As of this afternoon I am officially a divorced man.
Picture of a localish Traction Avant for your time
I live in the middle of nowhere and am a part time sheep farmer who owns a parrot.
The ratio of women to men in Vermont is about 58% women, but about 25% of them are lesbians, or bisexual with a preference for women (including my Ex: cue that line from Chasing Amy)
I'm a balding, liberal, leftist, pinko, commie, atheist video gamer, D&D wierdo, who's also into cars.
I just bought this at Tractor Supply because it smells amazing.
Also: some sheep for good measure.
sheep show a surprising amount of interest when they see themselves on the phone screen
1736 likes to make it clear how much she enjoys being scritched
she's also my most smiley sheep
Gloria loves having her chin rubbed...
and she can't understand why I would ever stop doing that. (one ear back and one ear forward is sheep body language for confusion or annoyance)
Fancy and Sally want scritches too.
Sally is also demonstrative of her appreciation of the scritches.
Summer is camera shy, but don't let that fool you, she likes scritches too. Also, Sally is a ham. But that's what I get for naming her Sallyford J. Sheepington, Attorney at Baaaa.
In case you forgot, I kinda did... Friend of mine had a breakthrough delta-variant infection... he got covid pneumonia and went to the hospital last Friday because he was having trouble breathing... Now he's being shipped off to the big city hospital because it's gotten worse
I think his heavy pot smoking probably didn't help in keeping the pneumonia at bay, but this is a relatively healthy 50 year old guy who's been vaccinated. Don't forget this shit is still out there.
On a lighter/different note I have decided to keep the house, and some sheep, which has thrown a wrench in the divorce proceedings... I can go into details if you want, but I'll just leave it at "the other party doesn't like this" I looked at the real estate market, and I trawled listings, and I realized that sure, I could sell the place for profit right now, but then I'd have to try to replace it. Both the rental and buyer markets are nutzo, so I'm gonna hang on to it.
As for the sheep, I'm going to forgo attempts at maintaining pure breed and registerable blood lines in the small flock I keep, but here's a reminder video of one of the reasons I've decided to continue having sheep in my life:
So, I've been sitting on this for a while, since the beginning of the year... Through a series of failures in communications on both our parts, mine exacerbated by my seasonal effective disorder/depression and her's by a culture of never talking about problems/avoiding conflict at all costs and being a people pleaser, no doubt "enhanced" by the last four years of living in this country, Mrs. BoostAddict and I seem, at this point, destined to separate. I convinced her we should go to couples counseling, but our previous long standing issues and a lot of built up grudges and resentment have lead to her declaring that she will not ever want to get back together. I bear at least half the blame, and I accept that... I still feel very cought off guard, as I was/am willing to try to work things out, but she's already made up her mind, and basically didn't say anything (in a way I could understand, as I said I am not blameless in this) until she was already done with it. What this means in practical terms in an end to the farm. Neither of us can do it on our own, and though she will no doubt try (I could rant about her killing herself for her work, but that is just glossing over some of our other issues with perceived levels of commitment and acceptance of "the reality" of various things). This will not be an easy or quick process, she has already moved out, but one way or another the sheep are going to be winding down. I do not want this to happen, but I also don't want to try to run things by myself, or deprive her of what she has always said (and I thought I was trying to support, but apparently in the wrong way) was her dream. The most likely outcome is that we will sell our property amd split the proceeds... As she cannot afford it on her own, and as much as I love this location, the house/land is too large and too expensive/much work for one person. Like I said, this will not be a quick and easy resolution, too many details to untangle and iron out, but she has already said she is "not planning to keep the sheep here this coming winter" what that means exactly is still not clear... Our communication has broken down to the point that just figuring out what is expected of me re: sheep and farm operations is a guessing game. I am continuing to make hay this summer, and spent the last week working 8-12 hours every day, plus regular chores to do so... I feel very lost and aimless... I have had a good spring, depression-wise, and this all feels very unfair, but I have to acknowledge that she felt things were unfair before now, and I can only feel the way I feel, not change the past. I've got friends and therapy, but you folks are my internet friends, and I know many of you have enjoyed sheeppost and ranked it highly on the list Oppo positives... So I thought you should be in on this, also it never hurts to have more conversations about what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistakes again... At least that's my feeling. I really do like the sheep, and this lifestyle in general, but it seems it will be coming to an end. /downer post out.
We're in for some real cold tonight here in Northern Vermont, like - 20F with wind cold. But it was nearly 30F over night, so I started my route early (7am) to try to take advantage of the warmth, as it was supposed to drop all day and be at 0F by sunset. All was going well. Totes were dumping without much trouble, roads were clear, still 19F and nearly 2/3rds of the route complete.
Blew a hydraulic line.
Now, that's bad... But you'll notice the storm drain. And at this point I'm loading compostables from the local hospital.
This is the only other picture I took because I had to do a shit ton of work now...
