June: the month when the Pacific Northwest impatiently waits for summer. If the sun comes out, everyone runs to the window to look at it. Read the rest of this entry
Charlie was bad twice today. At least. That’s just counting the two times he barged into the aviary, uninvited. Read the rest of this entry
It’s June. In the Pacific Northwest, we call it “June-uary.” Read the rest of this entry
Tuesdays are crazy days around here because it’s guinea pig cage cleaning day. You might think an indoor, late evening chore would not affect my outdoor flock, but the Farm Manager starts the crazy part early in the afternoon. Today she was distracted by a ripe rat carcass while she was herding the hens into the aviary. Okay, herding poultry is supposed to be my job, but ew, rat carcass? I declared it to be her turn to herd and high-tailed it into the aviary, leaving Cubicle to eat my dust. The hens scattered, but after the R.C. was walked out to the dustbin at the curb, the Farm Manager dealt with the hens and went indoors.
Because of the guinea pig cage cleaning, The Bartender put the sheep to bed. Because he is a single-minded creature, he failed to notice Pearly Mae scritching around in the graveyard, pacing at the aviary gate, or maybe roosting on the deck railing near the kitchen door. Big white hen, nearly glowing in the dark, perched less than two meters from the kitchen door.
Because of the guinea pig cage cleaning, The Farm Manager stepped outside at midnight to set out the guinea pig cage soiled bedding. And noticed Pearly Mae, roosting on the deck railing, glowing quietly, less than two meters from the kitchen door. The Farm Manager snatched her up, walked her out to the aviary gate, and tossed her in. The exact opposite of what she does to Pearly Mae every morning when she gets “Time Out” for eating the cat food. So maybe it was the Farm Manager’s fault, but it was her fix, too. And everybody out in the aviary groaned as Pearly Mae returned from her night out, because she’s one of those types we all put up with, if you know what I mean.
As sheep shearing day approached, I convinced myself it was no big deal. It went well last year, after all. Shearing happened, the sheep tried to kill each other afterward, and months of smelly wool processing ensued. So much to look forward to.
With over twenty months of Shetland sheep handling experience, I was now confidant that my wild and crazy rams (wethers, technically) would cooperate and emerge from shearing like the gentlemen sheep the neighbors think they are. Instead, they again tried to kill each other afterward, but this time the battle continued nearly two weeks after shearing. This was because Charlie tried to break his leg in his hay rack and blamed the near catastrophe on Hamish. Hamish, of course, stood innocently nearby, pacing, pawing at the ground, snorting, and swinging his mighty horns. The suddenly buff Farm Manager hefted the dangling Charlie up and out of the hay rack without severing or snapping off the leg, though he managed to twist it enough to cause a distressing limp lasting several days after the frightful event. During this convalescence, Hamish aggravated the situation by looking at Charlie, occupying space within a furlong of Charlie, and even eating from a nearby hay rack at the very same time as Charlie! Charlie helped by refusing to go to the front yard, by barging into the aviary at every opportunity, and he even insisted in sleeping out there with the hens for a couple nights. Meanwhile, Hamish bellowed at the moon, lonely for the little brother who spent most of 2020 butting him in the, well, the butt, and generally harassing him for a solid year since the previous shearing.
Let’s look at a few “after” photos, shall we, before I step outside to stare at the reeking plastic bag stuffed with funky raw wool, casually wondering if I ought to simply throw it into the yard waste bin. Here we go.
That was shearing this year. I get the sense that it will be wildly unpredictable from year to year, so stay tuned!