Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Heat Wave Continues

2 Goofy Dogs!
Yes, this is the usual sight that greets me each time I go to the barn.  Buck, the Pyr, is the one on the left and Star is on the right.    They have been very good about learning that the barn door is their boundary, although they will venture out, given the chance to do so.  Like Monday, when I was moving hay to the girls barn from the horse barn and decided to take a second load over.  I neglected to close the door after unloading and heading back across the creek for load #2 (the alpacas are behind an inner gate and cannot get out) and suddenly while loading the truck at the horse barn, I saw a large white dog come around the corner!  I chased them both back across the dry creekbed and into the barn and put the gate across.  They really did not give me any problem, just went back where they know they belong.  I worry that Buck will eventually get the desire to roam, as many Pyrs do, and start excavating routes of egress from the pastures.  He is 8 months old now and it is time for him to visit the vet to be neutered.  That might curb that urge a little, but it is in the Pyr's DNA to cover large areas, so I will have to be watchful of him as he is now hitting what I consider to be dog adolescence.  Star is now a year old and I am not too worried about her going off on her own.  She does not seem to have a lot of the independence that I so love in the Pyrs.  She is a much more timid dog and really not what I was expecting.  If she is representative of the Maremma breed, I would not be quick to advise anyone to get one.  I have been disappointed in her.  But, she does bark a lot and I think she is a good deterrent to local wildlife.  In fact, she barks so much that I don't believe I have ever heard Buck bark.  

Last week I mentioned that Sam was off tractor shopping.  Well, he finally found what he was looking for.  It will arrive here this evening.  Lee, one of the neighbors I have mentioned before, is picking it up for us.  He lives closer to it than we do, but also has a farm right next to ours adjoining his grandfather's place.  Here is the big green machine.

 This one is much larger than our Kubota.  It is a Deutz Allis diesel and has all the features Sam wanted.  He tells me he doesn't think there is room for Rowdy to sit though, while I am operating the tractor.  That was the feature I wanted!  While this tractor is green, it is a different shade of green than those really expensive tractors, so didn't cost nearly as much.

I neglected to mention in last week's post the loss of a 4 -footed family member who had been with us a long time.  Our only house cat, Lucky, died at the age of almost 16.  She was diagnosed 15 months ago with chronic renal failure resulting in weight loss, vomiting, constant drinking and peeing and just general lethargy.  She stopped grooming herself and her coat became matted.  The vomiting got much worse in the last few weeks, despite the special diet she was on and I decided it was time to make the dreaded decision and I took her in to the vet.  She was the last of the animals who came with us from Indiana, except Apache, my horse who is also a senior, and so I buried her close to our 2 dogs, Shane and Max, who were with us when we got Lucky.  I do not plan to have any cats in the house again.  I love my barn cats, though.

Lucky in her healthier days

 We still have 4 or 5 cats.  There is BamBam (my son named her for a hockey player), also known as the Mamacat because she once had a litter of kittens, who has been with us since the first summer we were here.  She is now 13She has always attached herself to one of the other farm animals.  For a while we had a pot-bellied pig and the Mamacat would actually stay in the little pig hut with the pig.  I remember once an alpaca breeder visiting the farm and asking as we went over to the barn what lived in the little pen with the hut in it.  I replied that we had a pig who lived in there and as I said that, the Mamacat came out of the little building.  I was sure my visitor thought I was crazy!

BamBam or Mamacat
Once the pig was gone, she spent a short time with Apache, our horse and then she fell in love with Cheetah, the gentle giant Great Pyrenees and stayed with him, even eating out of his bowl until he died last fall.  I think she was kind of lost then for a while, but soon I noticed that she had moved from the alpaca barn to our front porch, where Ginger spends a lot of time.  So now she has become a porch cat and hangs around on the deck and porch and eats out of Ginger's food dish.  By the way, 13 is a very long life for a barn cat. 

We have another senior barn cat, a tabby named Stubby.  That became his name a few years ago when something grabbed him by the tail and I had to take him in and have part of his tail removed.  He was given to me at least 6 years ago by the friends I got Cheetah from and he was at least 5 years old then.  He came from the home of a person who died who had had 7 cats.  I took in 2, but we lost 1 after only a year or so.  Stubby is still with us.  

Then I have 2 big healthy, handsome young guys who came to live here when we just got overrun with cats at the shelter last summer.  There is Grayson, a solid gray, who knows he can outrun Rowdy any time he wants to and so lives somewhat dangerously.  Rowdy WILL chase a running cat.  He pays no attention to the Mamacat.  She doesn't run from him.   And there is Chuck, a black and white tuxedoed boy, who is not so good at outrunning Rowdy, so he stays a little closer to the safety of the horse barn.


  I also found a starving stray female cart last spring, Cami, who I know lives in the barn loft part of the time, but I rarely see her.  She is friendly and likes to be petted, but very independent.  I was able to trap her a month or so ago and get her in and get her spayed so we will not be having kittens.  I believe very strongly in spaying and neutering.  There are way too many unwanted cats and dogs out there.  Did you know that 1 pair of cats can turn into 420,000 cats in a 7 year period if none of them are spayed/neutered?  That is a staggering number of cats!!

We had a cookout at the pond Saturday and invited the neighbors to it.  Wouldn't you know it actually rained?!  But we still had fun.  Food, drink and someone had a deck of cards.  

This week I decided I needed to get some travel knitting together, so I got out a sock I had knitted a few months back which I wanted to re-do on smaller needles since it came out too loose.  It is actually wool, not alpaca, but it is handspun.  I bought the roving from another guild member because I loved the colors.  I really, really like hand knit socks in the winter, so I make a couple pair a year.  So, I am actually unraveling one sock as I knit it again on smaller needles.  

The new sock is on the left and the original sock is on the right.  

Otherwise, I have not done much fibery stuff except weaving 2 rugs.  I have enough warp on the loom to weave one more.  It has been way too hot to be outside skirting fleeces, which I really need to get to.  I also got 58 spin-off entries in the mail last week that I need to work on in August.  That is something I can sit in air-conditioning and do!

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