Wednesday 31 August 2011

A domestic moment

 Summer Gold!

 These last two days have been filled with domestic chores...
So move over Ramsey, Pioneer Women and whoever else is famous for their cooking skills!
Jess, Michelle and I canned about 120lbs of peaches into:
Plain peach slices,
a wonderful tangy peach jam
and a "to-die-for" peach Salsa.

If only you could have smelt my kitchen...

The fruits of our work:

In between canning peaches, we also canned 20lbs of tomatoes,
rode our horses,
checked the cows,
moved the sheep,
fed  the other critters,
separated 4 in season bitches,
made dinner, did the washing, vacuumed the house
 and also
baked beer bread...
Really, nothing beats homemade fresh bread out of the oven with real butter and freshly made tangy peach jam for lunch!

So, now we have managed to save some summer gold for the long and dark winter months up ahead!

And, today it was back to cutting hay...

Friday 26 August 2011

An update of our guardian dog pups.

I have recently blogged about other peoples pups,
and blogged about other peoples guardian dogs,
so it is time to give an update of our own pups.

Fena had some pups last winter, and these pups are looking grown up but are acting like
naughty kids at times..
Here are the twins, Molly and Buddy.

They are pretty hard to tell apart..
the left one is Buddy and the right one is Molly.


Their training is coming along.
Both these pups are for sale to suitable flocks and owners!

Their litter sister is Lucy, the only grey pup out of the whole litter.
Lucy was never a very social pup and even now she still remains a bit distant.
She has the build of her mother, where Buddy and Molly look more and more like Beli their father.
Due to her grey color she is a bit more photogenic than her white litter mates:

She shares a pasture with her Dad and the rams.

My two other "pups", Vuk and Katcha are now almost 18 months old.
Katcha is full on guard duty. She goes out everyday with the  ewes to the bush.
She is very diligent in her work and she will always be somewhere close to the ewes.

She has matured into a really nice dog,
She shares her duties with Snowy.
Katcha does not really like working with the other females (she is very dominant),
Snowy is laid back and submissive, so these two get along well.

Here is another picture of Katcha:

Vuk, aah Vuk.
He is,
as he has always been,
high energy.
I have honestly, never seen any mountain breed with as much energy as he has.
Most are big, rather lumbering, slower types of dogs.
Vuk, can run, jump, leap and move like  a collie.
See these pictures of mostly grass.
Vuk is in their somewhere...

 and he stops for a moment,
and my camer has time to autofocus..

All the older dogs, are doing good and will be the topic of a future blog post.

Thursday 25 August 2011

I am going back to school.

Today, exactly three years ago we moved to Canada.
A lot has happened in these years and we have become quite Canadianized.
 As of now, I can start studying on how to become a “real” Canadian.

I think I understand the basics though:

* All winter long we talk about the weather, particularly about the cold, amount of snow, wind etc. : “Its cold, eh?”

*As Amsterdam has its “coffee shops” (they DON’T sell coffee at these coffee shops), Canadians also have to have their regular fix at the Canadian Coffee Shop Tim Hortons.

* I think I fall into the category of Redneck …

*It is all about the rocks and pucks.

*Unless you have a cabin (minimum of 1500 sq feet..) at the lake or in the mountains, you just don’t count.

* On the phone everyone first asks “how you are doing, eh” even before they tell you who they are. Do Canadians really think I want to tell a total stranger, how I am doing when I know they are not interested?

* Canadians are polite and like to beat around the bush when it comes to  any (awkward) questions…for example
I ask: “Rod, what do you think, should I use an angus bull on my cows or a charollais?”
Rod says: “Well, an Angus is nice, a Charollais is also good…”

* Sheep ranching doesn’t count in cattle country,
even though sheep make more money than cows..”

*Prairie oysters are not as good as everyone likes to pretend they are.

* If you like dogs and have one that is reasonably under control, you quickly get labeled the “Dog man/women/people”

*Rack size is important.

*Telemarketers are a plague.

*You have lots of lawenforcement:
RCMP, Peace Officers, Sheriffs
 as well as the Fish and Wildlife cops.

So, as you can see I am well on my way to becoming a Canadian citizen,
all I still need to do is brush up on is some history and politics!

Saturday 20 August 2011

Livestock Guardian Dogs

As many of you know I have Sarplaninac Livestock Guardian dogs to help protect our flocks from predators, and I must admit they are very good at what they do.
We chose the sarplaninac however there are many LGD breeds that can and do the job as well.
I have very little breed bias, I love all working dogs and to watch a good dog work , be it a stock dog or guardian dog, just makes me happy.
I am in the process of preparing a presentation that I will be giving to sheep people about guardian dogs. As I wanted to have a broad representation of breeds and situations, I asked a number of friends to contribute some photographs of their dogs at work.
Here is just a small sample of what I was sent.
(Thanks LGD List people!!)

