Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
27 days in a row that there has been measurable precipitation.
Yeah, it's rained 27 days in a row.
Highs in the upper 50's low 60's, low's in the lower50's and upper 40's.
Gee, isn't that exciting................ not..................HA!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I get time to think when I milk my goats. It's a very special time, one that is all my own to spend with the girls and enjoy them. Why would anyone scream and yell and yank on dairy goats (except for when one kicks the bucket over, then of course there's a few minutes of choice words to be shared)? What good does it do? Why bother to own them and milk them if that's the norm in your barn?
Life is short, we have to enjoy the moments when we get them. My moments come during barn time. To that end, I decided that more than 10 years of a crappy radio with a tinnie sound was going to finally be retired. I bought a nice radio. With a big Sub Woofer. And big side speakers. An iPod dock. A CD player. And no one to tell me TURN IT DOWN!
I put it together and set it up where I could use the REMOTE (oh yes! It has a REMOTE! WOW!) from where I sit milking. I turned that puppy up full blast. The goats ran to their corners, and I walked around and told them it was OK. Then I started dancing in the barn aisle. They ran to their corners, sure their mom had gone daft. I called to them and told them they were fine. Flower looked at me with her head cocked sideways...she must have seen Carol dance in the milk room when she used to live with her! Eventually the girls all did their own little dances in the stalls, finally relieved that all was well, mom was just happy, and they too could enjoy themselves.
My thought today is that although things get a little wild and weird now and then, and sometimes downright depressing, we have to take the good moments when we can and truly appreciate them. I hope you had a good moment today too.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This time Anna took her time and drove me nuts. The first 2 puppies delivered within 1 hour of each other, but BOTH were feet-first breech births. Those are VERY hard presentations for the mom! Both were boys, born at 9 and 10 pm Friday night. Then nothing........she slept, cared for her 2 boys, slept more. I stayed up with her all night of course and got no sleep. At 4am she delivered a puppy with a disconnected umbilical, so probably got caught up with other puppies in there. Sadly, the little girl was DOA. I was so dismayed, and began to get worried. But, at 6am, contractions began again and a healthy screaming boy was born without incident!
Since Rick was home and is GREAT with birthing animals, and Anna was once again resting, I decided to take the girls to the last big dog show of the year only 30 minutes away as planned. I kept my cell phone on me, rushed to the show grounds, ran into the show ring, ran back out and drove home. I was gone for maybe an hour and a half! I kept in touch with Rick and Anna was still just resting and feeding her babies. So I unloaded the girls, changed clothes, and sat with Anna. By 1pm I was not only tired but telling Anna I was getting tired of waiting and starting to worry if the other 3 in there were alive. I now always take a pregnant mom in for an x-ray before birthing due date - it will help you make informed decisions! And worth every penny as these puppies are precious lives! I called the vet, told the details, and said I wanted to come in and check the heartbeats on the remaining 3. The ultrasound showed 3 heartbeats - 2 very strong and 1 a little weak as it was sitting in the birthing canal........not a good place to be waiting. We decided on going for the c-section, and I'm glad we did. 3 girls were waiting in there. The one in the birth canal was the very tiny girl - all the others weighed 350 - 400 grams but this girl was a tiny 250 grams. No wonder Anna was 'stalled' - it was so tiny it didn't stimulate the birth canal hardly at all!
She's a tiny girl and it took a very long time to revive her. Because of this, she may also not be a 100% baby either. Not all babies are perfect, and we are wrong to assume all will be! It's impossible to know at this time if she had any oxygen deprivation or if she was ever meant to be in the first place. She is often on her side as the others crawl on their bellies to eat, so it's possible she wasn't meant to be with us long. I am making sure she gets plenty to eat. So only time will tell. I hope she's going to make it, but I am not God nor do I play Him on any television shows. Only He knows if she is a temporary gift!
