Friday, October 26, 2007

Leftovers for lunch

We've been trying to trim as many trees as possible lately, while the leave on the trimmings are still green. The sheep love them, and will even strip off the bark and eat smaller twigs. The sheep also eat the fallen autumn leaves, but I suspect they aren't quite as nutritious as the fresh green ones. Still, it's entertaining to turn them into a fresh paddock and watch them criss-cross it like a competitive vacuum cleaning team, eagerly grabbing up every leaf they can see.

Favorites include elm, mulberry, and sugar maple. I also feed them black walnut in modest quantities when I can. It's an ingredient in some herbal anthelmintics (wormers), so I suspect they're self-medicating this way. Willow, which contains salicylic acid (similar to aspirin), is another favorite of theirs.

The joy they demonstrate when they see a fresh branch coming over the fence quickly erases any thoughts of scratched hand, sore arms, general weariness, etc. Farming with livestock makes even a thankless chore like trimming brush into an interactive, heart-warming activity. Someone always cares what I am doing. It is hard to hang around on the "pity pot" too long, thinking, "no one ever appreciates all the hard work I do". Every little thing matters to someone.

If I could just figure out a way to make the fencing and transportation simple and efficient, and deal with a few discouraging city ordinances, the sheep and me could start a lawn service, offering mwing, fertilizing, leaf disposal, happy hearts, and lamb chops. Yeah, in my vast and copious spare time....

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