Okay.. well, maybe I should say he’s in the yard… haha… in the car…. in da barn….
GIDEON IS HERE!!!! HE”S HOME!!!! YAH!!!!
I can’t believe it… he’s here, the ram of my dreams! A Shetland brown boy with the farm lines that I simply adore and dreamed about and never thought I could afford, he’s here! And he’s ours! And it’s sooooo because of the wonderful and lovely nature of his mom Rachel, to let him come here and live his life as our very first foundational sire of the someday famous Windhaven flock of beautiful Shetlands!!!! She was SO kind to work with me to make it happen and I’m so thankful to have found her and her friends and family to be another chapter in the Windhaven story. As much as I enjoy all the animals and such, it’s the wonderful friends and fans of what we’re doing that has so brightened our lives and made the journey every so much more blessed and delightful!!!
This is a BIG slap in the face for everyone out that with dreams. Dream big. And dream specific and then make it happen. Know what you want and the goal you want and then think about it, pray about it, dream about it, visualize it… ask people, make it a daily thing… let others know. You know, once I knew that I wanted a ram like Gideon, sweet tempered, beautiful colors, specific bloodlines… I started to check Craigslist EVERYDAY. I thought about him, I tried to picture his little lambs in our pasture, I visited the Windswept farms website so much I suspect their traffic went up considerably! I didn’t know if or when or how, but I just knew it was a goal and would imagine it as if it were and I would keep at it. And we are here.
I could hardly sleep Thursday night, I tried, but I was very excited. And nervous. I mean, a ram. Hmm…. A ram in the yard. I heard so many stories and such, I just wasn’t sure. But I didn’t let me scare me, I knew that if for some reason, I just couldn’t handle him, I’m sure we could find a home for him, so I just blocked that from my thinking. I read all I could all week long about ANYTHING to do with handling rams. I read my sheep books. The internet. I was ready. Once we are on the road I could feel a lot of that nervous “what if” junk slipping away. It was going to happen, so I might as well enjoy the ride!
The ride was a little rough, we started to hit heavy rain about a half hour out and then it turned to this sleety icy rain mix. I just took my time, decided there was no need to die over a car ride, and we got there pretty much on time. Of course, we left about a half hour early because I just couldn’t stand it! I am so glad my dear daughters love me and put up with their insane mom! They just go with the flow!
And when we got to Rachel’s beautiful home, I knew this was a gal I would like, because of her wonderfully whimsical rooster on the porch!!! I love him! Maggie says she’s going to make me one like him! I can’t wait!!! And then she tells me that she rescued him from the trash!!! OH MY! How could anyone throw out such an awesome roo!!! Some people!
Rachel had some cute little goats, and this momma and her darling little baby were a hoot to watch. Jessy took all these pictures, so you can thank her for that! Maggie and I were busy learning and meeting Gideon! This little baby is not very old but she was jumping around and leaping from wire spool to crate in the ice storm! Everything was getting a nice little coating of ice! We were all soaked to the bone… What a day to go and get a ram! Haha… but it’s a Windhaven tradition… we brought Noel and Holly home in rain and sleet and darkness of night!!!
I wasn’t sure if he would be full fleeced or shorn, but the short look is in! He was not that huge at all, a good solid boy and handsome at all get out. And he was really friendly, loved that the most. He got a worm paste cocktail and his yearly shot and he was still pretty cool with the whole situation. He’s halter trained, so we gathered him and and off he went. He wasn’t totally sure about just jumping up into strangers cars, but with a little help from behind, he was up and settling in. We brought a flake of hay from home for him to munch on in flight. We were just a touch worried that he might consider ramming a window, but he was really pretty timid about it all and only the occasion thump from a horn tip made us cringe a bit. But Blue is made of tough stuff and we made it home without incident.
Rachel had a friend that lived nearby that had a pair of Gideon’s newborn lambs at her place and she really wanted to meet us, and by golly, we wanted to meet her! And what a treat that was! Such a lovely little homestead, nestled in the trees and woods of Michigan. They have a beautiful home as well, but we were totally enamored with their wonderful tree house!!!