So you could say this weekend, along with the "Ram Lamb Affair", was a very loooooooooooong weekend! By yesterday I was exhausted with little sleep for days, but this is the life I chose and I am happiest here with my animals. There will be time later to catch up on sleep. I'll take photos of the new kids when I'm sure we've made it over the hump. They are all white teddy bears right now anyways, since ACD puppies are born white then color in weeks later. Off to check on the little one.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Today the sheep pen got a cleaning. We have been under siege with rains since the middle of June, in a place that only gets 32 inches of precip a year. 2 months straight, it's rained, showed, the sun peaks out, goes away, and rains again. Not even 3 dry days to cut and bale hay SINCE EARLY JUNE! My poor sheep have had 3 'hills' and one dry shed to go into, but they are muddy. All of them. We have been battling the rains with our soils that don't soak in rain here, it just runs off downhill. We're on Glacial Moraine, lots of the state is, and why there are so many tiny lakes too......the ground doesn't soak up much water. So my sheep pen is no different. THANKFULLY Rick decided to bring down some old trees with the big excavator, and I talked him into removing the overburden in the sheep pen down to the sand I had trucked in for them in years past. So I just let them out and they are running in the sand and feeding at their round bale, quite happy. I don't expect them to be any less muddy, well, ok, maybe a LITTLE less, but they will be happier. And now the hayfields and pastures are full of mushrooms - good and bad mushrooms. So no pasture for the sheep! At least we can walk around the herding arena and PICK all those mushrooms and get them out of there......sigh...and no change in the forecast either. Rain and mud until freeze up ........I hope not, but it isn't looking good! Pray that we get a week's break later this month to bale hay, there's a huge shortage of it here locally since very few fields ever could get baled.
Went to the dog shows this weekend, and my blue girl Mimi took 2 3-point majors so she did well! And Roisin took the Reserves, good girl.
And Anna had her litter of puppies - 3 boys and 3 girls - starting Friday evening into yesterday. Momma and babies are all doing fine so far! But I'm pooped having stayed up all Friday night with her...phew!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Hay for most farmers is now rotting in the fields. Allot of money will be spent to bale rotten hay and dispose of it on the field edges, it has to be gotten off the fields so the new grass underneath can grow and you don't end up baling old junk in with the new later on. We were very lucky, we managed to bale 2 out of 3 fields, the 3rd has gone to waste. Very few farmers have gotten any hay put up at all, so there's no hay to be bought right now to speak of. Up north isn't any better. A few got in some during a few windows. Maybe there will be some 2nd cutting hay in squares or dry rounds, but most 2nd cutting hay here goes into sealed moist round bales because it's never warm enough in September to do dry squares. It has rained 1 out of 3 days since the middle of June......what a strange year for weather.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
...........I think the rain is just fine afterall!!!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Today was work day here and with my helper Karen, not only did the stalls get their weekly stripped-bare cleaning and fresh bedding put in but we also trimmed hooves on more than 20 head of goats - including all the bucks. Pee ewww!!! We took our time and 3 hours later, beautiful feet everywhere. Moved some goats around too. Next, waiting for the tractor bucket to get fixed and strip the outdoors runs back down to nice gravel again!
Heard there's a heatwave in the lower-48 - it's been showers or light rain every other day or every 3rd day since the middle of June here; a few days into the high 60's and maybe a 70-ish, but plenty of weather in the 50's. Ok, tired of showers now!!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
today we have begun Saanen kidding watch, the first for this year. Francie has been moved to the kidding stall, mucous string present, tail head high, and doing all sorts of talking including to me. Whenever I enter the barn in the morning it's a 21 gun salute - with all the heads and feet hanging over the stalls to greet me.
Francie was suspiciously missing from the lineup!
When I looked into her stall, there she was, looking at me but still laying comfortably on the floor. And then she started talking to me.
Any good goat mom knows what that's all about, so I did the barn chores, milking, and check the clean birthing stall to see what was needed like fresh warm water, minerals, and hay. Done with that, Francie said goodbye to her herdmates without so much as looking back and quietly walked into her new surroundings, checking the smells on everything. Yep, this will do nicely, it has distant smells of birthings past. She talked to me a bit and then settled in, milk bar already filled to the max, just waiting for the kid or kids to arrive.
