It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. New ranch hand moved in with an intractable dog. The little turkeys were outside the greenhouse enjoying some sunshine on their first day out in the world, running from place to place, enthusiastically exploring while the Maremma’s stood guard. The new dog, a large lab/pitbull cross decided to force his way into our yard. The Maremmas frantically charged the gate and were trying to dissuade him. As the altercation ramped up, Mr Peepers and his lady friend, ever curious, ran to see what all the fuss was about, and were crushed to death in the melee.
R.I.P., Mr Peepers. I will miss your antics.
The survivors miss him too. I'm pretty sure even my seedlings miss him.
In an attempt to make nice with the new neighbors, I offered a chain to secure said dog while his master was not with him, ie: when she is at our place visiting or playing with the critters, where he under no circumstances, is to be allowed. He broke his collar. She locked him in the house. He chewed up their stuff. Clearly this is not going to be an easy or happy situation. The back side of my garden is shielded from the chickens with 9 ga. kennel panels. I talked to Randy and asked if he would please take them down and put the kennel back together to contain their dog when it is necessary. We will have to go to the trouble and expense of putting up a different, more permanent fence back there. These people won’t be able to afford a kennel that would hold this dog so it’s up to me to make sure things go smoothly as possible. I’m hoping that this is going to be the least of our problems.
SushiMoo is slowly sweetening up. Greed is a virtue in an animal, a vice in man. You can train a greedy animal to do just about anything and Sushi is no exception. I can finally get her to come to me as I sit down with a bucket in my lap and she will happily eat grain as I work on petting her and doctoring her warty patches. I’m really glad for that, as she is the milk cow I had been hoping for...most likely low maintenance, decent amount of milk and cream and beefy calves. The best of both worlds. I am looking forward to her getting bred this fall. It should also give me some real milk to feed some of the leppy calves, at least the ones who aren’t thriving. Real milk makes such a huge difference. In the past I have taken the weakest, poorest looking calves and grafted them onto Emma’s mama and in weeks, they were the most robust of the group. I still miss Dolly.
EmmaLouMoo is improving as well. I was concerned because even after a second trip to the vet, her milk was not straining as well as I would like to see. She had also cut her production in half again, giving me only a gallon to a gallon and a half per milking. Bear in mind, I had a goat that gave me 2, so this was pretty disappointing, especially in the light that she is not pregnant. Last nite she gave slightly over 2 gallons and it strained very well except for a couple of little goobers which may just be milk fat. That is actually a good thing. I will keep praying and watching over her to make sure all continues to go well and hope the boss will be able to loan us a bull in the spring, before he turns them out to cover all the ranch cows.
I am slowly getting soap re-stocked for spring sales. I’ll be trying to put a batch together today as well as can up some burrito meat I made in the crock pot for future meals. Monday we head to town for medical stuff, livestock feed and to replenish supplies. We need to buy chicken feed as I have 55 meatie chickens coming on May 6. Much needs to be done to get ready, even though I ordered them months ago. Time flies when you’re having fun.
I went out to visit the critters yesterday. Bruno was kicking back where he could easily see the critters all down at the bottom of the pasture. I sat with him for a few minutes and he was in perfect bliss.
He even did some impressions of "Flipper".
Mr Potamus was nowhere to be found.
Now, normally, Mr Potamus watches over them by day while Bruno sleeps off a long night of patrolling. Potamus also usually stays close to the stock while Bruno runs security checks. Only if he is needed or all is clear do they travel together. It is unusual not to see Potamus during the day. I began to wonder if he was okay. No blood was on Bruno, so I assumed there had been no confrontation with anything large. I called several times, but he didn't show.
I headed out front and called some more. No Potamus. I got on the 4 wheeler and headed down towards the horse pasture. Bruno saw me and came through the fence, preceeding me all the way down the lane and across a couple of pastures. Still no sign of the Potamus. I came back and checked the front yard again. Nope. I headed up to ask Randyman if he had seen him all day. He wasn't sure. He said he thought he saw him sleeping by the gate, but that is where I found Bruno. so I figure it was the wrong dog. I headed out into the sagebrush where they often seem to alert to things and saw Bruno had returned to his spot overlooking the sheep. He ran over once again, through 2 fences to join me. I asked if HE knew where Potamus was. He turned and headed off through the sagebrush. Now, when I ask Potamus himself where something is, he always takes me directly to it. Weird, but true. So I assumed Bruno would too. There are places a 4 wheeler just won't follow a dog through heavy and overgrown sagebrush, so after an hour or so of getting stuck, backing up, going around and trying to follow we found ourselves down at the cattleguard. I could have taken the road and been there in a couple of minutes. I pffftted at Bruno and left him behind on my way home. Potamus was happily sitting out front, with blood across his muzzle. They had obviously found another coyote kill and he had been cleaning up. I should know better than to worry about them, what with their size, no collars and all. I'm just glad he was ok. Bruno pulled up, his tongue hanging out about 3 feet from the long run. These dogs are built for sprinting and fighting, not for long distance running. It showed. They went back to the pasture where fat happy sheep were grazing alongside EmmaLou.
I went to fix dinner.
Here’s hoping spring makes it to all of us soon and we can all revel in the glory of sunshine and flowers soon.