Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

It’s December already and many changes have happened here on Deberosa II. 

First of all – a new tractor arrived yesterday!

Massey Fergusson 1529

This is a bit beefier than the Mahindra I had before, although it’s about the same size.  The bucket teeth and hooks were added and much stronger than we had before.  The tires are filled with fluid already.  The three point hitch is much stronger.  This tractor has a 9 by 9 syncro shuttle transmission that will take getting used to but didn’t seem too difficult.  We’ll get the tiller and brush hog in the spring.  Right now it will be moving chips and plowing snow and hauling stuff around the homestead.

In addition we added a new puppy to the farm – Sheila is a purebred English Shepard.  She is a fiesty little girl and really loves to herd just about anything – Jake, us, visitors, chickens and the cats. 😉 

English Sheppard farm dog.

8 weeks old.

She is being trained to work with the birds at this point:

We harvested a home grown turkey for Thanksgiving.  Processing was a chore because we are not set up at nicely but the bird turned out fine in any case!  It was a triumph just to be sitting at a table with home grown food after this major relocation!

It was a lovely fall here – damp but warm.

This month we will be organizing the farm into a business.  Not sure what all it will involve, but right now we are thinking of raising Guinea Hogs and growing nursery plants, some veggies and blueberries.  Haven’t decided for sure yet – so send along ideas for cottage industries that may work here!



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I know, I’ve been remiss in posting this summer but it’s been very busy!

I have been keeping a journal of sorts though so I will try to catch up with this post for June.

June 2nd:

Things have been hopping around here.  I gave my earthway seeder a real workout!  I put in a huge corn patch and 8 50 ft rows of purple snap beans.  I still have soybeans to plant with it but it’s raining again – didn’t get it in in time.  However I think it will be plantable very soon after this rain.  Plus I’ll get in the other crops such as spelt and alfalfa.  I may try planting the spelt with the seeder also – just space the rows very close together.  One cool thing is the back wheel that pats the dirt down makes a nice shallow trench that naturally collects the water.  
I planted two dozen more tomato plants in the field and the remaining three dozen I put out by the road with a free sign.  So far no takers, oh well!  I found three tomatillo plants to try and put in a couple hills of watermellon and a couple hills of cantaloupe just to see if they will grow.
Tonight I put butternut squash, pumpkin and acorn squash seeds under the lights inside to sprout – I figure they will get a faster start inside until the weather warms.  It’s still unusual to get into the 60’s during the day here.
As soon as the rest of the seeds are in then I will start mulching which I plan on doing extensively this year.  I want to clean out the barn and put it all down as mulch, all of the scrap straw and hay laying around.
By the time that is done I will be looking around for hay to get back into the barn.  It’s going to be another busy month for sure.
I am hopeful for the garden this year – it’s been far more organized than in past years so experience is paying off!  Or maybe it’s that sense of accomplishment you get every spring while surveying the freshly planted weedless expanse of tilled earth…

June 3rd:

Moved the cows again – this time locked up the chicken feed so they can’t get to it.  We had a bit of cow runs a couple of weeks ago when they got into the grain – knocked over the barrels and pigged out!  Now they are busy mowing yet another area and seem pretty content.  They get spoiled – eat out all of the clover and then don’t want to eat the rest of the stuff, including the grass!!!  I think the five areas, 6 counting the pig area are going to make a pretty good rotation for them this summer.
Planted more of my field with soybeans (8 50 foot rows), spelt (about 10 by 50 ft) and Alfalfa (another 10 by 50 ft).  I still have another block to plant but it started to rain hard again so gave up.  Haven’t decided what to put there yet – maybe more alfalfa or more spelt whichever seems to grow the best as far as germinating.
With a little warmth and some luck I may have lots of produce for us and the livestock

June 7th

The sun came out here for a short while today – and it got over 60 degrees for a while…
This is the weekend of the Fawn Lake yard sale and I never miss it.  Today was a “one pickup truck” day. Wink
We got some great planters made from oak pallets from the old Budweiser plant.  Some of those white reed type screens to shade the back of the house when it does get hot in the summer – hopefully!  They were only 2 dollars each.  Kurt found a cool splitting ax – it has these wedges built into it that are on springs right in the body of the ax that work to push the wood apart.  It needs some cleaning up but otherwise in good condition.   I got a great denim coat for $2.  And I got a new pond pump for $5 but the biggest score was one of those patio bars that will make a perfect potting setup.  It’s got two metal mesh shelves and a glass top at just the right height for potting  You stand in the middle of it and it’s a u-shape around you so lots of work area.  And best of all it was FREE!  We were on it as soon as the guy was putting on the free sign. Wink
Oh, and at the last stop there was a box of free kittens. Wink  Shadow is having a tough time keeping up with the varmints and I was looking for some kittens.  One is orange and white and one is all orange.   Jake is taking really nice care of them now.  He makes a really great foster parent dog. Wink
This is the place I moved out of to start Deberosa.  Drove by my old place where I had put in hundreds of plants.  5 years later it’s a beautiful garden – at least they kept taking care of it.
That’s about it for today, I hope to get more planting done tomorrow if it dries out a bit.

