I’ve essentially wasted seven week days off from my day job. Sure, I am not making the salary I once was, but there isn’t a damned thing I can do about it right now. I’ve got so much to do around here between cleaning and organizing my house, training my dogs, caring for livestock, reading, writing, taking pictures, etc., etc. Instead of doing these things, I’ve been essentially feeling sorry for myself.
Done doing that.
I went to the grocery store yesterday and spent $100 on food. Then went to Wal-Mart and got a few essentials, filled up my car with gas, then went to pick up venison. I spent about 45 minutes there visiting. Yes, me, visiting! What a novel concept. Usually whenever I go to get venison, I’m in a rush. The people who run the venison operation are down-to-earth, nice people. I enjoy talking to them and plan to make it a point to spend time with them whenever I go to get vemison. Got home, took the dogs for a run, then ate some of the homemade chicken pie I made that day. I am not sure what a frozen chicken pot pie costs, probably about $3 each. This is for a single-serving pie. I made my pie using a frozen pie shell (not so great, need to start making my own), fresh chicken, frozen and fresh vegetables and two cans of organic cream of mushroom soup. The pie shell had been frozen perhaps too long and didn’t roll out well, but I patched it together. It didn’t look so good, but it was extremely tasty and cost me maybe $5 in ingredients!
This morning, Wally came over and picked up Obie. He bought a purebred La Mancha doe at the auction on Thursday and wanted to get her bred. Esmeralda went into heat earlier this week and Obie has bred her. Wally said his doe was already in heat so Obie is having another great sex fest. If all goes well, he’ll be done and sold before the end of the week. I’ll never keep another buck, they are a miserable nuisance! When Wally’s doe freshens the end of March, he’ll let me have her to milk her. Hopefully by that time I’ll be able to afford to buy her from him.
Kitty and Rose have been climbing up on the top of my hoop house which has been irritating the heck out of me. I knew eventually they’d poke a hole in the tarp covering the hoop house and those heavy-duty tarps are not cheap! Yelling at them when they were up there wasn’t doing any good. Yelling at a dog or anyone or anything for that matter doesn’t do any good. All it does is raise my blood pressure and give me a head ache. When Wally was over this morning, we ran some field fence around the outside of the hoop house so the dogs and the goats (who haven’t climbed it yet, but give them time) could not climb on it. One less irritation.
I gave Cian a bath today. He’s been itching like a fiend and sure enough, he had fleas. I soaped him up and left him with the soap on him for about fifteen minutes, then rinsed him. One thing I realized was that my use of canine coolers in their crates was probably adding to the flea problem. Note, neither Gel nor Fern have fleas. The heat and moisture in the beds were probably allowing fleas and their eggs to hatch and thrive. I emptied all the canine coolers and will use towels and sheets for bedding. I’ll put some diatomaceous earth under the bedding to take care of any residual fleas or eggs. I always vacuum a lot so that helps. His itching had been irritating me. I know now why people are so quick to put their dogs and cats on steroids or flea medicine to make the itching stop. Now that I’ve cleared him of fleas, hopefully the itching will stop. One less irritation.
All of the dogs have been fussy about their eating. They’d love to be able to eat their meat in the middle of the living room on the rug, but I don’t want raw meat on my rugs or floors for that matter. So I’ve been insisting they eat in their crates. Sometimes they eat, usually they do not. For example, this morning I was processing rabbits and cutting up a whole turkey. I gave the cats the drumsticks to chew on and Gel came out into the kitchen, picked up a drumstick and headed into the living room with it. I took it away and put him in his crate with it. Gave Cian the second drumstick and Fern a wing. None of them ate so I put the meat away.
This afternoon, I took them all out into the back fields to work. I worked Fern first. As it turns out, she got all the practical work because as we were heading out there, Rain and Esmeralda (the dairy goats) and the three steer goats went out with us. The steer goats were no problem because they work well with the sheep, but Rain and Esmeralda were royal pains in the butt. I tried tying Rain to the ATV, but she started attacking Gel who was tied to the ATV as well. So, I got Fern and had her help me bring the goats (and sheep) back up to the house. I put the goats in the fenced-in area and used Fern to bring the sheep back out to the pasture. I worked on her driving which is coming well.
Then I worked Gel, again on driving and did some shedding. He did a beautiful shed and we kept the group separated so I’d have a fresh group for Cian to work. I worked the crap out of Cian. It was what he needed. He’s so keen to work, which is a good thing, but it can be irritating to live with. Whenever I get up, no matter where I go, he’s up from where ever he was lying, at warp speed, racing me to the door. When he first got here, he’d actually run me down to get to the door. That has stopped and he has to wait for me to go through doors and entryways before he does. He was tired when I finally stopped. Driving isn’t going to come easy for him. He’s an outrunning fool. His stops are getting more reliable. I spent a good amount of time running out after him when he didn’t take his lie down. It’s hard sometimes to be consistent enough so that I don’t ask for a lie down more than once before I go after him.
Anyway, back to the food issue. When we got back, I left all three dogs outside to cool off. After a while, I saw Gel carrying a hunk of meat in his mouth. Fern was trying to take it away from him. I brought out a bag of venison and put it down. All three dogs ate as they should. I have been uncomfortable feeding them in their crates. I know most people do it, but eating in a crate is not natural for a dog. Think of how wolves eat: out in the open in a group. Even when the adults come back to the den area with food which they regurgitate, they are in the open. Eating in a confined area is likely uncomfortable for them. That doesn’t mean that they are going to be able to eat on the living room floor. So I’ll feed them outside whenever I can and make sure I offer food after they’ve cooled down from a good work-out. One less irritation.
Can you see how many irritations I’ve eliminated today? That’s a good thing because I am quite stressed these days and even little irritations can set me off more than the would normally.
It’s easy to be irritated; it sometimes takes creativity and resolution to change things so the irritation stops.
I finished my soup this morning and is it ever tasty! I sent Wally home with a large container of it and have to bottle up the rest of it and freeze it. I used the breast meat from the turkey I cut up this morning, saving the rest of it for the dogs and cats. It’s turkey season and we’ll all be eating lots of turkey over the next few months.
Off to finish processing rabbits …