Buck, Ram, Ewe, Dam and Wether or not we know animal designations

When I was in fourth grade my class did a crossword puzzle and one of the clues was “A female sheep.” Having first cousins as sheep farmers, I was the only who knew this was a “ewe,” and I also knew how to spell it!

The scary thing was that this was 30 years ago and this happened in the heart of farm country in eastern South Dakota! I wonder how many kids in big cities would know this today?

A “ewe” is just one classification of a sheep; the term refers to a female sheep. In fact, the first five capitalized words used in the title of this post are names of types of sheep. A buck and a ram are male, intact sheep. A ewe is a female sheep and a dam is a mother sheep.

Some of you probably thought I spelled “Wether” wrong, but this is a play on words. A wether without the first “h” refers to a male sheep who has been castrated.

Take a look at all of the proper names for different animals at this Enchanted Learning site. So if you want to sound like an animal expert, the next time you are talking about a baby penguin, call it a chick. Or if you are referring to a group of penguins, you could sound really intellectual and worldly if you call it a rookery.

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End of School Year Proves Hectic, Trees Are Planted

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – I apologize. My excuse? It’s the end of the school year, and life sure has been crazy.

Why is it busy for me as the end of the school year approaches? There have been many school events filling my evenings and daytimes these days including (but not limited to) a band concert, choir concert, piano recital, soccer games, open houses and field trips. On top of these, we are starting to get busy with our 4-H projects and our outside work around our place – caring for and working with livestock, mowing, watering, etc.

Conservation staff plants our trees while riding behind the small tractor.

Conservation staff stick our trees in the ground while riding on the planter behind the small tractor.

They came and planted the seedling trees last Thursday, May 14. Then they came back on Monday, May 18, and put the plastic down to keep the moisture in and weeds down. Handsome Hubby and Sports Girl watered each of the more than 300 trees last weekend. That was an arduous process, so tomorrow we are going to the home improvement stores to price supplies for a drip watering system.

Handsome Hubby needs to plant grass between the inside of the shelterbelt and our house, and we may even plant a little garden in some of the tilled ground this year. If we’re going to be watering and weeding, we might as well have a garden, too.

And so as school comes to a close at the end of next week, our farming efforts are just beginning.

City Girl from Farm Country Moves to the Ranch

I grew up in one of the largest South Dakota communities on the east side of the state, or East River as South Dakotans say. Agriculture east of the Missouri River in South Dakota consists mostly of growing crops with some livestock production done primarily to supplement income.

My family moved to the country, just a few miles outside of town, the summer before I started ninth grade. But we didn’t choose country life for agricultural purposes. My father is a diesel mechanic, and he wanted to build a large shop for his work. The only animals we ever had were my mom’s Shih-Tzu and a few outside cats, and the closest thing my dad did to farming was to plant and tend a shelter belt of trees around our place.

Uncles, aunts and cousins, however, exposed me to farming as I was growing up. There were cows to milk, sheep to shear, corn to combine, and hay to bale. I spent weeks visiting these relatives during my summer vacations from school. I remember the farm talk, and I remember some of the actual activities. But overall my actual experiences were fairly limited.

My experiences are still limited, but I am learning more about country life and ranching all the time. It certainly is a lifestyle choice as much as it is a career.