Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful...

          As a farmer I suppose I am thankful for different things than most. As I am writing this post, the ground outside is white with snow and a few snowflakes are falling. I am thankful for that because as most of you know, I love snow! I love the sound of the crunch, crunch of the snow under my boots as I walked to the barn this morning at five o'clock. I love the way the wooden bridge creaks under my weight when I cross it and on the other side, the sheep and goats have been listening for that sound and start to baa at me before I ever open the barn door. They know I am coming and they wait for me every morning. I am thankful for that. I open the door to the new chicken coop and greet all the chickens with a couple of handfuls of cracked corn. The cluck and talk to me and pick corn off the toe of my boots where I dropped it. I am thankful for that. The alpacas and sheep are busy munching their grain when I step back into the barn. The goats are anxiously waiting for their grain, so I as I fill their feed pans, they hurry to lick up every last morsel and I am thankful for healthy animals. I am thankful for a big beautiful barn to keep them out of the weather. I am thankful for a loft full of sweet hay.
            When I come to the house, I am thankful for a warm fire to back up to. I am thankful for my husband and my children and grandchildren. I am thankful for this wonderful state that I live in and for it's people who are the kindest people on earth. But most of all...I am thankful for my Lord and Savior because without Him, I would have nothing to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: There is a surprise in the works around here. I am so excited, I am about to bust!! Stay tuned as we work out all the details...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Checking In

        I thought I better write a new post just to let you know we are still kicking. Things are fine here on the farm, busy as always. We are constantly changing, as we decide what works for us and what doesn't.  Some times we buy some livestock that just don't fit into our program. If they don't, we have to sell. I realize that there are those out there who don't understand this but we have to do what is best for us and our animals. The donkeys did not work for us. They are wonderful little animals but we decided to sell them. They all went together to a farm in Preston County. Another thing that didn't work, were the call ducks. I couldn't keep them out of the koi ponds. That is no fault of theirs, I know ducks like water. They had a beautiful creek to play in but they preferred to fly over fences and swim in the koi ponds. Needless to say, they all went together to a different farm, one with a huge pond for them to swim in. We also had to sell the geese. They were very aggressive with the kids. We had to butcher a ram lamb who was also very aggressive. We are truly enjoying the meat that he has provided for us. This is all part of having a farm. It is a constant change and a constant turn-over. 
       The does are bred for late January freshening. They have slowly dried themselves up. I am only milking one now and she needs to be dried up in another 3 weeks. This time of year is always a sad time when we don't have fresh milk to drink. We have sold off all the old hens and are down to this years new ones. They are giving us lots of eggs now. We were able to build a new chicken house this summer and it came out so nice. It has a section for feed and for the brooder. Tim is really enjoying his new sawmill and it has allowed us to be able to build things that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford, while at the same time, clearing new pasture.
         I am trying my hand at tanning some hides this year, something I have never done before. I will keep you posted and let you know if I am successful. The potatoes have all been dug and I need to start canning them. The shearer came last week and so I have new fleeces to skirt and wash. I was able to purchase a used drum carder at the Mother Earth News Fair this year so I am able to spin so much more fiber now. It has really speeded up the process.
         If all goes as planned, we should have a litter of Border Collies coming up. I will keep you posted on that as well.
         I hope you are savoring these last few beautiful fall days. Take time to take in natures gorgeous show. Soon the snow flakes will be falling...I can't wait!!
         

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nothing Makes a Farmer Feel Richer..

         A barn loft full of sweet hay. To me it's what heaven will smell like. Some bales have wild mint in it. Some have the wild bergamot. And some just have the sweet smell of orchard grass and timothy. Yes, it was a wonderful feeling to finish the hay season last night. Tim worked in the hay field for the last three days and was able to get it dry enough to bale yesterday. So as soon as I got off work, I dashed home, changed clothes and headed to the hay field. Working in the hay field in late August is a completely different feeling than June. The grass has a different feel and smell. The crickets are jumping all over your feet and legs. The cicadas are singing loudly in the trees at the edge of the field. The humidity is much lower. The crows are circling over head, cawing at you. The ironweed is nodding it's huge purple heads when you walk by. But I think the biggest difference is the sense of urgency that you feel. Fall is in the air. You can feel it, you can smell it and you can hear it. You know the animals are depending on you to get this hay for winter feeding. Tired as we were, the feeling of gratefulness was almost overwhelming, when Tim tossed up the last bale. As he closed the huge doors at the end of the barn and latched them down for winter winds and storms, I thanked the Lord for the blessings He has given us. We may be poor, humble farmers but today I feel rich.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Last Days of Summer

