What I love about our winters is that even though we will get down into the below-zero temps several times throughout the winter…we also have sunny days in the high 40s to low 50s F interspersed throughout the winter as well. While most of the week was frigid with night temperatures below zero, yesterday was one of those warm days, which was wonderful because we were able to get out into the barn and barnyard and do some clean up and projects.
It is oh-so-wonderful to see all these creatures happily living in harmony in the barnyard now! It brings us great joy to have the sheep back and to have Anya guarding everyone.
We have been hoping the ewes would have another heat cycle yet this season, especially since they do come from breeds that breed out of season (regular sheep breeding season is Sept-Dec). Thankfully, Rose came into heat this last week and Fergus has been breeding her. So it looks like we will be having late May/early June lambs! This will be very late for us, but since we didn’t get the sheep back until right before Christmas, there wasn’t much that could be done. You never know, maybe we will like lambing later in the season…at least we wont have to worry about frigid blizzards happening at the same time as a lamb being born. 🙂 It is very exciting to know there are lambs on the way!
Due to overuse of de-wormers in sheep in America, many are now ineffective. So the best way to handle parasites in sheep is by feeding them off the ground, and doing fecal tests yearly before using any de-wormers.
In order to feed our sheep and goats off the ground, a few years ago we made these built-in fence feeders for our outdoor feeding of hay.
And we made these quick and easy feeders for our indoor feeding of hay.
But the quick and easy feeders were somewhat short-lived. The ones that we attached to the wall (like in the photo above) broke after several months. Though the ones that are attached outside of our lambing jugs (three photos below) have worked great and not broken.
So we needed a new hay rack in the indoor stall so we could feed the sheep off the ground. This weekend Mtn. Man threw together a rack for in the stall using some wood scraps and a cattle panel scrap. He installed it on the half-wall of the stall that opens into the main barn so we can easily throw the hay over the wall and into the feeder without having to enter the stall. We are very happy with how it turned out and it is working well.
After knitting several large projects for Christmas presents, I am anxious to some quick small projects and get that finished satisfaction in a shorter amount of time. And since I got this kit with 12 different colored sock yarns in it for Christmas…I am set to go on socks!
What I love about this kit is the variety of colors. I am terrible at picking colors…for anything, not just yarn. But with yarn I just stick with what I know and love – purples, blues, greens, dark colors, no brights. So getting this kit really stretches my color comfort zone and helps me make some stuff with colors that are outside the box for me.
So I decided to dive right in with the bright colors and go for it. So I am making very bold and bright striped socks using the Fibonacci number pattern of 3, 5, 8, and 13.
I have also cast on a second pair of socks. These are just a basic sock, using a special toe pattern I do to custom fit Young Man’s feet, and I will use a Fish Lips Kiss Heel because that is currently my favorite heel pattern. This yarn is a 3-ply sport weight yarn that Mtn Man made me in the mill using Fergus’ 2018 fleece blended with bamboo that had been dyed blue. I don’t know if it will show on the computer screen, but the blue bamboo adds a cool subtle blue color to the dark grey of Fergus’ fleece. I am enjoying working with it too. Fergus has an excellent fleece, I am really glad we were able to buy him back.
Yay for knitting projects that are easy to transport and quick to finish!