Where Things Stand

Another month of neglect for this poor blog.

Last fall, I dealt with a kidney stone which impeded my shepherding.  In April, I again had pain in my lower abdomen.  This time, it’s Endometriosis with cysts, the largest of which is more than an inch across.  I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve been operating at about 80% capacity for the last couple of months.  I’ll be having surgery in two weeks with the hopes of relieving my discomfort.  After that, we will look at options to control the issue if it persists.

Consequently, I’ve decided not to do the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival this year.  I am about a month behind in fiber prep, due to feeling crummy.  Just keeping up with the basics is taking most of my time.

There’s another reason that I’m behind in fiber prep, but this one is a better one: My sister just had a daughter, and I’ve been working on a quilt for her with my mom.  I’m really excited to be an auntie!

A few sad notes with the sheep:  Meadowlark’s little son died three days after birth.  I autopsied him and found pneumonias, while the symptoms before he died suggested watery mouth (E. coli infection).  I wrote at length with Joe Emenheiser, UVM’s Extension sheep expert, who suggested that a lack of selenium could present as general weakness in the flock without necessarily causing White Muscle Disease, the characteristic disease of selenium deficiency.  A few weeks later, Agnes’s handsome son died in a freak accident.  I was devastated.

All of the sheep are in Williston now, as I just couldn’t handle the workload of two separate locations.  Jim and Lucy, my landlords, are letting me keep the sheep at this location yearround, and I will soon be learning to use their tractor and bush hog so that I can manage mowing myself, too!  While the pastures in Brookfield were better and more nutritious, a little bit of control over mowing and seeding will be a big help in improving these pastures.  I’m thinking of overseeding some clover and vetch.