Darn the yucky weather! We would have loved to stick around longer, but it was getting wetter and icey, and we just didn’t want to push the drive home. So we got the 25 cent tour and met lots of lovely critters… like this mother daughter pair of mini horses that were not budging from their warm little igloo and a trio of goats that didn’t mind…
Oh my gosh I’ve never seen a sweeter little critter in my life! Baby Shetland Sheep!!! OH MY GOSH…. they are just adorable and only about 12 or 15 inches tall!!!! They are about a week old, if I remember correctly. Just stinking cute! I can not wait to make baby lambs on Windhaven! They were jumping and playing and all, just adorable in their little innocent frolics! Two sets of twins for Gideon and his ladies! And their moms were awesome too, just sweet sheep.
Oh, our babies are not going to be able to walk until they are about 3 weeks old CUZ we are going to be holding them ALL THE TIME! haha…. Okay, maybe not, but still, some spoiled babies they are going to be for sure, for sure…
(Isn’t Maggie cute with her hair in pigtails? Just like some cool country kid… I think she likes it that way, I think I might be able to convince her to give it a try for a while… she’s trying to gro out her bangs… tired of the trimmed up look I guess….)
We got to go in and visit with their cute little runt piglet and another momma goat and twins in the garage. And all their bunnies! Jessy was in heaven, she loves bunnies. The little piglet was so adorable…. she was a runt of the litter and they got her for free. Now she’s potty trained and doing great! It’s so neat to meet like minded people because you learn that you’re not a solo singer but a member of the choir unique! Fun stuff…. We really hated to be leaving, but as you can see as we drove their delightful driveway out, the whole place was icing up and we had miles to go before we made it home.
I love this picture. Two bored travelers in the rain.
Gideon was a good rider. He was just fine. He was intrigued, not scared, looking all over and just sort of not sure what was up, but yet not too worried either. He is really laid back. A good boy. Maggie had a baggie of animal crackers, his favorite, and so she would just occasionally slip him one and he got that down just fine. Pretty soon, they were good pals and she was scratching under his chin and behind his ears and as she told me… he was not good on personal space. Haha…. pretty funny, he was looking in her ears and snuffling her hair and just pretty much getting to know her good. He munched a bit on the hay and pretty much just watched out the window in amazement. I have found that most farm animals are pretty good car riders. If they fit, they ride. They are usually just a little too perplexed by the whole situation to be freaky wild. I just don’t think it makes sense to them, so they are calm, waiting, just not sure what to think about it all.
Once we got home… Gideon was not really ready to get out. He needed a little coaxing, that is until he heard Holly, my loud talker, bellow out a greeting to us. Then he cocked his head and listened a minute and jumped out. It was all the incentive he needed. There were sheep here and he was no long a flock of one.
That is one thing that unifies most sheep… they do not like to be alone. They like their pals, their flock mates. If one does something dumb, they all do something dumb. Pretty much that is the case. However, if one is smart, then they all will act smart. Flock dynamics is really fascinating to me, they really do have a pretty good system down. Staying as a group means more survival and less attacks by predators. Or laundry. And kitties. You just never know what might lurk around that bush over there.
We thought it would be good to let him into the courtyard and give everyone a little look-see time to sniff and consider each other. Of course our gang was right there, like they were at the ram zoo. All the chickens came out, the kitties, Cody and the dogs, on the other side in the dog yard. It was if all of Windhaven was assembled to welcome Gideon to the fold. He paced back and forth a bit, just excited, but a little overwhelmed I think. He had a lovely life and a nice pasture and such, but here? Wow… so much going on, heck, the chickens were something he’d probably never seen and he was very perplexed by them!
But mostly, he was interested in the girls. And just the whole flock thing. So we threw caution to the wind and let him into the middle yard and pretty quickly… chaos ensued.
