As the snow continued to melt more and more of the new pasture was being uncovered and the sheep were making daily crossings to go play on the compost piles in the back. Each crossing was stretching the netting a little more or fraying another strand or two. It was becoming clear that the sheep need to be more solidly confined if we didn’t want the new pasture to be damaged. We counted up the steel panels we had on hand and measured the width of the opening on the west side. 96 feet of panels and 77 feet of opening meant we could erect the panels across the opening and create a barrier that would confine the sheep on the west side and prevent them off of the new pasture.
We also put up a line of electric netting in front of the panels and around the black raspberry bushes and electrified them to begin re-training the sheep to respect the electric netting. So far they have not tried to cross the netting that we are aware of, but we also haven’t seen them testing the fence.
We are planning to bring a number of our ewes from Oregon in late summer. We will bring those ewes that successfully lamb this spring plus any remaining wethers to our farm in Lincoln. This could be quite a few sheep since ultrasound has revealed about two dozen pregnant ewes that are likely to have around 16 male offspring.
The town of Lincoln acquired about 21 acres of land this past year for conservation purposes that they are licensing to farms as pasture. The land is about three quarters of a mile away so we applied to use about two acres and our application has been accepted. The land is adjacent to another portion of this same 21 acres that has been used for years by the Raja farm for sheep. Raja farm is expanding its use by another acre. It is reassuring to know that a competent sheep person will be nearby should anything happen.
Shearing time is coming. In two weeks, our sheep will be shorn and ready for summer. We expect summer to come despite the persistence of wintry conditions.