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11 November 2010

One Very Long Mis-Adventure

Dear Readers,

Today, as usual, the time set back threw me off and Surge's insistance that I feed him at his five o'clock - not mine, promted me to begin feeding.  (I plan to circumvent this by starting to feed the crew at 3 - I swear they will have me feeding in the AM before too much longer!)  I gathered up my gear, slipped on my crocks and trouped outside, to be greeted by a courus of "maaaaaaaaaaa!!!" and "baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! - along with Surge's "I'm going to starve to death!" yelp.

Since, as you know, my first goat breeding season is upon us and LaLa is a HUGE prude.  This would not be a big deal for a more seasoned goat herder, but for me it has made getting her bred difficult; I have been checking her downright religiously every twelve hours wince November 6.  I always feed CJ first, then LaLa because when she is done eating I relieve her milk bag and check her for heat.

Boy, did she have a surprise for me.

As I emptied her milk bag, I checked her lady bits - only to discover she was in RAGING heat!  Of course she wasn't flagging or peeing or any of the other signs I had prepared to look for! (She has her own special set, pawing, trying to mount CJ, and head-butting Jazz - she's not even very vocal!)  I thought: "CRAP!  Crap, crap, crap, crap, CU-RAP!"  LaLa shot to the barn to munch on some hay I'd pulled down. Thinking I was right, I went a head and trimmed her hooves up.  Threw some hay to the sheep and went inside to think.
Let me start by saying - I was completely unprepared for this, even though I knew it was coming this week.  I really thought she would hold out until Thursday or even better, Friday  when Chris has the entire day off and could lend me a hand.  Then we could all pop over to S-Stock and put her in with Excel.  Oh, no, no, no, no!  Miss Prim and Proper, had to wait until Chris was gone to work. I've got a potential "bean" in the "cooker", so I could not lift anything heavy - including the camper cover or LaLa.  So, my wheels began turning.
 I shot my sis-in-law, a quick text to confirm my suspicions of the unusual signs I saw, she quickly confirmed them.  I shot an email to S-Stock, the buck's owner and KD, LaLa's co-owner.  S-Stock encouraged me to bring her on by, which I had no real thought of doing. At this point I was manic with excitement,  I had actually CAUGHT her heat early!  This means girl goats!  (Well, at least I think I had since I still have no firm idea of when she came into heat, how long her cycle is, or when it will happen.  We are working on that.) Quickly, I realized that if I waited until Thursday I would miss a very important window of opportunity, but this was going to be very very hard.

A few of my FB friends gave me some suggestions as I had no where to really put her, but in the truck in an open bed.  I knew that she would raise all kinds of cane and probably jump out on me, so I began contemplating putting her in the cab with me.  I did not relish the idea.  What if she peed on me?  What if Chris was upset that I put her in Monica?  What if it stressed her out to much and caused her not to settle?  Realizing that LaLa is basically calm and sweet, I thought it can't be that much different that driving a large dog around - right?  I decided then I would put her upfront with me, open a window, keep her on the passenger's side as much as possible, and somehow clip her close to the door.
Okay, now - how to get her from the ground to the cab.  She is much to refined to JUMP.  I searched among our hardwood pallets and found one that would serve as a ramp - yes!  I clipped a leash on LaLa and hooked her to a T-post outside the fence, there were a few more things I needed to take care of first.

I dashed inside, my brain doing somersaults.  Write check.  Grab towels.  Grab feed. Grab flashlight.  Check, check, check, check.  Grabbing a sip of tea, I zoomed out the door with my arms full.  I stuffed the check in my wallet, threw the towels in the cab's floor, put the feed and flashlight on the hood of the truck.  I went to get the start of this show, LaLa.

She was standing there complacently, waiting.  I led her across the red porch around the cottage and back to the truck.  Grabbing the grain, I began easing her up the ramp.  She followed fairly willingly, but wasn't sure about actually getting IN the cab. I climbed in the bed and pulled - nope that wasn't going to work, it was completely pulling her in the wrong direction.  Fussing, I clamored down the side of the truck into the cab shook the grain and began pulling her into the cab.  She jumped in easily and promptly tipped her grain bucket over.  I shut her in and ran around to the passenger side, freeing the ramp so I could shut the door.  I grabbed her leash and shut it in the door.  Then grabbed the ramp and tossed it in the back - who knows If I would need it or now.

Sighing a small breath of relief, LaLa was now loaded in the cab.  I jumped in with her and pushed her gooey rear away from me so her back feet were in the floor board, her front feet were on the seat and she could see out the back window.  I put a blindfold on her, but that caused her to panic and she immediately fell between the door and the seat so I yanked it off her face.

Stomping the gas to warm Monica up, jamming the gears and spinning the tires - LaLa and I headed down the driveway much to every one's disapproval and chagrin. (Surge and CJ were pitching royal fits!!!)  LaLa bumped her head as I overly-eagerly left the driveway excitement possessing my body.

I had even managed to write directions down and everything went off without a hitch!  We made it down the highway with no big deals, but I was panicking and praying inside.  Wolf had taken our last monies to work with him.  I have no idea why as he had left them here all week.  And the truck sat on empty, I prayed that I could at least get there and back without and problems. 

The sun dipped down behind the horizon and darkness settled upon LaLa and I.  Fortunately, I was able to read the directions sufficiently enough to get us to the destination.  Even though I did drive by it the first time.

We got to S-Stock, got her unloaded  (where she promptly peed - good girl LaLa), and put her in with Excel.  (I'll have to write more about that experience later on!)  I talked with Excel's owner for a long while and would have stayed forever - I stayed a good long while, but seriously I have so much to learn.

Using the push pull method again, LaLa was reloaded now smelling like a buck and seemingly determined to put her bum in my face.  I pushed her to the passenger side again and hoped the truck would crank.  It did.  (And I know I probably woke some one up or at least scared the daylights out of someone, you have to gun the crap out of the truck to get it going!)

I swallowed my fear and set off again.  I must of turned the wrong way or something as I got lost in suburbia for at least the first 10 minutes until I finally found my way back again.  Retracing my steps LaLa and I were quickly back on the highway. 

We were doing great (minus LaLa's smelly bits and her dropping goat pellets every 30 minutes), until we crested a hill and the truck started missing, then coughing, and sputtering, then she died.  I pulled off the shoulder at the top of the hill, absolutely dismayed.  But I refused to give into my fear.  I pushed it away and began thinking. 

Now my sis-in-law lives about 10 exits from where I was and I was pretty sure they had some gas I could borrow, so I called her straight away.  I dialed her number and waited.  There was no answer - my heart sank.  I left a message anyway thinking she was outside or something.  I also texted her.  But I knew, I simply could not sit there and wait for her to reply - I had no idea what she was doing or where she was.  Though her habits would dictate that she was home watching her favorite prime time TV show, I could not be sure.  So, I went back the drawing board.

I looked over at LaLa, she seemed to be doing okay.  I petted her and discovered she hates semis going by up on the open road.  She was panting a little, so I knew this was stressing her out and that for her sake I had to get help to get us moving from someone I could trust and fast.

I looked at my phone.  Wolf doesn't have a cell phone, but some of his co-workers do.  Now, I had no idea who would or would not be working.  So, I selected everyone I knew from my phone book that I thought might be at work with Chris - it was about 7 to 10 people and I sent them all the same message.  Within a few minutes, I got a reply from someone I knew and trusted well, CC.  He was sending a friend of ours, L, with some gas.  I was told to look for a big red Chevy truck. I thanked him profusely and began waiting.

LaLa was getting really stressed with all the vehicles zooming by and rocking the truck.  Fortunately, I had brought a blind fold with me.  I folded it over 3 times and tied it tightly around her eyes.  She still was worried and it was getting cold in the truck, so I put a thick towel over her eyes, neck, and shoulders.  She almost instantly started calming down.

Well, it was dark - as in pitch black - so I knew I would not be able to see the color, but I could identify the headlights. I began searching for the flashlight, and couldn't find it.  Crap!  I left it on the hood of the truck back up!  No good to me there!!

Sure enough after about thirty minutes, two Chevy headlights popped up behind me.  I unlocked my door, waited for cars to pass and for this person to approach.  I automatically took my defensive Tae Kwon Do stance, with my weight resting on my front leg and my hands ready.  But I saw L's white-blonde hair and knew it was him.  I called out in a wavering voice and thanked him as he approached.  It was a fairly awkward conversation.

