The heaters are plugged in on the water troughs, the shelters are up the hay has arrived and we are pretty much ready for winter. I was worried about Madge, the last of my original original Dorper ewes. It has been a year since she lambed and I thought maybe she wasn’t able to have anymore as she has had trouble lambing every time and I have had to intervene. I was glad to notice her little lopsided udder suddenly evened out. In less than two weeks time she went from looking not bred at all to absolutely enormous. She is currently in the lambing shed, lonely and uncomfortable. She’s taking her sweet time too, but I am glad because she is a sweet thing and I didn’t want to cull her. In fact, night after night I have been watching her, although she doesn’t have the classical signs I usually am able to pick up on, such as hollow flank, tight, shiny bag and going ‘slab sided’. No, instead, her Madge-esty simply enjoys eating copious amounts of hay day and night and rocking back and forth in her attempts to get up and get down. She backs up to the wire grill door, with her ever so itchy derrier just out of sight of the camera and does the mambo, as I sit on my perch in the warm living room rocking with laughter at the sight.
The cougar still haunts the houses up above us, walking around the ranch compound without fear. He is still spotted in broad daylight, often not far from where the guys are loudly working in the shop. He avoids capture or destruction time after time. The cowdogs sound off at him as they back their way to safety, one reason I think he is so bold. The LGD’s would not be so easily intimidated, but as they cover much ground on their perimeter patrols, they still risk being caught in one of the traps the cougar has NOT stepped in. I’ve heard some of them could be lethal. At least one trapper will be here until January. It’s going to be a long, long 6 weeks, regardless of how very much we like him and enjoy his company.
EmmaLouMoo is about 4 1/2 months pregnant now and should calve in March. I was hoping to have SushiMoo bred but there wasn’t a bull in at the right time. Then they brought a bull up with some calves for some reason and had them in the back pasture. I asked the boss if I could put her out with him and he said “sure, but he leaves in 10 days.” I watched everyday to see if she was in heat. She was coming in the morning they came for the bull. I just hope she got far enough along to be bred before they moved him. I hate having to wait over another year to see what kind of milk cow she is going to be for me.
Meanwhile, I’ve been making lots of soap. In addition to my normal inventory I have added Jasmine, which is fast becoming one of my new favorites. I have also made a couple of batches of Salt Soap which is exceedingly nice. It has incredible lather and I love the way my skin feels after using it. It gets things really clean without drying my skin out and the Himalayan Sea Salt in it does its work detoxifying and nurturing. I think it’s going to be a pretty popular soap. There are tons of different varieties cured and ready to go for Christmas gifts. They make great stocking stuffers! If anyone cares to order, please remember our pony express here is a little slow, so get your orders in soon if you are wanting them in time for Xmas. Soap is currently 3 bars for $12 but prices will be going up after the 1st of the year due to the rise in shipping and supplies. Salt soap is currently $5.50 a bar. They are very large and very heavy bars.
Health issues have kept me indoors much more than I would like lately, so I went out into the small sheep pasture to visit with the Maremmas. Bruno is getting stir crazy and REAL crabby. He was complaining at the ram so badly I had to yell at him to stop. I had just fed everyone, and as usual, when I went to toss the hay over the fence, the sheep made sure to all be right in the landing zone. I watched as Annie-goat’s baby “Shugar” grazed all the leaf off the backs of her lamby companions. The dogs left their food bowls to visit with me and to keep the neighbor dogs at bay, as one Border Collie was taunting them with the famous BC ‘evil eye’. Next thing I knew, one of the young wethers had snuk over to their dogbowls and was helping himself. Now the Maremmas work hard at disciplining the sheep to leave their food alone. They roar and charge and run them off, which is okay, as they would otherwise starve. They never injure the animals so I see no reason to put a stop to it. The sheep know better...even this guy. I was curious to watch, as instead of running along the fence to run him off, they instead circled around at top speed through the middle of the flock. Instead of scattering in terror (because none of them are afraid of the Maremmas, instead they run TO them when frightened) they all watched as the dogs ran between them with the look on their faces of “Oh boy, Joey is REALLY gonna get it!” And he did.
The dogs clown around, wrestling and knocking each other down until someone gets mad...
Then, of course, Potamus wants to kiss and make up, much to Bruno's humiliation.
Next up on the entertainment list was Cowboy the rooster. He has adopted the sheep as his ‘flock’, grazing and foraging with them by day and sleeping with, or in many cases on them by night. He particularly enjoys riding around on Thyme’s back. She was waltzing across the pasture to the water trough when he hitched a ride and apparently he’s due for a pedicure because she took to pitching and bucking until she unseated him. He landed gracefully behind her and picked someone else to sit on. It’s funny to actually watch as the sheep stretch out their necks and sniff his face while he stands and allows it.
This evening, as usual, I fed the horses, captured my recalcitrant milk cows, fed them, fed the sheep, then in turn, fed the dogs. Once again, they had to run sheep away from their bowls. As I was heading for the house I noticed them return and with confused and forlorn looks on their faces, they looked at one another then just sat down, staring in the direction of their dog bowls without eating. Curious, I walked back to find the rooster and a friend had decided to help themselves, and gobbled up kibble unimpeded while the Maremmas looked on sadly. The LGD’s sense of honor is beyond fault.