Got snow?

Got snow? Doesn’t it look like one of those “Got Milk?” commercials? That’s my Suessical, so musical, coming up to be sure that there isn’t more grain. I got a really nice email from Barbara Webb from Jager Farm, the place where Sue was born. She told me some about his father, and Sue sounds so much like him!

He’s the boy named Sue! I remember him distinctly. His father was an amazing ram, old Surtur. Biggest, blackest, best ram for many years. He had an interesting temperament. Surtur was mellow and non-confrontational during the year. Didn’t fight with the other rams, just watched them crash and bash, with no interest in joining in. He didn’t try to get out and he never was aggressive to me. But once breeding season came, he was single
minded. He would climb over fences, or through them, or bash open gates, and once I even found him trying to jump up and through a barn window!

Until all the girls on the farm were bred, I had to be sure that Surtur was tied in, or else he would try to steal other ram’s ewes.

One Thanksgiving, when I was making pies with my daughters, I looked out the kitchen window and saw Surtur calmly walking through the live electric fence to get to a ewe in heat in the adjoining pasture!

That was Surtur. He carried moorit obviously as Sue is a moorit badger, and he threw the best lambs consistently, from year to year, until he died. I still have his granddaughter 202J and she is one of my best. I wish I had more of his lambs, but they always sold. Not always off the paper list, as his lambs were usually just a solid black. But when visitors came to look at the lambs, his daughters would always catch their eye, and they would ask who the big ewe lamb was, and was she for sale? And they would end up buying one of Surtur’s daughters, so I never got to keep as many as I should have.

Anyway, I’m glad to see that one of his sons is still working. And not surprised to read that his lambs are doing very well for you and he is clearly his father’s son!

BillyI’ve got to figure out how to get enrolled in the Volunteer Scrapie program so that I can give one of Sue’s boys back to her. I also should make an effort to sell Bill and George, sadly. I can’t use them myself, and should get them out working. Sniff. But I love them so. How do people sell their favorites?! Bill was so cute as a lamb.

It’s so confusing to figure out what paperwork we need to complete, and who to talk to. I keep calling numbers, and getting referred to another office, who gives me another number to call, which was the first one I tried, etc. etc. I find the websites about it equally baffling. I found a link here which looks promising, written in a language that I might be able to understand. God I hate paperwork and agencies and did I mention paperwork and calling people. Oy. I really need to buckle down and get that and the ISBONA registrations all over and done with.

130_3059_JFR.jpgSpeaking of the New England Icelandic Sheep Association people, I submitted my farm for inclusion on the site, and she read my Adopt a Lamb thing. Funny, she’s the only person to laugh at my suggestion of mandating that your cell phone be your lamb’s voice. Somehow only another shepherd gets what “Silence of the Lambs” really means. As much as I can’t wait for lambing season, because there is nothing cuter than baby lambs, but we have been known to mutter many a foul word under our breath or from inside the house about lambs who can’t find their mommies.

I call it the cry for the wolf, because I so fear it announces “come eat me!” to all of the local predators. I am very glad that I’ve got the two llamas girls this year, and that they are well bonded with the sheepies. We heard yesterday that they can get our attention when they want it.

(How am I going to wait until May for babies! Dang.)

I think we’re going to use the shelter that Kevin and Valerie made for the sheepies last year for the pigs when they get here in April. It’s got one whole side fenced with cattle panels, and the stone wall behind it. We can loop an electric fence below there, and as they unroot all the stones, we can rebuild those walls. It was wooded for a long time, so they should have lots of yummy roots to eat.

Speaking of pigs, I read about what little intervention Walter from Sugar Mountain Farms does with his pigs. I thought it was just accepted that you had to castrate the piglets or it would taint the taste. I’ve heard that since I was little, and I thought those were all pastured pigs, not feedlot ones. So huh. I think the feeder pigs we are getting will be castrated, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it to our own piglets next year.

Frank is getting ready to upgrade WordPress to 2.1. He’s backing up everything first, and I’ve asked him to do it in two ways. I’ve been getting in all of our old entries, recategorizing them, and fixing broken links. If all of that work gets lost again, I may bash him on the head with my crook and jump off the balcony.

I have a neglected garden that I’m going to need to rehabilitate this year, and I need my own archives, to help me remember what the names of plants are, and what looks like what. Every time I think about how much work that’s going to be, getting those beds back in order, I start to panic, until I remember that I’m going to be here, not off in Dublin or San Francisco, and I can work on it a little every day instead of marathon sessions on the weekends. Whew. That makes it doable, at least.

I worry a little bit when I realize that in May of 2004, before the sheep, I was putting out tomatoes that I’d started from seed. In May of 2005, I did no such thing. It was all lambs, all the time. But again, we both also got sent to Dublin for half that month, so I bet it will be doable if I am actually here. That’s how Molly got named, after all, because we flew to Dublin the day she was born. Not. this. year. Whew.

Finally, Frank is just back from the dump. He says that there is much rejoicing in the town because finally, we got snow!

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