He emptied the contents of the can into Monica as my feet froze.  I was so GLAD I had enough sense in my head to bring a sweatshirt.  He said, "See if this works."  So, I hopped in Mon, pumped the petal and nothing happened.  Man - oh man - did my heart jump in my throat.  I tried again.  Nothing.  I jammed my foot on the clutch, my right toes on the brake and my heel on the gas and stomped her.  She jumped to life!  The roar of her hot rod engine cutting off L's words. 

I waved a very grateful thank you.  I could have hugged him, but that just isn't appropriate or my style.  I gathered my wits.  Watched the traffic and pulled back onto the highway.  Finally, we were going HOME!! 

L followed me a good ways as he lives just an exit or two before mine.  I waved again as he got off to go home and continued on to my exit, just up the road.  The truck quickly heated up, warming my toes and LaLa.  So, I took the towel off of her and yanked the blind fold off .  She looked around, grateful for her sight again and seemingly comforted that we were moving.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled off the highway onto our exit.  Turning left we headed home.  Just 3 more legs left and I would be back home under the watchful eye of my dogs and reclining in my favorite chair.  I dreamt of the delicious homemade bread I had made that was calling my name.  I turned down onto our country road, full of bliss and joy.  Taking each curve with caution so as to not upset LaLa.

When my bubble of happiness was shattered, as the truck cough, sputtered and died. AGAIN.  I was furious.  Luckily, it is a straight drive so I was able to force it to move some, but you can't get very far without gas.  It had died in the middle of the road.  so I hopped out and pushed it about 20 yards.  I jammed on the breaks as the wheels left the pavement.  We were sitting at a 10 degree angle.  As soon as we stopped, LaLa peed - filling the truck's floor!  Well, I can't blame her.  She had waited a really long time.

It was pitch black.  I was about a mile and a half from home.  Not wanting to call anyone else or not thinking anyone would come with me so close.  I decided at 10 at night to walk home with LaLa.  I wasn't about to leave her behind.

I put on the emergency flashers and left the parking lights on.  Knowing Wolf would be home in an hour and a half and be able to help me get this thing HOME.  I jumped out and went to get LaLa.  Her door was locked.  I tried that again, but with her door unlocked.

I pulled her out and she easily jumped down.  I lead her around the truck onto the pave ment and we began walking.  She just wanted to stop and eat!  I wouldn't let her as I had no idea what she was eating.  She has breaking my hand with her reluctant place.  I formed a loop in the lead and tied it around my waist. 

The stars were beautiful and we trekked along, both of us glad to stretch our legs.  Hearing a car coming I got us a little off the road.  It began to pull off and I sucked in my breath.  Now, I do not like strangers and I like even less someone pulling over in the middle of the night.  I vowed then to carry some sort of weapon on me when I am alone from now on.

The interior lights came on and it was a young couple.  The asked if that was my truck and if I was okay.  I said I was fine, I just had to get my goat home.  That brought some laughter.  They told me they had room for me, but not the goat.  I was not about to leave her on the side of the road - hello bear snack. 

They gave me a flash light, but were really concerned for my safety.  As was I.  Had I had Surge or Jazz with me, I would have continued alone in the dark without a worry.  But I had no light, no protection, and a big bear snack attached to me.  The girl was very worried about me.  She said, "No, it is way too far for you to walk - let us go get my Dad's truck and come get you and the goat."  Asking me to wait there, they said they would be right back with the truck.

Now, I really hate to wait when I KNOW I could be making progress toward my goal.  I just knelt down with LaLa beside the light they had given us and waited.  I gave them until 10.30 and we would resume our walk. 

The couple reappeared well before then with a HUGE dodge truck.  Rearranging the bed, the asked if she could JUMP in the bed.  Laughing I told them no, she would never make it!  They had no idea what to do with LaLa.  Just pick her up like you would a dog, I told them.  They did not seem to understand what I meant.  So, I demonstrated and the girl copied me and together we plopped LaLa in the truck.

I refused to leave her yet again, as I knew she could jump out and hang herself.  I clamored in behind LaLa and crouched down behind her as they shut us in.  It was wild!  As the truck took off, I curled up behind LaLa, using her as a windshield, but my hands became almost instantly numb from the cold.  Every bump sent me to worrying about the possible "bean" in the "cooker."  I gritted my teeth and prayed for the best.

We were at the foot of my driveway before I knew it.  They wanted to drive me all the way to the top, but with the things they had in the back it would have been too dangerous for LaLa and I to remain in the back of the truck.  I insisted we would be fine and hopped out as soon as the tailgate was down.  The girl and I unloaded LaLa.  She thanked them with a sniff.  I thanked them profusely, waved, and started up the driveway.  The couple stayed behind until I got most of the way to the top, making my shadowed body look like a giant marching up the hill.

The Anatolians went NUTS as I came close!  Smelling it was me, they finally stopped. Jazz and Surge were happy to see me and LaLa return.  I immediately put her back in the pasture, where she and CJ exchanged familiars.  I gave Jazz a pat on the head and went inside to collapse.

Wolf came home shortly afterward and we were able to get the truck home!

03 November 2010

Understand

Dear Readers,

I have finally begun to understand my Anatolian Shepherds.  I know it sounds like a fairly simple statement, but for a girl who wasn't really raised with dogs (them living inside) and has never run a farm - this is a huge accomplishment (and undertaking).

When we first brought Surge home, well it was love at first sight for me with these dogs.  I met a Champion Inana's Bay Boudreau of Lucky Hit (or Boo as he was introduced to me) back in 2007.  He stepped out of a huge white van and was very graceful and dignified.  He simply looked around the surroundings and never barked.  I didn't have to even bend over to touch him.  Most dogs that big are goofy and slobbery, not Boo.  He was flat out impressive, but reserved.  I knew then that I would have to research this breed. 

When we went to look for a guardian for our farm, I remembered the Anatolian Shepherd and it's guarding abilities.  Me being me, I dove right in and started looking for a dog.  The more prudent thing to do, would have been to visit dog shows and other farmers with Anatolians.  Little did I know what I was getting into and how much I would learn.

I knew Surge was different the minute I held him.  My grandfather reared AKC Labs, so I had seen a pup or two, but this guy seemed to understand me as soon as I could figure out his communication pattern, which interestingly was very basic and canine.

I will admit that I was overly "heavy handed" with Surge at first, but quickly realized that being loud and swatting him all the time was not the way to go with this dog (I had read that Alpha rolls were what I needed to do, so I did them, but my heart broke every time as I just seemed to be scaring him because I was.)

Then, I backed off almost all of my corrections, when we got our miracle dog Jazz when Surge was 6 months.  I realized we lacked the immediate knowledge and he needed a mentor, so she came home - what a blessing that dog is!!!  She will forever have a place in my heart and home. So, then Surge seeing that I was not the Nazi I was began taking whatever liberties he could get away with and played with everything small within his grasp.

I realized again that my methods were incorrect and that he probably needed to be removed from the situation.  I also stopped bringing new animals home to allow him to get use to what we have - I am that way myself in many respects.  This lead to our building of his pen.  He is now (almost) 11 months old.

I have been introducing him to the goats on a weekly basis - at first he fell right back into his old habit of chasing, but I firmly yet gently corrected him and he straightened out. 

We have learned that Anatolians are not the types of dogs that will do whatever you want them to do when you want them to do it simply for your pleasure.  That is what Jack Russells and poodles are for, right?!  We more or less treat our Anatolians like children with fur coats - not that we pamper them - no, but we respect their intelligence and development.  For example: If Surge is mis-behaving, instead of rolling him like I once did - I not swat him on the nose or use a BIG loud annoyed voice with clapping to let him know what he is doing is not OK.  I treat him like a 3 year old.   Jazz on the other hand can be curbed with a quiet word uttered in a firm voice.   We treat her like a 9 year old human.  It took me a long time to "get" these dogs and no they are not for the average Joe and lots and lots of research and interaction with the breed should take place before you buy or rescue one so you can understand what they are all about.

