Monday 30 May 2011

One of my favorite blogs.. called Growing Wolves from Craig Larson.
I love the way he writes, straight forward, clear and without fuss.
He often looks at how people react to animals such as wolves.
He has a very transparent view on things and I really enjoy his blogs.

One of my favorite blog entries is this one:

and also this one:

and also this one:

and this one,
oh, never mind, just read his blog!


No, not the game that people play on Facebook but rather the daily goings on our  ranch.
We have been crazy busy the last few weeks and it does not look like it is getting much better.
I love spring but there is just so much that needs to be done, it is hard to take a moment and appreciate the change in nature.
Here is a quick glimpse into some of our daily Farmlife routines.
After tending to the collies I usually pick a dog to help me out with the chores that morning. My choice was for Sheila. I love taking Sheila with me as she can get a lot done in a short time and the handiest thing of all, is that she is so small and compact she can fit into a tiny corner of the tractor. You see, when I take Lad with me he is such a large dog that he takes up half the space in the tractor leaving things a bit crowded. Sheila fits behind the grapple, between the door and next to the steering wheel:

The disadvantage of taking Sheila with me is that she absolutely hates having her picture taken. She grovels, sticks her tongue out, rolls her eyes and does all kind of strange maneuvers to avoid her picture been taken.
Look at this one:

After tending to the animals in the barn it is time to go out and feed the guardian dogs. I move my dogs around on a regular basis so as Fena is in season and we do not want her bred she is now hanging out with Lucy and Molly in the bull pasture.
I fence line feed here.

Katcha and Snowy have sheep guardian duties together. Katcha is developing into a wonderful and reliable guardian dog. She is always laying close by the stock. She is calm, confident and a self assured dog.

The sheep were shorn a few weeks back, and straight after shearing they always look really naked. A few weeks later they look great.  This is the breeding group.
The other sheep are  lambing now,
we have about 20 lambs on the ground.

Between all the feeding and lambing the last few calves are being born now. This heifer calved, and all went great. She is a good momma and her baby is doing great.

This young group of roosters are our yard ornaments.
They are pretty to look at but not really functional.
Some of these guys will be headed to the odd and unusual sale next week..

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Hitting the trails

Due to some major connectivity problems my blogs may be few and far between. Our service guy has been evacuated due to the forest fires in our region so my internet problems may not be solved soon...

While also been overwhelemd with work we did take a few hours off to support the kids in their 4H activities.

Last weekend the kids had their 4H Horse achievement days.
Saturday was a show day and the kids did really well, and won a whole bunch of ribbons.
Sunday, the had a trail ride and us moms where allowed to join in.
We trailered out to the Jackpines and spent the afternoon riding with a big group of 4H kids and parents. The trail ride was fun.
A good time was had by all!

Roy riding the paint horse Jughead.

 My Allie and I, enjoying the view:

The whole group of 4hers

Jess and Smokey:

So, who is coming riding with us this summer?

Saturday 21 May 2011


Green is the prime color of the world,
and that from which its loveliness arises."
~Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Spanish Poet and Playwright, 1600-1681

In a space of a few days, everything went from drab browns to bright, fresh green.

Against this very green backdrop,
we were still out collecting hay bales that got snowed in during the winter!

And, our newest green addition this year...

I am sure this guy also likes the change and splash of color this spring!

Spring is such a vibrant contrast after winter.
I love spring!

Thursday 19 May 2011

How stuck can one get?

When Eric saw his tractor, all he said was:
"It is not stuck, you buried the tractor"

In all honesty, I did know that there was a deep mud hole somewhere here,
however in my defence their was a huge round bale in the front of the grapple and I really could not see where I was going until I drove into the hole
and then had a "Ahh" moment.
Actually it was more like a "sh*t" moment.


So, after dumping the bale of hay,
I tried for a while to drive out of the hole.
I tried to scoop mud with the bucket and push with the bucket.
I finally came to the sobering conclusion that the tractor was really, totally and utterly stuck!
So, I started to walk back home to inform Eric that the tractor was axel deep in the mud in the cow pasture.

It was a long walk home.

I could his voice in my head:
"how can you get the tractor stuk...
who drives into a hole..
why did you not look.."

When he saw this all he said was:
"It is not stuck, you buried the tractor"

So, Eric, being a male, he *had* to try to drive it out for himself.
He tried forwards, backwards, scooping mud and pushing with the bucket,
nothing worked.
That voice in my head said "told you so"Been there and did that!

So, out came our other tractor to pull this one out, that also did not work.
This is now turning into a major effort!

