Tuesday, April 30, 2013


So, Dan and I ran at the Chatham sheepdog trial on the weekend.  It was an utter failure.  Wow, I was shocked and dismayed, and frankly, worried about my dog.

It is a long outrun- 400+ yards.  Flat field.  hedge row to run past and it is thicker on the right (this becomes important).  Our first run, I sent Dan out and he took his re-directs but was still flat, and pushed the sheep to the right.  I walked up and whistled a bit (the sheep were now out of sight behind the trees).  Then I see Dan come back, with no sheep and the sheep had been pushed down toward us for exhausting and we did so.  So weird- to have him come back like that.

The next run was basically a repeat of the first.  Sent him - he was tight,  took re-directs, but was flat again and pushed them, apparently to the set out and then dropped in behind them, and just came back to me.  It was the strangest thing I have ever seen him do.  I think he was out of his depth there, totally, 100% and was not confident enough to work for me that far away.  I think he may have just felt that the sheep were fine with the set out person...  

Lots of tough runs, some good ones.  Hindsight says this trial is just not something I should have ever imagined was a good idea... boy, an expensive stupid move on my part!

Other than that!  it was a nice trial, good weather, saw some trial friends and the trial ran very smoothly.

Another trial this weekend, and let's hope Dan will bring me the sheep... I hope he can, as if not, there is  no reason to trial him....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Free shipping

I confess I have not started the second item on my list... The day I was going to do it, both my shoulders were bothering me.  My shoulders are not the most primo parts of my body, in that they are a bit creaky and get offended easily.   Yeah, any excuse...

I have been trying to separate off mothers/lambs for feeding from the main group, but can't do so, because once I DO get them separate the lambs are too jittery to eat.  So, I am just going to feed everyone for now, and when I wean the lambs, they will get some grain.  

Now, when I go to the farm, the first thing I do is walk the dogs around the hill field, as usual.  Usual, but now there are sheep in there.  This causes undying adoration from Joe.  So, yesterday, we started our walk and Joe ran ahead, and came up behind me- he ran around the entire field... then, on our second walk he did it again.  That's two miles he ran/walked.  He wasn't even winded. 

I worked Joe and Dan yesterday.   Working on Joe's whistles/flanks.  Dan had an interesting job to do.  I had to put the sheep back to hill field when done,  and I had to have the gate open to that field when I sent Dan to get them from other field.  First, I had Dan push the rest of flock up the hill.  Then I stood midway between the fields and sent Dan.   He had to go through two gates and STAY on the come by side that I sent him- he did that well.  Then, the sheep, of course, ran to where their pen was, which bunged them up.  From my point mid way between fields I had to get Dan to do a come by along the fence in shape of L, and get them out of corner and then cover so they would go into paddock.  At first he did some bumping, but finally got quiet and figured out what I wanted.  It was very good for him to be challenged this way.  Good boy Dan!

When I got home last night I brushed Dan with regular brush first and then we went outside and I used the furminator on him.  He looks a lot better.  I got a ton of under coat off his back legs.

Joe's new larger crate for the house should be here by tomorrow- I hope.  Then, Dan will have his present crate to ride in in the car, which is bigger than the one he has now.   Looking forward to Joe AND Dan having more room when crated.  It was free shipping for the crate, which is great!

Well, that's the update for now!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What a very good dog

Yesterday was a very nice day indeed.  Had a relaxing morning and then headed up to farm to feed sheep.  Not sure what I will do about separating mothers/lambs and those who do not get feed... as it is very hard to separate the two groups...

After that I headed to my friend's place to work dogs.  Worked Joe and Dan.  Dan did well, we worked on driving and a bit of shedding.  Dan has a bad fault where if I put pressure on him, he will spin away, not because of sheep but because he believes I want him totally off the sheep, and it will get hit at trials as well as it tells the sheep the wrong message.  I did some things in training him as a young dog, that I will never do again, and that is put a lot of pressure on a dog before they are ready.  I feel like I am at least learning from my mistakes.  Those of you who work dogs, learn from my mistakes!  I was happy with Dan, except at one point he would NOT take a left flank.  I see this at the beginning of trial season last year.  So, I had to get closer and then we worked on freeing up that side... 

Joe worked very well.  Good out runs, and worked a bit on pace at the fetch.   He did something very amazing though, that I want to share.  I was on a hill looking down at him and having him cross drive to my left.  He was moving with good pace, not fast, not slow.  The sheep separated on him, into two groups.  Without me saying a word he went out to bring in the further group back in, then, did a square flank to bring the group closer to me back in and then kept going.  I did not say anything at all... I was absolutely well, amazed.  Still am.  What a very good dog.

