SPRING UPDATE 2012
As I write this it is still winter, yet you would never know it. We were robbed of winter – no doubt about it. Let’s hope and pray we will not be robbed of Spring as well! For those of you in the Midwest – I sympathize – if you live in Florida, you likely do not care, and if you are in California – well, what is that I keep hearing about the great weather in California? It is now 57 degrees at 6:30 am. with an expected high of 75. In Santa Cruz (our old stomping grounds), it is 41 degrees (at 3:30 am) with an expected high of 52. Hmmmm – I think I like it better here J Here is what is going on around Follow Your Dream Farm.
Bongo and Bailey
In mid-December, both Bongo and Bailey were diagnosed with bone cancer. What are the odds of that? Bailey had a synovial cell sarcoma on his rear leg and Bongo had an osteosarcoma on his front leg. With Bailey, we chose amputation immediately due to the condition of the bone. He is currently undergoing chemo and doing great. You would never know he is disabled in any way – same happy boy. His recent set of x-rays shows all clear.
Bongo – well that has been different. Due to the sorry condition of his rear legs (bilateral cruciate ligament disease) – we chose palliative radiation therapy. It started out well, but pain got the better of him and we finally amputated. He is also undergoing chemo. Unlike Bailey, Bongo does not seem to have the same intrepid, say never die spirit. We are struggling to find his comfort level. He is still living out in the pasture but his guarding days are done. I just want him to have a quality of life. If that is not possible – well, difficult decisions await. Here is Bongo checking out our one and only snowfall. The other picture shows a daily situation - Bongo defending his food from the carnivorous Simone. Bongo always prevails!
Pearl is our newest guardian animal. After Bongo’s cancer diagnosis I began to think about adding another LGD to learn the ropes while Bongo was still around. Finding an already trained LGD is not easy and the thought of having three dogs in one pasture did not set well. Pearl needed to be weaned and I fretted over what to do. Chris (my amazing farm hand) – suggested Pearl. Of course! It took a couple of days for Pearl to stop whining for momma – but once she got over it, she settled right in and everyone loves her. The three stooges (Cain, Abel, and Barnabas) have adopted her as their very own personal protection and follow her everywhere. And she follows them. Here is a picture with Pearl and DH (dear hubby).
Livestock Guardian Cat
Not only do we have livestock guardian dogs and a livestock guardian donkey - but it turns out we also have a livestock guardian "cat." Yup - one of our barncats - "Rocky" has appointed himself the official guardian kitty for the ewes. He does not hang out with the other barn cats - instead he spends his days hanging with the sheep and goats. His favorite perch is the the cable spool.
We did not breed this past Fall – well, let me clarify that – we did not intentionally breed. I sold a breeding pair of Babydolls and had them in a separate stall for several days until the new owner came. During the course of 3 or 4 days, Moses managed to escape twice. He had help of course. Annabelle wanted the extra hay I put in with the newlyweds so she opened the stall door herself – twice. So – it is possible that we may have a few lambs yet. We will not know until late April.
Shearing day is April 5th. I worried that this might be too early - hah! What was I thinking? Little did I know that this would be the year without winter. Turns out it is a good thing the shearer will be here early. Lord knows it may be in the 90s by then.
The girls have done well over the “winter.” We consistently received 6 or 7 eggs per day. I hope this will increase now that longer days are here. No, we do not eat 4 dozen eggs per week – I give him to church members and friends. I love my chickens! In fact, I just ordered a Faverolle rooster. Hopefully this will encourage Jim to wake up earlier!! Now that he is semi-retired, he is living a leisure life and sleeping in. No fair! I also ordered I also ordered a male and 2 female “Easter Eggers,” one female “Welsummer,” and 2 female “Blue Splash Marans.” Thought I would mix things up a bit and I’d love to have babies (chicks that is).
The goats have a new jungle jim thanks to Chris. Abel is the one who uses it the most – he plays king of the hill.
Pepper is still limping along. He has difficulty getting up but once he is up manages to graze. Elka sticks by him like glue and Pepper uses her for moral support. These pictures are typical of what I see daily with them. Notice in the one picture that Elka has her paw on top of Pepper's head. I am not sure what this means other than it is like holding someone's hand to reasure them. It is quite touching to see.
Only one small snowfall this winter – rats! I feel cheated. Here are a few pictures to memorialize the "event."
All is quiet in general. We are in maintenance mode – painting decks and roofs, cleaning up the gardens, getting ready to plant “THE” veggie garden. Chris made me a few extra planter boxes – this year we will try corn, peas, pumpkins, onions, watermelon, and lettuce in addition to cucumbers and cantaloupe.
Our daughter Kara and her new hubby are scheduled to visit in April as is my “only” friend from California. I am still slogging through school – have around 24 more credits to my BA in English Lit. I just received notice that I am now an “official” substitute school teacher for Halifax County, Va. I am looking forward to some practical classroom experience. Jim is enjoying semi-retirement and I continue to attempt to “train” him on farm chores. He is resistant – but he loves the tractor and his zero turn lawnmower!
God has been good us and as we hit the bumps in the road (as we must) he has been there to help us along. I have never felt so content and safe in my life as I do here and now. I hope and pray that everyone attains that same feeling sometime in their lifetime. It took me 55 years to get there – so do not despair – there is always hope! Prayers and hugs to all. I love hearing from everyone – so please post comments.