Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lambs, dogs, soup

Thank you to Elaine for the congratulations for the interview.  It is neat to be recognized for dedication to what you do.  What's really cool, is that since I am all about animals, the whole tone of it explains who I am to a T.  The editors really were able to tease who I am out of my answers...

Yesterday was a muddy mucky day at the farm.  The Muck boots I wore were apropos.  Had to hose off the dogs before we left.  My car will need a deep cleaning soon... even though they ride in crates, the car still gets awfully dirty...

Sheep are good, getting bigger.  Two have started bagging up and now I am nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  Sure wish I were lambing later... I am taking time off of work to be around most of the time.  I surely hope everything goes okay.  Something about when you start to see them bagging up, it makes it all very real. 

Was supposed to get hay today, but considering there is about  6" of water as of yesterday sitting on the ground in front of the barn and all this warm weather, which will make the mud even worse, I canceled until Monday.  I don't think they could get the hay wagon in there.... And if they did they were tear it up something awful.

I am taking tomorrow off work for a much needed respite from every day life, to go work dogs with my friend.  I will either get there and leave early, or have someone else feed my sheep.  Either way, I need a break.  And, with lambing coming up, it will probably be the last one in a long time.

I slept pretty well last night.  Had pb/j for dinner with a big glass of milk.  I am definitely not a gourmand... I find that by the end of the day, figuring out what I want to eat (it must contain protein) is not my strong suit.  I am going to go get some Carnation Instant Breakfast to have in the house when I need a protein filled food item... put that in some milk, and instant meal!  Yesterday I had a Wendys' Chicken sandwich for lunch, as I was desperate for protein.  Today, soup again, I so love my soup!  The guy at work who makes it has been doing so for almost 30 years... he's very very good at it.

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you ever wondered....

If in fact, the two aforementioned humans were actually Yin and Yang to each other... Take a look at today's blog posts...  Just so you don't forget why you are to give money to the poor (who own two houses/farms, and who are un-employed).

Thankfully, I have gotten to a point in life, where animals are not concerned, that I can laugh at these two.  Seriously.  And, I think my laughter is shared by many who visit said URLs.   I can't blame people for needing money.  Goodness knows, I need some too- oil and hay to purchase, which is starting me at the face, and what I wake up to each morning....  Sometimes, I hear people tell me I should put a contribute button on my blog... But, you know what?  If I have to beg for money to pay basic bills, or, as some would have you believe, for a blog (which, by the way, blogger is free), um, then, I need to do something wherein I cut back my bills or up my income, legitimately..  Pledge drive?  Seriously?  Really?  Like PBS?  My kind of pledge drive is selling something I own, or eating more PB/J for dinner.  My contributions are when someone opens a door for me at Dunkin Donuts, or maybe gives me an extra helping of desert...   Things are tight everywhere.  Grain for the animals is not cheap, I pay twice what others do for hay, and on top of that, taxes are increasing every year.  It's tight.  Yep, that I know.  But, please, do not get sucked into donating to either of these causes, because they do not write for US, they write because they like to write- they are writers, after all, and without people jumping to donate, they may actually have to get a REAL JOB like the rest of us.  Imagine that.



Ha!!! I bet you thought I was going to do a post-mortem on another person's interview in a new online magazine...  Well although that may come, I find it rather humorous that I was interviewed as well recently, only in a peer reviewed journal in my field. 

I have been doing the same sort of work for twenty five years, and I suppose the time had come for a little recognition?  Who knows.  In this world, people get recognized for all the wrong things (see aforementioned allusion to other person's interview). 

Anyway, this little interview consists of me being asked questions, and answering them honestly.  I was happy how the interview turned out.  I am proud that my work has helped to save lives, and that animals are better for their interaction with me.

Following is the last paragraph of my interview, and quite possibly, words that could be my epitaph:

".... It's a bit like farming or ranching, the animals come first.  This means that 365 days a year, no matter how ill you feel, or tired you may be, the animals come first.  They cannot clean or feed themselves; we must do it for them. I sleep well at night when I know that all of the animals have been fed, cleaned and cared for with respect."

Work, rock walls

I worked Joe yesterday... Well, sort of.  I only have the crazy lambs to work.  Only four, as the ram lamb, who looks 99.9% recovered from his lameness, I did not want to work to give him more time to be 100%.  So, I sent Dan to get the flock, and lay him down so I could get to the barn door sooner than he, but Dan did not feel he should stay laying down and pushed them all in.  Then I had to send him in to get them out and then of course, get them back- and he was way too tight causing them to slip, to get away.  I was annoyed.  This is not how we handle sheep, and Dan should know better... But, anyway, I got them in the barn, and all into the smaller room and pulled out the lambs to work. 

Joe was good, pushy, but good.  We need heavier sheep to learn to drive on.  He doesn't really have to push these lambs at all (that is an understatement).  Then, they made a break and made it to the smaller paddock and up on the rock wall near the barn, which is dangerous, and I am afraid someone will get injured if they jump down.  I tied up Joe and got the lambs out of there, and then got some temporary fencing together to block that.  This weekend I will fence off that area 100%.   

Supposed to get hay tomorrow, but may hold off- we are getting a lot of rain tonight which will make the driveway a mud pit.  May wait until Sat. 

Well, that's all she wrote for now!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


It was bad weather yesterday when I got to the farm.  It was snowing on the way, and then it turned into sleet.  I walked the dogs, as they have no worry about bad weather.  The sheep were absolutely unfazed by the weather as well.  They were covered in white, and were grazing around the field.