We eventually admitted defeat, and called a far neighbour to help us out.
He came a couple of hours later with his skidder to help pull the tractor out..
See, how the cows watch how this tragedy/comedy unfolds before there eyes!
This is like a dinner and entertainment deal for them.

So, with plenty of horse power,
our tractor was finally freed from its muddy grave.

And, I could carry on with the feeding..

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Spring Cleaning

After a year of wool growth, winter and feeding from bale feeders the sheep look pretty dingy.
So, when May rolls around they are visited usually by an Australian man who spends a few days cleaning them up.
We use various paint marks on the sheep and after shearing,
the sheep are all pristine and clean.
However, this is short lived,
as the ewes who are due to start lambing next week,
get a new mark.
Others, who are now been bred, get another mark..
and so the cycle starts again and I start to look forward to next May once again.

These ewe lambs look rather surprised..
What just happened us?

All back out on pasture after three full days of shearing.

And, with this behind our backs,
 we now head into lambing time.

Saturday 14 May 2011


Our hearts were filled with joy over our new foal,
and tonight we weep.
Our Stormy died.
He was not only the brave guardian of our sheep,
but was also:
a friend,
a companion,
a mentor to the pups,
he was gentle,
he was my soul mate
and I miss him already knowing he is not there.

"Remember me and smile,
for it is better to forget,
than remember me and cry."

What all happens on Friday the 13th..

Well, I am pleased to say, no bad things happened.
Just this cutie surprised us by being born during a major spring rain storm.
Last year her momma also had a baby, but it was born in a late spring snow storm.
Here they both are resting up together:

This little sorrel girl needs a name and we are trying to find a suitable name for her, something to do with  Friday 13th.. any ideas would be welcome!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Trip down memory lane

These photo's of this mixed flock certaily brings up many memories for me from all the years I shepherded sheep in the Netherlands. All our sheep were moved on foot from one area to another. We had to contend with traffic, guide the sheep through cities, roads, we grazed on river dijkes, golfcourses, heather regions. We moved sheep with the collies along highways, over bridges, through towns. It was always an adventure.

The flock approaches:

  The lead donkey guides the way for this mixed herd of sheep, goats, donkeys and guard dogs.

Moving the flock to the side to allow the traffic to pass.

These men have a job to keep things moving along.
I am sure they would appreciate a good collie dog!

I am not sure what breed these two guardian dogs are, however they do look a bit like a central asian ovcharka.
These dogs remind me of our CAO we once had, called Koira.

Seeing all these images from Allison Chapman in K-stan reminds me of those wonderful years.
Once again Ally thanks. I am sure I am not the only one that loves to look at this images!

Pastoral scenes from Krygyzstan

Ally knows that I am interested in farming, wildlife, sheep, guardian dogs etc.
So she sent me a whole bunch of pastoral scenes from Krygyzstan.
These are some of my favorites:

Friday 6 May 2011

Going for water

Everyday I take the sheep out and walk them to a dugout (water pool) about half a mile away. This serves a number of purposes, the first being to...
  • Water the sheep
  • Get me (especially me), the dogs and the sheep fitter for the summer grazing season.
  • To train the sheep to walk were we want them to and not run around like a bunch of hooligans.
  • Put some command on the dogs after a long and work free winter.

    The beginning is always a bit chaotic as the sheep run around looking for grain, but once they are headed in the right direction they settle down somewhat.

    This is a bit calmer:

As we head around the corner things get a little out of hand but nothing that my two trusty collies can't handle. My only two fully trained work dogs are Sheila and Lad, Echo and Solo will have to step up and get going this summer.
This is Sheila, she is camera shy and will never look into the camera. She honestly believes that if her picture is taken her soul will be stolen... despite my assurances..
she will not look into the camera.

Lad, my faithful friend.
He works hard but at times forgets that the Canadian sheep are not like flighty Welsh Mountain sheep. He needs to use his teeth now and again to remind these ewes to get back into line...

On the way to the water pool we walk by some swampy areas full of pussy willows and puddles. The sheep love to drink from these pools.
The last remnants of the winter snow can still be found here.

Once we reach the pool, the sheep do not just rush over and drink, the first try to spread out in search of the one and only brave grass shoot that dared to poke out. The dogs need to keep the ewes gathered up at the pool to force them to drink, now please!  I am mostly a patient person..
but not for the whole day to wait for a few ewes decide when they want to drink...
my policy is, when you get to water drink.
My dogs help enforce this policy.

And then finally, the water scene...
After this the sheep amble home in a orderly and quiet fashion!

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