June 12th

What’s with this weather anyhow?  
At least today it got to 70. That’s all it took to get the spelt and the alfalfa sprouting out.  A very few beans are peaking through and I dug up some corn so see it’s almost ready to sprout…  However I think I will be starting over with all of the summer squash and cucumbers.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cool again though – hard to get a break!
I am thinking I need to focus on things that can be started in mid June around here and put up another hoop house for the stuff that needs to get into the ground earlier.  Or I did notice that the plants in my straw bale gardens are doing great so maybe raised beds for those kinds of veggies.
This week has been “escapee” week also.  Tuesday the cows broke out – I saw them galloping across the front lawn headed for the garden!  Got them rounded up with minimal damage and found the break in the fence.
Today I go out to feed and my largest pig is on the wrong side of the fence!  He’s just laying there waiting for breakfast. Wink  Not too much trouble to convince him to go home for his dinner.
I hope we all see better weather soon! 

June 15th:

It’s 70 here!!!  Things are poking out of the ground.  I went and bought summer squash plants yesterday and today many are peaking through!  I thought they were dead.  But the cucumbers were dead and I got different kinds to try as plants.  Some lemon cucumbers which I heard are delicious so trying a couple.
Found some more yard sale deals.  Got a great cast iron dutch oven in perfect condition for $30.  ALso got a huge heavy meat cleaver for butcher time, also in great condition for  $15.  Even very sharp!
Stopped at the feed store to browse and found a magazine with a pirated picture of MY garden!!!  This will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Now it’s out to plant the new starts and enjoy this wonderful weather for a change!  My garden is all less than an inch tall but I can see now where I ran the seeder at least so progress!

June 15th:

I think we need the week to recover from our weekend!
Daisy got into a bit of pig feed now – so we strung up even more electric fence.  She has a bit of diareaha but I am also thinking she may be starting to calve because she didn’t get very much of the feed at all and there is stuff coming from her vulva – udder slightly enlarged at this point.  She is moving about grazing a bit and drinking so this may be calving time!  She has access to the barn with fresh straw though I doubt that’s where she will end up.
Got the squash plants in with Kurt’s help and watered everything, seems silly after so much rain but the little plants dry out in the sun.  THe good news is that now I can see where I planted everything – nice neat rows of beans, soybeans, spelt and broadcast alfalfa.   I think I will plant more spelt in my remaining space after planting out all of the pumpkins and winter squash this week.  I’ve been starting them inside due to the weather.
Also put in 6 more pots of tomatoes in the green house – like I don’t have enough!  The tomatoes in the hoop house are doing wonderfully, green tomatoes getting larger still.
We’ve got a plan now for the lean to across the back of the barn to keep the rain and run off away from the stall entry.  I have all of the pieces except for 4 posts and the roofing material.  Still need to find the cheapest alternative there.  Also going to put a rain spout on this so as the water come off the tall roof to this roof I collect it and run it to a big hole left by a fallen tree two storms back.  Rain is such an issue here, it makes a mess if it doesn’t have anywhere to go.

June 21st

I’ve been mowing like crazy – it was cooler again today so all day long I mowed and mowed and mowed!  If only my veggies would grow like that!  Almost all of the clippings are over the fence to the cows.  They ate some and are sleeping on the rest – oh well…
We went on a tour of a buffaloe ranch near here yesterday evening.  135 acres and he has 35 head of buffalo.  The grass in the Chehalis river valley is taller than my head!   THe ranch borders the river and was almost completely under water except for the house and barn during the big storm last December.
I had been wondering about haylage – and they happened to be making it in the field across the road from the farm – those gigantic marshmallows out in the fields.  They are very much cheaper than hay and popular around here because it’s sometimes difficult to get grass dry enough to make hay.  Sounds like cows love it so I may be doing it half and half this year.  THe “bales” are1200 pounds each!  Too big for my tractor to tote but I can have them dumped in a spot where the cows can get to them and open them up as needed over the winter.    They’ll be making round bales later in the summer.
One thing about buffalo is that they are not regulated like cows!  This rancher can sell meat retail off his ranch.  He hires inpectors to ensure quality but the beauracracy is gone since they still consider Buffalo wild game.  
Checked with the local meat processor to find out how it works to get the pigs processed for people.  The first one will go the first week of August.  
Jake showed his first instinct at herding when the largest pig got out of the fence and laid down and would not move.  Jake nipped at his butt till he was up and then nipped at his heels till he was back in his pasture – moved that big pig right along!  Today the pigs got the leek tops that I harvested and dried for addition to soups and stews,etc.
Tomorrow the winter squash will go in and I will start mulching the gardens.  Never lacking for something to do around here!