And shortly after I posted, I heard Francie calling so went to the barn and things were underway. A lovely big healthy girl arrived into the world! Mom is doing a wonderful job, the little girl has already eaten a big meal, and I collected colostrum to put in the freezer without going to the milkstand - she just stood and let me do my job without moving or fussing. I also got my neck and face cleaned in the process, and didn't even loose an earing - haha! Everyone here about 1 year of age and older were tested negative for CAE and Johne's also, and no CL on the goats nor on the property ever, so no problems with letting the dams raise their kids for a few days. A beautiful girl - simply wonderful!
Proud dad is Des Ruhigestelle Elaradale, "Dale", a Winseeker - 2008 National Champion Senior Doe - grandson.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
for sending on an award to me!
Hmmm, what to say that my intro doesn't cover! I came to Alaska in 1980 from Michigan with my first husband who was my college sweetheart at Michigan State. We permanently moved up here from mid-Michigan, packing whatever we could into an old but newly-painted 4 horse stock trailer and my pickup truck, and hauled it over 4000 miles over the Alaska Highway in 1981. I had studied Forestry and Animal Husbandry; and he had studied Forestry and something else (funny how those things now fade into the past!). We split a few years later as he went into the big world on the fast track and my interests were still the same - the land and the animals. Alaska has always been a place of magic to me, and the chance to move up was too enticing to refuse. Fast forward 30 years, I now have a registered herd of Nigerian Dwarves, Nubians, and Saanens and milk most days twice a day and have done so for more than 7 years non-stop. As a friend once said, I have 'great guns' - the arms of a farmer, ha! In the summer I'm busy also teaching herding to stockdogs and their owners. My favorite work is that which is training for farm and ranch work rather than arena trial work. There are a good 40 plus dogs that come here spring summer and fall to train on sheep and ducks, and a good number continue to practice through the winter months too. So I like Donna am middle aged, in my 50's, and enjoying the farming life on a 120 acre farm carved out of virgin forest near Wasilla, Alaska. Summers are crazy with long hours and tons of hard work, and by the first snowfall, we are ready to enjoy the quieter months of winter. It's a quarter to 11 at night and it's completely light out, the sun hasn't even set yet and it won't for a while. Room-darkening shades are a must if you ever want to sleep in the summer in Alaska!
I will have to figure out who to send this award on to, but I know Jenny in Scotland will be one of them! :-)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Stockmaster's Red Roisin,my Irish girl bred by Daryl Moffitt in Northern Ireland, sired by Ch Silveraurora's PW Tom Thumb out of Stockmaster Drover's Lady, took the 4 point major Saturday going Winners Bitch and Best Opposite at the Alaska Herding Group Club show. Sunday, Roisin not only took Winners Bitch for another 4 point major (her 3rd) but also went Best of Breed! Yay! Saturday, Silveraurora's Helen B took the Reserve with Auntie Linda at the lead and Sunday Silveraurora's Leah's Dream took the Reserve with her mom, Judy, for her first Reserve to a major! Both of those girls are puppies out of Ch Silveraurora's Watch Me Fly by our red boy here, Ch Quickheels Finishline Chuckle, PT. So we've been a little busy with the dogs lately!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We had a guest herding instructor up for 4 days from Saturday through Tuesday so I tried to be down at the herding arena as much as possible to watch and learn. You can always learn something. Everyone had a great time and the sheep did really well. They are in good shape for the summer trial season. Right now I'm teaching lessons Tuesdays Wednesdays Fridays and Saturdays - it's great to see all the dogs and their owners coming out to enjoy it!
The dogs are all doing good too. Another dog show coming up soon, this one held by the Alaska Herding Group club, an AKC Conformation/obedience/herding approved Group 7 club. Since I'm Vice President I will be busy for that weekend at the shows, and entered some of my dogs too. Some of my grand older dogs are doing quite well. Martha and Ella are both 8 years old now and still as beautiful as they ever were, and still in working weight - nice and fit. Chuckles is as happy and affectionate as ever, soon to be 8 years old. Sarah will be 9 shortly, Xena 10 soon, Jake, my love, is 10 going on 11, Aggie is 11 going on 12, Spice will be 13 soon and Jessie 14 soon. So all of the older folks here are doing well all things considered. They are all still so much a part of my life with many good memories of Conformation championships, herding titles, and moments of joy and appreciation. The younger ones are up and coming and I can only hope they can fill the shoes of those who have made my life the joy it's been for years now. I could never live without a cattledog at my side!
