December 25, 2007

All creatures great and small

Christmas Morning 2007

Early,before sunrise, I opened the bedroom window to get some fresh air. I had just snuggled back under the thick down comforter when I heard a rooster crow. I sprang out of bed, surprised to hear crowing when they are all inside the chicken house. This rooster’s crow meant that one of them didn’t get back into the chicken house at nightfall and was outside all night. I ran and looked at the thermometer. The outside temperature was at minus 2 degree celcius. “Thank God, I’m sure the bird will be fine!” I muttered as I pulled my snowsuit over flannel pajamas and headed outside.

I found him huddled close to the little door, out of the reach of a sharp wind that whistled around the building. I covered the comb on his little head with my bare hands and it didn’t feel cold, so perhaps it hadn’t froze. I plucked him up out of the fresh skiff of snow and brought him inside. Although the sun wasn’t up yet, inside was bright and cozy. The lights are on an automatic timer to ensure that the laying hens receive 14 hours of light. We were greeted by other roosters crowing and jumping off their nighttime perches, eager to find out what the commotion was about. In the hen’s pen, the morning egg laying had already begun, so I collected eggs, checked and topped up food and water and returned to the house for a couple more hours shut eye! (The photo of Mr. Rooster was taken a few hours later when he had warmed up and was visiting some young hens).

Chore time was a bit later than usual, so the sheep had come up to the barn for water, mineral and salt.
When I drove the ATV laiden with alfalfa bales over to the feeding area, they all came running in single file.
They gathered around the wagon, nibbling leaves off the bales before I put the hay into the feeders.
The sheep guard dogs Bella and Paloma are on hand to help eat a little bit of fiber themselves! They are 15 months old now and they work and play 24-7. They have a great time, everything is still game, even checking the perimeter for preditors.
There's a photo of the little horned Shetland ram "Finnegan". You may remember a photo of him last year in this blog, when he was just a yearling. Some of the lambs down at the lamb pen are his offspring.

After the ewes and rams are fed I walk back to the lamb pen where the little lamb ewes are spending the winter.
Cindy Crawford, mother of little Ariel (who was born in August), is spending a few weeks with the young lambs, while they settle in to their new surroundings. She'll be moved back with the ewes and rams in a few days so she will be bred for a spring lamb.
This morning I put an old wool scarf on "Little Sister". "Issie" and "George" seem to have a look that says, "Why didn't we get a scarf too?"


Anonymous said...

Great Sheep Pics Val - looks like a farmers life sure is a busy one! :)

raine said...

I get a kick out of the lambs - the way they walk in a row and always turn to face the camera and smile.

Do you ever run out of ideas for names for all of them?

Yarn Devil said...

Hey Lou, Love the sheep pics! Beautiful dogs! (what kind? where did you find them?)