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The great sheep experiment

4.08.2013

This year will long go down as the year of The Great Sheep Debate of 2013.

Also known as the year that Russ decided to experiment with sheep for lawnmowers and Jodi fought the idea with everything within her and ultimately went down, but not without a fight.

It started like this:
Russ: I want to get sheep for our yard for the summer so I can work on the play structure business when I'm home and not have to mow every week.
Me: Sheep INSIDE the yard? what kind of harebrained notion is that?!!

And then we googled it and apparently it's a "thing". Like urban chicken farming. And Russ's spark of an idea was fanned into a bright flaming forest fire of an idea that would not be quenched.

So it ended like this:
Russ: I found some sheep to buy from a neighbor and I'm picking them up tonight. C'mon, babe, let's just try it. It will be fun, I promise.
Me: No it won't. I hope Miley chases them all until they die of heart attacks!

As you can see I was super mature and gracious about it and not at all bitter.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not anti-sheep. I think they are cute and would love for my kids to get to raise farm animals. I am just anti-sheep-pooping-in-the-yard-and-eating-all-my-flowers. I foresee nothing but poop and sad flowerless gardens. Russell is very optimistic though and thinks it won't be that bad.

And at this point all I can say is WE SHALL SEE, in my best doomsday voice.

But in the meantime, the sheep are here and Russell is like a kid on Christmas morning with them and so are the children and I won't lie when I say that they are dang cute and I could watch them out the window all day long. They are Shetland sheep which is a miniature breed (with hopefully miniature droppings?) and they are all yearlings, except for one female who is two.

Last Friday we had a sheep shearer out to get them ready for summer. Blake and I were pretty enthralled with the whole business. Let's have a picture tour shall we?
The crew (L to R): Ginger, Rusty, Mabel, and Shadow, the literal black sheep of the family.

Shadow was up first. (Cooper's ewe, previously known as Shredder, Galaxy, and Universe before he finally settled on a name that we could get behind.)

 Going...

 going...

Gone! I couldn't believe the difference!

 This was the best entertainment we'd had in a long time!

(sheep shearing tour sidetrack - because he is just the cutest :)

 Rusty the ram was up next and frankly, was quite alarmed about the whole business.

 But oh my goodness, what a handsome little fella he turned into!

What the heck just happened to me?

Next was Ginger (Kendall's ewe and the only 2 year old), who wandered over on her own to see what on earth was going on.

She started out docile enough...

but ended up being the feistiest of the bunch and had to be shorn on the ground.

Don't be mad, Ginger, you look lovely!

Ginger's wool. Can you imagine the weight difference for the sheep after losing all that? We ended up throwing it all away after we were told there was no market for it in the condition it was in. Too bad.

Shadow, Ginger, and Rusty stayed close while Mabel was shorn - they like to stick together at all times!

Mabel is Blake's ewe but he asked me to name her and I was happy to oblige. I just think sheep and old-fashioned names go hand in hand :)

 Mabel cleaned up real nice.

And then off they all trotted, to go eat and poop in my grass some more. (Terribly overgrown grass, might I add. Russ is going to mow it down to start off with as soon as it stops monsoon raining here.)

Now the funny thing is that when Russ bought them the previous owners thought none of the ewes were pregnant, but it turns out ALL THREE of them are. And they are close! So we are about to have lambs and suddenly I'm going to the feed store to buy vaccines and mineral salt and worrying about a proper pen for the babies and who the heck have I turned into, the Pioneer Woman?!! 

I, Jodi the non-animal lover, have a menagerie of pets! That's one dog, two fish (did I mention that Cooper got a Betta fish for his birthday and named him Leroy?), a mouse, and four sheep, with more on the way.

Please feel free to make fun of me. Everyone else has been.

And don't worry, I'll be sure to keep you all updated on the GREAT SHEEP EXPERIMENT and whether my gardens and my sanity survive. Keep posted ;)

18 comments:

  1. S. whoosh!!!!! Girrrrrrrlllll now THAT is a story!!!!! Did you know all of this about sheep???? Now I have a couple questions..,
    Will you ever be able to shear them?
    Do they have a barn?
    Where does the wool go if its in good shape?
    How does your dog like them?
    Do they just eat grass?
    And girrrrrrllll... Just how BIG is your yard????????

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    1. I knew NOTHING about sheep until they were in our yard! Google has all the answers of course ;) You have some good questions! I think I'll do a Q&A for tomorrow's blog post instead of answering them all down here in the comments!

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    2. Good idea.... I am very nosey....

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  2. I'm pretty sure I need to forever hide this post from my husband, as he may get some crazy idea to try this at our house! :)

    Love the pictures, love your hilarious commentary.

    Here are my questions: Do they eat "evenly" to keep the lawn "mowed"? How do they know how to do this? I would be totally impressed if they could make designs somehow, like they do in the outfield of major league ballparks. Just gonna throw that one out there...

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    1. LOL @ your1st sentence Carrie!

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    2. Hehehe :) Totally laughed at the outfield designs line! I'm going to answer (or attempt at least) your questions and others I've been asked on tomorrow's blog post!

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  3. Dear Jodi, oved the picture of you and Blakers. It must be genetic...Russ's Dad was just like that when we decided to raise 100 chickens...in our backyard ...on 82nd ave in PORTLAND!!! It was before Russ was born..so it has to be genetic LOL

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    1. Yes I totally believe it's in the genetics! hahaha, oh Gary. That's too funny!

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  4. To help with the educational experience for the kids you can have them each slaughter a lamb in the fall. Hehehehe... I think the sheep look pretty neat after their haircuts and it will be interesting to see how they keep up on the yard. You can probably train them to all poop in one area and to not eat anything important to you???? I'm actually pretty thankful for the Halverson since of adventure. I'm pretty sure my life would be boring and uneventfull had I not been married to one:-)

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    1. You are funny. Wishful thinking on the training part... wouldn't that be lovely though! And yes I like the Halverson adventure gene as well (also known as 100% SANGUINES! :)

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  5. Jodi I am still chuckling over "don't be mad Ginger, you look lovely" Awesome shots and story..and they DO look really cute all shorn don't they ?! so fun for the kids... gumboots are REALLY going to rank number 1 in the choice of foot wear at your place now ;D

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    1. I have totally turned into the boot gestapo... no poop allowed in the house!

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  6. Perhaps one of the baby lambs could be called EWEnice!

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  7. Oh my goodness we love your sheep! Kendall's is so cute!!!
    -Debby and Lizzy

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  8. So much for saving money on not paying someone to mow your grass! Hee Hee:) Oh and Madison came home today and told me that Kendall's RAM had her baby!!

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  9. All hilarity aside. THEY ARE SO CUTE.

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  10. This is seriously so hilarious! You and your thoughts about getting sheep are cracking me up! I hope it becomes a fun adventure and learning experience for your kiddos! :)

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