Saturday, March 26, 2011

A very good day. After work, I did the usual errands (oh, I did not lose my key- long story). Then, picked up the dogs and headed up to the farm. I worked Danny first, and as I worked him, someone was going by in a PT Cruiser, and stopped suddenly, backed up, and watched Danny work. This was at the end of our session, so I did one more outrun with Danny, and then we put sheep back up. I have one with a limp, so I will take a look at her foot again tomorrow, and use some hoof and heel if it is looking off. I just trimmed her, so that may be the issue.

Then, I took Danny and Lucy for a walk around the farm. Nice day- so very nice to be out there. Then, I stopped by John's place and looked at the lambs. So far no new ones for a few days. Maybe we are done?

Then, home and made a very nice dinner for myself, and now just chilling, watching Pit Boss. Tomorrow shall, hopefully be a repeat of today, and I may seed- or may not, depending on wind/temps. Getting up not quite so early tomorrow, that much I do know :)

Right now, Danny is asleep at my feet. He's such a good boy. Lucy is asleep on my bed, where all spoiled Kelpies should be. Nikke and Kylie are campaigning for an early dinner. Julie is campaigning for early bed.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Friday. Good for that. Except of course for losing my stupid car key. I am using my spare, but I have no idea where the key disappeared to- later I will search the driveway and laundry hamper...

Kylie ate the other dog bed- she makes a hole and tears out the stuffing. Bummer for her, because Nikke will take the only bed left, Lucy is on my bed, so Kylie will be without a bed. Too bad so sad.

Lambing has continued at Johns'. Not a huge number, and probably more singles at this point than twins. I believe in part it is due to the drought last fall, and sharing pasture with the beef cattle who basically ravaged the fields and left the sheep with no grazing. They are gone now, thankfully. We did tails with the Berdizzo tool the other day- I caught everyone up and held while John crushed/cut, and then put on stop bleeding powder. We only did the ewes, so now we know how many boys :) Since then we've had just a few born, and I think most are all boys. Boys go to the meat market, and girls are being kept- and I will take a bunch of them.

I worked Danny yesterday- inside flanks/whistles and general stuff- we need lots of work on. He has his come bye whistle, but his away, doing that and interchanging with come by, well, he's confused. It will take some time, I have decided, and I have to go slow. Was not a great session yesterday, today I will lighten up a bit. I do love to work him, and he's so easy, you take for granted what he can do, but forget he's still very young, and I did most of his training! He sure slept well last night though!

Will work in the field again this weekend, and get the seed in- probably on Sunday. Sheep, when they were let out in the field to work them yesterday, they were kicking their heals up. It was very nice to see! Oh, and I had to check one of the Border Leicester's feet yesterday, so I had Lucy keep them to me. Well, I am very proud- I did it just right so that she just sort of collapsed gently onto her butt/side. YES! Just like I saw the shearers do. My goal is to get better at this so less fight, less stress. Previously, I got them flipped, but it wasn't so smoothly...

I have to think about making an appointment to get the girls sheared- need to contact the woman who wants the fleece- this will be great to have someone use it.

Well, that's it for now. Here's to a great weekend all around, and maybe to a little bit of relaxing and fun!

Monday, March 21, 2011

What a weekend. We had good weather both days, so I got BUSY with the sheep field. People who haven't had to hand clear fields, just can't appreciate the sheer level of work and dedication it takes to go from basically forest to pasture. It's not just cutting down trees- it's doing that, moving all the trees to be burned- and when some are 50 ft plus tall, and with evergreens, with limbs that are 15 ft+ long, it isn't a small job to process that. Then, you have to rake and rake and rake. That's what I did this weekend and am only maybe 1/3 done. I had my nephew help yesterday but on Sat I was solo.

On Sat, after work I set forth on the newly cleared of brush hill which is closest to the barn. It looks really good, but I had a bunch of piles to be moved... On Saturday, I had some people come by to pick up manure in the barn- free of charge, you just need to scoop it out. That was a good deal for them and me. Still a lot left in there though.

On Sunday, I hired my nephew to help me, and first thing we did was move those piles outside of the field (I still need to move a lot of brush to the burn pile). Then, we went to the top of the field where a thick stand of evergreens and brush had been. A very big section was just full, and no sunlight, meaning no grass ever grew. Lots of decomposed tree material too. We spent hours on that, and finally at our last tarp full, it was mind over matter for both of us. Just too freaking heavy, and just too tired. But, the majority of the thick stand of trees/brush is now down to just dirt.

