Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just Chillin'









It’s weaning time on the ranch. I won’t be participating this year, sadly. Wimpy, my old Quarter horse will be celebrating that, as every other year we have worked 11 hour days at the corral and he’d get pretty darn tired. There are boatloads of cows and calves here that have to be worked.

The days are cooling off and the nights are freezing. The little pasture is pretty much down to dirt, which is a good thing, as we have been wanting to replant it with something that will be able to choke out all the foxtail and thistle that tries to grow in there. Next spring, I hope, will have a better pasture for them to graze on. Meanwhile, they spent nights and early mornings there, then I let them out to graze in the old ‘milk pasture’ where there is still a LOT of grass. The ‘sheep pasture’ they have all been living in for the summer will be taken over by some of the weanling calves that come in from the ranch this week. 

Mister, my trusty old Paint horse, is nearly recovered from his barbed wire injuries and also has to move. Randyman is fencing a corner off the milk pasture so he can safely stay there for the winter. I am hoping he will be able to access the old kill shed as a shelter, providing the ground does not get too boggy for him to cross. It would make a great little barn for him...only not so little. It’s actually an enormous shed that has been rendered unusable, like the old milk barn, due to a really bad flood years ago. It's overgrown with willows and wild roses, but if he can get thru the boggy spots, he'll have a nice dry place to wait out the storms.



Willy and Moe, EmmaLouMoo and Dolly’s babies from last year had escaped sometime in the spring. My nephew brought them back a few days ago and they are pretty darn big! Our plan has always been to ‘finish’ them and stock some freezers as Christmas gifts. In this economy, I know it is something that is desperately needed and not easy to come by. They look pretty nice just coming off the grass.




 The frost at night finished off the garden, so I had to grab what I could for the last time. The brocolli is still doing ok, but I only wound up with 1 plant, so its just a little here and a little there. Lots of squash and tomatoes, jalapenos and a  couple bitty pumpkins.




One of my favorite things this summer was zuchinni/cheese sandwiches. It sounds weird but its really good. Just saute' the zuchinni in some butter or ghee and a little garlic salt, then put it between two pieces of bread and two pieces of pepper jack or cheddar cheese and grill it. What I liked the best, is that I made every single ingredient myself. I grew the zuchinnis, made the sourdough whole wheat bread with my own home milled flour, made the ghee and made the cheese. How cool is that?





I've been slowly trying to pull out the ginormous squash plants and toss them over the fence where the sheep and Emmalou enjoy diving in and picking out the good parts. They already pretty much OD'd on sunflowers. No one seems to care much for tomatoes or tomato plants though, which is too bad, because they became quite a jungle over the summer.


I have been trying to spend some time out in the pasture with the dogs and sheep to take my mind off of the things I can no longer do. We wander down the alley to the old milk pasture which is pretty huge with lots of wild terrain there where predators can easily hide. The Maremmas do a perimeter check, cruising through the tall grass and checking under the willows and around the creek. The sheep spread out and glut themselves on the variety of forage out there. At one point, Bruno returns to rest in the shade where he can see both the sheep in the milk pasture, as well as those still behind the fence. Cletus precedes the sheep furthur out where there is more choice in the pickings. He suddenly stands at attention, his tail tightly curled. He barks an alarm and dives through the fence, disappearing in the tall weeds, while the sheep do an aboutface and run directly to Bruno for protection. It's so funny to me, the way they have all worked this out. At night, Bruno does the patrolling and in the event of a problem Cletapotamus makes sure all the stock is near the house and either pushes them up there or stays there with them. By day, they change jobs and Bruno rests and remains with the stock while Cletus confronts any threat that may occur. If it's in the same pasture they both pounce on it, but if it takes them away from the stock, only one dog will go. Even more interesting is that the sheep know which dog to run to or follow at any given time.


A happy Salty, headed for the big Buffet

The 'polar bears' doing a security check

Headed for the safety and security of Bruno


waiting for the all clear.


Cletus remained in the other pasture out of our sight for the rest of the day. That's where the goats have been hanging out and there has been at least 1 coyote seen out there frequently. The dogs are working all the time, even when they don't look like it. I can walk up and step  right over them without their twitching an ear, or opening an eye, but if a raptor flies over head, they are instantly in pursuit. All this, and they still have time for...


SYNCHRONIZED PEEING!!


 When do they find time to practice? I don't know, but these two are like book ends. They always have been. Sometimes I think I am seeing double.























Note* They are even walking in sync

If you want to know what teamwork and efficiency looks like, these are the guys to watch.

33 comments:

  1. It is always WILD and Wonderful there. I would LOVE to see the boys in action. They are amazing. :) Great pics of them, especially like the muddy heads and the syncronized pee made me laugh. Big Hugs to you and the working boys...

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    1. Thanks Carol. Hope you have a good weekend!

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  2. Sycronized peeing! Love it! They are amazing and awesome creatures. You speak of how they are in tune with each other. I love the fact, that you are in tune with them. To many people, including some pet owners, the actions of the LGD's would go un-noticed. I too find it facinating how they interact. Special, special, special...Staci

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    1. They are a lesson unto themselves!

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  3. They are the biggest, cutest dogs ever! My Beardie has an interesting trait. When we are in the local park where dogs are allowed off the leash, I often notice dogs doing a poo away from their owners and then have to point it out to the owners so they can come and pick it up. I usually get a blank looks as if to say "oh how am I supposed to find it?" I simply ask my dog to go find the poo, she does and then pees on it. I think that is really impressive. Brag, brag away!

