Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dreads of Winter

There comes a point in winter when I just know its just the dead of winter.  The grey skies, pathetic cold temps, snow that keeps coming and keeps staying...............
..........and the dread locks on the Cotswolds.  This is Nistock Farms Essex Junction aka "Essex".  This is Essex's second winter and she is sporting some serious dreads.  She often likes to wear her hay jewelry that other sheep and goats will eventually pick off and eat. I am wondering if she needs a ponytail holder so she can see? 

Ethan, a Black Cotswold wether, is sporting shorter dreads.  However, he has the white winter cap look going on  which is quite fashionable if I do say so myself.

Miss Chelsea, a white Romney from Vermont Grand View Farm, appears to be enjoying her first winter. She won't have the real long dreads like the Cotswolds but just little ones. I just love her face!
 Another sure sign of winter cold is when the snow doesn't melt off of the sheep.  Now of course every year people ask me if the sheep sleep inside the barn. 90% of the time the sheep are sleeping outside, either in the lean-to's or under the overhang of the barn and often they are laying right out in the snow while its snowing.  
This morning it was -6.  Tonight its suppose to be about the same with a high of 11 on Sunday.  And Sassy and Daisy are holding strong with those babies;)  The sound of 30 degrees in the weather forecast is exciting, however, there is no 30 in this weeks forecast!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sheep w/Issues

Dear Hobby Farmer Wanna Be Kristi:
After much discussion in the barn, we, the sheep have decided to confront you on a couple of issues.  We would like you to keep an open mind and not become one of those oversensitive females.  We feel that if you can rectify the mistakes you have made then your hobby farmer extraordinaire status may improve. 
First Issue:
We have noticed that you are slipping the 2 goat-ho's some very nice smelling, very fresh green alfalfa and giving us the typical timothy orchard first cutting hay.  Care to explain?  See, weren't you just 2 weeks ago having a fit when you discovered they were pregnant, making a mess of your kidding and lambing schedule that you so diligent planned for.  Actually, we heard you call them "farm sluts" at one point.  See, us sheep know those goats are fast, always screaming at the top of their lungs when they want a little, not too mention they are pushy & bossy, always trying to start a head butting fight.  We are very good sheep. We demanded equality in the barn and it starts with the feed.  Please rectify the issue in the upcoming feedings.

Second Issue:
Look for over 3 years we have been listening to country music on the radio.  Then for a month we have to listen to the Christmas music, you know we can only baa to so much Rudolph before one of us wants to shoot him.  Sorry, no disrespect to Santa but it does become a little much when we hear it 24/7.  Of course, you have conveniently located the radio high up on a shelf on the opposite side of the gate so we can't change the station.  You know, just cuz we are "country farm animals" doesn't mean we can't turn it up a notch.  How about 'lil Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, maybe even little Motown every now and then?   

Third Issue:
Ok, this is a sensitive issue, but we can't take it any more.
YOU SMELL.
Its really bad. We have noticed that for the past 2 months you have not changed your clothes.  You come out every morning and every evening in those ridiculous pink coveralls and honestly we could give a crap that you think the pink is cute and fun, just feed us. 
Is your shower broken? Did you forget to pay the water bill? Perhaps, is the washer broken?  Look, we understand that times are rough & the economy is slow, we hear it everyday on the radio but can you not afford some laundry detergent? Our wool is starting to smell like you, and quite frankly, its not attractive. People are going to start to think its us that smells, and its not.  Its you.  Wash the clothes, take a shower, buy another pair of coveralls, but do something.  Because if you don't, it could get ugly out in the barn. 
Just sayin'.
Look, we care about you and because we care, we needed to confront you on these issues.  Like we said, these changes could make a world of difference.  We were talking that if you rectify these issues, we might even nominate you for Hobby Farmer of the Year!  Now don't get too excited because thats a big "If".   Lets just start with you buying some detergent and more alfalfa for us and we'll go from there.

Sincerely,
The Sheep

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Drama on the Farm

One thing that I deal with on a daily basis at school are 7th & 8th grade drama queens. If my students, of course I mean the girls, put as much effort into their school work as they do the "drama" of their social life, then I would have straight "A" students.  Now I admit that I "sometimes" mock their drama, throw in a bit of my sarcastic remarks, and maybe even roll my eyes at them.  I should know better to bend to their level but I just can't help it sometimes.....perhaps I am more like my students than I care to admit.  Take for example what happened to me yesterday.......................

