Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Yesterday it was hot again... the humidity is well, it feels like we live in Florida.  Many years ago I was down in Florida on a trip that my employer paid for, and I was in a rented house. I  remember how humid it was when I went outside and I vowed to never live in a place where that was considered normal!  It was just bad...  Well, this is reminiscent of that time..

When I got to the farm, I decided I would work the dogs each just for five minutes.  Brought mom and lamb in to feed, and I checked one of the Border Leicester crosses.  She has been laying down a lot, and looks very fat, so I wanted to check her feet and her bag.  No bag development and her one foot the front part of it had been sort of chipped some how, so I trimmed her feet, even though they did not really need it.  Maybe she's just hating the heat.. I will keep a watch on her though. 

I selected some sheep to work and started with Dan, did a bit of shedding and that was enough.  Then I worked Joe, just getting his whistles set- almost there, would say he's 90% sure on what each direction flank whistle is, and then need a walk up and then we are set (already has his down whistle).  He worked nice and I think he's starting to understand what I want when I say "lie" which means slow down, on the drive.

Flies are really bad on the sheep.  I have one ewe in particular which is really bothered.  Itchy, and rubbing herself.  I found a place to get natural (that works) fly repellent and will be ordering it.  Poor sheep.  The flies just stink.   The sheep with the thicker wool are in better shape this way, they have more protection.

Got the run order for the sheepdog trial I entered next month.  I run on Friday afternoon and late Sunday afternoon.  This will probably mean I will not need a hotel.  Although, it also means a TON of driving.  I am just not sure what to do.  

Well, that's it for now.  Today is more of the same weather-wise.  So, I will hibernate with the dogs/cat in the house after work/farm!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

18 month pile of pig............

Manure?  Do you realize that since she has had two sets of Pigs (at least) in that time, that subsequent pigs lived in that filth?  Replete with their predecessors brain matter splattered in it?  I cannot believe how disgusting she is.  The concept of "deep pile bedding" means that you add fresh bedding quite often to keep the top dry, and then you clean it out as necessary.  Eighteen months of manure?  THE SMELL, not sure if you have been around pigs, but they are well known for their, shall we say odoriferous output...  That picture.. that absolutely stinking filthy mess, that is just obscene.  I would DIE before I would allow an animal to live in  that mess.  Those poor pigs.  Probably had to butcher them as they were just about hitting the barn ceiling...

Hemming and Hawing

Yesterday Charlie was scheduled to come and pick up the ram lambs.   After work, on the way home I stopped at the market, and then mowed the lawn.  So much mowing this year...

On the way to the farm, I was hemming and hawing about what to do with the sheep when I pulled the ram lambs, as they and their mothers were in the temporary field with electro-net and you should never leave weaned animals in e-net- as they tend to um, disregard the netting while looking for their young...  I figured I would leave them in the larger field and leave the rest of that group in the e-net, but then thought, that will be a small group... maybe mix them... Only thing was, that there is that young lamb, but things should be okay with ram, as she no longer smells brand new, and maybe because she is a she...

Well, all that thinking was for nothing...  When I got to the farm, *someone* had knocked down the gate (which was put up total cob job by me), and all the sheep were mixed... Everyone was grazing, which, considering the heat outside, was rather surprising, but they did look happy to be back together...

I brought momma and her lamb in to eat, and then Charlie arrived.  As soon as the barn door was open all the sheep went in, for it is so hot, they are just really wanting out of that blasted heat- they are panting just standing.  So, I opened the small room gate and they all went in.  I caught the ram lambs and Charlie and I carried them to the trailer.  The biggest ram lamb was HUGE.  It took two of us to carry him and he is bigger than my yearling ram...   Got them loaded up and off they went.  Left all sheep together.  When little lamb is bigger, all are going to temporary fencing to graze that stuff- lots of great browse in there.

I got home from the farm and I made BLT sandwiches.  I took three bites out of one and could not eat anymore.  I think the heat had gotten to me.  So, I ended up just having some rice... I also washed all my bedding, so last night it was comfy in my room, clean bedding, a/c going and read my mystery.  Slept well.

