The photo essay on this page covers some non-cow aspects of ranch life. You can check out the efforts that the crew made on the trails--clearing them, see what fun fencing is, learn about sheep shearing or Louvic’s trip to the doggy spa.
Since some of the experiences offered at Winning Ways include Trail Rides, the crew and I have to maintain the trails. This involves cutting off big trees and clearing out under brush. Many of the trails have down trees laying across them, this is a good deterrent to the quad-bike riders who don’t always have a big chain saw strapped to their machines. Winning Ways horses are not familiar with quads and I would prefer not to encounter these machines on our riding trails. The horses are familiar with stepping over some fairly huge logs!
Sometimes while we are doing "a job" the helpers get to see some different aspects of living in the Northern Boreal Forest, besides all the trees that get in the way! On this particular trail clearing adventure the crew found some elk tracks, although we didn't see the elk.
Maintaining fences is an ongoing exercise that takes place from early spring until winter makes the ground too hard, once again, to put in posts. We have a method of digging postholes that is known as the “Hester Method” which involves sitting on the post hole auger and turning it with your whole body. Works well ‘til you hit a rock, then it’s back to digging the obstacle out by hand, before again applying the auger.
The beginning of June, I took the ewes, Krafty and Shelia, to be professionally shorn at a neighbours. I had no experience with this sort of communal gathering of the shepherds in the area and was surprised at who all owned sheep. My ewes were the only ones who arrived with halters on and could be led to the shearing floor. When the shearer was finish, I was rather horrified at the look of my ewes—they were NAKED!! I did not like the look of them without their wool. I think they looked way too goat-like and I wanted them to continue looking like the cute, square, fluffy boxes on 4 legs with an expressive face. They even seemed to lose their expressive faces when shorn. The shearer was efficient and did not take long to do a sheep. The huge wool bag was also something I had never seen before and “tramping the wool” was a whole new concept too. I’m glad Tanis volunteered to do the tramping!
The sheep were not the only ones that got shorn in 2018. I had decided after the clip job we gave Louvic in 2017 that he was going to be professionally groomed in the future. I asked Janelle if she was willing to give him a go and she agreed. She brought her equipment and went to work right outside the back door. Louvic didn’t mind the clipping but he was very unimpressed with the bath. He certainly looked a great deal more comfortable with his Coiffure and was more pleasant to brush. In the late summer Janelle took Louvic to the doggy spa and did some more clipping. I think it was a bit too much or too late in the season, cuz he was cold until his wonderful heavy undercoat regrew. Now he can once more lay out in the snow and straw and seems oblivious to the cold. (Well at least to -30C.)