Wednesday, May 12, 2010
counting sheep, let me sleep
AH! I seem to have no pictures on the camera to describe these past days... We have been so busy. Where to begin?
Lots of harvesting happening, beautiful wild edibles such as wild ginger, burdock root, nettles, wild mint, yarrow, spruce tips, sweet grass... Makes cooking up lunch much more inspired.
Just so much action around here lately. We got the icelandic sheep on Monday! A white mama (Gersimmy) and her white female babe, a black mama (Birla) and her black male babe. First day was great! We love them, so cute. Second day evening struck, dark approached and they wouldn't enter their lovely barn where we imagined they would LOVE to sleep, safe and snug with the door closed against predators. We chased them around trying to herd them in, seriously stressing them out until they unexpectedly burst through our poorly closed gate. Yep, off into the night they stormed. I immediately gave up hope. How do you catch 4 sheep in the dark in a 30 acre meadow edged by forest and river. Well....it was insane. Joel somehow kept up to them and kept them out of the forest. I stayed back in the darkness until I heard Joel wailing, "No! No! Oh God!!". I thought he had been struck down, bleeding, dying. I dropped my herding brooms and ran in the black towards his cry... I stumbled but kept going, "Joel, oh no, are you ok?". Then they were upon me, I turned to keep them going back to the house, we ran full tilt back to the house and we all stopped. Joel (who was unharmed, his screaming was merely because he thought the sheep were goners) rushed to fix and close the gate at the end of our driveway. I turned on the porch light and sat to watch. The sheep wandered over to the car port. The humans noticed this and went over to block them in. Joel brought plywood to close it off as I stood guard with a huge rake. We blocked them in securely and devastated, we made it back in for the night. We doused ourselves in rescue remedy and tried to devise the plan for morning. We figured we would call the sheep farmers for aid. After a night of tossing and turning, up at 4:30, we went to see if they survived the night. Indeed, and we had to move them. It took everything in us to jump in and grab them by the horns and haul them out. Joel got Birla (black mama) by the horns and I pushed her rear quite a distance to their run. I had to catch her baby and bring him to mama. We returned to face Gersimmy, the white mama, bigger, stronger, leader. In our attempts Birla and babe escaped our piece of shiz gate again and were trying to get back in with Gersimmy. We chased them around for a bit until we figured if we caught Gersimmy all the rest would follow. i pushed Joel to do it, it is really challenging to throw yourself at a crazy jumping mama sheep with horns and a baby scrammbling at her feet in a small room full of bikes and a tractor and junk everywhere. He caught a horn and I jumped in and grabbed both horns as Joel fell across the tractor. Gersimmy pulled me a way and I fell hard on some sharp junk but held on til Joel came and grabbed a horn. We walked her slowly with burning muscles and short breath to the sheep run. Oh it doesn't end here. The rest came but didn't go in the run so we herded them up and down the fence line for 15 mins until finally we somehow got them in without Gersimmy escaping and nailed that f@#* ing gate shut forever. We were seriously traumatized by the experience. We came home to the children waking up and made coffees. It took hours to rid the adrenaline and off feeling. However it feels fantastic to have had the experience of catching them as we will certainly have to do it again someday. We did it ourselves!
Other updates, Atti turned 4 yesterday. We had waffles, he was gifted with some nice things we made including a bird house from big bro. We had a busy day with a tractor at the land and friends we know here to plant trees (cedar, willow, cottonwood, spruce) by the creek. The tractor started to sort & bury the mounds of junk on the land. Today it is pretty much done, so amazing. A master herbalist friend walked us around the land and showed us plants and their uses. We made angel cake, and had dinner at the restaurant with a cream cheese cupcake to finish it off. B-day boy was very pleased.
We were asked for our farm to be the case study for the local permaculture course next month. I am excited, we'll learn so much about the land and meet some interesting folk. Great learning for the boys.