Chronicles Of A Creative Life – Building a horse drawn sledge and shearing the sheep

I have been dithering about whether this blog post should be part of our ‘Chronicles’ series as it is about the farm work we’ve been doing this week. Then I thought that the keyword is actually ‘life’ some of which is classically creative and some of which is more mundane but all of which is required to make the whole. This week has been a busy one, as well as keeping a careful eye on the maternity shed, we have built a sledge (or stone boat) for the ponies to transport stuff around the farm and have shorn all the sheep.

I wasn’t able to find suitable plans for a stone boat on the internet so after looking at as many pictures as I could find I launched in with my own design. I’m not sure who was less keen about the whole plan, the ponies or the Junior Goat Slave whom I roped in to help!

However, using mainly ‘found’ materials from around the farm we got cracking. We decided to make a reversible sledge as they have quite a wide turning circle that sometimes may be difficult to accommodate. The runners look old, they are at least 10 years and were previously a pig pen, but are larch and when we cut into them the internal wood was perfect. Notching was not something I had done before but proved reasonably simple via jigsaw and chisel. The finished frame was very sturdy indeed.

Audrey, of course, was keen to inspect progress and to supervise the sledge’s first outing. I was concerned that the whole structure was quite heavy but my sweet Splash of Rain rose to the occasion and pulled it along almost effortlessly!

Last Sunday was booked to be ‘sheep shearing day’ some weeks ago but the weather here was so wild we postponed until Tuesday evening. It is always a huge relief when a major welfare task is completed and the animals are comfortable and cared for. Shearing is also the culmination of our year’s farming as it is the source of our beautiful yarn without which none of the rest would be possible! The stakes are high so we were very grateful to Kieran and the gang for doing such an efficient and careful job.

The guys were sure that this is their best angle!
Queuing for a haircut – we should be so lucky!
That’s better, cool and comfortable.
There’s always one! This lad wanted to look in a mirror……

All the sheep have now been turned out onto fresh pasture and are pretty happy with their lot. Meanwhile we will set too to sort the fleeces and send them off for washing and spinning.

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