I haven’t written much on the dogs lately. I guess that’s partially because I haven’t been doing much training. Essentially, I do nothing more with the dogs other than daily chore work (which Gel does most of), attention (of which they get lots) and exercise (ditto). I purposely haven’t trained on the sheep because it went from winter to summer weather in a week. The sheep still have their winter coats and I am not inclined to make them move around a lot until they shed out and get acclimated to the heat.
Gel has been a bit hard headed lately. I’ve left that alone for the most part because in addition to his hard-headedness, I see more confidence, especially in his driving. Fern has been overly soft. Both Gel and Fern are ultra-sensitive about my moods. When the goats were being difficult on the milk stand, I’d get irritated, Gel got more inclined to use his teeth on the goats (bad goats giving me a hard time on the stand) and Fern would pull her wilting daisy routine. Even Kessie gets in on it, she gets more frenzied in her flipping back and forth in front of the fenced-in area routine. I am finding that the dairy goats are very much like Border Collies in their temperament. They are very smart and if you use positive methods in handling them, they are fine, but if you try to force them to do something you don’t want them to do, they become more like mules.
Things are put into your life for a reason.
This morning Wally went out with me to milk and there was a big difference in everyone (except Fern). Gel lied down and waited for me to ask him for work. Kessie was tied out so she couldn’t flip back and forth. I should have put Fern up in her crate and I think I may do that from now on. She’s still incredibly uncomfortable around Rose and if I’m aggravated, as I have been every day this week except for today. Even though she’s out of heat, she’s likely still hormonal and I think that has something to do with how she’s acting. For the past week or two, she has wanted to be inside more than not.
Today was the best day ever for milking. Luna tried to lie down on me a couple of times, but in general, she was good. Rain actually got up on the milk stand in the proper position on her own (rather than my having to guide her; she is a blond after all) and Penny was great (she usually is quite good). Wally has a calming effect on me. It takes an awful lot for him to get riled, me, it takes virtually nothing.
As I milked, Wally brushed the goats and got a lot of the dead hair out. They are looking much better than they did a week ago.
My cheese making hit a wall recently. I’ve been trying different methods to improve the texture and the cheese has been getting progressively more and more rubbery. Weird. I made a batch this morning and am going to do it exactly like I was in the past and see how it comes out. I’ve fed the last three or four batches to the dogs. Not much gets thrown away here. I’d rather have cheese with a harder texture than no cheese at all. I am going to buy rennet from Glengarry Cheesemaking and Dairy Supply and see if it makes a difference. The rennet I am using now is from a goat supply company and is likely not as good as what you’d get from a cheese making supplier.
I need to call today to check on Cian and Sarah, but the last time I checked, both were doing very well. Sarah is doing her little bit of work and Cian is enjoying just being a dog. After placing Sarah, I decided not to take in any more adult dogs. It’s too much work trying to rehab them. If I get another dog down the road, it will be a puppy from a cross that I think will be a good one or I’ll breed Fern. Today, I’m leaning towards breeding Fern, but we’ll see how that goes. If I do breed her, it won’t be until she’s closer to four years old and only if I can afford to have hip x-rays done. I wish I could breed her and just get one or two puppies, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Keep one and find a good home for the second. That would be ideal, but things rarely go how you want them to.
This morning I mixed up some goat milk yogurt, fruit and granola for breakfast and gave some to Wally. He wasn’t thrilled with it, but he ate it and said he’d eat it again. That’s a good thing. Nothing is better for breakfast on a warm summer morning than yogurt and fresh fruit.
I work today and tomorrow, but just four hour shifts each day. I only work two four hour shifts next week. It will cool off a bit next week so maybe I can get some training done, or maybe not …