I got home relatively early, and just relaxed a bit and lamented that I do have to mow my lawn very soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I did it!

I did it.  I finished that manure pile!!!  Praise Jesus!  I am so glad I stuck with it, even on the days I really wished I could just ignore it.  After I finished it yesterday, I stopped at my parent's house to have a cold drink and chat with my parents.  My dad was home and he always has questions about my sheep.  He is an old farm boy and you can see a glint in his eye when we talk about this stuff.  I know he's happy for me, and happy that I am doing something he did, though, if you were to ask him, he would tell you he does not miss it one bit!

After I chilled a bit, I went back and brought some panels to the hill pasture.  I had turned all the sheep out and they are now out for the duration.  I need the pen so I can pull out the ones I want to/do not want to feed and also the ones I want to use to train the dogs.  I don't want to have to grab and wrangle more than I have to, especially with lambs a foot.

Very chilly last night, almost made it all night with no heat, but by 3:30 I had to get up and turn heat on.  I am so low on oil..it's scary.  But, I have to buy 100 gallons and it's almost $4.00 a gallon... and well, I would rather be a bit cold... especially when I have other pressing bills to pay.

I just finished an egg.. sort of.. I make two and eat 1/2 of one and dogs get rest.... oh, and cat gets a bit too...

Today is a fun day.  I am not going to start my next task, I am going to have some me time.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More of the usual

I can see the finish line!  So happy.... Once this job is done, then on to the next... Today is a big day... I am going to move the maternity crew over to the hill field for a bit of grazing.  I will feed them first, and then bring them over.  There is a lot of garlic mustard coming in, and I would love for them to get a bit of that... 

I am going to leave the dog working sheep where they are for now, as I don't want that ram lamb walking a lot while he's sore, and I also don't want them mixing with the other sheep as separating them is a total nightmare to deal with.   In a few days everyone will get rotated up there to the hill field daily.  With the weekend coming I can spend time on this.  Then, eventually, everyone will be together.  The smallest lamb is growing nicely, so she should be able to keep up.

My allergies are kicking my butt.  I had to take some Fexofenadine today, as my eyes are watering and I am sneezing.  Tree pollen is bad now, and that's one of my worst offenders. 

My Forsythia shrubs are in full bloom now, so pretty.  You know, my house may be very small, but it's very cute...  It's perfect for me.  Over the years I have planted different flora here and there, and slowly it has become "me".  There is work to be done, but by and large, it's not bad.  I love coming home to my house, and it took me years to say that.

I am going to go look at another pasture for my sheep.  This place I had considered earlier, but discounted because there was a home for rent too, and it would be too far from work to consider.  But, I got a phone call earlier this week; the land owner wants me to come and see if just the pasture would work for me.  I will make the trip because I said I would but unless this is PERFECT land, I doubt I will do it.

My Kitty has lost some weight- which is a good thing.  No more eating Ginger's food, I guess.  I picked up Ginger's ashes the other day, but still have not had the strength to open the bag and deal with it.  I will, some time...

Today, more of the usual...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Productive is good!

I am making serious headway on the manure pile.  I bet maybe three more days of doing this and I am done (see, it WAS big).  I was a machine yesterday.  Busy day at work, then up to the farm.  First thing was feed sheep, walk dogs and then I cleared out the Jeep and went and got more hay; hopefully last hay I will need.  When I got back I cleaned out one of the water tubs, refilled it and then put hay away.  Oh, and before I left to get hay I worked both dogs.  The ram lamb was a bit lame on his front leg so I caught him and checked, and trimmed his foot a little, but it wasn't really needing it much.  He seemed better after walking around..  Anyway, after hay unloaded, I moved more manure and then worked the dogs again.  THAT is when Joe was a star.  WOW.  WOW.  WOW.  Totally working and listening.  I see that his issues are him being young and energetic, not um, less biddable than I thought- glad I saw that.  After I worked Joe, we then took our last walk.  I had Dan walk behind me, and Joe just trotted right ahead of me.  I have to keep Dan behind me or he's nuts trying to herd Joe.

When I got home I hit the wall of sorts, and was asleep very early.  It was a good productive day!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Not ready for prime time

The weekend is going pretty well.  Need to clean a bit... Maybe later, but right now, focus is on outside.  Oh, and by the way, the allergies have kicked in.  Ain't that great!?! NOT. Will stop by the pharmacy this week... have to (a-CHOO!)

