Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Tang's Gotcha Day




 Happy Gotcha Day little Ting Tang Ding Dang!
 
There were many times I didn't think you would make it, but you have blessed my life with a year of your silly escapades and I hope that you are around for many more gotcha days!  


Tang is a long lean busy machine.  He hasn't never gotten very big and his is pretty thin, but he is almost always on the go and seems healthy enough.  He spends the night in his 'condo' and doesn't  have a problem with it.   He still thinks he is a Collie and I've never broken the news to him--he likes to go on walks with us and 'hang out' when we are working around the place.  He doesn't have to be rescued off high places anymore, and he can even find his way in/over/out the yard fence now (unfortunately).  He is my little ornery sweetie and I'm glad he landed in my nest! 





If you don't remember the story of this little very ill foundling you might want to read here and here





Friday, June 19, 2015

Rain...Rain....

....and I won't say go-away...but please stop for little while. Not a long while.  Not like drought long. Or anything like that.  Just a leetle while. 

Old Fashioned Roses on a rare sunny day before the rain got 'em. 

We've had a wet spring and Tropical Bill just brought in a whole slew of raindrops on top of the excessive amount we had just before Bill got here. 

It's just wet..and muddy.  One area about six miles from us got 10.65 inches of rain over one night.  Thankfully we didn't get that much.  But we've got to be pushing close to that in totals of the last week or so.  It's suppose to move out over the weekend and then some sunshine..and hot humid weather is in store. 

Gracie is happy with the awesome Mulberry season we've had!  The sheep love  love love the juicy berries and appreciate the rain knocking them off the trees in buckets.   Lipstick shade Mulberry Red...


This one has been sick!   He woke me up last Sat. morning crying and in obvious pain. Still not sure what is going on, but after a rough early week  he seems to be feeling much better.  He is on antibiotics and got a shot for nausea --blood work was good except a high white blood count.  Hoping he is just experiencing some mystery infection/illness  and will be okay.  He is so rotten, but so good at the vets.  They all thought he was so sweet.  It was so good to have him grab my arm and try to bite me last night!  Get well big Sage Grass. 
The barn lot is a mess.  I've been trying to dig trenches with the shovel to divert some of the rain/mud/ sludge away from the path and barn but the ground is just too saturated to do much good.  The sheep do.not.like wading through mud and water.  The oldsters who have challenges in the best of times find it hard slogging.  Their barn is sorta dry but it's damp too (not muddy) and just isn't a healthy place right now, so I kick them out into the wet wonderland every morning.  

Earlier this Spring we had a fly apocalypse.  It's been a long time since I've seen that many flies.  With this second round of excessive rain/muddy/nasty stuff the flies are again on the rebound--bless their hearts.  I spray the barn once a day  even though I tend to stay away from pesticides.  There is just no way I can come up with to make the barn at least tolerable for when the sheep have to be in there.

One of two cherry pies made from cherries from my two trees...before the rain/damp/mildew/something got all the rest of the cherries
The house is so damp.  The humidity rises up through the concrete floors.  I've been keeping the a/c on much more than usual to keep the humidity under control in the house.  The dogs think it's all my fault and look so used and abused because they have to get wet when we go out to do chores. 

Spring pond.. usually dry by now.  Now it's a small lake.  Ashley and Carly face off with neighbor cows.  
Last night we (me and the dogs) got caught out in the rain.  I did chores as early as I could after I got home because I knew that there was more rain coming in.  Just got the sheepies in and it started sprinkling but I thought I'd still get the dogs walked---maybe be a bit damp when we got back.  However the skies opened up and we got drenched.  We weathered it out in a shed for a bit but then I decided it wasn't going to quit for awhile and we made a dash for home.  I thought it was kinda fun but I couldn't see squat with my glasses running water and fogging over...I was so wet.  The dogs were not one little bit amused.  Drama, drama, drama with those three sugar cubes.  At home I had to completely change clothes and find several towels to dry the dogs off a bit. 

After another outburst...or is that cloudburst...last night. 

Anyway...here are a few pictures with explanations --hope you all are weathering the Spring well!  Although it is almost Summer now.  Have a great weekend!


These boots  have been put to hard use this Spring.
  

Oh..and yeah, this guy was in my house!  I'm pretty sure the cats brought him in.  My theory is that the outside kitties caught him out of the field ...brought near house...catio kitties nailed him and brought him IN the house.  I knew something was in the house that shouldn't be as the vultures..uh, kitties...were all sitting around looking behind the cabinet.  This guy finally let me catch him in a little chipmunk trap and I released him away from the house --he was suffering a leg injury (after the state my house was in when I got home I know it was a battle royal for him) but seemed pretty spry anyway.  It has been a lethal year for the wildlife from the catio cats--two birds, several small snakes, frogs...those are just what I know about....



