Sunday, May 4, 2008

may the grazing begin!

The weekend was all-in-all relaxing, and full of exciting projects!
Like collecting dandelion petals for my winemaking & visiting the brew shop for some
 champagne yeast!  This week I will hopefully start making it.  Until then, the petals (separated from the green parts) hang out in the freezer.
I managed to get laundry done in Red Hook.  

Severine's rabbits look happy & healthy, and are excited to get handfuls of grass, clover, & day-old bread & bagels that I picked up in Red Hook too.  Happy bunnies with bagels!

And for the much-awaited guests of the farm: my Tunis sheep are finally here!  

I went out to Red Hook again to meet up with the sheep farmer & watch her trim
 their hooves before we loaded them up into her truck (two people clasp hands under their bellies & lift up) and drove back here.  Then we put them out into their first paddock.  We kept their halters on, so I could easily lead them to the barn after a few hours.  

They were so preoccupied with frantically munching grass they didn't seem to notice that the electric fence wasn't on.  It's really a visual barrier, a perceived enclosure.  But I probably will turn it on tomorrow.  
They have just been shorn, and won't need to be sheared at all the rest of the summer, says the owner.  We signed a contract that says they are on loan for the purpose of summer grazing.  I will return them by November 1st, the end of my internship here.  I will call her with any questions at all.  She cares a lot about these animals... and I think they will be really happy here.  
This one with the purple halter is the Gramma, she's 9 years old, and just had a set of twins.  The others are 2 years old.  One was used as a show animal for a while.  They are all very friendly & tame.  They have such great curious personalities and don't scare like other breeds of sheep do.  I used some organic sheep-grain (corn, oats, & soybeans) to lead them out of the field & into the barn for the night.  I filled buckets with salt, minerals, & water & put them in the corners.  They stood in the middle of the room & sniffed around... I hung out with them a little bit.  They came over to me looking for more grain, and I scratched one on the neck, talking gently to her.  I think I've already fallen in love!  It is hard to leave them in there & not check on them every 20 minutes!The rest of the week I will only take them out to pasture for a few hours each evening to graze, while their stomachs get used to eating such lush grass.  In the meantime, they'll spend a lot of time in the barn, eating a little hay.  After then I'll transition them to full days outside.  I think they'll be great lawn mowers.  Friendly lawn mowers, to say the least.

1 comment:

Debbi (and Bob) Brown said...

Congratulations on the arrival of the Tunis, you will love them! We have 17 of those little "lawnmowers" and each have names.

Debbi Brown
Unicorner Farm
Axtell, Texas