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Archive for February, 2013

Reality Bites

It has been almost a year since the animals arrived on the farm.  Remember?

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What fun we have had.  Bottle feeding Olivia and then watching her learn to drink from a bucket.

The spring and summer were so lovely, all that beautiful green grass.  It was picture perfect…exactly what I always imagined having animals would be like.

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Well the honeymoon is over and the reality of having animals is biting!

They have been restricted to their small pen since winter hit and the snow arrived.  I clean up every day, but it’s not the same as romping in the fresh green grass.  Olivia is losing her hair…I have learned that she has lice.  Gross!  Little bald spots everywhere…not as pretty as she used to be.

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Yesterday I noticed Callie pulling at her wool and biting and scratching.  I parted her long woolly coat and to my horror I found ticks!  Yes…Callie has sheep ticks.  It probably won’t be long before Cotton has them too.  Gross…again!  

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My first reaction was disgust…disgust at finding these pests and disgust with myself.  I had failed at animal husbandry.  My animals were sick and unhealthy.  I had failed to provide them with the necessary environment to keep them well.  What ever made me think I could raise animals? I would have to give them to someone who could provide them with better care.  Someone more knowledgeable and capable.

My second reaction was compassion and concern for them.  These poor creatures…they were itchy and uncomfortable.  There must be something I could do…

I did a quick google search and was astonished at all the information about sheep ticks and cattle lice.  Obviously it was a common problem.  I was not the only “farmer” to have animals afflicted, and better yet, there was a solution.  I called the local farm supply store and asked what they suggested.  They promptly replied that they had a dusting powder for sheep and cattle that would take care of both lice and ticks.  I went out to the animals and shared the news…I could help them!

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They were relieved and happy to hear that they wouldn’t be moving, and I am off to the store this morning to pick up the solution.

 Maybe I am capable of caring for these animals…

 

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Good Dogs!

I always enjoy having Emma and Odin around.  Today was a day when I was particularly glad they were here, with me.  We went on a long walk this afternoon.  Just the three of us…walking through the meadow.

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They usually run ahead a little bit or lag behind exploring. Today Odin found something really special…something that required a good roll in the snow (and in the something!!!)

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Emma caught up with him, and immediately said, “Hey, what did you find????”

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The next thing I knew, Emma was having a good roll in the snow and the something too.

IMG_0001_3Great…just great.  They would not be getting any cuddles from me for the rest of the day.  We continued on our walk and as we neared the end, Emma and I veered off on a short path through the woods.  Odin had run ahead on a different path.  We had just started into the woods when Emma froze about 30 feet ahead of me.

The hair rose on her neck and back and she began to bark.  At the same time I heard a deep-throated growl in the woods ahead of us.  I called Emma, and she came back to me, barking the whole time.  The growling ceased as soon as she left the area.  I was curious to know what it was, but wisdom won out and we turned and headed back on the path Odin had taken.  It took us away from the area where we heard the growling.

The rest of the walk home was quiet and peaceful, and I was so thankful to have Emma there.  She always lets me know if there is something to be aware of…long before I notice it.

Good dog Emma!

Then there is Odin.  This  evening I was sitting in the house reading with Emma and Odin asleep at my feet.  It was just after the sun had gone down, and it was not yet completely dark.  Odin stood up and stretched, and as he walked past the window he turned and began to bark ferociously.  I jumped up and looked out the window and saw what he was barking at.  On the other side of the driveway gate I could see a large black form.

It looked like it was sitting, or standing outside the gate.  I couldn’t tell what it was but Odin was not happy about its presence.  He barked and growled at the window but the creature never moved.

