Tag Archives: herding

What are you waiting for?

I had the most wonderful birthday yesterday spending quality time for myself.  My wonderful mother in-law watched my beautiful baby for me giving me the day off.  I had a lot of time to think about the past years up and downs and what I had learned from them.  Last year we made the decision to finally jump in and buy the farm.  We no longer wanted to wait to have our farm and start our dream.  Shortly after finding the farm we ended up buying we found out we were pregnant with our wonderful little girl.  Although my pregnancy had its many challenges and was by no means easy I made a human being.  Let’s just talk about that for a minute I MADE A HUMAN, isn’t that amazing?  I never thought in a million years that being pregnant would be so hard or that being a mother would be so amazing!  Shortly after our baby girl was born we lost my father in-law.  Sam was one of the best men I have ever known!  He was kind and caring and acted like I had always been part of the family from day one.  I will never forget all the things that Sam did for me he was amazing.  All these things added up to make a roller coaster of a year.  What was the biggest thing that I learned?  Your bucket list should never be a bucket list… It should be your To Do List.  life is to short to wait to do the things you dream of.  Don’t dream your life away grab the steering wheel and live it.  What are you waiting for?

P.S. I also learned to knit and it’s amazing, I am a knitting genious!

A Few Misconceptions

img_1844Gus here, I just wanted to clear some things up.  First of all Olive should not be aloud to use the computer no telling what she might say!  Second its very hard to be farm boss and we can’t all be perfect.  I know that Mom thinks that she is farm boss but really my Dad is farm boss but since he has to be at his other job I have to do the job here.  We like to let Mom think that she is farm boss but really someone has to keep an eye on her!  It should be understandable for the tired, hard working Border Collie to have a few accidents in the house.  While I have your attention I would like to address a few other things.  I think that everyone gives that darn Llama to much credit, for all I can tell she just gets in my way bringing the sheep to Mom.  Purdy tells me all the time when we are in the sheep pasture how hard her job is.  She says she has sleepless nights watching the stupid sheep and that the sheep just won’t cooperate with her by sleeping in the shelters where she can guard them easier.  The only thing I agree with Purdy is that sheep are stupid and stubborn.  Overall I am just a hard working tired Border Collie trying to keep this farm together and no one gives me enough credit, they don’t even let me sleep on the bed!

But Why?

While waiting for Purdy to eat her breakfast grain this is an ongoing conversation I have with Purl one of our Lincoln Longwools and my favorite sheep next to Ewestace of course.

Purl:  I see you brought Purdy grain for breakfast again…

Me:  Why yes Purl I did.

Purl:  I see and why do I not get grain?

Me:  Well Purl you don’t need grain to be nice you’re just friendly all the time.  Purdy however will become a feral beast if I don’t bribe her with grain daily.

Purl:  So basically your saying that I should be mean and I will get treats… this seems wrong.

Me:  No, Purl if you were mean that would just mean that I would need to bring the border collie more often to do chores and make you do what I wanted.  Purdy however won’t listen to the dog and she spits.

Purl:  Right new life goal learn to spit!

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Settled In

We are in the home stretch of moving to the farm. All the animals are present and accounted for as well as settled in nicely to their new souroundings.  There are still a couple things left to do before winter like getting all the hay for sheep and horses here and covered.  We also have to arrange in the next month getting two of the meat lambs processed as well as the pig for winter meat for ourselves.  I cannot possibly express how happy I am to have my horses home.  They are so happy all the time and greet me at the gate each time I come down.  Ace is calm and polite when I ask him to do things and has adjusted to having sheep, llama and a pig for pasture neighbors.  Gus is excited to really buckle down this fall working his sheep to get ready for spring herding trials!

