Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas is over for another year...

I hope everyone had a great holiday and we were busy with family and all. My new border collie Jake is a great dog and we are bonding well. I will take him to stock next week. He has the eye and ready to work in the pictures above.

After a good bath and brushing, he is down right handsome. We have been working on some basic commands and Jake has been learning to ride in the back seat of the truck. Apparently he had always ridden in the back of a truck and that is to dangerous for me. He is adjusting well and getting along with my Jack Russel Terror.

We have the water lines in the ground and waiting for the rain to let up so we can get a dump truck of gravel to finish the geo textile and gravel before setting the water troughs. It has been a very wet December.

Well, enough for now and everyone have a Great New Year and even better 2009! Oh, I have had some emails asking about Helen and her baby chicks. The photo below is Helen and her babies. They are growing fast and Helen is very protective of them. She pecks real hard if one gets to close. Two of her chicks look like they will be huge and have some feathers on their legs. The one small one is a bantam Americana, she hatched from a small blue egg. I asked my friend what kind of eggs he gave me and he could not remember... I think they are all hens because I do not see any large combs, but time will tell....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Water lines going into the ground...

Thankfully we have had some nice weather to work on the water lines this week and rented a Ditch Witch to dig the trench. The Witch was a bit of a witch and did not want to start and the pull thing broke, but I took it back to Tri County Rental in Selma and they fixed her and all went well.

My friend Mr. Paul has been helping me out at the farm and is shown left running the Ditch Witch off of our well. We trenched for water lines to the buildings and out to distant pastures. We will be doing cross fencing next year.

Mr Neil, (below right) a good friend of Mr Paul helped with the plumbing as well. It is good to have knowledgeable friends who can help out and are willing to lend a hand.

I really appreciated all their efforts and we now have 7 new water outlets. We still need to put down Geo textile fabric and crushed rock before setting down water troughs. I have the fabric, a super fabric made to last and keep an area from getting to muddy when livestock water. It will hold the rock in place as well.

The picture on the left is the trench going out to the far pasture, past the sheds and past the buck shed. The water lines are laid out before cleaning and gluing . The goats watched us work and on occasion tried their best to fall into the trench and be general pains in the neck. Goats can not leave things alone. They are very curious and mess with everything. My dogs steal things and will run off with tools and equipment, especially gloves.
But even with the sabotage, we were able to finish the job without to many headaches. We will order the rock Monday and hopefully after Christmas finish the job. We have a cost share program set up with the USDA to install the well and water lines. We have an end of the year deadline and must get a cracking.
If I do not get to make another post before Christmas, I want to wish everyone a wonderful and Joyful Christmas. Oh, Athena is over her mastitis and doing well. I have had some emails asking about her. I hope to rebred her to The Rock once she recovers from the quints.
Take care y'all...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December is flying by quickly...

It has been a fast couple of weeks. Below left is my new Border Collie Jake. We went to Portland, Tenn. to get him. He is an older dog, but a good one. He is 6 years and has worked cattle most of his life. The trainer worked sheep with him and put a better stop on him. He actually worked for me at the trainers and we are currently bonding. Jake did put some sheep up for me the day after I got him. He listens well, but could improve. So, we do not go to the stock for a couple of weeks and just bond. He also needs a bath and brush out big time. He was pretty smelly when we picked him up.

I traded Terra for him because Terra did not want to herd the goats. I think she was hit by one and decided they were to tough for her. Terra had no problem with cattle and is now on a dairy Cattle farm in Rhode Island. I had also spoiled her by allowing her into the house and playing fetch, which she loved. I hear the farmer's wife has been letting her in the house... Imagine that... Terra has a good home, she is probably sitting on the couch watching TV and eating pop corn.

Working dogs must be treated as working dogs and not turned into pets. Hopefully I have learned my lesson and Jake won't be ruined. He will be my main man and buddy, just not a pet.

We have received a lot of rain and things are very wet. The rain has delayed our putting in water lines and the deadline to get them in is quickly approaching. We maybe out there Christmas Day and for sure the day after to get this done.

The farm has an address now, took almost 3 weeks though. First it was out of one district and had to go to the post office. Well, they finally decided to put the address on the main road because they are to lazy to drive down the small road to the property, even though it is paved most of the way. Their excuse was, there was no where to turn around. The large city dump truck and trailer comes down the road once a week to pick up trash and turns around with out a problem. There is a couple of acres to turn around and it is sandy soil, so no worries about mud or getting stuck where the road ends. So the mail box is two houses down the road and about an eighth of a mile from the actual farm. Go figure...

I have a wonderful group of neighbors who keep an eye on the farm for me. The farm is about 1 1/2 miles from my home. Once I sell my home, I will build another home on the farm and move there. They call me if Thor, one of my guardian dogs get out. He has been a pain lately and with the rain and soft ground has dug under the gate. We had to put down cement and cement blocks to keep him from digging. If he continues to be bad, he will be neutered and will find a new home. He is a beautiful dog, that is why he is not fixed yet. One of my dogs has bad hips and will need to be replaced in a year or so. I have a lovely female named Susie and hope to get pups next year and keep a couple to replace Bear and maybe Thor.

One of my great neighbors built the hay feeder pictured above for me. It opens up to put in the hay and has a roof to protect the hay and is the perfect height to keep hay out of sheep fleece. This feeder was taken over by the goats. He will make me 2 more, so the sheep will get one as well.

Bad dog Thor is pictured at the left, just looking for trouble. He is very friendly, but hates a lead and gives us a rodeo when we take him to the vet. He is about a year and a half.

Susie is pictured below and to the right. She is eating something when her picture was taken. She is a lovely Badger faced Great Pyrenees. Thor is a Pyrenees as well.

We have had a good year so far and are thankful. We would like to wish all our clients a Merry Christmas and an even better New Year!
You'all take care now...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wow, this year has gone by fast! We have been hip deep in preparing to put in water lines at the farm. The weather has been unseasonably cold and today we had a cold rain all day. We need the rain, so that is OK. The winter grazing is up and about an inch and a half tall. It had been very dry, so the last couple of rains gave us over 4 inches, which the ground just soaked up and the planted seed has jumped.

Daisy, my Nubian doe kidded and to my delight had twin half Boers. They were both does (left picture) and one outstanding. But the next morning, I found the best one dead in the pen. More then likely she was trampled by another doe. This happens on occasion, but is disappointing to say the least. But the other baby doe is doing great and starting next week I will be milking Daisy for myself. This baby is only nursing off one side, so the other side will be mine.

I had sent off two hides from a couple of Icelandic Sheep to be tanned. I got them back today and they are spectacular. One was a lovely ram who died of pneumonia and the other a young ewe who died last summer of white muscle disease. I skinned them out and salted the hides, dried them and sent them off to the tannery. They did a great job and I am very pleased with the results. I will post a picture later.
An article was written about our farm and published in the Land Bank publication. It was really nice and show cased our lotion and soaps, as well as our Nigerian Goats. Another article came out in the local Co-op newspaper talking about my Icelandic Sheep. I will try and scan the articles into the computer and post them on the blog.
Enough for now, the above picture to the right is a group of sleeping baby Nigerians for you all to enjoy...
Take care and more later...