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.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
July is here! In all it's hot glory. It's been pretty warm this summer, but we've had a few breaks from it, here and there. I took a few extra days vacation off to tack onto the July 4th holiday, so have enjoyed being home part of this week.
I've gotten a few things 'marked off the list', which makes me glad. Not much new going on, but here are a few of the 'big events' of the last week or so.
Picked 16 tomato horn worms off one tomato plant in the course of three days. I know it's hard to handle that kind of news....
The puppies are growing like bad weeds and are becoming (sometimes) more reasonable. Having two creates it's own special challenges but they do keep each other occupied. Most small 'life teaching moments' end in a brawl on the puppies part, because they are each so busy trying to be the center of the universe until one of the other gets ticked off. Despite this they are learning many things and do not lack for intelligence. How they choose to use that intelligence can be another matter. Can you say stubborn?
The sable merle is pretty independent and tries to negotiate many things --for instance she won't go into the crate willingly unless I toss her treat in first. Yes she gets pushed in anyway, but still sticks to her guns. The tri on the other hand runs right in the minute the crate door is opened. Sable merle also will occasionally not come in the yard. "No thanks, I don't want to right now." Last time she got locked out on her own while the rest of us did fun stuff for a few minutes. That seems to have worked. However she is very good on her sits, cookie command (i.e. standing with ears up, intensely staring at cookie), and puppy recall. She also has a bladder the size of a basketball, just like her mom, Ashley, and can go hours and hours without needing to urinate.
The tri still has her hangups, and her favorite response to anything is to bark. However she is turning into a bit of my shadow and doesn't like to share. I'm working on eliminating the sisterly body slams when she gets jealous, but it's slow going! I really didn't think she would be the one to turn out so affectionate since as little puppies it was pretty much reversed. Back to the barking---she can do this for hours, unfortunately. A carpenter bee burrowing into a fence post at puppy level can become hours of bark-y puppy fun. She is very good about most commands--especially coming when called and going into the yard and/or crate. She can be a bit stubborn on the sit. I'm also teaching her to fall over 'dead' when I point my finger like a pistol and say 'bang-bang'. This is a very useful Lassie skill. Unlike her sister her bladder is the size of a peanut so she lives on the side of desperate by morning.
Ashley continues to grow hair. Finally. She got down to about bald. She is looking better, but that isn't saying much. Her tail is still ratty and she has long coarse hairs hanging around her neck. Otherwise she has a very short very thick coat of fur coming in. She stunk to high heaven though, so this morning she got a much despised bath. I hope it takes care of the stink, as collies usually don't smell (unless wet).
The kitties are 'enduring' the heat too. It really doesn't seem to bother them, except Meshach seems a little bit slower moving. They will actually lay out in the front room where it is sunny and hot and slowly melt into fur puddles. They insist on snuggling close at night and having four or five kitties lined up and down ones person is not very comfortable in this hot weather.
I managed to bushwhack back the old fashioned roses around my front gate posts. There was allot of dead wood in them and some branches that just needed to be snipped back. It was painful all around, but it looks better down there, if a bit bare. Also got another small shade 'garden' started, as I try to reclaim some of the barren grass less areas under the trees. Hostas and ferns were the first ones in, with a temporary fence to keep them safe from marauding puppies. It's a good time to buy plants since most places are offering them half off. They tend to be pot bound and a little sickly looking, but seem to revive quickly.
Next weekend, on Saturday July 9th, I'll be going to the Fiber U event in Lebanon. I'm just going to be there one day, and am going in with two other Shetland breeders to share booth costs. It's an indoor event, which will be so nice--no worries about the hot weather, rain, flies etc. I've been working to produce more rugs (five so far) and scarves (five as well...), and have all the roving packed up and ready to go. Should be interesting as this is our first year with a booth. Last year we scoped it out to see what it was about.
The sheep and chickens are as usual not comfortable in this extreme heat. They have deep shade and water, but the flies are beastly. It's hard on the old ones especially. I'll soon be turning the sheep onto the lower pasture, which is full of clover and lespedeza, they'll have to be introduced gradually so as not to bloat.
That about covers the small farm doings of the week. Not much goes on when it's hot like this. I get up and do what I need to in the morning, or late in the evening. Midday finds me inside working on house projects, crafts, or just wasting time on the computer!
Hope you all have a great Fourth of July!