Oh goodness …

Where does time go?  I suppose it’s been a matter of juggling work at Walmart with my jobs here.  I think the primary drain has been the heat and humidity.  Welcome to life in the south.  The heat is supposed to break today, at least for a few days.  I hope to catch up on some housework when that happens.  Given that I have to work the night shift and am still recovering from working the night shift on Saturday night, I am going to take it easy today.  I wish they didn’t schedule me for closing shifts.  I guess they don’t understand that some people have to get up at 5 AM and go all day and then come to work until 11:00 and have to get up the next day and do it all over again.  Agh!

Oh well …

Gel has been climbing out of his run again.  He doesn’t go anywhere once he gets out.  He’s quite fascinated by the rabbits who are housed in a small dog run.  Maybe that’s why he’s getting out.  Maybe he feels like he needs to keep an eye on things.  We’ll need to put an end to this escaping sooner rather than later.

Fern has been quite irritating.  I’m quite sure I’m going to go ahead and spay her.  I believe she’s going to grow through this funk that she’s in and turn into a reliable worker like her father, but it seems this is a quirk in the lines that I do not want to repeat.  There was an interesting article in the Working Border Collie magazine on breeding Border Collies wherein the writer said that you can’t take a dog with a good outrun and breed it to a good shedding dog and expect to have offspring that both have good outruns and shedding skills.  Of course I’ve always known this and I also know that there’s no such thing as a perfect dog, but the harsh reality of breeding is that you have to have homes for the puppies you are not keeping.  If I could breed Fern and only have two puppies, that would be perfectly fine.  I could find a home for one puppy, but four or five or more, nope, don’t wan to do that, especially in this economy.  So, Fern is likely to get spayed by the end of the year.

When he was young, Gel could be very selective about what he worked.  If there was something more interesting around, he’d sometimes refuse to work what I needed him to.  For example, when I had goats and sheep, he’d sometimes refuse to work the goats because he wanted to work the sheep.  If there’s cattle around, he’d refuse to work sheep.  Even now with the rabbits, he wants to work rabbits (no one told Gel that rabbits do not herd).  We’ve worked through these issues and Gel pretty much does what I need him to do, but it is a definite fault.  In no way to I blame Gel for the problem as I think it is a created problem: I allowed him to quit on me early on in his training and not just on stock.  I believe a good percentage of working problems in dogs is created by the handler.

Wally and I have been on a mission to fix all the f*cking gates on the property.  Last weekend we fixed the one going into the back pasture.  We also plugged up the holes in the fence where the goats were getting through.  Yesterday, we fixed the gate coming up the driveway.  Late last week the damned thing fell on me when I tried to open it.  Want to know what it feels like to have a 16 foot pipe gate fall on you?  The week before last, we fixed the gates into both the fenced-in area and the duck pasture.  The gate and the fence are up in the sitting area and we spent some time in there yesterday hanging chimes and flower baskets.  The sitting area is lovely and I’m so glad my landlady got me going on clearing out that area two summers ago.  The temperature has to be at least 20 degrees cooler in there.

We were going to reset the ElectroNet yesterday afternoon, but we were both tired and decided to leave it to another day.  Now that the gates are all secure, I can let the sheep graze on the 15 acres while I’m home.  There’s a good amount of grass in the fenced-in area that they can graze on if I put them in there at night.  Rose has been on a tie out and is not happy about that, but we are not in the Rose-pleasing business.  She has food, water and shade and more than enough line to move around on.  She’ll be fine until we get the fence reset.

On Saturday, I got the rennet and cultures from the cheese making supply company and am looking forward to experimenting with them.  I read the instructions for making mozzarella.  I’ll have to set aside a half a day, a boatload of patience and several gallons of milk before I can try to make the cheese.  My chevre has been coming out flavorful and creamy and I have quite a few batches in the freezer.

The garden is growing like crazy.  We’ll have summer squash in a few days.  That is when the culinary argument may begin: Wally has only had his squash breaded and fried; I prepare it in the Yankee way: boiled and then flavored with butter and pepper.  I suppose I can give in on that front.  After all, Wally has given up iceberg lettuce and Thousand Island dressing since coming here.

Flies!!  They are horrible!!!  The poor goats, I can’t blame them for kicking on the milk stand with the flies that are in there.  Wally and I went to Tractor Supply on Sunday and bought some fly spray.  He’s sprayed in the milk parlor twice since then and it has cut down on the number of flies in there.  I hate using insecticide, but flies are a bit more difficult to get rid of using natural methods.

Update on the tick war: they are all but gone in the house and I’ve found very few on the dogs.  The dogs have been going out into the tall grass and woods so that is not the reason why there are fewer ticks.  I am glad that I didn’t break down and put Frontline on them.  I have to wonder if there isn’t something in Frontline and other like products that make the animals more susceptible to ticks.  It would make the products easier to sell if that were so.  Nothing like creating your own market.  Let’s hope the tick abatement continues.

I had better get going and warm up milk for the babies and get ready to milk.  I’ll bet the goats are ready to be milked and I know the sheep are anxious to get out to graze.

Until later …