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    1. YOu can always tell a real an animal lover if we don't refrain from talking about their poop! LOL

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  4. Love love love those dogs! Are considering more to help with the workload? Not sure if having another dog or two helps and how you get them? Are they trained in advance or do they learn on the ranch? Maybe someday you can blog about them ... their stories. I would love to read about it.

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    1. There are breeds that were specifically bred as Livestock Guardians, such as the Great Pyrenees, Maremmano Abruzzi, Akbash and others. They are totally instinctive, but do need guidance as they grow from puppyhood. Often, if someone has adult dogs working, they can let those dogs train the puppies in what is and what is not acceptable behavior. Here is a link to a blog I did about LGD's, although you will find much more information on the net. THey are amazing animals, and not like any other type of dogs. They are independent thinkers and work as "partners' with the owners rather than 'friend or employee'. Thanks for stopping by, Linda!
      http://forpeteysake.blogspot.com/2011/12/about-livestock-guardian-dogs.html

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    2. Thanks for the link. Read it and enjoyed learning more about your beautiful dogs. They amaze me. I'm in awe of them.

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  5. those dogs are amazing... i mention them often in conversation with friends.. they are famous !

    ive never seen white squash.. or are they just a really pale yellow.? or my eyes are getting so old i cant focus properly..LOL

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    1. It's a variety of patty pan squash and is a very, very pale green

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  6. So glad you are keeping the blog up & running!! LOVE any stories you ever have about the two 'polar bears'!! They amaze me,,,,,,,,, as do you! Thanks, as always, for sharing, Petey!!
    Chris k in Wisconsin

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    1. Thanks Chris, for stopping by and for taking time to comment! Have a great week!

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  7. As usual, you had me totally engrossed! Your writing and photos are great because you have a loving, grateful perspective. Reading your blog makes me feel as if I've come for a visit, and you are a great hostess. Thanks!

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    1. Oh thank you Bibi! You made my day

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  8. Sycronized dogs indeed! Not only are you a fabulous story writer, you take the most amazing photos, but then you really have an amazing story to tell. Your last bounty looks better than I had all year long. I'll have to try a grilled zucchini and cheese sandwich, somehow I just know I'll like that. Thanks for posting this link on AR, I love to read your blogs. -*Sherri*

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  9. Thanks for coming by Sherri! I really do like those darn sandwiches, even if I have to BUY cheese!

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  10. Another great blog, petey. I don't even like dogs ((gasp)), but I love yours! I love reading about them and their fierce loyalty.
    Such fascinating animals.

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    1. Hi Paula! Thanks for stopping in! These guys have such an immeasurable amount of loyalty and affection, I don't know what I would do without them!

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  11. I just love your dogs--I wish I could give them both a BIG HUG!!! I am on my lunch break at work, and your story put such a smile on my face and made me laugh while in the midst of this very hectic day. Keep those blogs and pictures coming.....I enjoy them so much!

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    1. Thanks Claudine! Your smile makes me smile :)

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  12. Petey, I love your stories about the dogs. I have always been fastinated with the LGD's and their personalities. Your two polar bears are beautiful and such good partners! I try to never miss your blog and love the life you live on the ranch. I was raised on a farm in Kansas and have experienced coyotes back then. I know for a time there was a bounty paid on the ears to prove you killed then, don't remember
    how much it was though. My dad had a pack of coyote hounds he would take hunting often. I went with him a few times. Coyotes are wiley creatures and will lure a dog into a pack to kill him if they get a chance.
    Ginny, Texas

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    1. They sure are devious little beasties. Thanks for much for stopping by, Ginny!

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  13. They are such beautiful dogs. I love reading your blog.

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    1. Thanks Michelle, we are so blessed to have them!

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  14. Replies
    1. They get it from my side of the family :D

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  15. Hi,
    I read your post a couple of days ago. I keep getting sidetracked. It's not that I have so much to do but...or I procrastinate and get behind. Brutus and Cletus are cool. Usually when dogs get older they don't cuddle. We're moving cattle down from the high pastures and some of them (cattle and pastures)are covered with snow so we're slightly late. The horses are putting winter coats and the malemutes never lose theirs. I've grown enough where it doesn't hurt so much to play football...but I still make sure to put on the full armor. Take care...the dex

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    1. Hey there Dex! Glad we have no snow here yet. Hopefully not until Nov. as I am not up to it yet. That 'full armor' comes in handy in life, football or no! :)

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  16. I'm going to make that zucchini sandwich for the Prospector and I. That is really delicious looking.
    Your dogs are so wonderful. Don't you marvel at their intelligence and fortitude?
    All the photos are beautiful. I love the forth to last one. They look like they're having a conversation... planning their day. The other favorite is the "synchronized peeing". That's an amazing photo. Love it!
    Dogs teach you how to live within the limits of your abilities, no matter how diminished we are. It's sad that we can't remain agile when we become older people but watching an old dog teaches me to slow down, reserve my energy and do what I CAN do with the restrictions of my age. It's a hard lesson for humans. Dogs just seem to know about these things.
    Wonderful post.

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    1. MOST of us do not remain agile...this year however, the ranch family went to have pictures, riding with their 94 y.o. grandpa. He still rides, works cows and irrigates. Unbelievable.

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  17. Those Maremmas are so absolutely amazing. And thank you, thank you for all of your wonderful photographs! It's not easy to adjust when you want to do more than you can. But you sure still do a heck of a lot more than the rest of us!

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  18. naw, I'm not trying to hold down a regular job like you are! I just roll thru my day and do whatever :)

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