Almost four solid days off!

I’m back after having almost four solid days off!  I had to run into work for a while on Thursday to put out a fire, but other than that, I’ve been off since the middle of the day on Wednesday.  It was absolutely wonderful!

Got tons done.

On Thursday I helped Wally fence in a portion of his property to contain his five (!!!) dogs.  That was hard work given how hot it was, but we got it done and Wally (and his wife) are extremely happy to have a safe place to contain their five (!!!) dogs.

On Friday I accomplished something of extreme importance in my life.  More on that, later, or not … but it was momentous.  Again, thanks to Marcus and homeopathy for helping me to see the light and make a major change in my life.

On Saturday Wally and I went and got 50 bales of BEAUTIFUL hay as well as a round bale.  We put the 50 bales on Wally’s truck and trailer (they were very large bales) and I borrowed a neighbor’s truck to transport the round bale.  The round bale went into my fenced in area and the 50 bales went in Wally’s barn.  Now, with what Wally put up earlier, we have over 200 bales of hay in the barn.  That is a very good feeling after what we went through last year.  Given that we’ve been getting steady rain, there might well be a second cutting of hay in the fall and if so, we’ll put some more up in the fall.  It won’t go bad and neither of us want to go through what we did last year with the hay shortage.  Most of the sheep will be at Wally’s house for the winter.  If all goes well, I’ll have a dozen lambs, a few goats and later in the winter, more calves at my house.  I can always get round bales if necessary.

Later in the day on Saturday, I went with Wally and his wife to Shelby to a Mexican restaurant we all liked (note, “liked”) and stopped at several farmer’s markets along the way.  We won’t be going back to that restaurant again.  The service was awful as was the food.

When we got home, I went out to the back 40 and cut the vegetation and excess wire away from three gates that likely haven’t been closed in a century or more.  It was a ton of work, I got cut up and a nice case of poison oak on my arms, but I can now close the three gates and confine the sheep and cattle out to the back two pastures.  This way they cannot get into my landlord’s garden or his blueberry bushes.  I won’t leave them out there unsupervised, but when I’m home and can check on them every few hours, they are fine.

I worked Fern on the sheep for quite a while and then brought her back and played around with her in agility.  She did wonderful in both things.  She’s a riot.  Her “job” now is to take the sheep back and forth to where ever I am taking them that day for grazing.  The sheep move faster than the cows.  So once we get the sheep in place, I tell her to go back and help her Dad.  She fires back to where Gel is with the cows, gets herself behind the cows and the two of them bring the cows down.  At one time I was getting aggravated with how Gel was moving the cows: slow!  Now that the cows have figured out the routine, and they really like going out into the back pastures, as soon as they figure out were we are going, or more like, as soon as they get through sniffing and investigating everything along the way down there, they break into a run.  They run and kick and buck.  Of course, once they get going and pass me, the dogs try to head them to stop them.  I don’t want my dogs running in front of running cattle unless they absolutely have to stop them!  Now I see, it’s best to keep cows at a walk, much safer for the dogs and the human.  Getting run down by sheep (been there, done that) is one thing, getting run down by cows is quite another.  I’m glad Marcus hasn’t got around to swapping out the cattle for goats, I still have a lot to learn from the cattle.

On Sunday I got up early and headed out to the back pasture and set my ElectroNet.  We’ve been getting a ton of rain (yea!) and the posts went in like butter.  It was still too wet to mow.  I came back and finally got around to emptying out the spare dog run, taking the front off it, putting a good cover up on it and now I have a covered space for my ATV, wagon, lawnmower and other tools.  I took all the old bamboo fencing off the other two kennels and separated them from each other.  The plan is to put either plywood or tin between Gel and Fern’s runs so that when she goes into heat, there will be less interaction between the two through the chain link.  Instead of bamboo fencing, which looks good for a while, but doesn’t hold up to wind I’ll put shade cloth around the runs.  It covers the chain link, provides shade and prevents the dogs from “working” stock while in their runs. 

At around 10:30 I headed over to where I get venison scraps during hunting season.  She had three processed deer that hadn’t been pick up and I agreed to buy them.  I left there with a car full of processed venison!  My freezer is now full, which is a wonderful feeling.  Then I headed over to Wally’s because I had left my cell phone in their car on Saturday.  Marcus had called around 10:30 AM to see if I wanted him to swap out the goats.  I didn’t call him back until I got back home and swapping out goats for cattle got postponed until next week.  A large storm was brewing.  As it turned out, a tornado was sighted within five miles of my house.  I had planned to set my ElectroNet around sections of thick brush to provide the goats with natural shelter, given that it was raining again on Sunday, I couldn’t mow a path to set the fence.  When it stopped raining, I went out and brought the sheep and cattle into the back pasture.  Just as I got them down there, it started raining again.  Good time to weed I thought to myself, which I did, in the pouring rain as well as planted the plants I had purchased for my sitting area and had not yet planted.  I changed into fresh, dry clothes four different times on Sunday.  I’m not complaining, the rain is wonderful!

I came back in the house and did a bit of housework.  At around 7:30 I could see another storm was coming.  I put Fern in her crate and sent Gel from my doorstep to the back pastures to pull up the sheep and cattle.  I sent him to the right because I expected the cattle would be congregating towards that end of the pasture.  I waited.  The storm was getting closer so I started up the ATV and went out to see where Gel was.  I found him moving the cattle along with the sheep off to his right about 100 yards away.  I didn’t say anything to him, just watched.  When the cattle got ahead of the sheep, he flanked over and brought the sheep up level with the cows and then went back to the cows.  The storm was getting closer so I got behind the sheep with the ATV and pushed them back home and put them up and Gel brought up the rear with the cattle.  He was coming along, doing his job, but I got impatient (well, I was worried about the storm coming).  In due time, he would have brought all the stock back home as I asked him too.  Good dog.

Because I couldn’t mow the paths for my ElectroNet, I put the sheep and cattle up at my neighbor’s house in with their pot belly pig.  There’s plenty of grass in there for them to eat for a few days.  There’s a 40 percent chance of rain and given how humid it is right now, I expect we will get more rain before the day is over, which will mean no mowing tonight.