Sheep + Sunshine

We finally got a bit of measurable snow last night and are due for more tonight. It was cold at daybreak but the skies were clear and sunny this afternoon. Although the sheep pick at their hay, they seem to be happier when they can paw through the thin blanket of snow to graze what remains of fall pasture. We are currently running 2 rams, 5 wethers, and 23 ewes. It seems that the arrival snow was a not-so-subtle hint that I needed to get the chains on the tractor – so I did. When we had cattle, they were pastured way up the hill to the left of the barns in the photo. The haylage that we were feeding could be handled with a large spike on the front of the John Deere. While the tractor itself weighed 3 tons, the bales weighed more than a ton. When the bale was being carried, its weight made the back-end of the tractor quite light. Even though the rear tires had chains and ballast (fluid inside), going up hill (loaded) was hazardous in all conditions. To combat this difficulty we got hold of a 55 gallon drum and filled it with a (literal) ton of concrete; we installed lift pins into the side of the drum so the thing could be lifted with the 3-point hitch on the back of the tractor (to counter balance the bale being carried on the front). Driving bales to the top of that hill wasn’t ever a problem after that.

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