This has been a crazy year with the Covid-19 virus, being "locked-in", and moving back to Missouri. With our sheep (temporarily) residing on the Sundowners Farm owned by Allan and Stacey Brown in Covington Tennesse, and Terri and I residing in Cape Girardeau, it has been an almost surreal year. I truly miss coming home and being able to see sheep in the pasture, the sound of their bleating as they see me and (always) ask for more grain or treats! It's like the rhythm that we had established on the farm has been paused - or interrupted. I really love cape, teaching at Southeast Missouri State University, and our new friends here. The Brown's are doing an amazing job of taking care of our sheep, and it has been really nice to grow a friendship with Allan as we have built fence on his farm together. But I do miss our farm. I can't wait for the time when we have found our new farm here and are back in that rhythm.
Having said that, as a sheep owner, there is one thing that happens every year that brings everything back into perspective. Shearing! Every year, in the spring, we bring the sheep together, shear them (think haircuts for sheep) with a professional shearer (this year we used Paul Ahrens from Arkansas who does a great job), and do health checks (FAMACIA scoring to check for worms, CDT vaccinations, hoof trimming, and whatever else they need). This is a real process, but one that we are getting better at each year.
Our son Eric usually helps with handling the sheep, the shearer shears them, I do the health work and hoof trimming, and Terri weighs and skirts the fleeces as they come off the sheep. It's a lot of hard physical labor, but extremely rewarding to watch the beautiful, soft fleeces roll of the sheep and go into the storage bags. This year Allan chipped in and helped also and the process went pretty smoothly. The sheep were really happy to be rid of their heavy coats (the fleeces ranged from 7 pounds to over 12 pounds per sheep) just in time for the heat of summer! In these photo's you see Dolly, a Cormo sheep, going through the process.
While I can't wait to get our sheep into Missouri on our own farm, I can't thank the Brown's enough for hosting them while we find our place. And in a world that seems to be pretty Topsy turvy at the moment, it really is awesome to have something to do that fits into that natural rhythm of farm life even when we are living in the city!!!