Friday, May 29, 2015

Awash In Spring Things

So I forgot to post this, a little outdated...but here you go....

Tang "the Kid"---nearly a year old and busy all the time

It's that time of year!  Along with the  warmer days, and the lovely green grass comes so many things to do...and they all need doin' now!
 
A glorious Spring Sunrise

The sheep are sheared (hallelujah) without incident and 18 fleeces are awaiting the final picking over and processing, but they'll have to wait their turn.

A variety of lettuce--planted in March and ready to pick!
The Collies were all carrying their messy winter coats around--mats and all.  Two have been bribed and boosted up onto the grooming table to brush, de-tangle and trim.  Carly still awaits her beauty treatment...then it'll be start over time again, as more coat sheds and tangles in the other two.  A bath is badly needed by all three.

Callum & Willow  hanging out in the Assisted Living wing.  Callum is 11 and his mom Willow is 14.  They have their own stall at night and their own grassy paddock in the day.
The tomatoes, peppers, peas, carrots, squash and pumpkins all had to be planted.  Still have a few things to get in the ground, but it's looking better.  Everything will need to be mulched soon, before the weeds consume them.   The day after shearing I headed out and did some plant shopping over at the Mennonite communities.  I may or may not have bought 34 tomato plants...it's all a blur and I don't remember.   By 'sharing' (willing parties or not) with my Mom, Sister & Niece  I pared it down to something like 14, 15, 17 something plants...or so.    I have lots of different heirloom varieties.  I did confine myself to 2 pepper plants--yay me!

Beautiful roses from my Beautiful Niece
The yard and pastures are running amok and neither the sheep nor I can keep up with it all.  I'm having to mow and mow just to keep everything from turning into waist high weeds and seed heads.  We've had some lovely rains--and it makes a difference.  I turn the sheep on the big pasture during the day and let them run the front pasture (which surrounds my fenced yard) at night.  Eat! Eat!  I tell them.  They look like bowling balls with legs.     

Cookie time for Gracie!  Her eye is completely healed.  After spending big bucks on prescription meds from the vet, and no relief for her and nothing to lose we went another route.  Plain triple antibiotic ointment for people smeared in her eye daily and supplementing with L-lysine for a week made for a dramatic turnaround.  I'm so happy.  
Did someone say Cookies???   Blackberry is another cookie monster and you have to watch your fingers with her! She is a Willow daughter too.
I love Spring, but it's a time when I just see so much that needs to be done and none of it should wait, that I feel overwhelmed....then slowly slowly I'll start to make some headway as we fall into the hot steady drone of summer.  
Minty poses while on a walk. 

And so I'll just leave you with some pictures and hope to soon be back to post again.  Enjoy the season!

Carly Sassy Sue
 

Ashley plodding along.  She likes neither wet ground or humid weather and is just a touch of a drama queen about it.. 

What I thought was a lovely photo of Minty...until I saw the tongue sticking out....

Brenda Lee....she was a 'drought' baby and lost her mommy to a terrible accident, so she has been spoiled a bit.  The goat stand is her own personal feeding station so the other sheep couldn't bully her out of her food.   I caught her just standing there on it the other night...perhaps dreaming of a shot of corn.
And lastly....the lovely Trinity and the Big Rotten Sage (and his teddy bear) have a quiet relaxing moment....


Monday, March 02, 2015

Just Another Snowy Day

This seems to be the winter that won't stop and we haven't even had to deal with the brutal conditions that many have faced this year.  Saturday we got another round--cold, some freezing rain, about five inches of snow.  It made for interesting chore times.  Sunday rolled around and the temperatures had risen into the lower 30s and I was able to snap a few (zillion) pictures.  I have lots of 'help' with the chores.  Here are a few examples.

 Carly & Tang checking for rats in the hay barn.  

Not helpful, but another thing being dealt with right now in this cold weather--Gracie has something wrong with her eye--it seems to be ulcerated but cause unknown.  The vet prescribed ointment and that didn't work (besides the fact it would get so cold it wouldn't come out of the tube), now she is on prescription drops that had to be filled at the human drugstore--and Gracie DOESN'T have health insurance!   Not to mention that she has not been very cooperative about it.  She is thrilled that she finally has gotten on the list--after all these years-- to get grain at night now too--the only way I can bribe her into the 'torture' chamber.  By the way the eye looks much worse now. 

