The Journey

I love horses. I enjoy riding and working with my horses. I have learned many things from the horses through the many years I have been around them. About ten years ago, I learned of a horseman, Chris Cox. I enjoy watching Chris work with the horse. Chris Cox states that being a horseman is a journey of the horse. The destination is to be a better horseman or horsewoman than you were yesterday. His words rang so true to my life and journey with the horse.

Recently, the words of journey with the horse has crossed over to the other things I do in my life. Daily working with the sheep, I am on a journey with my sheep. Learning each one and methods to working with them better, with less stress on the sheep. I also work with herding dogs. The dogs are used daily in gathering and moving the sheep. One reason, one of my rams (male sheep) is very aggressive to people. This ram likes to charge at you. A 400 pound animal hitting you with his head is dangerous. We take the precaution of always working him with a dog. The ram respects the dog, and does as the dog directs him. Working with the very intelligent Border Collies dogs has been a journey.

Today, I realized I am on another journey of writing. I am in the process of writing my first book. I have written term thesis for college, countless essays and letters. But never a book. To write a book takes time just like my 156 page college thesis took time. First the idea or subject, then some research, characters, place and time. Writing a book is a journey you determine where the story goes, who you interact with and location of the action. I am on a journey of creating a journey to share with others if they choose to read.

Our everyday existence is a journey. There are many turns and twists in our lives. Some created by our own decisions and some by situation or others choices. We can accept our journey where we are, or change our journey to a different path. Mostly we should be enjoying this journey we are on.

Daily I work to take joy in my journey of life. I look for the humor in a situation instead of succumbing to frustration. Today, I was deworming and trimming feet on a breeding group of ewes with a ram, the aggressive ram. I use a manufactured alley which is made of metal panels forming a pathway the sheep have to travel in single file to get into the chute I use to trim their feet. I had done three ewes and the ram was in the alley, only he stopped. I pushed, I hit him on the rump with my hand (honestly, ask the kids and my husband, I do not hit very hard, not heart in me to hit hard.), I could not get him to move. He was physically stuck in the alley way. I bent down and trimmed his feet while he was standing in the alley and he did not move. I touched him in various placed and he did not move. I tried to remove a side of the alley to let him free, only there was so much pressure on the sides, alone I could not remove the pins and open the side.

What to do now? Sit back and breathe, call the husband and laugh on the phone. Ask him when he is coming home to help me free the ram.

While I am on the phone with my husband, standing away from alley and chute. The ram does some major pushing accompanied with groans and moans to finally free himself from the alley and go through the chute to freedom and the girls.

Six months back when I purchased this ram, he could fit in the alley, but he was also very underweight. Now, he is in good condition for a ram, and he does not fit. My new, younger ram is bigger than this ram. We made the decision not to put the rams through the alley or the chute. I will have to put sheep panels together to trim his feet, deworm and vaccinate the rams.

On our journey of life and the journeys within our lives, we can get mad or frustrated when something does not go our way. Example of a job that should have taken me a couple of hours, took all day. Or we can laugh at the obstacle, not be afraid to ask for help from someone or God, and figure out a way to overcome the obstacle and get unstuck from the situation.

Our journey of life is short. Enjoy the journey. Find joy in your journey. Do not let obstacles steal your happiness, as obstacles are only temporary.

amtolle

P.S. I should have taken a picture of my ram stuck, before I called my husband.

Weekend Workings

Change requires new ways of doing something, sometimes new plans and occasionally new location. The closure of the sheep and goat auction I have attended the past 5 years is a major change. Learning I am going to be a grandmother to triplets is a major change.

I am a sheep farmer, my income comes from the profit I make after paying expenses for selling the sheep I raise. Basic business plan is to keep expenses low in order to have more profit. The sheep auction was close to my farm. With the closure I had to determine where I am going to haul my market lambs in order to sell. I decided to sell the market lambs directly to the processor located three hour drive one way. The processor is honest and will give me a market price for the lambs. This processor purchased my market lambs at the sheep auction, I was saved the expense of transporting the market lambs the additional 2-3 hours farther.

My breeding sheep that I sell does not change. I have always sold the breeding stock directly off the farm. No change there. I will lose the opportunity to make contacts for those wanting breeding stock. I will have to go to social media to sell.

The one problem that took some time to work a plan on was where to sell the cull sheep. The cull sheep are ewes who have lived past 8 years of age or have problems delivering lambs. I have found a sheep auction located 3 hours drive from where I live, in the opposite direction of the processor to sell the cull ewes.

Sheep farm problems solved, at least for now.

