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Farm Fresh Blog
Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Sunday we moved Montoya from the other farm to this one. I really missed my elegant clown and it's so nice to look out the window and see this again:
I've had this horse since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, now he towers over me. But no matter how big he gets, he will always be my little goof, and it's so nice to have him in the back yard again.
Baby Montoya aka Xenophon Star
Saturday, 27 August 2011
"I will be filing a complaint with DUG (Dairy Goats Union) regarding the outrageous treatment I have been forced to endure. This is degrading and I wish it to STOP!"
"From time to time the Male Biped on this farm has performed milking duties. Unfortunately he feels it is entertaining to shoot that Insane Black & White Beast With The Googly Eyes in the face with milk. Apparently Insane Beast likes this and has now taken to 'lingering' during milking time.
I find this behavior intolerable, and wish to renegotiate our contract. My union attorney will be contacting you!"
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
In this time of extreme drought, we do not water our lawn or wash our cars. I have cat pawprints on my windshield that have been there since June. We are careful with our water, and each precious drop goes to the animals. That said, we did allow for some summertime fun this weekend.
Other Half dug in the garage and found a forgotten water sprinkler. Like inner city children with an open fire hydrant, the dogs played in the water for about 5 minutes. Everyone had great fun, but someone monopolized the sprinkler . . .
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Anyone know what this is?
Try it from this angle.
It's a dog, you say?!! An OUTSIDE dog??!! An OUTSIDE dog sleeping INSIDE??!! In the foyer?!!
A dog who is supposed to be living in the 102 degree temperatures with the livestock??!! THAT dog??
Well . . .
. . . you're right!
Briar has so much hair that the heat is really hard on her. Her skin is pink, so I don't want to give her a haircut because she will sunburn. It started innocently enough. I began sneaking her in the house during the hot part of the day while Other Half was at work. She is the perfect house dog. Briar lays around like a bearskin rug - a polar bearskin rug.
I was feeling guilty until a friend of mine in North Texas lost a mule (a MULE!) to the gawdawful heat. So I said to myself, (and Other Half)
"Screw that! Ih'm bringin' ma dawg inside!"
Whereupon he objected that she was dirty. So I bathed her in Pantene Pro V shampoo, and combed her out. (There is a BEAUTIFUL dog in all that hair!)
I was still feeling a bit overindulgent until I watched the evening news last night. Believe it or not, there is a couple in Central Texas who are bringing LLAMAS into their house during the heat of the day! Suddenly bringing Briar in the house during the day didn't seem so outrageous.
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
This weekend Huckleberry went to his new home.
As I explained to him when we neutered him, the very best home for a male goat was a Pet home. Dear Reader Kelly bought Huckleberry and Swan and took them home Sunday to begin their new careers as Pet Goats.
This means all the milk Clover produces now becomes MINE!
As a first time mother, I didn't take Clover's baby from her until he was ready to be weaned. Thus, the lion's share of the milk went to Huckleberry. Now that he is weaned, I must milk her twice a day. This was the milk on the first morning.
Now I have visions of cheese, yogurt, soap, and lotion dancing in my head!
"And dogs! Don't forget warm milk for dogs!"
Saturday, 13 August 2011
While Lily may be born and bred to be a cow dog, I'm just not sure I'm emotionally stable enough for Lily to be a cow dog. Take this morning:
Am lying in bed, peacefully minding my own business, cuddling my precious Border Collie, (that's not true, she was asleep at the foot of the bed) when Other Half rolls over, slaps me on the hip, and announces "Since we have the cattle trailer already hooked up, let's take those cows to the sale today!"
Other Half is like that. Planning is never his strong point. He's more a "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of person. And since we both had the morning free, and since the trailer was already hitched because he took some sheep to the sale yesterday, he decides that this is a fine morning to take the cows to the sale. Okie Dokie, Smokie.
"And hurry! They stop checking them in at 11 am!"
It is 8 am. My mind has barely had enough time to process the chores that need to be done, and he is already rushing me. Sigh . . . I haven't even had my caffeine yet. (Yes, trouble is a'brewin'. Cue ominous music now.)
