Saturday, June 28, 2008

And we're back...

Sorry for the long delay between posts, everybody. I had no idea that is was possible to get busier than I have been but I was so very wrong. Between farm visits, the farmer's market, shipping internet orders and caring for the flock, I haven't had time to think this week.

I am completely and totally grateful that so many people want to meet the flock and buy some of their yarn and I am working really hard to remember that busy = good.  Besides, it won't last forever. I'll nap in October.

This week started off really badly. One Monday the sheep and goats pastured at Felix Neck got out of their fence three times. THREE TIMES! We couldn't figure out what was going on but we narrowed the problem down to two possible factors. 1.) The electric fence might not have been grounded enough and 2.) West Chop, one of our wethers still pastured at Felix Neck who has always been an escape artist, was inspiring the others to challenge the fence. Or possibly both.

I had placed an order for some new fencing that I thought would solve all our problems but it was backordered and supposed to ship mid-week.

So I added another 9 feet of ground rod to our current setup and put West Chop in the back seat of my truck and drove him over to Tisbury Meadows to join the rest of the boys. Unfortunately, as soon as I open the door of the truck, West Chop jumped out and took off in the direction of the woods. After chasing sheep and goats all day I had finally had enough and burst into tears.

I called Patrick at work and he dropped everything at the office to come help me track down the runaway. We searched for a couple of hours without seeing hide nor hair of him before giving up for the day. The thing is, sheep and goats are flock animals and won't willingly go off on their own. We were pretty sure that West Chop would return on his own by the time we came back to feed a couple hours later.

But he didn't.  By then it was getting dark and I was frantic. We spent another hour searching for him with flashlights. No luck.

As you can imagine, I didn't sleep much that night. Knowing that a member of my flock was lost in the dark and all alone was agonizing and I spent the whole night running worst case scenarios. Maybe he was hurt and couldn't walk. Attacked by dogs. Had fallen in a deep hole and broke a leg. You get the idea.

So it was a huge relief when we got a phone call from a lovely couple asking if the goat they found on their front porch snuggled up with their dog in the morning belonged to us. West Chop had walked over two miles!

I hardly had time to be relieved about his return because when I went to drop  him at  the pasture all the goats we out. All of them! We had been troubleshooting some problems with the electric fence and thought the problem was solved but clearly we were wrong. 

Luckily, Mark Defeo, our dear friend and go-to guy, was able to rearrange his day to work on the fence. He solved the problem and got the fence up to 3000 volts, a shock that will discourage a goat from making a break for it. We haven't had any escapes since, knock wood.

I had, by actual count, 58 visitors to the farm this week. It's great fun introducing shareholders and friends of the farm to sheep and goats, especially kids between 4 and 10. I've discovered that children much younger than 4 don't really understand want the big deal is because they can't tell the difference between a baby goat and a dog anyway. 

Patrick and I had a couple of very exciting meetings this week that could mean some pretty big things for our little farm. I can't reveal any details just yet but keep your fingers crossed!

One thing I can reveal is that the first Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm calendar will be available soon. This is an idea that can be completely attributed to shareholders' suggestions so I  really hope you like it. I'll be getting a proof in a couple of days and if everything is okay I will let you know where you can get them. A portion of the proceeds from our calendar sales will be donated to a farm animal sanctuary. I will let you know which one as soon as we settle on one, but I would welcome your suggestions.

Due to a disagreement with our landlord, we will no longer be able to operate farm stand at Tisbury Meadows. It's disappointing but not the end of the world. We are looking for another location and I'll let you know as soon as I have some news. In the meantime you can find our yarns and rovings at the West Tisbury Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I'm hoping that by next summer we will have a proper knitting shop but in the meantime the farmer's market is lovely.

And now for the winner's of the alpaca yarn giveaway. I'm so sorry it took me so long to get to this- I promise to be more responsible in the future. The winners are:
knitgirl64- salmon
Megan/Short Megan- blue
muoriska- blue green
jsample- sage green

Congratulations to the winners. Please shoot me an email at susangibbs1 at mac dot com with your mailing address.

Now for your weekly dose of cute.

I am going to spend tomorrow catching up on my emails so if I owe you one a reply don't worry- I'm catching up!

I'll write more tomorrow. Off to bed now.


Caroline said...

Wow, that sounds like wayyyy too much excitement! At least it sounds as if things are much better now towards the end of the week. Thanks as usual for the lovely photos!

Maggie said...

(((Hugs))) Susan! Should I change my plans (she asks only half jokingly)?

Susan said...

Of course not! You're coming to visit is going to be the highlight of my week. And I need something to look forward to right now.

Diane said...

WHAT A RELIEF to find West Chop happily snuggled with a neighbor's dog..........whew! Hang in there, Susan; you're such a good mom!

SeDress said...

The little lamb in the top picture looks very happy to have his long tail wagging behind him. I think you made a good decision, in not docking them.
If your 'calendar to be' has pictures as lovely as you've been posting, it should be a best seller: I don't know of any farm animal sanctuaries, but we have a wildlife rehabilitation and nature education center in Northern Ohio whose owner/operator was named 2006 Hero of the Year by Animal Planet: Mona Rutger of Back To The Wild (backtothewild dot com).
Good luck with your escape artists. Perhaps they have a future on the stage? The Amazing West Chop!

--Deb said...

Well, you deserve a rest--and before October, too! At least you've got all that cuteness to look at to make it all worthwhile. And, a calendar? Well, sign me up!

woolies said...

West chop is a bad goatie! Worrying his Mom like that! But that is too adorable that he found a buddy. I hope his doggy friend liked him....
Reminds me of the time both my horses escaped. We searched for HOURS - were they hit by a car? stolen? no, they just went for a run, and ended up a few miles away, safe and sound with a neighbor's horses. I was TERRORIZED. And it's a miracle we found them....tracked hoofprints! (just call me the great native american tracker....)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe he was curled up with a dog - was is a herding dog? Too cute and funny!!

I can't wait for the calendar, it's going to be outstanding. I'm so glad your hard work and dedication are paying off, you deserve it!

Jenna said...

Love the idea of a calendar!!!
With so many cutie-pies how will you choose which pictures!

Hugs to you for all you have been through!
Have had days like that with my much smaller heard of pups and cats. Some days you really need a good cry!

More hugs!

Jean said...

I can always use another calendar since I hang them as art all around the house. Can't wait to see (and order) yours!

Marque said...

The calendar sounds wonderful! You have such lovely photos of your "Kids". I must say I laughed all the way through your post,with 12 dogs and puppies twice a year I often have days like this. Continue on!& have a good rest!!

Sandra said...

Wow! What a hectic week for you! I hope the cuties behave for you this coming week. Happy sleeps!

FruitfulSpirit said...

They are all so cute! Seems like you are herding a bunch of small children with minds of their own! Glad you got the fence fixed!

Plainswoman said...

I'm glad West Chop was okay. :) Little devil, running off for adventure.

And congrats to the winners of the drawing. :)

Anonymous said...

The Amazing Adventures of West Chop - sounds like an illustrated children's book!


harry said...

sounds like a ZOO over there. teeheehee