After they were fed, I checked everyone, the ram lamb who was limping is 95% better, just a slight hitch in his gitalong.  I am thinking he may have bruised his foot. 

After filling the water trough (they go through a LOT of water), I saw that the sheep did not even go in the barn.  How nice!  Keeping it clean just for me!

When I got home I was very sore.  That was a fair bit of exertion for these out of shape muscles... that barn cleaning.  I ended up falling asleep really early, and then of course, was up until after midnight because of it.  Had some weird dreams... I never had so much trouble sleeping.  People tell me as you age, especially if you are a woman, your sleep is just not great....  Oh, one reason I may not have slept late, is no dinner.  Too tired to make it. 

Well, that's all she wrote for today!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Brushed up

Weather is warming up, and today we are getting some snow.. Ha, sounds a bit funny, but it is so.  I had a very nice dinner last night, and did a fair bit of reading. 

This morning it seemed pretty light out, and sure enough the moon was full.  So pretty when we have a full moon... it's almost like we are spying on the night world...

I got a good amount of exercise yesterday, and it feels good.  The hefting of muck buckets will stop soon, because I have located a decent wheel barrow to use instead- thank goodness. 

If we get some dry weather, I am definitely going to work Joe a bit.  He really needs it.  And, so do I.  Soon time to get Dan brushed up too, though he's not tough to do that with, one or two sessions and we've got it.

That's it for now....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shots, barn

Stopped and picked up a couple bales of straw, and will get the rest of the hay and straw I need on Thursday.  Thankfully, my hay supplier will be delivering it to me straight of the trailer and two guys will do the unloading... This is WONDERFUL. I vaccinated everyone today.  Went well, save for the blackest ewe who was a real fighter.  Exhausted me to where I had to stop.  For whatever reason for like four years now, when my heart gets going, it feels like it's rubbing against my chest, and I get tight in the chest and have to just stop.  All the sheep are in good shape and turning them was not always easy.  But, I got it done.  Then, it was time to clean the barn.  I actually considered not doing it, but decided just to get it done!  I figure exercise will not kill me.

 The photo above shows the cleaned out room, and bedding thrown to perimeter.  The blue container holds Lime.
 Here I have put down Lime and then re-distributed the straw from the perimeter.
 Here I am fixing to remove the bale wire with the pitch fork
 Here is the finished product.

Here the girls come and check out their re-freshed digs...

Static Cling?

So, I get to the farm yesterday and I see the ram lamb is limping on his front leg.. Hmmm.  So, I grab my hoof trimmers, and sent Danny to gather them.  He's a nutty little guy, but we finally got him- a quick grab on the run by.. He's in fine fettle weight wise..  I could find nothing wrong- check the glands on his feet, both feet, felt for heat in his wrists, knees, elbows... I have no idea... He may have just stepped wrong, don't know.  I was considering working Joe yesterday (not using him obviously) but it was just too cold.  Again.

As I was checking the ewes, one ewe's vulva looks a bit looser than others..  Now, I could be hallucinating this.  I am sure there is variation in each ewe.  But, when I got home I decided to check my records to see when the first one was marked.  I was wrong in believing the 27 of Sept.  She was marked by the 15 of September, so this means she needs her vaccination asap.  There are two that were marked by Sept 27, and the rest were marked before the 20th of October... So, this means quite a spread on my lambing... Oh joy.  But, that's sort of how it works... you can't instruct the ram to do his thing on your schedule... unless you do things like CIDR inserts, which will synchronize ewe estrus...  Any way... So, today, my usually light, save for cleaning the barn Sunday, will be busy.

We are forecast to have rain through Thursday, so really need that barn cleaned and refreshed today.  Will vaccinate everyone, and trim wool (crutch) the ewes that need it- and I will bring a note pad to note who is where in terms of bag appearance- I really want to see the Border Leicester/Romney cross ewes, they are so woolly, it's any body's guess right now where they are....  Then, I want to get my jugs ready, set them up and get the straw in them as well.   That should be it... I hope... That's more than enough.  I asked on FB if anyone could help, and no one offered- well, people 6 hours away said they would, but my closer friends were rather silent... Oh well... I will get it done.  Just know, that I have helped these people many many many times... No good deed goes un-punished ;)  But, that said, I would rather do this alone, than rope someone in who does not want to do it.

I plan to get the hay on Friday.  By then, my stack will be just  few days worth of hay, and I can re-arrange to get the new hay stacked.

Did not sleep much at all last night.  Lots of good TV, and just was antsy about all I had to do today.

Just finished my breakfast.  I am getting very good at making breakfast foods... I have also found that my appetite has decreased.  I generally only eat one egg, and the dogs get the other. I have definitely lost weight; not a lot, but I look smaller, and the fat is now more of a fat ring around me, instead of me a big blob... I would seriously like to know how I gained that weight to start from.. I wonder if it's static cling? ;)

Thanks for the well wishes for me not feeling well.  I will be good when spring is here!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Out of sorts...

Had a stressful day at work yesterday.. And, to top it off, the gray hair clump that appeared... That was bad.  Stood straight up on my head, due to the dry air.  Anyway, after work, I did the usual chores/errands.  One of my Cheviot ewes is very lean, I can't see that she is pregnant, but maybe.  I doubt it.  This would be bad.  I pretty much accepted that they were all bred.  Sure would like to know, but I haven't got a sonogram machine anywhere handy, so I guess I will just have to wait and see... which is not my forte.