So I juggle dogs for potty breaks and slip into jeans and boots. He is already feeding cattle. By the time Lily and I get out there, wonder of wonders, he has, by some miracle, managed to separate the ones headed to the sale. The next task should be simple. Move the cows through the chute where they will hop up into the cattle trailer, then you slam the gate shut and roll on to the sale barn.
In reality, it isn't as simple. Cows normally try to run back over you as you push them toward the chute. Large animals are frightened, or at best, annoyed. And it's tight in there. Not much room to work. People and dogs can get hurt.
While Other Half has originally planned to use Ranger The Blue Heeler, I have visions of the dog getting excited, barking, and running cattle back over us, so I choose Lily. She is Top Hand, the dog most likely to figure out exactly what we're doing, and how to help. Most of the time . . .
We begin moving cattle toward chute. All is well until Lily has a Border Collie moment and decides that she must GATHER the cattle and bring them back to us. Holy Crap! Get out of way. Try it again. As cattle try to bound back toward the main herd on the other side of the fence, Lily is bounced into a fence. My heart is in my throat. She recovers and heads them off. With cows turned around, Other Half begins to aggressively smack cattle with sorting stick and move them toward chute. Lily is TOTALLY on board now. She understands and is pushing cattle along with Other Half. Cows shoot through chute and into cattle trailer. I barely see a flash of black and white in the trailer nanoseconds before I hear the trailer door slam shut. Oh Dear God! Lily is trapped in the trailer with the cattle. At this point I see her little fluffy life flash before my eyes . . .
That's when I begin screaming and running down the chute toward my precious puppy. Other Half has figured out that Lily is trapped and is working to get her out before the cattle discover it and stomp her to death. As I run down the chute, I fail to lower my head and am smacked across the top of the skull with a board or pipe, or something the size of a refrigerator. See stars. Keep on running to save my dog.
She has apparently discovered her mistake and is trying to be a Very Small Black & White Dog In A Corner. Other Half scrapes his knuckles off trying to get the cattle trailer opened, but manages to get Lily out before the cows see her.
Lily springs out, all grins. I am sick. I cannot decide whether to cry or throw up. I still see stars, but mostly I see the image of a crumpled bloody dog underneath angry cows. Still a toss-up whether I cry or throw up. Decide to hug dog instead. It is more productive and not as likely to upset her . . . and Other Half. (who is very aware that if anything happens to that dog, the world will stop spinning, and life as he knows it will cease to exist.)
We roll to the drop-off location for the sale barn to find that one poor man is trying to unload cattle, register cattle, tag cattle, and put them in pens, all by himself.
Cattle trailers are lined up. Everyone is selling cattle because of the drought.
Other Half decides that he must help this poor man. He bales out to assist. That leaves me with plenty of time to decide that I hate cows.
Despite the fact that I live in Texas and am married to a Cow Man, I prefer sheep and goats. Handling them isn't as likely to result in a trip to the emergency room or the Pet Cemetery.
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Despite the drought, we've had just enough rain here to make the lawn grow. Woo hoo! Today I turned the "lawn crew" out to work.
Supervisor in the Shade:
Like Pac Man, the sheep go through the yard.
Goats in the Yard
The Supervisor patrols the perimeter.
"Sector 12 is clear!"
Monday, 08 August 2011
I have finally got the bulk of the furniture out of my old house. It is sitting in a cattle trailer in the back yard, which will explain the strange stains on the back of the couch. That's not a major problem because there are strange stains on the front of that couch too. If there has ever been a bloodhound in your life, you have strange stains in strange places - drool marks on the wall, drool marks on the ceiling. And you will have rub marks on the couch.
Some time ago Other Half informed me the couch was not coming. Naturally, being a woman, just because he told me we weren't moving the couch, I planted my feminine feet and insisted that we WERE moving the couch. It could just stay in the muck room. Being a man, he realized he was facing a wall, and gave in. I think he had plans on burning it while I was at work one day. I was adamant, the muck room would be turned into a Dog Room and the couch could stay there. I wavered a bit though when a friend who was helping me move, announced, "You're not really taking this thing to Robby's are you?"