Picked up some hay yesterday.  Only got 6 bales in the Jeep- I had put a tarp down and taken the dog crates out and left dogs at the farm.  It was actually GREAT! to not have to borrow someone else's vehicle.  Next year I know how much hay I will need, so will get it all delivered.  I think maybe ten more days and all will be on the pasture.  Depends, but I think that will be it.

I am pulling Joe from the trial I entered him in. He's just not ready for prime time.  He's going through this stage where he's all about keen-ness and not listening as well as he should and I actually like that, and do not want to come down on him as hard as I would have to, to trial him, so we will keep chugging and allow him to grow up.

I got more of the manure pile moved yesterday, and will do more today.  Worked the dogs too.  Dan was superb.  MAN do I love working him.  The more you work him the more on he is.  He was born to do this stuff :)

The sheep are good.  I put that skinny yearling in with lambs/mothers and she's looking better- probably from the grain and the worming.  She's occasionally trying to steal a feed from the mothers... boy, she is a bit old for that!

Today plan is manure moving, working dogs and then clean the house....

Friday, April 12, 2013

Brush up

Yesterday I got more work done!  Tackled that giant manure pile and then started in the paddock where the ewes and lambs are, getting the old hay into piles, ah, more piles to get rid of.   I also did more house cleaning when I got home...

This morning I am sore- lower back just not feeling great.   Today it is supposed to rain heavily, so I will give me a bit of a break today.

I have to get hay over the weekend; just what I can stuff in my Jeep.  No trucks available and I don't need that much.  To pay $50 for delivery of 10+ bales is ridiculous.  So, I will put a tarp down in my vehicle and load up as much as I can.

Joe was better working yesterday, but I did not work him much.  My sheep are pretty light after having been sheared, so it's tough....  Dan did well.  Just a brush up for him.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pledge Drive

I was beat yesterday, from the previous night of not much sleep due to the storms that came through.  I woke up, cat woke up, dogs woke up...  So, needless to say no manure moving done... it is really not that fun a job, if you haven't guessed... I will try and get some done today, but it's raining... yeah, any excuse will do!

Worked the dogs yesterday.  Dan not loving doing off pressure flanks, have to tune that up, and Joe, oh my word, Joe was not my usual Joe yesterday.  Just did not listen well... Did not want to stop, take off pressure flanks, and as when I had taken him near Dan who was tied, to take a break, I turn my head for a second and then look back and he's gone- gone to go get the sheep.  I chalk it up to reminding me he is still really a pup... and that running in a trial in a few weeks may be a big mistake!  We shall see!

Rain is fore casted for today and tomorrow... I hope the weekend is good.  I need to go get 20 more bales of hay.  With the rain and warm temperatures, grass has gotten a kick start.  I figure by end of April the sheep will be out with the flock, save for the little girl and her momma... I have to figure that one out, as I don't want ram hurting that wee lass.

Today I have a busy day at work, and am thinking I would like decent food to eat, but probably not, as not paid until tomorrow.  Maybe I can do a pledge drive for food?  JUST KIDDING!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I was very efficient yesterday, even against my better judgement...  I moved more of the manure pile, and when I got home I took care of the piles of winter detritus that I had raked up over the weekend.  Felt good to get caught up a little at home.  Planning to hit the nursery soon to purchase a few shrubs to plant on the one side of my yard.  So many times I have considered moving.  But every time I think about it, first, the money aspect is way too daunting and second, well, this little house is perfect for me.  Cheap(er) to heat/cool and close to work.  Fenced in back yard for the dogs... So, I stay. 

It was VERY warm yesterday.  After our walk, Dan even went swimming in the pond.  He always does one circle.  He's just like his dad Glen that way.  Glen used to jump into the pond and swim out and swim back to cool off.  Dan may have seen him do that once or twice, but I think it's in his genes to do it.  Joe will not swim.  He's seen THINGS swimming in there, and he does NOT like that!

Had some storms roll through last night; thunder and lightening, therefore I did not sleep much.  Got some much needed rain, and I think we will have some on/off showers through until the weekend, which is great, we need the rain!

This weekend I have to pick up the last load of hay for the season.. Thank goodness.  Then, sweep up the barn and get it ready for the next one!

