Monday, May 28, 2012

I am a Patriot

My father served in the US Marine Corps, followed by my brother who served during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.  I went with my family to Parris Island when my brother graduated from boot camp.  That is no cake walk folks.  The pride in my parents when he graduated was almost palpable.  So, it should come as no surprise that I too, and very proud and supportive of our soldiers who serve.  This video is a short clip of the National Memorial Concert in DC they have had for years now.  On the video are the anthems of each service.  Do you know them all?  If you don't do yourself a favor and watch, and get to know them.  The pride is contagious.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yesterday, it was pretty warm and muggy by the time I got to the farm.  I usually walk Joe first, but I wanted to work Dan as early as possible, as Dan and hot temps don't really work well.  So, I had Dan fetch the sheep from the other field, brought them into the working field, and got them in the barn, where they all promptly jammed into a corner in the big room- not the room where I wanted them to go.  Of course the ram was there, and Dan you could see was a little concerned, but not bad.  So, I had him go around and he did, but then they kept swinging back..  So, I went with Dan and of course the ram who thinks he is all that, put his head down, until Dan came at him.  Good boy Dan! We finally got them in the other room and I separated out a few to work (one mother and two yearlings).  My third yearling has a cut foot and cannot be worked.  While I had said cut foot yearling in a room, I checked her foot and though still sore, it is healing.  I put more hoof and heal on it, and then Dan and I went to work the chosen girls.

From the outset, I could see the mother ewe I chose was not going to be great.  She split from the other two, but once I got Dan driving they stuck together, albeit it sort of running.  Every time I had him turn them toward me (and the barn) mother ewe would take off and run to the barn.  I have a that wimpy fence I put up and..........  well, she made it and ran straight into it and got through it.  So, Dan had to go in there and get her.  She did some extremely quick side stepping with both feet, but Dan covered every single movement exactly. I think he actually enjoyed it.  Then, she backed up a bit and she started to get crabby- stomped at him made moves to do something and at one point Dan barked and I told him to grip, and he ran up, nipped her, and she turned side ways, and he covered.  Then, she decided coming back to the work field with the other sheep was a good plan.  I had to keep Dan off her heels, as just like Lucy, after single work like that, most dogs like to drive the message home ;)  So, we got her back and finished working.  Dan was really hot.  He jumped in a water tub on the way out of the field.  Then, I told him to get in the pond and he did.  Ran right over, jumped in and swam.  What a good boy.

After that, I took Joe for a walk (Lucy missed out, because I could not keep going after one walk- too hot), and then we headed toward home.  I stopped by John's and he mentioned Billy, the ram he bought last year but did not use, did not seem well, so we hopped in the Gator and looked for him- he was with the flock in the barn yard, so he's okay for now,  I hope.  I will check on him this weekend, as John is going away.  When we got back from looking for the ram, a guy who wants to buy the three bull calves from John showed up to see them.  We had them follow us in the truck to the back field and warned them that they would run.  After a while, they came back, and said "we couldn't get within a football field of them".  Yep.  That's them.  He still wanted them, so he said he would come back with some panels and set them up where we could feed them.  We shall see how that goes....

After that, I picked up some dog food and headed home.  Had no real energy to do anything last night.

Today, busy day at work and then, I have to do errands I forgot to do yesterday, and then I may go watch the sheepdog trial.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's been a very domestic week.  I have spent a lot of it cleaning my house.  Honestly? I think I need a maid.  I just love it when the house is clean.  I just don't love spending hours and hours getting it that way.  When I say clean, I don't mean a lick and a promise either.  I mean, scrub everything that has a surface- even taking fixtures apart.  Thankfully my teeny house affords me the plausibility of being that um, you know....

We got more rain yesterday.  This is all very good for the big field that has been getting a rest.  Tomorrow everyone gets wormed and the lambs vaccinated.  One ram lamb may be going to make more just like him, but not sure.  Only two have to leave before the fall; two intact ram lambs. I am keeping the wether until he hits a good size to be butchered, and he will go to my parents and sister as the lambs I procured for them last year were so tiny, I offered to replace at no cost.  The ewe lamb stays.