Hmmmm . . . Yeah, she was right. It smells like a Bloodhound. But still, the couch had to get out of the house. so into the cattle trailer it went with everything else. And after all the fabric furniture was out, I scrubbed the floor with chlorox. All was well until I got feedback from prospective home buyers, "House smells like a dog."
WTF!! I scrubbed the floors! I lighted incense! I didn't smell anything when I left!
I compared notes with Dear Friend who visited AFTER the Homebuyers. She stated that it smelled good. It smelled like incense. Thus you see the problem. Dog People cannot smell dogs. Sigh . . . thus begins the war, the war on Dog Odor. . .
. . .
Arrive at house armed with LARGE jug of bleach. House is empty. House cat has apparently decided to exit doggy door and play in The Great Outdoors. Fine. Walk into kitchen. Am Scared shitless by tiny rodent racing across floor.
Do what?!! Mouse? In the house? Holy shit!
Am reminded that House Cat is old and worthless as a hunter. Her idea of fun is to drink latte and watch The View. Sister does not do rodents. Make plans to bring barn cats in house later. Doggy door bursts open. House cat races into kitchen and announces,
"Hey! You're back! You gonna feed me?"
Point out to cat that a MOUSE was in the house.
Cat reminds me that without thumbs she cannot open the cat food container. Like the well-trained pet I am, I trudge to back room and feed her. Then I begin to clean. This involves filling large buckets of water and bleach and sloshing it out over tile floors. Take THAT Dog Odor! In no time, my entire house smells like a country club swimming pool - but not a dog! (At least as far as I could tell, apparently Dog People cannot be trusted in these matters.)
It is in one of my many trips from the kitchen sink that Stuart Little decides to crash my party again. I'm guessing that like me, the little mouse is also a bit tipsy from chlorox fumes, because just as I am leaving the kitchen with a bucket of bleach water, Stuart races across the kitchen and into the dining room - narrowly missing the top of my foot. Because the dining room floor is already wet, he can't get good traction and is slipping like a pig on ice across the tile. Three things happen:
1) I scream.
Stuart Little goes from a pig on ice to a little mouse riding the waves. That little bastard climbs on his surfboard and rides the giant wave across the dining room tile, under the table, and out the other side, where he gracefully exits his surfboard and scampers under the piano.
I am in shock. I stand there, staring at water all over the floor and an innocent-looking upright piano. At this moment the House Cat appears in the dining room, requesting another can of food. DO WHAT??!!
"If you want to eat something, eat this!" I snarl as I roll the piano away from the wall.
No Stuart Little. Some wet dust bunnies and an old birthday card from my sister. And like the ADHD person I am, I say, "Hey! Where'd that come from?" and reach down to snatch it up before Stuart Little's slowly advancing tide of water can reach it. I am already crammed behind the piano when I come to my senses and realize that if Stuart is not BEHIND the piano, it means he is INSIDE the piano. I back out quickly and shake myself like a horse after a good roll. EEEWWWWW!
Meanwhile, the House Cat is unimpressed. She yawns at my birthday card and puts in another request for cat food. I inform her that the barn cats hunt without the benefit of satellite television and air-conditioning. She is still unimpressed. I do however, gather up all her dry and canned cat food and put it on the back porch. No more eating in the house! No more free meals for a rodent who has obviously figured out the dogs are gone. Clearly prospective homebuyers have better noses than Dog People and tiny rodents in Hawaiian shirts because we can't smell the dog odor in that house.
I told a good friend that I was going to have a Non-Dog Person come and do a sniff test for me. She texted me this:
"Good luck fiding one of those in ur contact list."
Touche. Point well taken.
(and to answer your questions, No, Lily was not with me. Had she been, Stuart Little would be pushing up daisies in the back yard.)
Monday, 08 August 2011
After 3 weeks of jumping through hoops trying to sell property, buy property, and move an entire farm, I took a break, put my leopard print underwear on, and went out with the girls!
That's not true . . .
. . . I don't have any leopard print underwear, but I did put on my Hideously Beautiful Boots! (which the girls just LOVED!)