        As I am writing this, I can hear the pitter patter of rain drops on the back porch. I have heard this sound all summer. We have had rain nearly every day. In the month of July, we had 26 days of rain. Our pasture is knee deep and lush, not something I have ever said in mid August. The garden is doing the best it has ever done. I am in the middle of canning tomatoes now. The corn is ready to freeze and we have been enjoying the new potatoes. I love the rain and I am not complaining but it has made putting up our hay a great challenge. We need at least 3 and better yet, 4 dry days to get the hay up. Hopefully we have some dry days coming up this week but not today. I can hear the roar of the creek from the kitchen window this morning, as we had thunderstorms during the night.
        The days are getting shorter and the trees in the woods have that "look" about them. The animals have already started putting on their winter coats and I am wondering just what kind of winter follows a summer like this? I can feel fall in the air. Breeding season for the dairy goats will be starting any day now. It will be in the 40's these next few nights and that will put the does in heat. The milk production is starting to drop, as it always does this time of year.
         I was able to enter the "Tour de Fleece" this year, which is a challenge to spin every day that the "Tour de France" is going on. It was so good for me to take on the challenge and because of it, the yarn that is coming off the wheel is getting so much better. There was a time when I wondered if I would ever be able to get the hang of it. I am working on a fleece now from Ruth, who was a black lamb but has lightened up to the most beautiful different shades of gray. I love working with her fleece and I think the yarn is going to be gorgeous. I cannot wait to get the fiber off of  "Knit" and "Purl", our two Angora does born this spring. "Knit" is the lightest dove gray and "Purl" has ringlets of curls hanging. I am looking forward to those fleeces. With our cool, wet summer I have been able to do a whole lot of spinning. I am also looking forward to getting the fiber off our 2 alapacas. We got them after the shearer was here this spring, so they have kept their coats on all summer. I'm glad it had been so cool. It has been a challenge to win their trust but I am making headway. They are such sweet animals.
          Well, I need to get to the garden and pick more tomatoes. Today I am canning chili tomatoes, so I will be hungry for a pot of chili before the day is over. Enjoy these last, few days of summer. It won't be long and we'll be shoveling the white stuff.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Life in the Shire

    Do you remember how in the movie of "The Lord of the Rings" the hobbits lived in the Shire? It was beautiful and green and WET...well, this summer we are living in the Shire. We have had rain everyday for weeks now. I am not complaining at all. West Virginia is typically very green and lush but this year it has taken it up a notch. We have to mow the grass a couple times a week, the tomatoes are growing about 8 inches a day and the corn was not "knee high on the 4th of July" but it was waist high. And we were a week behind getting the garden in due to all the rain. Last night I was awakened by the sound of rain falling and as I lay there, I thought how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful state. We are surrounded by green everywhere we look. The flowers are amazing this year. One of my favorites, Queen Annes Lace is just starting to bloom. I think they look like puffy clouds flouting on their slender stems. With all this rain some of them are 6 inches across. Tim and I were able to go blueberry picking at a local farm last week. It was amazing! The farm has over 2400 blueberry bushes and it is nestled in this valley surrounded by woods. We went first thing in the morning, while it was still cool. There were quite a few people picking already and we joined right in. Everyone was so friendly to us. Some of them had been picking there for years and each one had a favorite spot to pick. There were all ages, from tiny babies sitting on the grass under a bush to a couple next to me that were in their 80s. There was one family singing hymns and I have to tell you, it brought tears to my eyes to hear "Count Your Blessings" being sung out in a huge blueberry patch. You know I had to join in and they were happy to have me. Then we sang "The West Virginia Hills" which is a favorite of mine and it was so fitting.  It only took us a half hour or so to pick 2 gallons. We headed home and I had a pie in the oven in no time. We had blueberry pancakes before church on Sunday too. What a blessing it was and what a great God we serve that He allows us such wonderful times. So as the lazy days of summer go on, we are enjoying every one of them. We are savouring the heat and humidity and the millions of lightening bugs on the night air and the sounds of katydids during the day and the crickets and frogs at night because I know, here in just a few weeks there will be a feeling...just a tiny feeling. It will sneak up the back of your neck and you will turn around and say to yourself...."Did I just feel Fall?"

