While we were prepared overall for the arrival of our small flock, once they settled in the list of jobs and changes needed grew rapidly. The first new requirement was to build new vertical hay feeders and grain troughs. With that done, the realization that we were going into the fall season and when I put the sheep in at night to feed them it was dark. I mean really dark. I had to wire the barn. I am now a non-certified electrician and the barn has eight working lights, seven switches and three electrical outlets all of which work. No the barn hasn’t burnt down …Yet.
I also learned that we have a large amount off Burdock Thistle in the forest area at the bottom of our property. It was brought to my attention by our ewes that for some strange reason like to walk through it when grazing. They end up covered with the burrs which are difficult to get out of their wool. I had to build a sheep stanchion in order to secure the sheep so I can pick and comb the burrs out of their coat. What I find most interesting is that the rams have not had a single burr on them while the ewes keep getting covered. Next year the Burdock will be eradicated.
Our three goats who had given ``Daisy``(previously called Pia), our first ewe, such a hard time came out and counted 5 sheep and wisely accepted the new comers as they realized that they were out numbered. This means we do not have to keep them separated in the pasture. The new problem is how to separate the rams from the ewes? The one large pasture for grazing was no longer going to work. I developed a plan to change the property into three grazing pastures, in order to be able to have one pasture in rest at anytime and to provide the separation. The first phase was to change the fencing to create a second grazing pasture immediately. It required fifty hand dug fence post holes, 380 feet of field wire and one 12’ gate later it is done. I cannot thank Uncle Gordon Tews enough for driving up from Victoria on three separate days to help build this fence. Without his help I am sure it would have killed me.
The other big job was grading the ground around the barn and installing a water drainage system. I hired a machine to do the digging around the barn in order to ensure water runs away from the barn’s foundation. I installed Big O to further drain the water away and to allow me to install gutters on the barn. While the machine did most of the digging, I with my son Jason’s help had to shovel and wheelbarrow two truck loads of 1 to 1 ¼ inch drain rock was back breaking. I am now ready to install the gutters and down pipes.
That’s it for sheep projects for a while, time to go out and rake leafs. I think I may be happy to see winter come this year.