Sunday 30 October 2011

Yay, I'm excited..

over 10 days,
if all is well,
I will be breeding this beautiful girl (Snowy)

to this handsome lad (Vuk).

Both Snowy and Vuk are registered Sarplaninac (Shar-plan-i-natz) dogs.
I hope this breeding will be successful, other wise it will be only later in the summer before I can have a litter again, as Snowy was the last of our females to be in heat now.
 The timing ( would be)  perfect for me (if the breeding is successful),
pups born in January and ready to leave  for their new homes in March/ April.
 I will have the nice weather ahead of me for our own pups.

Friday 28 October 2011


October 29th is:
National Hug a Sheep Day
Thanks Jenny, for reminding me,
but do I really have to hug every sheep we have
or will a few do?

Thursday 27 October 2011

Random post about sheep

I thought today was Wednesday and so this was going to be a Wordless Wednesday post,
now it actually turns out to be Thursday, so that means "wordless wednesday" will not work.
While we are waiting for the first snow to start the new winter season,
I decided to go out and take some (last?) late fall photo's of the sheep.

The rams are out with the ewes now, for a March lambing.
We have decided to do a smaller January lambing, March and May lambing.
Possibly a group that will also lamb in August, which is out of season.
We will see if this works out for us.

In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep,
one must above all be a sheep oneself.
~Albert Einstein

Monday 24 October 2011

Back home again

The Alberta Sheep Breeders Association held their bi-annual sheep symposium this last weekend in Leduc.
About a year ago,
I was approached and asked if I would be one of their speakers for this year,
to talk all about raising guardian dogs.
I accepted...

So we flocked to the symposium,
leaving the ranch in our children's capable hands:

Once I was there,
standing in front of everyone,
I definitely wondered why I had accepted...
Not because the symposium was badly orgainised,
but because my nerves got the better of me.
I have done a fair amount of public speaking before, and I was well prepared.
After I was introduced I started:
my voice was breaking,
I stopped breathing (who said that breathing was easy?),
I was trembling...
Oh, dear, why oh why,
did I agree to do this?

Maybe, I was scared that the audience would throw rotten eggs and squishy tomatoes at me..
I don't know why, but I had a little mini nervous breakdown right at that moment.
It is not in my nature,
I am generally pretty calm...

Anyway, after about 15 minutes I calmed  my shaking down
and told my story.
I knew that I was pushed for time (perhaps that was also part of the reason I was a bit stressed?),
so I used up all the question and answer time.
Which, unfortunately, did not give other people (such as Carl or Eric) time to hekkel me or fire questions at me..
After my talk was done, I was completely inundated with questions and, recieved a lot of very positive responses  from many of the sheep producers.
Now, in hindsight, I wonder why I was so nervous to start with?
I have concluded that Alberta Sheep Producers are definitely a good bunch and I have nothing to fear when giving a public speech again.
Thanks guys for helping me through my "issues"!
It was great talking to you and I hope I helped in someway to make the raising of your guardian dogs
less of a challenge
 or at the least, more understandable!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Quote of the day

Doesn’t expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?

Monday 17 October 2011

Modes of transport

With winter around the corner, we only have a few weeks left of grazing  before the winter feeding program starts.
All the electric nets we use as temporary fencing, (which enable us to efficiently use our land for rotational grazing) needs to be removed before freeze up.
Removing these nets, opens up the ranch for the sheep to graze other areas.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the sheep pretty much have the run of the place at the moment.
 There are days when the sheep like to go on a walkabout, 
we then need to collect them, from  the back end of our ranch.
Getting the sheep home with my good collies at night is no problem.
  Getting  the sarplaninac dogs to leave their watch can be more of a challenge,
especially if they predator pressure is high.
(We like to have the guardian dogs back with the sheep in the night corral every night).
So, to assist in this, we have taught the Shars to travel on the back of the farm truck.
It is not their favorite activity, but is sure saves me a lot of time!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Rumble in the Jungle

All the predators have pretty much raised their babies now.
These babies are teenagers who are also out hunting.
We have noticed that there is  more predator activity at the moment.
This higher predator activity comes at a time when our grazing rotation has pretty much come to an end and our sheep are now allowed to graze all the hay lands on our ranch.
The sheep pretty much have the run of the place.
To keep our flock safe and to match the activity levels of the predators we have upped the number of guardian dogs in with the sheep.
The main dogs in with the flock right now are Katcha, Fena, Snowy and Vuk.
Pups Lucy and Molly take turns in going out with the "big dogs".

The coyotes like to play a cat and mouse game, however the dogs have figured this game out and are giving the coyotes a hard time.
We often here the dogs rumbling in the bush.
The dogs are working hard.

As the evenings are getting shorter the sheep have picked up the daily routine.
At sunset the sheep wonder back to their night coral and I am there to check that all are home, close the gate and feed the dogs.

I often have to go out and collect the guardian dogs from the area last grazed by the ewes.
The dogs know that the coyotes are out there and do not want to leave their post.
Here Vuk and Fena share a drink with one of the dorset ewes once back in the night pen.

I have been working with Vuk lately.
He is hyperactive (actually ADHD) and due to this high energy level it makes it really hard to have him out with the grazing ewes, he tends to disturb them too much.
However, I thought that this would be a good training for him, with lots of threats, a large area to work in and some quiet, yet very vigilant females to keep him focused.
This has payed off, as this picture shows.
I have never seen Vuk just laying down when the sheep are in the pasture with him,
 or  when I come to visit.
Normaly, he is constantly on the move.
I think he is finally maturing.
A lot of work does wonders to a dogs mental attitude.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Lords of Nature

Watch this documentry!
This documentary highlights the role that  top predators play in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.
That just maybe, our survival, along with birds, insects, beavers, plants and other animals , depends on having these top predators around?
I think every school child, every environmental group and anyone who has an interest in their natural world  (perhaps even those that don't) should watch this.

For more information about this DVD and how to buy it,
you can go to this website:

Order it, watch it at least twice and then loan it out for others to see!
If anyone would like to borrow my DVD, let me know!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

International day of..


So, did you hug your dog/cat/horse/sheep and pet rock today?
I did.
Each and every one!

So, when I saw this girl,
ambling around in the middle of hunting season, 

all  I could say is run, hide, disappear..
Today is NOT a good day to die.

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