Friday, May 21, 2010
You can see she's certainly well-fed.....ahem....
But Michelle, we didn't know Blanche carried spots, did we?? Look at this beautiful lamb!
Now those in the know - wouldn't you call this Bladget? The black and the white are ground into each other and this is not Flecket...looks like ground snow to me. What do you all think??
And oh yeah...........did I mention.............IT'S A GIRL!!!!
Michelle, this one might need to fly back to you! LOL! Minwawe Topple is the proud dad. And just look at those kiss-lips...too cute!
Below is a J&P rose called Scentimental, a smaller-flowered Floribunda.
This lovely hanging basket will grow much bigger over the summer, right now it's fairly small. The dark purple is Verbenum, along with some Wave-type small yellow petunias and a few large burgundy petunias. These are hung under the front, north-side eaves as Petunias 'rot' in the July and August rainy season when exposed to constant rains.
Go to your favorite store with all that outdoorsie stuff...plastic cups and bowls and trays and BBQ's. Look for a big thin plastic bowl - priced at $1 or $1.50 and often used for a bag of chips at a BBQ. In fact, buy 2 in case you screw up the first one and if not, you can take it to your next family gathering stuffed full of chips and leave it there when you head home - lol! Now go pull the top half of your patio umbrella off. Place the plastic bowl over the top of the bottom half of the pole and draw a ring around the pole onto the bottom of the plastic bowl. That part done, now you can have fun. Go get a nice butane lighter - do this near a hose in case you get out of control - and SLOWLY heat up the center of the circle on the plastic. Once there's a hole through it you keep circling the lighter slowly until the hole has melted big enough to meet the line you drew onto it. Put a pair of gloves on, if you're prone to accidents the hot plastic will probably drip onto your hand! Now here the good part - while it's still warm QUICKLY force it over the bottom pole onto the table top. You can see my table is glass. If you do it while it's warm, the plastic will be tight to the pole. If not, ok, it's not the end of the world! Either way you now have a cheap plastic bowl in your choice of colors sitting on your table with a patio umbrella stuck through the middle of it! If it's a sunny place, then buy some Moisture Control soil so that it retains water longer, and plant your favorites into your new planter. It will last the whole summer if you remember to water it, and lets face it, if you sit at the table a few ice cubes from your iced tea or favorite drink placed on the dirt will melt and help keep it from drying out. If you're even better, you'll remember to bring out a glass of water every now and then to keep the soil moist.
You too can have an Umbrella Planter for $1.50! HA!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
today was a fun day for the dogs. Everyone got a big Milkbone dog biscuit which each took carefully and with tails wagging furiously. The other day they all got a fresh frozen meaty rib bone - the kind they cut off from the prime rib end, not that big flat meatless bones on the long end of the steer's ribcage. Oh they love those and work on them for days.
Roisin had a great evening. One of the herding students that normally takes the sheep down to the arena for class was a little behind, so I'd already loaded Roisin up to go down this time since she hasn't been out on stock for months (bad mom!). So I took her out and told her to get her sheep already set out in the arena up top, and away we went. She took them down to the arena with few problems other than to occasionally stop and sniff where the other working dogs are allowed to potty. Just too irresistible I guess! So we got them down to the arena and once the sheep saw the new green grass, they took off into the arena like bullets - with Roisin fast on their heels once she realized they were leaving her. Out and around she went and quickly fetched them all right back to me. I think there were only 10 or 12 head of sheep and a few lambs, but she sure had a blast keeping them gathered. Of course, her dad as well as her Grandma Spice were always good at gathering anyways, it comes naturally. Good girl Roisin! Roisin is from Northern Ireland and is sired by my champion over there, Rocky, and out of a lovely girl named Gem.
