Friday, January 29, 2016

Happy National Puzzle Day!

Boy, this week sure got away from me!  Sigh...  The beautiful snow has all melted and the 50s and 60s predicted for the next few days sure feel like winter is over :-(.  Hopefully February won't let me down.  

These are not the Hank pictures I mentioned last post, but I like them, too.  I will do a full(er) Hank post next week when my brain is working at full(er) steam.  If you have any more Hank or Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) questions, leave them in the comments or drop me an email.  

I'll let Hank take over now.

It was a beautiful foggy frosty morning.  I took a really nice shot focusing more on the cattails with the Frog Pond behind it, but I think Hank and his tracks add a nice element.

Passing the little Frog Pond, headed back to the "big pond".

On the way back.


Always paying attention to the back of the farm.

And his sheeps at the barn.

And me :-).

Headed back in.

Hank and I love the snow :-).

Here's a new puzzle to celebrate National Puzzle Day.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Only Thing Better Than A Walk With The Dogs (And A Cat :-)

Is if a sheep joins you :-D.

Tilly, Hank, Kate, Comby and I started back to the right side of the ponds yesterday.  As we shooshed through the snow along the creek I heard a "galump galump galump" and Liddy came racing past, bouncing through snow drifts, kicking up her heels, chasing the dogs.  

She hasn't come on a walk since she was a little lamb living in the house.  I guess she was tired of being cooped up at the barn with the old fogeys.  Note, they all could have come along on our walk, but the ambition levels up there when everything's snow covered and I'm bringing them breakfast in bed...not so grate akshully ;-).

They all played around the trees at the end of the arena for awhile and Liddy snuffled down through the snow and found a little grass to pick around on.  Comby and I brushed off a spot and sat down in the sun and we all just enjoyed hanging out on a nice afternoon.  We'll make it back to the ponds another day.

Here are some iPhone pics.  My battery died before I could get any video.  I momentarily regretted not having my big girl camera, but in the end was glad I didn't.  I could never have captured pictures that were as fun as being there in real life.  

As always...  "Spend the afternoon.  You can't take it with you."  Annie Dillard

I've had a couple questions about Hank and about livestock guardian dogs in general.  I have some beautiful Hank pics to share tomorrow and I'd be happy to try to answer any questions you might have.  I am Not An Expert by any means, but I can share our experiences and some good resources.  

If you have a question(s), leave them in the comments or drop me an email and I'll do my best!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Poor Hickory

I was taking some snowy sheep pictures this morning and kept hearing an odd squeaking noise coming from somewhere around the barn.  I finally determined it was Hickory, rubbing on his closed stall gate.  

Wait a minute.......why is Hickory's gate closed?  ...and why is he in T-Bone's stall?

The "boys" get a little grain in the morning.  They each get the same amount, not much, so I don't bother to shut their respective gates.  They eat quickly and let themselves back out.  T-Bone never goes in to check Hickory's feed tub.  Hickory never doesn't check T-Bone's ;-).  

"Boy, that hay sure looks good!"

"Sure wish I could have some of that hay!"

I knew what had happened.  That gate falls tight against the eye hook that I'd hook into if I really wanted to lock them in.  I've seen the gate get wedged in like this before.  The interesting thing is that it can only happen from the outside and with a fair amount of push.  It wouldn't accidentally shut like that.

"Yep.  T-Bone locked me in here so he could eat all the hay."

Poor Hickory.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wanna Go For A Walk?

As I'm sure everyone well knows, I love winter and especially love snow.  Just before time to start evening chores yesterday, Kate, Tilly, Hank, Comby and I decided to take a walk and go back to check for tracks at the ponds.

We looked at tiny mouse and bird tracks, little rabbit tracks and then found an interesting set of tracks crossing the not so frozen Frog Pond.  I'm not sure who made them. They were single file like a cat, maybe, but I don't think the ice would have supported a cat.