I am still not sure what to do about the ram.  He's being okay now with the dogs.  Plus, buying another ram lamb will NOT be cheap.  I am picky about what I want, and well, that comes at a $300+ price.  I am striving to produce a *good* old style Cheviot, which are rarer than hen's teeth.

Today is errand day, and work Dan day.  Oh, did I mention Dan got fat? Yes, he did.  I have cut back his food.  Don't know HOW that happened, other than finally, getting three cups a day kicked in, plus those excellent Blue Seal large biscuits which are 24% protein added some substance...

I am so happy.  Don't ask me why.  I have my bad moments, but in general, I really think I am living my life.  Things are not perfect, but hey, I always remember what my grandfather said, "What more can you ask for than three square meals a day, a roof over your head, and a little pleasure".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I went to my friend's husband's funeral yesterday.  It is weird saying this, I know, but it was the best funeral I have been to.  First off, it was SRO, no free seats.  Filled with tear filled friends and family.  There were so many beautiful flowers, the fragrance from them was incredible.  One friend sang "Wild Horses" by the Stones. After the funeral, we went to the internment at Fairlawn cemetery, which was stunning; there was a Cormorant sunning itself on a rock, an Egret hunting, and a momma Duck with her babies, all in one huge pond.  Ron was so well loved.  I felt very honored to be there.

I got home after the funeral and was exhausted.  The Zyrtec I was taking was making me a complete zombie, and I could not function.  Today I tried Zyrtec D, which is better (thank God).

Today I mowed and string trimmed the yard.  Looking good.  Now I hear we are going to have three days of rain.  Good gravy Marie, I think we are catching up on the rain deficit....

Not much else for today, going to chill out before I start to tackle this house!

Friday, May 11, 2012

You know, as you age, you begin to see life more as a journey, and less a set of goals.  You still have goals, but you have more patience, and you understand that getting there is most of the fun.  My good friend lost her husband the other day, quite suddenly.  It was quite a shock.  Puts things in perspective.  Makes you realize that you need to cherish your family, and every day you have on this planet,  as tomorrow is promised to no one.  Sometimes it takes a sonic BOOM of an event to make you realize what is important.  For me, an event did occur which completely shook up everything I thought was in it's place, and was as it should be.  When it happened, I instantly began to change my priorities. 

Every day for me there is a little pleasure.  For me, pleasure comes in many forms.  Watching the sheep graze, settling down in the evening to read a book with my beloved cats, the boy kitty always coming to cuddle in the crook of my arm.  Even if  I sneeze, he may purr at the intrusion, but most of the time he just ignores it.  I saw a momma duck and her brand new ducklings crossing the road the other morning.  She never hurried when a car came, as she knew that she must keep their pace.  What a wonderful sight in the wee hours of the morning.

Yesterday, about fifteen Turkey Vultures were circling in John's field and we went out to see what was what.  No dead sheep or lambs, just some feathers from a dead bird.  These TVs were circling so low we could actually see the tops of their wings.  It was amazing. 

Those are the things that make life worth living for me.  It's not what I have at all; the livestock, the dogs, you name it.  It's not the size of my property, it's not what I am "called" be it a farmer, or dog lover, or whatever.  To me, home is where your heart is.  Some get so stuck on having more land, and more animals, that they forget why they got into it in the first place.  Every additional animal means less time is spent on the ones you have.  When you keep livestock, and in life in general, do one thing, get good at it, and then add another thing.  Never get so full with livestock that you become dulled to losing one here or there, and chalk it up to nature's way.  Yes, when you have livestock, you have dead stock, but never ever just accept it as the normal run of things; find out why, and do your best to make sure that it doesn't happen again.  Take pride in what you have.  Beam at it in fact.  That's when you are a true agrarian. 