My roses are beginning to bloom. Such a joy to have had them in cold storage this past winter for the first time in years - I just stuffed them into the cold potato storage unit for the winter and it worked! To have them blooming this early is simply amazing! I pulled them from storage in April and put them in Rick's heated greenhouse that he started up in April.... the heat in there is a central woodstove and he built a fire in it every night to help warm up the soil in the raised bed. We are already eating fresh lettuces and radishes from our greenhouse - and it's only May! The tomatoes are growing well too. Some of the hanging baskets I started are still in there so that they can get big and be in full bloom before putting them out; other hanging baskets that I had picked up over the last few weeks are now hanging outside, although we're still risking frost hitting them. Yesterday I planted broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce starts in the raised beds in the garden as well as the bush greenbeans.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Otherwise we're a bit too busy with spring cleanup and birthings, caring for lambs and goat kids! It's a fabulous time to visit the farm if you're looking for either beautiful registered Spotted Shetland lambs or wonderful goat kids! I have a lovely Nubian doe kid ready for her new home, as well as 3 lovely ND doe kids old enough to leave now - very colorful!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Lots of goats kids have arrived.......and almost all at once. Twins this morning, triplets and twins yesterday. Lots of goat kids and milking to do. And lots of doe kids available for a change! The 2 Nubian girls are very very pregnant now and growing udders, so it won't be long before they kid. I'm guessing twins for both of them.
The registered sheep on the other hand are holding out........seems there was a lull in the breedings 5 months ago and I have 3 Goodyear blimps out there! I swear they're going to burst! And loooooooooooud!! They sure let me know when it's dinner time.
All else seems to be holding steady on the farm. The wintered-over roses have just come out to see their first daylight via the greenhouse which Rick has begun heating a few weeks ago with the woodstove in there. It's doing a fantastic job too. The roses have 4 to 12 inches of new growth on them, very pale in color and certainly not green. As they sit in there with the cloudy days, they'll start greening up again. Always take them out of winter storage when you're due to have mostly cloudy days for 3-5 days. They are very tender at this point, can break easily, and can burn up if exposed to strong full sun. Lots of water, a jolt of liquid fertilizer, and patience. I've transplanted the tomato starts into bigger containers so in a few days those will head out to the greenhouse too, along with the calendulas, gourds, cukes, a flat of 3 varieties of red lettuces, and other miscellaneous seeds I've started. A friend brought over a flat of pansy starts for me too. And in the dirt bed in the greenhouse, the soil temp is now up to 70 degrees again so I planted radishes and spring mix lettuces which have all popped up already. Hopefully in another month we'll have a fresh salad from the greenhouse. The woodstove in there is just a barrel stove, but we run hot water heated in a big pan on the top of the stove that circulated through hoses with a little electric water pump deep down in the dirt. So not only is the greenhouse warm, the soil is heated to prevent the cold from the frozen earth below from coming up into the beds. We had a similar system at the old place and it worked well. Here's to spring!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
And for goats - my best milker and mother, Patience, who broke the one day test milk records twice producing over 6 pounds on test, has a lovely daughter sired by our dual champion Sebastian, named Yada. Yada decided today would be a good day to become a First Freshener! Sired by Jobi LA Thunder, our best 'milk' guy and my favorite buck, she gave birth easily on her own to triplets - 2 girls and a boy. Big udder on her but then you can't tell anything early on as they can have misleading edema. We'll see how she milks in a few weeks - yay! My Easter present no doubt!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
And for the registered flock, we're half way there with some pretty big looking girls still hanging on, especially for as little as they are. Cheesecake's daughter, Princess, is doing very well with her little girl too. So what shall we name this girl?
I *did* see 2 udders on the 4 girls that Peyton was in with. Now we'll have to wait to see just when they lamb. Just in case.......I pulled Peyton after the girls were in with him for months, gave it a few weeks break, then put my boy from last year in with them to be sure that they were bred this year. So, depending on when those 2 girls have lambs, we'll either have Little Peytons or not! Here's crossing fingers as Peyton is my only Gulmoget.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Still no more lambs in the registered group, they are holding out, yes, including Blanche who is now very nude! I think the sheep are embarrassed when their first sheared - haha!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
And we've had a plethora of unregistered lambs born, and another registered lamb born...........more later, and photos to come!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
So, pics tomorrow when I recover from the dog shows.........Anna finished her conformation championship yesterday and our red Irish girl, Roisin, got her first major today - a 4 point-er no less!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
How have you been doing lately? Please do type when you can!
