Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This is a picture of a ewe lamb born at the farm first week of April '12. The ewe next to her is a spring '11 ewe. She's doing very well as you can see.  Just mother's milk (she's weaned now) and good green grass.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's been pretty good.  Still have the normal worries- I now know that my debt will ride along with me for the rest of my life and I guess that's just how it is meant to be.  What to do?  Win the lottery?  That would be nice.  Life goes on, and it costs money to go on...

Sheep are good.  They are up in the other field and should be fine in there for at least six weeks.  We have been getting a lot of rain so the fields are really growing.  It's odd to be down in numbers, but I have just the cream of the crop now, and I really want to be selective as to who stays/leaves.  The lambs have grown so much, it's amazing...  I have to have the one wether processed later this year, but not sure when.  I would much rather not...  I am soft.

Dogs are good. I have been bringing Joe up to a trainer and we have made some very good progress. I am now in the picture, and it's going a lot better.  Interestingly, using any sort of tool just amps him up and does nothing to push him out.  So, it's just my body- standing up straight and sometimes growling at him.  He's a lot of fun to work.  I have also been working Dan, working on small flanks and slowing him down on the drive/fetch.  The last time I worked him, it was just beautiful.  These are two darn nice dogs. I am very lucky.  The other dogs are good too.  Lucy is happy with our longer walks and the older girls remain happy not to have Lucy around to kick their butts... It's not the best arrangement (Lucy crated when they are loose) but believe it or not, Lucy seems happier in her crate when the other dogs are around...

My old kitty gave me a scare last night.  She started to vomit on the bed, so I got her off, and she puked on the floor.  Then she stayed under the bed and howled loudly.  Almost like she thought she was lost... I had to move the bed and get her out.  She seemed a little out of it after that- but it was probably due to still feeling sick... Then, she went to the water bowl and screeched/howled.  She has been doing a little of that for a while- whenever she goes to water, but last night was LOUD, louder than anything I have ever heard.  She finally came back to her bed on my bed, and relaxed.  I was really upset though.  I started to cry.  I know she can't be with me much longer, but what history we have.  I have had her since 1993.  That's a really long time and I can't imagine not having her.  I did not sleep well last night.  This morning I woke up a bit dizzy and really tired.  There is nothing I can do for my Ginger, just take the best care I can of her, and love her.  I told her that last night, and as I did I flashed back to when I put my Boxer Tucker down.  I still have not reconciled that in my head. 
Okay, enough of that for now... too hard...

This week is more of the same. I have to decide what trials I am going to enter, and get on it....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So far so good on the eating healthy plan.  I am steering clear of bread, and so far I notice a much more level energy level- enough of a difference I am actually a bit scared of eating bread.  I think it's just a toxic thing for me.   I am still eating well, just not bread or things like it.  Of course I will have to have toast when I make eggs, but other than that, no more sandwiches, or the like. 

I went to a trainer yesterday to work Joe. It went pretty well, though  he's still not convinced he has to go around me, not straight to the sheep.  Once he does get going though, he's pretty nice.  For such a young boy he seems pretty comfortable on sheep- when he's at the right distance- not too far, not too close.  He's not bothered by the round pen either, which did bother both Dan and Lucy in different ways.  Every time we took a break, after an initial big drink of water and lay down, he was up at the gate again.  He's certainly ready to start.

I am hoping to go to the Cooperstown trial next month, but there will be a draw, and I might not get in.  In some ways this is good, because I recently learned that the hotel we reserved is a modern day Bates motel- BAD reviews all around on this place, so I canceled my reservation.  No way I am staying in a seedy motel (where people have actually slept in their cars, instead of the hotel- it's that gross).  So, I may not end up going either- no other hotels are available, and it's quite a long drive.  I see where the camper thing is going to be something I have to entertain....

We may get some really bad weather today, perhaps even Tornadoes.  Tornadoes scare me to death.  I will be watching the weather channel/internet site all day long, praying conditions are not favorable for them, or the horrible winds we may get.  I have so many big trees around my house, and I could easily be crushed in my little house if one comes down.  I can't not be home, but I am terrified in my home when these dangerous storms come knocking.  I will just have to deep breathe and get through it.