Today not sure what will happen.  I am sore as can be from pulling that lamb....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lambing bucket list

Yesterday it was pretty warm out.  When I got to the farm, I knew I had worn the wrong clothes- a light weight turtle neck.  I did chores and wormed the thin yearling and put her with the mothers/lambs, so she can get some grain for the next few weeks, until they are out on grass. 

I decided not to work on the manure pile because it was so warm, and perhaps I was being lazy..  The sheep were warm enough to go into barn to cool off.

I decided to stop by John's even though it was 50% I would or would not... I did.  And when I arrived, I knocked on his door, but no answer, then I went up to driveway and saw his dog in his truck, windows closed and no a/c on.. so I immediately called him.  He said "I just called you" I am in the barn, I've got a ewe with a....."  so I ran to my truck, put on my muck boots and got to John who had a ewe in a jug, and I saw a lamb's head hang out.  I asked him if he wanted me to hold the ewe and him pull, but he asked me to pull, I had smaller hands..  Well, this lamb's head was SWOLLEN, and the legs were back.  Was so tight, I could not really get in there, until I realized that the lamb was rotated such that her/his legs were at 9:00, so I went in on the side there, and had more room.  finally got one leg and got it forward, then got the second leg forward and got them out.  Then got the shoulders pulled past the crest.  The rest should be easy, right?  Um, NO!

I pulled with all my might (arms shaking, me swearing like a drunken sailor).. I had good grip, but no real progress.  It made no sense.  At one point I pulled and BOOM!  the body split open.  Yep, torso opened up and I saw all the organs and now me and the towel are covered in blood.  This lamb must have been dead a while.  Anyway, I am pulling and swearing.. etc... I am now worried that it will break in two.  A good note here, is that I was breathing through my mouth.  Finally after what seemed like an eternity, I get the lamb pulled.  His/her hind legs, etc, were normal.  PHEW.  I was BEAT.  As I walked over to a chair to sit down, John said "you are a prayer you know", then added, "I was calling you, and did not get you but you just appeared when I hung up" - the prayer being that I would stop by and help with the emergency.  God does work in mysterious and wonderful ways.

I washed up best I could and had a beer.  Before I left, I suggested John get some Penicillin into her (when lambs die, they release toxins into the ewe and can kill them). 

When I got home, I had another beer, a pot pie and went to bed.

I have added another lambing scenario to my bucket list.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shearing, etc

The shearer arrived at 1:00.  I had all the sheep in the barn; lambs in small room for safe keeping, momma and lamb in their jug and then, after discussing, we put the to be sheared sheep in the room where the mom's jug was as it was smaller.   It went well, pretty much... One ewe did keep biting him... when he said that I laughed very hard, although maybe it hurt... anyway, smart sheep.   Only one nick on the sheep, most at the very same place, weird...  but small.  He does not do the greatest job- some have some stubble and beardish looking wool on neck, but the two Romney/BL crosses, he did better job.  He says their wool was about twelve pounds.  Amazing. I am going to offer it for sale on CL, it was clean and nice... if I spun... which I don't...   All sheep look good, the Romney/BL crosses are fat, so are moms with lambs.  The yearlings and ram all look good, except for my home bred girl, she's too thin.  I don't know why she is thin,  but she may now be sold.  I am going to get her in the barn to collect a sample and bring it in.  If she's a ne'er do well, she will have to go, I am afraid.  I don't believe it is a wise practice to keep sheep/animals that do not do well, unless it's something self limiting, like delivering and lactating for triplets or the like.  We will see.  I am going to body score her today and get that sample.  It was great to get this job done, and see how the sheep are.

I did not get any other work done yesterday, but I sort of figured that would be the way it went.  Today is back to normal; cleaning more manure away from barn and I also want to get my house clean. 

There is a fun trial this weekend, which I think I will go to.  It will help be decide if Joe is ready to trial, but I don't think I will anyway.  I have thought about it, and don't want to push him at such a young age.

Spring is really coming on now.  Beautifully warm morning and a sense of renewed life everywhere.  I am grateful for that.

Well, that's it for now!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Earlier than planned

Well, shearing is happening today; earlier than initially scheduled, but it's okay, needs to be done. The only thing I don't like is the new mom with her lamb- she has to be sheared as well.  Mom will be done last of the white sheep, and put right back in with the lamb.  They will stay in their quiet room, while it goes on.  Have to do lamb's tail today too.  I am putting all the other lambs in a separate room, so they will not get jostled around.

Am making eggs right now, and at some point I will move along- first job is to help John do tails etc.

Well, my eggs beckon...