Monday, March 1, 2010
I'm waiting for lambs now - how about you? No AI or flushing used here, so it's au natural for my ewes. We had a snowstorm this week with a fresh 7-8 inches of snow on the ground. It's warm out, in the 20's and expected to go into the low 30's today - great for the goat kids. Now where are those lambs tho when you want them?!
And it's time to pick a date for shearing. That's on my gotta do list!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Zasia's other doe kid, a beautiful black and tan spotted Nubian. She will be retained if she comes back G6S normal!
This boy is simply stunning - long, very dairy, long rump, and as spectacular as his sire who ADGA youngstock appraised Excellent. He's covered in moonspots and will remain extremely colorful. He is G6S normal by parentage, and available also. His dam is Flower, multiple Best Udder in Breed winner.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
All week we've had temps in the 30's.....actually, most of last week too. On occasion we've been hitting 40. Hello? This Alaska? February?? EEEK! I even did chores in a sweatshirt this morning, no jacket! The deep snows are melting off slowly but surely. The sheep think they are in heaven...big hay bale in the feeder, fresh straw and hay in the shed for bedding, and snow melting away all around them. Of course we'll have more winter, we don't have thawed ground for spring planting until May and often get snows in April, but this is a very welcomed break! Even the goats are relishing the warmth, the ducks are finding puddles to bathe in today and the chickens are out exploring far away from the chicken coop, searching for anything edible to peck at. I'm even thinking we should shear sheep now instead of waiting for March like usual........hmmmmmm.....would be nice to see what's under all that thick wool!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
On another front, my beautiful Muscovies are hatching! YES - IN FEBRUARY! Crazy. They normally have a very low hatch rate at this time of year, but our winter has been so mild and since I sold a very nice black and white Pied drake to a friend, my Blue and White Pied drake has been VERY busy. I will have some gorgeous rarer colors available in another week or so. Muscovies are unlike any other duck, and many are pets. They do NOT quack - so they make the perfect duck for families in suburban or city locations that allow quiet fowl. As part of their greetings they make a nice hiss hiss hiss sound and literally wag their tails. So my Valentines Day present is a bunch of hatching ducklings - yay! If you want any, just let me know!
And I'm on the "forever waiting for the goats to kid" syndrome. I have 7 Nigerian Dwarves and 4 Nubians due within the next 30 days. One of the Nubians is due any day, and she's definately letting me know about it too. She'd prefer that I just pull up a cot and stay with her 24/7 I'm afraid - ha ha! The Saanens aren't due until this summer, so they're outdoors enjoying themselves!
It's been beautiful weather for us. No terrible cold snaps lately, got a decent snow of 8 inches a little while ago promptly followed by days in the 30's to help melt some of it down. Of course there are still huge snowpiles around the farm and still a deep covering of snow, but these warm days have been fantastic! I even got a 'tan' yesterday while teaching herding lessons facing the sun for 4 hours straight - yay!
Hope you take the time to send a note - let me know what you're up to -
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
First photo - the ram who decided he didn't want to be part of the group....
And once again, the ram being told he WAS part of the group! Good boy, Russell!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
If you have a large flock or farm, do you sometimes wish that you could just deal only with the animals instead of the people?
People are so rude some times, downright condescending too. I honestly think that some 'city folks' think all farmers are hicks, sit on the porch in a rocking chair with nothing better to do, and that the majority of them have a 5th grade education.
If you have a large flock, farm, ranch, or herd - you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that no newcomer could ever have no matter how much they've read.
That's just the way it is. The feel of something under your hands tells you that something specific is wrong. The walk, the eyes, how the head or tail is held, even how the animal chews it's food - they are all very important clues to each individual's health and well-being. The longer you have certain individuals, they become much more than a number, a score, a rating, an appraisal, a tag, a tattoo. They have personality quirks, likes and dislikes, and records behind them of birthings and sickness and health. They aren't always written records, but mental notes that we store and we see those notes when we see that animal each day.
