It’s been a pretty mild winter around here. We get a heavy frost for a few days, then it’s in the 50s for a few days. It rained for our Christmas vacation. But it’s still winter. It’s still colder than normal. The sheep are all pregnant and everyone is in full wool.
Which means we’re out there feeding twice a day, filling hay racks, and checking water buckets. The Cowboy fills the water buckets in the evenings and breaks ice in the mornings if it’s needed. The Ladybug feeds scraps to the chickens, checks their feed and water, and gathers eggs every morning. And I do the grain feeding morning and evenings.
The sheep get really pushy in the winter. They are big–huge–balls of pregnant, wet, wool, shoving and pushing and even leaping back and forth over the feed trough while I try to push my way through. Our Cluns are all weighing in at 200+ pounds right now, between full wool and being pregnant, with our ram at 250. At around 45 pounds each, the kids are just too small to be in there alone.
Plus the sheep have a better center of gravity on 4 feet. It’s like getting caught in a flood from the gate to the feed trough. You only get there because they’re carrying you along with them. So I usually do the grain myself or get one of them to work the gate for me. I’ve almost been wiped out many a time.
On the weekends we have to scrub buckets, refill the hay-racks, and restock the chicken coop with fresh bedding to keep it warm and cozy in there. We also send the crew out to gather up all the baling twine. It’s the little strings that they use to tie up the hay bales–orange, yellow, and bright blue lately. There’s two on every small square bale and like 10 on every big round bale. The big sheep hay rack holds about 10 small bales or one big bale at a time. It’s easy to lose track of all the twine–it gets everywhere!
Lambing season is right around the corner–doesn’t time fly?! So this weekend we were also cleaning out the livestock supplies in the garage to see if we needed to order anything before hand. So far we look well-stocked, except for 5-gallon buckets. Apparently we’re down from “darn, these things are everywhere!” to only two ragged looking ones (one without a handle!) that I hope make it through the winter.
Who’s ever bought an empty 5-gallon bucket? Do they sell such things? This is Mr. Fix-It’s department. I told him we didn’t have any more and he hunted up the two I’m using now. So I guess he’ll find us some more if these don’t make it through. (There’s only certain parts of the garage and barns that I mess with without express directions!)
Do you have any big projects on your list for the winter? Do you think you’ll get to it?