Showing posts with label LGD's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGD's. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Homestead

 It's definitely autumn around here.  The mares and colts are enjoying the last bits of green(ish) grass before the snow flies.  Soon it will be weaning time for the two little fillies.  So we spent some time with them yesterday afternoon and introduced them to halters and brushes.

Little Eileen has grown into quite the young lady. She is pretty willing to go with the program, whatever we ask her to do.  That's the way we like our colts to be.

You can tell by looking at Reba that she is bred to run.  We call her the "little red rocket".

We also happen to have a litter of livestock guardian puppies that are busy growing like weeds so they can soon head out onto farms and ranches and guard them from predators. We are so fortunate to have a pair of "LGD's"  to keep the grizzlies and other predators from strolling onto our place. In this area we are all having to learn to live "with" the bears a lot more than a few years ago.  The dogs are part of what makes our lifestyle possible in such a high predator area.  But for now, they sure are cute!!

The baby chicks we brought home last spring are grown now and have started laying an abundance of eggs. I had to snap a picture of Zorro yesterday, as he strutted around to show everyone  that he's the boss.

 The last of the garden will be harvested today and the soil will be turned over to rest.  Does it feel like Autumn where you are? I really hope it does! This is one of the best times of the year....

Now go make something beautiful,

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February Freeze

It's a pretty regular thing for us to get our most bitterly cold weather in the beginning of February.  We can almost count on it. December really threw us for a loop this year with some of the lowest temperatures we'd seen in over fifteen years.  There was a week that the thermometer was stuck at around -30 below zero.  Then we had some serious wind chill at around -65 or so. Wicked.

So now it is February.  As predicted we are having another cold snap.  It was -25 when I got up this morning.  Thankfully there isn't much for wind.

The sunrise always looks a little different at sub zero temperatures....
Judge and I think it's just too dang cold!  We're gonna hang out here for a while and drink hot coffee.  Well, I'll have the coffee.... Judge is good with keeping his spot on the floor held down.

Stay warm everyone,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How To Meet the Neighbors

My big dogs were naughty.  Very naughty.  They took off early yesterday morning and I couldn't find them anywhere.  Something had been really getting them riled up at about 2:30 a.m.  When I got up, they were gone.  I decided if they weren't back by the time we got home from taking one of the rugrats to a doctor's appointment, I would call the sheriff's department and ask if they had been reported anywhere.

Just as I was pulling out of my driveway, and older, blue, Ford ranch truck pulled up and Chuck rolled down the window.  "Do you have a huge white dog and another dog?"  I confirmed I did.  "Well, they're at my house in the barn.  And they tangled with a porcupine."  I apologized profusely and told him I'd be over to get them as soon as I could.

Chuck and Karen live two and a half miles to the west on the cutest farmstead you've ever seen.  I've always liked their place but had never formally met them or been out there.  I wish I had better reason to go meet my neighbors than to retrieve my rotten dogs.  But they we're so kind and gracious about it and I'm actually kinda glad it happened.  It's always great to get better acquainted with nice folks, however it comes about. 

The dogs sure enough had tangled with that porcupine.  Each dog had a nose full of quills.  I am thankful it wasn't worse than that.  Some dogs try to eat the porcupine and end up having major surgery to remove them from their throat. 

First thing this morning I loaded up 200 pounds of dog and went to the vet.  I wasn't able to convince the big babies to hold still and let me rip quills out of their nose.  Imagine that!  We needed drugs....

But with the help of Dr. Evans and technician Nikki, we got them quill free and they are now sleeping off a good trip in my basement....  Now I'm off to bake my neighbors some, "thanks-for-not shooting-my-dogs cookies".
Bye for now,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My How They've Grown!

So, yesterday morning it was 10 degrees when I left the house to haul the replacement lamb to town.  This morning it's 60 degrees!  I am actually writing this post from my sunny back porch! I've got a great cup of coffee and some home made pumpkin bread. The sun actually feels hot on my black, polka dot t-shirt. I also have a 120 pound dog laying on my foot....

Remember these rascals? I wrote about them on "The Judge and Jury" and also here

Well now they're each 120 pounds of fun!  They really are both amazing dogs and I am very, very glad I have them.  The coyote problem here is a major one.  I'm certain that with out the dogs I would have lost more than one lamb to them.  They do an awesome job at holding them off and alerting me so I can jump on my four wheeler and chase them away! I try not to leave them to deal with a pack of coyotes alone.  Prairie Momma Trish lost a dog to coyotes and I'd hate for my pups to get torn up.