And at certain times of the year, when the farm bursts at it seams with new borns everywhere and planting, or harvest is under way, the brain fails us. A momentary brain-fart. Or, like during the recent windstorm we had here, so violent for 3 days that when it was over all you could think of is how nice it would be to sleep for the whole day because you're exhausted, worrying about all that you take care of. Recently I thought I was doing someone a favor and thought I understood what they wanted. So I did what I thought was expected, only to get a plethora of nasty, mean-spirited words practically telling me I was an idiot for what I'd done. My feelings were very hurt, it was supposed to be a joyful thing and I had been happy to do the task. Instead, I got to see what 2 people are REALLY like when things don't go just the way they wanted them to, and I can tell you, I have little value left for those 2 humans. Condescending and rude, I had to read their notes twice to finally catch on to what I was being blamed for doing wrong.
Such is life I suppose. I understand the animals much better than I could ever understand most humans, and that is why I like the lifestyle that I have chosen. So if I misinterpret something you say or something you imply, forgive me for not understanding you and just make an attempt to explain it to me a different way. My job is working with animals. For many other people, their job is to work with people. Sometimes the two sets of humans don't understand each other very well in the end.
Do other shepherds, ranchers, and farmers often feel the same way?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Should we as farmers, ranchers, shepherds also massage our messages?
I don't think so.
We work with reality. Reality is high winds killing your livestock. Reality is if enough livestock are killed elsewhere too, mom and dad at the grocery store are going to pay more for their meal on the table.
Why bother to massage the message that if we don't take care of the soil, it will have nothing left to give us back. For 60 years the chemical companies have grown into huge conglomerates that make, for one thing, chemicals to put on the soil to MAKE it grow something, but only the thing you want to grow and kill the rest (GMO soy, corn, sugar beets, for example). And you put more chemicals on it to fertilize it. And in some cases, put chemicals on it to kill it (the tops of sugar beets for instance) so it can be harvested. And maybe even a chemical put on it to keep it from spoiling in storage. That's a heck of allot of chemicals.
Farmers, Ranchers, and Shepherds KNOW that all you need to do is to keep things in balance....the right number of sheep on a pasture will not only produce meat for the freezer but they will also feed the soil with their manures and urines, and help the grasses grown. That rotational grazing will keep down the weeds and promote the grass, so more grass means more feed for more sheep. It's a cycle as old as mankind...... manage your animals, your foodstuffs, and your lifestyle in a way that everything helps everything else.
I don't need to massage the message.
You don't need to either.
And, way to go Google.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
A goat uprising occurred the other day.......the Saanens got out and greeted me when I entered the barn! YIPEEE! Mom's HERE! Boing boing boing they came to me....tossing heads and bouncing like rabbits. They hadn't done any damage and couldn't get into things like grain bins, so I just had goat pellets to sweep out of the aisleway. I opened up their stall door and went in and called......2 Saanens followed me in gladly, and I gave them a quick treat. I walked out the back doors and once the other 2 and their renegade Nubian doe friend saw me, they came running and into the stall together we went. OH they were SO proud of themselves. Saanens have an incredible sense of humor and are found most days bucking and kicking as they run around their yard.
The sheep uprising consists of one unregistered ram with a penchant for protecting his flock. He's fine with humans, but he's not been happy when we take some of his ewes down to the herding arena - eventually he'll jump the fence and twice he's come down to the arena to gather his girls back up to take them home, or so he thinks. It's given the herding students something to do tho as one will have to take their dog and 'escort him' back to the pen. So, he's now locked into the shed when we take some of his girls down there. Hopefully we'll be done with breeding season here shortly as the rams have been MORE than full of themselves. Sheesh.
If you had some of those bad winter snowstorms or cold fronts at your place, I'm sorry. It seems to have done allot of damage and people are having to protect their animals from the cold and winds too. It's windy here today, maybe 45mph gusts, and at noon the temps have gone from +7 this morning to +27 in just 4 hours - the winds are bringing in warmth but also gusts now hitting 55mph, and those are awful. Time to go out and put the goats back into their stalls regretfully, a little too windy for pregnant does to be out in.
Have a great Sunday!