Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Sheep-Filled Welcome

I went to Phoenix yesterday. I left about 8:30 a.m. and got home pretty late, after 10:00 p.m. As I was going up the driveway when I got home, I saw a sheep, no, two, on my left. I thought "Oh, no, they've broken through the fence again." This happens from time to time, and I find them dispersed around the property, grazing.

But then I saw another sheep, Bernhardt, casually laying near our parked second car. I drove up to the house and was taken aback. There were a dozen sheep, plus lambs, lounging around the front porch, some laying down, others calmly standing. What were they all doing here?

I parked and got out. A couple sheep baa-ed in welcome, others rose to their feet and stretched, and Heloise's lamb started nursing. I loooked around in the dark and saw that pretty much the entire flock was nearby. It was the strangest thing.

I went into the house, changed clothes, and went out the downstairs door. There was one sheep in sight. I called to them and received a few answering baas. I clapped my hands and called again, and a few sheep came trotting down the hill from the front of the house. Another call from me, and the entire flock was suddenly at my heels. They excitedly followed me to the barn; I opened the gate, fed the sheep, repaired the area where they had escaped, counted sheep to make sure everyone had returned, and left them happily munching their hay.

Of all the places to decide to hang out, why the front porch? It was really cute and quite funny, but I'm still saying "huh?".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wow, That's a Lot of Snow

An impressive snow storm came through Monday afternoon and evening. I haven't seen official snowfall totals, but we received at least 6".

Cotswold sheep love the cold, but they don't like rain and snow. They were quite put out. Everyone stayed crowded in the barn for two days -- what a mess. Now that the sheep are going out again, they are churning up the snow, which is melting, and the resulting mud is about 4" deep. It practically pulls off my boots when I step in it. I tried putting flakes of hay in the midst of nice, unmarked fields of snow, but the sheep don't want to wade out too far; they really sink. So, I put the hay flakes on clean snow right next to where they've already walked, so they can easily reach it while still standing in shallow snow or mud.

We had another lamb born on Friday -- a little black ewe with white tips on her ears. We've named her Lavender.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lambs Really Do Bounce

During the last three weeks, we've been inundated with lambs. We have six now -- four girls and two boys. It is amazing how fast they grow and how quickly they move from that fragile, newborn state to stout little bundles of energy. The oldest lamb, Salty, was bouncing (literally) at four days old.

Another youngster, Basil, who is now four days old himself, chased a hen this morning. He didn't just walk, trot, or run after the chicken, instead he bounced! His mother and two other sheep were grouped together eating hay. The hen and Basil went round and round them, the hen running, Basil bouncing. (I'm laughing just remembering it.) The chagrined hen finally stopped circling and ran towards another hen; next thing I knew, Basil was bouncing after two chickens.

We're using herbs and spices (and salt) as the theme for this year's names for the lambs. We now have Salty, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Parsley, Basil, and Coriander.