Archive for April, 2008

Kids and Dogs

April 25, 2008

Well, the grandkids left yesterday…Lizzie is missing them like crazy and is expecting total attention 24/7, which just isn’t happening, but she’s making do.  One of her tricks is to hide under John’s recliner:

To make matters more interesting, our neighbor’s dog, Shiloh, is visiting while they are off visiting family in the south for a week.  Shiloh is a mild mannered, sweet dog, who sometimes seems depressed to me.  She didn’t want to eat the food her family left for her, and preferred LIzzie’s Wellness Puppy food, so I got her some Wellness dogfood which she seems to like.  She is not fond of Lizzie’s exuberance, and has snapped at her once, and bared her teeth a couple of times, so I’m not real comfortable having them in the same room without leashes on them, which leashes are firmly in my hands, so I can separate them if necessary.  Constant Vigilance!  Just like Professor Moody suggests…however, that is very tiring, so they take turns at various times in the day, being in one room or another without the other one.  And at nap time, both are crated, Lizzie in her night-night bed, and Shiloh in her room. (The downstairs bathroom, with bed in shower.  It works, and has the added benefit that I’m climbing the stairs every time I need to use the bathroom, good exercise and calorie use! Here is Shiloh:

I really have to start digging plants soon, and putting out fencing.  I guess it will wait til next week and I’m down to one dog.  Or at least til the weekend, when I’m not carrying so much water. Boy, are they drinking a lot!  I’m hauling two 5 gallon buckets, 3/4 full, four times a day!

Soon they will be out on pasture. The grass is not high enough yet to let them out, but it is high enough so that they can smell it, and in comparison, the hay pales, so they are whining for fresh grass a lot.  Too bad, kiddos!  You’ll just have to wait one more week!


Nanny’s Birthday!

April 17, 2008

Today was Nanny’s birthday, which I didn’t know until I arrived at the store to bring a bottle baby lamb to Sue, who likes bottle babies. (blech!)  Anyway, Nanny and her friends, and Aunt Betsy, who, unfortunately, didn’t get into the photo below, celebrated by going out to lunch, and then back to the store for cake.  I came in on this, with said lamb, everyone oohed and aahed, and I whipped out the camera.  The red haired woman is Nanny’s daughter, Sue, of HodgePodge.  Carol, if you’re checking this out, since I don’t have Nanny’s email, would you send her this photo? Thanks.

Meeting “Nanny”

April 14, 2008

This morning, Lizzie went to meet her Nanny (Sue’s mother).  She was a big hit but very wiggly, making it hard for Nanny to hold her easily.  And for me to get a good shot.  But I managed to get this one:

Lizzie got some new toys from Nanny and spent the rest of the morning playing with the toys and alternately barking at Henry.  A busy morning, for sure.


April 14, 2008

Okay, Spring has sprung…the grass is beginning to rise, peeking under the snow.  The snow is about 2/3 melted, with large patches of pastures opened up.  Thirteen of the fourteen ewes are lambed out; some interesting looking lambs, but a lot with small eye patches and one ram yielded 9 ram lambs and one ewe lamb: this has never happened before here, where the land is acidic, or is it basic…whichever consistently yields more ewe lambs…so this ram has to go. I can’t afford to keep a ram who doesn’t give me enough stock to sell.  I have to sell stock to keep sheep.  Maybe it’s just the luck of the year, but I can’t afford to wait another year to find out, and have lots of ram lambs next year as well…

The baby chicks are in the barn growing.  The chickens are still at Julie’s for I haven’t found the hour I need to repair the chicken tractor and get them out on the garden to till it.  And I have a bottle baby…had two, but managed to find a home for the little ram lamb who will be wethered at the first opportunity.  The little ewe lamb is lovely, probably the best lamb this year, but I sure don’t WANT a bottle baby under foot and obnoxious til the day she dies.  So, what to do.  Her mother died, unfortunately, so to keep the line I either have to keep the lamb, or give her to someone to raise, in exchange for my breeding her here in two years, and getting first dibs on any ewe lamb, for free…maybe I can find someone who’d like a bottle lamb with excellent Hardy Hill lines, and be willing to have me breed her to the ram of my choice and give me one ewe lamb in exchange…near enough so that transport isn’t an issue…maybe not. AND, Lizzie is here. I’d forgotten just what a full time job having a puppy is…It’s tiring me out for sure.  She’s a love, but doesn’t yet get through the night so every night’s sleep is interrupted with midnight potty stops.  She’s got another three or four days before I start getting tough…My kids slept through the night…well, six or seven hours, at least, at 5 days old…surely this puppy can make it soon!  It’s just an overwhelming morning, so I’m tired and grumpy.  I’m sure I’ll be fine in an hour or so!  A little nappy perhaps while she is taking one…

With all this, it is great having Lizzie.  It is great being just about finished with lambing. It’s great having the chicks growing, the weasels killed, the chickens on their way back, the sun peeking through the clouds up there. (Part of the grouchies is that it was cold this morning, and there were snow showers last night: grrrr…

So, a new week begins, and hopefully, things will calm down and be a little easier…happy Spring.

Got the second one!

