Friday, May 30, 2008

Give Me Land, Lots o' Land and the Starry Sky Above....

Well, the Maggie's farm marathon Memorial day fencing project has paid off in spades. Our neighbor's generously offered acres are now sheep pasture. Yay! This took two days of Dan working alone and one full 12 hour day of working together. Whew! While we tugged the woven wire fencing into place, pounded stakes and strung the electric tape, the kids rode ("rode" is perhaps too generous a word) their bikes down the hill and hitched rides on the ATV as it puttered about, made a thorough mess in the yard, had a pretty entertaining mud fight at the frog pond and they even found time to help out, pulling grass from under the electric fence row for a while and yanking devil's pulpit (hazzardous to sheep) in the boggier forested areas.

Watching the kids helped me realize that we had turned a corner. Our three don't even remember living in the suburbs of Boston. A trip to the supermarket or "Town" is a big event for them. They "make do" and "deal", play elaborate outside games, revel in and regret each others' company. They come home at dusk bug bitten and muddy and with the stereotypical skinned knees. They belong to this place and this lifestyle in a way that perhaps Dan and I never will. Lately, they really have been pitching in with the chores. They can feed and water the poults and chicks and fill the sheep's trough. They are not the least bit intimidated by stomping ewes, our current rooster duo, the curly horned rams.
While we moved (i.e. dragged, and prodded) the sheep one by one to the pasture (So that we could examine them for worm load and general condition and because we didn't want to chase the whole flock down again if it stampeded off in the wrong direction) Micah managed to catch and calm Louise's lamb, Connor, all by herself. I found him sitting in her lap like a puppy while she whispered to him. What a wonderful way to grow up, eh?

As for the sheep, they don't know what to do with themselves. Once in the wide open pasture, part wood, part meadow, they stood at the old borderline gazing off into the great unknown. Finally, Daisy, chowhound that she is, munched her way across into the new space and the rest of the flock just followed along. They seem to have the hang of it now, though they come back to rest and to sleep. Sheep are, after all homebodies.

Next project (There's ALWAYS a next project) is a run for the exponentially growing turkeys.....

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