This is kind of a funny story that just showed me how smart my Surge is:
Surge was barking incessantly, which he does not do for no reason.  He is NOT a recreational barker.  He barked ALL day, which was extremely annoying because our bedroom window faces his pen (we put the animal that needs close watching in pen as I can hear it all the time).  We did everything we could think of short of choking him or electrocuting him to get him to stop.  I believed it was because Jazz was in heat.  WRONG.  The problem : he had knocked over his water and was thirsty. 

 They will show unwavering loyalty, respect, and will guard you with everything they have without a second thought to what it will cost them.  I absolutely LOVE these Turkish guardian dogs.

27 October 2010

Who knew, a prude!

Dear Readers,

Specifically all you goat folks out there -

This is my very first breeding season and I am REALLY excited.  Now, to take away from me sounding like a complete  newbie, I have assisted with kidding in the past at my sis-in law's farm (and if she had a website, I'd put a shameless plug for it right here for her at Red Hill Farm).  But, assisting with kidding and breeding your goat are two compeletly different ventures.

Being the inquisitive and researching individual I am, I asked around about the signs of a goat in heat: bleating for no reason, squatting, tail flagging, mounting other goats, pawing, and discharge.  I felt pretty well prepared and well versed in what to look for and was sure that if I kept a moderate watch on her that I would easily know that she was ready to breed.

That simply wasn't the case.  LaLa didn't bleat annoyingly and drive me mad, she didn't flag her tail, squat repeatedly and not pee, mount other goats...in fact she has been a down right PRUE about when she is ready to breed.

Thinking I'd missed it I began looking at her "parts" to make sure I wasn't loosing my mind and after about 10 days observation.  I SAW she was in heat.  Sneaky.  She had some mild, I mean MILD swelling, and mild discharge.  She pawed at the doe kid some, but that was it!  I was pleasantly surprised to find she was not a loud mouthed...horny female goat.

Now, I just gotta keep my eyes glued on her you-know-what so I don't miss her next heat.  According to my handy breeding calculator and spreadsheet, she should come back in November 11th.  I hope not to miss it this time!

Worldless Wenesday - A comparision

Question of the season: is she pregnant?


Anica when we first got her.






Anica as of October.

25 October 2010

A Note from Wolf

With Surge's pen cozy and secure, harmony abounds on the farm.

Until.....*pause* you're a.....(what is that call youself....)  Jen's favotire guinea (aka the wife and that sure is hell ain't how you spell favorite.....) uh decided the safe solitude of the Surgeon free pasture just wasn't enough adventure and decided to visit 'THE BEAST.'

Ultimately and quickly, ending up as a limp unbreathing mass of half eaten feathers. (sadness)  The idiotic bird accosted and sharply used as teaching tool to deterr Surgeon continued actions.

So the die has been set the next lonely or otherwise adventerous fowl that feels the need to end it all will become his necklace.

the end

(thank you)

WOLF

20 October 2010

Shooter Jen

Dear Readers,

A bear or bears have been perusing our area since about mid-June.  Mr. Bear killed the Lord and Lady's wether and has also been attempting to maul our across-the-way neighbors dog, apparently for a midnight snack.  Several cats have gone missing - so there is something hungry with a taste for pets out there.

I do not doubt that Mr. & Mrs. Bear live in the 10,000 acres that our property borders (I love telling people that by the way.  Along with a few other hungry creatures.  Although, I really don't think this is a bear attacking.  Black bears aren't so much the Grizzly type.  I mean, I have lived in this part of the mountains for the last 10 years and have only ever seen 2.  One was a mama with 3 cubs - they use to come down to the college dumpster and get free meals. 

I digress...

I believe it is a mountain lion attacking our across the way neighbors and a bear meandering around these parts looking for a free goat meal.  Not on my watch!

All that being said, Wolf decided it was high time for me to get a rifle and learn how to shoot it.  I am not opposed to the idea - I'm all about some Calamity Jen and Jenny get your Gun - ways of the old west type of thing.  So, he bought me a slightly loved Winchester 290 .22 Rifle. And you have no idea how proud I am of myself that I can actually remember all that gun speak!

He took me practice shooting to the flat behind our farm - we were hoping to see one of our nemesis up there (aka the bear or whatever has been terrorizing the area).  I shot some shorts at a few of our late crop sad and tiny Charleston Gray watermelons.  That was neat.  And THEN, I shot some hollow points and the watermelons.  Now, that - that was FUN!  You see the shorts are such small bullets that they have to be manually ejected via the loading bolt dangerous, but the hollow points do not.  And they EXPLODE their target!  The first melon I shot cracked open deliciously with instant gratification.  Perfectly marvelous. 

After I came down off my adrinaline high (after looking for some live game) we called it temporary quits.

Until we found the chicken culprit....
Death to opossum

06 October 2010

Late Wordless Wednesday

Proof that Surge has excellent potential.

This is War

Dear readers,

I am forwarning you that I am about to engage in a long rant - so if you don't happen to be in the mood for one...well you know where to find the back button button, right?

Lately, I have been having insurmountable troubles with my 8 month old natural male livestock guardian dog.

Okay, before you get on your soap box and start telling me that I need to neuter him - let me explain a few things.

First, we are a SUSTAINABLE FARM.  This means that if the world were to shut down tomorrow we could continue living and not be scrambling for food (in that situation, guardian dogs are valuable commodities that could be traded for needed items). Keeping him intact is no different than keeping a buck for breeding purposes.  He will possibly be used to propagate my future guardian population.  He is not in suburbia, he is a WORKING farm dog.  For me to neuter him would make as much sense as to have two does and no buck and expect milk in the next year....nature does not work that-a-way!

Secondly, dogs that are neutered before a year old continue to grow and develop incorrectly.  This is horrible for a dog who will spend his 99% of his life out of doors - running, chasing, working and living with an improperly developed body (all to help reduce other people's irresponsible breedings).  I must say though that the Tolies do love "their" new barn.

Third, yes I have been to kill shelters.  (Actually, I regularly volunteer in a no kill shelter and watching a pet Dalmatian be euthanized ended my career as a vet tech - I have too big a heart to daily deal with purposeful death.) I know there are zillions of animals without homes and I have opened my home to two and hopefully many more dogs and cats will find a furever home here, indoors. but I have the time, the growing knowledge, the explaining understanding of dogs, and the resources to breed dogs.  I have wanted to since I was a little girl - this is not a split second decision.

Surge has now killed -by accident or otherwise- 8 chickens, including 5 hens, three of them being my laying hens and 2 kittens.  After, he killed the kittens something in me changed.  I would no longer tolerate his bad behavior.

I admit, I thought getting an older guardian would "fix" things.  And to a limited extent she has.  But now Surge is older and stronger than her and is feeling his oats.

I am so very tired of being told the methods I am using are wrong.  One man even had the cajones, to tell me the method I was using was cruel - so cruel in fact that I would have been arrested for animal cruelty in his state.  That made me feel horrible!  But here is the kicker the method I was using a dangle stick, which I know is essentially a knee knocker - WORKED!  After 36 hours of wearing Surge now  moves slowly around the livestock, head down, QUIETLY.  Where as before he would zoom by and scare the daylights out of everyone.  So which is better, injured and frightened livestock or cruelty and a calm dog?

I have been told to alpha roll him and yell NO!!!  Well, neither of those really work with him.  He is frightened when I roll him.  And just wags his tail at my yelling.  I seriously doubt he understands either.  Humm...

So, today, I did something different. I thought back to where these dogs come from and what they do.  Okay Turkey - how would they deal with him.  He would live on a chain until they were ready to use him and then he would either be led behind adult animals or be tied to an adult.  I tied him to my waist and went about my chores.  That includes taking him inside to our feed room....

I do no want to chain him again, so I have shut the barn.  Instead I will build a pen for him.  I am using 8 x 5 cattle panels and if he jumps those I will hotwire them... He will be able to see the livestock, but not harm them.  I have also placed a drag chain on him to slow him down.

I think what irriates me the most is that people seem more interested in telling me what I am doing wrong, instead of steering me in the right direction.

That's it.  I'm ordering a book and forming my own damn opinions!

05 September 2010

And then there were three...

Friday morning, usually a refereshing time of day for me.  I get up look out the back door and smile at my animals while I am munching on my cereal.

This was not the case this Friday.