Well, that's it for now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dreaded Cholesterol

Last night I got a call from my Dr about my blood work results.  Everything was good, except for cholesterol.  This has gone up for me a little bit each year.  They fit me in for an appointment, and I was ready to discuss the issue with my physician.  I figured she would be all over me (I have also gained 10 lbs).  But, she wasn't.  I told her what I eat each day, and what I do for exercise.  She then made suggestions; don't eat anything that is fermented- this includes yogurt, breads etc. (well, eat them sparingly). I knew the bread thing already, and have researched insulin/cholesterol relationship, and the more carbs you eat the more insulin you have and then you end up with higher cholesterol.  Also, inflammation causes higher cholesterol, and I have inflammation in spades.  So... a sea change in how I eat.  Yes, I can still eat steak, etc, but breads (which I adore) have to be cut big time.  I do feel much better with less carbs anyway.  For instance, I can't eat pasta, because I it's almost like I am comatose after eating it...   So, back to a good hearty salad and soup for lunch, and lots of water.  Water helps with the inflammation too.  I am just happy the Dr did not push for Statins, as I am loathe to put anymore chemicals into my body than I need.

I am still very sore in my back from the hay work I did the other day.  Not ever happening again. I can lift a few in a day, but not hundreds. 

Today I HAVE  to do two laps with the dogs.  Joe was so bored yesterday after just one lap, we can't have a repeat.

I think I have found some dog broke sheep to bring home.  That would be great.  I worry my sheep will just bail on Joe and either jump a fence or smash into one.  If I had bigger fields with less pressure, it would go better.  Eventually he has to go on the Cheviots, but right now, we need one aspect a bit calmer.

So, that's it for now.  On the road to better eating habits, and on the way, I hope I can shed some weight!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yesterday was the day to get hay for the winter.  My friend Mark and I met up at the hay guy's place, and loaded the nice second cut alfalfa/grass hay onto the truck and trailer.  Well, truth be told, Mark, Victor (my hay guy's helper) and my hay guy loaded it- as there is only so much room on the truck and trailer to stand...  Anyway, we pretty much emptied (except for four bales) a big hay wagon.  I drove back to the farm and met Mark and Victor ( I hired Victor to help us stack).  I had already cleaned out the barn, and Mark and I brought the bales to Victor to stack.  He's better at this than I (that is for sure).  As I carried the bales, I noticed some were extremely heavy.  Like push air out of your lungs heavy when you lift them.  I had to take breaks, much to the chagrin of Mark who kept teasing me... I am just not where I used to be- either endurance or strength wise....  We got it done pretty quick.  As we unloaded the hay, I heard lots of bats, who live up in the roof of the big barn, chastising us, I guess, for waking them up when they are supposed to be sleeping.  Judging by all the bat guano in there, we have a very good sized colony of bats living in the barn.  This is *really* good.  I have half a mind to contact the DEC to see if someone wants to check them out.  Bats are fighting a war with a Fungal disease that covers their nose/mouth and eventually makes them too weak to go on.  If this is a healthy colony, we want to know what we have to do to ensure that keeps up....

So, after unloading the hay, I drove Victor home, stopped by Subway on the way home, and when I got home, washed all the chaff off and laid down for a bit.  When I went to get up. OOOOOOOOWWWWW, my back was in total misery.  The muscles were so sore.  I way over did it with those bales...  I completely forgot about my knee issues... That was good right?

I had planned to work with Charlie after work today, to get a pen up for Joe to work the sheep, but the forecast is calling for thundershowers, so I canceled.  I may end up just working Joe on my sheep in my fields and seeing what happens.  It is too much driving so much to work him, and my knees/back will not allow it; neither will my bank account.  I have to make do with what I have.

I am just glad that the hay is done for the year, and it's one less thing to worry about.  I may be doing the fair this year, not sure.  If so, will have to get my sheep quieter, which means much more work for them with Dan, which Dan will love.

So, there it is.  Hay in the barn for winter, which signifies another year is plodding on, and the fall is right around the corner, which means breeding time for the girls, and nice cool weather to work Joe in.  More sheepdog trials with Dan, which I am looking forward to, and in general, another year is flying by. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


My knees have not been great for a few years.  When I had surgery to repair damage done to me by a sheep, the surgeon told me I had arthritis in that knee, which I quickly disagreed with.   I think my knees are bothered by driving- sore back goes down to legs/knees. I don't know.  Anyway, I worked Joe yesterday at my friend's place (that is a whole other story), and we took a walk after.  Well, this morning, my knees are bad.  They generally hurt when I bend/straighten, but this morning, walking on them is bad.   I am going to have to get them checked out, but fear what I will be told.  But, perhaps it is just a messed up muscle/tendon issue...I am hoping that is it.  Anyway, I am making an appt this week for the Dr. wish me luck on that.