Am getting lower on hay, and want to wait until I have a little less so there is somewhere to put the hay I have, when I get another load.  I have to get someone to help me, maybe Charlie.  I have a truck and trailer. I cannot buck all those bales though, as my back just can't hack it.  Last time I moved a lot of bales it was five weeks before my back recovered.  I am not a wuss, just know my limitations.  I am going to see if my brother is game to trade in the two old 2 wd tractors for one decent 4 wd with a loader... we shall see if that idea gets any traction... sure would be a God send to me.

Have used a lot of oil this winter... I think I may need to get another delivery before spring, which stinks.  Maybe not... I keep it down to 58, but when it's so cold outside, well, you use oil... 

Woke up totally stressed about work and with a neck ache.  First thing I did was let the dogs out and get some Aleve in me.  I need to learn to let things go.  Can be hard though.  I made pancakes this morning, and now here I sit, waiting a bit before I head out to feed the sheep.  They are getting two full bales a day now, and 7 lbs of grain.  This is still not even 1/2 lb per sheep.  My one biggest Border Leicester ewe is quite heavy.  They were not sheared this year, I don't think, so they are very woolly.  They all seem very happy and healthy, judging by their running every where...

I may actually go lay down before I head out to the farm. I am tired, have a head ache and am sort of out of sorts...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Train in a good mood....

It was windier yesterday, than the day before, so it was a bit uncomfortable walking the dogs. Had to go sit on the heated seats in my car between chores/laps... Sheep had consumed a lot of water, and their tank was 2/3 empty, so I am glad I plugged the heat tape in... I bet that hydrant would have frozen.  There is no snow left for them to eat, and it is *really* dry out.  I went inside to chat with my brother for a bit and when I came out, some sheep had gone to get a drink.  When they saw me, they immediately halted and then the three of them bolted as fast as their little feet could, back to the flock.  Cheviots are funny. Nothing is ever done lackadaisically.  The sheep actually seem to like this weather... go figure... They certainly have the right outer wear for it...

When I got home, I was certainly cold (even though I stopped at D/D and got a nice decaf coffee to warm up).  I didn't go out to clean the yard because it was so cold and windy.  Not worth it to me. 

Made a simple dinner last night and just watched tv.  I was a bit worried about my furnace- as you  never know when you tax it this much, how it will go, but thankfully I just had it cleaned... 

This morning it was 5 degrees F.  Another cold day ahead.  Long stretch this is...  Joey is acting puppyish on our walks and in the house.. Next week we will have a heat wave, and I plan to work the dogs a bit. 

Today I have a busy, run around day, meetings, you name it.  Tonight a nice quiet night is all I want.  And, a weekend like that too.  I was just thinking about how much more I used to travel (hours each way) to work the dogs on sheep back when I was just starting and going to other's places.  That is way way down, and although I know I do need to get out, I really don't love all that driving.  I also was thinking how I would train in all sorts of horrible weather.  I was just so driven... Um, not so much anymore...  Not fun, and I believe in being in a good mood when training, or not to train at all.

Well, that's it for now....

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The real deal

I have said before that I really like the Pioneer Woman's blog, and her food, and her kids... her hubby is not shabby either.  Here is a post he put up about working the fall calves.  This, my friends is the real deal.  This is ranching/farming.  It's about good care, teamwork if you are lucky to have it and healthy animals.  In the end, it's all good.

Keep on keepin' on

As it turns out, I was able to walk the dogs yesterday.  It wasn't too cold, at least it didn't feel that way.  The thermometer read 18 degrees F.  So, Joe and Dan got a good run and sheep chores were done and popped into the car to warm up fast... Stopped at my parents' house on the way home and ate some German cookies... mmmm.  When I got home, that's when I started to feel cold.  I ended up shivering, and had to take a hot shower.  I had some scrambled eggs for dinner and watched some TV.  I was tired...  I woke up about 8:00, and had low blood sugar and had to have something, so pb/j on Ritz crackers was it.

I slept through the night last night.  This is big!  I have not been sleeping well.  I think the usual animal movements were stymied by it being so cold out... So very very cold.  Neither the cat, nor Lucy was interested in going outside.  In fact, when I let everyone out this morning, they ALL came to the back door at the same time... that never happens.....  It was 5 degrees, so, I guess they are not that into those temps ;)  The cat took one step out and turned around.

Today, like every other day, nothing new to report.  I thought I may work Joe, but they say with wind chill it will be worse than yesterday, so I will have to think about that when I get there.  Got the CD&T for the sheep yesterday.  Vaccinations will happen around the first of Feb.  I will also crutch the Border Leicester girls too.

Well, that's it for now.  I hope those of you who are suffering through this cold are okay....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Biding our time....

Last night I had a favorite for dinner... Peanut butter and Jelly.  I do so love my peanut butter... It's my friend...  When you can't think of what you want, but know you need some sort of protein, it works.. And it's soooo creamy... If I have energy I put pb/j on Ritz crackers, but sometimes, just a sandwich.  I find that I don't really like to cook much at night.  I am in the relax zone and don't want to have to wash dishes...

I watched some re-runs last night, and fell asleep relatively early.  This morning boy kitty didn't howl to go outside; he must have sensed how cold it was and thought that would be a fool's folly.  Dogs don't seem to mind it.  I certainly do.  It was 7 degrees.  That's cold. 

