Monday, March 3, 2014

Goodbye February!



I haven’t blogged in awhile. That is because life sort of got in the way and there are times it takes a certain amount of restraint not to let life’s disappointments leak onto the page. So in this case, I felt time was the best balm to ease over some of those difficulties and it took a bit more time than I had expected.

I’m back now, at least for today. Storms have been making doing ‘normal’ things difficult so I am behind on pretty much everything. A lamb was born, then subsequently died, so that was a heartbreak. Each animal in our care means a lot to us. Don’t think for a moment that just because people raise livestock that they have any less feeling for them, whether they be for pets or consumption.

I have had some real anxiety about the polarbears as wolves are reported to be getting closer and closer to the ranch all the time and my two dogs won’t likely stand a chance against them.  I’m not willing to risk them, so from now on they are confined 24/7, which is depressing, not only for them, but for me. They did such a good job of keep predators pushed back when they were allowed to and it was easy to see how that all falls apart, when they were locked up the two months that trappers were here. A cougar strolled past the houses with regularity, even eating dog and catfood out of the boss' shed and coyotes were boldly entering the pastures and standing on the lawns of the houses. I imagine that will be a more and more frequent occurrence now and any extra funds that come my way, will have to be spent on beefing up fencing to make sure these guys can never, ever get out to patrol again, because there is no way of knowing when it will no longer be safe. 

 Frankly, hearing coyotes close to the house has always given me chills and keeps me awake at nite and that will be another downside of this, since the dogs can no longer displace them.

I invested in a couple of GPS trackers for them, so I will be notified when and if they get out, as well as where they are at. It was pretty interesting to see where they were going BEFORE I pulled the plug on them. Bruno wasn’t leaving the pasture out back much, except to run off intruders. One night, he ran something to the fence 2x but the third time he apparently pursued it all the way to the bench, about a mile from here, before trotting back home. The following night, he was checking the lower pasture when suddenly he took off after something in the other direction. He ran a long distance very quickly, then remained in nearly one place for 30 minutes. He was too far away for me to hear him. Meanwhile Potamus was barking furiously in that direction, so I worried Bruno might be dealing with something he could not safely handle alone. I let Potamus out, risking re-injury to his foot, but couldn’t think of what else to do. He took off like a bullet in the direction the GPS said Bruno was located. Almost immediately whatever the situation was, got resolved  and the GPS showed both dogs taking a round about way, patrolling fences in the area in their journey back home, checking the big pond near the houses on the way in. They were, in my opinion, pretty effective.


Meanwhile Salty the hair sheep had twin lambs. She was partial to her ewe lamb and totally rejected her ram lamb so he is now inside with us, being bottle fed. I am finding it exponentially harder to feed ONE lamb than two, as he has no company and is constantly underfoot. He is known by several names, but doesn’t answer to any of them. No matter, he is always in my shadow. He naps at my feet and is awake instantly if I move...particularly if any noises that sound remotely like a bottle being warmed up are involved. At least he is someone who desires my company...not that the dogs aren’t always happy to see me, but, like TheMan, they have a job to do. He's pretty comfortable around all the dogs and they, naturally, have accepted him as one of the gang.





video


Rosemary is in the lambing shed now, waiting her turn. She and Thyme are the last ones left to lamb this year and I am praying all goes smoothly. Salty’s rejection of the twin was a complete surprise to me, but she had no trouble delivering at least. Hoping for clean births and happy, nurturing mamas shouldn’t be too much to ask.

On one of my better days I raked up some more tumbleweeds in the dry lot next to the big horse corrals so TheMan could burn them for me. We wanted to give EmmaLou and SushiMoo a little more room so their small corral wasn't so squishy and gross with cow flop. Bruno was determined to put himself protectively between me and the cows,. He was alarmed when miss Sushimoo peeked thru the gate behind my back, and gave a little snap at her. I tried to reassure him that I was all right, which sent him pouting by the rock wall, but he jumped up when the cows ventured close again, insisting on standing between us, just in case. He's such a great guy.






