Monday, 3 March 2014

Ewesual trouble

Mike was digging a ditch (with the digger - not a shovel) to try and drain off some of the surplus water and had to take down some of the fencing which helps to keep the chickens away from hedges .  Of course there is always one!! He phoned my mobile to ask for help with removing an escaped hen. which he could not catch.  As they associate me with food, it was easy to call "Chick, chick, chicken" and she waddled after me and away from the ditch.

I decided to take a short cut through the goathouse. Just as I was near the gate, my foot got stuck in the mud and I fell forward in slow motion, just managing to save myself by putting both hands deep into the disgusting sticky soil.  I struggled to stand up and picked up the naughty hen and once the matter was resolved hosed myself off.  Luckily I was wearing waterproof leggings and my trusty waterproof coat, so it was only my hands that actually came into contact the  goo.

Later in the day when we were in the kitchen, Mike looked out of the window and asked what the goats were doing in the barn.  He often calls the sheep, goats, by mistake, so I clarified that the animals in question where white with horns and he confirmed same.  At once I realised that I must have left the goathouse gate either open or not latched properly.

Dolly and I went out to try and sort out the problem, only to find that one of the ewes was with the goats and the oldest Buck was being amorous to say the least.  I rushed into the barn and loaded up a feed bucket and to my relief found that bucks are more interested in food than love!!   At least when a ewe rather than a doe is involved!!  With a lot of difficulty Dolly and I managed to get three goats  through the gate into Mike's yard whilst leaving the sexy ewe bleating outside!  Result!

Whilst the alpaca shearer is shearing I sort the fleece that comes off  into grades.  Grades 1 and 2 go into clearly marked bags and anything else does not even make it off the barn floor, except into a rubbish bag.   There is no problem with the Grade 1 fleece as I either sell it or have it spun ready for sale in the shop or for knitting into our products.   The Grade 2 (and some Grade 3) has been sitting in an old stock box and and in our attic for quite a while.  I am not sure of the time scale over which it has accumulated.  I must have sold or turned out some because there is not mountains of it.

Nevertheless it is always difficult to decide what to do with the lower grade fleece that is cost effective.   It is worth so little that it is not usually worth paying the carriage to send it to someone who has a use for it. Today I heard from a company ready to take the fleece to process it for bedding (filling duvets etc:). Although they only pay a nominal price, they will collect, so I have agreed to let them have all that we have.    I am really pleased because I hate the thought of throwing it away.  Most of it is really soft and lovely but too short for spinning.  They are coming to collect it soon.

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