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Sunday, September 20 2015

A farm is a toddler, it runs on a routine. The biggest part of animal husbandry is getting a schedule established and sticking with it. And like toddlers, animals behave better when you stick to a schedule. That's what makes feeding this circus look easy. Trust me, folks, easy is just an illusion.  Get off that schedule and the wheel falls off the clown car, spilling clowns around the arena as the vehicle continues to chug onward in spirals, while you, the confused ringmaster wonder what happened.

After retiring and moving the farm across the state, we are slowly shaping order out of chaos by developing a routine around here. I get up in the morning and shuffle the outside dogs inside where they crawl into bed with Other Half.  I then turn the inside dogs out to play. I toss the livestock some alfalfa and release the Livestock Guardian Dog puppies to hang out with the inside dogs.

We take a short walk and return to change water buckets and milk the goats. The puppies wander around the barn aisle and supervise. After milking I put the pups on the milking stand which doubles as a grooming table for Livestock Guardian Dogs. They enjoyed their private time on the table getting snuggles and scratches.

I'm trying to add a daily grooming for the LGDs as part of the farm routine. These Anatolian dogs will be ginormous and the idea of fighting them over toenails isn't something I want to do. Briar has to be checked each morning for snake bites and sand spurs. No snake bites yet, thank God, but every morning she has sand spurs in her feet which must be removed.

By the time I'm through with the dogs, the sheep and goats are finished and can be released to begin their day of looking for trouble. Some wander off for adventure while others poke around the yard picking up stray alfalfa.

The pups supervise all this like tiny adults. I watch them and see glimmers of what they will become. Coyotes killed another calf north of us. They're bad this year. A friend of mine just lost a full-size horse to coyotes.  The mare had to be euthanized. I'm glad that Briar has some access to Tiny's night pen where she can monitor the big horse since he isn't free to move away from predators like the others.

I don't fool myself into thinking coyotes won't come up to the house for sheep and goats. The only reason they haven't ventured into the yard yet is because Briar barks all night. As winter moves in and the predators get bolder, she will need help.  While still too young to be real assistance, at least the puppies will be bigger and have supersonic thunder barks that can wake us up, and few things are more dangerous than a rancher in his underwear with a Remington.

I blog about schedules and a routine today because tomorrow morning it will all fall apart. Today I return to the Big City for a visit, leaving Other Half in charge of morning chores. He can be told what to do and in what order. He can be given written instructions. But the reality is that he will do things when he wants, how he wants, in the order he wants - because he is the human and he has thumbs. It gives him a false sense of superiority.

The other reality is that the farm will throw a collective fit.

"That's not the way MOMMY does it!"

 The wheel will fall off spilling out goats, sheep, cows, horses, and dogs and no amount of yelling in frustration will put that wheel back on the clown car.  The animals are happier when they have a schedule. And really, aren't we all? Aren't we all just big toddlers who thrive on having a routine?

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:42 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Sand spurs are as evil as the seeds from puncture vines (goat's head).
Posted by Eric on 09/20/2015 - 08:32 PM
I get so tickled reading your blog, it is one of the highlights of my day. In a life long past I was the one who kept the wheels on the circus cart and loved every minute even when the water froze and had to haul buckets of water to the livestock. A lot of people would not understand the smell of a feedlot smells good to me. But that is okay they don't know what the livestock means to a person. Please keep blogging and I will continue feeling as if were there helping you. :-)
Posted by Terry Elliot on 09/21/2015 - 04:53 PM
And if your place is anything like mine, when the wheels fall off due to someone not following the schedule, I'll hear all the complaints, as if it wasn't their own fault. I hope your trip to the city is pleasant and worth the upset to routine, but I'm imagining it's a trial.
Posted by Patty on 09/21/2015 - 08:54 PM

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