Look at 'em again!
I haven't seen most of these ladies since last December at the Christmas party so it was wonderful to shed the responsibilities of the world, put on a reasonably clean t-shirt and some bling, slip into a pair raunchy, blingy, hideous beautiful boots, slap on a little make-up, and head out the door to meet with forty of the most wonderful women you will ever know. The other patrons in the restaurant might argue this point, especially when we pulled out the trumpet. I am not kidding! Major points in conversation were punctuated with the blow of trumpet . . . in a steak restaurant . . . Yes! It was wonderful. This is The Red Hat Society meets Thelma & Louise! We are Woman, Hear Us Roar! (and stay the heck out of our way!)
After a couple of hours of love, laughter, tears, prayer, and lots more laughter, I left rejuvenated and reminded that no matter how busy life gets, you must, you simply MUST, make time for your friends.
Good friends are the jewels of a rich life.
Never forget that!
And for more on the Leopard Print Ladies:
Or . . .
In Which Pooh Bear Attempts To Be A Girl
Girl Time means you can shamelessly talk about horses, leopard-print underwear, and bling-bling and know you are with like-minded women. In fact, since one of our members was lifeflighted off the beach after a bad fall from a horse and it was discovered that she was wearing leopard-print bra and panties, we have adopted leopard-prints as well as bright purple as our group colors. (You don't get more girly-girly than THAT!) We are the "Red Hat Society" on horseback - a posse of purple and leopard!
So yesterday I took off work for my total immersion in "Girl Time." The Girls always lay out one helluva spread. You won't go hungry at a Girl Party. The problem is that not only do I not cook worth a darn, I worked the night before so there was no guarantee that I'd even have time to cook before the party. Since the bakery in my little town makes awesome cake balls, I planned to swing by the bakery on my way to the party. (The best laid plans of mice and men . . .)
And thus began the adventures of the typical middle-aged premenapausal airhead . . .
Admire cute black holiday horse sweatshirt in mirror. Find matching earrings. "Damn girl! You look good!" Pack up purse to leave. Crap! Go back in house to get White Elephant gift. Crap! Wrap White Elephant gift. Start out door again. CRAP! Forgot to unload shavings from back of truck. Since a cold front is supposed to blow in, decide to unload shavings and spread in sheep stalls. Manage to accomplish this without getting too dirty. Amazing. Decide it is hot. Very hot. Too hot for cute black holiday horse sweatshirt. Damn. Go back in house. Stare at closet. Volumes of clothes. Nothing to wear. Decide on black t-shirt that matches earrings. Tug on shirt. It is wrinkled. Damn. Decide that at least shirt is clean. With visions of leopard-printed bling-bling dancing in my head, I grab purse and climb into Monsta truck.
Pull into bakery. It is closed. Do WHAT??!!! Uh oh! Refuse to let Holiday Spirit be dampened. Head to Kroger's. Find chocolate-covered strawberries. (mmmmm . . . BETTER than cake balls!) Buy outrageously expensive strawberries. Decide that since it is now 1:45 PM and I have not eaten, I must buy something to eat NOW so I don't eat everything including the paper plate at the party. (learned that little trick from Scarlett O'Hara) Buy Spicy California rolls and some potato chips. I never get to eat California Rolls at home because Other Half flips out and squeals "SUSHI! How can you eat RAW fish! GROOOSSS!"
So I get a package of Spicy California Rolls and feel all "urbane" at the idea of eating this yuppy food even though I am fully aware that a piece of fake crab and a hunk of avocado wrapped in a slab of rice is definitely NOT sushi. Decide that Other Half needs a bag of Peanut M&Ms. Rush through check-out line. Climb into Monsta truck. Carefully unpack Spicy California Rolls and place on center console. Tear open package of soy sauce. Pour onto rolls. Pop roll in mouth. Savor sensation. Have a Happy Fake Yuppy moment. Follow roll with a potato chip. Mmmm. . . perfect balance of salty. Mmmm . . .