I have more to go, but the heavy stuff, I hope is done. Need to seed in there big time. Sheep keep watching me work in that field wondering, I am sure when I will let them out. The other field may be where they go first at this rate.

Dropped my nephew off at home when we finished and I had a sandwich and basically collapsed. Forecast was for mixed precipitation today, so I am glad we got what we got done DONE. I feel like this field has been more than just a labor, really it's been more like a labor of love. I keep telling myself that the sheep will love it when done.... I do a lot for animals....

This week should be low key. May try and work Danny at another place, but that depends on work schedule and energy levels.... I saw gas went down 4 cents. Let's hope it continues that.

Well, that's all for now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This morning, I left work early with intentions to work Danny at a friend's place, and intentions actually happened!

On the way to my friend's place I first stopped at my sheep and gave them their hay, and treated old squinty to her eye ointment. Her other non cloudy eye is BUGGING her and she was NOT happy about me holding her and trying to get ointment into her eye. I hope her eye sight does not leave her, or she will have to go. All other sheep seem fine at this point.

Then, we headed out to friend's place. On the way, I was listening to some great country music, and just basically enjoying breaking the usual routine for the past several months.

When I got there, we did a few outruns, and then some driving. Dang it if Danny was not just about as good as well, better than I could have imagined- this is with all these months off, and at a strange-ish place! I was so happy. Wow. He has come so far.

On the way home I stopped by John's. The twins are still with mom in their jug, and seem to be fine. I watered everyone and then John came home. We chatted a bit, I shared with him how Danny did well, and he shared with me that he finally found his utility trailer. After chatting a bit, I headed home and commenced cleaning up the yard, and then got out my rake and seed spreader for work at the pasture tomorrow.

Tomorrow, it's work, then grocery store, then farm to rake rake rake, and seed, if it is not too windy. Seed is ASTRONOMICALLY expensive, so I don't want it blowing away.

Right now I am pretty beat, and Danny is just a little tired, and Lucy she is, because well, she's had a busy day too! So, going to sign off and start chilling for the night. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rough day today. My ewe with the cloudy eye, well, now she has the squints in her other eye. I could NOT find the ointment. ANYWHERE. It's such a small tube, it may have just evaporated ;) So, I contacted a friend of mine who had some triple antibiotic ointment, and I headed out to pick it up. Then, back to the farm, and apply, and then head home, but stopped at John's before home.

John had called me to say he was heading out and he helped a ewe deliver twins this morning. I went checked everyone out, and as I was heading up the road, I spied a ewe cast in the field. Actually, she looked quite dead. I backed the car into the driveway, and walked out there. She was alive, but not able to get up. I rolled her over so her legs were on the down side of the hill, and finally got her up, and she ran maybe twenty feet and dropped down. I called John and he said he was coming right home.

We drove out with the tractor and she tried, but could not get up- she had no milk, but a large gut. Her wool was missing in patches, basically, she looked old and haggard. John made the decision to well, how to put this- put her out of her misery. He told me she was cast this morning as well. So, I stood behind the tractor when he dispatched her with his gun. We then loaded her onto the bucket and took her out to the back of the farm where other dead animals go. It was a bit hard. I wanted to bring her back to the barn, give her some water, and a safe place, and see how she was, but John's been doing this a lot longer than me, so I am in no position to argue. Still, that image will stick with me a while.

Then, we checked on the sheep. The new momma and twins were not together, so we had to spend some time getting both lambs and then determine who their mother was. We located her, and got her into a jug. I hope to HECK they make it. Mom did NOT want to stay in that jug.

It was a long day- previous to that, I worked Danny and it went well, but now, I am a bit tired from a bit too much excitement. I am very glad I am learning so much from John, but some things are not on my want to do list.
A nice day!!!!!!! I now great each day with an impending feeling of HAPPINESS!!!! So awesome to look forward to things, and not be dreading another freezing, rotten weather day.

Worked Danny a short time yesterday- but we stopped early because one ewe was limping. Brought them in and checked every one's feet. The ewes are so big, getting them on their hiney's causes them to have a hard time breathing- fatties. One had a chunk broken on the outside of the foot that I cut off. Then, I noticed another with a cloudy eye- that is new. I have some anti-biotic ointment I will dose her with today- forgot I had it yesterday. I hope I can find it. Still keeping the sheep in their smaller pen, as the field is not growing yet. Need to rake up there- I keep saying that....

