Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘sheep

Additional Animals

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We are caring for George’s animals this weekend while he is out of town, so we have additional mouths to feed during morning and evening chores. When we planned for this earlier last week, nobody gave much thought to the approaching polar vortex dropping our temperatures below zero.

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By Friday morning, when we stopped over to review procedures with George, it was clear that conditions would be extreme. George warned us about the hydrant in the barn not draining well and being susceptible to freezing. He listed several other options, should that occur.

That helped greatly when the situation arose Saturday morning at about the coldest hour all weekend. The pump handle did not want to move and I didn’t want to force it. We used the 2nd option, and hardly lost a step in getting everyone their morning rations of food and water.

By last night, after 3 visits in 2 days, the animals all seemed to understand what was about to go down when we pulled up again in my car. Dinner was about to be served! You can almost feel the creatures smiling when you present them with precisely what they are longing to have.

The ducks and chickens were particularly anxious about getting a drink of water. Their pans for water are not currently heated, so when their liquid becomes a solid, they have to leave the relative warmth of walls and a roof, and venture outside the barn to one of the troughs that have heaters serving the larger animals. A number of them seemed to prefer waiting until we arrived, based on their eager impatience.

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After tending to all the animals that needed something from us, it was time to add wood to the furnace. At the temperatures we were experiencing, the furnace seemed about as hungry for wood as the animals were for food and water.

There was not much energy being wasted by any of the sheep, horses, chickens or ducks. Everybody was in full conservation mode, huddling up with each other or hunkering down against the bitter bite of Arctic air pressing down from the clear sky.

George, rest assured that no one was left wanting for anything over weekend, and everybody was well-behaved, despite the harsh conditions.

I’m sure your faucet handle will thaw out again by June sometime.

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Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2016 at 7:00 am

Little Lambs

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While outside making good progress on a few clean up tasks in the warm April sun yesterday, I received a text from our neighbor, George Walker. He wrote, “We have lambs!” If Cyndie had been home, I would have dropped my rake so we could dash right over to see them. She was running errands after having perused the farm and garden ad supplements —always a dangerous financial situation— and I didn’t dare go see them without her.

She came home with the always successful tactic of diversion from how-many-things-she-purchased, in the form of Dairy Queen treats. We sat on two new tractor-seat folding stools she picked up, and enjoyed our ice cream in the company of the horses. I was so distracted I forgot to mention the lambs!

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I did eventually remember to tell her in time for us to pay a visit before the end of our day. We stood watching the lambs in their outdoor pen for some time. At first, the lambs were scattered among the ewes, frequently suckling. George brought over some supplemental feed and tossed scoops into the pen. This caused the mammas to make a mad dash for the spots where it landed, and they ravenously rooted around in the hay bedding to feed.

That fracas instantly split the young and old into two separate groups, with the lambs congregating just on the edge of the circle of feeding ewes at first, but then moving off to explore the pen together.DSCN3392e

George described that the day before, the lambs had taken to sprinting together from one end of the pen to the other. He said that he stood there watching them for about a half an hour because it was so entertaining.

There were still some ewe/lamb pairs inside the barn that George walked us in to see.

He picked up one and handed it to Cyndie. It called and called for its momma with the loudest cry, stopping once to look up at Cyndie in a gesture that almost looked like it was going to be a kiss. It was too fast for my camera skills, so you’ll just have to settle for the image of the wailing baby.

It is such fun to have friends so close with a farm full of all the classic animals. It feels a bit like living in the country!

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Written by johnwhays

April 27, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle, Images Captured

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