Notice time. Damn! Running late. Plug address into Tom-Tom. I have been here 4 times already and I STILL have to use the damned GPS. Oh well, at least the address should still be in there. It's not. Three tries later and still cannot find it. Damn! Damn! Damn! Give in and call hostess. AHHHH . . . wrong city. (Have major Gray Hair Senior Moment) She understands. She's been there too.
Find directions in Tom Tom. Pop another roll in mouth and cruise through parking lot. Package of Spicy California Rolls falls into floorboard. Lots of cussing. Put truck in park and look in floorboard. Rice and fake crab everywhere. More cussing. Begin to pick up hunks of what use to be cute little wheels of rice, avocado, and fake crab and chunk them back into package. They are covered in Border Collie hair. Still very hungry. Debate the idea of picking off the hair and eating them anyway. Mentally calculate how much microscopic sheep poop and cow patties are on floorboard. Dismiss the idea. Stomach growls. Decide that if the Donner Party could eat their companions, perhaps a few Border Collie hairs wouldn't be a problem. Begin pulling off dog hair. Find a Belgian Tervuren hair. These are quite distinctive crinkly multi-colored hairs. My Belgian Tervuren died in June. Decide this is Kona's "Hi Mom!" from the grave. Smile and throw hair back in floorboard. (I have always said that I could never commit murder because anyone who suspected me would have the forensic team look for Belgian Tervuren hairs at the murder scene since I always manage to carry them everywhere I go.) That dog never even rode in Monsta Truck and yet, here are his hairs in the floorboard.
So now my fingers are coated with sticky rice and spicy sauce. There is orange spicy sauce dribbled down the side of the center console and the floorboard. Bits of rice and orange sauce are on my wrinkled black shirt, and the thighs of my blue jeans. Yep . . . I'm ready to go to a Party!
Roll out of parking lot and drive down highway, listening to Tom-Tom and picking dog hairs off my food. Decide that if I get stopped as a Drunk Driver for weaving on the highway then I will show Highway Patrol Officer my floorboard. He will feel sorry that Other Half is stuck with such a DingBat and not give me a ticket. OR . . . he will be so appalled at the idea that the abovementioned DingBat would actually pick doghairs off the food and eat it, that he will be afraid to loan me his pen to sign the ticket. (especially since my fingers are still coated in orange spicy sauce that is now drying and sticky.)
Decide that the rest of the rolls are too mangled, hairy, and disgusting for even the Donner Party to eat. Still hungry. Work on potato chips. Look longingly at Other Half's M&Ms. Decide that since he never KNEW I BOUGHT the M&Ms, he wouldn't necessarily know that I'd opened and ate some of his M&Ms. Calculate length of arms and distance to reach M&M bag. Since numbers don't add up, decide against M&Ms.
Am making good time down the highway until a little blue Honda Civic looms into view. Almost run over it like a skateboard. It is going 40 MPH in a 60 MPH zone. Roadway is now down to two-lane highway. Cannot pass little Pokey Car. Mentally picture that Little Pokey Driver is a Half-Blind Elderly Woman. Envision driver as Teenager-On-Cell-Phone. Since that brings up "less than Christian" thoughts, opt to envision her as Little Old Lady instead. Do not wish to intimidate Half-Blind-Elderly-Woman by being so close she can read F.O.R.D. in her rear view mirror. Slow way down. Speed limit changes from 60 MPH to 50 MPH. Half-Blind-Elderly-Woman changes from 40 MPH to 30 MPH. Still cannot pass her. Follow her down roadway for an agonizingly long time. Note long line of cars in my rear-view mirror. Note that since they cannot see around my Big Ass Monsta Truck, they are probably blaming me for the slow down.
Little Old Lady FINALLY pulls into the grocery store, sparking the start of the Indianapolis 500, but by now the speed limit is 35 MPH. Decide that despite the fact that I am now thirty minutes late for my Girly Party, a city cop would not be impressed if I tried to explain to him that I was speeding through his town because I had been stuck behind a Little Old Lady for the last seven miles and felt I was entitled to "split the difference" as far as the speed limit was concerned. (Cops can be such downers where that's concerned.)