Lambs a-plenty at John's. Again, another brand new lamb when I got there yesterday- moved her and mom into the group barn room- she was more nervous than the other mother, but we got it done. BIG lamb. Already bigger than some that are a couple days older.

Working Danny again today. I want to work on having the sheep sort of run off, and have him gather, so he has to think about where the sheep are as he goes out. He goes plenty deep, but if the sheep leave, he seems a bit on auto-pilot to get to top. Not sure if that is good... I wonder if sometimes when I set him up, I just don't give him enough time to see the sheep. Who knows. I have also decided to use him, for now anyway, for all the farm work. He needs it more than Lucy, and I think it will be good for him.

I am a bit tired today, I have no idea why. I did remember to wear green today too!

Well, that's all folks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rain today, which really stinks, as my yard is about as wet as it needs to get. The water table is up to the level of the grass.... Danny will run through it, so my house is getting trashed.

Sheep are doing well- they are out of shape from not being worked, but then, it slows them down a bit- they run too easy. The Border Leicesters are good for driving work, but that's basically it. The Cheviots are good for fetching because they are not people lovers. I may end up keeping the BLs because if I can't get the price I think they are worth, I won't sell them- and just breed them in the fall.

On my way home yesterday, I stopped at John's and one ewe had just delivered a nice lamb. She was in the shed where all the not quite moms are. Then, all the other sheep came in and it got a bit confusing for mom and baby. So, I picked up baby and making sure mom could see, brought baby and mom into the "family room" as I call it- the area in the barn with moms/babies. Looks good. I stayed for a good long while as it seems I just can't get enough of watching the lambs.

I think I have just about adjusted to the time change. Dogs, not so much. The fall time change is worse for me- I get up early for MONTHS.

Well, that's it for now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ah Mondays. Aren't they fun? This morning I actually woke before the dogs- the time change has done them in! Now it's back to being dark when I get up - YUCK.

Two sets of twins at John's yesterday, and another set today. When I got there, I saw one baby sleeping a little heavily for my liking and I got him/her up and rubbed him/her and then determined which mom was his/hers. Before I left I watched everyone and everyone seemed good. I think the first two days are the most critical for these guys. Not sure, but maybe like 20 lambs now?

My sheep are good. I am going to try and find a home for my Border Leicester ewes. They are not good for working and that is why I have sheep. Planning to get more from John as soon as possible. I like the Cheviots, but I would also like something a little heavier. Will have to see.

I HAVE to get raking the field. Yuck. But I have to get that done so I can seed once we have enough sun to let things grow....

This week nothing special at all planned. Hmmm, it's been that way a long time. Such a fun life!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I think the reason I felt so down yesterday, is partially because I am working so many hours, driving 40 miles a day for sheep chores, and also, I just don't feel well lately. Always cold and feeling weak. It's weird. I get in bed at like 6:00 pm- that's early even for me. Yesterday I made blts for dinner and then to bed.

During the day yesterday, I got to the farm in the morning, and then I WORKED THE DOGS! Danny first. Still need to work on him in small areas with sheep, it's just not his shining moment... But, after a little reminder of how to get OUT of it, then he was good. Started using the away whistle, and hopefully soon, both will stick with the lad. He worked real nice yesterday and actually, when he got up and walked to his sheep a few times, he WALKED not walked FAST. You could see he was thinking. I worked Lucy too. I have decided I am just not going to trial her. I just don't want to fight with her. Her need to go to the head over rides EVERYTHING. No worries though, she's still my first mate. If I NEED a job done no matter what, Lucy is there for me. I have no worries about aggressive sheep and Lucy, and I have no worries about ever losing a sheep.

So, I am on the hunt for another dog to trial... I would like a female, as males are not the bees knees for me. The dog I was planning to get did not work out. Life has a way of doing that... But, I am in no rush.

On the way back from the farm yesterday, I stopped at Johns. Watered the ewes/lambs, and did a head count- up to 10 lambs, all singles except for one set of twins. Probably due to the drought last fall, and sharing their pasture with starving beef cattle (owned by someone else). Thankfully the cattle have been sold. We lost two lambs the first and second born- first one to an old mother who just had barely any milk, and the second, I have no idea- just never got going. The ram was left out with the ewes all year, so this is a longer than usual lambing season. I feel like I am learning a lot just by helping out at John's, so next spring, I won't be, well, shocked by anything- I hope!