They also behave perfectly with humans.  They are leery of strangers and bark to alert me if someone shows up unexpectedly.  However, when I am there with them and tell them someone is "Ok", they completely respect it just chill out.  I have socialized these dog's a LOT more than most people socialize Livestock Guardian Dogs.  I really didn't want them to be human aggressive unless there was an obvious issue.  Judge did hold the city water man in his vehicle once, while I was gone.  But he just sat and stared as long as he didn't try to get out of his car.

 Jury has had some issues. I call her the naughty one.  For a while she was really after my chickens and killed a few.  Just when I thought I had her broke of it, she killed another one two days ago. It makes me so mad! So she's back in boot camp. She also has more of a tenancy to chase things.  I have to watch her with the alpacas and the calves.  She's usually good, but gets to running them once in awhile.  There was also the day she took after the sheep....ugh.    But for the most part I do see improvement in her behavior so I haven't given up on her.  They are just exactly a year old this month, is the puppy phase gonna be over soon?

With my kids these dogs blow my mind.  Especially Judge.  I love that dog so much! He is an absolute gentle giant.  His favorite thing is in the world is to lay down and let the kids snuggle up with him. Jury is not quite as calm with them and really wants to play all the time.  She can be a little too rambunctious but I know she would not every act aggressively towards them what-so-ever. They also adore little Miss Gwynne and even though they could almost swallow her whole, they treat her like she's the queen!

I hope you enjoyed the doggie update!

Bye for now,

Friday, November 1, 2013

Good Enough Is Perfect

I'm not a perfectionist.... well, maybe I am sometimes.  But, like many of you I have dreams and visions of the way things should be.  Here on the farm I have wanted things to be a certain way.  I do not like clutter and junk laying around.  I wanted all my barns and sheds to be clean and bedded deep with fluffy, gold straw.  The garden was supposed to be abundant and weed free and the yard ought to look freshly mowed.  The animals are supposed to always behave themselves.... My little farm is supposed to be perfect.  Ha!  I bet your laughing at me right now!  That's ok because I am laughing at myself.

We've been on the farm for only six months.  I dove right in to many projects.  We raised thirty five baby chicks in the garage if the town house before we were able to move out here. We invested in two wonderful, Livestock Guardian dogs and went to work on their obedience training. I bought a small herd of alpacas and quickly learned all I could about raising happy, healthy camelids.  Then came the ten bottle calves.  Twice a day, every day, for sixty days we were tackled by ten hungry babies. I brought home ten lambs to help with our weed problem and provide us with another source of grass fed, all natural meat.  The weaner pigs arrived in June.  An acre of garden was planted including several raised beds that are scattered around the yard.  Irrigation hoses were laid out. By the end of June it was set up for perfection....

The first week of July brought the biggest, nastiest hail storm I had ever seen.  (I wrote about it here.) The garden had just enough time to get a good start and then it was annihilated.  It looked like there was no way we'd see and produce from this years efforts. The roof of almost every building was damaged. We were lucky though, the animals were all fine no one was hurt.

Soon after the storm we discovered our water system couldn't support the garden that had survived.  We had planted too big for our britches.  We saved what we could and watched the rest wither on the vine or get overtaken by weeds.

One of the "LGD's" had taken a liking to killing chickens instead of guarding them.  We lost about eight before we solved that issue.  We were sure she was going to have to find another living arrangement.

The lambs absolutely refused to stay anywhere we wanted them to stay!  For a while I had a daily round up using the four-wheeler.  Then I put them in the "riding arena" that happened to be full of grass and forage and they actually didn't escape from it. Except one.... We had a lamb just up an vanish.  I like to say it was abducted by aliens.  It was there one day and then "poof", gone.  No sign of a struggle or a coyote feast.  I actually think it must've been a cougar that stopped by for a sack lunch.

The pigs weren't much trouble except for when they figured out how to push their shed door open.  Thankfully they like their home and didn't run too far.  It's just that they like to pick nasty, windy days or the day I'm on vacation for their little excursions.

The tractor broke down and my mechanic was out bringing in the wheat harvest for month before he went on vacation for a month.  Needless to say, the sheds didn't get cleaned out all summer.  The poo piled up until Hired Man Jim bought himself a little tractor and  tested it out on my barn.  We're still waiting on the parts to come in....

