Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Getting Fat and Lazy

         Is it possible that it has been over two months since my last post? Where does the time go? In that last two months we have gone through another beautiful, but fleeting autumn. The leaves are all down resting on the ground now. We have had several snows, no great accumulation, just a few inches here and there. November was one of the coldest I can remember but so far, December has been rather warm. No frozen water bottles or troughs and with that, plenty of mud. I would prefer the ground freeze and stay that way until spring. It makes for a much cleaner house...
         Our Halflinger, Luke, is back here on the farm and we have been enjoying working with him. We are in the process of breaking him to ride and drive but as is the way of most Halflingers, he is already pretty much broke. He is calm and willing to do just about whatever you ask, as long as it means being around people. He loves to nuzzle barn kitties and is getting used to having sheep and goats mill around his legs and feet. Megg moves a little fast for him but he already knows that if I'm there, so is the black and white dog. We are a team. I have learned a lot about Border Collies in the last two and a half years. Of all the dogs I've owned in my life, I've never had one like Megg. She is a mind reader and knows what I want or need, sometimes before I do. I have to be careful what I say because if I raise my voice to anything, she is right there to back me up, whether I want it or not. That can get us both into trouble sometimes. We have a new ram this year, Wooliam. He is a registered Coopworth. I had no intention on bringing him home this spring but when we went to the farm to pick up a ewe lamb, he had been neglected by his mother and was so weak, he could barely walk. I had the ewe lamb under my arm and on the way to the truck, only to find Emilee had tucked Wooliam up under her arm and was following me. I said "What are you doing?" and she said " You don't think we're leaving him here, do you?"  She bought the weak, tiny thing for twelve dollars and that's how we got Wooliam. He came home and was nursed back to health by lots of warm goat milk. He is now a beautiful specimen of a black ram and he also has been taking care of business with our ewes. Along with that, he feels like he's the boss. The other day, I was doing chores in the barn and I guess Wooliam thought I needed out. It all happened so quick but he must have tried to head butt me. However , he wasn't taking into consideration the little black and white dog, who always has my back. Before he ever got to me, he received a crunch across the bridge of his nose. He was so shocked and so was I. How did Megg know he was going to do that? It just never ceases to amaze me, how smart she is. What did I ever do without her? I know I have gotten a few good head butts....
           And since we're talking about dogs...we will have a new face around here in a couple of weeks. Our Great Pyrenees, Teton, is now ten years old. He is really starting to slow down and I know he is ready for some help. We are buying a Karakachan puppy. These dogs are guardian dogs from Bulgaria. They protect the flocks from bears and wolves over there. Hopefully, here it will just be coyotes. His name is Kaloyan, which means "handsome gift of God" in Bulgarian. The breeder, who is a good friend of mine, picked out one of the pups for me. She knew what I was looking for. We got to go see the litter a couple of weeks ago. When we walked in the barn, all the pups were lying down or eating. I went into the pen and Kaloyan saw me and came over to me wagging his tail. It was as if he knew who I was! He was the only pup to come to me. He is so handsome and I know he will take good care of his flock. Teton will be here to show him the ropes and I'm so glad that he will have the greatest teacher. I have never worried about our sheep or goats with Teton in charge but we have come to a point where he needs help. Kaloyan will have some big paws to fill but I have all the confidence in the world that he can do it. 
            Life around here has settled into late fall and early winter. Does and ewes are all bred and just getting fat and lazy. On nice days they venture out into pasture to munch a dry leaf or a blade of dry grass but most days are spent lounging in the warm barn, eating hay and then lying down, chewing their cud. It's a lazy time of year. For us too, we spend a lot of time in front of the fire, just getting fat and lazy too. 'Tis the season.