Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Well, It's Not Just Me

I think I've mentioned how all the girl bottle lambs move out of the house and out to the barn and immediately forget they ever loved and needed you more than anything in the world.  The boys?  They never completely grow up.  

I've tried to tell myself that I just raise strong girls who are ready for the real world and hit the ground running.  I do think that's a fair assessment, but I raise the boys the same though and I am having to stand next to Biscuit while he eats now (without the creep feeder) so he feels confident and stays focused ;-).


I peeked around the corner of the barn at lunchtime and saw Biscuit and Mrs. Pepperpot side by side and assumed Muffin was just a little further around the corner...


...or halfway done the barn (!).  That's her next to Bullwinkle at the end of the blue gate, sassily chewing cud with her back to her long suffering momma.  

Poor Mrs. Pepperpot. At least she still has Biscuit.  Those boys won't let you down ;-).


Monday, October 16, 2017

The First Official Meet And Greet

There had been an accidental meet and greet a couple months ago when I'd not latched a gate all the way and the two lambs gleefully bounced out into the big flock with Mrs. Pepperpot having a stroke racing along behind them trying to fight anyone daring to get close to Muffin.  The "official" meet and greet went much smoother.  


As I'd mentioned before, Muffin just marched on out into the main flock like she'd been there all along.  Mrs. Pepperpot still wasn't thrilled, but there was no stopping her bold baby.


Biscuit was a bit more backward reserved, but B. Willard, who'd been a bottle lamb many years ago, helped him feel welcome.


Mrs. Pepperpot finally caught up with Muffin and then gathered Biscuit to get them both to "safety".


"I'm coming.  Waaait!"


But not far enough away.  Here comes Tara.


"Don't get in a punching match with a sheep with horns, Biscuit."


"Uh oh, I can't believe he did that.  I'm probably going to have to go break this up. That boy will never grow up."

She didn't.  Everyone got along fine.  It was getting late when I finally was able to let them out (the night before June came) so we only stayed out for a little while and then the three came back out for dinner and bed.  I have one more group of pictures to share and then we should be almost sort of caught up.  For now.  


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happier Hank


"What's the matter, Hank?"  

"Everything.  I need a tummy rub."


"Sorry Miss June, but it's Hank's turn."


"Can you believe that?  That guy is so mean, talking to that other dog and not me."


"This place is (yawn) terrible."


Hank loves everyone, but he especially loves Saint Tim :-).  



Just making sure June knows he's getting all the attention.  June's not losing any sleep over it ;-).


"I think I need some more tummy rubbing."


And that's why Saint Tim is his favorite ;-).


Before you feel too sorry for June, she'd already had a turn ;-).

Flock dogs are endlessly fascinating.  While many people have seen border collies working, herding sheep under direction of a shepherd, the only way you could get a taste of how livestock guardian dogs work would be to live with them.  I love the teams of guardian dogs at The Training Center and Final Frontier Farm.

The first night June was here we heard Hank and June barking together out back.  When the coyotes started calling last night I woke hearing June barking in the side field, up near the road.  Hank was barking out back.  They'd divided up and put the sheep, in the barn, between them.  Teamwork!

In the past Hank would have had to work the back AND the front.  It's not like this is big open range, but that's still a big job traveling back and forth.  This morning when I walked out to let the chickens out I quietly peeked around the back of the barn.  Both dogs were sound asleep together in the barn lot about 25 feet apart :-).  

I did morning chores about an hour later and Hank seemed much happier this morning.  He finally allowed himself to slip out the gate to make his normal yard check and then a big loop out back and I think that helped as well.  We've had everyone closed into the arena, barn lot and side field so we can keep a close eye on everything for a few days.  

I think life is starting to settle back down.  For everyone.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Meet June

While it seems impossible that Hank is nine...even though it also seems like he's been here forever...Hank is nine...and it's time to think about bringing along the next generation of farm security.  

I was hoping to wait another year or twelve, but the point was made that it would be best to do this before Hank got too old and then a situation presented itself that seemed like a gift from the dog gods and, well, meet June.


June is a 6 1/2 month old Anatolian Shepherd.



She loves sheep.


Even, I think, our Very Opinionated Sheep.



This afternoon.


Checking in with Hank.


I've had several questions about how Maisie likes her.  You can tell by her face that she is not a big fan.  I was surprised by that as she loves Hank.  She might come around...but it might take some time, sort of like cookie eating* ;-).


I'm honestly not really sure how Hank feels about her.  In the beginning I think he was excited to have some company, but he was also a little concerned about her around his sheep and watched her pretty intently all day.  Today he didn't worry about her much at all, but did seem maybe a little miffed that she was still here.  

She's very good around the sheep so I think that's reassured him safety-wise.  We've tried to make sure he knows he's still very special and loved and he and Saint Tim had a big tummy rub session this evening and that cheered him up quite a bit.   He's run this farm by himself for almost nine years.  Change is hard.  But change is frequently good.  Right, Maisie?  ;-)

*Maisie has refused to eat cookies her whole life (almost five years) and just when I was thinking I needed to get a video of her torpedo-ing a cooking out of her mouth...she decided to prove me wrong and start eating them.  She probably still hates cookies, but thinks that's funny.    


Play Quietly Amongst Yourselves...Everyone

If you are following our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feeds (links on the right), you know about Biscuit and Muffin's Integration Day and have also met June.  I have a bunch of cute and funny pictures of Biscuit and Muffin goofing around the other night and I'm hoping to get some June pictures today if it dries out some.  

In 25 (or so) words or less, Muffin marched right into the flock like she owned it.  Biscuit is happiest right by my side, but he's doing okay mixing in, too.  June is doing everything right and other than being a little confused/concerned with letting a dog in with his sheep and figuring out dinner time, Hank is pretty happy with her and they've had some good romps and naps and we heard them both woofing together out back last night.


This is one of my favorite pictures from the other night.  Biscuit has always been a good great jumper.  The highest jumping lamb we've had.  It's his super power :-).  I'm glad I caught this and just wish it was a split second later when he was at full height, way higher than Muffin's back!

I made a puzzle from this and at first cropped off some of the grass so there wasn't So Much Green, but it made his jump appear smaller and that took some of the fun away and moms always put their kids first and in the best light so you'll just have to slog through some green ;-).  There is also a new puzzle from one of those cute pictures of 20 at the festival to keep you busy while we catch our breath here.

Enjoy!


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