Today I won't be walking the dogs again.  Considering no exercise yesterday, Joe was okay last night.  I just can't take long walks in this.  When I feed the sheep I let Joe run around, but that's it.  We are just biding our time until next week when it warms up a bit.... 

That's it for now!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So Cold

Today was a funky day.  I had a busy day at work, then got to the farm and fed the sheep.  They were all laying down when I got there, and Laverne (the dark brown ewe) was slow to get up, but after watching her a bit, I think she was just comfy, as she ate just like the rest.  It was so cold that I did not even walk the dogs.  They say it's 8 degrees F with the wind chill.  That is just too cold.  So, fed everyone, and OF COURSE I needed to add water to the trough.  Now, it was over 3/4 full, but I never like to let it get down much for fear of losing power, or frozen lines... So, I filled it, and plugged in the heat tape for that hydrant as I bet tonight it will freeze.  Got that done and thankfully I was smart and left my car running so I could be warm right away.  Home now, and just beat.  Harried at work.  Harried with sheep.  Cold.

I don't mind cold weather that much, but it seems as I age, I mind it more and more... Getting wimpy in my old age I guess.  The sheep seem totally non-plussed with this weather, which is good.  I have to get some of the windows covered with either clear plastic, or plexi glass (in the barn) as several panes are missing making it drafty in there.  I will probably just do clear plastic bags, provided I can get them nailed up there to stay (probably use roofing nails).  Should be good for lambing then... Will have to play it by ear as to where to leave the pregnant ewes when lambing starts... If it's horridly cold out I won't leave them outside.  But, I would prefer they have access to the small paddock as it's more comfortable for them to move around when in labor.

Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quiet day

Yesterday after work I had a ton of errands to run.  I always combine all that running, as it saves gas, and it saves me the bother later.  When I finally got to the farm, the sheep were milling/laying down.  They seemed great.  I didn't work Joe because it was just slick enough to be not good.

Got home, and made a steak for dinner and then retreated to bed to do some reading.  Did not sleep well at all last night. Ginger was meowing in my ear almost all night, who knows why???  Anyway, I think I am cursed to never sleep a whole night again!

I made eggs for breakfast today.  Turned out better than I can get out, so that's another thing I can cook well, and thusly, save myself some money :)  I am doing some laundry and then will vacuum.  It is majorly needed.

Then, will do the usual.  May or may not work Joe.  It all depends on the footing.  Quiet day, which I really like.  Boring, I know, but good for me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Just so he can get a front seat....

Another day, another trip/fall.  Using a sled to bring hay out to the sheep has it's issues. The pull string lends itself well to catching your foot as you walk by with full arms.   I don't think I will forget again though... Thankfully the ground is not hard and frozen when I have fallen.

 The day before yesterday, on the way home I picked up sheep feed, because I doubted I would have enough for yesterday.  But, when I went to weigh all I had left, I had EXACTLY the right amount left.  WHEN does that ever happen? 

I have started to feed the grain ON the hay piles as so far, two sheep have choked when eating their grain.  I did all I could; keeping the grain flat on the pans, lots of pans, you name it.  But, apparently, it either tastes REALLY good, or they are just piggies.  So, now they have to work for it. 

I worked Joe for about five minutes yesterday.  He hadn't been on sheep in about a month, and I felt like he really needed something to do.  He was good.  Acted his age, but never crazy or thoughtless.  He's so serious. He's like a kid who gets to class early, just so he can get a front seat....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Barn Cleaning tutorial

The fact is, I have had many starts and stops to blogging in the past few days.  Many of the starts were based on negative feelings, and basically, it the blog would be one giant negativity.  I find when I am in a bad mood, caused by who knows what, I have to work through it, sort of like a cramp, and when it's finished, then go on, and be sociable again.  Otherwise, I have less patience for others, and for instance I am just no fun on the phone ;)

Lots going on at my work life, and that has weighed heavily on me.  I know things will be okay, but big change is not something I like, or deal well with.  I have to literally work through it minute by minute...  So, this is why I have been absent of late. 

Back to normal programming... The snow finally all disappeared yesterday, and this morning we have another at least three inches of snow, up to about six inches expected... It is very slippery out there. All schools are closed, and I am sure the kids love it.  Those were the days...

In preparation for the storm yesterday, I decided to do my weekly barn cleaning.  It takes almost an hour, using a pitch fork and muck bucket.  Back in my days of working with horses, I did a LOT of stall cleaning, both with shavings and straw, and I hated straw.  We used straw only for mares and foals.  It is good though, that I have worked with straw, because there is a technique to cleaning it, so you can save the good straw and get rid of the bad/soiled.  I doubt anyone really wants to read, but I will share...  You first pick up anything that is on top (droppings).  Then, you go and throw the top clean layer toward the perimeter of the room/stall.  Straw is used for bedding because the wet will go to the bottom, and dry stays on top.  Hay stinks for bedding because the wet sits on top.  Anyway, after you have thrown the clean top area toward the perimeter, you look for wet spots and clean them out.  Then, you lime those areas.  When finished, you take the straw that you had thrown up along the perimeter, and evenly distribute it around the stall.  Then, you get your new bale (remember, wheat straw works better than rye) and if tied with wire, take your pitch fork, stick a tine or two in there, and twist- this will twist one of the ties off and then, grab the other wire and kick with your leg and out pops the new straw.  You can also un-wind the wire, but this way is much quicker.  The straw will be in flakes (pieces) and you pick each flake up and pull it apart/shake it throughout the room/stall.  Be sure to bank up along the edges a bit, and the end result should be a clean, non-smelly room with straw thick enough to be half way up your calf.   Horses stalls should be done daily, but sheep, depending on the number, should be done as often as needed, based on density (number in your flock and size of room).  I do the sniff test, pretty much.   Ammonia (which is in urine) is very bad for animals, especially neonates (lambs/calves/foals etc).  High Ammonia levels sets these guys up for pneumonia.  So, bottom line?  Use good straw bedding, keep it clean, and if you can smell that ammonia, imagine how a baby lamb feels laying right  next to it.  Now, there is no way to keep the barn completely clean at all times, but the goal should be as close as humanly possible... I do want to mention here, that there is the deep bedding approach to cleaning, which is just add straw as needed to keep the wet down low.  That approach is done if you can get heavy equipment in the barn, every spring to clean.  I can't do that; it's just me and my pitch fork...