I got out of bed and as usually looked out the back door.  I saw feathers and a dead hen.  I could not comprehend it.  I opened the door and ventured out in my PJs.  I thought our pet rooster had gotten loose and jumped the fence and Surge had "played" with him - until he died of shock.  My eyes darted around the yard, I saw another bird standing in the fence.  I thought it was Doc again - I looked in his cage and there he sat, waiting to be let out.

My brain finally registered something was wrong.  I dashed back in the house, threw some shorts on and darted outside again.  I felt my temper rising at Surge....

I flung the gate open and threw the haphazard latch back on and marched across the pasture, anger hurt and irritation radiating from me so violently that the guardians qucikly bowed out of my way and trotted to the other side of the pasture - out of my sight and out from under my feet.



I stared at the chicken's coop. Everything seemed normal and the same as it had last night.  I could not understand WHY chickens were dead and two were out wandering in the yard.  I opened the door to their coop thinking that something  came through the floor.  Nothing.  Everything was fine inside.  Exasperated, I looked at their run.  And looked at it again.  That's when I realized something had torn the corner of the run loose and created sharp points.  I shook my head no understanding and stacked rocks agaist the torn corner to fix it temporarily.


I spotted the large dark hen, fortuately unharmed.  I crowed her against the fence and scooped her up, as she cackeled loudle in protest.  He soft black feathers brushing against my skin.  I petted her a few times, soothing her and saw her sister on the outside of the fence.  I ground my teeth and quickly popped the hen in my arms back into the coop.

Turning, I strode back toward the gate - watching the Anatolians to see their reaction.  They were shame faced.  I strode through the gate,  quickly circling the perimeter of the fence and getting to the second hen.  I could only shake my head and wonder how she too had escaped whatever had attacked them.  I chased her along the fence, but quickly had to stop as she began to wander in the woods.  Wolf came and stood out on the porch and I yelled that I would need his help...rather snappishly.

After an apology from me and calming myself, we worked the hen back toward the fence out of  the woods.  Holding my ground as Wolf snuck up behind her, he was able to catch her as she paniced and tried to push through the fence.  All the while Surge seeming overly interested in what she was doing.  While I was back there I saw where four of our birds had gone...all killed in the same spot.

I bounded through the gate, snatched Surge up and shook him and yelled at him as I unfruitfally pushed his nose in a carcass.  We buried all of the birds and I finally found the third hen laying behind the chicken run, dead.

After much contemplation, this is what we THINK may have happened - though I'm open to other thoughts and suggestions...

Early that morning, before dawn a raccoon snuck in our pasture and pulled the corner of the fence back.  It then entered the coop and ran the chickens and guineas out.  However, before it was able to feast on any of them, Jazz or Surge treed it and it was able to escape.  Surge seeing new 'toys' in the pasture, began chasing them one by one and playing with them until they each died of shock.  Jazz seeing that he was actually KILLING them, stopped him and guarded the last chicken in the field - either that or they wore him out.

The strange thing about his is - there is no dead raccoon!  We think he climbed up the coop and the dogs pulled and bit at it, but he remained in there safe.  It was not until the chickens escaped did he get a chance to get out.  One of the guineas had a small portion eaten out of it that could have been a small carinvore...

I also think it could have been a hungry Surge, but that seems too malicious of him.....

We secured the coop and are feeding Surge more and working on his chicken manners.  Hopefully, we can get more birds Monday.

04 September 2010

I'm pretty impressed with the progress I've made with the animals in the last three weeks.

I find the goats WAY more eager to come to me now that they know I have grain, but I also find them way more annoying than the sheep.  The annoyance comes from them standing on the fence and baaaaing at me EVERY SINGLE time I walk by, interfering with everything I do, trying to eat everything, and generally acting like herbivoric dogs.  Now, dear reader, don't get me wrong, I do love them.  I just find my patience with them is something that I need to develop (read: they have already made me want to tear my hair out.)

The sheep have their own issues.  They are frighten so much more easily than the goats, well, at least more so than my mature goat.  My doe kid runs away from everything all the time - but I can't blame her, she is little and easy to catch and would probably taste really good!  The sheep are much more like horses; they are wary and unsure of newcomers and not willing to be easily caught.  I find myself, to be a better shepherdess rounding my shoulders, looking at the ground, thinking about the task at hand and not about them.  I am proud to say that they now follow me to their feeding area.  Unfortunately, I have to tie everyone up except Jazz and squirt the water bottle at Sam's horns to keep him from pushing Anna out of the way - horning her rather.  It's thrilling!  She has let me pet her rough wool coat and touch her woolen ears.  It's a bit like loving on your favorite wool blanket.  I often spend that time that she is chowing on grain to pick bits of leaves or what nots from her spotted coat.

Jazz has turned out to be very much worth every penny.  She submits to the livestock and walks with her head down and her eyes averted.  She definately knows exactly what she is doing and I am extremely thankful she is doing such a great job.

Surge on the other hand is another story entirely...  *eye roll*  He pushes the llivestock out of the way, sleeps where he wants, and bullies them every chance he gets.  It absolutely infurates me.  But I have to remember he IS a teenager flexing his newly found muscles.  I just hope he is watching Jazz and learning what she is doing rather than just thinking testosterone induced thoughts! humf!  I can not wait to get him away from the goats and in with sheep and cows ONLY.  See how he enjoys being bullied for once!

Ah yes, the cow.  It is definate.  We are getting calves - probably two of them.  I am hoping for a bull and a hiefer from the auction (boy, research here I come) this time around.  Wolf and I have been doing some research and we've read that calves tend to do better in pairs - they grow faster, eat quicker, and learn.  After getting Jazz, I'm a BIG fan of pairs.  I do, in a way, hate to seperate them, but Surge actually hurt Jazz the other day...so I'm kind of not sure what to do with him.  Of course I will still let them play together at dusk, but each will have his or her own field to guard.

Sometimes, occassionally after wrestling something to the ground I wonder if I'm in over my head.  Well, if I am, it sure feels good!

03 September 2010

Homemade Fly Spray

I wanted to find a fly spray that was okay for the animals to ingest and easy on the wallet:


Recipe 1:
Straight Listerine in a spray bottle.
Watch the eyes!


Recipe 2:
Listerine diluted with water.  2 Parts Listerine to 1 part water.

Recipe 3:
(From Dressage Today Staff)

2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups cold (prepared) tea - Such as Sage or Chamomile Tea
20 drops Eucalyptus oil
20 drips Citronella oil
10 drops Lavender oil
10 drops Tea Tree oil
10 drops Cedar oil
20 drops Emulsifier, such as polysorbate 20

Recipe 4:
Commercial fly spray
1 cup Vinegar
1/2 cup Skin so Soft.

Recipe 5:
Petroleum Jelly - lasts about 3 days, but grease works better.

Recipe 6:
6 caps full of Skin so Soft
1 cup White Vinegar
Squirt of Ivory Liquid Soap

Recipe 7:
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Baby Oil
1/4 cup Original Pinesol
1 tbs Dish Soap
1 tbs Skin so Soft
1 cup water

Recipe 8:
4 oz Skin so Soft
1 oz Cintronella oil
12 oz Vinegar
12 oz water

Recipe 9:
US Forest Service Bug Spray
1 cup water
1 cup Avon Skin so Soft Bath Oil
2 cups Vinegar
1 tbs Eucalyptus
Optional: Few tablespoons of citronella oil

Shake spray bottle well before spraying on human, horse, or dog!

Recipe 10:
Quick Fly Spray
18 oz White Vinegar
2 tbsp Dish Washing soap


Note: Always use 100% citronella oil when a recipe calls for it.  It is a plant based product.  So not use citronella oil that is sold for outdoor torches; that is a petroleum base with a citronella smell.  You can purchase oil at many health food stores or at Cedar Vale online.

Thanks Neke Teague, Luan Klemann, Ashley House Reninger, and Melissa Gray for some of these brilliant recipies!!!

02 September 2010

Our little doe CJ is certainly living up to her name CALAMITY Jane, which dear faithful reader, if you are not familar with this term and are unaware if it's implications and you don't mind me schooling you for just a moment, I will provide the definition.  A Calamity is a state of deep distress of misery caused by major misfortune or loss. Sounds pretty serious to me.....