This hairy beast is called a Tibetan Dokhyi, he belongs to Judy Steffel.
Chosing a high spot to oversee their kingdom is a very typical behavior pattern for guardian dogs.
He watches over his goats.

Before Lisa Richards had guardian dogs, she was losing a lot of her turkeys to predators. Once she got her trio of  Great Pyranese she has had no loses since then.

Kris Paige introduces her new guardian dog Bear to her lamas.
Some people keep lamas to guard their flocks,
others keep guardian dogs to protect their lamas.

Lori Lancaster breeds mini ponies.
That means when mini's get babies, the resulting foals are very small.
However, this anatolian watches over them.

Guardian dogs have a strange behavor pattern..
They will aggressively take on bears, wolves and other predators to protect what they regard as "theirs",
and yet will be gentle with new born lambs.
If  a guardian dog adopts something, they will lay their lives down to protect it.
This anatolian is from Mary Kellogg. I am sure this kitty feels totally safe and loved!

I love this photo of Sally Scholle's Pyranees leading its flock in!

In a lambing pen,
there is always enough space for a ewe, her lamb and a dog!
This is another one of Sally Scholle's dogs.

 I have many more pictures and will share them in some future blogs!

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Is life really fair?

As you can see,
I pride myself in breeding:
 tough working sarplaninac dogs:

(Yes, those are cute little red ribbons in her ears!!!)

I love hearing from owners who have bought pups from me, telling me how they are doing.
But, sometimes a picture tells more than a thousand words...
Vara, here, lives a pampered life in Montana.
Her owners love her dearly and she knows that;
with regular visits to the beauty salon, ribbons in her hair and a warm, clean house to live in.

Sophie, her litter sister,
is also loved dearly by her owner Jacqui (and a whole bunch of ewes).
She, however,
smells like sheep,
has the odd burr in her fur
and has to work for her dinner.


So, you see,
life is just not fair..
 Had Sophie wagged her tail at just a different moment,
then she too could have had ribbons in her ears..

As George Orwell once said:
"All animals are equal,
but some are more equal than others".

Monday 15 August 2011

Cultural outing..

Once a year,
I spoil myself and go to the local Pow Wow organised by the Driftpile First Nations.
I find the Pow Wow a feast for the eyes and ears,
the colors and sounds are overwhelming!
It is so different to my daily ranching life that I just love watching the dances, the costuums, the music and of course the drums.

And, then it was back to repairing tractors, balers, rakes and watching as we get another inch of rain on our newly mowed hay...

Thursday 11 August 2011

The Sheep Hunters

Ok, not literally!
But it does feel like we are sheep hunting at times...
Every morning we bring about 400 ewes ( and some sarplaninac) to the bush to graze.
That means that every evening we have to go to the bush to find the sheep and bring them back to their night coral.

As my John Deere gator has broken down, I was walking to the back quarter to find the sheep.
As the sheep are grazing deeper and deeper into the bush it was becoming harder to find them and it would sometimes take almost two hours to find them all.
Only about 20 acres is cleared on this piece.
The rest of the quarter section is mainly thick bush, heavy undergrowth and with all the rain very wet in places.

After another night of searching, and fighting off the skeet's.
I decided that a change of plan was in order.
This new plan involved our horses (and lots of bug spray!).

Wow, what a difference this change of plan makes:
it goes way faster to find the sheep,
we can see further,
we don't get wet feet,
the horses get to do "sheep drives" rather than cattle drives,
we can enjoy the sunsets
And, it is always good to combine work and pleasure!
Sometimes the kids join me and some times the exchange students on our place join in the nightly sheep hunting session.

Here are some pictures of this weeks sheep drive:

My Allie, is always mindful of the sheep!

Katcha, always joins us,
and more often than not she shows us where the sheep are hiding out!

The Sheep Hunting team:
(Roy, me and Joska)


Sunday 7 August 2011

Bad weather and bad luck, and a useless internet connection!

We are desperately trying to make hay.
After we came back from our mountain trip, the weather changed and the sun started shining.
We rushed out to start cutting and raking.
Eric was really keen to try out our “new” baler (for us it is new).
We have managed to get all our own land cut and baled.

However, we are just getting plagued by machinery failures, bad weather and bad luck.
We were haying a field that we rent, and the man cutting for us, did not see (and nobody told us) that their was a old harrow parked out in the filed. With the grass waist high, we could not see it. Unfortunately, the mower ran over with over $7000 in damages. Then the bearings went in our own mower, and then the PTO shaft broke off on our tractor and then our spare tractor’s clutch broke down (and after ordering a new one, it is still not working, so their must be another problem…), and then the borrowed tractor’s battery went and so it carries on and on. The weather is unreliable, two days sun and then a heavy rain fall…

We have about another 800 bales to make and we sure hope things take a turn for the better now as we are so far behind in haying, lambing will be starting soon again and before we know it the snow will be flying again…

All this, and a bad internet connection,
has resulted in very little blogging, and I love blogging.
So, I am feeling somewhat frustrated!
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