Friday, June 21, 2013

This First Day of Summer

        This first day of summer started just like I knew it would....the birds are singing, roosters are crowing, chicks are peeping, donkeys are braying and the sheep are baaing. This is the way most summer mornings start but today is special because it is the first day of my favorite time of year. As I walk to the barn this morning to do the milking, the misty fog wraps around the hills of this old farm. I have come to love this morning fog. It will stay with us, right up until fall. It coats every living thing with it's moisture. Every little blossom and leaf and spider web, leaving behind millions of tiny, sparkling jewels in it's wake. It makes little rivulets that run down every leaf of the corn, delivering water right at the roots where it needs it. I have to take a towel out and run it down each clothes line before I can hang out clothes. If you walk under the willow, it will drop on you like it's a shower, running down your back until you shiver. Living in this deep holler, the sun doesn't reach us until about 8:30 or 9 in the morning. This allows us to get an hour or two of work done in the cool, damp mornings of summer. You can watch the sun begin to shine through the woods above the pasture and then it finally clears the trees and bathes the farm in sunlight. By 5 or 6 in the afternoon, it has reached the hill on the other side of us, and we are back in the cool shade, allowing us to work in the garden in the cool evening. The evening sky is once again lit up with hundreds of lightening bugs. They dance and sparkle just like the jewels of the morning. How lucky we are to be surrounded with God's beauty!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Old Gray Sweatshirt

       Things can go from good to bad on a farm real quick like, on any given day. We had planned on Saturday taking off for the woods and hunting morels but that was not to be. I had done the morning milking and chores at 5:00 am like I do every other day and all seemed to be normal. I went through all the chores like I always do, making sure everything that is in a cage has food and water. I fed the donkeys, sheep and goats. I made sure that Naomi had hay and fresh water. I also gave her grain and made sure that little Abigail was nursing like her big brother. I did the milking and returned to the house. Around 8:00 I went back to the barn to check on the new lambs and knew instantly that something was wrong. Naomi was down in her pen and trembling. I had never seen milk fever but had heard enough about it, to know this was what I was seeing. I went to the medicine cabinet in the milk room and grabbed a calcium drench and a bottle of calcium gluconate. I started injecting the calcium gluconate under the skin and giving the drench orally. She was going down hill quickly. She was shaking and foaming at the mouth. Her little lambs stood at the back of the pen, watching my every move and crying for their mama. It didn't take me long to see I was fighting a losing battle. I finally laid down on the hay with Naomi and held her in my arms as she took her last breath. I had never seen any animal die so quickly.
           Right about now you are wondering if I titled this post right or if I was losing my mind. Well, you see, I have this old hooded gray sweatshirt, the kind that zips up the front. It's what carries me through, from the heavy Carhartt jacket to just a t-shirt in the spring and then again in the fall. I had this sweatshirt on on Saturday. I hang it in the mudroom and grab it whenever I head to the barn. It usually is dirty from little muddy goat hooves and spilled milk on it. After Naomi had died and we took her on the hill to bury her, I knew I had two little lambs that I would have to teach to take a bottle. I warmed some milk in a bottle and as I grabbed that sweatshirt, I saw a stain that hadn't been there before. It was from where Naomi had laid in my arms, across my chest. She was foaming and frothing at the mouth and the stain was from her saliva. I thought to myself, I would throw it in the washer as soon as I came back to the house. I headed to the barn with my bottle of milk.
        Anyone who has ever tried to teach a baby lamb or goat to drink from a bottle, when they are used to their mama, knows what a battle it can be. They clench their little jaws tight and want nothing to do with the nipple. I started with the ram lamb and could not get him to drink, so I tried little Abigail. As soon as I picked her up she struggled against me but all of a sudden she smelled my sweatshirt and the smell of her mama and she snuggled right up against me, with her faced pressed against where her mama had been just a little while ago. It was all she had left. With tears steaming down my cheeks. I gently opened her mouth and she began to suck on the bottle. Thank goodness for that old sweatshirt. Since yesterday, both lambs are now thriving on goat milk. They are starting to hop and play, like little lambs should. I am their mama now. And guess what..?? I'm not washing that sweatshirt for awhile either.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Twins !!