The bottom line is, just live your life with pride and dignity.  If you have livestock, and animals, spend your money and time making sure that they are as happy and healthy as absolutely possible.  Go to bed at night, knowing they are such.  In your own travels every day, treat others as you would like to be treated.  Sometimes people can really irritate us, but everyone has a bad day, and the secret is to pick your battles and let things go.  Just let them go. 

Live your life; don't sweat the small stuff, and it's ALL small stuff.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Balancing it all

I have been grazing the sheep every day after work.  There is a big area that I do not have the funds to fence, that is over flowing with grass/weeds.  Instead of grain, I am taking these guys out to graze each day.  They are really enjoying it.  As I mentioned I would, I blocked off the barn, but they still want to try to get in.  Grain is a heady proposition for them; they are slaves to it.  But, they do not need grain.  The lambs are good.  I bought a bathroom scale yesterday so I can get the proper worming dose into them.

We had just a cloudy day yesterday, so normal walks/runs for the dogs, and they were quite happy.  This morning, I woke up thinking it would be a good day to work Dan.  Well, lo and behold rain, a steady decent one at that.  More rain.  This is good, really it is.  It's like we are having April in May this year.

Allergies this year are kicking my butt.  At this point I am trying all sorts of stuff to deal with them.  The worst part is being so tired from the anti-histamines.  I hate that.  I will get it figured out, I know.

My new sectional couch is coming on May 22nd.  I can't wait.  That's the same week my bathroom gets gutted.  I am so happy about making improvements to this house. There are a lot more projects that need to be done besides the bathroom, this will be a good start!  I have to balance my hobbies/livestock needs with my house; it's hard sometimes, but slowly, I think things are coming along.

I am really happy so far with the Cheviots.  Unlike the Border Leicesters, the Cheviots look as my father would say "fat, dumb, and happy", and that makes me the same- well, maybe not the dumb part.  They are also not getting tame to me- if I walk toward them, they move away.  The Border Leicesters would come toward me.  I like that these guys remain distant, better for training the dogs and also, for keeping them safe from all sorts of scary things. 

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


We are finally starting to etch away at the rainfall deficit we have had.  We're still in the red about 3-4" for the year thus far, but we had good rain yesterday, and more forecast for today.  I have been grazing my sheep in the area that is un-fenced between the two pastures- lots to eat there, and why not have them eat it, instead of having to string trim?  Yesterday they decided to get smart (not) and go into the barn.  I have to get the doors shut/closed off- so they can't go in there.... So much good green to eat, they should not be desperate to go in... but, sheep will be sheep. 

Next week a friend of mine is coming to stay over during a trial near me, and she will help me vaccinate/worm everyone.  I would also like to ear tag, but I worry about flies, so need some spray to keep them away from the site.

My new couch is coming on May 22nd.  I am excited about that.  Oh, and my bathroom? It's going to be a complete demo/reno.  I am replacing the old steel tub with a new steel tub and we will tile instead of using a tub surround.  I am also going to tile the floor and replace the vanity and linen closet.  It's a very small bathroom, so I should be able to get it done affordably, sort of... 

Joe has had a lot more freedom in the house, as he's growing up a bit, and I find he and Danny playing a little- of course, Dan would never admit to such babyish behavior in front of me ;)

Well, that's it for now. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Here are some of my lambs.  I am happy with them so far.

Stayed in bed later than normal this morning.  Had a HUGE headache yesterday. I think it was from tight trapezius muscles and tension.  All I know is not even Aleve touched it.  I went to Home Depot and bought a new fiberglass tub surround, but when I saw how big it was, I knew I had to call John to use his pick up.  I left HD, went home, and John picked me up at home.  We were on our way to get it when John's neighbor called and told him his three bull calves were out.  So, we grabbed the tub surround, stopped at his place, saw that the calves were back in and then we tested the fence- almost no juice with a brand new Gallagher charger.  The fence line needs work.  Then I went back to my house and pretty much just lay down for the rest of the day.  My head hurt so much, I was not doing anything.  My brother said he would install the tub surround..  hope so... actually, it should not be too hard, save for making the holes for the fixtures, and I do not have a hole saw....

