For the love of a good dog

As I write this, I am quite tired and wondering if it would be dangerous to inject caffeine directly into my veins and by-pass the whole digestive process.  I’m tired for a good reason though.

No matter how late I stay up or even if I don’t get any sleep at all, I’m up at 5 AM or even earlier.  This morning was no exception.  I decided that even though the paths haven’t been mowed and it rained the night before, I was taking the dogs for a walk.  I figured the exercise would energize me.  I let the sheep and cattle out of the fenced-in area where I put them the night before and went out with the dogs.

When I got up to Red’s I noticed that the fenced-in area where they keep a pot belly pig had grown up such that the grass was almost as tall as the fence.  I called the neighbor (Gail) who owns the pig and asked if I could put the sheep and cattle in there to graze it down.  She said it was fine so when I finished my walk, I put Fern and Josey up in their runs and started the ATV.  Last night (or should I saw this morning) when I got home, I neglected to close the gate and the sheep had gone down into the front field.  For the first time, Gel simply took (rather than questioned the command because he couldn’t see the stock) my whistled “away” command and headed out the gate to get the sheep.  While he was doing that, I got on the ATV and headed down to the gate to bring the stock up to Red’s.

The grass is high!  In some places, it’s even taller than the cattle.  Trying to move hungry stock through grass that is taller than they are is quite a challenge.  I gave up on the attempt to move both the sheep and cattle at the same time and focused on the cattle first.  Gel worked his tail off keeping those beasts moving.  He had to hit them several times and was kicked at for his trouble.  The good thing about the tall grass is that their kicks were very ineffective because the grass acted as a buffer.  I’m glad I used the ATV rather than walking up there because when I got close to where the gate was to get into the fenced-in area where the pig resided, the grass would have been almost over my head!

It seemed like forever, but eventually we got the cattle in and then I called Gel back to the top of the field to send him down to pick up the sheep.  They were still pretty close to my house so it was a good-sized outrun.  Again, I asked him to flank away and he took the flank without question.  Several times on his outrun, he leaped up into the air to see where the sheep were and adjusted his outrun accordingly.  The sheep were not any easier to move than the cattle were so I told Gel to “push” which means he’s allowed to grip if necessary, and it was necessary.  Eventually he got the sheep moving at a good clip and they started leaping in the air like gazelle.  We got the sheep up much quicker than the cattle, but the sheep “know” this fenced-in area.  This is where they were last winter for the Christmas Tree Farm and got fed bread and it is where there is yummy pig food.

Tonight I’ll go up there and try to devise some sort of creep feeder so the pig can have his grain without the sheep running him over for it.  When I left the sheep and cattle, they were happily grazing on the tall grass.  Gel and I came back to the house soaking wet but very, very satisfied by a job well done.

My homeopath sent me this article which was very, very interesting.  The original plan was for the cattle to go back and then I’d take some goat kids to work Fern on, but I think I’m going to ask Marcus about taking the goat kids sooner rather than later and do some “mob grazing” of my own.  It makes all the sense in the World to me.