This last weekend my dad and sister came for a quick overnight visit. The weather was warm and windy Saturday afternoon when they arrived. My dad recently purchased a used rear-tine rototiller and brought it down with him so we could get our two garden beds tilled. Joey and my dad made quick work of the first garden bed and then moved on to the other one that seems to grow every year. My sister and I pulled up the adirondack chairs and watched. There's nothing like sitting on the lawn on a warm afternoon, with the smell of freshly turned soil in the air, and watching someone else do the hard work. :)
After the gardens were tilled, my dad and sister pulled up the remaining cement slabs from an old sidewalk that we started pulling up last year. We had minestrone soup and french bread for dinner and then we were back outside. Joey and Maddy planted some onion sets. When our backs were turned, my dad lit a fire in the bonfire/brush pit that made a loud "whoosh!" when the flames caught and we turned around to see my dad silhouetted against a 6 foot bonfire. I think he likes to come to my house and do work just so he can throw stuff on the burn pile and then have a massive bonfire.
Sunday morning was warm and we ate our breakfast outside with a view of "sheep tv." My dad finally got to work inside on the stairs and banister project and Joey got on his tractor to till up the field behind out house so he could plant hay for the sheep. My sister and I alternated between reading in the sun, planting the garden, and hanging laundry on the line. We planted potatoes, peas, spinach, and lettuce. Joey ran over the hay ground with the cultivator twice and then borrowed a friend's four-wheeler and dragged a metal fence panel over the ground to even out the soil for the hay seed. He then walked and seeded the acre by hand.
After saying goodbye to my dad and sister around 3 pm, we took a short break and then Joey went over to the neighbor's farm to shear some sheep for practice. We recently bought a set of electric sheep shears and Joey took a class on sheep shearing at a university extension so that we could shear our own sheep. Because Merino sheep are so wrinkly, they are very difficult to shear and it has been just as difficult to find someone to shear them in our area. So before jumping into shearing our own sheep, Joey offered to shear some of the neighbor's for practice. He's got big Dorset sheep, which are like horses compared to our little sheep.
He was exhausted after wrestling with two sheep. It is hard to imagine sheep shearers who can finish each sheep in 4-5 minutes. Hopefully, with practice and patience and a steady hand, our sheep will come out unscathed this year. Last year, the shearer cut them up so badly I had to go sit in the truck because all the cuts and blood were making me sick. Usually blood does not bother me, but to see my own sheep get injured bothers me. I am kind of a nervous wreck around shearing anyway since there are so many appendages that could accidentally get cut off (we've heard all the stories) when a sheep squirms or the shearer gets too close with the shears.
Joey's planting season at work started last week so his long hours and Saturday overtime are starting again. After three years of planting season and harvest season, I am getting used to the stretches of long nights. I am just thankful that our baby is due in July when the corn is up and growing and things so down a little bit again.
Here's to spring and warmer weather, new growth, and productiveness at home and at work!