Seasonal updates

It’s been awhile since I last posted and I feel like a slacker.  Starting the week before Thanksgiving we have had a crazy schedule which is partly to blame, and holidays always kind of knock me out of sync with my usual daily patterns.  I dried off our doe Elf, as she was having some shyness about being milked during the whole breeding craziness, and I just didn’t want to fight her!  Salsa and SnowPea’s milk amounts dropped, and

Salsa on the milkstand

Salsa’s appetite wasn’t what it usually is, but that has changed drastically in the last week.  So I am down to two goaties on the milk stand and am probably going to start the drying-off process toward the end of the month.  I like having some milk coming in so I can make mad batches of chevre and throw them into the freezer for our winter and spring dining pleasure!  Choretime isn’t the same without the milking routines, and I miss that closeness with the does, but on the other hand, below 20F temps and howling wind make the whole milking experience less than fun.  It’s all part of the flow of the seasons and the year.  It’s also been a relief to note that Elvis the stink-o has returned more to his normal self and is not constantly trying to impress the girls.  I actually got into the pen with him the other day and he didn’t act as though I needed to be inspected and snurlfed like crazy.  Hopefully that means that everyone is bred and all’s right with the herd!

As for the sheep, we disbanded the breeding group that was up at the house with Mr. Big

Mr. Big with his girls

the week before Thanksgiving.  He hadn’t been showing any interest in the ewes he was hanging out with (and hadn’t marked any either), so he went back to the boys’ pen and the girls went up the hill into the group with Zorro the llama.  That left our breeding group down in the pasture to handle.  Everything appeared to be fine with the breeding:  our little Hamish the ram lamb took care of business promptly and they have had what is left of the grass in the pasture in a huge area.  I had been getting a little nervous about them being in the field as there have been a very vocal group of coyotes in the area.  Around dusk I have been hearing them yapping and calling, and then very clearly, an answering bray from Jingle the donkey, who was down there with those 6 sheep.  She had also been doing her perimeter run about the same time of day, so I guess she let them know who is the boss! (That. Or a combination of that and the electric fence).  The weather has been so balmy that I haven’t felt the usual frantic need to get them home and into the winter paddock, but the threat of this snowstorm got my attention at last.  So with Chloe and our son’s help on Saturday, we made 3 trips down to the pasture and loaded them two-by-two into the Subaru and brought them home.  Then Jingle walked with Chloe and I up the street and home at last.  Another chapter closed as the year ends and our minds turn to lambing!

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