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Read, eat, blog

Well, weekend's just about over.  A little excitement this morning when I heard back from the person that wanted to buy Lucy.  He had a right fit.  I apologized, but still another email came back.   I understand him being upset, but crimeny.  Well, what's done is done.

Today, on our walk, it was the toughest yet.  More ground is appearing, however, the snow is very slushy and slippery, and it was exhausting to walk on it.  I slipped several times.  I think one more day of warm weather, which we are due to get, and the snow will be all but gone.  And then the mud... It's already appearing.  Supposed to cool off by the end of Tuesday, so let's hope it does.  Sheep have been availing themselves of the barn, so sometime this week, another clean out.  In regard to hay, I will have to get more by the end of the month, that is for sure.  I want to use all I have now, and then get it.  I hate hay stacked very high- as I hate getting up to the top to get it.  As we age, we know that bones that are broken just don't heal as well...

I have been idling today, and my brother in law stopped over to clean my furnace which is great.  I had left over steak and am now just relaxing.  Finished my book- that was her best one yet.  I recommend it highly!
She has another series on museum based mysteries, and I picked up a couple of those, so will start today. This is truly a January day!  Read, eat, blog!

Well, that's it for now, hope everyone is well.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Ms Border Cheviot ewe says :"Hello!"

Ms Border Leicester ewe says "what you lookin' at?"

" I am not fat, I am fluffy"

Can't do it

No, can't do it.  I just can't sell, or part with Lucy.  I just can't.  There were two good homes interested in her, but she would not have been a pet, and that's what she is.  I can't change the life rules on her at this stage in the game, and let's face it, I am very attached to her, as I am all my animals.  As I walked at the farm today, I realized that I was making reasons for her to go, instead of seeing what's right in front of my face- that there are ways to make this work, and Nikke and Kylie will not be around forever.  It will all work out.
So, there you have it.  Just dub me wimpie weenie girl.

Good she was fighting

Yesterday, the footing was terrible (again) at the farm.  Our walking track is slick and it's not easy going for me, the flat foot.  The dogs seem to be better with it.  I am getting sore insteps from walking in the muck boots- I want GROUND!!!!  Nothing unusual yesterday.  I did hit the market and got a sirloin steak (big enough for two meals) and some GIANT Russet potatoes.  I mean BIG, as in grown near Chernobyl big...  The grocery lady said with left overs I could probably make home fries!

I was pretty useless last night.  Tired as all get out.  Had pb/j on Ritz crackers for dinner and read my Sheila Connolly mystery- another good one titled "Bitter Harvest".

This morning I got up and cleaned.  I find if I don't clean first thing, then it does not get done.  So, bathroom done 100% and also dusted the bedroom.  Still three other rooms to do, but good start.  Feels good to have things cleaner.  Then, for breakfast, was not really into pancakes, as I did not feel like making them, but the animals were already queuing up...  Okay, so did that.

Spoke to my helper Charlie yesterday.  He's got foot rot in his goats- I helped him previously, but it went on to full blown foot rot, and now he's got a doe with Listeria.   He called me last night to help him get some oatmeal into her- I suggested using a turkey baster, instead of a spoon that he had used, but when I called later, he said she fought too much.  I told him it was good she was fighting, and to leave the oatmeal out there for her.  

Today there is nothing on the agenda, other than maybe more cleaning and chores.  I sure wish I could work the dogs.  Too treacherous.  By the time I can, I will have to separate out the pregnant ones, as they will be too big/unwieldy to work.  Ho hum.

Well, that's all I have for now.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Costs and compensations....

So, apparently my belief in having gained weight was mis-guided.  Just a temporary case of colic, as it were...  Phew.  Though, I did get some protein bars, I can eat them as snacks, or breakfast if I desire.

Brought all the sheep in yesterday to body score them.  Dan was so happy to be doing something.  Still too much snow to work them, IF you can believe it.  It's not the depth so much as the fact that it's hard on top and the sheep crunch through.  No fun for me to walk on, or the dogs.  Anyway, got the girls into the barn.  Now, the door way to the inner sanctum, as it were- where I put jugs, is a regular sized (human) pass-door.  Sheep seem to like to go three abreast and get stuck, which they did yesterday.  I keep Dan well out of the barn, but sheep, when they commit to going forward, THEY COMMIT, so, anyway, I eventually got them in the side room, where I can get them in a tighter group and I checked all- especially the runty lamb and a ewe who looked lean from afar.  All scored at three or three +.  So, we're good.   We are due to get rain today/tonight, so they have the barn access again.  I fear it will become a giant mess soon.  Hopefully the cold air will return after the snow is gone... Not too early so we get ice.

