Yesterday morning, I left a voice mail message for Wally asking him if he’d haul water down in his truck for the sheep and if he’d pick up the broken wagon on is way back. He first went down to off-load the panels that we collected out of the field on Sunday (I have a storage area for my panels and pen in the pasture adjoining the house) and then went to pick up the wagon. He knew he was in trouble when he slid down the hill into the pasture almost hitting the pipe gate on his way down. In my voice mail, I suggested a route out which I thought might not be so muddy and slippery, but I was wrong. He almost got his truck stuck. Luckily he got the truck out, but it’s pretty muddy. It looks like a farm truck now.
When I got home at about 7:30, we took the water down in the truck and Gel and I brought the sheep out. It was pretty. He couldn’t have done it any better. I almost went down in the mud on the way up. It’s bad out there! The moisture is most welcome, however.
Wally is going to take the wagon to work to see if a friend of his can weld the wheel back on, but it doesn’t look promising. Bummer. I used that wagon a lot. I may need to figure out a way to get a replacement wagon sooner rather than later. We’ll be resetting the ElectroNet in the pasture that is furthest back from the house and I’ll need to be able to haul water down there. I can carry the 20 gallon barrel on the back of the ATV, but it’s hard to hold on there and I end up wearing a good portion of it.
Bringing the sheep down was pretty uneventful except I had to get after Gel a few times for pushing too hard on the ewe who recently delivered a lamb. She stayed up in the fenced-in area yesterday, but I decided to bring her down today. Gel just likes a fight. Beast!
As I write this, I’m eating homemade yogurt made from raw goat milk to which I added some frozen blueberries, a banana and some granola. Oh, it’s good! I used to eat this sort of thing every morning when I was working in Charlotte, but it wasn’t made from raw goat milk.
I’ve been thinking a lot about training. I recently subscribed to a paid newsletter subscription written by an open handler chronicling her upbringing of a stock dog puppy. It is a lesson in compulsion training. I had to laugh when she finally had to resort to using treats to convince the puppy to come to her on a reliable basis. Geez, rocket recalls are one of the first things people who are training dogs for other venues (and I know some stock dog people) teach their puppies. They work on it and work on it and work on it. Sports people (I’d like to find a better term for people who train for agility, obedience and even fly ball) use treats or toys as rewards for correct recalls and it works, it really does. Compulsion usually backfires on you. I am not a fan of purely positive training because I will use some corrections (sometimes more than I need to), but I am much more of a positive trainer. But I haven’t been so much with Kessie and Cian and darned I need to get my ass in gear on that.
I have been sleeping like the dead lately, which is a good thing, it really is, but I need to start getting my ass out of the bed and get out and work with those dogs. This business that I’ve been doing with just letting the dogs out to relieve themselves and leaving them out there for a half hour or more is no good. With Fern and Gel it wasn’t so much of a problem because both of them want to be in the house with me. Adding Cian and Kessie into the mix is causing problems. I found another hole in the yard this morning and last night Wally said he heard barking outside and went out and found the four of them running up and down the fence fighting with the neighbor’s dogs.
This sort of thing is just not conducive to good training. I know I can do it, I just need to get going (can I say get my ass in gear one more time?). Maybe with the time change things will get better. Dealing with the weather Friday through even Tuesday exhausted me. We are going to breed our sheep later this year so we won’t be lambing in January and February. I know that’s when a lot of people do it so they can have lambs ready for Easter, but I’m not going to go through another season of worrying about them in bad weather. I’d rather deal with parasites than bad weather.
Regarding parasites: a week or so ago Wally and I drove by a house that was clearing a fence line. There was a ton of cedar and pine trees cut down. We filled the truck with them and put them in the fenced-in area. All of the animals ate them to pieces. We had seen a few breaks of bottle jaw in the sheep this year already, but since we put the cedar and pine trees in, we haven’t seen another break. Cedar is a natural wormer and I wonder if pine isn’t as well. We’ll need to continue to be on the look out for brush that has been cleared.
Hopefully this weekend we can work on the alleyway to run the sheep through and examine them to see if they need to be wormed, tag the lambs and give them each a dose of copper wire particles. The goats need a dose of them as well. I am going to see if I can’t worm the goats using herbs and see how that goes.
Regarding sleeping. I’ve never been a good sleeper and unless you get restful sleep, you cannot be truly healthy. Oh am I sleeping now! I used to wake up in the early morning hours having anxiety attacks which would often lead to asthma attacks. Sometimes I’ll still do that, but no where near as much. Sleeping is a wonderful thing except when you can’t get out of the bed in the morning.