Moving Back to Parma

Well on Saturday, we moved the sheep back to the Parma alfalfa field they winter in. They have the north half (seven acres) to make their way across and back before the first warm days of spring.

Alfalfa (Lucerne) currently in the winter pasture

The farmer who raises the alfalfa, lets us graze off the remaining alfalfa after the last harvest. We get some free winter forage, and his field gets fertilized. He was having to truck manure in from a large sheep farmer’s lambing ground about a half mile away. This saves him time and fuel.

We share the field with the Fantasy Farm’s rams, and they take the south half. The rams from the will be moving in this coming weekend. We keep about 200ft between the RescEwe flock and the Fantasy Farm rams. After all, we do have one ewe in our flock, and we would not want to start a riot. Although, Betsy may see it differently.


Another reason for the separation is for biosecurity. It would be too easy for disease or parasites to move from flock to flock if they shared a fence. Over the last year, we have been working on a basic guideline for flock size and biosecurity. The current idea is to limit the size of individual RescEwe flocks, and restrict movement between them. This was highlighted recently by a contagious and ultimately lethal disease being brought into an overseas sanctuary by a single homeless sheep.

For those that have been following us for a while, you may remember that Del came to us as a lost lamb. It is hard to believe that was two years ago. He has grown so big, and still has a way to go.


Del has never lost his lambish spunk. He is a bit of an instigator, and keeps some of fuddy-duddies on their toes. He even gets Cookie the llama to play chase with him. Cookie rarely moves at more than a stately pace, but it is amazing how fast she runs when she wants too. Del will probably participate in the park visits next year.


For those that met Smith at the park this last summer, Smith weighed in at 320 lbs (145 kg) this week. That is 20 lbs more than he was carrying during the summer. I think Smith is ready for the colder than normal weather that is predicted for the coming winter. He is also starting to get fluffy as well.

Bring on the white stuff, we are ready.

The Winter Hay Stacks are Almost Finished.

I can’t say enough good things about our donors who have made sure that we have this winter hay, or the volunteers that came out to help get it stacked. Both have been an absolute blessing to us. We now have ninety five bales in the stacks at about 100 pounds (45kg) apiece. Our goal is to have 6 tons (5.4 tonnes) in the stacks on November 28th. The 6 tons should get us through this winter.

That means we only need another ton and a half.

The hay is nice and dry under our new tarps.

Generosity in the Form of Hay

With the unexpected, and devastating mowing of the Caldwell pasture, we have no forage there for at least the next 3 weeks, and possibly longer.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with a donation equal to 1/2 ton of good grass hay. That is just the beginning, The donation is open ended to include all the hay that we will need to get through this period. We just need to tell them we need more. The first half ton was brought in on Saturday. It is pictured above. We can not tell you who committed this great act of love, they choose to remain anonymous. I guess it is true that, “love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.” At least true love that is.

A Second Walk in the Park

Smith and Tolkien Spent another Saturday morning in a local park. This time it was Luby Park in Caldwell. There were fewer dogs in the park, but more people. It only took about 15 minutes for the first person to come up and want to pet the sheep.

Throughout the morning, every time anyone wanted to pet the sheep a shepherd gave them pointers on how to approach the sheep. The shepherds also told how to and how not to pet or scratch sheep.

As you can see, the boys were a whole lot more relaxed, and were not huddling together for security like last week. They also spent some time looking for goodies in the lawn. They were doing their part to clean up the park and improve the lawns.

Cleaning up the cottonwood leaves.

Yumm, Kochia! This surely does not need to be in the lawn.

In the picture above, you can see the new bells Tolkien and Smith are sporting. We were not sure how they were going to react to the bells, they did not seem to even notice that they were there. It is hard to find a place to attach the bells to the harnesses, but we are going to keep trying different attachment points till we find the best way to do this.

Tolkien getting some attention from a shepherd. Like I said, they were a lot more relaxed. We even had a quinceanera party of about 30 come through. Tolkien and Smith did really well with the young ladies and gentlemen. Several got a chance to interact with our boys. We found out that Tolkien likes the girls, and was more than willing to have them pet him. Smith pretty much liked anybody that would give him scratches, but was a bit more shy.

Tolkien posing.

Poop was scooped.

And back home to the Caldwell pasture. Around the world, shepherds complain that it is hard to get good pictures of sheep because they turn their butts to you. This shepherd has been spending too much time with the sheep, and is picking up their bad habits.