Last night I was awoken twice in the middle of the night by work; there were issues with facilities operations, and I had to be kept abreast of the situation.  Needless to say, I barely slept a wink last night.  My friend invited me to work dogs, but no way I can drive two hours one way today.  Plus, it's money I can't afford to spent at this point.  I have to stay on track.  Sure would be nice to have someone to bounce things off of, but alas, being single has it's costs and compensations.

I think I will make a steak this weekend- haven't had one in ages, and feel the need for protein.  Besides that, I HAVE to dust/vacuum the house.  Goodness.  I did brush everyone out yesterday with the Furminator- that thing is amazing.  Nikke is sore on her neck where Lucy went at her last weekend.  Lucy leaves on Monday for a long trek out to her new home.  I am going to get her a tag with my phone number on it.  She's micro-chipped as well.  I pray all this works out.  I know living on a farm will be a dream come true for her.

Well, that's about it for now.  So glad the weekend is here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jimmy's Farm

Another good series to check out.  This is a 28 year old PhD student who dropped everything, took out a loan and leased some land to make his dream of having a pig farm work.   He learns a LOT on the way, and has a good network of caring people to help him, and they also see his dream as being attainable.  He believes in free range pigs, and so do I.  This is the way any small holder should raise pigs.  If not free ranging in a field, at least with access to out of doors and the ability to wander about.  

Steeling my resolve

So, no cold- I don't think anyway.  I think I am fighting it off so far.   I have been feeling way fat lately.  I know, tmi!  But it's weird.  I think the only thing I still need to do wrt what I eat, is to quit the croissant in the morning and have a protein bar instead.  I will see what they have in the store.   If things get any worse, I will have to be on a *real* diet....

I was planning to get sheep feed on the way to the farm yesterday, but forgot and figured I had enough, so I went ahead and did a lap with the dogs, brought hay out, went to feed and DOY! not enough.  So, load up the dogs and head out, go and get a bag and then back.  Fed everyone.  As they were eating the ram lamb started jumping up as if to butt someone, but he didn't, and then he left the grain and jumped up and then kneeled down.  I had no idea what he was doing.  So, I asked a friend what he thought, and he told me he was choking on the grain.  I am so glad to have people be there to share their wisdom with me, well, he's not "there" he's in the UK, but is a full time shepherd with about 2000 sheep, so I believe he knows what he's talking about.  He says he has seen just that many times.  Told me to rub his throat next time I see it.  Will do.  Just another thing you learn.  Glad I asked. 

So, after that, a walk and then home.  In a bit of a rut these days.  I think it's the winter doldrums.  Don't feel like doing anything, really.  Don't want to spend money either.  Oh well.  Thank goodness for the animals to keep me moving.

Lucy has found a home.  Now, if I can only steel my resolve to do this.  Will be hard, but I think it's a very good home and she will be able to work and be around other male dogs, whom she loves. 

Well, that's all for now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hoping it doesn't come to fruition

Yesterday was not a red letter day for me.  I again did not sleep well the night before, and at work I was tired.  I had some lovely potato soup for lunch (am back on my healthy food schedule), but I did also have a hot dog like item as I thought maybe this tiredness was due to not enough protein.  After work, I did the usual, which is starting to feel a bit boring...

The sheep did not finish all their hay the day before, so they get a bit less yesterday, but as in all things animals, I second guess that, as the girls are all now in the last third of pregnancy and this is when they will need the most nutrition and I don't want problems with Toxemia.  For some reason, this year, I am most worried about it...  They are up to 6 lbs of grain amongst all of them, and I will be gradually raising that to about 7.5-9 lbs which will get everyone to at least 1/2 lb.  The smartest thing would have been to scan (ultra sound) the ewes and see who is really pregnant, and though I would grain everyone, I would give a bit extra to the ewes (depending on body score) that needed a bit more.  I still have to get the CD& T and will just order it from the company I always have, and also buy a decent halter, and then that's it, except for maybe a few other things.

I brought Lucy with us to the farm yesterday, and she had a nice run with the dogs.  I worked her too a bit, and considering she has not worked very much at all, she did well.  I may have a home for her, just have to organize her getting there.  This has been hard on me, and may well be why I am not sleeping well, but really, this dog deserves more than what she is getting at my house.  That said, I am still very picky about where she will go...

Ginger seems to be past the most recent episode of stomach issues, and is on the pro-biotics.  This is good. 

I am getting a cold, it has been peeking around the corner at me since last week.  I hope it doesn't come to fruition, because being that I never get sick, I don't do well with handling illness!

Well, I hope everyone is having a good week.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Adam's Farm Country file

I wanted to share with you a series of videos that are televised and broadcasted in the UK.  I quite enjoy watching these videos, and I think you will too!

Ritz crackers with pb/j

Okay, now that I have vented.  I think all you loyal readers to this blog have seen me do this before, and well, sometimes, like a steam cooker, you just have to let a little steam out :) 

Yesterday was a funky day for me.  I did not sleep well Saturday night- something was bothering me, so I woke up several times.  When it was time to get up, I had a lot of things on my schedule.  I stopped at Tractor Supply to get some Pro Biotics for Ginger, and got what I thought was CD&T vaccinations for my sheep, but after reading the bottle closer, and asking around, the T (Tetanus) is not in this bottle - DANG IT.  So, I have to return the bottle, and get the right stuff.  Tetanus protection is critical since I band the tails and castrate using the bands as well.  So, let's hope they take it back!  I also got a Border Collie calendar (half price!), and some more feed pans- the gutter was an uber fail ;)   I stopped by Agway and got more dog biscuits (the Blue Seal dog biscuits are by far better than any I have seen anywhere). 

