Sunshine arrived for two full days over the past weekend. Our farm work seems to always increase in spring, due to so many things needing attention now. I used to get concerned if the majority of seeds were not started and showing growth by now, but over the years we have learned to not expect the warm weather until June. The month of May can come and trick a person into thinking the cold weather is gone, but really it's not the case. Last year, we lost our cherry crop due to late spring snow.
Tuesday after work, I started some seeds finally! A few varieties of lettuce, Walla Walla onions, kale, spinach, and cabbage. I will continue to start more seeds this week. Also that evening, my husband took our tractor to help a new next door neighbor move some old concrete fence posts off his land. The new neighbor is taking out the old fencing, and putting in some new fencing.
Over the weekend, I was able to harvest wool from one of my ewes. She certainly gave me trouble the whole time. Her name is Clover. Clover is the 'boss ewe' of the flock, and does try to 'boss' me too (when she doesn't want to be restrained). She's a large ewe and is very strong. She's not mean or anything of that sort, just insists on having her own way.
An interesting twist to her is that she is easiest to catch. Out in the field, I can walk up to her and slip a halter and lead on her, and she walks beautifully right beside me. She does not need to be in a small area to be caught, as my other ewes need to be. Shearing her over the weekend has made me question some of my previous thoughts on this way of life, can we really do this (shearing ourselves)? Prayerfully, I am in question. I also had to remind myself several times, 'I am not a quitter'. While working with her, I felt so overwhelmed and wanted to walk away from her. But I did not. I believe a person can not learn, if they quit.
I wonder if last year, I may have had beginners luck with the shearing. When the final sheep is done being shorn, I will be able to answer this question. I still need to do some 'clean up shearing' on Clover (her hind end, legs, and udder area). I will continue to work on her during the evenings, little by little.
Despite almost cutting the tip off my finger with the clippers this weekend, I continually keep in the forefront of my mind, 'Don't cut the sheep'. You see, sheep have wrinkles of skin, in certain places (elbow, flank, neck, etc. and some sheep have more winkles than others) and it can get caught in the clippers, if your not careful. All it takes is a movement from the sheep the wrong way and the sheep can be cut. I accidentally cut a sheep last year, due to her kicking the clippers out of my hand. The clippers flipped upward and cut under her chest. I felt horrible. She didn't require stitches, thank goodness.
Along with feeling a bit overwhelmed in shearing, I found one of our laying hens had been taken away by an eagle. We don't have predator problems with coyote, fox, raccoons, or dogs (the area is secured for these type of predators). Our predator problem is with the Bald Eagles! It is against the law for a person to shoot them, although there have been several times I've certainly felt like doing it. It is just enough, to come upon the eagle feasting on your 'still alive' laying hen, then only to have to put the hen out of her misery yourself! This time around, the eagle carried this one off, and we were left behind with a remembrance of several piles of her black feathers. Many people have a belief that chickens are stupid, and do not give a second thought about them, when something happens to them. We disagree. As we observe each of the animals here, we don't find any of them stupid. They each are created in uniqueness. Each has a helpful purpose, each one feels pain, and each one has emotions. We feel very blessed to caretake those items which we have been given. (land, animals, home/barn, and even our own health).
Nature has taken its course.
We strung wire across this area, and tied some flashy strands of Mylar on it. Hopefully this will discourage any return to this area. We never thought the eagle would be so bold to come into such a close proximity fenced area (12' X 24') as they have such a large wing span (we have seen one up close with a wing span that was over 6 feet across).
We have been through this before. We used to let our hens pasture range, but have had change the pasture access to only allowing them out when we are home. And yet, we were home, but had not let the hens on pasture yet. This time it was very quick and without alot of commotion. Even though our way of life and farming methods embrace natures ways, I sometimes find nature and it's splendor to be unsettling.
We will continue to seek Him, who has laid this way of life heavily upon our hearts. We will find renewed strength each day, and praise Him for all he has allowed us to partake in.
Enjoy the day!