Monday, August 1, 2011

shepherding summer 2011

So far this summer I have protected my flock from the coyotes and wolves and yesterday I had my first visit from a big black bear. He stood on the stone fence surveying the flock and then started advancing toward them. For once, I was darn thankful I was in the truck (it was drizzly and raining and early morning). I drove toward him but he kept coming. I tooted my horn. He kept coming. I finally was no more than fifteen feet away from him, shouting out the window and blowing the horn before he reluctantly shambled back into the fencerow, where he took up his post on top of the stone fence and sat watching me and the sheep. I rounded them up with the truck and pushed them closer to the house then drove like hell to yell for Tom to come with the gun. (which of course, i did not have with me). By the time we returned, bear was gone. Now my favorite spot for reading with my back up against the fence rocks has become a possibly dangerous location. I am not afraid of wolves and coyotes, but I am very wary of bears.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Last night, after I finished my delicious steak dinner and glass of wine surrounded by my sheep, I looked up and saw a beautiful buck step out from the fence. I've seen him a couple of times before but this time he continued walking right toward the sheep and me. I was sitting in the grass surrounded by fat lambs who like to come by and nibble on my hair and clothes and I guess the deer didn't notice me at all. He came closer and closer and I was wishing I had my camera...just like the gun, it is never with me when I need it...a beautiful huge rack of antlers and so calm and stately. He crossed right in front of me and went over the fence and started eating grass in Wingle's just mown hayfield. I went for the camera and he was still there but by then it was too dark to get more than a grainy shot.
This morning, hot and brilliantly blue, a huge raptor circling just overhead. Creamy white with some brown markings on the underside of his wings and mottled brown on top. Wonder what he was.

our new farm location as of end september

We discovered earlier this summer that this farm will no longer be available for us next year so we have had to go in search of a new home for ourselves, our flock of sheep, laying hens, pigs and meat birds. I sat down and envisioned what we wanted and then put all my intention in place that we would find the farm of my dreams. As well as trusting the universe and the goddess, I also did my share of the work

by phoning up all the farm landlords I knew in the area we wished to live. In particular, I phoned the owner of a place I had always admired, which is actually right next door to my sister's farm. Although the landlord always rented the farmhouse, he had not been renting the barn and the land. As it turned out, his current tenant was leaving end of July. I told him what we were looking for and suggested we might rent half his gigantic barn (he uses the other half for storing his boat and workshop tools) and that we could perhaps also rent about 20 acres of pasture for our sheep. He thought about it and called us back...and voila: thus we will be moving to 1083 Bulger Rd Eganville, next door to my sister Chris, just down the road from my sister Henrietta and two doors over from my sister Mary.