Agility!

On Saturday morning, we went to Salisbury for an agility lesson.  I haven’t taken agility lessons in quite a while now and it was fun to be back.  Gel’s class was at 9:00 AM and it was a Sheltie Convention.  Gel was the only “other” breed.  The jump heights went from 16″ (for the Shelties) up to 26″ for Gel.

Gel did well, but he was a bit slow.  That could have been due to several reasons.  One, he worked quite hard that morning shuffling the sheep and goats down to the back pasture; or two, he was a bit sore from being kicked on Wednesday.  I expect the reason was number two.  I asked the instructor to watch him closely for any signs of lameness, and she didn’t see any, but he was popping out of the weave poles at about three-quarters of the way through, which is unusual for him.  Then again, I’ve done virtually no weave pole work with him for months.  It was also quite hot and humid, even at 9:00 AM.  I elected not to press it and took it easy on him.

Fern was on fire!  It was as if we hadn’t been away.  She picked up all the exercises after the first time trying it.  She had a ball.

When I got home I decided it was time to move my agility field.  I took down the fence that had been called the “lower fenced in area” a/k/a my first (poor!) fencing job.  The fence came down very easily.  I’m surprised it held livestock for as long as it did.  I pulled up all but the heavy steel posts which will have to be taken up after it rains.  Most of the posts that I used were the light-weight five foot high variety and pulled out easily.  Then I mowed.  The area is at least 100 x 100, likely larger.  Some of it had been bush-hogged recently, but the area that had previously been fenced it was pretty high.  It took me quite a while to mow and it was bloody hot out.  I kept hosing myself off to cool down.  After I was through mowing I hooked the wagon up to the ATV and transported all of my equipment down except the A-Frame and dog walk.

On Sunday, Wally and I went to breakfast, then he came over and helped me move and set-up the A-Frame and dog walk.  I have to admit, it all looks darned good down there.  There will be shade both in the AM and late PM there which will be beneficial.  I have a fair amount of holes to fill before the surface is safe enough to run full courses on, but for three or four obstacle sequencing, it will be fine.  In addition to moving the A-Frame and dog walk, Wally helped me carry my panels out into the back pasture.  He was impressed with how nice they came out.  It’s going to be too hot to do much stock work over the next couple of days so we didn’t set them up.

Saturday night I noticed there was smoke coming from underneath my ATV.  I looked closer and saw some liquid was leaking out from a valve.  Great, I thought to myself.  I just had it in for service and for the first time since I’ve had it, it was running well.  I brought it up to Red’s for a diagnosis: it was oil leaking.  Not good.  I brought it back home and parked it.  Wally took it home with him on Sunday and dropped it off to the ATV store this morning.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get it back today.  While I’ve survived without an ATV, now that I have it, I’d miss it.  I didn’t take the sheep and goats down to the back pasture on Sunday or today.  Picking them up on Saturday on foot was rough.  The pasture that they are in is quite high in grass and thorny growth, not pleasant to walk through.

I thought I was going to loose one of Marcus’ lambs late last week.  She wasn’t doing well when he dropped her off and he gave me the heads up to watch her.  I elected to treat her homeopathically and she has slowly improved.  I think she’ll be okay now.  I spoke to Marcus this morning and informed him my “fee” for lamb-saving services was a load of dirt to use to fill in holes in my agility field.  He agreed to get it to me before the end of the week and I’m going to hold him to that.  I feel certain if that lamb had stayed with Marcus, she wouldn’t be alive today.  She had been wormed several times and was still failing to thrive.  Right before she left his house, she had stopped nursing and developed diarrhea.  Not a good sign.  He had already lost a young adult ram the week before.  I know the intense rotational grazing that I keep my stock on is what keeps them doing as well as they do.  I have sheep who are now over a year old and have never been wormed.  They are fat and sassy.

I am going to stop on my way home tonight and get some high protein grain to feed to the goats and, if I can separate them from my adult sheep (who do not need grain), the four lambs that belong to Marcus, minimally I’ll get the one who wasn’t doing well on some grain.  Some of the goats are a bit young to have been weaned.  If I knew how old they were before he brought them over, I would have insisted that they stay with their mothers longer.  Then again, I think Marcus has a high worm load in the pasture where he was keeping his sheep and goats so maybe they are better off with me.  I’d like to try to fatten them up just a bit over the next week or so.  We will be swapping out my broke sheep for the lambs that are at Wally’s this weekend so it won’t hurt to grain the whole lot of them for a few weeks.  I prefer not to feed much grain, but the goats need a boost and it won’t hurt the lambs to have some grain as well.  The goats have figured out the routine of being moved by dogs and are working better. 

Ah, nine goat kids and fourteen lambs, that ought to make for some pretty exciting work for the dogs over the next few weeks.  I can keep the two wethers at my house, but I’m on the fence about that right now.  Both are slow and dumpy, especially the high percentage Dorper wether.  It’s hard enough keeping stock together when you have goats in the picture without factoring in crazy lambs and two poky wethers.

It’s going to be disgustingly hot over the next couple of days.  I toyed with leaving my dogs in the house in the A/C, but then I’d have to get someone to let them out.  On Sunday I put fresh shade cloth up around their runs.  They should be okay.  They can lay on the cool dirt.  If we can get through today and tomorrow, we’ll be okay for the rest of the week.  Hopefully I can get my ATV back today so I can transport sheep and goats down into the back pasture tomorrow morning, otherwise, they’ll have to stay up for another day.  I let them out to free graze when I’m home and they have a round bale to eat on; so they should be fine too.