Joe's proving to be a tough nut on sheep. I am not in the picture.  I don't want to take out the good stuff he has, but we need to find common ground.  I am not dismayed, just trying to figure out what to do.

Today I head up to the farm and clean out the hay storage area, and then head to town to check out our Church's tag sale.  I may try working Joe on some of my sheep, but that may be suicide, so maybe not!  He's not mean to them, just very in their faces.  Then, I will go home and chill out a bit- and clean.  Tomorrow is the hay delivery for winter.  Dogs will get nice runs today.  They really need them.

Well, that's it for now!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If you want to fly..........

Another year has gone by.  Where does time go?  I used to think a year was so long, and now, it seems like nothing.  I am pretty happy with my life thus far.  I just have to keep making plans for fun things, and enjoy something every day.  That's not hard with the animals I have, and my general sense of someone who is easily cheered.  Life really is a journey, and we never really know where it's going to lead us.   There are jobs out west, just seasonal positions, where I could be a wrangler, etc., at working ranches, or dude ranches.  I sure wouldn't mind getting out of the doldrums of every day life for something like that.  I would have to do something with the dogs/cats, but would definitely have to bring one dog.  Life without a dog by my side is way too sterile.  So, maybe I will get to do that?

Sometimes we get too comfortable in our every day life, and you need a little shake up.  That said, shake ups really shake me up, so that's a wee bit of fear in there.  As I age though, I realize that sometimes you just gotta take a leap if you want to fly....

We all have constraints, but if you are smart, you can push the envelope while being extremely responsible and work oriented.... My dad taught me that work ethic and it's as natural as breathing.  I am also so routine oriented, you could set your clocks to me every day patterns... Some would say that's boring, I say it's comforting.

So, here it is, another year and I can say I am better in many ways this year than last, because of the good memories I have, and the deepening friendships in my life.

Here's to living while you are alive!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I decided against the quiet sheep to bring home.  I don't have a pen built to work Joe in and with all the trees, it will just be an accident waiting to happen.  For now I will just travel other places to work the boy and that will have to suffice until I can get him off enough to work my girls.  I don't think it will take that long.

I sent off three ewe lambs and my beautiful ram lamb.  Now I am down four sheep and I feel better about the drought conditions, and keeping my sheep in grass.

Today it's extremely hot.  I walked the dogs and was starting a second lap, when Lucy just got hot. She can no longer handle high temps/humidity.  So, my Kelpie was hotter than my BCs.  Weird things happen.  Joe is getting in good shape now, running with the other dogs.

Only about two more weeks left of July and then August, okay, good, now then fall?  When is fall coming?  Everyone I have talked to this year does NOT like summer- especially THIS summer.  We need cooler temps!!!!

Well, that's it for now!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Well, I have been trying to stay away from sweets now for a week.  Not a complete failure, but close and yesterday I broke down big time and had Friendlys ice cream.  It was so good! 

This weekend was sort of a blur.  Didn't do much.  I did get the hill field ready to move the sheep into, but did not move the sheep, as yet another heat wave is coming and I want them to have access to the barn.  I have decided to sell on three ewe lambs, as I don't need so many sheep when grass is potentially limited.  So, they will go some time this week or next.  We were going to move them tomorrow, but it is supposed to be 99 degrees F tomorrow, and that's just not acceptable for moving livestock, let alone stressing them out in this weather.

All the other animals are well.  Bored, but well.  I am now able to have all the dogs outside at the same time.  I walk Lucy, Dan, and Joe together on our walks.  Dan runs ahead and Joe keeps up.  Then, Dan herds Lucy, and then Joe does too, but then Dan runs ahead.  It's all a bit over the top.  Thankfully, Lucy has not lost it on Joe, but Joe is uber confident, so it may not be an issue.  I have now learned, finally, that Lucy's issues are that of space.  She's not confident of dogs too much in her space and lashes out.  For some reason, she just loses it with the other bitches, but just "yells" at the males.  Having all be able to be outside at same time, albeit not supervised, is a nice thing.   This morning, Lucy decided on her own just to come inside.  This is her way of being good- take herself away from the fal-de-ral.  That I like.

This week I have a few medical appointments and also, there's my birthday.  My twin sister and I will get together for it, and head up to my parent's house, but that's pretty much it.  Low key.  That's cool with me.

Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hi folks
Still here... Went up to a friend's place this week and worked Dan on shedding- apparently, he knew how to do it because he was very very good... Then, popped Joe on her sheep in a small pen a couple times. Joe is ready to start.  Then, the next day after work I headed over to another friend's place where I worked Joe again- this time with a noodle.  I was told I need to keep the noodle over the sheep's back, so I will try that and also maybe a buggy whip- NOT to hit him with, but to make the ground dangerous as Derek Scrimgeour suggests.  He's ready to get started, and to that end, I am getting a few quiet sheep to work Joe on next week.  Seems like a nice birthday present.

Just got a call from my hay guy- I am all set to pick up second cutting grass/alfalfa hay. This is great.  Those who don't know, second cut is a better choice in many cases, for sheep as they prefer softer hay with less stems, and first cut has more stems and seed heads- generally.  I am very happy about this.  Was worried.  Nothing worse than buying hay your sheep waste.

I have to worm my lambs today, and then I may move them to the other pasture.  We will see. The fourth heat wave of the year is coming, and they so love the barn- which they can't access in the other field.

Well, that's it for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Like so much trash....

Out with the old, in with the new... 'Nuff said eh?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Better today

Better today.  I think I just had a bunch of things irritate me to start my day yesterday. When I got to the farm, I saw the sheep coming out of the barn, clearly, me allowing them to hang out in it was a happy thing for them.  It is so hot/humid/buggy, I really didn't see any point not letting them in there to cool off.   There is a cement "ledge" just big enough for a sheep to lay on, that clearly is the favorite place to lay. 

Only got one walk in yesterday- the Deer flies are just too bad.  A few more days of this heat wave and things are supposed to cool off a bit- to normal- mid 80s.   This means more normal time outside, and I am sure happier everyone.

I think next week I will head over to a friend's place to work dogs, but maybe not- it depends.  I have to think about getting hay and also get some stuff done at my place.  No big rush as no trials coming up, and I realized that Joey is younger than I thought he was.  He may not officially get started until September.

Oh, I do have to do one more trip with the Round Up in the other field, but think I have kicked it's butt pretty well.  The sheep go back in that field next weekend.  Lots of yummy shrubs have come up.  They will love it.

Well, that's all for now.  So it goes, another week in summer....................

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I think almost every July I get crabby.  I think part of it is sub-consciously I know my birthday is coming up and what have I to show for it?  Not much I think... It's depressing; the debt, and the repairs needed at the house, and add to that the heat/humidity, it's all a bit much.  My a/c has been pooling water on the window sill and has just totally ruined it- the towel I put under the a/c was DRENCHED.  Just great.  Now I NEED a carpenter to fix, and who knows how bad it is under the surface...  I slanted the a/c even further, but alas, it's probably a little to little, a little too late.

I did get the lawn mowed yesterday, which is a great achievement seeing as how much I hate to do it.  Other than that it was a hibernation day pretty much, because it is just too warm to be outside- and the bugs just make it un-bearable.   More fence/gate work to do, but I won't be out in this .... not this week anyway.

I think I should go to the mall.  Maybe this weekend.  Perhaps a bit of shopping therapy will help...  Who knows.

I am crabby, that's the only way to put it.  Better go before I depress you all even more!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tetanus in Sheep

The following is from a Purdue University site.  TETANUS IS INEVITABLY FATAL.  Please, those of you who believe some anti toxin and anti-biotics will heal a sheep, you are wrong.  Anti Toxin is for lambs who's dams were not vaccinated prior to delivery. Please, do NOT follow the advice, or "stories" of a self proclaimed "sheep medic" who neither has formal training, nor proper experience whatsoever.  

Tetanus is a common, fatal disease in sheep and goats caused by a bacterium known asClostridium tetani. The spores of this bacterium can be found in feces, they produce a powerful toxin in open wounds, and are not affected or destroyed by disinfectants. Most often, tetanus is caused by infection of an open wound. Because sheep undergo several maintenance procedures, such as castration, ear-marking, tail-docking, dehorning and debudding, sheep are highly at risk for contracting tetanus. Dog bites or deep scratches can also be "homes" for the bacteria. Incubation of Clostridium tetani is between 3 days and 3 weeks. During this time, the bacteria multiply and generate this powerful toxin. This toxin then affects the nerves around the site of injury/wound, travels to the spinal cord and brain, and ultimately causes uncontrollable muscle spasms. Consequently, signs and symptoms of tetanus infection include muscle stiffness and spasms, bloat, panic, uncoordinated walking and movements, and/or the inability to eat and drink. Death is inevitable, about 3-4 days after symptoms appear. Many sheep in a flock can be found dead without having shown any signs of the disease.

