Thursday, February 9, 2012

A few thoughts on the future...

It has been crazy busy around here.  Ever since fall actually.  I am still trying to work it all out, but I think I am going to have two more full lambing seasons, this and next year.   Then I will only cross breed a few ewes every year for some freezer lambs until things slow down around here.  I will keep a spinner's flock of my Shetlands, but many will be available for sale over the next two years.  I have been working part time supervising student teachers for a local college, but the time may be upon me that I will need to return to a more permanent work schedule. In my field, teaching, there really aren't any jobs at this time and it doesn't look like there will be any for quite some time.  However, if I hope to ever get back "in", I will have to begin substitute teaching and hope things get better.  Things are really terrible in NY right now in terms of Education.  Schools are facing large budget gaps and quickly dwindling reserves.  One hundred school districts across the state become insolvent this year alone.  All the other schools are not far behind. The State has reduced the funding to most upstate schools, as always the "City" will be getting the lion's share.  The State also put a 2% property tax cap in effect.  We pay huge property taxes in NY so I appreciate the tax cap to some extent, but to do both at the same time is putting the public schools, rural schools in particular, in crisis.  They are all panicking, threatening huge cuts and drastic measures.  Neither will be good for students.  So it has forced my hand.  I may even run for our local school board because of the situation, which would take considerable amount of my time if I do.  If I don't and things go from bad to worse, I will need the additional time anyhow to home school or to bring in outside income to pay tuition.  Yes I tipped my hand there a bit, something only a few of you know about me.  As they mature the demands of the schedules we have faced in the past 6 months has changed dramatically.  With a couple cases of mono thrown in, which has contributed to my long stretches of silence this winter, I see we are spreading ourselves a little thin.   The time may be here that the sheep business will have to be put aside until a later date.  We are VERY attached to the sheep that are still here, so the decisions will be difficult.  Please inquire if you are interested in a starter flock in 2012 or 2013.  All rams will be for  sale this year.  Some available at anytime and a few in the fall after the last Shetland breeding season here for a while.  Adult, yearling, and ewe lambs will also be available.  I would like to keep at least one of every color and pattern, but there will be some really beautiful sheep for sale so please let me know if you are interested in any in particular.  I would really love to see some go together and to good homes.  In terms of outside lines, Olympia, Hester, Quechee, and Marshmello are not a choice...they are pets.  Choosing among the ones lambed here will be more difficult and something I am not looking forward to doing, although I know it has to be done.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6th and 48 degrees?!!!

 The boys were enjoying the sunshine.  You all know what happened the last time I mentioned the weather....two trees came down in a wild winter storm, so I really should bite my tongue.

 The girls got let out of their winter paddock for a while again today to stretch their legs and have a little grazing/browsing time.
 The three girls on the left are expecting their first lambs this spring: Silvermist a Zeus and Hester daughter, Cupcake a Minwawe Sprinkles and Minwawe Bahama daughter, and Can Too Sky.  All bred to Neville.  I am SO excited about these three in particular!

 Here you can see the clean up progress of the downed trees.  And below you can see how huge they were by comparing them to their neighboring trees still standing.  One thing about living in house built in 1850.  Almost all the trees, besides the ones we have planted are very mature trees.

 This mild winter has me a little concerned.  Maple syrup season may not happen at all.  I don't know if it has gotten cold enough for long enough for the sap to run and run clear.  My lilac below is starting to bud 2-3 months early!
 The sheep continue to roo.  Especially the Champ daughters.  My bulbs are beginning to sprout.  I saw a honey bee the other day.
 (Above you have three generations:  Minwawe Pearl, and Mapleton Opal and Jewel.)
It certainly has made it an easy winter, chore wise, but I worry about the impact on spring and summer.  I know mentioning it will bring snow.  I can't believe I am saying this but I sort of miss the snow.