There was a time both of us humans here, had to get up for real jobs that involved our alarm clocks having to go off... and that was normal. Now, neither of us can sleep if we have to set the alarm to get up for any reason. It's not so much the getting up - it's the alarm being on. I absolutely hate the sound of an alarm clock, so I start waking up at least an hour, often two, before I know it will go off, just so I can turn it off and not have to hear that noise - it automatically puts me in a bad mood if I hear it. Like nails on a chalk board. I had to make sure I was up because my sheep shearer was coming first thing this morning, he'd be here by 6 AM or 7 the latest.
So this morning, I was up at 5 AM rubbing my eyes. I lingered in bed as long as humanly possible and then eventually dragged myself out. Once up I rushed into the kitchen to get the coffee on so I'd be able to make it through the morning, alive. Brina saw me from her kennel, and mumbled for a couple of minutes before getting up and letting out a full screaming, "I want milk now!" cry. The birds started chattering even though I had not yet uncovered them.
The Prairie dogs - they don't get up early. You won't see them out of their bed until 9 or 10. Not this time of year. In the summer, they'll get a bit earlier when the sunshine is out. Maybe.
There was frost on the ground this morning. Not a lot, but enough. I put on a heavy sweater and sweatpants and heated up Brina's milk. I grabbed my barn money jar (my life savings!) and my mug of coffee and headed off to the barn with Brina following behind me.
I put Max and Flav in the goat yard, so they wouldn't eat the shearer. They know him, and Flavious gets along with most people, but Max does not take kindly to people in his barnyard, especially people who are going to be touching his animals in any way. He won't let someone he doesn't knows even reach for any of the animals... not without showing them his nice set of big white, shiny teeth.
I fed Brina and gave everyone a handful of hay to munch on in the barn, while they waited to go outside once the shearing was done. My shearer was here right on time, as usual. He's very reliable. It took forever to find a reliable shearer and I almost fainted when he said he was moving into Quebec last year. Thankfully he still comes into this area, but I dread the day he retires. I honestly believe when he does retire, if I still have sheep, I'll have to learn to do it myself and finally put out the money for the equipment, which I've been holding off doing. Most shearers have avoided me like the plague because I always have under 10 sheep, usually under 5... and they don't like small jobs. They could charge me more for less sheep, which most do, but that doesn't seem to even appeal to them. One shearer I called in April one year, called me back in September! Thankfully I had found someone else by then, but can you imagine? You cannot shear sheep in this climate in September anyway, so that said a lot about that guy.
But my current shearer, whom I've had for three years or so, is very good and reliable. Last year I had seven sheep, but this year, I'm back to my permanent three... Lambie, Lila, and Horace. I pulled Lambie out first since he's the biggest weighing in around 200 pounds. He's is not wild but he panics because he's blind, when he doesn't know what's going on. I reassured him with my voice, and he calmed for a moment before he tried to show Tom that he's the big man around here, but eventually he gave in and quieted down. Horace was next, he's a nervous fellow by nature, so he didn't fuss, just looked at me with his usual big panicked eyes. We noticed he needed his horns trimmed again (they grow backwards towards his head, and could grow right into his head if not tended to) they couldn't wait another year, so Tom offered to do it for me, while he was here, which was a great help. We've done it ourselves before and it's not a really big deal (not unless you cut them too short, and then it's a horrific deal) but I appreciated him doing it and just being able to get one more task out of the way. We took about an inch off, so he's safe now for another couple of years. We usually trim the sheep's hooves while they are on their backs, but this year all of their feet were fine, except for Lila's one bad leg, it has no feeling and she doesn't use it, so she never wears down the hoof, so we trimmed that one up.
The goats were watching carefully. The goats that could see from their end of the barn what was happening, Bea, Biscuit, and the three boys (Bulrush, Basswood and Buckwheat, Sammy is at the other end of the barn) were bug eyed and starring. All three were lined up, standing up looking out of their pen, wondering who was next and what we were doing to the poor sheep.
Once the shearer was packed up, paid, and gone, I began to let everyone outside as usual but the three boys refused to come out of their pen, even for grain. They would not even come near the door. The guy was gone - but they apparently figured I was going to flip them on their backs and bring the guy back in to do something to them the instant they came out of the safety of their pen. I went in the pen and went around behind them to push them out and even that didn't work! They fought me all the way. Finally I lured Buckwheat out with grain and about 10 minutes later, the other two boys decided it might be safe to venture out... maybe. I cannot believe what wimps they are. Bulrush is bigger than Braveheart, he's at least 200 pounds and he's afraid of a bug crawling in front of him.
The weather has been crazy, sunny one minute, snowing the next, then raining, then sunshine... It's completely unpredictable from one minute to the next. I kept the sheep in all morning, but let them out for a bit since the sun was out and they hate being in the barn. I have little doubt that they'll be out all day though, with this weather, I can't leave them out. They have two run in sheds to get into but I'd rather they be in the barn in their dry straw if it rains this afternoon.
Brina says..... ha! I'm bigger than you now!
Snick says... you are lucky I'm a nice guy and tolerate you so much!
fresh goats milk
Now that Biscuit is milked, Brina is fed, and everyone else is tended to, it's time to clean the birds in the house and work inside for a little bit. I think very shortly I'll be heading back to the barn to put everyone back inside if the sun doesn't come out from behind the clouds that are moving in.
I leave you with a clip of my gullible gobblers...