Friday, December 2, 2011

pimpin' aint easy

The farmhouse is a comfortable 65 degrees this cold morning. That is quite the feat, since last night after signing books it had fallen to 54 degrees and it took the two woodstoves (and my constant vigilance) 3 hours of roaring to raise the temperature ten degrees. Now, that might sound like a ridiculous amount of work to some, but to me, I felt like I was finally included in the process. Thermostats are great, but I fought for this heat. I moved once living tree parts inside my home armload by armload and fed the fire. I wrapped myself in a big buffalo plaid red work shirt and sprawled out with a book in front of the fire on a sheepskin. It was heavenly by that fire box, so much so I needed to move away from it. And when I woke up this morning to a warm house, knowing it was my own doing, I started the day with a sense of accomplishment instead of dreading my to-do list and places I was expected to be. Fridays are near sacred now, mornings I get up and re-light the stoves and ease into the day without the usual Monday through Thursday hustle. It hasn't been easy, even just giving up one day, but I am getting through. And it will only get easier as I get more resourceful, dedicate myself more and more to my goals, and learn about a new frugality for my lifestyle.

this morning the insurance guy is coming to check out the truck door, tell me what should happen with it. The well was repaired earlier this week. That was a hard lesson in awareness. Lesson learned.

I don't think Atlas is performing at all, or if he is, I haven't seen it. Sal however has been going beside himself with hormones and mounting, so I know the girls are in season. I talked with Julie (Shepherd, herding trainer, and all-around sheep guru) over Facebook and she has a 2.5 year old Cheviot ram that she is certain is raring to go. She'll drop him off next weekend, and Atlas will either be kept for next year, sold, castrated, or go to freezer camp. I need to check out all my options. But if I have two rams here I might as well just keep them together in a smaller pasture. I can use Atlas next year when he is more mature. Right now, a lot of this sheep pimping is touch and go for this shepherd. This is my first year overseeing the actual work of breeding, and so far I have failed. What can I say? Pimpin' aint easy.

P.S. Thank you for the webinar passes! A few more folks signed up and it has me already planning an early webinar on the basics of mountain dulcimer. I think I will make this first one public, so you can all see what is in store for those who dedicated to a year of learning with Cold Antler!


Blogger Drummond Farms Alpacas and Woolens said...

Jenna, if you are trying,then you are not failing. You are evaluating the situation and thinking ahead. This is not failing,you are being way to hard on yourself.Have a great Friday and weekend ahead.

December 2, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I really need to work on that, you are right. I am way too hard on myself, but I think that hardness is what pushes me ahead some times.

December 2, 2011 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Drummond Farms Alpacas and Woolens said...

There is nothing like motivation and I am like you, that hardness is great at pushing us ahead. You are doing an amazing job!

December 2, 2011 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger E said...

No you can't: "if I have two rams here I might as well just keep them together in a smaller pasture. " this can get ugly. Have you even seen intact rams fight?

December 2, 2011 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I know a lot of shepherds who keep their rams together?

December 2, 2011 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger 10a said...

When I read about your well I was wondering if a flag like this would be helpfull:

It's in Dutch, but the flag we attach to childrens bikes. It makes children more visible in traffic because the flag peeps over a car roof, maybe you have seen it in America too? If you could attach this to your well cap you would even see it through your car window if your well is covered in snow. And it is flexible too, so it won't add to your, ehm, dent-portfolio ;-)

December 2, 2011 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Cait said...

So far we have just one ram and kept him with two wethered ram lambs this summer and he was perfectly content and we didn't see any fights, perhaps because of the obvious hierarchy (Winston was clearly the boss so we assume didn't feel the need to defend himself).

On the other hand we have two ewes whose performance we are wondering about. Neither lambed this Spring despite being with the ram all winter. At first we hoped this was because they were ewe lambs (born last Spring and then put with the ram at 7 months). Oddly enough one month into this year's breeding season neither has been marked by the ram.

Since they didn't lamb last year they have grown bigger than the others who had lambed and are much woolier. We've been told that it is pretty rare to have a sheep not breed and they are purebred dairy ewes so we are keeping our fingers crossed!

December 2, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

You can house two rams together, as long as when you introduce them you do not give them enough room to back up and hammer eachother. The ram Jenna is getting is with another ram right now. No problems. Ir's preferable to have a ram housed with another ram, rather than alone- that can make them go a bit batty.

December 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Why's woman said...

Hi Jenna,

As always, your post is informative and interesting.

Just curious ... is "pimping" a term used in the sheep business?

If it is, that's sort of sad. To people in social services and policing, "pimps" and "pimping" reflect violence, exploitation and anti-female.

These words in common language, e.g. "pimp my living room" make me cringe every time I hear them.

Best personal regards,

Why's Woman

December 2, 2011 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I was just going to email you and ask if it would be okay, because right now they wouldn't be housed together at all, they'd be in the pasture together, about 2.3 acres all together, you know the size. Think with all that room they could work it out?

December 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Pimpin' was used in jest, darlin'

December 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Hey Jenna, I've never done it but I know people who put their rams in a box stall size pen (or even a little smaller) when they first put them together like Kelpie and Collie said. Cheviot/ Blackface cross babies would be super cute!

December 2, 2011 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Don’t know much about sheep, but in the cattle world the males like competition in order to get it on with the ladies, and the breeders I hung with would have at least two in with the gals at the same time. When I did my little herd of 15 I would loan two fellas named Gary and Allan; it was common practice in the area I was in amongst everyone, and those boys got the job done. When not breeding they hung out together in a field with all the guys—it was quite the relaxed atmosphere—no sparing was ever seen except in a good natured way. Could sheep be the same way?

*The first year I loaned these guys they were just fresh yearlings, and had no real idea what to do. It took them a while to figure it out—it was very frustrating at first. I had an 8 year old cow in amongst the heifers and I’m sure she thought they were imbeciles and I half expect she told them in cow talk how to complete the job. Could Atlas be in the same boat—not knowing quite what to do?

December 2, 2011 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'll stick the rams in a closet for their seven minutes in heaven first. check.

December 3, 2011 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

That will work Jenna. At the end of the day, sheep would rather be with a hated enemy, than alone. It's sort of a cool thing about them.

December 3, 2011 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I'm going to agree with Kelpie - I don't have experience with sheep, but buck goats (in my experience) are pretty much the same in this regard.

December 3, 2011 at 8:47 AM  

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