For the love of a good dog, again, and again and again

Gel: he’s a gift that keeps on giving.  The more time I spend with this dog, the more I love him.  There will never, ever be such a great dog.

On Saturday morning when we discovered the shelter had come down; and in retrospect, we should have been getting up every two hours and pushing the snow off that tarp and maybe it would have stayed up; but in retrospect (again) if the tarp hadn’t come down, we wouldn’t have brought the sheep in from the open field where they were fenced.  So back to when we discovered the shelter came down, I called up to see if we could put the goats in a stall in Red’s barn and once we got approval, we went up to clean out the biggest stall.  Before cleaning out the stall, we brought hay out to the sheep and calf.  They were in miserable shape.  Wally said to me that this just isn’t right, and it isn’t.  Even though sheep and cows do not need as much shelter as goats, they should still have the option of going into shelter if they want to.  He said this will be the last winter that we do not have adequate shelter for our animals.  Buster looked like something out of the movie, Ice Age.

We got the stall cleaned out and bedded down and went back down to get the goats.  Believe me, they didn’t want to come out of the remains of their shelter and wade through eight inches of snow to get up to Red’s.  I almost used Split as well, but elected to just use Gel.  It took what seemed like forever to get up there.  It was sleeting and the wind was blowing and I could barely see where I was going.  Once we got the goats in the barn and settled, I went out to get the sheep, calf and Liath.  The going was even harder for the sheep and we had to circle back a few times to get Liath coming along with us.  Buster discovered the goats were in the barn and wanted to go in with them and gave Gel a bit of a fight coming back down.  Ever the gentleman, Gel gives the stock every opportunity in the World to move off him before he uses his teeth.  He is an incredibly kind dog.

It would have been nice if I could have used the ATV to move the stock, but given that it’s two-wheel drive, it would have been useless in the deep snow.

Once we got the sheep, calf and Liath up, I came into the house and cooked a kick-ass breakfast.  I really, really needed another cup of coffee.

Oh, I know pictures would have been nice … but it seems that all of my focus and energy is used up keeping these animals comfortable.  I saw some gorgeous photo opportunities, but running around with a camera almost seems like a frivolous activity these days.

I almost sold all of my goats on Friday.  We some extra cash for various things.  Sometimes I wonder why so many wrenches are thrown into the works and why things have to be so hard sometimes.  When the man was out looking at the goats, I was almost in tears thinking about letting them go.  It was a good thing he came without a trailer because if he did, they would have gone.  Wally was furious with me for offering them for sale and I think he might have killed me if I sold them.  I can’t sell those goats, they’ve become so much a part of what we have going on here.  We can say with complete authority that, albeit on a small basis, we are a working farm.  Every day we consume something that was grown or raised on this land.  The goats are a very integral part of the process.  These days, the only meat that we buy in a grocery store is chicken.  Soon, we’ll have goat milk and fresh goat cheese.  The chickens are laying like gang busters, even in this horrible weather.  Remember that chickens can be dual process creatures.  Not only do they lay eggs, but they keep the manure spread out.  Except for the divots that they make with their hooves, you can’t tell that two horses has been running free on the 15 acres.  I noticed yesterday that the song birds were keeping the horse manure spread out.  The snow was a bit too deep for the chickens to get down there.

I hope things get better soon.

Until later …