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Monday, December 1, 2008

It was bound to happen.

After all, it is the first of December, so it was probably long overdue, but I was still not quite prepared for the first snowfall of the season. We got just enough to lightly blanket the landscape, erasing the evidence of the withered garden plants that I have not yet cleaned up for the winter, and covering the unraked leaves that were clustered along the edges of the barns. I must admit, although I hate the snowy wet boots and mittens, and the chunks of frozen goodness that get trapped between the dogs' toes (and later dragged into the house), I do love the way a fresh layer of snow makes everything look clean and new.

Okay, well, maybe the sheep didn't share my enthusiasm.
The girls are all still divided up into their breeding groups, which is providing an added challenge of keeping extra water tanks from freezing, and as you can see I don't have the ideal hay feeding situation for each of the groups...uh, yeah, they are eating hay off the ground, that is to say, they are eating some hay off they ground and depositing the rest firmly into their fleece.

It's a good thing that my rams are well behaved for most of the year, because this time of year they really test my patience.....and my fences...and my buildings. This guy has been pretty well behaved, if anything he is a bit shy and has never shown any aggression toward me. He is, however, desperately trying to get to the girls that are being kept separate inside the barn, thus making it necessary for me to reinforce the divider with extra cattle panels in an effort to protect the virtue of my non-breeding girls. The other complicating factor is that the girls don't entirely want their virtue protected....hussies!
Max has been pretty good about the fences, probably because there is hot wire all the way around his breeding pen. His problem is that he has completely misunderstood the ram/shepherdess relationship. That is to say, he has fallen in love with me, and I am not okay with that.
The last few days when I have gone out to feed, he comes running over to me and makes that gurgley, grunty sound while leaning on me and pawing with his front foot (sure sign of love/lust in sheepie world). Today he crossed the line and tried to push me away from the rest of the flock, to which I responded by firmly grasping his horn and back leg and pile driving him into the nice clean snow until he relaxed and came around to my way of thinking. I am pretty sure that was not the type of physical contact that he was hoping for, but it worked for me, and now we have established a new understanding. Max has gone back to chasing the girls and doing the curly lip thing (another touching expression of love/lust).

As for Andy, he wants no part of this snow or any of the sheep shenanigans that are going on, I think he is just going to wait here for spring.

4 comments:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

So glad to learn that I am not the only one who has not yet cleaned out the garden or gotten all the leaves blown away! Thank-you for that. :-)

Kara said...

Great pictures! Two of my rams are friendly, but if they cross the line they get flipped. Seems to leave a lasting impression and no one gets hurt. (Thanks to reading Lois' "tough love for rams." The third is terrified of me, but he is the one that I always keep a very close eye on.

kristi said...

I love the pictures of animals in the snow! I always find it amusing to see the sheep eat hay off of each other; though my goats prefer to pluck the wool out of the sheep and eat that:)

Claire said...

Just found your fun blog! Love it! Nice to find another Iowa farm blog! Great pictures of the snow - we had the same and I posted pictures too. This morning the llamas would not even come out of the barn. I'll be back to visit again!

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