Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winter Beauty

We are having our first cold snap of the season. It's really a minor one (by Canadian standards), but since we were enjoying some unseasonably warm weather, everyone is whining about the change. Leaving the house is no fun.

Of course, chores and training must continue, but I am still a
California girl so I take the proper clothing precautions.

Sometimes the cold creates the most beautiful scenery. Last night we had a hoar frost. Don't know what creates it except that the air feels wet when it happens . When we wake up everything sparkles and there are crystals everwhere. Even the ugliest trees are transformed.
As pretty as this is, I believe any picture can be improved by the addition of a dog (especially one of my dogs). Hemp agreed to pose for me, thereby bringing the beauty up a few notches. Salem, my house cat, thinks it's a funny game to sneak outside when I am holding the door open for the dogs. If you stop him from escaping, he howls and catterwalls all through the house until you give up and let him out. This time, I opened the door for him to go out and he couldn't believe his good luck. There it was, a clear avenue of escape! He rushed to the door and then stopped dead in his tracks. And that was as far as he got.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Minority Report?

Skid has been feeling a little like Tom Cruise lately. Every time someone meets him they say "Oh, you're so much shorter in person!" People see his picture on this blog and can't tell his height. At least 3 people last week commented on it and it's starting to give him a complex. I thought that maybe, if I give people some size references, it would eliminate those awkward meetings.

To start with, he's NOT tall enough to steal food off the kitchen counter.

He's also not tall enough to see out the window without the aid of the kitchen table.
He is a very good size for navigating on the center console of the truck.

And the most important thing is that he's the perfect size for cuddling.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving (USA)

Since Scott is usually away doing clinics during the Canadian Thanksgiving, we have taken to having a mini celebration on the US Thanksgiving. Of course, I will involve the animals (picture Scott rolling his eyes) and I've let them get an early start. I can't offer them pumpkin pie but the pumpkin is no problem.

My dog Hemp is very pleased with his share. (He'll probably pay for that later)

And the sheep got downright rowdy with excitement over their portion.

But the chickens weren't impressed even when I cut it open for them.They heard that we were eating a chicken instead of a turkey and refuse to participate. I told them it was no one they knew.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cat up a tree

I'm afraid Pete has been a little spoiled. While we were on our Fall trip, Petey managed to persuade our house sitter to feed him extras at the house. Now I'm afraid Pete has become like a guardian dog who was pet and spoiled too much. He spends more time at the house than he does in the barn yard. The mice still aren't getting into the grain, but Cali may be taking up the slack. Last night, Petey found himself the proverbial cat up a tree.
Hmm, this picture doesn't look too bad. Perhaps I should explain that I was doing the evening free run of the dogs and then show you the whole picture...

Now, I should let you know that after the mad scramble to the top, Pete was quite happy and was purring and scratching his cheeks on the wood post. He wasn't the least bit afraid. I was but I didn't know he was hanging out around the house or I wouldn't have let the dogs out. It did not teach him a lesson in the least. He was back out watching me walk dogs and commenting again this morning. This time, however, he stayed just out of reach on the other side of the fence.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Farm Labor

It's time to give the true workers of Alta-Pete Farm their due. The sheep work harder than anyone on this place. They train all the customer dogs plus all our kennel dogs and I rarely hear them complain.

Some of the sheep are keepers who will never be sold. We don't usually name our sheep but our two favorites are Blue Tag (aka Grandma) and the Cocker Spaniel. Blue Tag is 16 yrs old and well retired from work. Her new job is to stay with the lambs when they are weaned and keep them calm. She's a purebred Karakul and is the last of a set of 6 that helped train a USBCHA champion, a couple of reserve Champions and some Western Canadian Champions. We are hoping her granddaughter, the Cocker Spaniel, (she looked like one as a baby), will lamb this year. Karakuls are a very old rare breed and we've seen Blue Tag whispering the secrets of their breed to the Cocker Spaniel. We believe the secrets have something to do with run like hell every time you see a dog, and keep your head down in the shed so they can't cut you out.

Our sheep are a motley crew that have some Karakul, Katahdin, Suffok and Dorset crossed in. Our two main rams are young but they have convinced me that they are up to the task. One is a Dorset cross and the other is an old style Suffolk. I'm hoping that all their wining and dining of the women will pay off as we have a small flock this year and could use a boost by a good lamb crop.

The newest upstart is our Dorset/Katahdin ram lamb. He was born last year and promised me that he'd get to work right away and improve the quality of our meat lambs. I guess we'll see how things go when the lambs start being born in February.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A NICE DAY as told by Skid

With winter fast approaching, I wanted to mark the passing of warm weather - Skid said he had some thoughts on it so I decided to let him relate his idea of a perfect day...
First, find a dead gopher. Old and dried up will do if you can't find a fresh one.
Next, without putting it down, dig a hole.
Then, gently place your prize down in the hole. The last thing to do is to cover it up. This is very important so that no one can find it but you.
If you have time left over, and you haven't been called back to the house, sneak in a little swim and harrass the duck.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

You'll Ruin Your Eyes

Jed is an odd dog, to say the least. One of his quirks is TV watching. You can tell him to lay down and behave, and he will until an animal appears on the screen. It doesn't matter if he's seen this kind of animal before, he knows it's an animal and he will jump up and bite the screen. The wierd thing is, if he saw that same animal live, unless it was a sheep he wouldn't even notice it was there.
His favorite television program is the PBR. He waits quietly while the bull is in the shute but the second the bull is released and starts bucking, so does Jed. He bounces and spins until the 8 seconds are up and then he waits again for the next bull. Needless to say, sometimes Jed's enthusiasm has to be cut short or the tv will be in danger of falling over every time he bites at it. PBR finals are this weekend. Don't forget to watch. Jed won't.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Girls

It's not easy being a chicken on our farm. At least that's what I gather from the complaints I hear every morning as I gather their eggs. From the very beginning there was a great interest in them around here and things haven't changed much.

Sometimes it's the cats

and sometimes it's the dogs

but the birds just want to be left alone to eat and do their job. Their job? The girls are the breakfast providers, Scott is the breakfast maker and I am the breakfast eater. (Hey, someone's gotta do it)