Every week I receive information in the mail and phone calls of realtors stating they have a person interested in buying my home. The real estate market is very “hot” in my location. There are more people wanting to move into this area, than there are home available. Majority of real estate listings do not stay on the market past 30 days before being under contract of purchase. Quick sells are the norm for my location.

I received such a notice in the mail this past week, saying they were looking for a home for themselves. I decided to give them a call. They came out Saturday. People tell so many lies. They were not looking for themselves but was “fishing” for a listing in my area, for a quick sale and money in their pocket.

We have entertained the idea of selling our property with the desire to move closer to my daughter who is pregnant with triplets. I know that for the next several years a helping hand will be appreciated, or more a “taxi”. My daughter’s family wants their children to be around animals and see farm life. But with the size of their soon to be family, that is monetarily out of the picture. They will have to visit Granny’s and PawPaw’s place to see and experience farm life.

We will eventually move closer, but not today and not this year.

The other activity was planting the flower and vegetable garden area. I love working in the dirt. One of my favorite places to go shopping and even window shopping is a garden center or nursery. I love looking at plants. My husband took me to the local nursery. I was able to find some plants to add to my garden area.

I also discovered Chronicles Bells. They make the most lovely sounding windchimes. The soft, harmonious sound of the windchimes was relaxing and soothing to my busy mind. The drawback was the price, the windchimes I desired were $240.00 USD. More than my budget would allow at this time. They are on the waiting list, maybe Christmas gift list. If you have the opportunity to listen to these windchimes, they are worth the effort, and the money.

I planted and transplanted vegetables and flower in the garden area. I also had to do some clean up from the winter in order to plant. I took pictures and will have future posts on what and how I place plants in my garden area and containers.

We also did the regular activities of feeding animals, buying grain and dog food, groceries. There is always something that needs to be done on the farm. I enjoy what I do.

amtolle

Lambing Has Began

I love to watch new life enter the world. I raise sheep, so I watch baby lambs being born. The group of ewes that are currently having lambs are first time ewes or first time mothers. I raise most of my ewes. This group of first time mothers I have raised from lambs.

Two days ago, the first lamb arrived. The lamb arrived in the early morning before I had begun my day. A boy lamb or ram lamb was born. The ewe is a good mother, taking care of her lamb and knowing where he is at all times. Mothering is a trait learned from their mothers when they were born. This ewe #32 had her lamb on her own. Spring lambing 2022 has officially begun.

Today was Sale Barn day, the day I go to the sheep auction to socialize and see what sheep are selling for. I also went today with the hope of purchasing another livestock guard dog puppy, a male. I was able to get our new livestock guard dog puppy, a male, eight weeks old, named Bob. I check the expectant mothers several times a day. Upon returning home, I opened our gate and felt I needed to look at the expectant mothers.

One ewe was in labor, and it was not good, only one leg instead of two and a head. No time to waste, with gate still open and sheep in the yard to graze, truck still running, I went to work. First, find the others leg. Sheep are very small, so any feeling for a leg or nose is done with two or three fingers. Barely found a second foot, but not sure if this ewe is caring a single lamb or twins. Hoping the foot belongs to the lamb I can see, I try to pull the foot forward to free up the shoulders and allow the lamb to enter the world. Things are too slippery. I get a piece of hay bale twine, with two fingers put a loop around the foot. By now the lamb’s tongue is blue, not a good sign. I pull on the twine hoping to move the foot and leg forward, the ewe grunts and pushes, finally the leg adjusts and the birth starts progressing. She pushes and I pull to deliver a little boy. I instantly clear the head, and put the lamb in front of mom. I see his rib cage is moving, meaning he is alive, not to get him invigorated by mom licking on him. Mom is in a little bit of shock from the stalled delivery, so I wipe my wet hands from the birth on her nose, she begins to lick and talk to her lamb.

A few minutes later I checked to see their progress, lamb was nursing, mom was doing good.

I am thankful I have the knowledge and experience to assist this ewe with the delivery of her lamb. I did not always have the knowledge or experience. I started raising sheep in 2016. Although I had assisted horses in delivery, a sheep is much smaller and more of a challenge to assist in the delivery of young.

With anything we want to learn, we have to take a step forward to learn and do. At first we are not good at what we are doing. There is no “instant success” in any activity or adventure. You have to gain knowledge, skill and experience to reach success.

I tried to get some videos on this post. I will have to take time to upload, download and whatever else I need to do to allow you the pleasure of seeing a new born lamb and mother. I did remember to bring the cell phone to take photos and video after. The situation before was serious, no time for photos.

Hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

amtolle

A New Man In Town

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com

TODAY WAS AUCTION DAY !! I am a sheep farmer. I raise registered Full Blood Dorper sheep and unregistered or commercial Dorper sheep. Today was the second Saturday of the month and auction day.