Patch is slowly working himself up to being a manly buck, as Shugar shamelessly flirts with him. I’m not sure he has had much success, which concerns me, as I will have to find an alternate source for goatsmilk this year should he not get the hang of things. 

Mr Potamus has his own Facebook page now, as a couple of people on the  various forums I am a member of, suggested it. His popularity has been eclipsing mine at a rapid pace.

The rest of my ‘free’ time has been spent soaping, making wax tarts and candles and rendering tallow for body butter for the store. I’m trying out some new fragrances in wax. 
I’ve added chocolate lip balm to the roster, as it has gotten great reviews.

Next on the list will be starting seedlings for this  years garden. I hope we have better weather this spring and summer than we did in 2013!

19 comments:

  1. Oh my, how I've missed you Petey! I think of you often and wonder how you are doing at the ranch on our eastern borders. It's hard to believe that lambing season is upon us already. Soon our green Willamette Valley pastures will be full of this years crop of sweet baby lambs. You mentioned bringing the ram lamb inside. We had a set of twin bummer lambs years ago and brought them in the house to care for them. We kept them on a pallet at the foot of our bed and took turns getting up throughout the night to feed them. In about 2 or 3 days, all of our kids were also sleeping on the floor at the foot of

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    1. Thank you Candice! haha! Darn lambs are pretty hard to resist!

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  2. I think your lamby thinks he's a dog lol his brother Mr C is teaching him well..

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    1. I don't think lamby has any idea WHAT he is! LOL

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    2. So good to see you back! I, like so many of your readers, miss you and think of you when you're gone. Is that a Kelpie peaking around the tree? Sure looks like one. In regard to the wolves, what you need is more dogs (of course). I feel for them being kept in, when they know they should be out guarding.
      Judith down in CO

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    3. Thank you Judith. Yes, I do indeed need more dogs but we don't own the ranch and the rules have been set that we cannot have anymore dogs…so the only recourse is to protect them as best I can and keep them from ever confronting the wolves when they arrive. I am thankful I socialized these boys enough that they desire my company, but they won't be so much LGD's anymore. They are too valuable to me to risk their lives, even for the sheep.

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    4. and yes, that probably is a Kelpie you see! A cowboy here brought 29 dogs…which is likely the boss made this ruling. It has been a pretty awful situation.

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  3. Hi, petey! So good to hear from you - sad to hear you haven't felt "right" for awhile, but I hope that's behind you. That poor lamb! Nobody to play "king of the mountain" with or butt heads...I hope he gets weaned soon, as we know you sure didn't need another chore (feeding him). I think mama sheep saw his head coming out & assumed he'd be ALL black = the black sheep of the family & wanted nothing to do with him (lol). I want to do some garden plantings, too...I think I need to keep things where they'll get afternoon shade, though. All of my crops suffered from the scorching heat last year & didn't produce enough of anything to make them worth my efforts...I thought it was my fault until I read that lots of crops "shut down" during excessive heat. I had a ton of basil, though, as it was shaded in the afternoon, so I'm hoping it'll work for other things. That's really sad that the dogs have to be confined - are you sure you can't get more & make a big enough "pack" to scare off wolves/coyotes? I know it must be expensive to feed them, but wouldn't small ones be intimidating enough with the 2 big dogs? Packs of Chihuahua's used to take down deer...And they fought off wild dogs in Beverly Hills Chihuahua!! Don't work too hard...Sincerely, Scootersandi (El Paso, Tx)

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    1. I hope you have better luck with your garden! I am going to be 'optimistic' and plant some seedlings, maybe this week. (we desperately need a rototiller as there is no one to help me do this stuff when it comes time to plant) A number of LGD's is exactly what is called for, but unfortunately, we are not allowed. The boys are all we have. It's a ridiculously small band of sheep they protect…in fact my entire flock isn't worth the cost of one dog. I'm hoping I can come up with the $ I need to beef up enough fence for them to graze as opposed to selling them all off. It's gonna be a tough summer! God bless you and I'll cross my fingers for all of us who are tilling the soil this year!

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  4. Sorry to hear that some dip-wad showed up with 29 dogs and lead to the boss needing to set a dog limit. Another LGD would come in pretty handy it sounds like. Hope you and the boys have a good spring and that things even out and are more comfortable.

