Thursday, June 25, 2009

That Didn't Go So Well

Saturday my sheep get sheared. I need to get them to my neighbor's farm, which means I need to catch them and transport them. I need a small catching pen.

Livestock panels. They are the easiest, fastest fencing. I drove my van to work so I could stop at the feed store on the way home (before they close) and pick up the panels, then unload them, pound in a few posts, and voila - a quick and dirty catching pen.

I now know why I've been so hesitant to go pick up livestock panels. Part of the problem was that while the two of us had trouble getting 3 panels into the van at the feed store, the one who came back to unload wasn't the tall, buff, young guy.

I finally did get the panels out, the van parked, the gate closed, and the sheep in, but Charlie is still out. It did involve one fall, some bending of the panels, and a lot of swearing.

I didn't get the panels even close to where I want them, let alone posts pounded and panels up, ready for sheep catching. The panels are in the middle of the road so I can't drive the van in to get the sheep until I move them.

But at least they aren't still in the van making the doors stay open, the light on. Back door is a bit more scratched up, and missing a bit more rubber seal.

And the van isn't still smack in the middle of the gate, preventing me from securing Charlie in, when he gets back that is. I keep hearing his bark on his route around the fenced area. The sheep paddock keeps the sheep and goats in. Seems it doesn't do so well at keeping a motivated Pyr in.

Three panels. 16' x 52". $94. One heck of a lot of work.

I think I may have just started my new exercise program.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Hiding

I was walking up the hill when this guy poked his head around the tree. He does think he's hidden, I'm sure of it. Besides the bright blue head and neck, he's got that huge tail. Amazing I saw him.

Outed. He's stalking off.

But he followed me up the hill to hang out on his favorite gate. I so love these birds. Where ever I go, I either run into them or catch them in the corner of my eye. They seem to have just as much fun watching me.

The Excursion

A friend came over to help me unload wood from my van, and it seemed a good opportunity to take the sheep up the hill to the powerlines.

It's been such a warm June, with just enough rain to keep everything well watered. The foliage has responded with lush new growth, and the wild flowers are in full bloom.

It's handy having your favorite white flowers right at mouth level.

Jesse pretending to herd the sheep. Everyone had a great time.

Up to her ears in food.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Raven Cafe

I have two pairs of geese, both of whom have been trying desperately to raise a family. Geese, like so many of us, are controlled by their dna. They lay an egg, sit on it for a while, then cover it with soft moss, twigs, whatever is at hand and go off to eat. They don't sit tight until they have a full nest.

Ravens are very smart, observant birds. They have already started raising a family, and have hungry youngsters to feed. They come sit on branches near the goose nests and wait for their breakfast to be laid, covered and left.

This is one of the goose nests. Those are goose egg shells, all that was left by the ravens. My geese are very upset. My plan was to install dog crates in key locations, set up with shavings and hope the geese would use them and the ravens wouldn't.

Then I noticed that one pair of geese were hanging out by Jesse's shelter and crate, acting all protective.

And looked in to see why. Geese are also bright, observant birds. They decided that a dog crate would be a safe place to raise a family, protected by the dogs as it is.

They are bringing in bits of whatever they can find to substitute for soft moss, sticks and plants. So far, so good. Now that I don't need to set them up a crate, perhaps I'll bring up some moss for egg coverings.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It Takes a Village

I love my Seabright bantams. They are self-possessed, brave, and have different behaviors from other chickens. These two hens hatched out chicks within days of each other, and now take care of them jointly. They are in the pen I set up for another hen and her single chick.

And just outside are the ever-present roosters. They hover around hens and chicks, finding food delicacies, warning of danger, herding chicks back into the flock.

Raising a family is a joint effort, it seems. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

June Storm

Late May and June this year have been most unusual. Generally June in the NW is a winter month squeezed in between spring and summer just to remind  us how far north we really live, and that we should appreciate summer. This year it's been warm to hot and mostly sunny. Like summer.

This day was hot, I even had the air conditioner on driving home. Then I turned off the freeway, towards the mountains. Almost instantly storm clouds appeared.

The light was wonderful, making the trees glow.

My favorite barn and silos against the darkening sky. Notice the white flowers in the field.

Lightening appeared as warm air met cold and clouds collided, although it must have been distant as I never heard any thunder. And, of course, never caught the lightening on camera. These pictures are all taken from the car as I was driving into the storm.

Almost home, and the rains started. This storm ended about 2 hours later, leaving the land and sky washed and almost cloud free. Again, notice these lovely white flowers. They are everywhere, in every field I pass. These are a wild daisy, absolutely beautiful.

Everywhere, that is, except in my fields. My property is sadly daisy free, except for one plant I moved into an area I keep sheep free. Flowers, it seems are very tasty and very nutritious. Especially lovely white daisies. Just ask any sheep.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Peacock at the Gate

Peacocks in breeding season display to anything and everything. Peahens, chickens, dogs, cats, rocks, gates. Look at me. I'm the most beautiful thing you'll ever see.

They may just be right.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cool Clouds