Not sure who is wooliest--Ranger the Shetland (sheep) or Minty the Collie (Dog).  Minty thinks she is the boss of everybody so she was on guard to bark if Ranger moved on inch closer.  He isn't impressed. 

Ashley appears to be helping by pushing the sled, but actually she was waiting to walk in the path I broke.  She is lucky she is cute. 

Dog Down!  A little emergency snow between the toes removal.  Right in my path too. Never mind that it's slick, I'm dragging a sled with hay and coming off a small incline. 

Tang isn't crazy about the snow, but he is pretty serious about 'helping' with the chores.  See he is growing a little!

Fritzi (Center) and a pack of girls around him wait patiently for hay.  The true story is I got a different pair of coveralls and they can't decide if I'm friend or foe.  Fritzi is also trying to look cute and innocent because he has been on my black list since he rammed me one morning.  Long story--but let's just say he perceived an injustice when I let Gracie instead of him finish off some leftover old-folks grain. 

Tang inspects the leaning tower of hay feeder.  Could be a little cleaner Ma!  

Tang checking hay quality.  Not so good in this bale, Ma. 

I think we should feed this bale tonight points out Carly.  She is so pleased with herself because she got up the nerve to jump up all over these hay bales.  She thinks it's so awesome she should get a treat every.single.time.  I don't know why she looks all clean and groomed here, because she isn't--they are all pretty grimy. 

Yikes!  Don't leave me out here alone with this mob!  Run Tang Run!
Meanwhile back in the house the cats are working hard at keeping the bed warm.....  Actually there is a heated 'half' blanket on there so it's kitty toast central.  The one I wanted to lay on it was Meshach my soon to be 18 year old man--but he is stubbornly laying at the head of the bed where there is no heat.  That is Sage's teddy bear laying in the middle, keepin' warm with the cats.  Left to right Trinity, Gabe, Tempe (Torti), Sage, Noah & Meshach in the very back.  Verity and Chaco were probably under or behind the stove......    

Hope Spring will come soon and that you are all making it okay through this winter!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Collie Pinwheel

 ...And other randomness.....

The Collie girls and I were tired after a busy day off (for me) so we took a break on the deck, and the girls crashed.  Days off (mine) are such hard work for them!   They can't nap seventy times a day when I'm there, as I have to be snoopervised constantly.   Starting at the lower left and clockwise we have Minty, Carly and mommy Ashley.   They often lay close like this when sleeping however occasionally it all goes bad when Ashley comes up out of dead sleep with fangs bared and ominous growls.  But they still risk it.   



Ashley says, who me??

And we can't forget our little short Collie, Tang, who was hanging out in one of the deck chairs with us, also resting. 

 This weekend I was finally able to get an old-bedset-drawer-turned-bench-soon-to-be-turned-cat-sunroom moved into the catio and remodeled.   My sister gave it to me back in the summer after she converted it to a bench and then became tired of it in her breezeway.  It sat out front on the sidewalk all fall and finally I got a sunny day and the time to set it up.   I mounted it on an old (for real) bench in the catio, slid a clear roofing panel behind it and one over the top, screwed those down and added some chair cushions I found at a garage sale last summer and ta-da---instant kitty suite.  Then the kitties got to come out and inspect it.  They approved.    I plan to get a flexible fabric cat cube to put in the middle section so that there will be more privacy in each 'room'.  That way the ambushers won't have such an easy job of it.  Total cost to me was zero, since I had the panels, screws, cushions and of course bench on hand.  Now the kitties will have an outside hangout when it's raining (or snowing) and they still want to hang out in the catio.  The roof on the 'sunroom' extends out about a foot and half on one end so they can sit on concrete blocks under that as well and still stay dry.  


 Lastly one of our many gorgeous sunsets this winter.  


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Have a Collie-Jolly Christmas from 
the girls--Ashley, Minty & Carly
 


Gracie says to make sure you take time to enjoy cookies and never hesitate to ask for more! (which is what she was doing in this picture....)


 Tang encourages you to seize the moment, enjoy every toy mousie, sparkly ball and walk with your family (even if your family is all collies and peeps) that comes along. 
 

Noah hopes you will take time to find a warm spot (under the stove if you can fit) to relax and rest and refresh yourself.  

 And Tempe says make sure you take time to spend with your sister and family and friends --even if you think you are too busy.  (Trinity says but I was sleeping)


Merry Christmas from the gang at Fairlight Farm!
May God Bless you in the New Year.