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Posts Tagged ‘wether’

Trapping cats is tricky. For weeks, we’ve been trying to capture the handful of barn cats that have been sighted about the place. We believe there are at least four – maybe six: grey male  (aka Louie — formerly Lulu), black & white female (aka Skunk), calico (aka California/Cali), long-haired grey (aka Gandalf), pure white (aka Snowy), orange and white (aka Garfield), and a long-haired blackie with big green eyes (aka Mephistopheles).  I say maybe six because Gandalf and Snowy have not been seen in awhile.

A trip to Tractor Supply yielded a small animal trap for about $35. This worked like a charm – set with a can of cheap tuna. We nabbed Lulu on the first night. Tammi connected with CPAA (Central PA Animal Alliance) affiliated with an animal hospital in York – about 30 miles away – to do the necessary procedure. We drove there in the dark of the night – with an angry Lulu trapped in the cage. Lulu was obviously feral, responding with nasty snarls and hisses anytime one would approach.

The next day, we learned Lulu was actually Louie! However, he was a little less Louie on the way back than he was on the way there! One down — five to go!

The next night, we boldly set our trap again. Tammi strategically set the device in the barn near the cat food. Again, a can of cheap tuna was used as bait. In the morning, the trap was occupied by another feral beast — but this one was no cat! We had nabbed a raccoon! Talk about nasty — this critter wanted nothing to do with the cage and people and being in the barn.  Tammi called around to shelters to see what to do with the beast. It was recommended – as long as it was not rabid – to let it go or to drive it to state game lands and release it. Later that day, Tammi carried the laden cage out into the corral and set it on a cinder block – with the opening facing away from her. She opened the cage and the coon backed out — fell onto the ground — and bolted into the woods beyond the pasture. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call that the cage was destroyed. Apparently an angry raccoon can do a number on a cheap Chinese-made animal trap.

Undeterred, I was off to Tractor Supply again — and was very pleased to see they had conveniently restocked their supply of cages. It seems I was not the only local buying these things. I imagined our raccoon friend going from property to property — trap to destroyed trap — and the owners subsequently returning to Tractor Supply to restock on the things. It seems the only ones making out in this deal are the raccoon and Tractor Supply!

Anyway, they had a deal — a small cage within the big cage — for free!  I bought two traps and now had four, although the small ones were only useful for squirrel-sized critters. That evening we set both of the big traps. In the morning, we trapped two more cats — Skunk and Cali!  Tammi hauled them off to York for their procedures. As of this moment, we are at least 50% complete on our cat control project.  As for the kittens born a few weeks back, we have seen or heard nothing. We fear the worst. But, nature might be doing us a favor since we wish to limit the number of feline friends on the property, lest they take over!

While all of this trapping was going on, the garden we had planted a few weeks back became an afternoon snack for our goats. Apparently Nellie and Twinx decided the three acres of grass and weeds and assorted flora was not enough for their appetites. No — ! They had to push through the wire fence between the corral and the garden and nibble on the shoots that were popping up. It was a total loss — no more peppers, tomatoes, strawberries —- gone!  Even the sheep (led by the ram) followed them in to have a look. The whole affair was one big loss — $160 for the tilling job — $200 for the plants and seeds — plus all of the labor (mostly Tammi’s).  Tammi was so mad, like an edict from Exodus, she declared that any of the lambs born of that ram would be sent to the butcher! (This is a side of my wife I had yet to see — only being married two years. I took note!)  In summary, we decided to shelve the garden for the year and stick to the berries and grapes already underway — outside the fence!

While on the subject of spaying and neutering, it is often desirable to turn a young ram into a wether (sans testicles).  Tammi was dead set on converting our ram into such a creature after the garden incident, but I could not be so motivated. The mere thought of castration seemed so painful, I could not wish it upon our ram.

During our recent heat wave, we decided to shear the two lambs that had not been shorn when we purchased them. This required another trip to Tractor Supply to purchase an electric shearer. Of course, the only device usable on sheep was their most expensive one — and the blade was sold separately. After a $260 investment, I rode home tabulating just how many sheep would need to be sheared to provide enough wool to pay for this thing.

A couple days later, we decided we could wait no longer. The young sheep were full of wool and it was getting hot. Brandon and I went into the pasture and chased them down to the barn. With a little effort, we grabbed the Scottish black face mix — it was easier since it had horns — and led it out to Tammi and the shearers. We decided to leave the young Hampshire for the next attempt.  Tammi set about her work, taking nearly 20 minutes to finish the deed while I held onto the beast’s horns, holding it steady. When Tammi was doing the belly, near the lower extremities, she made an interesting discovery under the wool.

“My goodness, it’s a boy!” she cried — a look of excitement on her face, razor in hand. This was an expression I had not seen in our two years of marriage. Suffice to say, I was not the beneficiary of an equal amount of excitement on our wedding night, though that could be due to the fact she was already well-aware of my masculinity.

“Be careful with that razor!” said I.

We realized our little lamb was actually a young ram, now a wether.

 

 

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