Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sheep are ALREADY wearing coats!

Sometimes I start to feel like I may be the only woman alive who is living off-grid, raising three great but totally deranged kids, assuming responsibility for 23+ sheep (you just never know how many you ACTUALLY have because they seem to morph and reproduce at regular intervals which gets confusing if you are the only one making notes on it) and try to do it all in an eco-friendly, holistic path. Hmmm.... wait a minute....come to think of it - I am the only one I know who is doing exactly this, BUT, I know so many other great people who are doing their own 'version' of this, so I feel a community itchy sort of thing. On a rare occasion, I follow this itchy thing and try to reach out and find some new information that perhaps someone else has uncovered so I have one less fence post to beat my head against. That's why we love the Common Ground Fair (for your organic growing and rural living pleasure) and fiber fairs of all types. We are the nerds who actually read the scheduled events and attend the talks with a pen and at least a napkin to jot down pearls of wisdom on. But, this can get really confusing, especially if you fall asleep mid-way through the talk. When you get a room full of shepherds together, you have a room full of views. To coat or not to coat? Wormer? Feeding methods? Pasture rotation? You! Wake up!
Sheep already wear coats:
I continue to think that the idea of coating my sheep is positively batty. I tried a 'tester' and the darn animal was so intent on getting the thing off that she near hung herself, ripped up the blanket, and did more damage to her fleece than the elements do. It is worth noting here that sheep are born with one ambition and a minor goal. The ambition is to die and in the most inane manner possible. The goal.....eat all you can until you get your chance to die. Anything that can be wrapped around the neck to hang themselves is seen as a calling from the great prairieland in the sky and they will answer with rigid obedience. Also, I observe my sheep. They like to go out in the rain and graze. They get all wet and then shake (move out of the way unless you wish to be baptized in wet wool smell) like crazy and prance around with their clean, bright fleeces. While sun can bleach the tips on the wool of colored fleece, it also provides many great benefits to the animal and, lastly(cause I know you want me to shut up)I must point out that in my frugal and 'if it isn't broke, find something else to worry about' fashion of farming, uh, sheep already have coats!
If you think there is something wrong - fumigate first and ask questions later:
Too many times, the inclination to use pesticides and medications as a preventative instead of a cure for an affliction, is followed through. Spin-off has an article this issue about organic wool and while having my much needed cup of coffee (because we were a little tired on Sun. and overslept which meant we headed straight for the fair and had no coffee - insert raspberries and sad face here)this morning I was reading a great Maine magazine (Inner Tapestry). The article was about messages that your clothes carry. That cotton tee that you bought at WallyWurld doesn't feel so light and soft when you find out that conventional cotton agriculture accounts for 22+% of the pesticides used in the world and that roughly 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers are used to produce one cotton t-shirt - ouch!. Add to that the livestock perspective of repeated inoculations, chemical applications, and processing using chemicals and, you kinda lose the fuzzy feeling you had when you reached your hand into that kindly critter's back and felt that warm, live fleece tickle your palms.
We're so excited to have met a few organic feed suppliers and are really hoping that we will be going certified organic this year. I know it may seem like it isn't that big of a difference. Our animals are pretty naturally raised anyway, but it is huge to us. Kinda like walking on the sidewalk your whole life and then discovering how great it feels to move over a stride and feel the cool grass under your feet. -

more fair pics and goodies later. the sheep are behaving badly as they've had no one to talk them down from the ledge for three stinking days.