     We were rewarded this morning with a beautiful set of twins from our ewe Naomi. One big ram lamb and one very tiny ewe. In the keeping of Biblical names, we have named the ewe lamb, Abigail, who was a wife of King David's. So Abigail joins Ruth, Naomi, Esther, Miriam and of course our handsome ram Boaz. It is our intention to raise the ram lamb for the freezer. Our first little ewe of the year, Miriam, has grown by leaps and bounds. She is as black as coal and has become so popular with all who drive by our farm. Every one stops and looks for the "little black lamb". This farm raised sheep over 100 years ago. We still have a barn on the farm that used to house the sheep. It too is over 100 years old. I think it is so special that we have brought sheep back to this land.
      In other news regarding the sheep, we are so excited to be having Calvin McCutcheon on our farm next week. He will be here on Monday to shear our sheep and the Angora goats. He is 7 times state champion shearer and 2 times national champion. He has been so much fun to talk to on the phone and we are thrilled to be meeting him in person. I will try to get lots of pictures of that event. Our goal in the next few days is to keep the sheep nice and dry for him. Any sign of rain and the sheep must stay in the barn. Their fleeces are amazing and I can't wait to get them on the spinning wheel. We can never thank the girls over at Sheeps and Peeps Farm for such quality animals they have started our flock with. Whoever visits our farm and sees our sheep always wants to know where they came from. They are so beautiful. I encourage you to visit their blog at http://sheepsandpeepsfarm.blogspot.com/ They had surprise lambs yesterday.
       In other news on the farm, we have sold all the Nubian kids that we are going to sell this year. We have kept back 4 doelings as replacement does. This is more than we usually keep but the herd had started to dwindle down and we would like to do some building back up. We have put a deposit on a buckling in Ohio who has some incredible bloodlines, both show and milk, so we are excited to put him into the mix.
      We have 14 baby call ducks in the barn and another duck hen that has started a clutch. The chicks that we had ordered are in and thriving. We are still waiting for our Sebastapol goose to start laying. So far, she is not cooperating. We have sold 12 baby bunnies, just in time for Easter, thank goodness. We also are still waiting for the arrival of our first baby miniature donkey. Our jenny, Sunflower, is huge and I have begun to think she is carrying an elephant instead of a donkey.
       We will be starting up the greenhouse this weekend. The pepper plants have been started in the house for weeks now and are ready to make the trip to the greenhouse. It has been too wet to till up a spot for lettuce and onions but maybe in the coming weeks. We have had a very long, cold spring. We have heard spring peepers a couple of times but they seem to always get covered up by a snowfall. Hopefully we are done with snow for now but you never know. The wood frogs have come down to the koi ponds and laid their eggs and headed back to the woods. The ramps are up and we will be taking a trip up into our woods this weekend to hunt for morels. The turkeys are gobbling on the hill and I can hear the hens starting to cluck for the toms.  The rhubarb is popping through the ground and the pussywillows are swelling. Robins sing to me while I milk both morning and night. Spring is in the air but if you have any doubts, a trip to the barn will take care of that.  I hope you are enjoying this time of the year.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy and Sad

     Well, the day started out so happy but has had a sad ending. As you read in my previous post I thought that Esther (one of our ewes) was acting strange, like she was going into labor. After my post this morning, I went out to the barn to check on things. We were having a drizzly, icy rain so all the sheep were in the barn with Ruth except for Esther. Megg and I went out to look for her and found her way up in the woods. We brought her back down to the barn and put her in a pen. The picture is Megg sleeping in front of Esther's pen. She never left her all day. I watched her all morning and knew she was in labor but no lamb.  This afternoon we decided we would have to help her. After I checked her, I knew the lamb was dead and we had to pull it. It took us over an hour and both Tim and I were exhausted. The lamb had been dead for a while. It was a beautiful ram lamb. We are worried about Esther. She has had a very rough day. It breaks your heart to hear her call for her baby. She did eat some hay and drink some water so hopefully time will heal.  This has been a very sad day on our farm.
        On a lighter note, Miriam is a very sweet lamb and has been hugged and kissed by all today. Ruth has been very tolerant of all our admiration. I guess she knows that we need to love on that healthy, sweet baby because it makes the loss of our other lamb a little easier. I hope that all goes well with Naomi. So it has been quite a day. Bittersweet, I guess.




Always Listen to The Border Collie...

