The last two days have been extremely warm, which makes me happy but doesn’t please the animals very much. Barely un-snowed in and they’re already complaining about the heat. Picky picky.
The girls got to take their babies down to meet the rams Sunday. I was going to keep them up in the near field until Nova’s lamb was born, but the girls and the pasture were both looking terribly sad and Nova’s baby is being a prima donna and refusing to come out. I’m thinking she must not have gotten pregnant the first time she was bred. I was pretty busy last fall, I just must not have seen when she cycled back. She’s definitely pregnant, but she doesn’t look a week overdue.
The boys were very curious about the new lambs.
“My son’s bigger than yours, Duke!”
“Maybe so, but I have FOUR lambs in the flock, and you only have one!”
The lambs were fascinated by the huge pile of waste hay under the feeder for them to play in.
“Mama! Look what we found!”
Mira did very well yesterday playing with the other lambs, but she eventually got tired and came back to sit in my lap. I can’t wait until she’s 50 pounds and tries to sit on me.
“This is my favorite spot! Nobody’s going to pick on me here!”
See those sandals? Don’t wear sandals if you’re around sheep. It’s stupid and dangerous. I only wore them because Mira really really wanted to go out and play, but I’d just gotten home from work and my feet were killing me. I thought my toes would fall right off if I tried to shove them into my boots.
It got steadily hotter all afternoon. The Shetlands especially weren’t too happy about the heat. They normally are ok with temperatures in the low seventies; I think it was just the sudden change from below freezing to summer temperatures that got to them.
“I can’t get up, my legs melted off!”
Liam stayed in the shade and panted a lot, but seemed otherwise ok. Barney, either because of his heavier fleece or his darker color, didn’t do so well. He started staggering around with his mouth hanging open like he was having heat stroke, so I ran in the house, grabbed the shears and a rope halter, and sheared him. Amazing how a sheep at death’s door can muster the energy to kick as much as he did. He may have been blazing mad, but I think he felt better afterwards.
Remember those sandals I mentioned earlier? Don’t shear sheep in sandals, either. They were worse than useless, I ended up kicking them off and shearing barefoot. Shearing with a three-week-old lamb bouncing around underfoot and trying to steal things out of my equipment bucket probably wasn’t very smart, either.
“Hmm, what do I want to play with first?”
My shearing technique is getting better, if I do say so myself. I managed to get this one off in two big pieces instead of a hundred tiny clumps. It was pretty matted from him scratching against trees and fences, but I might be able to salvage it. I’ll have to wait for my back to recover before I pull it out and look at it.
“Dude, what happened to you?”
“It was horrible! She wouldn’t let me escape! I tried kicking, I tried jumping, I even tried peeing on her foot! She’s a horrible ShepherdPerson!”
I generally let the sheep have their own way as much as possible, but that fleece had to come off sooner or later. Better to have it all done at once than to go around half-sheared looking like a show poodle for days. Judging by previous experience, it’ll take him a few days to forgive me for rescuing him from his humongous fleece. I continue to be shocked at how fast he’s going gray. A lot of moorit Shetlands fade to an oatmeal color, but his base coat is still dark chocolate brown, just heavily mixed with gray. I still blame Duke for all that gray hair.
“Hey, what about MY haircut??”
Duke loves being sheared. Absolutely loves it. He gets very jealous when I shear anyone else. It’s not fair that he only gets to be sheared once a year, while I have to ‘torture’ Barney every six months. His fleece is always felted, so I don’t bother shearing him until it starts bothering him, usually around August. It’s always a shock to see how thin his neck is under that big mane.