want my yard back. The sheep are eating everything." He was right of course. My landscape has suffered and my garden last year was a total fail because of having to move the sheep around and move hot wire, which they promptly trample, and try to rotation graze them. I managed to let them way overgraze the front section and it's just now starting to recover so they are not allowed out there for the foreseeable future. They can't stay in the vineyard once the new tasty shoots are long enough for them to notice so in the past, they've been around the house way too much. I decided that before Greg got back from Germany, he would have his yard back. I called my neighbor/friend who does fencing and got his opinion and we settled on a date and a price. We ended up fencing off about an acre around the house, which will be "The Yard" and the sheep can have the rest. It adds the complication of additional gates but it's manageable and it gives me multiple areas to rotate them so one area doesn't get scalped down to dirt. Now Greg can plant his fruit tree orchard, and I can do a little permaculture with some wild black raspberries and the elderberries that pop up all over the place if you fail to control them. My garden is safe and there are no more little sheep poop-berries on the driveway. That's a win all the way around.
Well, Edward Scissorhands (not his real name) is here to shear the sheep. Back soon, with pictures...
Two and a half hours to shear 13 squirming and kicking sheep. It takes two people to wrangle them, even though they're in a small 16 x 16 foot stall. I sell the white wool and keep the black. I have 6 fleeces to wash and pick out the burrs, grass and weed seeds, then I plan to send it off to a fiber mill to process into yarn. Every year I say this, and it just keeps piling up. This year will be different because I have plans for this beautiful brown/gray/black wool. I'm going to take a refresher knitting class and put it to use.
Here's what they looked like before all the drama began...
... and here's Lefty being sheared, with Pancho in the background, enjoying Lefty's misery.
They're all back in the pasture now, enjoying grass and weeds, and acting like nothing even happened, other than that fact that they do not appear to recognize each other at the moment.
I'll deal with the black wool tomorrow and get it bagged up in mesh bags, ready for the picking, skirting and washing steps.