Sadly he has no thumbs…

The most useful farm tool that I have is by far our Border Collie Gus, he proves to be helpful more than I can count.  I know that if the sheep we’re to get out that I wouldn’t have to much trouble getting them back with Gus’s help (Purdy is another story) which is a load off my mind.  This morning when I went down to do morning chores I saw that Jenny one of the brown spotted ewes had become tangled in the electric net fence (it wasn’t on which is probably why she was in it).  Jenny has a very naughty habit of eating grass on the other side of the fence… because that’s where it is greenest of course!  This obviously upsets Purdy deeply, she was standing near Jenny making pitiful cooing noises that her sheep was stuck and she also didn’t have thumbs.  As I was freeing the sheep from the fence (which she didn’t appreciated at all) I thought if only Gus had thumbs he could have done this for me.  This is a picture of Jenny a couple weeks ago eating grass through the field fence, it was at that moment I thought this is going to be a problem.IMG_4151

Purdy

Purdy our guard llama has been here about a week now and I couldn’t be more pleased with her!  She bonded very quickly with her sheep especially Ewestace, they all sleep together in the shelter at night even though I no longer shut them in.  Every time I go down to give Purdy her breakfast or dinner she always comes right over to the fence as I am walking down to make sure it isn’t a threat to her sheep.  I often look down from the house to see Purdy rolling around in the grass and just lazing around during the day, she seems to be very happy and comfortable here.  Olive has been down to meet Purdy and I don’t think either one of them plans to be lifelong friends, Gus however quickly learned to give Purdy her space and she will leave him alone.  I was a bit worried about working Gus on the sheep with Purdy loose but they did fine last night as long as Gus doesn’t get to quick everyone did great.  I am also pleased with how friendly our llama is she eats grain from our hands and is very easily approachable.  The rest of Purdy’s sheep will be coming home tomorrow so she will have four new ewes to watch after and both rams will also be coming as well (they however will be staying in a separate pasture).

Dreams Really Do Come True

Yesterday we finished the first fence meaning ewestace and company could come home.  I went to pick up the three ewes about five with Jeff’s truck.  Amanda kindly caught all three ewes and got them into the back of the truck (ewestace started screaming her protests immediately upon being place in the truck).  It was now time to drive home I made it out of the farms drive before I became overcome with fear ewestace would pop open the hatch and lead a daring escape (which thankfully didn’t happen despite my worry the whole way home).  Once home Jeff got all three ewes from the truck to the pasture without incident.  We walked the fence one more time for peace of mind then left the girls to settle in. When dusk came it was time to put the girls in their house for the night, well Eeestace led the rebellion not going in the house.  This meant we needed the Border Collie after all, to put the sheep away.  I had not yet told Gus we brought his sheep home and he was really confused why I kept making him lay down and stay the whole way to the pasture (I thought we could at least start out with him listening). When we rounded the corner of the lane he spotted his very own sheep and immediately realized it was serious time.  Gus listened so well and did what I asked him and we got all three sheep in their house (even the unruly Ewestace). I had forgotten Gus’s habit of getting in the water trough after herding as a reward until I turned around and saw my very happy Border Collie cooling off after his job well done!

Ducks in a Row

Things are finally coming together here, fencing is going up and sheep will be coming home very soon!  Jeff has been installing the fence for our sheep to live in this week digging post holes and pounding in t-posts.  The end of this week we will be bringing home the meat sheep, Ewestace and two other ewe lambs to keep her company.  Then this weekend Jeff and I will be going on a road trip to pick up Purdy the llama to live with our ewes and protect them from hungry coyotes.  We are both very excited to get our llama Purdy neither one of us has had a llama before and it’s very exciting.  We will have a week then for the girls to get comfortable and the following Sunday our big wooly sheep will be arriving as well.  That weekend we will also bring home both the rams who will be living in the bachelor pad with the horses.  We were also lucky to find a very nice little two stall horse barn that is used and we are having moved here for the horses to have.  Ace and Badger will love that they have the freedom to come and go as they please and I will love that I can lock them in their stall in winter if I need to.  We are so excited that everything is coming together and the animals will soon all be home.  Gus will think its christmas when he goes down for an evening walk with me to find sheep of his very own!

Eat Your Wheaties!

Gus and Olive start sheep camp again today at Cherry Hill Training Center.  When Jeff fed Gus his breakfast I heard him pronounce to Gus “Eat up you, got to perform well today!”  Without even thinking I walked into the room and spoke up for Gus “Dad I don’t perform sheep herding, it’s a way of life.”  After Gus and I straightened out Jeff’s line of thought I realized he didn’t say anything to Olive.  I have decided this means one of two things; 1 Jeff has lost all hope that Olive will be useful for anything but a couch dog. 2 Olive is so amazing that she doesn’t need any encouragement or pep talks.  I can’t wait to see Olive and Gus work after all winter off for Gus and Olive’s first real herding lessons.  I will be sure to give you all an update after camp.