Then, it was time to head to the farm.  Did the usual.  Sheep were all laying down when I got there.  I fed them a bale of alfalfa and a bale of grass.  I put the grass out first.  Well, they must have smelled the alfalfa because they just milled about waiting for the alfalfa.  Pretty good sniffers they are!

After our second walk, I headed to Subway for sandwich for lunch and then home.  I was tired and cold.  Took a hot shower and at about 3:30, fell into a deep sleep for almost two hours- which is unheard of for me.  Then, I had some Ritz crackers with pb/j for dinner and then read the new book (mystery by Sheila Connolly), and that was my day.  Certainly nothing really fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

No more advice, please

Okay, this, I just have to write about. Cold Antler farm proprietor has for some time now become very similar to Jon Katz.  If you don't know who he is, google.  Trust me, he is ALL over the place.  CAF owner believes that he is the bees knees, and tries to emulate him as much as possible.  Recently JK bought an old farm that came with a 30 something blind pony, and JK decided to just put his Donkeys and sheep out with the old pony.  Of course he was attacked (the Pony).  In a matter of days, Rocky all of a sudden got very old and feeble (he had been doing great until then) and they decided to put him down- they were not interested in adding fence, or doing anything that would crimp their style, so off with your head Rocky.

CAF has killed so animals- the lamb by letting her pony chase it, the ewe's new lambs by forgetting that she abandons her own, the chicks who she let her dogs get into, the fowl outside by Fox because she doesn't feel like locking them up at night- the other Fowl who freeze to death because when she does lock them in in the winter, they get out through gaping holes in the barn.   The BC that bit her father and friends- mercifully, that one got off the farm before it too was dead.  The Maine Coon cat she loved so much but dropped dead.  The female Maine Coon who went outside to live, but is now gone too.  The other kitten that disappeared.  The adult sheep that have died.  I wonder why she is getting advice?  Maybe we are tired of seeing the body count grow. She is not interested in being told anything, she already knows how to kill animals all by herself; hubris is rather spectacular.

I have up trying to give her advice- she blocked me on facebook and so has JK.  Only positive comments are allowed on CAF blog, and there are much fewer comments since she instituted that new rule- this must mean that there are loads of um "advice" comments.

Those two should hook up.  That way, they can have only one blog and much fewer electrons have to be used presenting their ego-maniacal drivel.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Sheep....

This morning was similar to most... Awake some times before 5:00 and try to stay in bed until at least 5:00.  Boy kitty was loud- did not help.  Got up at 5 on the dot.  Then I watched Big Cat diary, and then It's me or the dogs...  Then, time for breakfast.  Pancakes were super good this morning.

Got some coffee to go and headed to Home Depot, the bank and then I stopped to get some more straw.  Turns out the straw I got last time was Rye, which accounted for it's crumbliness.  This time I got wheat.  Much better.  Then to the farm.  Walked Joe and Dan, and then fed the sheep.  I bought a gutter for feeding the sheep (grain) and it worked eh- it needs to be anchored.  The irritational thing was that I put some patio blocks on my sled to bring down to where the gutter was, and I just let he sled go... and go it did.... all the way down all the hills- and smashed into the fence.  Broke the front (where the pull string is).  I untied the string and put it at the back in the holes that where there... Anyway, then it was time to clean the barn.  It wasn't too bad, but  took me a bit.  Spread out the new straw, and then I was knackered. I was just beat.  But, I knew Joe would want his second lap, so I dutifully fulfilled that wish.  After THAT I was beat... Stopped by the market on the way home.  Made an early dinner of hamburgers and potato skins with cheese and bacon bits, and a piece of coconut custard pie for desert.  Now I am watching Pit Boss and am about to nap... I am really beat.  I just hope my butt and thighs are responding to this work!!! Though, seeing what I ate... it's doubtful!

Tonight new Pit Boss, Pit Boss, and Dr Pol on TV.  I shall try really hard to stay up to watch it all.

Well, that was my day.  Oh, cuteness- the sheep are feeling very frisky and after they finished their grain, they stotted on the way up to their hay.  Happy sheep makes me happy shepherd :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Selling it

Been a busy time at work this week.  You know, I have been thinking I would love to work on my farm full time, but then, the other half of me says that I do like getting out of the home, and seeing people, and it makes me appreciate what I do even more (with the livestock/dogs).  It's a catch 22 in many ways.  In some ways it makes no sense- I need good health insurance, decent pay, and retirement- none of which I would get if I farmed full time.   I watch Pioneer Woman on TV, when I get a chance, and though she has her detractors, she has pretty much got a life that I could lead :)  Her husband works very hard with their livestock business, and the kids have all been taught to work.  They like to do it!  Ree has definitely been successful in what she does, but I actually think it's great, what she does, even if she has help with it.  One thing you KNOW, is that this family is tight and they love each other- and maybe that's what I like best about the shows... The food isn't too shabby either.