Today will be another hot one.  Poor Dan and Joe are going a bit stir crazy, but it is just too hot to work them much, and I can't get to the farm until the hottest part of the day.  Will take them on a good long walk today.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Grass is growing, lambs are growing and other than that... hopefully my waist isn't! I have been busy.  Did a bit of string trimming until the string trimmer quit (at the farm).  I have been training Joe and Dan.  Getting hot lately.  One group of sheep are in the back of the barn, dutifully taking care of the browse that is back there, and the other group including new mom and June bug lamb (that's what I am calling her), are doing well.  Mom gets a bit of grain once a day and now comes running to me to get that grain. I usually put her in her jug to eat (with June Bug) and then I separate out some sheep for the dogs to work, and then leave the others with new mom while I work the dogs.  Works well.  I have a nice differing group of sheep, so some are good for driving and some good for gathering/shedding.

Went to my nephew's graduation yesterday, it was very well done.  Two nephews graduated yesterday, and we had a party afterward for them.  The cake was amazing :)

Today it was quite warm, so got to farm early and worked the dogs.  They were okay, but it was bloody humid, so not the greatest time to work them.  At one point when Joe was pushing sheep out for drive- SOMETHING caught his sniffer and he literally stopped everything to check it.  No idea what that was about.  Dan and I are shedding again.  He's just not a stellar shedder, he would MUCH rather keep sheep together and many times I try and hold that single a long ways and he will let her get back.. that is so frustrating.  I am going to start to teach Joe how to shed this fall, when it's cooler, he needs to understand and like it.

I am hibernating in the house today, thought I should mow the lawn.. .But it's 86 and very humid, YUCK.

Hope it cools down before next weekend...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mrs Wallace

I have figured it out.  I always said that the animals were her muse.  The recent post about the falconry where she talks about riding her horse having a Hawk sitting on her arm.  I think she actually believes she is a cast member of Braveheart.  I am not kidding.  Seriously.  All this not so that she can actually do anything constructive with the animal, but just so she can see the image of herself with a Hawk on her arm sitting on her Horse.  What is next?  I BET she will start having horse jousting competitions, and maybe how to build a knight's armor.  Haggis will be the next recipe.  Look out everyone, here comes Mrs Wallace ;)

It's a girl

When I got to the farm yesterday, I did my customary check out the sheep before I sent Dan.  I had been doing this of late, because of the pregnant ewe, and not wanting to send a dog out to get sheep and her maybe being otherwise indisposed... As I checked yesterday, sure enough she had a water bag.  I decided to bring the flock into the paddock, and then into the barn.  She was pushing standing up, and then quickly lay down.  She was very vocal during all of this.  In not too long a time I saw a foot.  So, I waited a bit, and then I could see she might be getting tired, and as she is a bit young to be lambing... and well, I am a worry wort.  So, I brought her into the jug and proceeded to help her.  As I pulled one leg, the lamb pulled it back- I love it when they do that...  Anyway, after her pushing and me pulling, we got it out and I put it in front of mom, cleared nose/mouth and rubbed a little and mom was cleaning it immediately.  Little one was also trying to grab on to anything to nurse.  She got up pretty quick, yes, a girl :)  I gave mom a bit of grain, fresh hay and water and left them to be.

This morning on the way there I hoped all was okay, one never knows... When I got there, they were happy together and I gave mom some grain and fresh hay/water.  Later, I opened the gate to the jug to see if mom wanted out.  All she did was meander in the room, so I took that as a sign she was not quite ready to introduce her lamb to the big wide world.  So, I put them back in the jug.

There was supposed to be a guy coming to buy the ram lambs, but he never showed.  I am not surprised, as this guy did not seem so, well, honest.. hard to put it, but I did not really believe he would show up.  So, the boys get to stay a bit longer.   Since I was there, I set up a couple rolls of e-net so I could put the hill sheep in it tomorrow.  Lots of great browse and grass, which ought to keep them a good long while, so the other field can replenish itself.

So, now I am home and for some reason I am just very very tired today.  Oh, wait, I did work Joe this morning. I must have picked the perfect sheep, as they just stood where ever I put them and I actually got to let Joe do several real outrun/lifts/fetches!  He was great.  So happy with him

Oh and when I got home I did get the lawn mowed, even if it was really too wet in the lower portion of the back yard from the 2.5" of rain we got!

Petticoat Junction, NOT

Anyone remember this schmaltzy show?  Well, last night, this is what came to mind after I read more fantasy drivel.  If I read one more time about the "mountain".... Folks, it is no mountain, it is a hill, just off a main road, with street signs, stores and myriad of people.  Saying it is mountain homestead is like saying I am a an *almost* Pulitzer prize blog writer...  almost.. yes, that's right ;)

And, when people who live nearby look askance at you after learning that you are alone there, it ain't because you must be lonely, my dear, it's because it's a mess, and smells and how can one person actually make that big of a mess?  No, it's not sympathy, it's discontent with having a feed lot next door.  Remember, there ARE people near there... lots of them.

