Sunset Sheep, Sunrise House

Still here. So much has happened with the house build this past week but regardless of the goings on, each day begins and ends with a check of the sheep and a visit with the guardian dogs. 

Day to day it feels rather like a dull routine that needs to be gotten out of the way, but once out in this prairie space there are constant reminders that bring my head up and stir my soul.  As this house build happens there is an unfolding of feelings and an unreal realization of all the choices and actions that have led to this creation.  I keep wanting to write that we are lucky but that isn't it - this does not boil down to luck.  This land, this flock and now this home, is built on years of life choices and all the other roads not taken.  This home on the prairie is becoming an extension of us and our view on land and life. As we partake in the building of it the totality of the connection between earth, plant, animal (domestic and wild), and human potential is taking hold.  I hope that we do this house and home justice.

This photo is from yesterday morning as the eastern sunrise catches the house. The house is covered with a tarp in the centre and on the backside where we have put up ceiling boards. This is to prevent rain/water stain on the new ceiling boards until the roof panels go up. The timbers will be fine to repel rain water. There is a branch at the peak on the left hand side.  After the raising of a timber frame, there is a tradition whereby the homeowner places a branch at the peak and thanks the forest for the timbers.

A Peak at Our House Build

 Timber bents being assembled on the slab foundation in preparation for raising later this week.  

A single progress photo negates the incredible amount of work that has taken place thus far - earth moving, pouring footings and frost walls, hauling and packing earth and gravel base, laying tubing and rebar, the concrete slab, the grinding/polishing, the staining … 

Our approach to this house is similar to our approach to this place.  Natural and organic; a home that lets the outside in and hopefully portrays our willingness to co-exist with our surroundings rather than overtake them.  Nothing grandiose but instead aiming for beauty through simplicity. 

The Interruption

You will have noticed the lapse in regular blog posts.  That is due to our house build.  The general process has been a whole lot of hurry up and wait and yet somehow things are coming together.  We are getting into a very busy phase now and are close to the timber raising (post and beam, timber frame house).  Almost everything else (fencing, hauling hay, fixing - always things to fix on a ranch, and computer time) is put to the side for the time being. 

Even the flock is on the back burner right now and yet it is the flock that grounds us in regular routine.  We get out to do the morning and again for the evening check but hardly give them thought in between.  It’s a good thing they’re grazing and are pretty self sufficient right now.  It will be time for another pasture move in a day or two but that is a pretty simple affair with kelpies to help as needed. 

The one thing I don’t put to the side is my daily walk on the prairie with my dogs.  That walk is essential to a good day :-) And when there is a lull I spend a few extra minutes on the pasture, sometimes with the camera but sometimes not. 

The old timer, 14 years and 11 months

Grateful for Green

With some luck and good management the pastures ahead of the sheep are lush and plentiful.  When they move into a new pasture one can’t help feeling satisfied that everything looks as it should.  That only lasts for a couple days though and then the evidence of a thousand mouths eating that grass begins to show.  The flock is now at it highest point for grass intake, with the lambs no longer getting much milk from the ewes and eating grass like no ones business and the ewes eating to keep up with raising growing lambs. 

This photo is from the morning after two inches of much needed rain, the ewes are still wet and the grass is that fresh, newly watered green.  The ewes have just arrived in this pasture.  I like to hang around and soak in the scene when we make a pasture move with the ewes, as it keeps me feeling grateful that we still have grass and averts the back of the mind niggling that at any time the conditions could change.  We have been abundantly wet for the last six or seven years so this dryer year feels abnormal.  We are watching in amazement as the wetlands shrink back at a rapid pace and drowned and dead trees are sticking out of dry earth rather than water.  This has been a year of change and I'm not sure yet what adjustment needs to be made. 

Sheep on The Trail

Somedays they make me laugh out loud.  They have realized the gate to another pasture is open.

I knew I wanted to do a pasture move soon and upon seeing there happened to be a group of watchful ewes in the proper corner one fortuitous morning when I happened to be without stock dogs, I opened the gates and called to the girls in a come and get it voice.  Word traveled quickly and what followed was a half hour procession of sheep, everyone following the trail out.  

Kelpies Willing and Waiting

If there is any indication that there might be a chance of me heading out on the Ranger and taking dogs along, there’ll be a Kelpie, or two or three, waiting on the bus.  These two have already deciphered that they’re coming with me this time.  I do appreciate that they are so willing, it gives me motivation to be the same. 

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