Today I am moving slow again. Have to go to farm and work dogs when there, then stop at John's place, check things, and then home. I am thinking sandwich for dinner today. Not in the mood to cook, or have left overs to deal with.

Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Being single isn't always easy

I posted on facebook a bit of a good bye, and that is because I just simply am wasting too much time on it. IF that time were actual really meaningful, I would appreciate it, but it isn't. So much of my life is spent on the wrong things. Too many people I believed to be my friends aren't. Too many activities where I thought I would enjoy a larger circle of friends isn't. It's just a bit tiring.

I don't have someone to come home to and k-vetch to. I don't have any financial help in ANYTHING I do. No one and nothing. I am pretty happy alone, when it comes down to lots of things, but sometimes, it would be nice to have support. There are things I want to do for others, like hold a trial- but most of the people I called to for support, are not interested. Again, I learn that I am in all of this alone. Why even compete in sheepdog trials? I am not a competitive person. I love animals, and taking care of them, and in fact, appreciate their company more than many people.

I am starting to believe that no matter where I go, or what I do, the disappointment I get in hoping that something good will grow with regard to people is nothing but hooey.

I have done everything on my own- I paid for my college. I bought my house. I did all the work and financed everything on the sheep end. And, I don't mind this. Lots of people are just like me, but you know, just once, just ONE SINGLE TIME, I would like someone to call me and say "Hey, how's it going? Do you need a hand with anything?"

Every day, just about, I go to John's farm to help him. He can use the help, and I can see that. He never asked me to, but now I see he really appreciates it. I know how it feels to just want a little help here and there. Maybe someone upstairs is keeping tabs. Maybe, maybe not. I just know that I am getting mighty pessimistic about my life and my future. I am just TIRED of working my butt off to barely stay above water, and then, when something good happens, having NO ONE to share it with. Not even my family- they have their own lives to worry about.

I had to vent everyone, I am sorry it's a bit of a downer, but I had to vent.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Getting a bit more centered lately. Realizing that what is important is not keeping in daily touch with anyone in particular (and that includes FB). But, rather, taking each day as my own and doing something for myself, and my animals. Not letting the small stuff bother me and also, learning to let go of old resentments and other useless stuff.

My old kitty Ginger is recovered from her cold, but I have noticed that her eyes are definitely sunken back into her head. Oh, she's still alert and active, but that is not normal. She is thin, and no muscle around her face. Ginger got up last night at 2:15, and then sat in the kitchen and meowed for me to come and get her- as the dogs would hamper her from getting back into the bedroom. Every day I have to get her from the litter box area, when she calls me, and I dutifully put her near her food area, so she can eat, and then go to her resting place. I am going to be a real mess when she goes. We have been together so long.

Dogs are good, and soon Danny and Lucy will get to work again. Right now, the flooding is incredible from all the rain we had the last 24 hours. I am so glad we finished the brush removal when we did.

I am not feeling good today. I hope it's just a passing thing.

Well, here's to a good weekend for everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Before and After

Behind the sheep, look at all that STUFF.

After... March 2011. Of course all the green is missing, but you can see that the shrubs and ever greens are no longer there.

This will be much better for the sheep. Less brush for Ticks to hang out on waiting for a hapless sheep to come by, and less places for possible predators to hang out. I left some ever green trees down the hill for year round shade/protection from rain. I cleared out the side hill of a monstrous amount of brush. Now, to rake the field, and then seed. It's a nice hill for hill sheep.
The work in the field is done. It cost me an arm and a leg, but finally, there is no brush to block the views, and the dead trees are gone, as are a few ever green trees, one of which was GINORMOUS. I mean HUGE. It took about 1.5 hours for three people to move it to the burn pile a few feet away. I am serious. Now, there should be a lot less problem with ticks on the sheep, and they can't hide behind things when I work them. I will still use the other field for practice, but now this field is another choice- PLUS there will be more grass to eat, now that the evergreens aren't blocking the sunlight.

Danny and Lucy hung out in the car while we worked, and when we were done, I let them out to run. Danny was just embulliant. At one point he was running toward a burn pile, and I called his name- he slammed on the brakes and ran back to me as happy as a dog can be. He is SUCH a good boy.

