I know it is very late for me to posting about the sheep arriving, they have already been here two months! But I'm realizing how non-stop raising livestock is (along with raising kids, preserving food, running a small business etc.) so big apologies to all of you that have been wanting more!
I haven't been sure what to write, or how to describe this process. It has certainly had some ups and downs, and lots of self-doubt, which is probably why I haven't been sure what to say. But the other day, the sheep finally came right up to me when I opened up the gate. They looked at me as though they knew who I was (or at least as the person who brings hay and oats). They ate out of my hand, and let me touch their beautiful fleece, and then I knew that things like this just take time.
We spent all summer working super hard to build the fence, and the sheep shelter and prepare us and the land for the arrival of the sheep!
The llamas arrived first, we were very excited, although the escape of the mama llama took a little bit of the wind out of my sails. I really started to wonder if I could actually do this. To read all about the llama drama check out that blog post here. So we added an extension on the fence and charged on.
At the end of August, it was finally time to pick up our sheep! We backed the truck up to the pasture, and the sheep seemed quite unsure for a while about this new home.
It was a really awesome day, we were all so excited for the sheep to show up, and to see all our hard work (and all of your awesome support) actualised!
We had built the 3.5ft extension on our fence to prevent the llama from jumping just in case, but the minute she saw the sheep, it was as though she was at peace about being in this new place. After a few minutes of checking each other out, they all went back to peacefully munching on grass. We picked up three Shetland ewes and one wether (a castrated male) before the new year we will get two more ewes and a ram!
We have spent the last two months getting to know the sheep - which mostly consists of staring at each other with at least 20 feet of distance between us. I think I had it in mind that the sheep would instantly be trusting of me (and my loud boys) and would follow us around the pasture, and let us stroke their soft fleece....I realize the error in this assumption, but that didn't stop the disappointment a bit. So then began the long process of building trust.
Building trust has meant a lot of time spent in the pasture, just squatting or kneeling on the ground and talking quietly (or not at all) and just being present. This is a hard thing for my 4 and 6 year old, but it's been a great lesson for all of us in patience.
Feeding the sheep oats has helped with them being more approachable. At first they would only eat the oats once we had left the pasture, but soon enough they were coming up to the bucket and eating the oats right out of our hands.
It's been great in the last few weeks to have the sort of connection with my sheep that I was anticipating. I still can't believe they are here, or this is real....and I really look forward to sharing more of this journey with all of you!
And if any of you following along want to come for a visit we would LOVE that, reach out and we will make a visit happen!