Somehow I haven't found the time or energy to get the shop area cleaned out and free of junk.  I have seen worse, but there's definitely a few trips to the scrap yard that need to be made and some clearing out and organizing to be done....

In all of this I have learned a valuable lesson. Joel Salatin has a saying that I just love! "Good enough is perfect!"   If it is working, if there is a profit, if things are trucking along ok, it's perfect.  For the most part, things are working. The kids and the critters are all thriving....

 I have so very much to be thankful for!  I did get an amazing harvest of tomatoes after they regrew.  The alpacas did provide an abundance of fleece that is becoming yarn that is so beautiful it has inspired me to learn to loom knit and people actually want to buy it!  The lambs fleece happens to be just the thing to blend with the alpaca to make even more amazing yarn. 
 The chickens are laying wonderful, fresh, organic eggs.  The calves are all healthy and looking fat and sassy.  The hogs grew like the weeds and are ready to harvest a month ahead of schedule.  The dogs now do a great job of holding off the coyotes and protecting things, most of the time.... I was blessed with a yard full of flowers and beauty all summer.  So even though this year hasn't been just like I had imagined it.  It always feels good to come home.... because it is perfect.

Bye for now,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Cheeky Dog

This morning I took the puppies for a nice long walk around town.  It was quite cold and the snow was lightly falling but these pups are tough! They were enjoying our walk so much and I was too.  They now have the leash business figured out so it's very enjoyable for me as well.  I always walk Judge on the left and Jury on my right.  She's a bit more active/naughty and so by default she gets my stronger right arm to contend with.  She's also more alert than Judge.  He is happy to trudge along at my heels and doesn't question me.  Jury is sometimes sure I am leading her to danger.  Buses and cars are monsters, even if parked.  Fire hydrants are puppy eating demons!  But she is calming down and is beginning to trust me more.
Jury and her wooden snake.  She's practicing up for the real thing!
When we were nearly home we ran across a very cheeky Border Collie.  He was delighted to see someone else out so early and began running laps around us. Judge didn't like it at all but was dutifully following me even though he was worried.  Jury was flat out ticked off.  She was trying to behave but did not like that ornery dog!  When he made the mistake of dashing in towards us Jury spun and lunged at him and gave him her most ferocious, "I'm gonna tear you up!" barks.  She was so serious and scary that the Border Collie ran away! She was not gonna have anyone even think about invading our space.  As soon as he ran back into his yard, she calmed down and went along nicely. 
I was so surprised and I dare say, impressed by her behavior.  A little, not quite 10 week old pup and she was laying down the law with that naughty dog.  I can only imagine what is to come with her.  Which is the reason we are doing daily obedience lessons!  They are both so terribly smart that we know they will be very loyal guards.  But it is so very apparent that now is the time to install the "abort mission" command.  
"You talkin' to me?"

Each day with them has been quite interesting.  I hope you enjoyed our update.
'Til next time,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Judge and Jury

Yesterday morning, my mom and I loaded up the boys and the Boston Terrier and went on an adventure.  Up to the "High Line" and across the state of Montana to a tiny place called Nashau.  Yes, I mean tiny.  Like, the same size as Geraldine.  Actually, we headed out to a farm 20 miles North of that itty bitty town.  I think that area is one of the most desolate, empty places in the Continental U.S.  But is beautiful, with is miles and miles of sky and grain fields.

We were meeting up with two other "Prairie Girls".  My childhood friends Tasha and Amy.  The sisters and I used to all live in another tiny town, Cascade, Montana. They both now live on farms with their families.  Amy now raises Livestock Guardian Dogs. She has a couple of amazing dogs that defend her farm and her family from all  kinds of predators, four legged and two legged. I had been considering adding a "big dog" to our family and happened to ask Amy about hers.  The raving review she gave had me convinced I need to look into finding one!  Well, guess what?  She had a litter all ready to go!  The rest, I'm afraid is history....

Meet the "Judge"
And the "Jury"
They are 8 week old, Turkish Kangal/ Maremma cross lovies. Bred to defend and protect, smart as whips, loyal to the end.  They will mature somewhere around 100 lbs.  I originally thought we'd get just one.  But look at those faces!  I decided another set of "twins" was in order.  I've been studying up.  Training these guys will be a bit different.  One must be very "alpha" and be aware of the acute sensitivity of these breeds. These photos we snapped during their first little leash training session and they did great! 


I will keep ya'll posted as we all learn more about "LGD's" and the pickle I just got us into!

'Til next time,