A few minutes to share…..

Seems I am always doing something. Some days it’s just the routine stuff – hay, grain, water, turnout the horses, clean stalls, bring them in, hay, grain water – then there is the semi-routine stuff. The vet gives vaccinations twice a year, the farrier trims the horses’ hooves every 6-8 weeks, weekly lessons, weekly shopping trip for grain and bedding, fielding calls and questions about boarding or camp. Yesterday I had one of those really fun tasks – shearing the llama.

First, you have to collect the tools – hand shears (I don’t do it often enough to own power shears), hair brush, laundry basket to hold the fiber, halter and lead rope, and bandaids. The bandaids aren’t for him. They are for me. I always manage to shed my own blood.

Second, you have to collect the llama. Charlie doesn’t mind wearing a halter, but he would rather to roam free with his flock. Catching him involves approaching him slowly without looking him in the eye. It’s amazing how fast these things can run.

Once he’s tied to a sturdy post, the fun begins. With shears in hand, I gently push aside the fiber on his barrel to begin. That is when he begins to scream like a creature from Jurassic Park. You would have thought I was butchering something. So slowly I progress – snip, snip, snip. About this time, he begins to spit. It’s not your average everyday saliva. Oh no. It comes from the depths of his digestive tract. The smell is like that underneath the most vicious of carnival rides late on a Saturday night. Snip, snip, snip……..dodging putrid spray from his mouth which I might add is attached to the most prehensile of necks.

My friends are riding in the indoor arena several acres away howling with laughter at the sounds from the field below. They take a break to see if I am still alive. That’s when I try to cut off my own finger as I manage to evade yet another of Charlie’s attempts to kill me with spit – hence the bandaids.

An hour later, Charlie is ready for the summer heat without his heavy coat. He is pure white once again after I brushed out the hay chaff and dirt accumulated over the winter. The screams have stopped. He is happily grazing with his flock. I make my way back to the barn with yet although bag of fiber to be washed and processed. Boy, I am glad that I only have to deal with that every two years.

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I guess it must be Spring..

The grass is growing, it rains instead of snows but it has not been the warmest of Springs. Yesterday, a check of the outdoor thermometer showed we barely broke 50 degrees. But, Spring it is. The trees are covered in leaves, the lambs are on the ground and the ground does not freeze overnight J Ah, yes, lambs. We had 14 lambs born over about a two week period. There we no problems, no bottle lambs to deal with and all the lambs are doing great, getting lots of exercise and growing fast.

The grass grows pretty fast this time of year and the sheep love to be out on it, grazing from pasture to pasture, onto new grass every few days. They all look great, the lambs are healthy and what few cars we have on our road stop from time to time to watch the lambs play. It is a great time of year.

On the horse front, one of our young students, Molly, has been competing with her High school equestrian team in the High School equestrian competition. Her first showing experience but she has worked and trained hard with Spike, the horse she has been riding, and has done a fantastic job with him, really jelled as a rider/horse combination and has qualified for the State Championship High School show in three different classes – Go Molly. Parents are pretty proud about her as well, as they should be.

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Has Spring finally arrived?

Well, so far we would have to say no but it is starting to look promising. From snow last Monday to 50’s and sun today with the 5 day forecast pointing to warmer weather it looks like it might just be on its way. Let’s hope so and let’s hope the sun and warmer air help dry us all out from the mud season we are currently enjoying.

Lambing isn’t due to start for us for another couple of weeks – we are lambing later this year to try to get lambing into the warmer spring weather – but we are getting ready for that fun time and we expect to have everyone sheared before lambing so that is always fun to see and be part of, when they are sheared they look like different sheep!

Horses are all ready for spring, starting to drop their winter coats and they are ready to spend the days outside instead of just short afternoon visits, one it dries up guys, once it dries up….. We might even be able to get on the outdoor area soon and not have to ride indoors.

Molly, one of our riders here at the barn, will be starting her high school equestrian season this weekend riding for her school team, a bunch of the barn folks will be there to cheer her on – Go Molly!

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Goodbye 2010

Well, the final sad note to 2010 was that Steve’s dad died on December 3rd, at home in Spain. He had been ill for a while and finally passed away. Both of us we there at the time of his passing. We had a nice service for him and he was cremated. Audrey (Steve’s mom) and Carole (Steve’s sister) still live there and plan to stay there. In a lot of respects we are glad 2010 is over and hope 2011 is going to be a better year. As soon as winter leaves and we get rid of the darn snow. Stay warm.

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Fall sets in….

 

The trees are now full into the color display typical of this time of year. Yellow, red, golden colors are all spread across the landscape. Fall is a busy time here at Spinner Farm, getting everything ready for winter. The horse blankets have all been unpacked from summer storage, checked for any damage and have already seen some use. The sheep are all looking good, this is my favorite time of year for fleece length – I think they look great this time of year. We have also started selection of which ewes will be breed to which ram and will start breeding in November. All the rams and the ewes have been on an increased diet lately and look good – with the cooler weather here now the ewes are starting to cycle so we should be good to go when we put the rams in. We are also busy putting in some new fencing – sheep fencing as we make some additional hard wired pastures – these will need to be ready before the winter sets in so we have additional winter pastures to split the flock up into the separate groups, either with the correct ram or into the group of the ‘too old or too young to breed’.

Summer was busy this year, and a sad one as we lost Mattie. We have many pictures and memories of her and I am convinced she comes to visit us here every now and again just to check up on us. I think the other dogs miss her as well.

Horses have done well this year at the shows and we will continue to work on their training over the winter, it will slow down during the holiday season but then pick up the pace again as everyone has to be ready for the early spring show circuits.

Soon the weather will turn colder and we will soon be into November and we will start planning the holiday season which, as we all know, will be upon us very quickly – it seems even more quickly if we don’t get our planning done!

From all of us here at Spinner Farm, the livestock, the dogs, cats and all the boarders and frequent visitors, to all of you – May your holiday season go well, may Thanksgiving and Christmas be a time for friends and family and may you all have a great end of the year.

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

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A sad day……

June 17th. Our oldest dog, Mattie, had to be put down today. Mattie broke her leg right at where the bone connects to the hip joint.

Mattie was 13 years old but still was active around the farm. Not the fasted dog of our family pack but she loved to follow us around, especially out to the back field where she would lay down and watch us work either putting up temporary sheep or horse fence.

Mattie was the senior dog and all of the others respected her and loved to play with her. She will be missed very much. Mattie is being cremated and her ashes will be placed under a huge elm tree on a knoll near the barn. She will be able to watch over all the activity on the farm from there.

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Lambing is done :)

Our last ewe to lamb had twins last night. Lambing season has come to an end. We did lose one ewe during lambing, a sad event and she is gone but she will not be forgotten. So, we ended up with 14 lambs, 7 of them are a Cheviot/Border Leicester cross. These are already spoken for and have a great home to go to. We have 7 Romney lambs and will probably keep the ewe lambs and sell the ram lambs – they will almost certainly go to homes for people to work their show trial dogs on. Now we wait for the mud to dry, the grass to get longer and get all the sheep out into the back pasture with Charlie the Llama as their guard and protector.

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