After wrestling with my bucking bronc for milk and having to catch CJ last night....

Oh, right...I left that bit out didn't I.

I had tied CJ out to let her work on some of the weeds that have overtaken the melon garden -eye roll- and to let her get a few extra nutrients and fodder because I want her to continue to grow up big and strong and healthy.  Well, this little doe believes she is smarter than any human on the face of the planet (typical teenager right?).  So, she goes into her bolting escape mode in which she charges from one end of her lead at full sprint to another.  This scares me.  I mean I am really afraid she is going to snap her skinny little neck.

There she is, freaking slap out and trying to get away from the big bad human.  Snapping her lead from left to right and left again.  Now,  I had gotten an extra plastic covered tie out that was lighter and would not hurt her to keep her from injuring herself.  The only problem was that one end would not open.  So, I attached the splitter we bought at the flea market, thinking that would hold her.  After her third mighty swing around the splitter popped and broke in half and she was free.

I ground my teeth.  Nothing irritates me more than an animal who thinks it is smarter and therefore better than humans.

I could not run inside and get grain, dusk was already settling and I am still freaked out by the wandering bear that mauled my neighbor's wether to death.  So, I simply opened the gate and she walked in on her own.  That was lucky.

So, after all of this dealing with a grain hog who wont let me milk her if there is no grain in front of her face and a crazy escape artists - I was tired.  And I did not pay attention to where and how the gate was shut.  I simply closed it up and came inside to relax and drink some milk, start pasteurizing some milk, and work on dinner (which has been bear bones at best this week because I have not been able to plan and shop for meals).

I didn't think two thoughts about the gate until this morning when I hear Wolf, "Babe, get up we have a goat loose and she wont come to me!"  So, this is how my morning started, getting out of bed to catch the escapee.

I slipped into my clothes fast.  Whipped a bit of grain into a scoop and hit the door.  And there was CJ standing in the old flowerbed munching away...thank GOD it wasn't my herbs!!!  She darted away from me three times so I finally just sat down and shook the grain cup.  She edge up to me, sniffing and wary as a deer.  She took a few bites and I shot my hand out grabbed her collar and hauled her back to her pasture mates.  Making sure the gate was TIGHTLY shut behind me.

Hopefully that will be the last of her adventures, but I believe they are the beginning of mine.

30 August 2010

See Saw

I have really been going back and forth lately about going back to work.  Until we get some more animals on the farm or more land to rear animals, farming alone is not making enough income for two people to live on, let alone the entire family we are planning.

I looked at the local fast food places and applied, a few of them even called me back.  It would be easy for me to go back to work in one of those places, but with me still in school and now the farm needs more attention with the livestock...I just can't see myself happily working forty hours.

I am one of those weird people that has to like the place before I even consider working there.  A few of the places I applied (the fast food joints) I realized I did not like them.  I feel like they are a distration.

It is difficult for me to put this into words, because as of late there has been much external contracersey to the life I am living and how I am living it.  I know that my family members may mean well, but they do not realize their words often cut me to the quick and their words leave me bleeding for days.  It has taken me the better part of two years to get the cruel words of my ex out of my head - it's funny how something totally unreleated can open up an old wound.

So, obviously by chosing not to work there are some bills that have been put off, such as my ever growing student loans.  Who without them I would be stuck working at KFC for...well forever.  And no, perhaps college WAS NOT necessary for me, but I certainly felt called to it.  Now, I think it was to learn to despise religion and grow closer to the Lover of my Soul.

I do not understand how farming fits into the lifeplan that God has for me.  All I know is that the desire is there!  I do not feel it is selfish or just my desires because my husband also carries the same feelings and desires.  All I know is that we are becoming ever more self-sufficent.

I do know this.  My husband and I are going to be missionaries in Brazil.  I cannot say when exactly, but I feel  some of all of our kids are meant to be born here.  I often wonder how Elizabeth Elliot felt knowing God had called her.  Is farming a distraction or a direction?  Am I afraid to venture out into the field because of my first marriage?  Or do I still need more time to heal?

Show me your way O Lord, show me your direction.  I do not want to wander from you and waste my time here on earth chasing after something that will mean nothing....I cannot do that again.  Please show us where you want us to go and what you want us to do with absolutely clear insight and understanding.....

13 August 2010

Oh Sheep!

Today, I am trying to beat the heat by staying in our heat-proofed bedroom.  We thankfully got a second airconditioner, which has made being in the house nice.  Before we had a second window unit, I would spend most of my days sitting with as little clothing on as possible in front of our only air conditioner in the kitchen all day.  Even then I would STILL sweat!

When it's so hot outside the air seems to shimmer and blaze with the particles of too much ground up dust.  And the dogs look too hot and tired and weary of the heat to pant, all I want to do is sleep this cloudless day away.  The Brazilian's have it right, they sleep after lunch from noon until two to avoid doing an activity during such hot hours.

I am sputtering with several forms of anxiety.  I am still shuddering at the thought of taking the math Praxis, but more and more I am realizing no matter what to continue on the path that I am on I will have to make myself do it and that thought alone makes my heart flutter wildy in my chest.

My other anxiety is we have 4 heads of livestock coming in just eight days and we have do much preparing to do before they get here even starting to MAKE the list makes my hands tremble.  I know they will fill our farm with new and unusual sounds and they have been a long time coming.

I am most excited about the sheep.  They are considered a hertiage breed, Jacob's sheep and are rated as "recovering."  I am most interested in breeding them and building up a nice line of lambs next spring.  I, perhaps in vain, and trying to convince the hubby we need to add one more sheep, a ram lamb.  I don't think with so much coming in he is ready to accept that idea yet!

We have also directed our focus on Anatolain Shepherds.  We recently welcomed a female purebred AKC girl to the farm.  Princess Jasmine (NOT a name I would have picked, the surupy sweetness of it nearly makes me gag everytime I write it!)

Sitting Pretty.

She is very sweet and always greets me at the gate when I go to feed.  She has even started protecting me from Surge's antics when I sit with them.  Jazz simply stands there between me and the giant wild puppy.

We plan to breed her to a suitable approved AKC male (if we can find one for a reasonable price!) in October of 2011.  At 5 years old, it will be her last litter.  We hope to retain a female pup and if we can find Surge's parent's lineage, we may be breeding that pup to him.

Eventually, we may get into dog showing, but that may not be until I am in my late forties once the kids have flown the coop.  But we fully entend to show our gorgeous sheep Anica and our magnificent does Lachesis & CJ.



25 July 2010

BIttersweet

So I have both happy and sad news today.  I wish you had a voice today dear faithful reader, because it would be nice to hear your thoughts on what I'm about to write.  I also wish you could decided if you wanted to hear the good or bad news first.  I suppose I will have to decide for you and since I like to end on happy notes, I'll proffer the bad news first.

It's going to be cut and dry.

Brace yourself.....................ready?

We lost our black and white goat, Annie Oakley today.


To be honest, I'm a bit heartsick about it.  No, she never came to IAS Farms.  And no, I never got to feel her lashes against my palm or her goaty gum on my finger tips or hear her baaaaing for food.  Actually, I never even had a chance to touch her and got so few updates that you would think that my heart would feel free not crimped with a loss I really never knew.

She fell ill last Sunday from what I understand and the lady who she was staying with for one more month brought her inside and was watching over her...trying to nurse her back to health.  But whatever ailed her, she could not save her and she passed away earlier today.

However, I can't be all sorrow.  The Anatolian female I have been looking for finally found us!  Her name is Jasmine (minor GAG), she is a wonderful and young 4 year old, unaltered AKC female that we found for a riduclously low price.

Her owner is moving to the suburbs and is selling ALL of his working dogs.  I put an ad up on craigslist (which I do from time to time, because I have had the idea of sustaining our ASD and working dog population for sometime now, not to mention they are a tradable commodity) and I got an OVERWHELMING response!  I usually get will trade fors or an add for a cross but I had 4 people respond with purebred and some altered male and female dogs - it was really remarkable! WOO!

The only thing I worry about is that her hips and elbows have not been certified, neither has her thyroid, and she isn't micro-chipped.  All of these things can be fixed, but I still worry....of course.

