The demo went reasonably well. The people were quite impressed with my dogs. They wanted to know how long it took to train them and if I could train their kids. There were a few kids there I would have just as soon shot rather than train. One in particular ran out onto the field while Gel was fetching the sheep too me. I’m glad I drilled him enough so that I could circle him completely around the sheep on a fetch thus stopping them before they trampled the child. I walked out onto the field, retrieve the child and returned him to his parents letting them know that some of the sheep that were coming up the field at a good clip weighed over 100 pounds and might very well injure a small child.
After removing the child, I put Gel back to work. We did some random driving through panels, then drove the sheep back down to where I set them out to begin with. I recalled Gel and sent him back out again. I asked the crowd if they could figure out what my whistles meant as I blew them. They thought it was pretty cool that Gel was changing direction and stopping on whistled commands.
After working Gel about 15 minutes I brought Fern out letting them know that Fern was just a year and a half old and was not fully trained yet. I showed them basically how we teach flank commands and driving. I was pleased to see that Fern is really taking charge of the drive (unlike Gel who still fights driving). The spectators thought Fern’s slinky movements were very cool. She’s a much flashier worker than Gel.
I brought Esme as well and when we were through, I let her run around and meet people. Two different people wanted to buy her! I told her (1) she was not a pet and (2) she was not for sale. I guess they thought they were born trained to the level Gel and Fern are.
All in all, it went well and I enjoyed it. If I do it again next year, I might just use ducks as transporting and dealing with the sheep was a bit of a pain. I was still tired from working Friday. After we got the sheep back to my house, I went up to the Christmas Tree Farm and did another demo up there. Then at 3:00 I did a milking demo. That was perhaps an even bigger hit. I brought some samples of goat cheese and crackers to share afterward. The timing was perfect because it had just started raining when I started milking so it was a good time to be under cover. I was very pleased that both Dawn and Rain were calm during the milking. As a precaution, I hobbled Dawn. I was milking without my stand. I had a friend hold the goat over a bucket of feed. I was really concerned that Rain was going to be nervous, but she was calm as could be. Good girl! The goats themselves were a big hit up at the Christmas Tree Farm. Because they are so tame, I was able to let them mingle with the people. They followed them around like dogs and Dawn tried to get in the car with one group. Crazy goats!
My second successful batch of cheese came out perfectly. Having the small electric heater in the bathroom worked like a charm. I mixed the plain cheese with a Mediterranean sea salt blend. I think I might have got even more than a pound of cheese from this batch. I have a pot of milk on the stove ready to make a third batch.
The weather has been miserable today. I’ve stayed in pretty much all day. I brought the goats up this morning to the Christmas Tree Farm and put them in the barn. I got a call around 1:00 saying one of the goats was up in the hay loft! She climbed the very rickety stairs and made her way up there. She had come down by the time I got up there and luckily she didn’t get hurt.
I think I might try to sell Esmeralda, the Oberhalsi doe. She’s EXTREMELY bossy. I have to tie her out by herself to feed her otherwise she eats her food, then runs everyone off theirs. Of more concern is that she won’t let Dawn under the shelter. When I left to go to Statesville, Dawn was out. When I came back, she was still out and soaking wet. When I brought them up to the barn, I saw that Esmeralda was running her all over the barn bullying her. I took Esmeralda back home and as I write this, she’s outside loose and the LaManchas are in the fenced-in area. I can monitor the eating, but I can’t do the same with shelter. The goats need shelter. I’ve grown to like the LaMancha goats. They are gentle and easy to live with, well, as easy to live with as dairy goats can be.