Slow but steady wins the fencing race. I ended up fencing in the rain on Thursday. I have these fancy all rubber overalls I picked up this summer at a yard sale and my rubber boots and waterproof coat. It went great except I had leather gloves and it didn’t take them long to get wet and slimy. I spent a couple of hours nailing in wooden stays. Some would say wooden stays are archaic. But I had noticed that all my fence done with wooden stays survived the elk last year. My neighbors had a bunch of fence torn up by the same elk. I was told by someone who is licensed to harass the elk that they see the wooden stays and will leap the fence, on other fences they just run right through it. Plus the horses and cows cannot push the top wire down when you use wooden stays. I still have about 40 more feet and the first 60% of the fence will be completed. Although Annmarie has told me I need to go back and wire both woven fences together between each wooden stays so the sheep cannot slip through. I did this down in the corner I know they bunch up in but she wants it the entire length of the fence. As soon as I don’t do this then the sheep will learn to slip through and then I will still have to do it after tightening the fence again.

Annmarie had told me she thought the chicken killer raccoon had moved out to the barn under the old milking barn section. So we opted to quit feeding the cats at night as we don’t want to feed the raccoon. I took a good look at the area today and yes i do believe the raccoon dug under the barn but for a different reason. I have had a raccoon leg trap out their for almost three weeks baited with peanut butter. The trap is chained with metal chain to the wall so that it cannot be drug off by a raccoon. The trap can only be triggered by putting a paw down into the tube and then pulling up on the actuator. There is no way a cat or dog can trigger the trap. It has been sitting there doing nothing for so long I had forgotten about it. It looks like the raccoon finally decided to try his hand out. We go out to the barn every morning and every evening so it must have managed to get loose before morning. There was some loose hair stuck in the trap. We think this is a “Townie” raccoon as it is avoiding traps. It was most likely trapped and dumped off out at four corners. We have discovered this is more common than we believed. This of course just forces me to deal with the problem in a lethal method. This is very hard to do when you never see the offending critter. We have a ninja raccoon!

We had company come out on Saturday to see the baby lambs. We have been sorting only and had a passel of babies that needed to be tagged and banded. They had four children age 10 to age 4. They had a great time! There is no one that doesn’t love baby lambs! I did all the tagging and banding while Annmarie did the catching and then we just had everyone line up like an assembly line to hand me sheep. There were the inevitable questions about why I put different colored tags in their ears? We have a pink based color for the girls and all the boys get the same blue color. I alter the girl color every 50-75 babies to give us a rough approximation of the ewes age. It does actually work. They wanted to know why I kept playing with the little boys testicles? I said I had to make sure to get both testes when I banded or they would still be a ram. Next was did it hurt them when I put two small rubber bands on the boys scrotum? Yes for about five minutes then it hurts no more as there is no more blood flow. Did we need to shear the sheep? No, they are hair sheep and we just use them for meat. They then got to hand feed the horses, go inside the chicken coop and gather eggs, then walk out and watch Annmarie hand feed the bull and one of the heifers some apple slices. Mouse was in heaven as the children kept throwing the ball repeatedly and tirelessly while they were here. He was very tired after they left. We fed them all lamb bits for dinner. It was delicious. I put mine over a baked potato like a topping and it is amazing. Zeke said “peace out”” and went and hid in the laundry room to get away from the children. Gizmo is starting to get more social and finally quit barking at them after the first 20 minutes.

I had real high hopes that we could get through this lambing period with our ram and he could then impregnate everyone and then we could kill him for stew meat. It’s not looking like that is going to be possible. He is now pushing and head butting the ewes in an effort to bully them. He is humping pregnant ewes who are almost ready to give birth. He used to just drink their pee to tell if they were in estrus and then mount them. No more he is on a total dominance kick. But the real reason he has to go is that he has head butted a gate twice in the last week that Annmarie was standing on the other side, totally not cool. I am so pissed off when I get in the barn with a stick that I just yell and swear at him to take his best shot because if he knocks me down I am going for my knife and only one of us is getting up. He seems to understand and has been staying away from me. But I cannot have him hurting Annmarie. So I have arranged some help and right after Christmas he will meet his demise. I am still hoping I can get a shot behind his ear. Last time I shot a ram between the eyes it just knocked him out for a couple of minutes. The bullet could not get through the front of the skull! This animal is designed to crack heads at full speed with another ram for dominance. We have a gal who wants to use his bones and hide and parts to practice her budding taxidermy skills on. It’s a great use of resources. We will just bone him out right away and cut up the meat into stew sized pieces.

I have been looking at our skinning pole arch and I think I need to dig out an area around it about 1 foot down and then fill it all in with 2 inch gravel with a 3 inch layer of 3/4 minus over the top for drainage and dryness of the ground. I like this idea and am going to do it next year.

Gizmo got involved in my selfie! He is a whopping 6.5 lbs now and 11 months old. He is not as social as Sprout but he is finally starting to figure out that people are not evil. He loves Annmarie and I. He will finally go to Sarah now.

We also have another plumbing issue. Our hot water relief valve off of the gas tankless water heater is leaking very slightly. I would have never noticed except it got below freezing and I noticed the huge icicle hanging from the outside vent tubing. I will need to call the plumber and see what can be done. I tried to finish painting the hallway and am of course about a quart short on brown paint. I will have to go back and buy an entire gallon just to get the one quart I need. I am also going to try and get a new white color for the hallway and entryway. We don’t want super bright white.