The last of the pumpkins

Although we scored quite the horde of pumpkins from a local drugstore in early November, the huge pile has dwindled by twelve to fourteen pumpkins daily. Sometime this week they will be gone and we will once again be able to park our vehicles in the garage, which has been home to the pumpkins for the past month.

I know the ewes will miss them — perhaps not all of the ewes, but enough of them that the absence of pumpkins will be noticed. Whenever my helper Seth or I took out the ATV with the daily allotment of pumpkins on the attached trailer, the ewes would come running to our entrance gate. When their water froze out in the Timber, we opened all the gates so that they could access the water at the barn, making our pumpkin feeding easier. Then, we simply took the pumpkins behind the house to the paddock with the waterer and broke them there. The ewes would come running from wherever they were grazing, looking forward to this favored treat!

The end of the pumpkins comes at a good time, though, since the temperature in the garage is dropping every day. It had retained some warmth from earlier in November, but the cold and wet of the past week or two has really settled in. Soon the pumpkins would be freezing out there, and once they are frozen, there is no way to break them open without an ax. And using a big ax on round frozen pumpkins is a good way to chop a leg.  I’ve already done that in the past, and I really try to avoid it at all costs!

It won’t be long before the sheep begin to get their next favorite seasonal treat: Christmas trees! They need to wait less than a month — only until December 26th — before we start bringing them in from hither and yon. We are now well known for letting the sheep “recycle” the trees at our farm before we take them to a local park that grinds up the trunks into mulch for paths. Many of our neighbors and others from the community drop off their trees at our farm, knowing we will put them to good use!

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A photo of Sweet Pea coming in thanks for the pumpkins, snapped by our helper Seth. That orange nose is not staged; she always has bits of pumpkin hanging from her face shortly after diving in!

Still, the end of the pumpkins is a bit sad for me. I enjoy the daily thank-yous of the flock as various ewes come to let me know how much they enjoy this treat. My most recent photo is one that Seth took of Sweet Pea last week. She is our youngest lamb and currently the second-smallest of the flock (the award for smallest goes to Pegeen, who is likely not much over sixty pounds, compared to Sweet Pea’s perhaps seventy-five pounds). This girl loves pumpkins, and will make sure to find a good spot among the broken pieces where she can fill up on her favorite treat. Not yet having had the luxury of munching on Christmas trees in her short life, she thinks the pumpkins are the best of the best! I look forward to her reaction once she has had a taste of her first tree! Stay tuned!

 

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2 Comments

  • ElaineChicago says:

    What a sweet orange nose!! Is there a particular type of Christmas tree that they like better than others or will just any do?

    • Dee says:

      Actually, I think my flock’s favorite is fresh Fraser first, but probably a very close second goes to white pine. My own flock prefers longer, softer needles, and the fresher, the better. Having said that, they will eat pretty much any evergreen as long as it is still holding its needles and isn’t sprayed with artificial coloring. It is surprising how many trees are sprayed (you can tell by looking at the trunk), and they usually won’t touch those. The rest, however, are usually eaten needles first, then small branches, and finally the bark and growth layer are stripped.

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