Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sheep aren't that dumb after all....what a relief.

In just a day in a half, the flock has learned to stay away from me when I am cleaning, to come when I call them to the fence, and that I will feed them scythed grass when they are done with their pellets.  I think that is pretty smart for animals that have such a poor reputation.  They, like the horses and dogs, have also learned very quickly that the squeaky garage door means that someone is coming out, and my voice means food.

It has really started raining again.  We do get a couple hundred inches of rain a year here, which can make pastures muddy.  I am a little worried that my black beans won't dry out - I was hoping to harvest them as dry beans.  They are too mature to pick as green beans.  I am going to be very irked if they don't make it after all this waiting.

Part of the trouble is that it is Cross Country season for both of my middle schoolers and my high schooler. That means we leave the house at 6:20 am and don't get home until 6:30 pm, after various practices.  It is getting dark by then, especially on rainy evenings, and doing the animal chores is a bit difficult.

Today, I needed to clean the sheep pen, and the drawbacks of our temporary Sheep Fort Knox were most apparent.  It was an easy matter to lift the empty wheelbarrow over the gates into the pen, but getting a full wheelbarrow out wasn't going to happen. I looked for a way to move plywood, pallets, gates tied with every lead rope I own - this is one funky country cobbled together pen - but we really needed to keep the dogs out until they get it that the sheep are not theirs....After quite a lot of effort, my eleven year old and I moved three pieces of plywood and (much harder) put them back after I got out the   equipment.

I really can't wait until we make a bigger pen with a gate.

The horses are doing fine with their new barn mates.  My paint is walking better and still putting on weight, which is so good to see.  My warmblood mare is huge, pushy, and it sounds like I may have a possible buyer OR a spot with the trainer.  Either of these alternatives is a good thing.  I just don't have time to do this myself, and she is five already.  I work a lot slower than a professional trainer and I don't have a round pen or even a fenced arena - just  a flat, slightly larger than dressage sized arena to keep out of the mud - but it isn't any thing to help with training.  All I have done so far is teach her to lead, give her head and flex, and started with lunging.  Even if the trainers put 30 days on her, she'll have a long way to go.  She is too much horse for this farm.   She should be showing on Maui or Oahu, not stuck in the mud in Puna.  This is a horse I would have been over the moon to have in my 20's - and is wasted on the mom-taxi driver-teacher-farmer I am now.

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