In my area, it's very tough to earn a living farming.  The seasons can be very tough- long hard winters eat into any profit you have; feeding your animals.  If you get a drought in the summer you have to down size.  Basically, I believe in the north east, you are fortunate if you break even.  That's all I want to do, but I am seeing this winter with all the hay I am burning through, that it may be very tough.  I may end up keeping all my wethers to grow out to make the most on them.  I love the hard work it takes to keep up with livestock, well, maybe not love, but I like being physically active to an end goal- be it cleaning out the barn, brush hogging, you name it.  And, if it results in my animals being more comfortable, even better.

Cold Antler farm, whom you probably all know, is an entity I have ethical issues with, but I am trying to accept that we are all different, and do things differently...  Anyway, she is a great writer, who can sell a snake oil salesman snake oil, is very good at drawing people in, as she did me some years ago, into her own little Narnia.  First, it was a little farm, then a farm, then a homestead and now it's "on the mountain".  It just grows and grows, both in her mind and in her writing.  She waxes poetic about feeding fires all night in her small wood stove, just to keep the heat out and pipes from freezing, but she has an oil furnace, and a second wood stove.  Her prose also includes how she has to haul water to her animals every day- even in summer from her cistern, but she can use a hose... ah, but it's much more romantic to talk about the work- that she makes for herself... She talks about the primal need for heat and food, when in fact, all she need do is look in the freezer.  She sells, and I believe she's selling agri-tourism.  It's big now, and she's got that market cornered.  She keeps telling people "thank you, this is your farm too".  This is perhaps the biggest pile of horse puckey I have ever read.  The farm is hers, and hers alone- she just happens to be funded by the naive who honestly think that she must be the first real 21st century chick who is ahem, "farming".  It's a good gig if you can get it.   Every flame burns out eventually... Who knows.  She's not a bad person, she's just twisting a time honored tradition to pay her way in life.  She does not make a living off of farming, she makes a living from selling the farming life.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two bales in a sled

So cold.  You know how I know it's cold out there (besides the furnace coming on often)?  Because the deck goes CRACK.  The cold causes the wood on the deck to shift and you hear the loud crack and think "wow, must be freezing out there!"  Well, it was.  This morning it was 5 degrees F.  Sheep are up to two bales now, and that's where they will stay for now.  So cold, but, am still doing my walks with the dogs.  Need to keep that up.  Good exercise for us all.

Last night Ginger my old kitty was not doing well.  She had been sick, and vomited her dinner up just after finishing it.  When that happens, she gets way out of sorts and will go to her water dish and just yowl so loud- like she doesn't know what to do, or maybe she is in pain.  Finally after about an hour she settled down in her cat bed next to me, and relaxed.  I think she is in pain, that her gut hurts her.  I don't know what I can do for her.  It saddens me so to see her be like this.  Who knows how much longer I will have her, but I will do my damnedest to see her be comfortable and feel loved.

Sheep were funny yesterday.  I fed them hay, then their grain.  When they finished the grain, they all started up the hill back to the hay and several of them just ran and kicked up their heels.  This is a good sign, I thought to myself- they should be in good physical shape.  I put their hay in different places every day, to keep the field clean and to force a bit of exercise on them.  If I have any more sheep next year, I doubt I can do that.  Two bales in a sled or wheel barrow is one thing, more than that, I may end up building a fence line feeder.  Would be wise, so if I want to go away, it would be easy for someone else to feed the sheep. 

Well, that's it for now!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Into every life............

Twas a nice New Years' day.  Nothing out of the ordinary, except for stopping at my parent's house to help my nephew with his college applications.   Lots and lots of requirements these days; especially writing assignments.  A lot more work than when I applied!

I see that last night the House approved the Senate bill dealing with the "Fiscal Cliff".  But, we will all have less money in our paychecks anyhow, as the Social Security cost to us has gone up.  We need to REPORT those who are collecting disability for themselves and therefore, for their kids, when in fact they DO work.  I have no issue with people collecting when they are legitimately disabled, but I see very very many people with far less health issues than most, who do a lot more taxing physical work, but collect...  That's what bothers me.  I guess soon enough we will see what our paychecks are reduced by. 

I have stopped using credit cards.   I just can't use them responsibly, and I need to get rid of that huge debt, or I will never have my own place- never.  I put myself in this mess, I need to get myself out!  So, for orders I make, it will have to be planned ahead and a check sent.  This is a do or die now, because I am in it deep.  The sheep life has cost me, and I knew it would; I call it start up funds, so I need to deal with this.  Being single can really suck sometimes.  But, I am not looking at blaming anything but my own stupidity, and I will get out of this.  If I can stop adding to the credit card debt and keep paying what I do, I will be out of it (maybe when I am 60, but...)

Dogs are good.  I am good- this walking has been excellent for my butt and legs- both areas that need a fair amount of work.  I thought I might try working Joe yesterday, but no dice- still too much snow.  Both he and Dan seem happy just taking our walks.  For now, that will have to do.

Today it's very cold, it was 7 degrees F when I checked.  That's really cold... I noticed that the sheep are spending a fair amount of time in the barn, which means more work for me.  I tried to shut the barn door to keep them out, but too much snow.  Now that I see how cold it was last night, I guess that's a good thing.  

It's back to normal at work now, and lots going on there, in terms of projects and construction, neither are things I want to deal with... But, I guess into every life a little change must fall.

Well, better get to it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fair Winds and Following Seas

I wish all visit this blog and go down this road with me, where ever it takes me, fair winds and following seas.