Monthly Archives: August 2014

“Dog Days”

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After having a cool and wet spring and early summer, the heat has finally descended in our little corner of the state. We are in the weather pattern that Southerners fondly-and not so fondly- refer to as the “dog days of summer”. That means this time of year is not good for anything but laying around like a dog.

The only animal-or person-on our farm that has not slowed down is my Border Collie, Grace. Nothing stops Grace. Rain or snow, heat or cold, Grace can be found running a hundred miles a day, back and forth across our backyard fence. She has taken upon herself the job of keeping all the animals, including the flies, in line.

The big Pyrenean Mastiffs, Sampson and Delilah, barely stand up all day. They will find a cool place in the shade and lay there and lay there. Only in the evenings, when it cools down, do they get up to do their job of guarding our animals. We have put our granddaughter’s plastic pool in the barnyard for them. When it’s really hot, they will be found cooling off in the pool. One at a time; they both can’t fit in there.

The sheep handle extreme weather pretty well. Some don’t mind laying out in the sun. But on really hot days, most will be found congregating in the shade of my husband’s trailer that’s parked in their pasture. Who said sheep aren’t smart?

The alpacas don’t like hot weather. They will be found laying in the shade of the trees on the edge of their pasture. They were enjoying their water trough as a dipping pool for their feet until me husband put a stop to that. He had a platform built to put their water on high enough that they can’t put their feet in. Now their water stays much cleaner.

The cows don’t seem to care about the weather. Nor do the pygmy goats. All they seem to care about is where their next meal is coming from.  The hens, however, have been laying more eggs during this heat wave than they normally do. I guess they like it hot.

Me? If you come by the farm in the next few weeks, I’ll be the one relaxing in my easy chair, with the air conditioner turned to high, reading a magazine and drinking some iced tea. Ahhh, the “dog days of summer”.

Sheep Love

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Bill and I went on a roadtrip last week to Hastings, Nebraska. Can anyone spell C-O-R-N?!!  We drove there to attend the Katahdin Sheep National Conference. If you had told me three years ago that I would be spending my vacations looking at sheep and alpacas, I would have said, in the nicest way possible, “You Are Crazy”!!!  But, it’s alright! We saw a lot of places in our other life (BS-Before Sheep). Right now, we are interested in learning all we can about our animals.

Besides, on this trip to Nebraska, I fell in love again. Not with another man. No, Bill’s the only man for me. I fell in love with the sheep. When we first moved to our farm and purchased sheep, I loved them. I thought they were cute, with their full bellies held up by impossibly skinny legs. Their cone-shaped faces looked sweet and a little alien-like. Then our first lambs were birthed, with their soft bodies and pink tongues and noses. Be still my heart!

When we bought our alpacas, I admit I lost a little enthusiasm for the sheep. I mean, the sheep can’t lift their necks with such grace. The sheep can’t run with such fluid, lilting movements. Let’s face it, the alpacas are beautiful, enchanting, and a little mysterious. In comparison, the sheep are a little dull

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the alpacas; but I love the sheep again, too. I like their peaceful grazing. I like that they’re solid and slow-moving. I like how they jump straight in the air, getting nowhere. I even like that they’re not too smart at figuring things out and need our help.

I’ve learned since we moved to the farm how much I love all the animals that God created. I love the alpacas. I love the sheep. I love the laying hens for providing us with eggs, I love the Jersey cows. Heck! I even love the pygmy goats. Can anyone spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E?!!