I almost afraid to say it, but we sort of kind of maybe made some progress this weekend. The sheep aren’t happy where they are, but they have lots of room out on the hill, three out of four sides are permanent fencing, and the last side is electronet, but because it’s a straight run, it actually seems to be holding them in. It was a really tricky maze for them to get out before, involving a walk through the swamp in knee deep water, but as long as it was possible to get out, every morning we were finding sheep out, and my garden has about had it. I swear Kaytla just considered it a challenge for when she got bored. (Why are we breeding for smart sheep again?!) We’ve gone two nights now (in a row!) without sheep out, and it almost made me cry. We have to feed hay, and I’ve moved the feeders in there, but at least we seem to have them contained.
So instead of needing to fight yet another crisis, we were finally able to tackle something new. We moved the chicken coop out of the way, and all of the old sheep shelters. I started using the bucket on the tractor to scoop up all that old sheep bedding. We’d had the pigs in there after, so for a while, it was all light and fluffy, perfect. Then we had weeks of rain, so it’s turned back into muck and mud and ick. It smells and is totally gross, but at least I’m starting to get it done.
I made 22 trips yesterday, moving all that mud and muck. (Yes, I counted!) I’ve been piling it up in the new garden, where we will hopefully be putting it into raised beds next spring, or even this fall. It should compost really quickly, with all that multispecies manure in there. (Sheep, llama, chickens, pigs and horses!) I’ve still got probably as many again to go, and then we need to grade the ground better there so it drains properly. I’m getting pretty good at operating the tractor bucket, which is cool.
Frank thinks he’s got the sawmill working again, touch wood. That’s all the wood we need for the horse shelters, which we only have one more week to get finished. (Polly and Pearl have this last week where I’ve got them boarding, that’s it.) He also pulls a 6×6 out of those logs when he can, and we are using those to build more raised beds. We figure we need about 20 of those, just for ourselves.
Winter feels very close already, even though we sweltered in the heat this weekend. July is over, and snow will fly soon, and we’ve yet to get winter shelters up for any of the critters yet. Frank picked out a different spot for where the horses will go — where we had started building is just not going to get cleared out enough to use this year, so that wasn’t going to work. We need some place for the two gilts, and three breeding pens for the sheep. That’s a lot of building still to do this year. Eep. Bucky never did show up to help with the fencing, and Jeremy said he was going to come over this weekend, but didn’t show up either. Oh well! Maybe next weekend.
The puppy and the chickens are being the cutest things ever. Bjarki and Peeper remain best friends, and now that Peeper is starting to get unwanted attention from all the young roosters, he chases them away when they pester her too much. (It is so time to start butchering some of those boys. The “crowing” noises at 4 am leave much to be desired!) He also stays ever vigilent by the new babies, and sometimes I let them out for a stretch, and it’s just a little love fest all over the place. I love you! No, I love you! Too cute. I could sit and watch them for hours, if only we weren’t so busy!