Babies all caught up.

How many sheep are there?

Today was livestock day.  I picked up my nephew first thing and we discussed a plan.  The sheep and cows all needed to be tagged and banded. The trick is what order to do them in.  We decided on cows first.  I had purchased a 30 foot leash for working Mouse as he is not to be trusted.  It took two tries to get the cows into the barn lot.  The first time they turned and ran and Zeke could not get them to turn.  Mouse wanted to tear off but he was on the leash.  The second time they ran into the barn lot. From there it was just a matter of getting them into the corral and sorting them.  The corral is so cool, you just keep pushing them one way or the other and their are enough pens that they are easy to sort.  The oldest calf sorted herself into one of the square pens.  I told my nephew that it was going to be a tough takedown.  Don’t treat it like a baby cow, but an adult man who fights back.  He didn’t believe me.  After a few attempts at grabbing it I had to wade in and throw myself onto the calf.  He had a leg and scooted up and held it down while I put a tag in its ear.  The second calf was also another little girl.  Luckily this one was about 30 pounds lighter which makes a huge difference in the take down and holding difficulty level.  I had mouse tied inside an adjacent pen.  He got super excited when the calf started bawling.  I had to stop and make him lay down 20 times during the calf ear tagging experience.  He wanted to help. 

The sheep where next.  Using the leash was very nice.  I didn’t have to run or scream a lot.  Mouse was able to work on staying close.  Whenever he started pulling on the leash I would pull back.  By the end of getting the sheep he had quit pulling on leash so much.  We had to run the sheep in twice.  The first time they snuck out of the pen by the creek.  The goal was to touch every sheep so we could get an accurate count.  I was sure we had around 70 sheep.  I used my AnyList app on my phone to log each sheep and take its picture!  That way no one gets missed and we can correlate their number to an actual sheep.  There were a lot of little boys who we had not banded.  There were so many that I ran out of rubber bands and had to have Annmarie pick some up at the store.  It took us almost three hours to sort and band and tag everyone.  There are 88 sheep!!  That is a whole lot and way more than I anticipated.  I am going to have to see how many potential buyers I can get lined up.  If we sell to West then he will want 50 animals.  That will drop us right down to our holding ewes.  I would rather sell locally if at all possible.  I need to find out what the cut and wrap guy is charging now and then get a price set and email everyone.  If I get enough takers then I can probably stay local. 

We were able to get a fence gate and five panels for rock cribs up onto the hillside.  I am hoping to get the field up on the back hillside fenced off for animal use this summer.

There are 84 sheep in the above picture.  I realize it doesn’t look that way.  This is why I can never be sure exactly how many animals we have at any one point in time.  We had a set of triplets born yesterday. I have them in the baby area in the barn.  They are going to stay isolated from everyone for a few days.  They are super friendly and calm..

Mouse working the sheep under direction

How I would feel after someone put a rubber band around my testicles.

Bad dog

Learning to listen

Yesterday was a rough day for Mouse.  He has learned that he loves to chase live animals.  Animals of any size or shape as long as they run.  The cats make great chase toys, and if they just hunker down then he steps on them and puts their head in his mouth. They just let him torture them.  I don’t know why.  The chickens are one of his favorites.  Unfortunately, he is very rough on the chickens.  They emit a very unusual squawking noise when he starts stepping on them which excites him even more then they get louder and more desperate.  He then starts to pull mouthfuls of feathers out at a time.  This causes more desperation on the chickens part, therefore increasing Mouse’s fun exponentially!  Luckily, I can hear this activity from 50 yards away and rush to save the chicken. This has occurred twice and the last time the chicken lost about half its feathers.

I was out front finishing dog proofing the front fence and opened the side gate to go feed chickens.  I forgot about Mouse and when I came out of the coop the only critter around was Zeke.  I hollered for Mouse, no response.  I hollered a second time, no response.  Then it dawned on me that the sheep were out on the hillside.  I walked up to the top of the hill and saw Mouse at the far end chasing the sheep.  I started running toward him and hollering.  I should have concentrated on just running.  But no, I ran all out and screamed at the dog continuously.  He had singled out a ewe by now and was chasing her across the bottom of the field.  The closer I got to him, the closer he got to the ewe.  By the time I got his attention he was about a foot behind the ewe.  She was starting to get tired.  I hollered some more and Mouse came to me.  I was not happy, but as Annmarie has taught me, I praised Mouse when he came to me.  Reward for a positive behavior. 
This is unacceptable, but I remember we had this same problem with Zeke when he was a puppy. When I went to town I bought a 30 foot long line for Mouse so I can help train him around the animals.  He needs to learn some control and not forget who is the boss. 