I wondered if maybe Olivia had gotten out of the fence and was waiting by the gate to get back in.  I grabbed my headlight, put on my coat, told the dogs to stay, and went out to check the animal pen.  All the while I kept one eye on the black creature waiting by the gate.  Olivia and the sheep were standing in their pen watching me.  It wasn’t Olivia…

I headed back into the house, keeping an eye on the black creature.  Every now and then it moved a bit, but it was still in the same place.  It was almost as if it wanted in…

Brother Tom is away working so it’s only me and the critters here holding down the fort.  I knew I had to find out what it was, but I’m not stupid or careless.  I wasn’t about to go out there without someone knowing what was going on.  So I picked up the phone and got Brother Dan on the line.  I filled him in on the situation, and holding the phone in one hand, and with Odin by my side, I headed out to the gate.

Odin was still barking and growling, and he continued until I walked up to the gate, grabbed the black creature with my free hand and wrestled it away from the gate and into the house.

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The wind had blown a big black garbage bag, and plastered it against the gate.  It  was nothing to be concerned about…but Odin sure let me know that there was something out there that shouldn’t be.  It was reassuring to know that just like Emma, Odin notices things before I do and lets me know when something  needs checking out.

Good dog Odin!

 

 

 

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The Next Generation

This time last year I was posting about our traditional valentine cookies.  Remember these?

cookiesIMG_0001Mom used to make them, and for the past few years either I or Sister Mary has made them.  Well this year Mary isn’t close by, although I am guessing she still made a big batch for her family.  I bought the ingredients the other day, but wasn’t completely committed to making them.  I thought I would wait and see how the day went.

Well the day came, and the morning brought a phone call from Niece Erica.  She was coming out for lunch with my great-nephew, Jace. I was expecting them at any moment when I heard a vehicle in the distance.  I opened my window and listened closely…this vehicle did not sound good.  It was revving and revving, but didn’t seem to be getting any closer.  Oh no…she must have slid off the road and was now stuck in the ditch.

I jumped in my truck and headed down the road to find them.  Well find them I did…but it wasn’t Erica.  Two men were standing in the road beside their truck, which was filled with firewood and sitting across the road with its front tires stuck in the ditch.  I couldn’t drive past them, and we didn’t have a way to pull them out.  Erica arrived shortly after I did, on the other side of the truck.  There wasn’t much we could do but wait until Brother Tom came home and pulled them out with his tractor.  Erica parked her car, put Jace in the stroller and walked to my truck.  We were heading back to my place…and I do mean back.  I couldn’t turn around so was backing up.  All of a sudden we saw the stuck truck flying down the road towards us in reverse.  They had managed to get themselves out, and we continued on home to our lunch.

While we were eating lunch, I mentioned to Erica that I was thinking of making Valentine cookies.  To my surprise she volunteered to make them if I would watch Jace.  I definitely got the better end of that deal.

So I gave her the recipe, told her where the ingredients were, and proceeded to play with Jace  while she made the cookies.

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She did a good job too…I only offered a few tips and we only had to throw out the first few ingredients.  Who knew the sugar gets mixed with the butter not the flour!  I guess my recipe was clear enough for me…but not very clear if you have never made them before.

Erica was surprised to discover that the most work was icing and decorating.

IMG_0001_2The cookies are excellent…light and fluffy and so delicious.

IMG_0001_3The next generation of Valentine Cookie bakers has begun… Grandma would be proud.

 

 

 

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Pedestrians

Living three kilometers up a road that is not publicly maintained has its benefits.  There is very little traffic and we seldom have to share the road.  This is especially true in winter, when the snow builds up and a large part of the road becomes unpassable…except for skidoos, quads, skis, and your own feet.

The other day we took a quad drive to the neighbours.  It wasn’t cold and we were cruising along, enjoying being outside in the fresh air.  We came around a corner and there they were…pedestrians in the middle of the road.

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We had to slow down, eventually stop, and wait for them to move out of our way.  They took their time moving down the road until they reached a clearing around the next corner.

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There they headed off, long legs flailing  through the deep snow into the woods.

Thanks to Brother Tom for snapping the pictures…I had left my camera at home!

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