Everyone pretty much ran around like nuts for the first few minutes, trying to sniff each other and the other not interested in that… but then Mama Noel said, enough is enough and pretty much put herself out as leader of the pack and snorted her challenge. Gideon gave her this look like, “you and what army” and clearly, she thought she had her peeps behind her and she ran at him to head butt him outta the pack. Well, I’m quite sure he did not wind up for a good solid ram butt, he just pretty much braced himself for her attack and when she made contact with his impress rack, she bounced back and landed on her rump, startled and surprised. He was such a gentleman, he just stood there, looking at her as she scrambled to her feet and got very small. Which is hard for Mama since she’s the biggest of the pack. He walked over and licked her a little around her face, which she stood rock still for, and then she fell in behind him as the rest scampered around him. Within a few seconds, Holly, her daughter, fell right in behind her mom. And then Gideon turned to address the rest.
I guess that movie Babe, with the talking sheep and animals, had just too much of an effect on me, because I can’t help look at this picture and see Gideon giving them a pep talk about his succession to the throne of King of the Sheep. (Clearly, Cody is King of Windhaven, and Gideon suceeded that title immediately after he faced off with the 400 pound pony…. haha….)
Just look at that picture. Mama is defeated in battle, and she has given her alliegence to her new Lord, and Gideon is letting the others know that he will protect them and welcomes them to join his new herd. Of three. And since the white five are all youngsters, they pretty much considered their options for oh, about ten seconds and then fell in with Mama and Holly to become Gideon’s new flock.
And he was super cool with it. After a bit of butt sniffing and such, he pretty much decided it was time now to check out the new digs and he pretty much ignored the flock and started to walk around and investigate everything. Of course, with the flock following his every step!
At one point, he decided to challenge Cody. Well Cody took one look at this skinny ursurper and gave a little grunt and charged him! Gideon was immediately taken aback by this challenge and he stood his ground and lowered his head as if to the pony on. However, he’s apparently a MUCH smarter ram than one might consider, because the sight of 400 pounds of pony stallion charging down on him gave him pause for consideration and he high tailed it off and out of the charge path. Cody skid to a stop, shook his head with a victory snort and when off to graze. It’s good to be the King.
Gideon loves kitties and chickens. He follows them around like a little kid. He has tried to taste them but both fowl and feline were not impressed with sheep slobber and acted pretty indignant. It’s been super funny to watch him encounter new things. He apparently has not seem much of creek ditches, because he was so funny with them this morning. He stepped over and stood there straddling it, peering down between his forelegs. Then he would bunny hop over it and turn around to see how he did. He had to check out all the things in the barn and succeeded in knocking over the roosting ladder and five or six angry hens. He got tangled up in the extension cord that’s heating up the brooder chicks. He managed to get his horn tip caught in a raspberry bush. All ended without injury or loss of dignity.
Fergus and Angus are not so thrilled with him yet. My two little teenagers, they consider him an evil step father at this point. Neither will admit it, but I think they would like a head butt or two to try and prove they are indeed big boys. But Gideon just ignores them for the most part and that just gives them time to reflect and think of mean things to do to him. The girls are all in a state of half interest, half disinterest. Only really Iris, my little delicate girl, she follows him around like a lovesick puppy. If he nibbles a bush, she rushes to check it out and nibbles it after him. He gets a drink, she gets a drink. And she watches him with moon eyes. She and Ivy came from a Shetland flock that had three rams in it, so I guess, maybe she feels at ease in his presence. Or maybe she’s in love.
Well, everyone was much more calm and relaxed in the morning. Gideon is still marveling at all the new discoveries in his world, and the flock has accepted him into their midst. Mama still runs the show, as he’s not that interested in the hour by hour decisions. She just keeps a watchful eye on what he’s up to when she gives her commands. It’s all good. Our neighbors came down to visit and meet the new little Lord. He was quite the gentleman and was very curious to meet everyone. He’s been coming when I call him and of course, a little sweet feed in my pocket or his much loved animal crackers sweetens the deal. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a big love baby in no time.
And if you’re wondering… Shetlands only go into heat in the late fall. Once a year. Occasionally a yearling ewe might cycle a little odd and such, but for the most part, they are uniseasonal in their breeding cycles. Come late September or so, we will separate Gideon with Fergus and Angus and keep them on alternative pasture for a few weeks. Then, perhaps end of October, first of November, we will put everyone back in together for a little romp in the hay. And then, hopefully, in early spring, we will have little lambs at Windhaven!
Oh how can I hardly wait!!!!!