Mower issues

I had a friend come out to mow my lawn and the mower died ten minutes into the process.  Come to find out it might not be dead.  I talked to the repair shop.  Did you know that when you turn the mower on its side you always turn it air filter on the upside?  I did not know this.  It has something to do with how the oil gets in the wrong part of the mower.  They told me to drain out the oil, change the filter, clean off the spark plug and then start it with only a little oil.  So hopefully it will work when I try it. 

Grass is green

March Madness

It really is the middle of March. It looks like full blown spring. We did have another freeze Thursday night so we are not out of the woods yet. One of our fruit trees we planted last year is in full bloom all ready. The cows and horses seem to be very hard on the small trees. The alpaca have not bothered any of the trees in the fields with them. The horses reach over the fencing and munch the top out of the tree and the bull just rips at the cattle panel circle with his horns until he manages to lift it off. He then proceeds to scratch his horns all over the baby trees decimating them in the process. 
I have two little walnut trees in the ram pasture that. Need a round cattle panel and a height extender added to those two trees. 
I would like to plant three more trees this year and three every year for the next five years. 
Hard to believe it is March.

Chicken feed fiasco

Latest twins

Just when you think all the sheep have had their babies another set of twins just magically appears. It was our dark brown calm ewe.  I really need  to get all the babies tagged and banded.  As an added bonus maybe we could get an accurate count of all of our sheep.  An accurate count would be nice.  We keep feeding the sheep but the last few days they have not really eaten any hay.  They are free ranging on the back hillside during the day and night. We quit locking them in every night.  I have only fed one bale in the last three days.  I was feeding 2.5 bales/day.  We have the horses locked up in the barn lot.  Its mostly dry with a little grass.  Annmarie doesn’t want them to get fat and sick on the new sweet grass.  I believe the term is colic.  So them we feed every day, but since we are having to treat their feet every day the confinement is working in our favor.  The horses feet look better also. 

I have dawdled long enough that Annmarie and I cannot take care of the baby calves.  They are too big!  They are pushing the 60-80 lb range and they are a LOT harder to pin down for banding at that size.  So I have one of my nephews lined up to come out in five days to help me.  We are going to tag and band the two calves and all the sheep.  It should take a couple of hours to get that all done.  I am hoping there is time to get the lawn mowed.  It needs it, there are two spots that are very high and need the mowing.  Of course, since Mouse has been out in the yard there are several craters in the yard almost big enough to lose the mower in. 

Friday I managed to get out to the chicken coop.  I had been putting out 50 pounds of food every week despite the green grass and abundant bugs.  I was starting to run low from my massive purchase last year.  The baby chickens that my hen hatched are just now laying.  This meant there were a lot of freeloading roosters.  I had been putting off on thinning them out, but could not do it any longer.  I waded in there Friday night and started wringing necks.  By the time I got to the fifth chicken my arm was getting sore.  I had to start using two hands to snap the necks. It was laborious.  I thinned out all the roosters, seven and was left with 6 hens.  The hens were all hiding from the young roosters as they were jumping on top of everything that moved.  Since the culling, the hens have started to settle down and are laying more eggs. 
So now the only chicken nemesis is Mouse, he still wants to jump on the chickens and make them squawk. 

new calves, need tagged and sexed.

weird ears.

This is our luck of the irish cow.  It has weird ears that look like a single leaf from a four leaf clover.  I am not sure if it is a boy or a girl.  Either way it is not staying as it is the bulls incestual granddaughter/daughter. 

Burn Day!

Old wood burned, now just need to remove all the old fencing and metal scraps.