Clean up the spill, plug the leak, find a shop that makes hoses, install the new hose, refill the resivoir (we use ATF, so it wasn't cheap, but at least you can get it anywhere) pressure test, refit new hose with more Teflon tape, buy a sack of oil dry, drive back to the Hospital, spread oil dry while finally emptying thier totes, then sweep up the oil dry and pretend nothing ever happened. Oh yeah, now I'm actually running late and the temp is dropping.
By the time the route is done it's -3F and the trailer is frozen, not solid, but pain-in-the-ass frozen. Spent about 45 mins with the heated pressure washer and my boss helping to get the trailer empty. Luckily my boss is a good guy and said "I'll finish the clean out, drain, and antifreeze, you go ahead home, your day's been long enough."
Thanks non-sucky boss!
Day was still a PITA.
Also: it's cold as balls.
5:50am 2/25, two black lambs, a girl and a boy born to Border Leicester #113. The barn cam was recording, but i'm having trouble transferring the video for some reason... Here are stills:
The actual birth occured behind the hay feeder, so it's not visible, but the audio recording says 5:50:34 was first cry. All the ewe lambs (who are mostly pregnant, but are going to be first time mothers) swarmed over to see what was up.. Which is why I do want to try to get the video, it's funny. All the ears and heads swivel toward the lamb baas and then they all get up and run over to see...
Edit: added some actual lamb pics...
So, I don't remember if I told Oppo that we had whole sheep's milk this year, to feed bottle lambs and supplement lambs with inadequate mother-provided-milk as opposed to the usual powdered formula. This is great from a nutritional standpoint, but bad from a usage and storage point.
We bought ~1000lbs (about 120 gallons) of milk from a sheep dairy that had failed it's well inspection and could not sell the milk (or milk products) for human consumption. It came frozen in giant food-service dispenser bags that hold ~5 gallons.
They take roughly three days to thaw in this tray.
As we do not have an appropriate dispenser for these bags, we are transferring the milk to 6-gallon beer bottling buckets for storage in our basement fridge, and dispensing. As I know I have mentioned sheep milk has extremely high fat and protein content, and this is whole, raw milk. Unpasteurized and unhomogenized. It will separate to cream/fat and whey if left still in the bucket.
Each 5 gallons lasts about 3 days, taking the bucket out of the fridge to slosh it and stir it is a PITA, also we only access it every 6 hours, which is plenty of time for separation to have occurred, requiring extensive stirring to recombine the milk, and leading to the formation of unwanted fat globules... The solution is to stir it often... Like a bulk tank agitator....
So I made one.
An arduino nano, a DRV8825 stepper driver, a beefy NEMA 17 stepper, a 1amp 12v wall wart from an old router, a cheap plastic stirring paddle, a 3D-printed arm, a heavy-duty servo pushrod, and a bit of 2x4, some deck screws and ingenuity later and I have a device that stirs the milk for two minutes every half hour without any input from us!
Initial tests look promising. We'll see if it solves our milk separation issue long term over the next couple of days.
Now, you'll have to take my word for it, as I was driving the work truck and like a good boy did not pull out my phone to to take pics (but I've added ones from the internet that match as closely as I can find), but I saw a ton of wierd/great vehicles on the collection route today, all with Vermont plates, in Lamoille and Orleans counties of Vermont...
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X MR
the one I saw was the color of the blue one and had a wing like the white one
A lifted, fully off-road kitted New Defender 110, winch, mud-terrains, roof basket, Jerry cans, lights, ”Overland” sticker, the whole deal. It was even muddy. It was that blueish slate gray color...
A very minty Studebaker Hawk R2, or maybe it was just a GT... Still...
A Mitsubishi Town Box. I don't know how they got a plate on it, it’s too new...
A lifted off-road kitted Subaru Crosstrek
And last but not least, an SVT Cobra R.
Some day I’ll get a pic of the third gen Toyota Crown that is often street parked on my Monday route... There’s an X10 Corona sedan I see pretty regularly too.
No house lambs yet, but we did have a small ewe give birth to two very large lambs that required assistance, as they were a very tight fit on exit. All lambs born so far are Border Leicesters, all are black, as our Border ram is dominant black genetically. Total so far: 3 ewes have given birth, 5 lambs - 2 sets twins, one single
We have at least two other ewes likely due in the next 12-24 hours.
Edit: update 2nd lamb from small ewe mentioned above seems not to have nursed well, and also his mom has been a little lax in licking him dry, so we brought him in to top him off and get him dry and warm.
He's quite skeptical about the whole process.
Got called in on emergency to do a collection route I don't usually do as the other driver sprained his ankle badly. The weather was OK, but the route is kind of a PITA... Also, I had other things I was planning to do today, oh well, bigger paycheck this week.
In any case, saw this:
It's a beater too, not a clean car.
Spent some time poking at the junkyard-rescued amazingly-low-rust 2002 Chevy 1500 standard cab, long bed, V6 2wd.
