Christmas Sheep!

Guess what?

Santa brought me a pair of black ewes for Christmas!!!!

Okay, well he had help in the form of two lovely wonderful daughters…  They knew I was missing my dark girls and were not sure what to get me and then put two and two together!!!

Meet Noel and Holly.   Two big boned Shetland ewes that came to our house on Thursday night in the rain and dark.  We picked them up in old Blue and they got settled in so nicely.  The others in the flock welcomed them with open arms and a few playful head butts.  (That was from the boys… it how they welcome everyone.  Apparently, even in sheep, boys will be boys….)


I love this picture… Noel was super interested in watching Cody.  I don’t think she’s ever seen a pony before.  She kept a vigil on him all afternoon until she decided he was okay.  Noel is the mom of Holly.  Noel is 2 and half years old, and a mature heavyset ewe.  She’s about two inches taller than Ivy and Iris, the cream yearlings.  I would guess that they might mature out looking a little closer to Noel, when they are done growing.   Holly is a early spring yearling, she is about 18 months old.  She and Iris and Ivy are very close in height and width.  Of course Fergus and Molly look like dwarfs next to Noel!  I think they are runts or something!  haha…

Angus is a month or so older than the twins, and he is starting to fill out a little more, get a little more height and such.  But hey, they all will fill out by next summer for sure.

In classic Windhaven girls routine, we drove home pondering just how we were going to get these Christmas sheep back to the paddock, in the dark and the rain.  Thank goodness it was not FREEZING rain… but unfortunately, it was huge rain puddles and sucky mud areas galore in the yard.  What to do…

It was too dark to just let them go and hope they were okay in the middle yard over night.  I was fairly sure that we would not get them to happily follow us to the paddock.  So that meant a couple things.  Halter and drag them back… or carry them.  Hmmm.

Well, we took Holly first because she was lighter.  Haltered Noel and had Jessy hold her in the back secure, while we grabbed Holly and got her out of the station wagon and through to the courtyard.  We carried her on either side, each with our arms under her like the fireman carry.  She was probably at least 60 pounds of ewe!!!  Let me tell you, walking back there, about 200 feet or so, carrying a big ewe, in the rain, and trying not to get your boot sucked out in the mud is quite a little adventure.  Half the way there Holly began to baa into the darkness and the flock began to answer back from the paddock.  So she got all wiggly, knowing that more of her kind were beckoning to her and that she could no longer hear Mom bleating for her baby!  But we made it and she slipped into the paddock to the crowd of interested sheepies all checking out the new girl.

We stood there contemplating Momma.

I dang near threw out my back carrying her yearling, and I could see that we needed another plan.

Imagine Noel’s surprise when we backed up the wheelbarrow to the station wagon and got her in that lovely sheep hold and parker her rump first in the wheelbarrow!  She was silent, watching us with eyes that surely considered us insane or at the very least, dangerous, and waited for her opportunity to flee.  But we were ready.  Jessy on one side, with the halter rope tight and a hold of her front hoof and me with a hold of her other front hoof and Maggie as the wheel gal!  It was slightly slow going but hey, a heck of a lot easier than carrying her would have been!  She got about half the way there and started to baa for her baby and the back and forth calling got her a little more wiggly but still, stuck in the wheelbarrow bucket!

Now, I sure wish we had a picture of this, but it was too dark and we needed all hands on deck!  Once we got to the paddock, Noel was quite content to be tipped up and right on her feet, ready to dash through the gate to her baby and new flock mates.

Since food is the universal meet and greet for all livestock critters, we had brought out a little bucket of sweetfeed and sheep nuggets and gave everyone a little feed.  I was SOOOO happy to have Holly come right up to me and nibble warily from the bucket.  Noel was not having any part of me after the ride she just had!  We were wet and happy and after a few big hugs in the rain, and a flake of hay in the shack, we went back to the house for some homemade chicken pot pie and WARM socks and clothes!!!

I shot these pictures the next morning, when there was water everywhere again.  Thankfully no one was flooded out and our basement stayed dry, but the creek was full and there were serious puddles everywhere.  Cody was annoyed that right in front of his barn was a mini lake!  We need to make a little sturdy board bridge for him and us, to make it easier to get over this area that tends to get mushy.  It looks like a puddle, but this is where the creek is a good 12 inches deep or so and if you try and jump it, you get sucked down in very cold water!  No fun….  just add that to the list of stuff to do soon!!!  Our local lumber yard has a good deal on big sturdy 2 inch thick boards… I think 4 or 5 of those about 8 feet long, maybe 8 or 10 inches wide and we will have a lovely little bridge by the pony barn!

Well, now things seem so wonderful…  my little flock has grown and everyone is getting along famously!  The very next day, Thursday, I let everyone out to graze and Holly and Noel were just part of the flock like they had been there forever.  And then in the evening, when I went out with their sheep nuggets and a flake of dinner hay, they just followed right along with the others, baaing and learning the new routine.  Tonight, they actually were with the front runners of the pack and rushed past me to wait in the paddock for their evening snack!  Noel even let me pet her a moment or two before she moved away to watch me closer from a wee bit of a distance.  I’m sure in a few days or so, they will get very used to the routine and seeing me and Maggie out and about.

Their wool is stunning… so soft and pretty.  A little different than the creamies, which is fine.  Shetland wool is considered one of the finest of the English Isles, and I just can’t wait till shearing time in the spring!  We will have lots of beautiful fleeces to work with…  and I think that I am going to consider getting a yearling brown ram in the summertime, and give a season of breeding a chance.  See just how adorable the little lambs are, and how desirable these lovely little sheep are, I guess it’s just something to consider!  Selling a few lambs each year, and keeping a few for our own use, that just makes sense.  The sale lambs can help to pay for winter hay.  But everyone needs to grow up good and I need a good year to get ready for that!  Haha… 2012 is going to be garden year!!!  2011 was livestock year and get the homestead livable!  2013 will be baby lambs!  Lots of time to learn all about it!!!

Well, just had to share my little exciting news and photos with everyone!!!  I hope you get everything that you hope and wish for this holiday season!!!  I know I’m a happy girl!!!  And I know my dear daughters will love all the wonderful things that I picked out for them as well!  (But they have to wait until Christmas!!!!  Cuz there is nothing ALIVE in their stash… at least not at the moment!!!)




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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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