Foot Flats Farm - Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada Foot Flats Farm Seasonal Newsletter

Mob outside the barn
ARCHIVED NEWSLETTER - 21st September 2006

Autumal Equinox

The two things I remember most about this summer are the hot, hot weather and the coyotes.

Coyotes started killing at the end of June. We must have had a breeding pair close by – it was constant. They would kill a lamb, a ewe or even a ram, sometimes two every night – stop for a few days and then hit again. It was incredibly frustrating and a horrible way to start each day.

Mark has traps out but it seems they are very difficult to catch. The dogs are doing the best they can, but they are out-numbered and/or too old or too young. We lost Varden and Owen in early summer. Varden to old age, Owen to stomach problems. Lady is getting on and we haven’t had a litter of pups since our stud male died two years ago. Put our depleted dog power together with a family of very aggressive coyotes and you have the situation we lived with all summer. If we had realized we would never have sold all the dogs we did last year – hindsight is always so great!! So – we took Valley up to Vicki and Mark Nelson’s farm in Baltimore and she produced four pups on September 12. We also bought two 12-week-old Ackbash pups – a male and a female – in July. We also hope that Juno is in pup as I write... So hopefully, by next summer our dog numbers will be back up to where they need to be.

Hay making took all of July and produced a heavy crop of good hay (we made 1200 large round bales). The weather was catchy in July – not any real rain just enough to be a nuisance and slow us down. It stopped raining the last week of July and was very dry and very hot through August whilst we were hauling all the hay home.

We weaned a little later this year. There was lots of good pasture and we were still busy finishing off the hay, so it was August 10th before we got everything home, through the barn, separated , the lambs drenched and into the bush paddock and the ewes down the road to Planks. The ewes will stay at Planks now until mid-November.

We put the rams out with the 7-year-old ewes (our winter lambers) in mid-August and also spent time fixing the barn and putting up a new door on the back of Quonset hut. Mark and I managed to get away for 10days at the beginning of September. We went to Scotland to see Mark’s family and do some work on a house. The change was good for us. When we left everything was brown, but 2 inches of rain on Labour Day weekend and the fall magic happened – everything greened up.

I think that September is my favorite month with its beautiful warm sunny days. We got back from Scotland in time to get ready for lamb shearing on September 18th. Don Metheral’s brother Cliff was with him this year and we set a Footflats shed record of 700 lambs in 8hrs. Mark did a personal Footflats shed best of 150. Lots of good visiting and stories in the evenings which, as always, included our good friend and main shed hand, Chalmers Adams. Chalmers lives in Toronto in a different world, but never misses shearing or docking and hasn’t done since we just moved here in 1992.

Finished cleaning out the barn with the help of Dan Simpson and his skid steer – planted bulbs and I’m beginning to accept that cooler weather is on its way. We haven’t broken down and lit the wood stove yet but soon….

Mark and Cherry