Thursday, December 31, 2009
These happy folks are lounging on what remains of a 700+ pound round bale. This picture was taken shortly before we hauled two more bales into their pasture. We remain grateful for the rain as there is still some pasture. Many of the sheep were down the hill grazing while the cows & larger goats staked a claim on the remaining hay.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The pups are probably close to 25 pounds each now so Amy is definitely admiring Katy's work as she lugs them up out of the woods. Of course, since they are still babies they tire out & don't want to follow after a while. Katy gave up on waiting for them so decided to just carry them herself. Eric & Katy had been taking Gwen & Allez for a little stroll through the bottom pasture & woods for a few days in a row. Yesterday I came out of the chicken house & something caught my eye. It was Allez slipping under a gate to join Gwen. They both gave Regina, another of the Anatolians, a quick sniff & proceeded towards the woods. I caught them as they were heading down the hill. It took me a good fifteen minutes between lugging them back to the top of the hill, keeping them on the proper side of the fence & keeping the cows out of our faces. Puppies!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Last Saturday when we got Ravi, the beautiful Anatolian Shepherd on the left, we had to make the rounds and let him meet the other pasture dogs. Regina, our Anatolian in the cattle pasture and woods, was not nearly as aggressive as we feared she would be. Ravi was obviously not at all threatened. Of course, having Al & Katy manage the introductions made all the difference rather than an unattended stray dog wandering up to the fence. Now that a week has passed, Ravi is getting along beautifully with all of the dogs. He is enamored with the pups and his only misbehavior has been when he shoved himself through a gate to follow the pups as Eric and Katy were taking them for a walk down to the woods.
Dot, our adopted-from-a-rescue-group cat, is reminding me that I haven't dyed any fiber this week. Or at least that is how I'll interpret her visit to my empty kettle. I am in the process of inventorying my handful of unsold yarns. Fortunately, there were not many that didn't get snatched up these last few weeks. The fiber helps pay the hay bills. The hay feeds the sheep & goats. The sheep & goats produce more fiber. Wonderful cycle - and I have lots of fun playing with all of them!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
No pictures today - still just overcast & sort of murky. But we only got about an inch of very cold rain with no ice, snow or other challenging weather. I don't mind a good snow or even an occasional ice storm but I don't like it when the electric fencing is down in the pastures and the hoses are frozen. Anything that makes caring for the animals more challenging is not fun.
The puppies are doing fabulously. Gwen and Allez are now spending time between the barnyard and Amy's pasture. We are hoping to give the pups to Amy, our nine year old Anatolian, to train them with the livestock. She is content to spend time with them so far.
Although we'd already arranged to acquire the pups from Iowa, I came across an 18 month old Anatolian Shepherd on Craigs list just a few days before the pups' flight. His owner was looking to downsize on the dog population a bit and he was young and feisty so was the fellow to go. We checked him out and discovered that he had a pleasant (but adolescent) temperament, was already living with goats and also had puppies on the property with him. We decided to take a chance and brought him home. His name was Robbie which we were not terribly fond of so we changed it to Ravi, a handsome name that makes us smile.
Right now Ravi is working out beautifully. He calmly met our other dogs, is thrilled to have two puppies to wrestle with, has not rankled the livestock and is fairly obedient. He has visited our vet and weighed in at only 94 pounds so he still has a bit of growing to do. We feel like he has been a special gift to our farm and a wonderful accompaniment to the new gals.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I finished this scarf without help from the puppies! I would have usually done it out in the stable but they have the space right now & I didn't want to take any chances. In another day the pups should go out into the pasture with Amy so that I can have my space back & then it will be back to work.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The temperatures are still barely above freezing but the sun has peeked through. The oxen took a break from a new bale of hay to groom one another. I am amazed at the amount of time they spend just licking at each others' shoulders. I can understand the warning we were given when seeking out a team - they are bonded for life and one will pine away without the other. They are not related but have been together for so long that I cannot imagine them apart.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Things have been pleasantly busy here. One of the things that has taken a bit of time is the search for a new Anatolian Shepherd pup. We lost Lila, our oldest dog, in the summer. We have Rudy, a way-too-old & very deaf Great Pyrennes, but he is simply a sweet old man who is in retirement. Our remaining working dogs are two great Anatolians, Amy & Regina. Amy is the dog that we would like to break in a new pup so we figured we'd better get that process going as Amy is now 9 years old.
We began a web search for pups and after many e-mails & phone calls came up with a gentleman in Iowa who had two pups left from a litter of 13. These are working dogs who have been raised with livestock & poultry - definitely a plus. After some discussion, we've decided to take both sisters.
Although we'd contemplated the 14 hours drive each way to retrieve them ourselves, we concluded that shipping might make more sense. The gals should arrive at the airport Saturday afternoon!