It is amazing how well Buster Muster is doing. He still looks awful, but is his same-old happy, cheerful self. He lets me check him out whenever I go out there, and since I’m a big old worrywart, that’s a lot. The horn itself, or whatever the flesh that is left is called is still sort of damp and bright red, but there’s no sign of infection, he is eating and drinking well, frisky. Huh. I think I was so worried so much because of losing Panic (same age) two years ago. We had tried to put the rams all back together, reading everything we could find about how to do it, and we had a dead little ram lamb in the morning. Ugh. But this is different, and I’m over my squeamishness, I think. I really miss having Valerie around, though! She and Frank have always done the doctoring, but I’m learning. I’m here by myself a lot, now, so, no choice! Just Do It. (I mutter that to myself a lot lately.)
It is coming down to the wire with the need for a chicken coop. We’ve tried a couple of things, and none of them have worked out well this week. First, we tried to drop a couple of pine trees with the thought of running them through the sawmill and building it from the wood. We did that a couple of years ago for sheep sheds, all in a day. But that was in the fall, and this is winter, and the snow is deep.
Frank took the tractor to pull the tree out, and decided that it was crazy to attempt. The slope has ice under the snow, and it just looked like a recipe for disaster, and we’ve had a minor one this week already. So, no go there, though the girls sure did appreciate the pinetree branches. Not much of a treat, but it’s February, and they don’t get much green stuff now.
Then I remembered that there’s an old chicken coop at Frank’s mother’s house, and we wondered if we could move it. We took a snow shovel over and dug out all around it, but no go there either. It’s not up on blocks or anything, so is frozen solid to the ground. We might still go get it in the spring, as she hates it anyway, but there’s no way to get it out now. It’s in okay shape, and a couple of hours work would make it usable, we think, but so much for that bright idea!
So then Frank tried to drop another tree on a flat surface, where the tractor could reach it. He was on a slope, deep in the snow again, and the tree went the wrong way, caught his chainsaw even. He came in pretty disgusted, saying that he used to be able to put a tree wherever he wanted, and clearly needs to get back in practice. We went to town to order up some wood instead, which just chaps his yankee farmer soul, and found the tree down just where he had planned when we got back. Thanks, wind! At least his chainsaw is freed, and fine. If that hadn’t worked, which he said he had hoped it would, he was going to remove the saw from the blade and put on his spare, which is a clever idea should we need it someday.
The wood we ordered should get here today, and he used the tractor to clear the area of snow where we want to build the coop. I think he had fun doing it, and he had a very interested audience the whole time. I am figuring we want the coop out near the sheep, so that watering and feeding them can all happen together. We’ll make it movable, though, since until the barn is built, everything is still temporary. I’m not happy that we are going to build it out of wafer board, which I hate, but I guess I will paint it and just suck it up. I can have a pretty chicken coop later.
We sort of can’t believe that we are really going to drive 1100 miles with nine chickens in the car, and four dozen eggs. All that, just to have Icelandic chickens? Certifiably insane, we are. The main reason we had decided to do it was so that Frank could visit with his aunt Doris, in the Detroit area. She died suddenly this week, sadly. He had just talked to her last week, and she thought it was very funny to think of us driving with those chickens. It’s very sad, and he’s headed to her funeral tomorrow. That really puts a cramp in time to actually build the coop, too, and makes us wonder if we should even drive at all, now. But we’re going to do it anyway, we think. It’s all planned, and now that we have no need to go to Detroit, we think we’re going to take the northern route and drive through Canada to Greenbay instead.
Oh, right, I wanted to make a note about the mineral mix. We’ve finally got salt out there, and it’s very popular, and they all seem to really like my new mix. I wasn’t really worried about adding the kelp, because I’ve heard that sheep like it. I was worried that the DE would make it taste bad and they would stop eating it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Each pen is still cleaning out about two cups worth a day. I check last thing in the day to top it up, and they all rush over to taste it. So now I’ve got the regular sheep minerals, kelp, DE and dried molasses to keep it yummy, and they all seem fine with it. I really hope the DE helps with the worm load. We have lost one sheep a year to parasites, and that has got to stop.