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.
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|