I still find it hard to believe how little rust this truck has. The shocks even seem good and only one tire leaks air.
Predictably it appears we have a distributor issue. It will take further diagnosis to determine what's actually wrong, but it being a 4.3 I'm betting on either snapped drive or stripped alignment dohicky.
Turns out GM's steering column on these trucks is modular enough that we can steal the parts from the Automatic parts truck to rebuild the manual column. Nice.
We've put power to it, all lights work, not even a blown bulb! We have no driver info display for some reason, So I'll have to hook up the Tech2 to it to read mileage, but based on the pedal pad wear, I'll be surprised if it's much over 140k miles. Actually I won't be surprised if it's nearer to 100k. Engine cranks and has compression (we'll put the guage on it next weekend, probably), oil and coolant look fine. I did not hear the fuel pump, but we haven't even gone through fuses and with the borked distributor it's not gonna start anyway.
It will need new brake lines, but the clutch appears to have a brand new line and slave cylinder, however it's stuck, probably from sitting. We also found a small dent in the driveshaft, probably from being moved by a loader with forks while it was in the yard... But the shaft appears to be straight, so as long as it isn't out of balance I'm gonna ignore that.
It's raining like a sunofabitch so we're done for the day. Sorry about the lack of pictures. Here's a shot of the sheep, they went out on pasture yesterday.
My buddy pulled the rusty bed off his truck (that 2006 Chevy 2500HD from before) to swap with a better parts bed, and found, ahem, more frame rust than expected.
as he tows with this truck we have undertaken to strengthen the bit that needs it.
Updates as we progress. I already have plans for tomorrow and I work Monday, so we may be at this till late tonight.
donor frame from an old hay truck is getting hacked up to patch in...
maybe a little overkill, but it's what we have.
pretty happy with that weld... The rest of them are functional. we buttoned it up, put the cross member, hitch and bumper back on... Buddy went home at 11. Tomorrow morning we slap the new bed on. The cross member was noticeably harder to move on reassembly, probably due to the increased frame ridgidity.
what're you getting into?
Oh, for fuck snacks don't eat my wireless mouse dongle...
She ate some checks earlier (luckily they had already been deposited, and she just ate an insurance bill (already paid) that she pulled out of the recycling... WE HAVE HAY AND LAMB PELLETS IN THE HOUSE FOR HER TO EAT BUT SHE STILL CHEWS ON ALL THE WIRES AND EATS ALL THE IMPORTANT PAPERS. /sobs in shepherd
She pulled the Playstation controller charging stand off the entertainment center and when everything clattered all over the floor she wagged her tail and bounced happily and tossed her head and then trotted off to chew on something else while I cleaned it up and wiped the lamb spit off my controllers...
Then she crams herself into the tightest spot behind the end tables in the living room and pees about a 1/2 gallon...
So, a buddy of mine has started working at a local metal recycler/wrecking yard... We were talking today and he mentioned a thing that got brought in last week: A manual 4x4 Geo Tracker that appears to be almost entirely rust free. The people drove it in, cut out the cat in the parking lot, took their scrap value and the battery and left... he says it runs and drives and stops and doesn't seem to have any obvious faults. The body is solid, the frame looks solid, and the interior isn't even thrashed. They wrecked the header taking the cat off, so it'll need a new header pipe and a cat (or at least some exhaust repair) to be put back on the road, but the bosses are stalling on gutting and crushing it because it's in such good condition.... no one has yet said they want to take it, he suspects they would part with it for ~$500...
reference picture for those who don't know or remember what a 2-door tracker looks like
I believe it's a 2-door hardtop, not sure of they year, could be the 8v or 16v engine...
he mentioned another drive-in, a '98 Ranger 2wd standard cab 4cyl sadly auto... bed is a little rusty as is the rear of the frame rails... again, maybe $500, no cat.
It's cold and blowing (10F and 20+mph wind) , so of course we have babies coming left and right.
These several day old lambs are snuggled up, 'cuz it's cold...
Sally loves her lamb... But I have to stay away, because she would rather hang out with me than her lamb, as much as she does seem to like him.
We've got two from an old notch-eared border ewe who does not seem to have any milk at the moment, so we are going to supplement them and hope she starts flowing in a little bit, that happens sometimes with older ewes...
We've got a first time border mother working on labor right now, she seems likely to be a single or else small twins... We'll know soon.
Old 102 with the blown tendon is taking care of her lambs, but she isn't quite producing enough milk, so we're beginning to supplement them too. She seems pretty OK, as far as ewes with major injuries go, but she's just falling behind the demand in milk production. On a cold night like tonight those babies need energy!
Will try to remember to get more pics when I go back out to check on the new mother's progress...
Super-goopy newbie from first time mom...
And then there were two!
Forgot pics of the twins from ol' notch-ear... We'll get them photographed yet!