It was supposed to be Spray Day!  I need to spray the upper prime field with 2-4-D and the driveway with Round Up but the rain kept coming.  In an effort to get something done outside I decided that burning in the rain was a great idea.  My biggest problem with fire seems to be that it burns things up and likes to spread.  Rain is great for that problem.  I have been attempting to plan my burning times to coincide with very wet spells.  This was the plan.  I knew I was getting low on propane in the 20 gallon burn tank but I figured there was enough to get my fire on.  First thing was appropriate fire attire.  After the fiasco with synthetic clothing burning me, secondary to accidentally lighting myself on fire, I vowed to wear only natural fibers.  I put on blue jeans, a cotton T-shirt, tall leather boots with wool socks and a wool long sleeve shirt.  I tied a cotton kerchief around my neck as the fire can get pretty hot and a cotton ball cap.  I emptied my pockets of everything but chapstick and a knife.  No pesky plastic watch or wallet.  Second thing was to locate a fire lighting stick somewhere in the house.  I never found one, so I extended the search to the old house and found two hanging from a nail.  They don’t last, I put them in my back pocket and after about the third time jumping into the tractor seat they break in half.  I have yet to run out of fuel in a single starter.  Armed with flame I headed out to the machine shop to load the propane tank into the bucket on the tractor.  I got the tank onto the bucket, then lifted the bucket enough to use a chain and attach the tank from the top, bottom and sides so that no matter what I did the tank would not fall out of the bucket (I have still not beat the dent out of my hood from the first tank fall).  I then wrapped the hose around the tank in preparation for heading out to burn, and that was when I discovered that the nozzle on my torch had been stepped on by something, most likely a cow and was broken.  I needed a new one.  I jumped into the car and sped into Pendleton to BUY so I could BURN.  I had to ask at D and B for assistance and when he took me over to the torch section the only thing was the dinky little ice melter torches and a 6 foot Fire wand for $200.  I explained that I wanted the three foot wand for $100.  We found the open spot on the wall and the computer was consulted.  The computer stated they had one in the back, there was one hidden in the back and I grabbed it and headed out to pay.  The checker rung me all up and I reached for my wallet, my nonexistent wallet.  I had to ask her to put it to the side so I could run home and get my wallet.  Another round trip and I was back with my debit card and on my way with a new torch.  This entire process cut off 2 hours of burn time. 
Corner property getting cleaned up. 

I started burning out by the cattle guard.  The weeds were obscuring our metal rim fence and filling up the drainage space under the cattle guard.  I burned all those up and then went down to four corners.  I wanted to get the 1 acre plot on the corner all cleaned up so I can keep the weeds down and eventually get the fence fixed.  I need to add in at least three metal rock cribs to the corner due to all the rocks and the lack of fence.  I can get away with using cattle panel as a gate as we never use the gate but 1-2 times/year. This is not our property but it needs to be cleaned up.  Ted used to maintain the fence and weeds in exchange for using it as grazing.  The animals are doing a good job of keeping the weeds down, they just need access to this area.  So getting an outside fence up is one of my goals this year.  I burned the entire area, there was a lot of old wood laying around buried in the grass and this all went into a pile.  I also added all the large weeds that I could find to the pile.  There was also an old wooden building that was rotten with only one side still off the ground.  It was a haven for stinging nettles I built it up and lit it on fire.  This made two piles that I could keep tossing wood and weeds onto for the duration.  The wind started picking up after I had both piles going so I had to quit lighting weeds on fire.  I stayed out baby sitting the fire until after dark.  We had a large rain storm come through in the night and put both piles out. 

It did die down eventually

Our walk in closet is now useable.  We have started to sort our clothes and discard everything that does not fit.  I can no longer button the collar on my dress shirts, a 16 1/2 is too small.  I discovered this two months ago when I had to wear a tie for three days in the same week.  I got some clear plastic bins for the shelves and was told that we would be buying some fancy cloth bins for the new closet.  No plastic allowed.  We also bought a brand new silverware set for 12!  Plus, we got rid of the four other parts of ones we were using and now only have one set.  It is amazing.  I suggested we now actually get grown up dishes!  I am not sure if I can handle being an adult. 
I had to get new (used) tires for the pickup after an oil change discovery by the child.  I knew I needed new tires last year but was putting it off.  So when they changed the tires I asked her to find out if there was an exhaust leak.  Yep, big exhaust leak.  They also said I needed new shocks (told me that last year also), so I had her order new shocks.  I drove said pickup home Friday evening and got out smelling gasoline.  I figured it was the exhaust leak and looked under the pickup.  Nope, gas leaking all over the ground, I have a fuel leak.  So tomorrow I will call the repair shop and have them fix the fuel leak and the lack of turn signals (over one year broken), then we can get the new shocks installed.  Once the shocks are on I will get the exhaust repaired/replaced.  I am hoping to just get a couple of sections cut out and replaced.  The stereo is not working at all now but truly it is nonessential.  It looks like the pickup will be getting the necessary upgrades this year. 


Walk in closet nearing completion. Clothing being added.