Wednesday 30 April 2014

Catch up...

 Much has happened these last few weeks,
 it is  time to play blog catch up.
I have some random updates, some news, some pictures for this blog.
It may not all be in a logical order,
but that is probably due to being tired.
So, I will list some things in points.
When I am tired, I like point form,
it creates order
in my foggy brain.

1. The end of lambing is in sight, about another 70 to go.

1a. Most of the lambs were born on the first cycle.

2. We are a third done calving.

3. In about 2 weeks we should be having a foal.
4. In about 3-4 weeks we should be getting some sarplaninac puppies
5. The snow is gone
6. We have had 2 days of spring
7. Vuk is awesome
8. We attended the local amateur rodeo, to hell with lambing..
9. My despondent mood is over.
10. The mud is drying.
11. We may have snow on Sunday
12. Eric is Edmonton
13. Northern lights have been very pretty lately.
14. I have a new lens for my camera, and that takes some getting used to.

This past week has been very busy.
We decided we needed to do some spring cleaning within our sheep flock.
I was radical in culling:
 Any sheep, 
no matter, 
what age, what breed, or if they were my favorites had to go if they:
 did not raise a lamb,
had a dead lamb,
too skinny,
looks weird,
jumps fences.. etc
out she went !
No mercy!
So, we had a liner come up and load finished lambs, cull rams, goats and the cull ewes.
Almost, 180 left.
And, that cleans up nicely.
Loading in the sun.

Bella getting up close with sheep..
Some of the animals in the barn:

Dorset type lamb
Fluffy, cat napping
Hello baby

Thursday 24 April 2014

Where do the eagles go?

We live in an area with a lot of big lakes.
Our MD is called the MD of Big Lakes.
With all these lakes we have a lot of water birds,
seagulls are not uncommon here.
The most majestic of them all, is the bald eagle.

Huge, powerful and symbolic.
Every year we see numerous bald eagles on our ranch.
However, I always wonder where they go in the winter?
We see them all summer and late into the fall,
yet in the dead of winter,
when the lakes are frozen over,
they seem to disappear.
Where do they go?
Do they simply live off road kill?

They miraculously reappear,
just like clockwork,
 around calving time,
feasting on afterbirths.

Here are some eagles from this  and previous years:

 Where you find eagles,
you also often find ravens,
smart, inventive and loud.
Although missing they iconic nature of the eagle,
the raven makes up for it in its intelligence.

Thursday 17 April 2014

For sale - Shadow

We have 3 intact male Sarplaninac dogs.
We do not need three intact Sarplaninac males.
We cannot use him for breeding as he is family to all our dogs already,
and, as I am slowly starting to think about importing a new (hopefully), future stud dog,
I have decided to sell Shadow.

This decision was not lightly made as Shadow is awesome.
He will ONLY be available to an equally awesome owner.

So, here are the "details".
Shadow is a registered (UKC) Sarplaninac, intact male dog.
We bred him from our Snowy and Vuk.
He is pretty big (130 lbs) full of sweet goofiness.

All his life he has hung out with cattle:

and sheep:

He is calm, controlled and diligent.
He is excellent with kids and people,
and loves to be handled.
He understands dog behavior and you can work herding dogs around him.

He respects all fences, does not jump over them, go through them or under them.
He knows electric fences and also temporary sheep nets.
He walks, most of the time, nicely on a lead,
can be chained up, and handled all over.
He has traveled on the back of a pick up, however will not hop in on his own yet.
He loves belly rubs.

He is a true friend, protector and guardian.
He is two and half years old.

Shadow is for sale to the right owner.
For more information about him,
please email me

Monday 14 April 2014

Bits and Pieces

Things have been a little hectic the past week or two,
mostly because lambing started, and the lambs came a little quicker than we expected them too.

Not only that, but this weekend I was invited to speak at a conference in Calgary called
"Celebrating Wildlife".
The organizers flew me in on Friday, which gave me the opportunity to visit with Zoran, Ranka and their twin daughters.
Zoran is a fellow Sarplaninac lover and owner,
 and it is wonderful to visit with him.

Saturday was the conference.

A number of speakers came and gave a brief presentation about various topics regarding wildlife.
There was a talk about bears, coyotes, the Cochrane Ecological  Society spoke about their work with (among other things, the swift fox), a wild life photographer Kerri Marten talked about the story behind the image,
and then there was me,
talking about ranching and predators co-existing together.

The wonderful thing about these conferences is that it is not all doom and gloom.
The shared experiences, interactions and openness to share ideas is motivating.
I flew back late Saturday night, and dived straight into the night shift with lambing...