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    1. LOL! yes, it would have been very handy. I had two really nice dogs lined up too and it was a sweet deal, but not to be. We'll just have to work around it. Good to see you!

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  5. Awe Petey...I feel your disappointment in not being able to let the boys do their work at their fullest. I am sure that they will still keep the wildlife at bay if it gets too close, but as you say, keeping them protected now becomes a priority. Glad to hear that brighter days have come upon you. I will be praying that your remaining births are all successful. Staci, Maine

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  6. Petey - your writing is always so candid - you are an artist who paints with words. Thank you for your honest and heartfelt post. Yes, our dogs are sure family, aren't they? We put up a 6 ft. tall 10 x 20 foot kennel to keep our dear Chukar dog in if I go to town. We just don't trust the coyotes much and Chucky would run to chase them for sure.

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  7. Hi Kim! I remember seeing a documentary on television called "The Wolfman" in which Shaun Ellis was called in to help a farmer in Poland find a non-lethal way to ward off a wolf pack that worked. "Ellis believed that if the local wolves heard howls coming from the farm they would believe another pack had already claimed it as their territory, and keep clear to avoid a conflict. In order for this to work Ellis had to determine the size of the pack and play back recordings of a similar-sized pack. Initial results were encouraging and in the first few weeks after the farmer began playing the recordings the farm suffered no further attacks." Here is the link ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaun_Ellis_(wolf_researcher)
    Not sure what your resources are but maybe local authorities or group might mimic what Ellis did.

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  8. Argh.... I am so sorry that you are unable to get more dogs. I think the ranch owner would see the benefit to his livestock as well. Hopefully he will realize how valuable the LGD's have been (before loss of said livestock) and allow 2 more dogs. Maybe he could get them and have you be the handler?
    The ram lamb is adorable. How could any mommy turn her back on him? Thankfully he has YOU! And the polar bears. :) I will keep my fingers crossed and the rest of the lambing goes well.
    Oh, and any time you want to write and vent. We are here. Go right ahead.
    DH has some seeds started for spring planting. Ha.... like spring will EVER get here. I has been one LONG and COLD winter. Then we pray for a summer that is not as HOT and DRY as last year.
    (Oh Goodness, us Humans are NEVER happy!)
    It is good to see you here, big hugs....

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  9. Thanks all you guys! My page isn't working right so I can't use the 'reply' button. It's not likely the owner will change his mind. The large number of dogs on this ranch has bothered him for quite a long time. He has given us the privilege to have livestock here, even though I no longer am able to ride along and help out. LGD's would not be a very big help with the number of cattle he runs on the amount of land they use. I just need to learn to live within the limits and make sure none of my animals cause anyone else any problems. It's a great family we work for and I would never want to do anything to offend them, as they have always been more than fair and much more than generous with us. Thank you all for your support. The easy solution just isn't the right one for us, in this case. Lamby aka Creep aka Captain Marbles is doing well. Potamus is currently babysitting him out on the porch so I can get a break. He's making me just a wee bit insane, and I can't blame PPD haha!

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  10. Sure have missed you--checked 3 times a day sometimes and am sorry you weren't feeling too well. Hope things are looking better. Hang in there!! Sue :)

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  11. Petey, I was so excited to find you on the web today! I have been missing you and checking every day hoping to see your post! I am sorry you have had some down time and loss of lambs. That little cutie you have in your house is adorable though! We grew up on a working farm and my brothers and I have raised several lambs on a bottle. They were so cute and so much fun! They followed us around like puppies and of course we loved it. I know the LGD's are so frustrated that they can't get out and run those pesky coyotes off. The fellow who moved there with 29 dogs sure made things tough for you. I can't imagine what he was thinking that many dogs would be welcome. I hope you are feeling better and love on those dogs! ........................Ginny in Texas

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  12. page STILL not working right…Thanks so much. Makes me feel warm that you guys actually missed me! Lambs are a kick. The dogs are taking turns babysitting him because he can be THAT annoying LOL
    He is cute when he's sleeping though :)

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