Changes – BIG and small

Fall means a farm in transition. Temperatures dropping, trees unleaving, daylight shrinking, the sheep keenly sense and respond to the change in season. At one minute, they rest at ease, here enjoying a moment just after dawn. A moment later, they're charging at each other, ears back, heads down. The rams get territorial, squaring off in the pasture. It's nearly time for them to join the ewes. The ladies are restless and short-fused as well. Lots of sparring at feeding time in the barn.

The landscape here is changing in other ways.The birthing barn is getting a badly needed roof job. When we purchased Springdelle Farm this building housed a herd of holsteins and the equipment for running a dairy. We've since removed the milk lines and tank and use this secure building to shear and to raise lambs each spring, while storing the bulk of our hay harvest in the loft.The building has been shedding its original shingles, circa 1969, since we took ownership eight years ago. We decided last spring that we couldn't afford to wait another year. Last week Jim Jarvis and crew began stripping the dead shingles down to bare sheathing (which was in surprisingly good shape, given the number of bare spots). The "unroofing" went quickly.

The new roof, a 30 year architectural shingle in charcoal gray, is steadily spreading its way over the 111 square foot expanse. As of today at dusk, the east, west and north faces are nearly done. With tomorrow's iffy weather forecast, the guys tarped the unshingled peak. When they finish here, they head right over to roof the studio.

Smaller changes elsewhere on the farm. This little gal hopped off the tailgate of Andy Rice's truck and into my barn yesterday. This new addition to in the flock  was much needed as a companion for Butch, my angora buck, who has been terribly lonely since his brother Sundance died six weeks ago. 

"Gypsy", a tiny bundle of mohair and personality was a "lone goat" in Andy's flock. It seemed to us like the two might make a good pair. Apparently, they agree. They follow each other everywhere. When I returned from voting today and glanced up into the pasture, there they were, together within the flock of 37 sheep. I remembered my camera at evening chore time.

She has a beautiful, glossy coat of ringlets. You can really see it in the flash (which also made her eyes appear alien-blue, unfortunately). Her "handle-bars" curve straight back over the top of her head, unlike Butch's horns which flair out to the side. What else can I tell you about her? She is more vocal than the boys, calling out to me each time she saw me step outside the studio. In addition to grass, she loves apples, bananas and carrots.
She's a sweet, tiny, pushy little thing. No bigger than the smallest of my lambs, she bosses her way through the adult ewes who are quickly learning to stay out of her way. Her "goats rule" attitude is pretty funny. She has no idea of her size. My ewes could easily flatten her, if they weren't afraid of her.

More photos later. Will try to catch some pasture shots, if it's not raining tomorrow. In the meantime, back to the tv where I tonight follow some pretty big changes elsewhere . . . .

Copyright 2008, Barbara Parry, Foxfire Fiber & Designs. All rights reserved.