Slam-packed weekend, as usual!

We spent a good part of Saturday just running around.  I wanted to go to a feed store in Statesville to pick up some Western-grown alfalfa for the goats.  I was told the bales weighed 80 pounds so I figured they’d last a long time.  They had better given they cost $16/each.  I cringed when we backed up to the loading dock and they brought the bales over to put in the truck.  They were approximately two feet by two feet square.  I knew I was going to hear something about that from Wally and I was right.  As soon as we got up on the highway he said, “the truck is handling pretty well given the amount of hay we have in the back.”

The hay is extremely compact and they do weigh about 80 pounds.  I flake off a small piece for the goats and put it in their hay feeder after I bring the sheep down to the ElectroNet.  It’s working.  I had to milk a second time yesterday.  Penny was the one who really needed to be milked again, but since I was milking, I did them all.  I got over a gallon of milk in the morning and a half gallon in the afternoon.  It was a good thing I milked again because I had used all the milk in the morning to make cheese … which didn’t set.  Weird.  I may have miscalculated the rennet.  Oh well, Rose will have it for breakfast this morning.

After going to the feed store, we went to Southern States to get replacement bolts for the wagon.  They didn’t have what we wanted so we stopped at Tractor Supply and got them.  Then we stopped at Lowes to look at lawnmowers.  Mine is, unfortunately, about dead.  I’ve had it for about five years now and used it hard.  Since we will be doing a good amount of yard mowing this year (including the agility field) as well as paths for the ElectroNet, I’m going to need to invest in a new lawnmower sooner rather than later.

We got home and I ran down on the ATV to let the sheep out of the ElectroNet with the intention of letting them graze in the back pasture while we worked on putting up the monster chain link enclosure which I mentioned a while back.  We were going to use it for storage and a new milking parlor, but decided that it would be better utilized in the fenced-in area as additional shelter for the sheep and goats.

Damn, my heart dropped to my feet when I let the sheep out of the fence.  One the lambs was hopping on three legs and the ankle on the leg she was not walking on was dangling.  She belonged to the young black-headed Dorper ewe we had been having problems with.  I have no idea how she broke it, but I don’t think she was being fed all that well and perhaps her legs had not developed as they should have.  I caught her and carried her up on the ATV.  I asked Wally if we could possibly splint it, but he said it would likely get infected and of course she’d suffer so he had to put her down.  I had not planned on butchering a lamb that day, but it had to be done.  I got it done in record time and put the meat up in the refrigerator for the dogs and cats.

We only had time to get the sides of the chain link enclosure up before we had to go in and take a shower in order to go and visit Wally’s mother who is in the hospital recovering from surgery.

Yesterday we ate breakfast (scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and goat cheese) and then went down to reset the ElectroNet.  I mowed the paths on Wednesday so it didn’t take long.  Having lengths of clothesline cut to the length of one roll of ElectroNet and using that to measure where the paths need to be mowed seems to be working quite well.  It’s about time we mastered setting this fence.  On the way back to the house we took down my A-frame and dog walk and moved them to a different location in anticipation of having the leveling work down this week (we’ll see …).  I set up the equipment in two difference places and plan to build sequences around each piece of contact equipment.  I haven’t been inclined to use my equipment down where it was because the ground is so uneven.  I was afraid of stepping in a hole, falling and possibly injuring myself.  I talked to Marcus on Sunday and he’s still planning on coming out late this week to do the work.  Esme has one more surgery session scheduled today and then she’ll be all done.  I asked if she was afraid to get in the truck after her accident, but Marcus said she wasn’t.  In fact, she wasn’t afraid of anything.  He also said she was bringing up the sheep and calves for him at night.  I find that hard to believe … wouldn’t it be nice though?

I am going to agility today.  I have three pounds of cheese and six dozen eggs sold.  Good thing on the eggs as I had the biggest bowl I owned over flowing with them.  It is helpful to have the animals paying for at least part of their feed.  When I get back, I need to get out there and get my peas planted.  I spent some time thinking about where I wanted to plant them: in the main garden or in the garden off the back of the house.  I decided to go with the garden off the back of the house for two reasons:  I could water it easier and I could put up shade cloth to protect the peas (lettuce and spinach) from intense sun and heat which is bound to come before the crop is finished.

On the way back from Statesville on Saturday we stopped at a garden center that I knew carried a different selection than most garden centers in the area.  I was looking for heirloom tomato seedlings.  The only had one variety in stock, but more were coming including Cherokee purple which is the variety I was most interested in.  Heirloom tomatoes are a bit harder to grow and take longer to grow than conventional hybrid tomatoes, but the taste is well worth it.  I will plant Roma tomatoes to make sauce from, but I’m going to try to grow just heirloom tomatoes.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’d like to have started all my seedlings myself, but I’m afraid the cats would have a field day with anything growing inside.  The lettuce that I grew in my cold frame is doing reasonably well.  I moved the cold frame to a different location yesterday, hoping that more sun will make it grow better.

Until later …