I took some pictures, some really sad pictures of my garden.  Everything remains one inch tall and another day without it hitting 70 degrees or the clouds thinning.  It’s supposed to warm up the next 4 days.  If things are still the same by the 4th I am going to replant and try to cut my losses.  I am thinking the tiny plants have used all of their energy in staying alive for so long without heat or light and won’t have enough to put on any growth.  Seems that way anyhow.  Only the beans and spelt are showing promise at this point.  Need to remember to forget planting until mid June next year.  Even the weeds are delayed!!!
Here’s my garden so far:


The tomatoes are growing but still only green – at least it’s a little warmer in the hoop house.

But my pigs are growing like weeds (well turkeys too!).



June 28th:

Well, we went from a consistent 10-15 degrees below normal for months to 25 degrees above normal!!  Spent most of the day watering and checking on animals in the heat and running errands to air conditioned places. Grin
I’ll go out to water shortly, the beans seem to love the heat, the corn seemed to start to grow a little so maybe all is not lost.  This is supposed to be the peak of the heat wave at 95 in the shade, so maybe there is hope yet for the garden!
We have to get a larger kiddy pool for the pigs – the big guy jumps in to cool off and he’s so big his butt sits on the edge and all of the water pours out!!!
Other than that just staying inside where it’s a bit cooler today – will have to do work in the mornings and late evenings for a bit.  Glad it won’t last too long but also glad the cold wave finally broke!
My “bonus chick” from last year’s McMurray purchase sneeked into the barn and hatched out a dozen chicks.  We relocated her to a safer place – Jake helped in rounding up lost chicks along the way.  He also helped herd the cows to a new pasture that I opened for them today so they could mow it.  He’s showing his herding instinct with the cows now – barking and nipping at the heels to get them to move and then jumping out of the way of hooves very quickly!  It’s fascinating to watch. 



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The Farm Dog

When I moved to Deberosa, I brought with me two “city” dogs.  One was a Springer Lab mix who passed away last January at 13 and a half years old.  The other is Martha, a very huge Basset Hound.  Neither are very useful on the farm but they were my companions for a long time.  Martha wanders too much to be out of her large fenced yard without close supervision.  She is good at sounding off when someone drives up but she is death on chickens so I have to keep her separate from all of the birds.

We needed a good all around farm dog.   One to protect the poultry, patrol the property, keep the peacocks off the porch and out of the garden and other chores as needed.   At the time we felt the English Sheppard was a good match but had no resources for getting one.  Other options are the Austrailian Sheppard and Blue Heeler or Border Collie.  We decided the Border Collie’s were too “hyper” and high maintenance for two people working full time.  Then we saw an ad in the local paper for Australian Sheppard/Blue Heeler cross puppies and decided to take a look.  These puppies were raised on a farm by a family and both parents were pure bred dogs.  Well, cuteness overcame reason and Jake was soon riding home with us.

 Jake Arrives ad Deberosa

Jake is 18 months old now and is turning into an excellent farm dog.  He loves to do chores with us, and has a distinct sense of where everything belongs.  Chickens out of place are rounded up and with a paw on them he waits for one of us to get them in their correct place.   I’ve had a half dozen pullets “escape” to the garden and by pointing to each one Jake will chase it back to it’s own pasture and then with direction go get the next one until they were all rounded up.  In the pasture he “helps” with the feeding and if we need to catch a bird, we only need to point and he will soon have it pinned down waiting for us to come by.

Jake somehow knows that the flock of guineas are OK to travel around the property but when young guineas escaped their house he knew they needed to be “saved”.  He brings the cold soggy keets to the front yard and asks us to please take care of them!   Peacocks are not allowed on the deck or in the garden!

When not busy, Jake will stand guard on the deck or curl up at my feet while I work.   He does not need to be busy constantly which works well for our lifestyle.

One thing about this breed other than being very smart is that they hate change of any kind!  We crate trained him from a puppy and he soon outgrew his first crate.  So we got him a nice new roomy crate for his bed.  He hated it!  It took a week of struggle to get him to sleep in his crate before he felt it was OK.  Same with moving his crate, even a few feet.  Once he does something for  a few days and knows it’s OK with us then he settles into his new routine.

 There is nothing to compare with a great farm dog – I hope you find one as good as Jake!

Jake “relaxing”

Jake “posing”

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