Today I plan to work more up in the field and pull more of those weeds, and importantly, run the dogs.  None of that yesterday.  I have to clean.  I know, I do.  I have been really tired lately, and I think it's due to the Zyrtec I am taking for my allergies.  It gets very tiresome- being tired all the time- no pun intended!

This stupid taste of the wild dog food recall.  I may have to go back to acana.  Totw is expensive enough, but they are clearly not handling their quality control properly.  I tell you, if one of my cats gets sick from that, well, let's not go there.

Well, that's it for now.  I have to try to metabolize my coffee and function, some how.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

That HORRID weed.............

It's rearing it's ugly head again.  In case you don't remember, it's called "White Snake Root" and it's poisonous to all who eat it (even those who drink milk from animals who eat it).  It's rather small now, but it's coming...  I left it go last year for a long time not knowing what it was, and by the time I dealt with it, the plants were HUGE and the stems to woody to use a string trimmer on.  So, yesterday, after work I set to pulling all that I could see.   So many roots still left, but at least I am hitting this plant at it's weakest stage.  It loves to grow around the base of trees and is trying to fill in where the bushes I cut out were.  I have about four more sessions to get rid of most of it.  This will be a perennial battle, until I can get ahead of it, and the plant starts to dislike all the sun- it likes shade and much of the shade it had is now gone.  I don't know anyone else who actually hand weeds in a field.... But, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sheep are well.  Just feeding the lambs now, and they seem to be doing well.   I am planning to vaccinate/worm/tag everyone in a couple of weeks, when I have some help around.  These lambs are no quiet things, I will definitely need help. 

Dogs are good.  Joe is getting more freedom around the house- especially in the mornings.  He pesters Dan, and Kylie pretty much just shows him her pearly whites, and Nikke, well, Nikke has already taught him to leave her alone.  Lucy, well, she's not loose during this.  When he's a bit older, Dan, Lucy and Joe will be allowed to run together. 

I have lots to do in the house, but lately, I am very tired.  I have no idea why.  I made a nice steak dinner last night and slept really well, so maybe I will be more energetic- I don't know.  Getting old(er) is for the birds.

Well, that's it for now, I hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Lucy

I have had Lucy separated from my other two older Kelpie females, because, at times, she will lose it and just go after them. It's unpleasant for all involved, and completely stressful for me. The last time this happened, I decided, was the last time it would happen.

I had put the word out to some friends that I would like to find a working home for Lucy.   Most importantly, a home where she could be either the only dog, or the only female, at least.  This was NOT an easy decision, but I felt like everyone would be happier if I did this.  Not only would Lucy not feel like she had to defend her space, but my old girls could live in peace.

There has been some interest, but for one reason or another, it does not work out- either the small amount of money I ask for is too much, or they have female dogs, or well, any number of things.  I think in many ways I am sabotaging this myself.  Any time I think of re-homing Lucy I get very upset.  Some of my friends believe I really should, that everyone would be happier, and some other friends remind me to be very careful, as bad things can happen, when dogs go to the wrong home.

The bottom line is, I don't think any home will be good enough.  Any home but mine, that is.  You see, the loyalty we have to each other is more than strong, it's bullet proof.  Lucy only has eyes for me.  She will do anything I ask for her, just because I ask.  Kelpies are different from Border Collies in some ways, and this is one. 

Lucy seems happy with our life the way it is, and so do Nikke and Kylie.  Is it more work like this?  Sure is.  Do I wish I did not have to have this change in routine? Sure, but in the end, Lucy sleeps on my bed with me at night, and when I am faced with a dire situation, and need her help, will she help me, no matter what the circumstance?  Yes.  So, perhaps I am just weak, or maybe I am not cut out to be an open handler, but the truth is, I don't think any home besides mine would be good enough, not if it was ordained by the Pope. 

So, Lucy stays.