Monday, March 2, 2015

Montana Day Five

I am beginning to get the routine of the Burradoo Ranch.  I still have to scrutinize each Kelpie to know which black and tan dog I'm looking at but that will come.

There are deer everywhere and they are far less fleeting than our deer at home, comfortable as these deer seem to be with livestock, traffic and people.

I have BJ and Mic with me and the other morning bald eagles perched in the trees just back of the house and watched the dogs and I walk by.  I'm really wishing there was a way to upload photos.

Yesterday we helped shear 100 head of Rambouillet sheep at the place down the road. It was a trailer shearing station set up and that was neat to see.  I oohed and awed over the fine quality wool and brought a small fleece back with me.

In between ranch chores and traveling the local area and visiting we have worked dogs a few times in between.  BJ and Mic will have a go today if the weather allows.

Allen assures me the dogs and sheep are doing fine back at home.  I only have access to the internet at the main house and when I'm there I'm visiting with Bill and Janice. So touching base is hit or miss.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Montana Arrival

I am nestled in the snowy foothills of the Bear Tooth Mountain Range in Montana at the Burradoo ranch.

There is a kennel full of well bred working kelpies, a tidy flock of Katahdin sheep, a few horses, a few mules, a few cats, and a few chickens.  It's snow covered and cold.  It's a gentle change from my prairie scenery and I am on holiday here for a spell.  Allen stayed home to keep tabs on the animals and on Lady.  With a farm full of critters this is how we holiday for now.

I'll post when I'm able to and imagine once I settle into the routine here that blogging will become more regular again.

I've got my camera along and expect it will get well used, however, I've only got the Ipad so uploading photos might not happen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Lady In The House

Last night we brought Lady to the house for her second bath and she stayed in the house with us overnight again.  There is something peculiar and absorbing about the guardian dogs when they wind up in the house.   I took about a dozen photos of her just looking around and being curious.

We know the livestock guardian dogs as they are outside, and the outside is what these dogs know.  When they land in the house it’s like the outside dog we knew alters for the inside and we’re seeing them afresh.  It’s like watching a new dog, checking out the new digs for the first time, except the dog isn’t new, it’s one you know well.

Lady is curious about the surroundings this time, she ignores the stock dogs, and after brief curious sniff from them they ignore her too.  She gawks around and occasionally she ventures a few steps into the living room.  She stands for a long time before finally deciding the place is safe enough to lie down.  She stays near the front door, knowing full well it’s the way out. 

She headed back out this morning, wearing one of my farm bunny hugs to help keep her warm.  We do not reject keeping her in the house, however she refuses to eat or drink while she’s up here and she really, really needs to do both of those things right now.  So we toggle back and forth between the house when she has to have a bath and at the building with some sheep otherwise.  This way Lady is with sheep, (although she knows this is not her flock) and will eat something and drink from the livestock water bowl during the day.   It's a meet in the middle approach.

On another note, I made a bit of a spontaneous decision and am heading off to Montana, USA this week.  I was planning a trip in March but have decided to go a little earlier and stay a little longer.  I may miss a couple blog posts but will do my best to get back on line when I can.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Re-sorting Rams

Jayde was very pleased to do some work
We had a soft and warmer winter day last Thursday and brought the flock home to the yard and sorted out the rams.  I put a few stock dogs to work to help move animals up for sorting and to say the dogs and I are rusty is an understatement.  Yikes.  Nonetheless, I do like taking a couple months off from stock dog work.  We’ll all be eager to start back up in earnest again come warmer weather.  

At the end of the sort, the cull ewes were marked (they’ll stay on as training sheep for the summer) and went back out with the flock.  The rams re-joined the half dozen wethers at the barn paddock.  These will be our two groups until shearing time in April. 

Today Gibson and I did a small piece of work gathering and sorting the rams from the wethers because someone was coming to look at them.  Two of the rams were sold, heading home with an individual who is looking for animals raised in this natural manner.  They will service his tidy flock of ewes and all the sheep together will provide fertilizer for his organic fields.  I’m never really settled with selling animals but we need to rotate our rams this upcoming year and if two of them go off to help someone else build their grass based flock I’m okay with that.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Helping Lady

We finally took Lady in to the vet, something we probably should have done a month or so ago.  We kept making allowances for the fact that she’s so unfamiliar with human handling and we didn’t want to stress her, but she needs some help now.  Lady arrived as a semi-wild young adult LGD and it’s taken a couple years to get to the point that Lady actually seems to enjoy our company and petting. 

At the vets office she went into her shut down mode.  She stood, head down, eyes half lidded, slightly drooling with stress, willing everything to go away and thinking it would if she just made herself unnoticeable enough.  She’s indoors with me tonight, drying off after having a bath with some medicated shampoo. 

She developed an oily coat just as we headed into the cold winter and it grew steadily worse.  She’s been dropping weight, eating sporadically and having trouble keeping warm enough.  I put vests on her but she always manages to loose them.  

The plan for now is to get her coat and skin infection cleared up.  The blood work showed some concerning results leading to a possible kidney issue but that might very well be resolved if we can get her health back on balance. 

We’ll try to keep her with the sheep as much as possible because that’s where she is the least stressed and about the only place that she’ll even attempt eating, but on the days she gets bathed there is no possible way to have her be outdoors in our winters. 

She’s a very quiet house guest and while she’s not content, she’s warm and comfortable and stressed out enough to just lie down and rest.