Jasmine

13 July 2010

Things are going...as best as can be expected down here on It's Always Something Farms.  We had a bit of a mini drought and I smiled this morning as the thunder woke Wolf and I from a deep sun and fun induced sleep.  I collapsed last night at 12, which is early for me!  Considering I normally hit the hay at 2am.

We went with my sis-in-law and niece to the pool to work on our tans before the beach.  Me, being ridiculously fair skinned, usually gets burned.  My niece, who is as fair as me, was competing with me to see who could get burnt the fastest.  I am certain we are tied!

I have decided to take a few weeks completely off from school.  I know I should be studying, but I really feel like I needed a vacation from deep critical thinking.  That can happen when I come back from my sun and fun and alcohol induced vacation.

Things are much the same on the farm.  Everything is growing and getting bigger!  Our tomatoes have shot up, but are suffering from blossom rot.  Our third garden has completely died off, except for the onions which are holding on for dear life, but getting no bigger and are turning white.  The herbs are droopy and sad looking so much to the point that I am afraid to leave them for a week.  The only garden that seems to be benefiting are the melons, which have started growing baby melons, which will soon be monstrous and delicious charleston grays and Orenelopes Watermelons.  I am looking forward to eating those fruits of our labors.

Our goats are getting BIG, but they still aren't on our farm.  I am a little dismayed that we have had to wait so long to get them.  However, after Surgeon killed one of our ginueas, I am not taking chances on more expensive live stock.

On a happy note, we are getting sheep!  A heritage breed, Jacob's sheep will be coming to the farm.  I am very excited!  They are a the perfect trifecta animal: they have meat, milk, and wool.  So, in theory we could live off of just sheep!  This is a huge sustainability factor for me.  Currently, I am hoping the hubs will let me take an extra and free whether home.  Unlike a goat he will not just be a pet, he too will provide wool, protection, and compainionship to the ewe we are buying.  This means I could put them in the unused old cattle pasture that has lots and lots and lots of sheepy foraging for them!

12 July 2010

Fear

Please don't hate me.

I've been a HORRIBLE blogger.

It happens. I needed a mental break.

School has become increasingly demanding of my time and much to my chagrin, I have to take and pass the PRAXIS.  Reading and writing, I'm good.  But when it comes to math, I turn to a quivering mass of flan.  I just feel completely unprepared.  And that I am going to fail no matter how much I study try or concentrate that it is destined NOT to happen!  Irrational thinking.  I know.  It grips me like a vice though and I often feel I can't escape this unnatural fear of this required test.

That's where I am.  That's what's going on.  Suggestions?

17 June 2010

Yes, yes...I am alive!

As usual life has gotten away from me.  That seems to happen in the summer to me the most.  That is a strange thought because most, if not all, of the major holidays are in the fall and winter.  Why is it then, that I enjoy each day so much that I often want to simply sit outside and soak up the sun.  Well, I would except then I really WOULD smell like a hippie (I already look like one!) and probably end up with some form of horrible skin cancer (which seems somewhat inevitable.)

On the farm: We have delayed getting the goats one more month sadness. Because our Tolie is still a little too much puppy - I really think he just likes to push the boundaries and be naughty and mess with poor chicken brains.  It is kind of funny to see the sheer delight on his face.  He wont kill it, he just likes to take the poor thing's tail feathers out.  Naughty!  But we are going on vacation! THANK GOD!  And I am REALLY uncomfortable leaving him home alone with TWO new goats. Not to mention they would be scared out of their little goat brains.  I am really hoping all will go well in that situation.

On the school front:  I was scheduled to take the math part of the Praxis at the beginning of this month, but didn't have a proper ID, so I couldn't do it.  Not that I was heart broken, but next week I have to take the reading and writing part of the Praxis.  I am not going to sweat it.  I think 20 years of school has probably prepared me pretty sufficient and if not, I'll hit the books!

Personally:  We are trying to conceive!  There I've ANNOUNCED it to the world!  So, my dear and faithful reader, forgive me again for having my head in the clouds as I often do and not being an ever faithful blogger.  On a high point, I did inspire some one else to blog - so I was blogging...kind of?  Okay, no that doesn't count.  But you can still forgive me for being head-in-the-clouds Jen while I am over whelmed by all things baby.  Strangely, I find it odd even saying anything aloud.  I am waiting for people to frown and tell me NO!  But I guess they really can't; our life, our decision.

Obsession: Another Anatolian!  I don't know what it is about those dang dogs, but I am COMPLETELY in love.  Yes, I will admit: I have been wanting to breed dogs since I was....12.  My grandfather did it and I suppose because I carry his name (sort of) I want to do so as well.  So, I am hoping to pacify myself by fostering a dog at no cost to the farm, well except for may be gas.  Please don't kill me Wolf!  I haven't said yes, but I haven't said no.  There are SO many that need somewhere to go.  Because of their large size places don't want to hold them for long.  And there are only 3,000 in the US and some of them are being euthanasized!  I don't even understand how people can not want this dog.  Wolf will say: You can't save them all.  No, I can't save everyone. Though God knows I would adopt everything and turn into a crazy animal lady if I could.  However, I can make a difference in ONE Anatolian's life.  If I can save ONE at a time from being killed by people who do not understand the breed or are too stupid to see the absolute wonder of these dogs then I will.  It's heart breaking for me in a way though, I fall in love with all of them, but I only have room for one more.  ....for now anyway!

Handsome dog - He needs help fast.

Here's a male dog that needs someone to foster or adopt him in TWO days. 


Really, what a beauty.  Here are the details:

He is in a kill shelter in Dodge City KS.
He is friendly and laid back with people and is good with other dogs and kids.
He seems to be a young adult (neut) male.

If you might be able to help----even short term will save help to save him.

For more information, please email Carleen at nasrn@nasrn.com



UPDATE:  He is in boarding, but still in need of a foster or adoptive home.

03 June 2010

Things are going smoothy here now, thankfully, unlike our Memorial Day Monday Fiasco.

Wolf and I were sleeping soundly, listening to the lovely soothing Monday rain rock us into a deep and soothing sleep.  He and I both woke with a start, I quickly searched my mind for what had woken me.  I listened harder and heard Surgeon barking frantically.  His serious bark.  I sleepily asked Wolk, "What is he barking at this time?"  He often barks at the Lord and Lady, but this was....it was different.

Before I knew what was happening, Wolf had sprung from the warm bed and slipped on some shorts.  He mumbled, "I don't know but I am going to check."  He walked down the hallway, quickly.  I heard the front door open and then I heard a chilling and authoritative "HEY!!"

I jumped out of bed, sheet and all.  And ran to the front door.  My eyes scanned they future goat yard.  I saw what I thought was a chicken at the end of the chicken lot.  Through our small window I saw Wolf throwing down either Doc or Ringo, one of the black banded chickens.  It's wings flapped once, halfheartedly.  Wolf met me there, muddied hands and bleeding. He opened the door and I saw his hands were shaking. I stared at him, uncomprehending.

Me: "What happened?"

Wolf: "Damn, big ass dog.  Killed our chickens!"

Me: "What!! All of them?"

The chickens had literally flown the coop the night before, we believe with the help of a curious Surgeon wanting to either play or make sure they were all right - as they have become increasingly more talkative lately.

Wolf: "I don't know!  They got one for sure!"

He walked back towards the bedroom, muttering curses under his breath.  He ducked into the bathroom, bleeding.  I growled under my breath and slid into some PJs.

Opening the front door, I saw it was Ringo - our least friendly and stupidest chicken the stray dogs had killed.  I moved his lifeless body under the porch out of the rain.  Surgeon greeted me, hopping on to the end of his chain.  I spoke soothing words to him.  I rounded the corner and saw my other favorite chicken, Wyatt, gasping for breath.  I knew he didn't have long to live.  I picked him up and took him to the cover of the porch.  Looking at him more closely, I saw he didn't have long.

I quickly snapped his neck.

I looked around for the third and fastest, Doc, but couldn't find him.  

Right then, I wanted to go stray dog hunting.  I like dogs, but I know once they have found a source of food, they will be back.  I worry about my young guineas, who are still in their brooder, how many of them will I loose.  And I will not tolerate harassment of my goats.  No.

It is time to buy a shotgun.

01 June 2010

Ah, summer is unofficial here.  At least, it suppose to be after memorial day, right?