Calving is due to start this week, although I am not really ready for it,
I am sure that once it gets going, we will get organized...

See, lots of rotund cows

I wanted to share this short video of our old flock of sheep in the Netherlands.
Sometimes, when they are tired of grazing the banks of the river the Eem, they like to do a little shopping.
Our dear friend and colleague shepherd Willo was in charge of them...

All I can say is.. I know that feeling!

We are also in the middle of mud season, the snow is melting fairly rapidly,
the dugouts are over flowing,
and all the run off does not have anywhere to go.
So a simple task such as walking to the barn,
turns out to be a mud-bog.
Hopefully in another week, the snow will be gone and things can start to dry out a little.

We have a new student, a young woman from Sweden.
She is ex- army, did a tour or two in Afghanistan
 and is now helping us here.
I think Eric is happy as she want to learn to butcher chickens, cut up meat etc..
I gently remind him that when he met me I was a vegetarian
 so he knew what he was getting into to!

So, not too many exciting things happening here,
just busy.

Blogging may be a little sporadic these next few weeks,
but I promise not to forget you all!

Thursday 3 April 2014

Moving the sheep in

When the weather warms up a little,
the ewes like to go walking.
The favorite spot to go to, is where the cows were being kept over the winter.
This spot is farther back on the ranch.

As the ewes are due to start lambing  next week,
I wanted them to come into the barn and get used to this new routine.

I went with Lad and Roxy to gather up the ewes,
as always, I am accompanied by one or more of the big dogs.
Vuk decided that he was the dog for the job.

As it is VERY icy and slippery,
I did not want to risk my camera falling,
so decided just to snap some
cell phone pics and video of this little flock move.

Vuk leading the way

Because I stayed back, Lad decided the ewes needed to turn back towards me

So, Vuk decided it was time to change directions,
this confused the sheep no end.
Sheep need a leader!

Aah, a leader they could follow again.

Here are a few seconds video..

Have a great day!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Speaking in Calgary

I really love speaking at the various functions every year.
I have been invited to speak about Predator Friendly Ranching at Calgary's "Celebration of Wildlife". Here  are the details:

"A Celebration of Wildlife"

University of Calgary
Senate Room, Hotel Alma
April 12th, 2014
1:00pm till 5:00pm

Wolves, bears, coyotes and more! Join us to learn from Alberta's top wildlife experts, including internationally acclaimed Charlie Russell, who stars in the documentary "Bear Man of Kamchatka"!

In addition to compelling lectures, artwork will be auctioned from some of Canada's leading wildlife photographers including John E Marriott, Jason Bantle and photographer Kerri Martin!

This uplifting event is an opportunity for people to come together to share their sense of wonderment of the beautiful Canadian wildlife and to explore the issues facing them today. Climate change, habitat loss, and lethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts threaten many species of animals across Canada. This event will bring together individuals and organizations together to raise compassionate awareness for the plight of Canada's wild animals. It aims to create lasting partnerships, and inspire the community to action for the animals.

If you are someone who has a love for wildlife and the environment, this is an event you will not want to miss. You will come away inspired and connected with like-minded individuals from across the province.

This event is ideal for government officials including provincial, regional and municipal staff, as well as First Nations, farmers and ranchers, wildlife rehabilitation groups, animal welfare groups, naturalist societies, conservation officers, academics and individual citizens who want to make a difference in their community by preserving their natural environment.

I am also so excited to hear and see the other speakers on this day,
 the agenda is:

1 pm – 1:15pm - Welcome & Opening Remarks
Lesley Fox, Executive Director of the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing-Animals.

1:20 pm – 1:55 pm – Predator-Friendly farming
Louise Liebenberg, rancher The Grazerie

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm – Living with Coyotes
Dr. Shelley Alexander, The University of Calgary.

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm - BREAK

2:45pm – 3:00 pm – Beauty of Canada’s wildlife
Kerri Martin, wildlife photographer

3:00 pm -3:05 pm – How Wolves Change Rivers Video

3:10 pm – 3:40 pm – The Importance of Wolves in Our Ecosystems
Lisa Dahlsiede, Cochrane Ecological Institute

3:45 pm – 4:25 pm – 50 Years of Living with Bears
Charlie Russell, Bear Expert

4:25 pm -4:35 – Closing Remarks
Haley Campbell, Director of Development of the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing-Animals

4:35 pm – 5:00 pm – Q & A and networking

I look forward to meeting new people,
sharing our experiences and
socializing with wildlife enthusiasts.
If you are in the area,
come around so that we can visit together!

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