February 11, 2012
We’re two-thirds of the way through winter at Sun and Wind Farm but cold weather only found its way here for the first time this morning. The mild weather we’ve been enjoying has been a welcome respite from the hellfire of last summer, when Texas had the hottest three-month streak of temperatures in recorded U.S. history.
Along came January with some blessed relief. We recorded 19 days above 60 degrees in the month, including six days higher than 70. February started off on the right foot with three more days over the 70-degree mark. But this morning the temps snuck down just below 30 at dawn, with a wind-chill factor of 12 degrees. Diego, the larger of our two Great Pyr livestock guardian dogs, pre-emptively voted not to get out of bed, instead burrowing under a recently opened bale of straw after he wolfed down his breakfast.
Most of our focus is on getting ready for the new lambs. Zorro and the four Shetland ewes arrived the first week of November. The ewes never came into heat on our farm, so we believe he had already had his way with them by then. Zorro then efficiently worked his way through the rest of the ewes on the farm — two more Shetlands, two Islandics and two Suffolks. What a guy! In any case, we have a circle drawn around the first week of April as a likely arrival time for the first of the lambs. Given the inclination of many sheep breeds to bear twins (or more), we are expecting as many as 20 new lambs come spring.
Our run-in shed is already organized in a way conducive to segregating moms and lambs for their all-important first 48 hours, so they can get a chance to bond without other ewes swooping in to claim the lambs as their own. Just to be sure, we picked up a lambing jug (ok, it’s a dog kennel, but we’re not planning to tell the sheep) to make it easier should any of the lambs need extra protection or attention.
Meanwhile in the house, Frances has started planting herb seeds to sit on the sill under the mid-day sun. They will be heading to an open nook of garden just outside the kitchen door and, from there, to their final destination as savory additions to our meals over the next year.