So it all started Sunday, about one in the morning when my carbon monoxide detector started beeping.  It woke me up out of a dead sleep. It was beeping every minute. I figured it was the batteries going dead so I changed the batteries.  Good theory in practice but it didn't help and it kept going off randomly.  I finally fell back asleep only to awake with a splitting headache.  Oh, and the CO2 detector was still randomly beeping.  I went outside to do my chores and was out for about an hour.  My head cleared out and I felt much better. I came in, ate breakfast, grabbed a mound of school papers to grade, and sat down to watch TV.  About an hour and half later the headache was back.  I had a small lunch around noon, watched Y & R then dozed off. Woke  up with the headache again.  Went outside to work in the barn and within a half hour, headache was gone.  I was outside for a good 2 1/2 hrs. Came in around 6 and within 20 minutes the headache was back, esp right at the bridge of my nose, almost like a major sinus headache. I called my Dad who of course being Dad, became very concerned that it was CO2 in the house because the detector was still beeping randomly.  When was the last time I had my furnace checked?  A few years ago. I started to get a bit nervous because the headache was just too intense for what I usually have and the damn detector just won't give it up.  My Mom suggested calling the fire department to come check it out.  Of course, that was not something I thought about and that was really too much to do.  My Dad was persistent and because I knew I would not sleep well nor would Dad, I decided to call.  Of course, this meant I had to find the number because I was not calling 911.  I found the NON-Emergency  number for the county.  They gave me the number to call the Sheriff for the town I lived in.  I called the Sheriff offices.  I explained it was not an emergency but that I was concerned about the situation.  The lady was so nice and said they would have someone come out to check it out right away.  I waited on the front porch for a sheriff's car to come down the driveway. Within 10 minutes it was not a sheriff's car coming down 800 feet of a snow packed driveway.  It was an ambulance with the lights on........OMG, OMG, OMG.  Yeah, that was not what I expected.  I thought it was a nonemergency call.  Oh my!  The ambulance pulled up.  The two EMT's got out.  One went into the house to check everything out, mind you I had put the dogs in my bedroom and I knew that they had lost their mind at this point. The other EMT guided me to the ambulance to make sure I was okay.  I explained that this was not what I thought was going to happen, that this was way over the top but he assured me that it was okay.  The only time I have ever been in an ambulance was when I was in grade school and the firemen let us in one during fire safety week.  While I was sitting there on the cot thing getting checked out the back door to the ambulance swung open and my neighbor Wanda yelled, "Kristi, what in the hell is going on? Why didn't you call me?"  See Wanda is a nurse, actually a nurse who rides in the emergency helicopter for the big hospital clinic in Cleveland. "Hi Wanda, well I ........."  She was not happy with me:(   She already thought I fell, or crushed my head or broke an arm, maybe even got trampled by a goat. She is my BFF neighbor and has been on goat watch during the day when she is off from helicopter duty. I forgot to call her:( 
Well, the EMT came out from the house and he said all checked out.  No CO2 in the house.  He asked how old the detector was and I said it was at least 6 years old.  Both EMT's said to buy a new one, a digital one.  He reassured me that everything was fine in the house and my headache and the faulty detector just seemed to coincide at the same time.  After the paper work, a little friendly talk like the one EMT owns the old apple farm at the top of the street & is the electrician for the vet I worked at, me apologizing for panicking, and them telling me that it was better to call then not and maybe not waking up and that if I ever need something to not hesitate to call.  They get a CO2 call at least once a week they told me.
Wanda and I watched them back down the drive with the lights flashing, and she gave me punch in the arm and a little lecture on to call her first so she doesn't have heart failure running across 2 acres to get to my house.  I gave her a big hug and promised!  About 10 minutes later my phone went off.  It was a text from other neighbor.  He is my single male neighbor and I take care of his dog because he drives for a living. He sent me a text wanting to know if I was okay and he left me a phone message.  I thought that was odd because he said the day before he was going to be real late cuz he would be in West Virginia. I sent a text back wanting to know if he was home or how did he know what happened.  He texted back that he was still in WV but his friend is a volunteer on the fire dept and when the call went in and the address came up, his friend called him.  Single male neighbor was glad I was okay and to stop scaring him like that. Oh my, how news travels in little towns but it is so good to have neighbors like I do. 
Way too much drama for only the 18th of January!

"Can you believe all the drama she is creating?"
"And she tells us we've been cooped up to long and we need to get out and get fresh air."
"Some nerve she has telling us we are drama queens when we lay an egg."
"But then again we haven't laid any eggs in 2 months!!! Ha Ha!!"