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Got to the farm today and found a lamb with a tail :)  New little girl, picked her up, brought into jug, dipped navel and will keep them there until tomorrow.  Mother is attentive, baby seems good.  Tomorrow is shearing, so I will probably hold her in my arms when her mom is done.  Don't want jostling around.  Did get several sleds of manure moved today.  Just finished eating a wonderful steak/potato/green bean dinner.  Next up will be baking some chocolate chip cookies.  Then, chilling.

Manure, fence, and tails

Last night I slept like a rock, and fell asleep hard.. I know this because I never turned the heat on and I never shut the gate to the litter box area... Thankfully dogs are not loose in bed room at night, and my house did not get below 50.  I was actually pretty comfy.

I just finished some eggs/toast, and am having coffee, and then I have to get started.  Have to hit the market, then feed store, and THEN get to that manure pile, and maybe start on the old hay in the paddock.   Once those two tasks are done, then I can start to work IN the barn and loosen the old steer/chicken manure with water and get working on that.   I also have to get more T posts and put them in- finish the fencing in the big field- as the fence is sagging. I have decided to just do all of this myself.  Hiring people has it's own issues, and having my nephews help me while somewhat helpful, I just can't get things done as fast as I like (I am a task master!).  So, I am just going to do it all myself.  Pace myself and get it done!  I know how to do it, and why should I beg, plead who knows WHAT else to get a man to help?  Naaa...  much more rewarding when you get it done yourself anyway.

I am going to try and work the dogs today, but will depend on how much I get done with my work.  I like to be in a good mood to work the dogs, and not tired.  We will see. 

Tomorrow I help my friend John separate lambs/ewes into two groups of older/younger and we do tails (he uses and emasculatone (this crushes the blood vessel and cuts the tail off).  This is not my way of doing tails, but needs to be done (he only does ewe lambs as rams are going to be sold for meat).  Yesterday he had a very nice single ewe lamb and twin ewe lambs.   Every day on way home I stop and check out the new lambs.   

Well, all this work isn't going to get done on it's own... better start moving!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back to life, and getting over things

I was in a funk.  A total 100% funk, and this time, I did not create it.  Things out of my control.  I have said before, and will again, that if I don't have something nice to say, I don't say it (unless I am really not happy!)  So, after explaining the situation to my family, who all totally understood my funk, and that no, I could not, at Easter service pray for anything negative to happen to anyone (not that I would, but it fleetingly crossed my mind), I sat and looked at FB all day and stewed.  Easter dinner was very nice, quiet.

The sheep are good.  I have 5 lambs, 4 Chev and one Border Leicester/Cheviot cross who is jet black.  Three ewes, two rams, and one ram is wethered.  The intact lamb will go to Charlie to be raised for meat.  There is still one ewe to go... She got bred by the ram lamb... I can't believe it, well, I can now, it's really not that surprising, but honestly... she must not have liked that other ram ;)

I am slowly adjusting to Ginger being gone, and my other kitty is totally cuddly to me, and gives me solace.  I attach deeply to my animals, and losing them is like losing a member of my family.

Dogs are good.  Been training them, mainly shedding with Dan- he has an interesting method, and one I am sure Alasdair would  not approve of, but it is what it is.  Joe is learning driving, and I brought him to a friend's place the other day, first time we could do real outruns since November and he ROCKED it.  I could not believe it.  I actually stopped working in no time because I was so happy! 

We are having another field cleared at the farm, so this will make it four fields though only two are fenced. I would like to use electro net on them...  once I have any money.. that is...

Oh, remember that manure pile?  70% gone... little by little!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I am not totally gone yet... maybe I will come back, thanks to those who contacted me..  I am just not in a great place at this time, and need a break.  See you soon?

Monday, April 1, 2013

All good things must come to an end

I have pretty much decided that it is time for the blog to end.  My heart is just not into it for some reason.  Part of it is that I feel like my life needs to be more private, and I don't like having those who may not wish me well, be in an up front seat here, reading my blog every day.  It's bothered me from day one, but I have ignored it.  Also, I feel like I am where I want to be in my life, and if someone wants to be my friend, then they can be that.  I don't need an audience.  Maybe as I age I am just becoming more private. 

At one point I felt the desire to share, but these days, I only feel like sharing with my friends, and there are too many followers here that upon being asked who they are, decide that they don't want to fill me in, and therefore, it leaves me thinking that I am just a "thing" to follow.  No, not any more.  Perhaps I may come back to this, or, maybe I will just post big updates in my life, but for now, I just have to stop posting.