Friday, July 19, 2019

Old Friends And Family

"Hi, my name is Salt.  I don't know why I'm here. I miss my old farm and my old family.  I'd been there a long time, almost 14 years.  This farm is okay though.  At least there are sheep here.  The other flock dog is nice to me and I've known the shepherd since she came over to my old farm and picked up a lamb named Keebler."

Salt was one of the guardians at the "big farm", where the Final Frontier Farm mommas and babies live after they leave the lambing barn.  She worked there with Old Zee and Brick and the job they did there was epic...yet standard as good flock dogs go.  

Old Zee passed away last year.  The summer farm help ran over Brick a couple weeks ago.  Taking care of hundreds of lambs was a big job for three dogs.  It would be impossible for one very old one.  The scramble to find a replacement was on.  

Guardian dogs are bred to do a job and that job is what they want to do.  The instinct even in puppies is incredibly strong, but they need many months of on the job experience with guidance and supervision before they fully ready to work a big farm with freshly weaned lambs.  Kathy needed to quickly find an adult dog, not an easy task.

Her best option was a female with four puppies on her.  She could borrow the mother until she found something else, but the puppies would obviously come with her.   Putting two females together safely would have been incredibly hard.  A female with puppies...would have undoubtedly killed Salt.

Stella, at the lambing farm, made it perfectly clear that Salt was not welcome there either. They know each other from some past incidents.  Those instincts that make them good guardians are the same instincts that get them into trouble sometimes.  Flock dogs can be complicated. 

Salt's only safe option would be living in a kennel run. Nobody wanted that.  Guardian dogs are bred to do a job and that job is what they want to do.  We offered to try her here.  Our farm is well fenced, Hank, a male, is as laid back as they come and there are sheep.  Several sheep she even already knew.

The first night was terrible.  She was horribly confused and upset.  I slept in the barn with her and neither of us got much sleep.  The next day she relaxed a little, but as evening came she got very agitated again.   Maybe she was thinking she needed to be out working her old farm. The stormy weather wasn't helping anything either.

As the days have progressed, she's seeming happier.  She likes the barn with the cool, dark feed and tack rooms.  Tim moved the trailer (aka spaceship) next to the barn, but she prefers to sleep out in the driveway under the truck.  She hasn't made any patrols yet that I'm aware of, but she does like hanging out with the sheep.  

Hank is fine :-). 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Shouldn't You Be Spinning?

"Yes.  Yes I should.  I'll get right on that, ma'am."

The Tour de Fleece continues.  I have 12 ounces spun so far.  I'm hoping to hit the one pound mark this evening.  

I'm not sure why Maisie was the only sheep up and moving around when I peeked into the barn a few minutes ago.  Everyone else is miserable and cashed out.  The weather is hotter than H-E-double hockey sticks. I get it...

Just kidding, cute little devil ;-D.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Other Frog Pond

For the last maybe 12 years now (?) I've had a small swimming pool in the orchard.  I may have mentioned before how much I hate summer?  Yeah... Well, the pool really helped...until the last two years.  

As the orchard grew and the trees got taller, the pool became more and more shaded.  Shaded to the point that the pool didn't heat up enough during the day to be comfortable enough to jump in at will.  Sure, you could 'woman up' and get in and then it did cool you down, but it wasn't always easy to talk myself into it.

At the end of the summer last year I decided the pool dream was officially over.  Even a solar cover didn't help enough to justify the work and expense of a pool that I only used for a couple super hot days here and there.  I'd turn it over to the frogs.

Fast forward to the brutally hot summer we are having this year.  In an effort to stay out of the papers...and prison...I decided I'd try one last pool.  If I switched the deeper pool for a shallower pool, there'd be less water to heat up each day.  Maybe that would work?

In the meantime, the old pool was now full of tadpoles.  It wasn't their fault that I'd changed my mind.  I toyed with scooping them out and taking them out to the farm ponds, but I love my yard frogs.  Maybe I could create a little habitat for them and they could safely stay?

All of our sheep (except Ewen McTeagle...who knows...) seem to prefer to drink from a galvanized tank, so I had an extra 50 gallon water Rubbermaid tank with shade cover stored at the barn. I hauled it down, added some sand and pond/pool water, some leaves and tree limbs and then scooped out and relocated as many tadpoles and water bugs as I could.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting out there watching them and listening to them as I go to sleep at night.  I cover them up during the heat of the day, because yes, a short tank will heat up much faster than a deep tank ;-).  

I forgot to uncover them last night, but remembered as I was listening to them calling.  I walked out in the bright moonlight to set the top aside and everyone got very quiet.  I hoped they'd eventually start back up, but..."crickets".  

I'd recorded a short video just a few minutes earlier, so I played it back to them and soon all was back well (and loud :-) in frog land and I drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Busy As A Butterfly

My Tour de Fleece spinning the first four days was...a bit disappointing. I did spin every day, but not the two ounces I'd "budgeted" for each day and I was slipping way behind.  After some encouragement from the Wool House Crafters last night, I put my "butt in seat" this afternoon and got quite a bit done.  The "butt in seat" principle may apply to other aspects of life, but I haven't fully researched that ;-).

As I worked, I watched a beautiful butterfly working the Blanket Flowers outside the front windows. I now know it's a Red Admiral.  I've seen one Monarch so far, but haven't started looking for eggs and caterpillars yet.  I've also seen a couple Swallowtails.  I planted parsley and dill to encourage more of them and milkweed for the Monarchs.  Fingers crossed :-).

Click to biggify this picture :-).


Blog Widget by LinkWithin