The sheep are feeling frisky. When I fed them yesterday, they were stotting about like baby lambs.

Today is nice, but rain Thurs/Fri. Yuck. Well, I guess March is just like that- fickle, and not usually in a good way.

Will take pics of my new and improved field today :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Pictorial

Kitties like Carharrts too....

A Kelpie

A Border Collie wondering why he is on other side of the fence

An Equine amongst the Ovines

First lambs of 2011

A Scottish Highland cow, wondering who the heck I am

A pretty Barred Rock hen. An old hen in the "old hen house"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yesterday. Phew. The tree guy was there before me. I donned my foot warmers, boots and off we went. About 15 minutes in I had to add hand warmers. It was only in the teens. So cold. But, the toe and hand warmers did the trick and we were able to get a fair amount done. Still loads to do, and we cannot move all that we removed from the pasture, until the ground allows us- right now the snow banks are too high getting to the lane and the hill too steep to get near the pasture....

When I got home I was walking like Tim Conway. Very tired. I don't mind physical work like that at all, but man, I am out of shape! The field will be much better for it though. Some of the over grown areas are no longer that way and next will be removal of the rest of the ever green trees in the back part of the pasture. It's an ideal time to remove trees/brush because there are no leaves on anything. Also, you don't get hot ;)

Ginger appears to be getting a little better. She can breathe a bit easier. I hate when my animals get sick, any of them. Oh, and I got the bill for the vet visit to my sheep. WHOO BOY. $238.00. I plan to have a whole lot more on hand next time and not over-react. Another bill to pay, yeah ;(

This weekend, I *may* work the dogs. MIRACLE of miracles!!!!! Danny will be sooo happy!

I have decided, given the cost of entry fees, that running just one dog is all I can afford. With gas what it is, and all my expenses with the sheep, I cannot afford both. So some trials it will be Danny and some Lucy. I need a sponsor ;)

So, that's my update. Hope everyone had a great week, and looks forward like I do, to a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nice bright morning today. Supposed to be warm(er). Psyched about that- maybe a walk with the dogs in store today- maybe not- busy day at work... Will have to see- also depends on what help, if any, John needs today with lambs. He uses a Berdizzo tool on the boys to remove the extra body parts and tails. I am more familiar with banding, which would have been done by now.

Tomorrow the tree guy comes and we get cracking on the tree removal- part of it. We can't move the trees any further than outside of the pasture, as the snow is still too thick/icy. My goal is to have all important tree work done before the ground thaws, and then do an early seeding. Sheep will have to remain locked up, I am afraid, until all pastures are well and truly growing like lizards drinking.

Ginger, my old kitty has had a cold for a few days now. She was sneezing a lot, but now just basically it sounds like she has clogged nose... It's clear discharge though, so no vet yet. At her age, I do not want to stress her by bringing her to vet. Boy kitty also has it, but it's in the form of a more obvious third eyelid, but just barely.

By next week, I truly hope we can have not so cold nights and finally, have the perma frost that will not leave, go. It will be SOME mud season this year...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So, lambing has started at John's. I took some pics of the lambs, and some of the other animals there, but I still have to order them before I post them. So far all singles. There were two ewe lambs born over the weekend, and then another one yesterday. This one was a ram lamb. He didn't look great and never got milk from mom by the time I got there. While there we tipped the ewe and I tried to get milk from her- it was a battle, and I didn't have much hope. He latched on and sucked, but such tiring work for such little benefit.

I gave him a bottle, and though his mother was attentive, he just never found the right place. Odds were greatly against him- he was just so small, and mother could have been healthier.

When I got to the farm today, John told me the lamb had died. It was for the best, I believe. Another lamb was born today, a ram lamb. Looks good. Vigorous, and sturdy.

That little guy was cute though. I would have brought him home and bottle fed him after we got some colostrum in him, but probably, given his small stature and generalized weakness, he would not have made it.

Today is a bright and sunny day, albeit cold and the snow is ICY. Not able to run the dogs on this stuff. I am SO sick of this. I hope we get some warm weather soon. I have the tree guy coming the end of this week to remove more trees from pasture and also start clearing so I can add onto this pasture. Want to get this done before the ground thaws, and it's a mud pit and therefore destroys the ground.

Well, that's it for now!