Almost a year has passed since I last wrote.
Still not quite sure of the next step, I am already planning and have started to liquidate the too many of everything I have acquired in my years. Furniture, dishes, bedding, and 'stuff' just seems to grow here. My son says it is because I am unable to just get rid of 'stuff' and he is right. I see a use for everything and as a result, everything is still here. But slowly now, that is changing.
The hard part will come this spring when the sale of my beloved sheep will begin. I love sheep. They are gentle, smart creatures. Once a relationship of trust is established with them, like any other life, they come to anticipate company and enjoy visits. My sheep are not grain fed and do not expect treats as so many do. Nor are my dogs fed treats to train them. Everything here is simply loved and that love is strong enough so that they are willing to do what I ask of them just to have some of my affection. Stepping out the door, I immediately have 7 dogs vying for attention, each just wanting a pat on the head or a rub on the back, just craving a bit of my love. This is how it should be, but I digress.
The sheep are multiplying. I was blessed this summer to have a follower buy my ewe lambs, all that I wished to sell. He is a dear soul and I know they have gone to a good home. The ewes will go to their breeding groups in two weeks and in the spring, new babies will be on the ground. Last year was the first year I was faced with sending these wonderful lambs to the auction and I was so relieved not to have to do so. This year, I am hoping that fibre producers will snap up the moms and their little ones. I only intend to keep a dozen sheep and 6 goats. The goats are pretty easy to choose. Daphne, who has been with me already 7 years, is Nigerian Dwarf and has given me triplets and quads every year of her life. Her kids are superior in every way and I have Kaya, a Nubian Nigerian doe from triplets 2 years ago, who will stay as well as Daphne. Leah is a Nigerian/Nubian with sharp bright blue eyes from another breeder and she stays, but her sister Lena will have to go. Kara is Kaya full sister, but she will not stay. Emma is a Nubian from another farm, raised by children, but not bottle fed and she will stay. So you see, the goat selection, for me , is not so difficult.
But my sheep, oh, my dear, sweet, gentle sheep! How shall I choose just a dozen? I still do not know. Perhaps the buyers will choose for me and take what they prefer, leaving me with the others. I do not mind keeping my old girls. I have 2 from another farm that are 6 years old, and several from my original group the same age, plus 4 from another farm yet that are up there in age. 5 or 6 is not really that old for a sheep, especially a Cotswold, which these girls are. I love the Babydoll Jacob ewe, Zoe, who has given me twins every year of her life and she is 6 as well. And then there is Sasha, the North Country Cheviot, Angel, the Tunis Shetland, Marleigh, the Scottish Blackface...oh my. See the problem? Any one of these ewes will come to me for attention, just as the dogs do. How do I part with my friends? And they are all premium fleece growers, so they are exactly the sheep that I was hoping for when I started the Fat Ewe Farm. Cotswolds are my favourite!
I am not sure if you have any particular way of selecting which of your friends remains in your care. If you do, please share. Nights are long sometimes, when I start thinking of whom I will keep. Here is a selection of some of my pretty ewes and a few lambs that I bred to Thor, a purebred Icelandic ram, for their long long fleece. I think that Zoe's twin wethers (used to be boys) are so cute!