Next park, Memorial park in Caldwell. less than two weeks before Pet Extravaganza 2019.

Just a Walk in the Park

Smith and Tolkien did not know what the day had in store for them, but we had been planning an outing in the park for about a month.

We had selected Centennial park because it was about a mile away from the Caldwell pasture. Centennial park also has large soccer fields and an off leash dog park. We wanted to get Smith and Tolkien a feel for public parks, and see how they would react to other animals. They have been selected to represent the RescEwe sheep at Pet Extravaganza 2019. We selected them because they are best buddies, and combined they weigh 570 lbs. (258kg). We are assuming that the greatest number of pets attending the event will be dogs. They should be able to stare down just about any dog, but we had no idea how they would react when confronted by any dog. We soon found out.

Smith and Tolkien were tethered to an old cottonwood tree with 50 ft. leads. They moved as far away from the dog at the picnic cover as they could, and one was carefully watching him at all times.

Good thing it was not a sheep dog, but wait, isn’t that a Corgi over there.

They were vigilant, but never acted scared.

Even when confronted with a small yappy dog.

Or lions, tigers, and oh my a SQUIRREL…

We have three more weekends before the Pet Extravaganza, and will be trying out a busier park each weekend.

And yes, we poop scooped behind our sheep. However, not all of the dog owners did.

Time for us to Shear Your Sheep

RescEwe is hosting another Bring Your Own Sheep (BYOS) shearing event. This year it will be on May 18th. As always this is a really good deal for some shepherds. No set up fees just a straight per head charge of $9. As always all of the proceeds are going to RescEwe.

We will once again be shearing at the Caldwell pasture. The address is 20595 Farmway Rd, Caldwell, ID 83607.

Back in Caldwell Again

Since time began, sheep have been nomadic, and followed the grass. The RescEwe sheep are no different. They have a mailing address, and a office, but no real place to call their own. The time to graze in Parma is over, and a new season means a new job location.

Our thanks to the volunteers who made the day a fun and joyous occasion. They say many hands make light work, but light spirits make for joyous work. Even though there was a lot of meeting new sheep, and fellowship along the way, the whole move took less time this year.

Looking at the alfalfa field, the untrained eye would not think that there is much for sheep to eat here, but annual grasses and mustards had already started to come up. Over the last week on the field, hay consumption had almost fallen by half from a month ago. Too bad the alfalfa is just starting to come out of its dormancy too.

The alfalfa field the day of the move

The Caldwell pasture however has a lot of annual grass growing. The chard and chicory are only just starting to get some green.

So, the season changes, and so do the daily routines. Feeding and fence moving still happens twice a day, but we have a hose for filling water buckets. Watering the pasture will start soon, and we are already getting visits from the local workers who are glad to see the sheep again.

Preparing for the storm

Yesterday,we had a winter storm warning for 5:00 pm. The forecast called for high winds, rain, freezing rain, and snow. We were already seeing the wind, but it was just going to get worse as the day progressed. Typically we get two types of snow. When it comes out of the north, It falls straight down. However, the forecast called for the winds to be coming out of the south southwest. When the snow comes from that direction we end up with drifts, sometimes as much as three feet (1m) deep.

So we had to prepare for the worst. The usual light shelter does well in most conditions year round. Sun, rain or even some snow. However, with the forecast being what it was, we needed to put together a bit more

The picture above is of the shelter when we started. the wind was 12 mph (19kph). We added a snow fence / wind break, and tightened up the cover. By the time we finished, the temperature was just above freezing, the winds were 20mph (32kph) sustained, with 28mph (45kph) gusts. It was only going to get worse.

This morning, we had about 1.5 inches (4cm) of snow on the ground.

The snow fence / wind break did it’s job.

The sheep were dry, under the shelter was dry, and everybody was in great spirit… Time for breakfast.

I know most shepherds agree that they love working with the sheep. Seriously, if we did not love it, why would we be out here, hauling water, feeding hay, and giving out pets, and scratches, in high winds and freezing temps. One of the additional perks is that we are outside watching the star filled sky at night, and vistas during the day.

More snow and wind forecast for tonight. One never really knows how much, but we are ready.

Closing the year, and planning ahead.

Winter is a quieter time. A time for catching up, feeding hay and the occasional treats. It is also the time for planning the year ahead, and beyond. While we decide how many sheep per grazing group, shepherds per group, and the equipment for each group, music has played an important part of this work.

So we are going to share some of the music that has been in our playlists while we work. Hope you enjoy.