April seems to be a month of preparation - we're getting ready to begin irrigating our finishing pastures, we're getting ready to shear our flock, and we're getting ready to plant vegetables. It's the beginning of our truly busy time!
To prepare for shearing, we do a number of things. First, we move the ewes and their lambs to a property where we have electricity (necessary to power the shears). This means 7 trips from Lincoln to Auburn - a very busy day! The ewes are used to the trailer, but the lambs are not - they take some convincing. Thank goodness I have a good dog and lots of friends and interns! This past Monday, we moved all 120 ewes to Auburn. On Tuesday, I moved several ewes and ewe lambs, and today, I moved the rest of our ewe lambs to Thompson Ranch. Next week, we'll set up shearing pens and our corrals. On Saturday, our shearer will be here to shear the sheep.
Irrigation season is also an intense time, but it lasts for 6 months. Once we start irrigating next week, we'll be moving sprinklers twice a day, 7 days a week, until mid October. We'll spend 3-4 hours each day making sure the grass is watered and growing. By October 15, we'll be looking forward to a break!
While these seasonal tasks take time, we're also continuing the ongoing work of preparing next fall's firewood. Firewood must be "seasoned" or dried, to burn well, so we're cutting and splitting next year's wood now. We generally spend every Wednesday at Edwards Family Farm in Colfax skidding logs, cutting wood and splitting the rounds. It's a nice change of pace from our other work.
I enjoy the seasonal nature of my work - there's always something to do, but that "something" is always changing. Variety keeps me interested!