Sunday, March 15, 2009

following the flock

Daylight savings gave the sheep a special gift. The extra hours of sunlight allow just enough time to let the sheep out into their pasture every evening. For a few hours they can play in the yard. Then before I turn in for the night, I brine them back inside the safety of their wire pen for the night. Most of the winter they've been stuck in their enclosure since the heavy snow took down most of the electric netting. But now the snow is nearly gone, and the flock can run in the field again. You should see them go.

So after work I walk across the field to the back gate and with my trusty Gerber blade slice my shoddy baling-wire knots that held them in. Then they happily trot to their hay I dumped at the far end of the field. When I first open that gate Sal comes bounding out, followed by Marvin, and then Maude scuttles past in an angry shuffle. Then comes the best part. I turn and walk behind them into the sun. A shepherd and her small flock at sunset. If you knew how long I wanted this, you'd understand how beautiful those three minutes are to me.

This weekend brought days in the 40's and is slowly melting what's left of the ice crusting over the garden. In a few weeks I'll be able to start turning soil, and getting my early season veggies in. Lettuces, peas, broccoli, onions... (you get the idea.) But there is so much to do outside right now, the garden is mostly haunting the back of my mind.

Yesterday was a hard core farm day. I spent most of the afternoon working outside. I had to clean out old straw in the sheep pen and chicken coop and replace it with fresh. I hauled 50lb bags of livestock grains over my shoulders. I carried bales of hay and buckets of water. I also moved a pile of firewood my amazing neighbors cut down for me. And when I wasn't doing intense physical labor I was tending to the bees, who are running on fumes right now and need my help to make it till first pollen. I also collecting eggs and checking on the birds general health. I looked over the sheeps' hooves, and cleaned out rabbit hutches. Needless to say, I came in at the end of the day and was hurting. Sore, tired, and happy. A long hot shower and some fiddle tunes did the trick to remedy the situation, but this morning my back still feels like Maude did Shiatsu ala hoof.

It's all worth it.

I'm brewing a pot of coffee now, and listening to the roosters outside greeting me to this day. In a few moments I'll go out to feed them and the sheep and then drive over at Nelson's farm in Hebron for more hay. But right now I think the dogs and I are going to enjoy some morning radio and Vermont Coffee Company Dark roast. We'll let the birds holler for a few more minutes. It's not like the town of Sandgate isn't used to their song. You folks enjoy your sunday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like heaven. The husband and I are just getting ready to go for a walk in Fontenelle Forest which is a local refuge for wildlife and a great place to get some much needed exercise on a Sunday morning. I'm glad Maude and the boys are able to get out some, and it's nice that spring is heading your way. Every day it seems that your plan is coming together more & more. Sunday is definitely a time for enjoying life!

March 15, 2009 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Just lovely! After much anticipation and hump-busting on our part, our goats arrived yesterday - an adult female and three kids. They are just about as charming as they can be. It made getting up at 5:00 am to milk not so horrible. (I am NOT a "pre-dawn" type of morning person!)

Enjoy your flock!

March 15, 2009 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Tara, i'm so jealous!

Thank you Sandy, enjoy the walk!

March 15, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My peas are two feet tall and flowering like crazy!!!
Sound like you are enjoying exactly the kind of coffee (and life)that you want so badly. Kudos to you!

March 15, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*pats you on the back* Keep up the good work!

March 16, 2009 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger spinyurchin said...

A banjo playing shepherdess. You go girl.
(You are lucky Maude can't make snowballs!)

March 16, 2009 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just lovely...

March 17, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

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