Oh, my dear naive reader, you are so wrong.

It's monsoon season!  The reason I say this is because for the last two weeks we have reguarly gotten thunderstorms starting at 4 or 6 pm and ending at 8 or 10 pm.  I don't mean a little dribble or a little English mist.  I am talking about an Appalacian Thunder Storm.

It starts with a low distant rumbling that quickly crescendos to a house shaking rumble.  That has the cat looking at me going, "MOM!  Is that an okay noise?!"  After I make no move to do anything, he flops, head first upside down back on the couch.  Apparently comforted by my apathy.  Who knew sleeping on the top of your head could be comfortable.  He sure makes it look like the next Serta commercial ...or the ones I remember anyway, I haven't watched proper TV since March.


The guineas are growing like WEEDS!  I thought the chickens were growing fast - these little guys triple there size every week.  And a word of warning, if you are thinking guineas are like chickens and you want some: They are NOTHING like chickens.  I anticipated this, but whew, they are wild.  They are messier, startle more easily, and are more prone to peck you straight away.  They hate be handled and while they can be tamed it takes a lot of work and I would only recommended attempting one or two at a time.  I just have 7 and they seem like 14!

I am very eager to get my goat babies home, we are nearly finished with the fence and have about 1/4 left to do.  Yes, of course it is the FRONT side of the fence that we see every day that isn't done, but no matter, we will get it done before the kids arrive.

Surgeon has gotten into the bad habit of jumping and....ahem...poking me.  Apparently he finds it HIGHLY amusing to shove his broad nose right the back of my crotch!  Glad I live on a farm and no one else can see him doing this.  I think for now my best bet is to ignore him - but how do you IGNORE a poker!  ugh...

23 May 2010

Sandgau and Chamoise(e).....

After much deliberation, concentration, and confusion (as usual), I finally picked out a 2nd goat.  It was very hard for me to decide between a gorgeous broken chamoisee and a more conformationally correct sandgau

S-Stock Exchange Annie Oakley.
Our sungdau doe kid.

And of course her partner in "crime," Ms. CJ who is growing like a WEED!


Ms. Calamity Jane
Our chamiosee doe kid.

If you are like me and have no idea what those Frenchy looking words are (I had to look them up and have them explained to me by the kind breeder at S-Stock Exchange), here you go:

  • Sangdua: black with white markings such as the underbody and facial stripes.  
  • Chamiose(e): brown or bay.  Characteristics are a black face, feet and legs.  Sometimes a martingale running over the withers and down to the chest. (CJ does not have a martingale.)
We are toying with the idea of getting one more goat from S-Stock exchange, she is a broken chamoisee doe kid and Wolf fell absolutely head over heels in love with her.  I wonder if he would banish me from the hill if that was his father's day gift? Hum...a thought to ponder!

22 May 2010

Busy bees


Oh, still checking to see if I am alive!  Good on you!  

My apologies dear readers! Remember those many weeks of posts where I simply listed all of the things that were planned and I was simply waiting for the time to pass so that I could partake of the rewards of my labor?  Well, the plans have come to some serious fruition!

My, my, my...where to start!

The chickens are now even BIGGER (if you can possibly imagine that!) weighing in at about 5 lbs each.  They will be excellent eatings and I am looking forward to next month when we will finally have our very own EGGS!  WOO!  They are eating about 7lbs of food every three days.  Sadly, but necessarily I had to take the 3 other roosters out of the enclosed pen...the cockerls were starting to fight rather viciously among themselves.  Yes, I know they do not have spurs, BUT it wont be long before they do.  (When it was all 10 birds in the coop, they were consuming about 7lbs of feed every other day!)

Surge has been growing like a weed.  He is now 4 months and EASILY 50lbs!  He loves his bread, but nibbles on his food, not what I expected from a dog his size.  I guess his stomach hasn't had a chance to catch up with his legs!

Surge, 4 months.

He is incredibly protective of the chickens.  When I first let the cockerels out he would chase them, but that really is not in his nature and may of his more annoying behaviors are simply because he IS on a chain (for 2 more weeks, thank god) and needs to RUN.  

I was looking out the window, keeping an eye on my little flock, when I noticed our cat Reaper sneaking up to the chicken coop.  The cockerels have decided they will bed down underneath it at night.  It seemed Reaper was planning a midnight snack, which is fairly ridiculous because he is a horrible hunter.  Surgeon watched him approach from the comfort of his dog house the coop and never moved.  He continued watching, as did I. When Reaper came within about a foot of the coop, Surgeon sprang from his dog house and chased the cat away.  

I am not sure if he is trying to play with Reaper or if Surgeon knows the cat could be a real threat.  Either way, I smiled and fell more deeply in love with my ever watchful Anatolian.  My furry "shot-gun."

And finally, finally...we have our little keets!  They are SO MUCH smaller than our chicks were and some of them are 2 weeks old.  We have 1 Teddy Bear Pearl, 3 Pied Pearls, 1 Royal Purple, and 3 Pearl Guineas.  I think!  

I am very happy with them and they have finally gone to sleep for the night.  I love our dogs, but every time we bring a new type of poultry (or a see bantam dibs at my sister-in-laws farm) I fall in love with their soft fuzzy bodies, delicate feet, and tiny wings.  And not to mention their peeps are heart-wrenchingly wonderful.  I did not get "very" attached to the chickens, because they ARE a food source - that didn't stop me from sitting in front of their brooder for an hour every day or keep me from feeling a little heart-sick when I had to gather the three cockerels out of the hen house.  

06 May 2010

Chicken Run

Apparently there is a current lull in our work here at the farm.  And there really isn't I'm just undecisive and lazy about a few things...like I could be planing the rest of th herb garden, folding laundry, cleaning up a huge pile of dishes, throwing out bad frosting, taking out the trash, feeing the chickens... well, you get the picture.


I noticed too, that if I don't talk about SOME of my personal life here, then this just becomes a list of all the crap I'm going.  In essence, I become a braggart.  Which, is by all means a bit bad.  But really don't you have to bo sort of brag-ish to continue writing a blog?  Ah, a question for another day!!!

This morning, after reading the list of "this is what idiots should not feed chickens" list.  I broke out some grapes (which I've inadvertantly been hogging, cause I haven't see Wolf eat any) and took them out to the chickens.  Keep in mind they usually only get dry foods and have an OBSESSION for bread.  I walk around to the back of the fence so I can kneel down without being mauled my Monster Puppy and feed the chickens their treat of grapes.  Naturally, at first they were all very excited and pacing the fence thinking I had bread.  But when I popped a grape in, of course Earp (our rooster in command) "stole" the first one and began a game of chicken keep away.

He was the first to stare me down, the first to escape, the first to sit on my shoulder.  He's watchfully pacing up and down the chick run as I type.  I am hoping he will be an excellent rooster.  Not overzealous with the hens, but not lady either.  I suppose only time will really tell.

It's funny to watch them running up and down their new outdoor run with their new found "prize."  They run inside the coop trying to find a secure place and then back outside to get away from those chicks who have discovered them with their prize and are trying to take it away.  They still chirp like baby chicks, though each day I hear their voices getting hoarse.  They are fully feathered now and look like miniature versions of their adult selves.  I miss their fluffy black and yellow bodies, sleepy chick eyes, and quiet peeping in our house.

But I'm glad they can now 'stand on their own two feet' and don't need the helping warmth of the brooder light.  I'm also glad we are getting guineas and ducks next month.  That will be a busy month...ducks, guineas, goats.  I swear we should have called this place Noah's Ark Farm, but I like our actual name better.  Makes us sound a little less like religious nuts.

Gah it's hot and I think I may be a little dehydrated.  Time for a nap in our cool new AC!!

05 May 2010

So what do chickens eat anyway?

BackYardChickens - Raise Chickens, Build a Chicken Coop, Hatch Eggs

Bumblina the Blender Brain

So lately, I've been thinking about the future.  What, YOU think a-ahead!!!  Yes, folks.  I think ahead....all. the. time.  Actually, in a distracting I'm not living on this earth kind of way...hum. 


And by future, I really mean babies.  Yes. That is right. I am veering off the farm bath and taking us right down baby lane.  Well, the cute non-medical parts of it anyway.  I'm not ready for the under bell of it yet!