Every farm has smells, and a bit of mess- you know, baling twine around, or piece of wood, or the like, but real, true farmers take a look around, and clean up as they are out there... they take pride in their place.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tin man (woman) needs oil

With all this wet weather I am particularly concerned with parasites- worms, in the sheep.  Since I found that one yearling ewe (the preg one) thin at shearing, I have wormed her several times, and she seems good, but not strapping like I would like.  I wormed all last month, but since then saw a couple green butts.  I ordered some Valbazen wormer, and now all lambs/adults have been wormed with that.  I do not like to worm more than I have to, but I know how lambs can go down hill fast from worms, and of course the adults, who have some resistance to them, pass on lots of eggs that lambs can ingest, so, I figured all would get a good dose of Valbazen.  Now, probably will not worm again for a couple months or more- lambs will get another dose probably in August.  Losing that one lamb was a giant wake up call.

I am very sore from my finagling the sheep for worming.  I am walking rather like a tin man who needs oil.  But, it's done...

I have loads of house work to do, but I am just not really interested in doing it... I think my sister and I need to agree on a price and I will have her do it!  Hmmm, boy would that be nice...

Nothing really interesting happening, except for last night, in my dreams.  I was laying in bed and Ginger came up to me, purring, very happy and lay in the crook of my arm.  That was a wonderful dream.  I miss Ginger so much and I have not really reconciled it... 

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


The one ewe left to go!
My little girl Tank
The inseparables
I love my mom
WW I bi plane

I think I like Sheep

I am having some pancakes and strawberry jam with my coffee, and I made too many.  Even though the dogs/cat already had theirs (before me) I guess they will get more!  Coffee is good.  Coffee is the elixir that makes the day actually start and my mornings very efficient...

I watched a lot of "Mountain Men" last night.  It showcases several different people in different parts of the country living off the land.  It is interesting, but I see the same thing happening to the guy Eustace in North Carolina, as me- struggling to pay tax bills and finding good, intelligent help... it's a common affliction it seems...  It can be hard to find good help, but it's out there...  Interesting show, new one on tonight, on A&E.

I am pretty tired today, not sure exactly why, but partially because I thought about my sheep last night.  I have decided not to sell the ewes that the man wanted, as I will just not have enough for breeding this fall.  They are good quality ewes, and I just can't let them go.  So, just the ram lamb and wether like I initially planned is for sale.  Not sure if he will take them but we will see.  Money is not everything... today anyway!

I may work Joe and Dan today, or I may be lazy.  It's one of those six of one, half a dozen of the other days, where you could very easily just chill,or  get off your butt and get things done... maybe after more coffee...

I want to get some cleaning done in my kitchen here at the house and sled out the big pile of Thistle at the farm.

I never got started on my new book last night...

Well, that's it for now.  Soon, I will take new pics of the lambs.  The black cross bred lamb who was limping the other day seems better now and oh BOY is she gorgeous.  WOW.  You know, I think I like sheep ;)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nice man....

Busy day today.  I had to work, so got there at crack of dawn, and then off to the farm, as I had a guy coming to look at some sheep. When I got there, I checked preggers and her friends, and separated preggers and a friend out, and worked Joe on the rest.  He was a good boy.  Grass getting mighty high; needs to be mowed- brother said he would...  After I finished working Joe I pulled thistles out.  Did not have shovel, only a pitchfork which made it harder.  Got them all together and then they man showed up.

Had Dan gather the sheep for me, and the guy and I stood at the fence with sheep held to us by Dan.  He did very well.  Sheep all in a nice tight group.  After we checked them out, we then went to the other field and I had Dan gather them into the paddock.  The guy right away noticed my littlest lamb- how pretty he says.  Yeah, she's nice I do like her a lot, and she's staying..

So, we made a deal and I am supposed to hear back from him next week.  He wants to start his own flock. Nice man.

After he left I walked Dan and Joe and then checked hill sheep again.  Ram has loose droppings, which I think is from the grass, but to be sure I wormed him.  I also fly sprayed everyone, as they are really irritated by the biting flies.  Tons of them after a rain.  I feel bad for them.   Gave both fields of sheep some minerals, cleaned out the barn, and then headed to parents' for a visit.