Finally emerge into something resembling a decent speed limit when Tom-Tom announces that it's time to turn right. Really? I have been to this house numerous times and this does not look remotely familiar. Consider arguing with the computer but look at the time and decide to follow directions instead. A few minutes later we emerge into familiar territory. I'm sure I heard a smirk in Tom's voice.
Roll up to a house with horses in the back yard and a front yard full of farm trucks. (40 of my favorite people!) I am now late, wearing a wrinkled shirt covered in spicy orange sauce and potato chip crumbs. Bits of rice are clinging to my blue jeans, and I have rice and fake crab in the tread of my cowgirl boots - "Let the Party Begin!"
Thursday, 04 August 2011
Can you identify this picture?
It's a pupcicle!
Texas has reached triple-digit temperatures. Even with a summer trim, Briar is roasting in the heat. Until I can get a bathtub rigged up for her, she must take her dips in small water troughs. (the goats and sheep do NOT appreciate this!)
So in the mean time, I've started making Briar some pupcicles to help her beat the heat. Because we have fire ants, I didn't flavor the water with any meat; I just froze it in a dog bowl.
She seems happy enough with frozen water.
It has drawn some curious stares though . . .
"What is that stupid dog doing now?"
The dairy goats, by the way, have a most interesting relationship with Briar. They are scared of her . . . until something scarier comes along, then they run to Briar for support.
Addendum: I just had the bright idea that I could freeze the water, then add a slice of bologna, cover that with a thin layer of water, and freeze THAT! She could knock herself out getting to the bologna. Hopefully she can get it faster than the fire ants can discover it! I'll let you know how it works.
Send me more ideas for how you are handling animals and the heat!
Tuesday, 02 August 2011
The most important part of the move happened last night . . .
No! Even more important than the sheep and goats!
I agonized over moving Briar. Not much more than a giant puppy, I worried about how she would take the move. If she jumps out here, the cows could kill her, or she could get killed on the highway. It weighed heavy on my mind. I was a basket case. I stayed up all night. I cried.
By the time we got the livestock loaded it was already dark. I debated over whether or not to let her ride in the cattle trailer with the sheep, or in the truck with Lily. I chose the truck. I didn't want her frightened in the trailer. Other Half says I spoil her. (Guilty as charged!) We went through the Whataburger drive-thru on the way home. Briar discovered talking boxes and sliding windows with French Fries. (Briar likes French Fries.) And then we followed her sheep and goats to their new home.
Actually, it's not. This is just an untamed area behind the barn that Other Half had fenced off to keep the horses away from the septic tank. It has years of undergrowth. I give it a month. As soon as they off-loaded, the sheep and goats headed for the buffet line.
It looked like this, except in total darkness.
Yes! It's Roanie!
You didn't think we'd leave Roanie, did you?!!
I made a point to bring the sheep that were Briar's friends - Roanie and the old ewes that raised her from a puppy. I sold the better ewes to a local friend where I can keep the genetics and buy back ewe lambs from them if needed later.
The sheep were thrilled with their new jungle. The goats were happy at first, then they realized that they actually had to sleep in the jungle.
"Uhm . . . pardon me, but where's our stall? Where's our shavings? Concrete aisle? Starbucks?"
I got up all night long to check Briar, and by default, the goats. With the arena lights on, they were blinded to my approach in the dark. The goats, who are normally frightened of Briar, had decided that perhaps Big Hairy Friends were preferable to squinty yellow eyes in the darkness.
Each time I checked, the dog was a large white lump surrounded by dairy goats. I had to laugh when Clover heard me, threw her head up like a deer and poked Briar with her nose.
"Hey! Did you hear that?!!"
"Hmpfh? Wha? I'hm sleepin'."
"That! Get up! Something's out there! There in the dark! There it goes again! Don't you hear that?"
The goat pokes Briar again and the dog sits up, stares off into the bright lights. Nothing. Dog lays back down. Goat is miffed.
This repeated itself several times throughout the night.
And so it was, the sun came up and Briar was still in her pen. I was exhausted and so were the goats,
but Briar was just fine.