You know, if there are a couple of things that I'm really good at, it's getting myself into trouble and making plans for this ranch. I'm in the throes of doing both, and they make me feel much better I might add! Although my back is feeling a bit tired, my spirits are much better.
I guess I'll start the story with the making trouble, that sounds a little more fun (that is 'til you hear what I'm making plans for, but that can wait); anyway, back to the trees. On Friday on this blog I posted about how very upset I was about the loss of the trees along the roadside. As you probably know by now, I write these posts before the sun comes up in the morning, so I had not had time to get the reactions of my neighbors yet. I am happy to say that the entire neighborhood was absolutely up in arms about what had happened to our "hood" and felt they had been a little heavy handed in front of our house! Another thing that struck us all as a little bit odd was that the road crew got a little past my house on Thursday and never came back, what were they even doing cutting the trees in February for a road repaving project that was likely going to never happen due to budget cuts? And why was the cutting so erratic?
So, over the weekend I talked with many of the neighbors. One family had been so horrified by what had happened that their kids made signs with crayons and posted them on the trees in front of their home that said "Do Not Cut!!!". Needless to say this all only fueled my fire. After doing some research and looking at plat maps, etc. we could not find anything illegal (darn) about their actions, but I did cause as much trouble as I possibly could at the commissioners office yesterday. I had to laugh, because when I got home from running about a half hours worth of errands there were three messages; one from the commissioner (for the second time and the second from my neighbor saying she had called him right after he hung up with me. We were hitting them hard! The point of the matter is that I was feeling frustrated that I hadn't done anything to stop them, and this won't bring my trees back, but I do think it will make them think twice before cutting anymore!!!
Okay, so on to the making plans. In the midst of all of this trouble, I notice the backside of my little lady sheep, Esther looking a little swollen. So for the thousandth time I research gestation of a sheep, and oh my, the first of March is just around the corner!!! Yee-haw The Royal Ranch has never had a baby before! I can't tell you how excited I am for this, or is it these, babies!?! Paco, the ram, is a triplet, which brings my chances of having triplets up quite a bit. Twins are a rather common thing with sheep so that would be fantastic, but triplets would just about put Isabella and I through the roof because we would for sure get a bottle baby which is of course what we are selfishly hoping for. Sheep are very good mothers, and Esther has been a mom before and taken care of her baby very well, but if there are too many, then one needs to be bottle fed and for a new sheep owner and a ten year old girl, that sure sounds like a lot of fun.
I am excitedly getting her lambing barn all ready. I have gotten it all cleaned out and have attached two out of three of the panels that will close Esther and Paco in. This way they will have a little time to come and go out of it and get used to the panels before they are locked into it. It means I will have to clean it multiple times to keep the dirty llama "cooties" out once they finally are in there as a family, but my patience will pay off to keep Esther calm. I of course have increased her food intake and am anxiously watching for any signs of premature labor like any proud rancher would and hope that I get everything done in time and don't have to rush her. I am so thankful for my lead llama Marcel at times like these. I know that even if she has the lambs at night, in the llama pen, that he will keep an eye on them for me!
I chose to breed sheep on purpose (well, I would hope so!), because I wanted the kids to have the experience of the whole life cycle thing; with rescue, sadly you do get to see plenty of illness and death and this way hopefully they will see the wonders of life as well. We chose sheep for a couple of reasons, I have always been very careful to spay and neuter all of my cats and dogs, because of overpopulation. Llamas are always "open", meaning that they can breed anytime so you can't house males and females together, so we have never had any female llamas. Also, since ours are all rescue llamas, they are generally males since a female llama still has a little value as a breeding llama to most people. Because there are so many llamas out there in need of homes I do not really condone breeding llamas unless it is the highest quality lines, and that is not what I have. Sheep, on the other hand are still very sellable. Ours are very good wool animals and we should not have a problem selling the ones we want to cull, which in our case will probably be the adults and any rams and then we will start with a fresh ram in the fall with a new breeding program for next Spring!
Although, the one doesn't have to do much with the other, you know cousing trouble and making plans, they do sort of go hand in hand, I'm moving on from one thing and looking forward to the next, that's just how you're supposed to do things right? Put one foot in front of the other...