Now home after a nice early dinner and just about ready for a nap!

Will read my new Murder She Wrote mystery and shut my eyes for a bit...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Confidence in driving....

Been a busy week.  Work has been busy, and as we all know, summer brings on a lot more yard work, etc., to be done.  Got the lawn mowed and string trimmed, and it looks great.  Next is to trim the shrubs- they have never grown this much before, it's incredible. 

I got the barn cleaned out and limed and shut the door, so no more mess in there.  I like for the sheep to be comfy, but even just the few that go in there, make it a stinky mess, which brings in flies.  So, it's closed off now, until of course the huge amount of rain we are expecting tonight through Saturday. The ewe still has not delivered, so I have to keep everyone in two fields, so the males don't bother the new lamb.  I have a buyer for a couple ewes and the ram lamb, so they are going soon.  The ram lamb is a total stunner.  Wow. 

One of the ewes is being bothered by the flies, more than anyone else.  I put swat on her, where she is itchy and sprayed everyone with fly spray.  I also sprayed the trees they hang out near, so if they rub against them, they get some fly spray on them.. thought that was pretty smart. ;)

Been working Joe and he's been doing well.  We have made progress in confidence in driving and he's quick to respond to my commands.  I think we have our away whistle, and by next week will start on come by. 

Well, that's the update for now!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Don't get me wrong

I hope you don't get me wrong. Dreams are special, and if you want something, you have to go for it.  But, you need to have a good plan; carefully thought out, and always be prepared for road blocks.  Even though I am so very fortunate to be able to do what I am doing, always, in the back of my mind is that this IS a huge luxury and if I had to, well, I would have to make the big decision... Then, that's when the big question gets answered- how bad do you want it and can you do it....  I hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, I hope I am up to the challenge.

If you want something, start thinking about how to go about getting it... start working toward it, but do not believe by luck and fame, you will get others to fund it for you... because THAT pool of resources will dry up.. and you will be left selling your personal possessions just to keep a roof over your head...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A glimpse into part of our day

I pull into the driveway, and as I get out, I am thankful that I did not get there much later, as it is already quite warm out, and in this heat and humidity Dan and Joe get hot very quickly.  Coffee filled travel mug in hand, I open the back of the Jeep and let the dogs out.  Dan, then Joe.  Dan makes an immediate bee-line down the hill with Joe in hot pursuit.  They know our path, we have taken it every day for all of their lives..

As I walk down to the first gate, a green welded bar gate, I have Day stay and then walk through, I release Dan and he and Joe gallop down the first part of our walk through the middle field.  I look up to the hill field, and do not see sheep, but I know where they are; they are in the center of the field, under a Maple tree, staying cool.  We continue our walk, and I remark to myself that I have never seen the grass this tall.  I believe it's Orchard grass, and the seed heads are almost chest high!  I then add, that we need to get this mowed!  We continue on our walk, Joe runs ahead, Dan runs ahead but always checks back in with me. I spy the sheep right where I thought they would be. About half way through our walk, all of a sudden about one foot from me, a big brown blob flies up off the ground, I quickly realize it was a Turkey- a hen, and there were several tiny Turkey chicks peeping to keep in touch with their mom who just beat wings to get away from the dogs and I.  Fortunately Dan and Joe are not hunters and we leave the little Turkey chicks to find their mom...  In addition to the jolt by seeing a Turkey that close to me, I am also smashed into by a 17 year Locust who must have been scared by said hen, because as she took off he/she simultaneously hit me and bounced off.

We continue our walk and Dan jumps into the pond, as usual, to cool off.  I then bring Dan and Joe to the Jeep and leave them in their crates with the back open, and I set to check the sheep.  I have two groups of sheep now, since there is another ewe that is pregnant, and the wether, yes, the supposedly neutered ram lamb is mounting her and reacting to ewe's urine... great... I do not need her bothered by him.  So, yesterday, I took the older lambs/mothers, the ram and the wether to the hill field, and leave the two youngest lambs, their mothers, three non -pregnant or mother sheep, and the pregnant ewe in the lower field.    The latter group is in the barn, the coveted area- when it is hot out, for two of the walls are field stone, making that room cooler than outside.  I check everyone out see that pregnant ewe is not looking close, so then I decide to clean out the barn a bit.  I get that done and then, it's time to leave and get home to get more cleaning done.

Thanks for coming along....