~ Carly Shetland ~There really aren't any normal days on a farm although each day brings some of the same chores - feeding and checking on the animals, checking water, gates and fences. Each morning, after tending to my needs as well as those of the house cats and dogs, I check on Carly. She's a Shetland, a primitive breed more than 1,000 years old, from one of the more than 100 Shetland Islands and she's upwards of 17; I'm guessing closer to 18 or even 19 years. In a word: ancient. She's been a good little ewe and still loves to be petted and loved upon but, in recent weeks she's been having trouble getting to her feet. Some days she'll become cast, meaning her center of gravity is off and she lies there, waving her legs about and waiting to be rescued. I'll have to heave her to her feet, let her stand against my legs so she can regain her equilibrium and blood flow before she toddles off. For a description that will make you chuckle, read here. A few of my Shetland sheep are as wild and fey as the Islands themselves where the 70,000 or 80,000 sheep outnumber the 22,000 humans by a good bit, or so says Jamieson and Smith, wool brokers. But some, like Carly, are cute and worrisome, especially when treats or nose rubs are slow in coming.
This group of five American Curly horses needed a round bale of hay but this time of year is dicey because the horses would rather graze sparse pickings. We're expecting another snowstorm tomorrow so hay is needed to supplement said sparse pickings and it's rather an involved process to set out hay. First the horses need to be put up in a small lot to prevent them from getting into the hay lot and tearing up a bunch of hay. Then, using my John Deere 45 hp tractor, I get a round bale of hay from the hay lot and take it over the hill to the lower end of the pasture. Frankly, this frightens me to death and I nearly always wet myself...sad truth that...because I'm leaning way too far for my own peace of mind and while toting a 1200 pound bale of hay. Yes, I do use the front end loader to balance myself but my skill level isn't the best and what takes me an hour to do, the men can do it in 15 or 20 minutes. They drive faster than one foot on the brake and the other tapping nervously to the side as I allow the tractor engine to pull me along at a whopping 1 mph.
When I put down the round bale, then I have to heave upright the metal feeder so it can be rolled and moved to the new bale of hay. I'm not sure how much those feeders weigh but feel confident in saying it's a couple of hundred pounds. Again with the wetting...sigh.
I throw out some hay for the sheep
and alpacasbefore taking the Ranger and getting in a load of wood for the stove. I'm not sure how much snow we're supposed to get but it's a nice day and better to do outdoor work in good weather.
The wood is stacked on the back porch where it's kept dry and convenient to retrieve.
The metal bucket is used to clean ashes out of the wood stove and I keep wood stacked safely out of harm's way. This prevents those cold, icy trips to fetch wood late at night. Safety first!
And, since it's yet a pretty day, I take time to move and stack the plastic pallets. Round bales are stored on the pallets which prevent, or at least slow down, the decaying of the hay bales.
That's all the outside work I'm doing for the day; now it's time to go inside and clean house after making something for lunch/supper.
How's your day going?
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein ~
Today's Miracles ~ wood for the stove ~ hay for the animals ~ safety in operating equipment ~ prepared for the next storm ~