April 8, 2008

Having discovered there was a second weasel, when the trap was sprung but no weasel in it, we kept it out.  The next day we caught the weasel, I called Joyce, looked down at the weasel and said, “You can’t get out.”  I swear she looked up at me and said, “Oh, yeah, watch this!” and went straight to a place we hadn’t seen where one of the wires was bent back so there was a 1 x 2 space instead of a 1 x 1, turned her head sideways and slid right through it and away, while I watched dumbfounded.  John fixed the trap with some coat hanger wire, and we put the trap out again.  It took two days and new bait (a nice two days rotted chicken head and some chopped beef) before we got her.  This one had a long black tail…so I think they weren’t Least Weasels at all, but plain ol’ weasels, and he was just not mature enough to have his black tail yet or just changed from white and hadn’t gotten it yet? No idea, but she had a long black tail, and was a little larger.  Joyce shot her, took both pelts, has them salted now.  Waste not, want not.  Mittens?  Ermine collar for her barn coat?  No idea: but the weasels will be honored by the use of their pelts.  Now, I hope it was a breeding pair (tis the season, I’m told) and not a family reunion, and we’re finished with weasels for the season.  I am eager to get my chickens home from Julie’s, but will wait a couple of days just to make sure…

Now, I see that wordpress has changed their format and I have to figure out how to add photos…why do they do this.  It’s like the supermarket, who, every time you figure out where the Wheat Chex are, they change their location, or the bra companies, who, every time you find one that fits right and is comfortable, they discontinue it.  GRRR!!! Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Got ‘im!

April 4, 2008

This evening about an hour ago, when I went out to check the ewes for the night, there he was, the little devil, in the havaheart…a lesser weasel, if my tracks book can be believed (no black on end of tail), about 8″ long.  My friend, Joyce, came over and shot him through the cage.  It was a quick and humane death.  He was very cute, but it isn’t very cute to eat my chickens, for sure.  I will put the cage out again for a couple of days. From what I’ve read, these guys are very solitary except during mating season, but just to be sure…

Lydia Coopworth had a lovely little (?) 10 pound black girl this morning. Mother and daughter are doing fine.  Daughter is very friendly.  At the moment, two ewes, the other coopworth and one jacob, are looking ready.  I’ll go out and check them one more time in about 15 minutes and then go to bed if there aren’t any clear signs.  Last check, the signs were ambiguous.


April 2, 2008

Yesterday afternoon around 1 p.m. I decided it was time for a little relaxation/contemplation/meditation, so I put on my very wonderful Dalai Lama chant tape, given to me by my acupuncturist/friend, Charles Meyers, and lay down to let it draw the stress out of me and put me in touch with the NOW…and I heard this terrible clatter of noise coming from the chickens.  It was not ignorable.  So, boots on, and out…to find a little weasel (they are very cute, 8″ long or so) trying to drag a dead chicken and alternately have some snacks from her neck flesh.  He/she looked up at me like “Who are you and what are you doing disturbing my work?” and continued working.  Called Julie: Greg wasn’t home.  Called Nancy: Mike would come over with his 22.  In my panic, I forgot that Mike is only 15 and doesn’t drive, and by the time he got here, old Mr. Weasel had decided it was nap time, and disappeared.  Meanwhile, a ewe went into labor.  Michael came, we moved a garbage pail full of minerals so that when Weasel came back, he’d have a clearer shot…and under it was a dead rat, obviously poisoned (blood, poison is anticoagulant, with no wounds), nasty enough, BUT also 10 little squirming, squeaking 1-1/2 inch long baby rats, pink and hairless.  Now, I thought we had gotten rid of all the rats way back in December…so this was not good news.  I drowned them.  Checked on the ewe.  Still laboring.  Raining, drove Michael home, since the weasel was clearly not coming out again.  Lambs born, twins, two ewes, in the house to make dinner, came out again with John while he brought water out while dinner was cooking, and there’s the weasel again.  Called Nancy back; Doug came over with shotgun, but sheep were in the shed, and we were afraid that some of the shot might go through the walls, so had to move the sheep: too much action for weasel; disappeared again.  Doug went home.  Ate dinner. Checked again, no weasel.  Chicken still there.  Checked 20 minutes later: chicken gone.  Friend, Joyce, whom I had consulted, allowed as how the weasel would kill all the chickens that night and one by one, drag them to a cache point…I was so tired…did I care?  Well, turned out I did: John and I went out with cages and thunder and lightning started…in the rain we loaded all the chickens up (by now it was pitch dark, so they were catatonic on their perches) in cages and put them in the back of the capped truck for the night.  Joyce will come over with a trap this morning.  Then we have to figure out what to do with the chickens in the interim.  Oh, bait: hmm…it says in the book that these little weasels are fond of rats…I wonder…the mama and 10 dead babies?  maybe.  I’ll see what Joyce says.  Somehow, I don’t think it will be easy catching a weasel.  “Weaseling out of things” seems to me to indicate that they don’t catch easy.  And I don’t have a gun…not that I’m likely to see it if there are no chickens in there for it to kill and drag…

Oh, and when I went out for the last check, and found the chicken missing, I looked out and there at the end of the winter paddock was Benjie, with two newborn twins…so had to get them in the shed and penned up.  She is from a non-penning sort of flock, new here this year, and was most unhappy to be penned up, but I noticed this morning, she seems much more calm and accepting of the situation.

Anyway, I’m hoping today is not quite so exciting.  Actually, I could do with a nice boring day!  What a year this has been!