Monday, April 4, 2011

Sheep camp and veggie plants - Part 1

This weekend was an exciting and exhausting sheep and gardening immersion! Sheep first...

On Saturday I went out to Flying Mule Farms to work with the sheep; they are almost done lambing for the year. The lambs that were born early in the season look huge already, I can see the growth even since I was out last week.  We moved the ewes and lambs to new feed by creating a paddock out of portable electric fencing. I have yet to become truly skilled in moving this fencing around and too often it seems to get tangled with sticks.  Did you know it is possible to loathe sticks-branches-logs-blackberry bushes with a burning passion?  It is, and I have experienced it!

Lambs will be silly

Dang those sticks!
I watched Dan shear a mangy looking ewe that had blown her fleece - this is a difficult and potentially dangerous job that takes a lot of skill.  Dan can do a whole sheep in about 5 minutes; the world record is 38 seconds, with the fleece coming off in one piece!  Also, every fleece from a sheep is touched by human hands...this is simply a job we have not been able to outsource to machines.  It makes me think even more fondly of my wool sweaters and socks, to know they have gone through the hands of a skilled shearer.

Shearing is a sweaty job.
A bit later we got ready for the second annual Sheep Camp, meaning we set up a fire, kitchen and a couple tents on a hill near where the ewes and lambs were.  Dan made amazing mutton sausage campfire stew and about 25 people come out for a potluck.  It was a wonderful time to get to know people and enjoy the lack of rain.  Just a couple of us actually stayed overnight for the 'camp' part of sheep camp, including myself and my boyfriend.  It was a cold night and we heard the coyotes a couple times but we were safe in a tent with guard dogs nearby and woke up to a lovely sunrise.  One more check of the ewes and lambs revealed that the second-to-last holdout ewe had had twins during the night-they were up and eating and looking ready to play in some sunshine!

Sunset over sheep camp

Morning view from our cold tent

Matt entertaining us with banjo music
Our breakfast is worth mentioning...the campfire coffee was strong and breakfast burritos with home raised eggs, bacon and re-heated stew hit the spot.  It was a really fun time and the memories remain along with the scent of campfire in my duffel bag.

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