It got down to well below freezing last nite. The garden is now a thing of the past, which bothers the pups more than me, since they had more fun running through it, than I did watering and weeding it.
All the pasture animals need to be supplemented now, as most of the nutrition has leached out of the grass. The calves will be fed a mixture in huge tractor tires out on the range and the mother cows will be pushed back out to the desert to graze on white sage, until February Cow camp, when we bring them back. I shouldn’t say ‘we’…I mean…”they”, as last year I found it a tad chilly, staying in a trailer that was only 20 degrees F inside.
The outhouse with no door is not a big attraction for me either, in any weather.
The fruit drop, (apples, pears, apricots) is about gone, much to the dismay of Dolly & Emma, the milk cows. They were having a pretty good time waiting under the trees for the stuff to fall. The deer and coyotes didn’t get any this year, because those two worked like vacuum cleaners sucking them up as fast as they came down.
The goats, sheep and the two littlest orphan calves have been pretty good about coming in by themselves at night, from the big pasture where 150 of the 4000 weaned calves are, to get fed behind the chicken coop, where they like to sleep. The Maremma pups tuck them all in at night. I couldn’t find the sheep one evening, so I headed for the pasture gate, and Cletus started barking at me. He is usually really good about coming with me, but this time, he wouldn’t. He kept barking then turned and got himself thru a fence into another corral. Guess who was there? He brought the sheep back in while I wondered how he knew I was about to go looking for them. Awesome dogs.
He seems to really like his job. Everyday, when I let the sheep and goats back out, Cletus does a head count, then goes thru the pasture counting calves, and each one has to get a ‘nose touch’ whether they want it or not. He’s kinda bossy that way.
Things are winding down. Soon it will be bird hunting season, and Thanksgiving and Christmas, and snow and wind and ice and soup weather. It’ll be a good time for baking breads again, and canning chicken stock…seems like my life is all about food. That’s why I like making the soap…its something I can do in the kitchen that DOESN’T make me FAT.
There have been a lot of improvements on the ranch this year, one of which was putting kitchenettes on the cabins, so the cowboys can cook for themselves. This means I won’t be feeding crew this year. I’ll have to find something else to do with my free time.
Come January, the goats should ‘freshen’ (have their babies) and we will have dairy products again, although I will miss the heavy cream we get from the Jersey cows. It was nice being able to make our own butter, ice cream, sour cream, mozzarella and other cool and tasty stuff. That will have to wait to resume until next July or so, when they calve, but I should be able to do a few things with the goats milk.
Cider and I went out and did a fence check with the pups.. Of course, this meant me getting mobbed, as the sheep and goats come hurtling after me as soon as they notice I am out there. I try to sneak down the fence line, but my little ‘thundering herd’ spies me and comes a-running. I cringe everytime, expecting one of the sheep to smack into me from behind, which has happened in the past and sent me sprawling. They are very enthusiastic that way. It must be my ‘animal magnetism’…or maybe its because I have the lingering smell of the apple scented soap I made today. I prefer to think it is because they just like me.