Last night while watching a bit of television while the cornbread finished baking, I talked to Wally about what I had gone done during the day. I am still feeling extremely disorientated, even guilty, for not going to work on Monday morning like a normal person.
Here’s most of what I did:
- I got up and fed the dogs, cats, chickens and ducks;
- Milked the goats;
- Started a batch of cheese with the milk;
- Put up the yogurt I made the day before;
- Drove to Statesville to get rabbits;
- Went grocery shopping at WalMart in Statesville;
- Stopped at the feed store, got goat food and researched the brand of sheep mineral they carry (more on that later);
- Stopped at Home Depot to see if they had Russian Sage (something I want to plant around the milking parlor because I know the goats won’t eat);
- Came home, unloaded the car and put away the groceries;
- Pushed the goats out into the side pasture to browse;
- Started a pot of turkey chili;
- Switched out grain barrels in order to fit more goat grain in;
- Hauled water down to the sheep and fed Rose. This where Gel and Fern got some work in. The sheep are hard to keep in the enclosure, especially when you are driving in with an ATV and wagon. Gel and Fern know the drill about taking the sheep out, they need to learn to keep the sheep in;
- Came back up and started to clean the straw out of Fern and Gel’s run. There was about two bales of wet straw in each run, three wagon-fulls of it. Hauled it to the back garden to mulch that in;
- Used Gel and Fern to put up the three chicks that got out while I was feeding them and then used them to get the chickens out of the back garden where they were happily scratching away in there digging up what I had just put down. Mental note: must put chicken wire around the garden panels to keep the chickens out;
- Spent about a half hour on the telephone with a woman in Boone who has a young Saanen for sale. She’s involved in a lot of the holistic-type things that I am so we had a good conversation. We might be going out to see this goat the end of this week;
- Planted 20 tomato plants, two pepper plants, one eggplant, six or eight cucumber plants and two squash plants. Set out what tomato cages I had left from last year.
At that point, Wally came home. I put up the ATV, wagon and my gardening tools, hauled the herb plants back up towards the house to plant on Wednesday (after I install chicken wire on the panels to keep the chickens out) and came in the house and made homemade cornbread. I was not a big fan of cornmeal until I started using stone ground cornmeal and making it myself from scratch. Last night’s meal was nothing short of phenomenal.
While I was on the telephone with the woman from Boone, I was reading through the various e-mail messages coming through from the Sheepdog-L list where they are discussing the pros and cons of Pro-Novice finals. Oh brother. I’m glad so many people have so much time on their hands that they can go on and on and back and forth about such things. As I went over in my head all that I did throughout the day, I realized I hadn’t trained my dogs. I really haven’t trained my dogs in quite a while. Correction: I haven’t gone out and worked them with the intention of teaching them something that they’d need to know in order to compete in trials. I worked with them to teach them the job of keeping the sheep in the enclosure. Believe me, this isn’t an easy task. The sheep are accustomed to our coming down there and bringing them up at night or just letting them out to free graze. While they have all that they need in the enclosure that they are in, they would much rather run around and free graze. I don’t blame them. Coupled with keeping the sheep in is keeping Rose in which can be even more difficult. If she got out, I might not get her back in. I brought food down with me and that kept her pretty busy while I got the ATV in and I had to get it out of there really fast before she tried to get out.
Yesterday, I got done what needed to get done working towards our goal of becoming as self-sufficient as we possibly can be. I’m trying my best to avoid processed food. It would have been a lot easier to buy one of those small boxes of cornbread mix instead of making it from scratch, but would it have been as good or as healthy? Heck no. I can buy tomatoes and cucumbers from a local farm stand, but would that be as good as going out into my garden and picking them? Not to mention all the tomatoes I’m going to have this year to make into sauce and can. I use a whole heck of a lot of tomato sauce and I only buy organic canned tomatoes. It will be a lot cheaper and better to use my own.
Trialing my dogs is not a necessity. I don’t have the time or money to do trials, nor do I have the time to train my dogs to do trials. I do have time to train them to help me with the tasks I need them to do around here. While talking to the woman in Boone I told her about Gel and what he does around here. She mentioned the trouble they have in keeping the goats in line as they come into the milking parlor. They have to wave a pole around to keep them out of the parlor when it is not their turn. I told her Gel lies in the doorway and keeps the goats out until I tell him to let them in. She said she needed a dog like that. If only more people knew how much help a well-trained dog can be.
I often feel like I should put my money where my mouth is. If my dogs are as good as I say they are, I should be out there at trials showing off their abilities. But Gel and to a lesser extent, Fern do what I need them to do and that’s all I should really care about. I couldn’t do what I do without them.
Regarding sheep minerals. I’ve been discouraged with the brands of sheep and goat minerals that I’ve found in most feed stores as they all have molasses in them. If you put out a mineral mix (or block) containing molasses, the sheep all but kill themselves getting to it. This may seem like a good thing, but are they consuming the minerals because they need the minerals or because they like molasses? I believe it is the latter. I’d rather they consume minerals as they needed them, not because they like molasses. The feed store where I’ve been getting the new goat food (which they are doing very well on) carries a type of mineral called Shepherd’s Pride. It does not contain molasses or any other flavoring. As soon as I finish up the bag of mineral that I’m using now, I’ll buy a bag of that. Several weeks ago, I bought goat mineral from the same place and ditto, no molasses.
Another thing I realized last night was that back when Gel was about Fern’s age, or really a little older, I was ready to sell him every other week. He drove me nuts. We worked through our issues and now I’d rather die than have Gel go anywhere. Fern is doing a lot of the same things Gel did. As irritating as it is, I need to work through her issues and trust that she’ll get through this stage and go on to be every bit as good as her father. I wish I were better at remembering to give remedies as I think she’d benefit from another dose of Lycopodium. That’s something that is a necessity and I best get my butt in gear and dose her. I also need to give Rain a dose of Pulsatilla to help get her dried out. I’m going to have an awful time drying her out. She’s due the beginning of July and she needs to start drying out. This goat lives to be milked.
Off to get out remedies and milk.
Until later …