I've been reading all about cloth diapers, breast feeding, co-sleeping, circumcision (I have a random/interesting/sad story about that), home birthing, hospital birthing, pregnancy, lactation...my mind is endlessly devouring all that it can regarding pregnancy and birth.

And no, I'm not pregnant, but we do have a timeline now, which makes me VERY happy. Also, did you know some adoption agencies won't let you adopt after your 44!

Ah, yeah....Wolf is my elder, by many years.  14 actually.  I know, he so does not look it. *grin*

Anyway, I think that is a bit discriminatory....saying you can't adopt after a certain age.  I wonder if they would bend the rules or if it is hard and fast.

I get on this train of thought about twice a year.  I do really want a family and I know my time is running short.  I want 4 kids, but how can that happen after I'm 30....unless I had two set of twins.   Anyway, these thoughts have been bumbling around my brain.  And I really don't have room for them right now.  I'm hoping it's just a spring thing or all these baby animals coming to the farm.

OH! We ARE getting DUCKS!  We're going to put them in with the guineas.  Wolf and I saw a handful of them at our local farm supply store, but I don't know what was up with me.  I didn't even bother to ask how much they were...when just weeks before I was threatening if we saw them in Tractor Supply I was going to snatch them up...immediately. 

Ya, I'm a little crazified like that....

02 May 2010

Foto Upate

And now, for some picture updates: *loud excessive non-exsistant cheering*

Surge at 16 weeks.
MONSTER PUPPEH!

Earp at 5 weeks.

Rowdy after her spay.
Ya. Trama.






I am not a chew toy!!!

We finished the coop up on Thursday (of last week - ya, I know I've been a rather lazy blogger.  I kind of got the feeling that I was getting all whiney, bistchy, and listy....and I thought "That's a really boring read!" So, I waited out the whine, bitsch, and list and now, hopefully I'm back onto story time. It's really difficult not to be listy when we have a donkey ass-load of projects going on around here....) and I debated if Surgeon should be allowed the length of his lead to sufficiently guard the chickens or if he should take some time to get use to them. 

 I went against my better judgement and let him have the ENTIRE length of his lead.

oh.my.shitakemushrooms.

That was one VERY stressful couple of hours for me! I think I made my throat sore from correcting the dog so much (which we do by "growling" at him. *clears throat* *best growly voice*  BAAAAAAAAAA!!! It sounds like I have sheep Turrets (sorry, folks with Turrets - it's not a nice thing to have and I really mean no harm..   I really don't.  Really.  What?  It's just a freaking ANALOGY!) Whatever, it freaking WORKS!!!)

I have protected my future egg layers and chicken breast, thighs, wings, and legs from our sneaky ass cat, curious dogs, the weather, and now monster puppy.  *drool* mmm fried homegrown chicken....

I curled up with my lap top to keep an eye on things and it quickly became clear that I wasn't going to get ANY work done.  Every time I looked up he was playfully running after them --scaring the crap out of them-- pawing at the fence/chewing the fence/doing cute puppy lunges --which he just couldn't understand why the fence was in his way-- and generally just being a puppy.

I was in a sore mood and I'm afraid I over handled him.  I would growl at him from the couch and when he seemed extremely over-enthusiastic I would go out there and growl and alpha roll him.  

Yes, Cesar Milan has invaded my life.  damnit. 

But with a dog THIS BIG (holds a semi-shaky level hand to about my waist.  Most people have not idea what an Anatolian Shepherd is.  So, I have to go into a long explanation and answer "Well, how big will he be?"  And I always feel a bit self conscious and silly when I hold a hand up to the top of my thigh or at my waist....because I'm 5.10 and  3/4.  That's right FRACTIONS.  Besides, I am SO. NOT. AN. ATTENTION. WHORE. NO.NO.NO!  Now, back to your regularly scheduled anxiety, paranoia, and general nervousness.) I am unsure of what else to do, since he has no idea what the word NO means!  He seemed to get the message.  Meanwhile, I felt like a complete ass and an abusive dog parent.  But hey, no one touches my freaking dinner!

Surgeon is coming along nicely, though I am sad to say I may have to put a stop to his puppy play with me.  That shit hurts!  I am afraid, not of him, but that as he gets bigger his play will only get more rough and I will walk away with more scratches and irritation.  I will simply have to stop.  I am not a chew toy. 

OUCH

01 May 2010

Kilt? That's not ACTUALLY a real word. Is it?

It's been a short week here for me!  I've been keeping busy with school Thank GOD I finally got on some sort of schedule.  There for a while I didn't know weather to shit or go blind...*ha* as Wolf says.  Always makes me laugh, those odd country sayings... 


He still says somethings that don't make sense to me....

Par example

Me: I'm really tired.

Wolf: Ya, I'm kilt.


Me: You're WHAT? KILT? What the hell is that?  Like the thing Scottish people wear?

Wolf: *staring confused look*

Me: All tartany and stuff?  With no...no underwear?

Wolf: No, babe, kilt!


Me: *confused look* Wha?

Wolf: KILT!


Me:  *furrowed thinking eye brows*

Wolf: KILT! You know, REALLY tired!

Me: OH! You mean KILLED!?

Wolf: Ya, kilt.


Me: *narrowed eyes of disbelief*




We're still working on it.....*ha!*

28 April 2010

New Layout

Bear with me, patient readers, as I struggle to grasp the inner workings and complexities of layouts and the old HTML code. I knew it as a kid! What the H!?  So if you see funkiness, tell me about it!

27 April 2010

Dogs, Goats, and Rain

It's been pretty nasty weather out there today!  It's been cold and rainy so much so that I really didn't have the gumption to grit and bear my teeth and finish the rest of the chicken coop.  Not like there is much to do, I just have to cut a hole in the wall and zip-tie the fences together, and predator proof it somewhat.  Surgeon seems determined to stay in his rightful place in the shade by the chickens.


Oh yes, note the nasty fake shutter is gone --read shower curtain with rope-- that is because Surgeon has turned into a little mischeif maker.  He ripped the "curtain" down without blinking an eye.  I hate to see the predator that tries to cross that dog's path!  AHH!  After we got about 90% of the fencing done.  As we were walking away, I looked over and saw this....

Surgeon 15 Weeks Old

Our monster puppy was all tuckered out from all the excitement.  OH! That reminds me.... I am usually a bit nervous for people to meet my dogs.  Mainly because it doesn't go well.  Rowdy barks her head off at them and refuses to be nice ...she also has a tendency to jump and nip at people's hands...Which is proably my fault because I like for her to jump and touch her nose to my palm....it's our thing.  Well, with other people she's a little....um...vicious.  But that is nothing compared to Old Man Dog Remmy...oh nooooooo...he STILL attacks Surgeon (even though he's been here going on 3 whole weeks...moron dog) but he will crawl into anyones lap if he's alone and the other dogs don't see and proceed to attempt to make me jealous.  That dog is the most entertaining and completely ridiculous animal I have ever met.  And I love him to pieces.

What is surprising me though is how fond I am becoming of Surgeon.  He just makes me feel like no crazy-ass man-bear-rapist is going to come charging out of the woods all Deliverance like and proceed to hack me into edible pieces.  Yes, I AM paranoid thanks for asking.  

I think I have found our goats...they are colored nicely, registrable and best of all LA MANCHAS!!!! Which have become increasingly hard to find over the last month.....pft.  

I fell in love with La Mancha goat at last years regional fair.  I adore their odd and unique look and sweet, almost dog like temperaments.  And I knew then that I would have to have one.  Eventually a black and white one, because I am in love with all back and white animals.  I actually have a daydream from time to time that I have a herd of 50 to 100 animals running around on our farm and they are ALL black and white.  It looks like a herd of discombobulated zebras.   

Doeling, I hope to purchase.
I'm thinking of a name for her....trying not to get TOO attached YET.

"Niobe."
Doe I hope to purchase.

I've gotta run the idea by Wolf just cause I don't want to do anything he isn't on board with, which has never happened but that is just the way I work folks.  Well, know by Friday WOOO!!

Update: We are going to wait until Friday (internal groan) to see what our funduatlations look like.  After all we have like 900 things we have to get done BEFORE we put a deposit on the goats.....a little bit of sadness.  

But not forever! :D