We Survived

Dan and I survived our first open trial this weekend.   My good friend and I loaded Dan, Joe and her two dogs (one pup and one running in the trial) into my car and we headed up- an un-eventful trip, which was nice. We got to the site and watched a few runs.  It was quite warm up there, and we were glad to get to the hotel when we did.  We had take out from a local chain restaurant and fell asleep early.

Saturday morning my friend ran early in the day and had a good go, doing well, but no shed.  Still though, her dog has not run since last year, so I would say they did well.   I did not run until much later in the afternoon and a few minutes before our run I started to gag a little.  I was extremely nervous.  I remembered to drink some water as if I don't my mouth gets dry and my whistle becomes useless.  I was sitting under the food tent and realized I did not have my stock stick, so I asked a fellow competitor if they could get it for me, see I didn't think I could *handle* going under the handlers' tent before my run...... Nice lady she was, she got it for me.  Okay, so it was our turn.

We go the post and we were supposed to give our name (handler and dog) to the judge.  So, I walk up and say "Lucy and Dan"- scribe had a confused look on her face, and I said "oh, no, sorry, I meant Julie and Dan.  I gave my Kelpie's name instead of my own... Wow.  Anyway...

I sent Dan away and he did well on his outrun and lift, and took his come by flanks on the fetch and we got around the post and I think we missed most of the drive panels, I have no idea.  We then got to the pen and I just mis-handled it because all I could think of was "Cripes!!!! we have to shed!!!!!!!  we can't SHED!!!!!!!!"  So, finally, after several attempts we got them in (it ended up being a 1 point pen), and no shed, but BY GOD was I happy to be out of there.  I was very happy with Dan, he took all my commands, and found his sheep well.  So, then we had to exhaust.  I was standing there talking with my friend, waiting to exhaust but all the sheep had bolted over and pushed through the gate.  So, we did not have to exhaust.  All in all, even though I think we had the lowest score for the trial, I was happy.

That night we had the same take out restaurant dinner and asleep early.  Sunday morning we found a little hole in the wall diner called "Frank and Mary's Diner" on the way to the trial.  I had a couple of eggs, some bacon and hash browns.  This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  The hash browns were a real stand out.  I could not finish this meal, and it was a whopping $4.71.   At the trial we watched a bit and my friend went earlier than me, and she had a better go this time; she got a shed.  Very good!  These sheep are notoriously difficult to shed, so this was impressive.

Sometime around 1:00 was our turn.  I again sat under the food tent while waiting and drank some water.  When we walked up to the judge to give our names, I AGAIN called myself Lucy.  What a dolt I am!!!

Anyway, I sent Dan and he did a nice outrun and lift and I should have shut up on the fetch because I over handled it causing some squiggly lines, but in general it was good.  We turned the post pretty well and then on to the drive away.  Last year in pro-novice I did not keep Dan from sliding up on the sheep's shoulders and they would stop when he caught their eye, causing all sorts of issues.  Anyway, I did not do that again,  and I also took advice from others- to wait 2-3 seconds between commands, so everything can slow down.  We hit the drive away panels and I had a decent cross drive and hit the cross drive panels.  Had a pretty good line to the pen and this time the pen went easy peasy.  I guess I was calmer.   The shed, we had one attempt, but I just am not proficient.  Sheep bolted out Dan after, but no grip, and we re-grouped, and I tried to set it up, but one ewe was clearly ready to leave and her lips were puckered and her nose flaring.  I know enough about sheep to know that this will result in an escape if we are not careful, so I calmed everything down.  Time was called and we could leave...  I guess that's a funny way to put it, but time really goes slow when you are trying to shed but can't.

Anyway, I cool Dan off and we head to the exhaust.  I was standing there and the run after me, who's sheep I was to exhaust ended, and the sheep just busted through the gate without me opening it (just like our first run) and then, we could just go and chill.  I sat under the handlers' tent and chilled a bit, and watched a few runs, and then we headed home.

We hit traffic so our ride home was an extra 45 mins.  I was so beat when I got home, I see this morning, that I had left the doors open in my car over night.  Thankfully the car is smart enough to turn off all lights after a while when doors are left open, for dolts like me!

So, now we are back to normal (yeah) this week and I plan to do the usual routine, boring stuff, and relish it!