           Those of you who are regular readers of the blog, know that I have written before about Megg, our Border Collie, and how she is not one to sleep in. Well, this morning I should have listened to her. She woke me up at 3:30 by jumping up on my side of the bed. Usually, I just pull her up beside me and she will lie down next to me and wait impatiently for me to get up. If I move, she is ready to go. This morning, however, she wouldn't lie down. I could hear her pacing to the back door and then back through the house to the bed again. This went on for an hour and I finally gave in. Every morning when I open the back door, she flies out and run all over the farm, checking things out. This morning, she ran straight to the barn door and sat down. Now I knew something was up. I was half afraid to open the door and see what was going on. We were greeted by a brand new little black lamb!! Ruth, our black sheep had just given birth. Megg went over to the lamb, gave her a lick and sat down. She looked up at me as if to say... "I've been trying to tell you..." Ruth must have been making noises that only Megg could hear. Our first lamb born on Crossed Arrows Farm is a beautiful black ewe lamb. Her name is Miriam. We are so thrilled with our first lamb out of Boaz. He has turned out to be a very handsome ram. Esther has been acting strange all morning. I am not sure if she is just worried about Ruth or if she is also ready to lamb. I am watching her very closely. The moral of this story is, I need to start trusting Megg a little more. She is proving to be a whole lot smarter than I am. Thankfully, everything was fine but if this ewe had need help, I wouldn't have been there. I am learning why shepherds rely on their dogs so much. Today, I truly feel like a shepherdess. It's a grand feeling to have.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter on the farm...

          There is a line in one of the James Harriot novels (my favorite) that says... The Yorkshire Dales look their coldest not when they are covered with snow but when there is just a patch here and there... How true that is and I think of it often. When we are covered with snow, it's always so much warmer. However, when it is zero degrees and that light fluffy snow is blowing around just barely covering a rock hard earth, that's when you know the true meaning of cold. Yesterday morning the wind chill was well below zero, the thermometer was hovering between one degree and zero. The alarm was set for 4:30 but Megg had me awake before then. The sound of donkeys braying comes through the window beside the bed. It's all I can do to keep her calm until the alarm goes off. She knows we need to get to the barn, she has so much to do. When I swing my feet out from underneath the down comforter and set them on the bare wood floors of this old farmhouse, I might as well have been walking on the frozen pond. The room is warm but the floors....brr. I shiver into my clothes, gather up the milk bucket, bottles, rabbit water bottles and fill the slop bucket with steaming hot water for the pig. I step out on the back porch with the steam rising from the pig bucket and my hand instantly sticks to the metal bail on the bucket. Whew, it's way past cold!  Heading to the barn, the sky is filled with twinkling stars. The stars somehow are so much brighter when it's zero. I open the barn door and am greeted by the sheep and the donkeys. The pig stirs from underneath layers of straw and begins to grunt. I take one of the thawed rabbit bottles and put it in the pen with our lop bunny who has 4 babies she is trying to keep warm. The babies are snuggled down in inches of straw and fur from the mama. She starts to drink the warm water before I can even finish hanging it. Megg and I go in and feed the sheep and water the chickens. The whole time we are being serenaded by donkeys braying and a pig squealing. It makes for quite a chorus. I slop the pig and grain the donkeys and things quiet down. Then we head to the other side of the barn where the goats are. It's much warmer over there. The thermometer in the milk room read 22. It feels good compared to zero. I  hang two more rabbit bottles, one in the pen of another doe who has 7 babies with her and then one in our calico bucks pen. Alright, rabbits done now I grain the goats. I make sure that the Angora does have fresh water and hay and check to make sure their babies are ok. Next I get the does on the stanchion and begin to milk. The steam rises from the milk bucket. When the milking is done, one by one each baby is brought out and fed their bottle. Right now I am bottlefeeding seven but I have one more doe to freshen so that number will go up. After their bellies are full of milk, they run around the barn like crazy. Down the isle way and then up the stanchion ramp, then back down the ramp and back up the isle way. It keeps Megg and I well entertained. After everyone is fed and watered, I gather up empty buckets and empty bottles and head back to the warm house to thaw out. If I hurry, I can make it back in by 6am to wake Tim up for work.  And so our day begins and it all has to be repeated in 12 hours. Would I trade it for anything? Nope.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Two New Heartbeats

