On April 7, I wrote about cattle taming and my worries that we had bitten off more than we could chew in our attempts at dog-breaking calves.
I’m pleased to say that we have been 100% successful. The calves are in the ElectroNet with the sheep. I’ve got the fence set around a thicket which surrounds an old foundation (i.e. an obstacle). The first-fencing project is also fenced in by the ElectroNet. The calves seem to like to go in there. When I get home, the sheep come up so I can see them, but the calves do not. I shut off the electricity and ask Gel to jump the fence to go down to get the calves. He is able to bring them up to me no matter where they are. Remember there was a time he couldn’t even take them off the fence without my help? Last night they were in the fenced-in area which he took them out of without any trouble and as he was bringing them up, they veered into the thicket which is pretty thickly brushed right now. Gel easily brought them out of that as well and delivered them to my feet. They don’t kick at him or challenge him any more. We did a good job! We broke them in a kind manner so they work quite nicely. When they go back to their original home I will still have access to work them, which will be great.
I haven’t said much about the man who lent us the calves: Marcus. I met Marcus through my friend Wally. Last summer Marcus helped Wally and I butcher one of my lambs. Marcus lives about ten miles from me on a large amount of land with cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs. He has a young son whom I really like and I usually don’t care much for children. Marcus is single. His first wife gave him an ultimatum, the cattle go or I go. She went. I think Marcus enjoys me because I enjoy spending time around animals as much as he does. He’s told me that’s hard to find in a woman. I’m not afraid to go in with a charging bull or to get dirty. He also likes my dogs, hmmm, maybe he’s putting me in these dangerous situations (charging bulls) so that he can take my dogs. Anyway, I haven’t been on a date or even really thought about a man for about ten years now. A man like Marcus would be the only type of man I’d have any interest in.
Stay tuned on that front …
Whistles: they are going well too. This morning I let the sheep out while I was getting ready for work. Of course they head down to where they shouldn’t be: my landlord’s cabin. My landlord is in the process of installing irrigation to his Japanese Maples on the other side of the pond. It would not be a good idea for the sheep to get into that project. I brought Gel to the back porch and showed him where the sheep were, then let him out the front door to get them. After he lifted the sheep, I directed him, completely with whistles, to bring them to the far side of the property where I hoped they’d stay and eat until I got ready for work (they didn’t, but they are sheep and sheep never do what you want them to). Gel’s driving has improved tremendously as well.
Progress is good.