Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a rather blustery day

Icelandic sheep enjoy the sunny side of the machine shed at Litengård

Whenever it blows on a Wednesday I can't help but recall a favorite tune from the Pooh albums we grew up with, called A Rather Blustery Day.

There is a line in the song that goes Oh I know today is Windsday and this is how I know.. it is always on a Windsday that the winds begin to blow...

Wednesday was one of those blustery days.

Last weekend we replaced/repaired the roof on the Turkey Townhouse, finishing up just after dark Sunday night.

So it was with utter disappointment when I stepped outside to do afternoon chores a mere three days later, on Windsday, that I noticed a piece of the new corrugated plastic roofing flapping in the wind, still attached to the structure but ripped in two.

Brand new roof panel ripped in two by the blustery wind

After sighing a big sigh I headed down to check and see how bad it was and see if I could salvage any of the roofing pieces.  Some of the panels are meant as skylights and do not have any wood underlayment.  If those panels blew off, there would be a gaping hole in the turkey roof open to the sky.

As I neared the structure I noticed two of my turkeys were out of the paddock.  The noise and flapping roof panels must have scared them enough to fly out.  One hen, Selma, had flown out of her paddock, across the field road and into the boys/chickens/rabbit paddock.

Tom was just outside of his paddock, wandering up and down the field road right next to the other hens who had not flown out.

I made a mental note to fetch Selma and Tom once I had inspected the roof.

Selma, a heritage Sweetgrass turkey hen at Litengård

And then I spotted my two ewe lambs in the open area just beyond the turkey paddock.

Rats, they must have busted out of their little shelter somehow.  Two more escapees to add to my list of things to do - or rather, critters to catch.

And then I noticed Ty, our ram lamb, with his head stuck in the net fence trying to get to my ewe lambs who no doubt are now of breeding age and rather enticing to a boy who has already bred his three girls and is no longer getting much action.

Triple rats!

A quick triage of the situation told me this would be the order of events:

Turn off the fence charger to take the electric pulse out of the net fence that Ty was trying to break through.

Get Ty out of the fence.

Get Ty and the girls into the haymow (treats come in mighty handy here) and lock them in for awhile while I inspect any damage to the fence and repair it.

Repair the fence. The net fencing was still secure, thank goodness.  But Ty did end up breaking two plastic step-in posts that I had placed between each of the fiberglass posts of the net fence.  I needed to replace them both, as they were helping hold up the corner of the fence.

Getting the old post bottom out of the frozen ground proved to be tricky.  Eventually I succeeded, after retrieving a hammer and other tools to pry it out of the ground.  I was able to use the same hole it came out of to place a new post back into.

Turn the power back on.

Catch the lambs and return them to their shelter.  This turned out to be much easier than I had thought it would be.  These lambs were wild wild wild when I took them from the main paddock and put them into their own shelter in early December for the duration of Ty's visit.  I didn't want him breeding them.

One of the two lambs, Daisy, had been escaping right before all the sheep went into their winter paddock, and it had been a royal PITA (pain in the arse) to catch her.  Picture a rodeo involving a herding dog, ropes, halters, and a lamb that refused to stand upright on our trip to the barn for a few days of "time-out" while we readied the winter paddock.

But it seems my weeks and weeks of going into their shelter every day with a few treats to eat from hand has tamed them up to the point where they actually followed me of their own free will back over to their shelter and right inside.

'Lil Liza safely back in her shelter.

They got extra treats for that stellar behavior.

After all the sheep were secured I let the ewes and Ty out of the haymow. Ty immediately ran over to the edge of his paddock nearest to the little lambs shelter and stayed there, bleating, begging for a date. But not sticking his head through.

Sorry Ty, no dates tonight.

Now to catch the turkeys.  Not too big of a deal.  My permanent flock will normally let me come within arms reach, even if they don't particularly enjoy being touched.  In less than 5 minutes both turkeys were safely back in their own space.

Tom, our Sweegrass tom turkey, back in his paddock

Two roof panels had blown off.  One managed to come off in one piece without breaking, but one had a jagged tear across the middle.  Luckily neither one was covering the open area so there was no problem with a chance of precipitation falling into the shelter.

I tucked the turkeys into their shelter, which left only the normal evening chores to finish.

My 30 minute routine took 90 minutes, but at the end of the day, everyone was where they were supposed to be, and all was quiet on the farm again.

And I was off to celebrate New Year's Eve with family and friends.

Happy New Year Y'all!
Gypsy Farmgirl spends New Year's Eve catching loose livestock


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