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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring fever strikes the farm


One day it’s pouring down rain and then you wake up the next morning under a foot of snow. That’s March in Ontario. It still looks like winter out there, but those of us who were born and raised in this area can see, hear and smell the signs. Spring is coming.
I don’t normally suffer from SAD – Seasonal Adjustment Disorder – from lack of sunshine in the winter, but I must confess I do get a touch of spring fever every year. I feel an urge to stir things up. I want to cut my hair off. Go for a 5k run. Wash the ceilings. When I look back over my life, most of the big life-changing decisions I have made happened in March/April. Life is much more settled and content for me now, but I still feel like doing something dramatic when the snow starts to melt under the springtime sun.
The Farmer spends so much time outside, he never even gets the sniffles. I don’t think he gets SAD either. But he is displaying one symptom of spring fever already. “I should start shearing the sheep,” he announced the other day. What? You want to take the wool off my ewes? But here’s the thing. The Farmer can only shear 5 or 6 sheep at a time, before his back gives out on him. As he is a university professor, he only has time to do this on the weekend. It will probably take him six weeks to get all 45 ewes sheared. Lambs are due late April. So he probably should get started now. But it’s just too cold. If we had a bunch of bald sheep in the yard, you can be sure the temperature would drop to minus 30 one more time, just to spite us.
He will wait until it’s warmer. It’s just that he bought himself a brand new set of shears in December, and he’s dyin’ to use ‘em. I had better keep my thoughts of a new haircut to myself or I might wake up with a big surprise.
It will be nice to have the sheep sheared before they lamb this year. It makes it much easier for the Dorset lambs to find the milk on their woolly mothers. And it gives the ewes time to grow back some wool before mosquito season. I may have to learn how to shear a sheep myself, to give the Farmer a break. Maybe I’ll be good at it.
I’m going out to the barn now, to brush my horse and to put a stethoscope to her belly to see if she will be foaling in May. I really don’t know where to look for the heartbeat, but I have a friend on Facebook who tells me it can be done.
If she is pregnant, we will call the vet to get advice on supplements, etc. It’s amazing to think she might be 8 months’ pregnant and not showing any recognizable signs. But then, Big Betty never shows that she’s pregnant, and she has had some beautiful babies with no problems.
To me, it never really feels like the year has begun until Spring arrives. Hello 2011.



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