Notes from Windward: #67


The Summer Pen

     The weather is still cool, but since that won't last for long, today was a good time to move the remainder of the sheep to the summer pen. That will allow them to enjoy the shady oaks out of the summer sun, and allow us to work in the lower garden.

     Over the winter the sheep's hooves work their manure--along with bits of uneaten hay and straw--into the ground creating lots of high quality compost. Now that they're out of that area, we'll use some of it up to fill more raised bed containers, some to dress our existing beds, and then we'll plant the lower garden in some sort of cover crop, most likely alfalfa.


     The easiest way to move sheep is to create a corridor of fence panels from the garden gate, across the road and into the gate for the summer pens. At that point it's just a matter of getting behind the sheep and "shooing" them from one pen into the other.


     Once the whole flock was back together, it was just a matter of securing the summer pen's gate and letting the sheep get reacquainted. The main reason for separating the sheep was to insure that the ewes with new born lambs didn't have to compete with the other sheep for feed. Compassion is a human virtue that's not part of sheep culture so the concept of "mothers and babies first" is a standard that we have to enforce to ensure that the lambs get the nourishment they need. Now that the ewes are starting to wean their lambs, it was time to reunite the flock. We'll separate them again around the end of July in order to make sure that the ewes aren't bred too early in the season, but for the next couple of months, they can hang out together--which is what sheep like to do.


     In short order, the temporary panels were removed from across the road and stacked away, after which Becca took a few mintues to enjoy a swing under the newly leafed oaks.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67