Saturday, April 15, 2006

A really crazy, very busy, incredible day!

The day began with a visit from a family that wanted to buy a couple of pet goats. After two hours, their five children couldn't decide on just two, so they got three. It was really fun helping them to pick out their new pets.

After they left, we had lunch and talked about the afternoon. We knew we had very ambitious plans! First on the agenda was building a bridge across the creek. We put up fencing and a shelter over there last fall when the creek was down because of the drought. Of course, the drought ended, and now we can't get the goats over there to those wonderful lush pastures filled with grass, flowers, delicious weeds, and crunchy bushes that goats so love! Mike and Jonathan worked on the bridge, while Margaret and Katherine and I worked on preparing a multi-purpose shelter to accept the chickens that we've been brooding in the barn for the past two months. Our task was made mentally more challenging by the fact that one of the ewes currently in the pasture was in the shelter acting like she mght be in labor, and we didn't want to move her if she was in labor. Our concern was heightened by the fact that we had been surprised by a lamb this morning! It was a ewe that was not supposed to be bred, but when I looked in my planner, I saw that a ram was loose five months ago. So the good news is that we know who Daddy is and can register the ewe lamb.

So, the girls and I spent an hour watching White Feather to see if she was just exhausted from being in the final weeks of pregnancy -- or if she was indeed going to lamb soon. After a bit of waiting while yearling goats climbed all over us, I suggested that we could take this opportunity to trim the hooves on those goats. Margaret got the hoof trimmers and we gave the goats pedicures while keeping an eye on the ewe. After an hour, I was convinced that she was acting just like all the rest of the ewes who are so very pregnant, so it would probably be okay to move her to the other pasture.

By then, the bridge was ready to be put in place, and although I did little more than offer moral support for this project, it was thrilling to see it actually happen. Mike and the kids carried the bridge down to the creek and sat it on top of cement blocks. Yes, it will wash away in the first flood, but it is also tied to a post, so hopefully it won't go too far. As long as it isn't busted up, we'll be able to bring it back and continue using it.

After we got the bridge in place, we decided to move the sheep to their new pasture. Rather than trying to move all 12 like we usually do, this time, we moved whatever number would go into the adjoining pasture, and then we'd close the gate and get those to their final destination. Then we went back and repeated the process. It only took three times to get everyone to their new pasture. I'd still love to have a herding dog though!

Then I used a pan of kelp to tempt three yearling goats to go across the new bridge to the fresh pastures on the other side of the creek. Everyone else grabbed a goat by the collar and walked them across. Most walked across the bridge nicely, but Coco freaked at the sight of it, so she had to be carried, and Georgie panicked halfway across, but Margaret was able to coax him the rest of the way.

As the sun started to set, we put the front wall on the shelter that we were transforming from a sheep shelter to a chicken shelter. We decided it was too late to actually move 100 chickens, because no one had even begun the regular evening chores yet. We'll do that tomorrow.

The only down side to today is that we found so many ticks on ourselves, we lost count. This is already the worst year for ticks we've ever had. Last year was so great. We only found a total of three or four ticks on everyone in the whole family. Each person today found that many on ourselves.

Overall, this was the kind of day that I truly love! I am so tired, and my muscles are so sore, but I feel that we accomplished so much. I suppose I'm probably experiencing the type of euphoria that a runner gets after finishing a race. What a genuinely wonderful day!

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