Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Fun on the Farm

Star, Buck & Rowdy
Don't they look like they are in prison?  I left Rowdy shut in the barn with the big dogs while I went to fetch the camera from the house.   He is not usually left in the barn without human supervision.  You will see why soon.

Summer is in full swing.  We continue to have some rain, though it is now coming in the form of somewhat severe storms which move through quickly in late afternoon and have the nice effect of cooling things off, but as we experienced this past Monday, they can also turn off the power.  For 44 hours.  Fortunately we have a whole house generator which runs off the natural gas from our wells and it kicks on automatically when the power has been out for more than 30 seconds or so.  We don't have the whole house on it, but it runs most things, like the refrigerator, chest freezer, water pump, etc.  Our a/c and furnace are not on it, however.  I think we got the generator before we added on the mud room and installed the furnace and a/c. If the power is out in winter, we use the woodstove and a gas heater in the dining room.  We don't use our a/c every day in summer anyway, and it would be a big drain on the generator.  But we can take showers and there is water for the animals and we don't run the risk of our food thawing.  I think our longest power outage here was 9 days and that was the week we moved into our house.  July 1998.  Our first purchase was a gasoline generator!

I got to try out the zip line!  It is great fun.  We need to tweak the pulley system a bit to get it to go faster, but other than that it works pretty well.  It goes from the corner of the pavilion to a tree on the far side of the pond...right across the center.  

The line pretty much stops about dead center of the pond, so you can't go too far.  The worst part is going from the dock, where you get out of the water, back up to the pavilion.  If you come to visit and want to zip-line, I recommend water shoes.  $7 at that mega store we all can't seem to live without......

The rain has kept the pastures looking fairly nice, which of course means more mowing.  I am still having to feed hay to the girls since their fields are just not big enough for the number of animals on them.  Need to downsize!

I alluded to Rowdy's not being trusted in the barn without human supervision. I really don't think he would do anything except sit by the door and wait   *hope*  for me to return to let him out.  But I shot a series of photos of him attacking poor "little" Buck the other day and wanted to share a couple of the pics which show a typical herding dog move.  As you will see,  Rowdy has lost the size advantage to Buck, but he is still much more agile.  Poor Buck looks like he doesn't know what hit him.

Rowdy going for the leg

All you can see of Rowdy's eye in this photo is the white.

Leg chomp
Buck tries to avoid

Notice how the whole time this is happening, which was only a couple of seconds, Star just sat out of the way a watched.  

This is typical herding dog play behavior.  I have noticed that dogs which are not herding dogs generally do not  appreciate this type of play and it will sometimes result in a fight.  This is not aggression on the herding dog's part, it is his instinct.  Unless trained, he will even treat children this way if he has a high desire to herd.  It is similar to how a retriever wants to do little more than retrieve.  It is in their DNA.  This is why it is so important for people to do some research before getting a dog.  Or get a mixed breed which may have a little bit of this and a little bit of that mixed in.  And yes, Rowdy will do this to the alpacas if he gets a chance.  

 The chickens are doing well.  We are up to about 5 eggs a day now.  Still have 16 hens.  I did hear a commotion from the chickens yesterday afternoon (they are usually pretty quiet) and went out to find a strange dog in the fenced area!  In 13 years, I have seen very few unknown dogs in our yard and so this was a surprise.  The dog has a pit-bull type look to it and did not look hungry.  I hope it was not dumped off and I also hope I do not see it again.  I had to chase it off 3 times.  It did not get any of the chickens, but it scared them all off into the thick underbrush and up the hill.  But once it was gone, they all eventually came back.  

I have slowly been working on warping my loom for more rugs.  Almost finished with my bulky lace vest I am knitting, so should have a photo of that for next week.  I have spinning guild tonight, so I will actually get to do some spinning.  I don't usually sit down in the evening until well after 9 pm these days, so unless I take some time during the day, I just don't get much spinning time (or knitting time) in.  And if I DO take time during the day, I feel guilty that I am not doing housework or something outside that needs to be done.  Have I ever mentioned that I hate housework?  

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