Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Wood Cutting and Sheep Herding
It was a wood cutting day today. Now that I have all of my Fall projects finished I will switch into Winter mode. That means if it is a nice dry day I cut wood and if it is raining, snowing or just too cold for going outside I will take on inside jobs like cleaning the barn, building more bee hive stuff or reloading/casting bullets and cartridges.
The deer hunters are still out and in pretty good numbers even for a weekday since the weekend was so bad for hunting so I just cut from my own woodlot once again. The heavy winds this weekend knocked more limbs off the Elm and I had another smaller Elm that died last Summer that needed cutting. All in all it made for a pretty good haul and was almost an entire load. This means I have gotten two full loads out of my own lot this year. Hopefully within the next few years I only need to cut off the immediate property for fire wood and won't have to run all over the countryside cutting wood where ever I can find it.
I filled the rack next to the furnace to over flowing. The above picture is a double row about three foot deep by six foot high and six foot long which should bring it out to about a cord more or less. This is all the small stuff that doesn't require splitting before being burned.
This next pile is all the stuff that needs splitting. It is only about five foot high but stretches out longer than my truck already this year. This pile is what I call the snow storm pile. Whenever I see a storm being forecast I will pull out the log splitter and fill the truck bed with a load for weight then back the truck right up to the wood furnace. That way I am all set in case I have to get out in the 4WD (Usually to rescue the wife) and I can burn whatever I split right off the back of the truck.
By the end of the year whatever is left in this pile gets split and stacked for next year.
I also have about a cord of split stuff left over from last year that I will slowly pick off of as well. It's nice and seasoned and burns hot and fast but I plan on having it all used up by Spring so I can make a stack of new cut stuff in it's place.
So basically I use a three stack rotation and don't bother with covering anything except the stack next to the furnace and only then when they are calling for rain or snow. I also have various other small stacks scattered around here and there mostly green stuff I am letting dry a bit. I will get some logs off the green piles occasionally to mix in with the dead stuff but I try to limit that to keep the creosote from building up inside the furnace.
When I got all the wood separated and stacked it was time to help sort some sheep.
Yep that's me chasing this small group of yearlings around. Using the large open space of the barn I keep em trapped in stalls and run em out a few at a time so I can sort em where they need to go. Ewes have tags in the right ear, rams have tags in the left ear.
Basically they are sorted into two groups.
FOOD and BREEDERS.
I think the top picture is all Food. Except me of course...smart ass. And yes that was directed at a few of you guys.
They are then herded into the separate stalls, two of which have sheep doors and access to an outside paddock/pen area. The few retired breeders are put in with the gonna be bred yearlings because my mother refuses to sell them or eat them. They are retired dead weight like the few wethers my mother keeps. The breeders have another year to wait before being introduced to the Rams so this group is kept by itself now while the producing Ewes are in with the Ram they have been chosen for.
Basically whenever a Ewe abandons or cannot take care of her lambs you can figure unless the lamb is a ewe itself we have an additional useless life form added to the herd. Once my mother bottle feeds a lamb it is assured to live out it's natural life from that point on. Rarely if it is a Ram we can talk her into selling it to someone else for food but only rarely. Also once a Ewe has produced a few lambs she is also assured a spot in the retirement herd even after she stops producing. By the time the Ewes stop kicking out lambs or are retired due to complications like Mastitis or something Mom has already named them and at that point she will protect them more fiercely than she ever did me, I assure you of that. She even went so far as to hide a Wether a few years back and paid someone to keep another one as a pet. We occasionally get a sick lamb that has to be nursed and never gets big enough to breed. We had one of them this year and that Ewe will now become a member of the retirement flock as well.
I think she named the one this year "Ittybit"... Sigh.
Not a bad year this time around. I think we have 22 yearlings in the Food Flock. Yum Yum...
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!