Thursday, January 28, 2010

January Wolf Moon

Surrounded by mist before dark

Shining clear at dusk

Glowing in the dark

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who Mourns The Dog?

When our beloved livestock guardians die, we mourn them. It isn't surprising that their co-workers, especially with a male/female pair, mourn them. Here is a story about the other mourners - the stock they guard, and the tribute the stock paid to their lost protector.

Well, I really didn't plan on posting anything else about Sampson, but the reaction of the animals at our place was so moving and interesting, I had to share. Most of you know, but quick background: Sampson, just turned 5; Great Pyr - Bone Cancer. Nothing could be done and we had to put him down. We planned to do that here at the farm and bury him in the woodland meadow where he could guard forever.

I asked all of you on the lists: - what about his soul mate Molly? Should she see him after? I got so many replies and pretty much all of them said yes. So we decided we would do that. We put Sampson on a blanket in our small tractor cart and drove into the field. Jon stopped once he got in there and turned off the tractor. It was so moving, but not because of Molly. She came over and sniffed his face and wagged and touched his face with her nose. But perhaps the most interesting and moving thing to us was the two miniature donkeys and the two goats.

They also came over and suddenly there were five noses, quietly leaning into the cart, touching his nose, his face. Not scared or skittish...just touching. Elmo the goat raised his head to peer into my eyes and then dropped his head again to touch Sammy. They followed us across the field, to the back gate into the woodland.

The woodland has a meadow and we rotate our few critters in and out of there... but they are all very sociable and prefer to stay in our front pasture. If I DO want them there for the day, I have to entice them back with food. Especially the donkeys like to stay in the front pasture.

Not this time. They followed and we left all of them behind the gate because our neighbor who does excavation etc. for a living had dug a large and deep hole for us and I didn't want anybody falling in. But as we went through the gate and I closed it, I called to Jon to stop the tractor and look back. Both donkeys and both goats we right there - looking through the gate, noses literally pressed up to it. Ears forward, watching.

I added the ashes of Toby who we lost 3 1/2 years ago, (first time I ever had an animal cremated) and who I just never seemed to get around to spreading. This felt right and I put him with Sammy's body. It was dark when we left the field. No predator ever DARE visit that meadow now.

Finally, this morning we went out and opened the back gate, Molly at our side. Her head went to the ground, following the path the little tractor had taken the night before and she went to the grave. Sniffed and checked it out. But then, guess what? Here came both goats and both donkeys - directly to the grave, walking there, sniffing the dirt and sticking to Jon and I like glue. They seemed to want and need extra love and attention. They stayed right with us all the time, until we finally walked out of the woodland and across the front pasture and into the house.

So, a chapter ends and now the healing can begin. I've included a photo of the meadow and Elmo and Chloe the goats, Little John and Snowman the donkeys.

Linda Anderson
Nightsky Farm

Thanks Linda for letting me share this touching tale.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Horses

For several months I've had the privilege of working with a herd of horses. The goal is to train a couple of them to trailer, so I can bring them home. While I'm there I've been working with a few others, getting them used to handling. It is a joy being with these magnificent creatures, watching herd behavior.

Rho and Rebel, the stallion

Echo, a lovely Spotted Draft

Echo's Colt, changing from brown to black

Cami, an Arabian mare who's decided I'm her best friend

The two fillies. The dark one is mine (yet to be named).

Magic, dam of the spotted filly. She is a magical horse. She came from a Premarin farm and still has some trust issues, but we are friends.

Jaime, my filly's dam.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cloud Mountain

Wrapped in a cloak of clouds, hat low on her head, St Helens hunkers with the hills, delighted in her clever disguise. She can view the world around her, secure that no one will recognize her.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

And the Winds Blow On

After a windy week, the winds got together for a big blow. 50-60 mph winds roared up valleys, climbed hills, and pushed against every obstacle they encountered. This was a very loud storm.

This tree was snapped off a foot above the ground. There were branches and small trees littering the lane as well.

Charlie's shelter bowed in submission. It's interesting that the tarps stayed attached, but the frame gave way.

My new carport was relocated across the lane, climbing the trees. It may be recoverable, if I can get it down without further damage.

The tarp over my chicken shelter is in tatters. Yesterday the winds were still strong, coming mostly from the east, so I couldn't make any repairs. I didn't want to attach myself to a sail, even in 20-30 mph winds. I was a bit wary walking through the woods to the lower pasture, past newly downed trees and some leaning precariously, and winds coming another direction.

It was fascinating to experience these two storms back to back. They spoke in different voices, sang different songs. Winds from the east tend to get caught in the ridges and circle around. I was looking north, toward the roar of the wind, watching the trees bow to the west, and feeling the wind on my back.

After the big storm, morning dawned with clear sky and sunshine in view. Today dawned mostly clear and bright and still. A welcome change from clouds, rain and wind.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Skies of Grey, Vanilla Clouds

This is from my friend Kerin's blog on her website, Remnants of Olde. I liked the poem and artwork so much she said I could share it here. Kerin is an extremely talented, creative, eclectic artist as well as an insightful, thoughtful individual. Take a look and enjoy.


Sailing across skies of grey
vanilla clouds cradle noonday dreams
discarded remnants in my nest
oh what a sweet life I had


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Daylight Waxing

Once the days start getting longer, everything seems to improve. I noticed one of my shrubs has buds bulging, eager to get leaves out in the sun.

And here are 3 of my well-protected geese, content in safety in front of the house.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Through My Window - LGD at Work

It isn't often I get to observe an LGD at work without him and his charges knowing I'm there - the observer changing what is observed. Today I caught Charlie in one of his favorite spots just outside my bedroom window, and saw some interesting behavior.

He looks like he's just snoozing, right? From this spot he can observe most of the pastures, and is in front of the area of highest concern.

Every couple of minutes he raised his head, looked ahead, left ... (notice the geese in the background - facing away from Charlie, merrily chomping grass)

and right. Then he'd go back to snoozing.

Then he heard something. He sat up and barked. Notice the geese now - they've raised their heads and are looking towards Charlie.

Whatever is out there needs a bit more barking. The geese are now walking quickly up the hill.

Charlie continues to bark - it's not a huge threat, he doesn't feel the need to rush towards it. But look at the geese - they are well on their way to Charlie. When I left the window they were grazing safely in front of the house.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

On a Dark Winter Night

I was so impressed with Shaman's singing Anatolians that when the coyotes started vocalizing I thought I'd capture it. The screen is black because, well, it's a dark and rainy winter night.

The closest and highest bark is Jesse (Pyr wannabe), the deep bass bark in the background is Charlie, the closer and slightly higher pitched and more frequent bark is Millie. The howlers include Berna (ASD), Hannah and Trey (Border Collies), and I believe Jesse is in there too. Berna, Hannah and Trey are inside the house. I'm outside. The crazy background noise is one of the local coyote packs.