My day started out OK. I got up early and went out to the garden. I put tomato cages in the hothouse and transplanted tomatoes, peppers, and basil in the greenhouse before it got hot. Then I headed out to the barn to do chores. The first thing I noticed was how beautiful our peacock’s feathers are.
I noticed a bug I haven’t seen before on a water container. Sorry, the iPhone photos are not great, but I thought it was unique.
But then I looked in the “weasel-proof pen” and found a dead chick.
Yesterday I had noticed that the older chicks were pecking on the younger chicks. I decided to let their hen in the pen and hoped that she would look after her chicks without hurting the other chicks in there. I watched them for several hours, and there were no issues. But I suspect that this older chick pecked at one of the younger chicks, and the mother hen took her wrath. I doubt that a weasel or other predator made it into this pen. So I feel incredibly stupid. Farming is a humbling experience. I did move the hen out of the pen, and the chicks will hopefully work it out without any further deaths.
Then I noticed that Jet, an older black Shetland ewe, was breathing hard. She has been having trouble breathing for over a month. Initially I gave her antibiotics and steroid injections that seems to help. It recurred, I readministered these medications, and it didn’t seem to help. Today I tried a few things, but her breathing was really bad so we put her down. So again farming is a humbling experience.
Jet was an unexpected surprise that we found in the spring of 2008. I went out to the barn and found her with her aged mother Ebony. We had no idea Ebony was pregnant and have no idea who the father was. But we found this beautiful black lamb. Here she is later that spring.
Here she is the following February.
Here is her first fleece. Her wool was never great. I attribute it to being born to an elderly ewe who did not receive the extra nutrition she should have for the pregnancy.
Here she is that August.
Here she is in November of 2010.
I had some of her wool spun with other black Shetland sheep into this lovely yarn which I sold.
Here she is being sheared in 2018.
Here she is getting older in 2019.
And before I sheared her last year.
I sheared her early this year, hoping to keep her cool. Her wool remained jet black to the end. I actually named her after the Wings song from my childhood though. She was a nice sheep. She hated the chickens but was always nice to me. I will miss her terribly. She has been a constant in my life for 14 years. And she is my last connection to my first Shetland sheep, Ebony.