I go to a local auction owned and operated by a young man. I watched him grow up and grow his sheep and goat business to be able to purchase the sale barn. He has watched me develop my herd from the purchase of cheap cull sheep, to selecting and breeding to now produce the highest selling market lambs at his auction. Needless to say, we have history.

The sheep and goat auction is my one social event where I leave the farm for a few hours to talk and mingle with like minded people, other sheep and goat farmers or those who want to raise some sheep and goats. The auction is its own social club, where people know people and do business. I have friends that is the only place we meet, as we live hours apart. We discuss sheep prices, the weather, how to make moonshine and other various topics. It is also the place I make contacts for selling breeding stock.

Today, I was going with a purpose other than social. The owner of the sale barn had posted pictures on face book of some registered Full Blood Dorper rams. These rams looked really nice in the pictures, but there were no pictures of the registration papers. Very seldom at the auction will high quality registered Dorper sheep be consigned for the sale. I decided I would have a look.

I woke up earlier, did chores earlier. It was freezing weather today. I decided to take only the truck, and not bother connecting the trailer as I probably would not need it. I arrived at the sale barn at 8 am, when they open the doors. I went inside to look at the registration papers on the rams posted to face book. I was checking their age and bloodlines. If the bloodlines do not work with my breeding program I do not bother looking at the sheep. Bloodlines would work with my flock, plus three of the rams were from sets triplets lambs. That is a plus.

Brave the freezing wind and look at the rams. I was not the only one looking. Another person who is a sheep broker (He buys sheep for others to purchase, or represent others in a purchase) was also looking, actually he was drooling. I was judging the sheep. To maintain or improve my quality of sheep, I have to be very picky about the purchase of sheep for my breeding program. I judged every ram in the pen, placed them first, second and third.

Next, come up with a plan for the bidding on these rams. In any auction, you need to know what you are looking for. Next, set the highest price you can pay for it and do not change your mind once bidding has started. Have a plan on how you are going to bid before the item comes up for bidding. If you do not have a plan and price, you will get pulled in by the auctioneer’s spell and spend way too much for something. I see it happen the second and fourth Saturday of every month.

My plan on bidding for the ram was to “separate the men from the boys” as they say. I knew what the starting bid would probably bid. I knew what the animal was worth. I was going to start the bidding, and my first bid was going to be higher than normal, but not top dollar for the animal. I had my top bid set in my mind and was not going to higher. Today, was serious business.

By now, others were arriving. I met with friends and exchanged conversation. I drank coffee and waited for the show to start. The show starts when the auctioneer takes his seat, and everyone else gets in place. The front rows are reserved for buyers, people who spend hundreds to thousands each sale. I am not one of those. I chose to stand along the sides until the rams I was going to bid on came into the ring.

The sale started, bottle babies both sheep and goats that have to be bottle fed because they are so young. Then a some sheep and goats. Finally the rams marched in. I left my position along the side, walked up to the front, and stood in the center and stood next my friend Dennis seated on the front row. He asked if they were my sheep. I said no. He laughed and said not yet anyways. Dennis, his wife and my best friend, Connie and I had a short laugh.

Instead of selling them one at a time, like I thought they would. They were going to sell choice, which means a person bids, the one with the highest bid gets to choose which one or several they are going to buy from the group. Choice, I was pleased, would work really well with my plan.

After a brief description stating they were registered full bloods and their age, the auctioneer asked the sale barn owner, what you want to start them at? I looked straight at the auctioneer and loudly replied with my bid 800. The broker who was drooling outside looking at the rams, just dropped his head, he was out bid. The auctioneer looked at me as did the sale barn owner, and the rapid, flurry of bidding started. I kept my eyes locked on the auctioneer, every time someone bid higher than me, the auctioneer looked me eye to eye, and I nodded my new bid. When the gavel hit, I owned a new ram and I did not reach my top bid.

Dennis, Connie and the other professional buyers and brokers on the front and second rows, congratulated me on the purchase of really fine ram. We know each other my name. We laugh and joke at the sale. We have funny stories to share from our Saturdays at the sale barn.

Now, I had to pay for my ram, and go home to get the trailer in order to take the ram home.

Meet “JUMBO”, registered Full Blood Dorper, born March 2021. The new man at the farm. He will cross well with my other ram, “Max”.

“Jumbo”, the new man at the farm.

If you enjoy watching people, an auction is a fun place to go. Look for people’s bidding technique, some nod, some just move a finger, some way wildly in the air, each has their own way of letting the auctioneer know they are wanting to buy.

Hope you enjoyed. I am excited about this new guy, and am looking forward to his lambs.

amtolle