             Here I am again, talking about the same thing that has occured over and over again on our farm. Two new little lives, two new little heartbeats, two new little first breaths being taken in my hands....does it ever get old? Does it ever feel routine?  Not yet. I still feel my heart start to pound as the doe is pushing, praying that the presentation will be right...two little front hooves and a nose. Praying for the doe and the babies, that all will be healthy and strong. Same place as a year ago. I still have the masssive white head of our Great Pyrenees, Teton, in my lap. "Yes, buddy, here we go again..." We lost Shasta this year so now it's just Teton to carry on. He and I wait patiently as the labor progresses. We both know the routine, it's always the same. I go to the milk room and get out the towels, hang them on the pen of the doe in labor. Get the iodine cup for the navels. Then we sit and wait. Teton and I. Last night it was Lilly, one of our Angoras. She was bred to a beautiful Angora buck named Romeo. It wasn't any time at all and we had a tiny white doe born and her sister followed right behind. She is a light silver color. Instantly I started to picture the yarn I would spin with that beautiful fleece. Both babies are healthy and strong. I made sure that they were both nursing and I gathered up the wet towels and headed out into the cold. Here I go again, back to the house, sometime after midnight, with wet towels under my arm and a bucket in my hand for the warm molasses water every doe gets after she has her babies. I've made this walk time and time again. I always check the sky, last night it was cloudy. Sometimes I am greeted with a billion stars. Does it ever get old?? I'll let you know in twenty years or so....maybe then it will be....Somehow I doubt it though.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Life with a Border Collie

           I know, I know. I have not been very faithful on postings but I feel like I say the same thing over and over again and I know you all must get tired of it. Life here on the farm doesn't change much and for me that's a good thing. Every thing revolves around the seasons and pretty much the same things occure, with a few diversions along the way.
             Since the first day of winter, we have had snow on the ground. I love winter and I love snow, so I am one happy camper. Winter gives me some time to be inside. I have been washing wool and mohair like crazy. Carding and spinning every chance I get and knitting when I have some spare time....yeah right. The does are fat and saasy and due to start freshening in a couple of weeks. I also have some Angora babies on the way, which is very exciting. Our ewes from sheepsandpeepsfarm.blogspot.com are hopefully all bred for sometime in March. The ram that we got from them is so beautiful also. We are raising a pig this winter so we have a great use for all the table scraps. The chickens, ducks, geese and guineas are all fine too. We have added a pair of miniature donkeys, a jack and a jenny. The jenny is due to have a baby soon so we are excited about that.
             Like I said, everything is about the same as it was last year at this time....with the exception of a BORDER COLLIE. You all read about Megg last summer when we got her. What you don't know, is how a border collie changes your life. (unless you have one) She is so intelligent, so serious, so obsessive, (she suffers from OCD), so goofy, so intense. All rolled up into one little fireball. Tim says she is the perfect dog for me because I suffer from many of the same things she does, therefore I am able to completely understand where she is coming from. I am a morning person (Tim is not). When my feet hit the floor, I am ready to go. I set an alarm but rarely does it ever go off. I am  awake way before that. However, now that I have Megg, it NEVER goes off. She has a nice, soft dog bed that we got at Tractor Supply for her. It is on the floor on my side of the bed. She starts the night out there, but sometime around three o'clock she slips her front feet up on the bed and nudges me with her nose. I pull her up into bed and she snuggles right up to me. I know what she is thinking and I understand. She knows that we have slept long enough and there are things to tend to in the barn. We usually lie there for another hour or so, sometimes dozing, sometimes not. By 4:00 or 4:30, she has just about had all she can take and she starts to squirm. Now see, some people would hate this, Tim for one. He says that's just about the time he starts sleeping good. But I understand where she is coming from. I start to squirm too. So we get up, get dressed and head to the barn. She knows the routine, who gets fed first, who gets let out first. Don't try to change it because she knows how it is to be done. She keeps the sheep back while I put their grain in the troughs, then she runs to the chicken pen to open their door. Then it's over to the side of the barn where the goats are, to feed them, then back to the donkey pen to give them their grain. Then we feed the pig. Then to the milk room to check the rabbits and their babies. All of this is done at the speed of light. I can see her thinking that I move so slowly and she tries to be patient as I finish each and every chore under her watchful eye. She can't understand why I don't run from pen to pen like she does. On days that I work, Tim will do some of the chores before I get home. I know this must drive Megg crazy because he does them out of order and not the way I do them. But see, I understand that thinking (it drives me crazy too) The bottom line here is if you suffer from OCD like I do, get a border collie. But if you are one of those kind of people who are laid back and calm, you better get a Golden Retriever. Have a great day...I've got wool to wash.