When I climbed over the dam for the big pond and saw the heron tracks, I decided to go back for the camera.  My original intent was to document interesting tracks, but as so often happens, the story ended up being the walk itself.  Enjoy!  I know I did :-).

Tiny tracks along the creek.

I'm sure Hank knows who made these tracks.

What first caught my eye was the set of skid marks (upper right).  Our heron has been here all winter. Did you know that herons will catch small rodents out in the middle of fields?  I'm guessing mice are not their first choice since they are mostly seen in creeks and ponds around here, but now when I see one out in the fields, I watch a little closer.

More single foot tracks crossing a busy intersection.  Any thoughts?

"I don't really care about heron tracks.  I'm going to go check the muskrat dens."

I was taking pictures of Hank on the far side of the pond when he crossed over the ice to the peninsula :-o.  I guess hope he knows what he's doing.  Luckily the water is not deep there, but still... Be careful!

Weaslie's in most of these pictures.  You just can't see her under the weeds.  Kate is checking tracks by the tree on the left.  Tilly is in front of the tree on the right.

And Comby is everywhere.  I was trying to explain to someone why it's so funny that Comby is always sleeping in the calendars when he's actually the hardest working only working cat on the farm. I don't think they believed me.  We know better :-).

Taking the high road home.

I love this picture of Hank watching Kate.

Looking back at the barn.  One of my favorite spots.

Hank loves to go for walks, but if we stay out too long, he heads back in without us.  I guess he's been away from his sheep as long as he wants.  Normally he'd be sitting up near the barn with them, but part of his flock (me, Comby, Kate and Tilly) is still out back, so he's sitting down by the creek, splitting the difference.

Headed up to punch the clock.

Headed back to the heated cat condo.  I give Comby credit though.  The only other set of cat tracks anywhere on the farm are the ones that might be crossing the pond.  Claire Bear and Eli haven't ventured out in days.  They don't know care what they are missing ;-).

Monday, January 18, 2016


I don't even want to know...

Although he could stand some treadmill action...

I'd seen the ad before - for The Campaign for Wool.  Here is the rest of the story - text from the YouTube link.

‘No Sweat’ features Graham the sheep putting human gym bunnies through their paces. We know the secret to what makes Graham so ‘incrediwool’. Natural, breathable and durable, stay cool with wool. ‘Wool, is seriously durable’

I'm not even going to let him hear the word "incrediwool" ;-).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

On A Dreadfully Cold And Dreary Day

Here are some sunny shots from the other morning.

Maisie and Andy having a hay eating contest ;-).

I haven't noticed Baaxter's X in a long time, but there it is!  In real life it just looks like some random spots to me, but I guess the straight on head shot via the camera brings it out.  Sometimes you "see" less with the camera and sometimes you see more.  I'm glad to see the X :-).

Sadly, just a head's up....fleeces :-/.  We had a ton of trouble getting enough winter hay in the barn this fall.  The weather (mostly too much rain) was just against the local farmers all spring and summer.  The hay we normally buy (orchard grass) didn't produce well.  They hay we finally found (panic late in the fall) is a mixed grass...with a lot mixed in.

Orchard grass is a clean single blade with nothing to really grab and stick to anything, perfect for fleece protection.  This hay is a mix of blades, leaves, flowers, some weeds and even some prickly bits.  It goes everywhere; however, the sheep love it.  They eat nearly every single bit.  I've had waste as high as 40% with orchard grass in years past.

The denser fleeces are holding up pretty well.  Not much gets down through the thick coats of Blossom, Liddy, Chocula, Woody, Lila, Maisie and most of the Jacobs...  The long wools (Hershey, Murphy, B. Willard, Keebler, Rebecca Boone, Graham...) look awful.  The sheep, however, are all much happier and, bottom line, that's more important to me.  

So why is Hank sitting over here by himself?

So he can keep a close eye on those dastardly horses!  I cheated and tossed the horses hay over the fence at the sheep end of the barn the other day.  I was out of bales in the side shed.  Sorry, Hank.  I won't do that again.  You are a good dog.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Go Outside And Play!

"You mean...rather than have you bring us breakfast?!?"

"Yeah!  Let's go out and do something.  Come on everybody.  I'll lead the way!"

It was a gorgeous morning.  After a few days of wind, snow and single digit temps, sunny and 20s was a treat.  Yes, let's go out back!

Kate can take the sheep out by herself, but since I had the camera, I decided to go along.  Some mornings we go out to the Pond Field.  Some mornings we go to the Upper Paddock.  Some mornings we go to the Back Field.  Today we headed to the ponds.  

Kate works her way back and forth to keep them headed in the right direction.

I had a question about the Liddy photobomb in the Kate post the other day.  Yes, that was Liddy. Liddy is not included in the group of sheep (that's her trailing off to the right) because as far as Kate is concerned, she is not a sheep.  In fact, if Liddy is loose in the yard and you tell Kate to "go get the sheep", she'll run right by Liddy, frantically looking all over trying to find some sheep :-).  

That's okay, because she did a great job tolerating her as a bottle lamb living in the house.  I'm not sure if she thinks Liddy is a member of the dog pack (remember, she also has to tolerate the "darling" Miss Weaslie, so her pack is pretty dysfunctional at best ;-) or what she thinks about her.  Regardless, in Kate's mind she is Not A Sheep.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

On out they go :-). 

It was still a little snowier than I thought it might be, but maybe they'll stay out for a little while.

That'll do, Kate.

Good job!

"Are you sure you don't want them a little further out?  I could help you with that!"

They stayed out just long enough for me to set out a bale of hay.  As they made their way back to the barn, a few decided to run in.  Liddy was in the lead (being she's Not A Sheep, she probably knew what I was doing ;-).  Maisie realized she was getting beat so she dug in and hit the gas and by the time they came up the alley, she was in the lead.  

I have never seen a sheep who loved to race as much as Maisie.  Even as a sickly little lamb, when she was having a good day, she loved to race around the yard and up and down the driveway.  Remember her Super Maisie cape?  Or her Super Maisie Parka?  Or this funny video?  I need to get a new video.  She really is fast and the determined look on her face and her propeller tail is just classic.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

More Similar...Yet Different

This looks like a dining room, but it's actually more of a den, also known as "the room where me and Janbaby beat Saint Tim and City Boy at Spades!" 

Here's a hand for you, Janbaby!  Tim's other brother, Peter, and sister-in-law, Linnea, create stunning artwork, including these gorgeous playing cards.  

Peter also carved the two big fish.

The back of another neat shepherd.  He used to live in the foyer and was temporarily moved in here until the foyer remodel is finished, but I think I'm going to leave him in here.  Aren't they just so fun and such neat detail.

The next two close ups are for Far Side.  I have no idea who these characters are.  I found them headed to a dumpster and it made me sad.  With all the shenanigans and drinking beer and being out in the woods, they really could be Saint Tim and his brothers and cousins. They are welcome here.

Not all old pictures were serious :-).  

Around the next corner to the bathroom.  This was the room that really needed the most work.  

A favorite rug by our friend Charlotte of Weaving Memories (no website, but you can find her at the Kentucky Wool Festival in October.  She uses all recycled materials and this rug "used to be" a bath towel :-).

You might recognize these knobs from the old kitchen.  They were painted by Ouisha McKinney and I'd originally planned to have her make a whole set of knobs for the cabinets and drawers in the new kitchen, but we really needed something for in here right away and these fit the bill.   

They are all different breeds of sheep and I have one extra left over, a Soay sheep.  Hmmm, wonder if I know someone who might like it... ;-).

Here was the only way I could think to get a picture of the other side of the tiny room.  This blue is the exact blue it used to be.  The only room that actually changed color was the dining room.

I hope you enjoyed the art tour of our bathroom :-D.


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