August Heat

It’s August 8th already?! How can this be so! I could have sworn it was no later than the 5th. This is what I get for not paying closer attention to the dates I guess. I also get drafts of posts published without them being complete! The few people who saw that can attest to it eh 🙂

Lee being Happy

I’m glad to report that I’ve obtained my mother’s camera once again, so wonderful photos (like the one above) shall once again be gracing the pages along with my already spectacular words. The battery charger for my Canon remains hidden and elusive. I sense a conspiracy.

Nothing big is going on here, just the usual slow sauntering of summer. The week’s weather varies from hot and sunny to cloudy to possibly rainy. The forecast for the next days changes dramatically to the point where I am disregarding it in favour of using my senses.

Lees Butthair

Life with Lee remains interesting and tiring for all of us! Having a Border Collie as a pet is certainly a large life decision. But it’s one that I know is a correct one for me. In addition to helping out with the animals, Lee “encouraged” me to finally go meet the neighbors in addition to meeting 2 future clients for his stud services. How’s that for social and a hard worker!

(On a sidenote, the picture above is of Lee’s butt. His pointy hairs kept reminding me of something but I couldn’t put my finger on it… And then I saw it! It’s Wolverine’s hair style! Do you see it too?)

Keelin

I finally got a good shot of Keelin. She remains elusive to the touch though, quite a shy one indeed.

Peebs at 3 months

Peebs’ horns are growing in pretty good so far. Volcano God’s and Price’s are growing better though. This beastly lamb is almost as large as his mother already at just over 3 months old. Crazy.

Spinning Dog Fur

Lees Undercoat

Anyone who owns a dog or cat can attest to the above picture – the results of a simple combing session add up quickly. This is Lee’s undercoat. It’s very much warm and soft, in fact it’s quite like Angora fiber. I’d say it’s certainly skin soft (as in you could wear this next to your skin without irritation). Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to use this?

Lees Yarn

Guess what! There is a way! The spinner in me noticed it very quickly. I could not resist pulling out my wheel and giving this a spin – no processing or cleaning or combing, just raw off the brush. The result – a medium strength woolen yarn, only about 5 meters or so but I estimate Lee has more undercoat left on him, possibly enough to get up to 10 meters. From an animal who is not a fiber animal primarily, what a nice surprise!

Lee with his Yarn

Here’s Lee posing with his wool-wound yarn. Yes that is the color of my living room. I love it!

I will be using this yarn to make Lee a little hat. I wanted it to have a certain amount of color in the yarn though to differentiate it from Lee himself, so I dyed it with some Queen Anne’s Lace dyestock. We have tons of wild dye plants growing on the farm so I applied my knowledge learned last year and dyed Lee’s yarn. Now it is a weird sickly browny gold thing (Queen Anne’s Lace makes a greeny yellow color) but I kinda like it. It will certainly look different from Lee!

Happy Sunday to You!

Happy Sunday to everyone. A day of rest? Not here on the farm. We are always going, doing something or another.

Today we have some more cream-style corn to bag and freeze up, which was prepared by yours truly last night. Guess what will be served at Christmas time, haha! Fresher than anything you could find in the store, and with that truly delicious local Ontario taste, it will be a much appreciated jolt back to summer during the wintertime.

I also have a very important mission to do, and that is to find my camera battery charger. You see, it’s been kinda misplaced since the move back in March. I have been using my mom’s gorgeous Nikon D70s in lieu of my Canon SD1100IS – anyone who knows cameras can tell that the Nikon gives you much more control over the shot size and focus with its interchangeable lenses. Then again my Canon can record movies, and I’ve been meaning to share with you Lee’s funny bouncing through the wilderness. The choice was made for me when my mom rightfully reclaimed her camera to go capture some of summer’s beauty, so the hunt is on for my battery charger. Wish me luck!

Afterwards it’s back outside to care for the animals and take Lee for a stroll around. Lee has been quite helpful in rounding up the turkeys when it’s time for them to be locked up for the night. And as I mentioned in my last post, he’s also helpful in wrangling the goats when they try to escape – which I can gladly say has not happened since Lee chased them that time! Also I no longer have to worry about ducklings being under my car, Lee makes sure they are all far away. Talk about a helpful dog. You should see it when he’s watching the turkeys though – he takes his job seriously! I’ve never seen him more focused than when he’s staring down a turkey.

One thing we’ve discovered during our walks is that we have a lot of wildflowers that can be used for dyeing. Queen Anne’s Lace makes a neat green/yellow, Purple Loosestrife makes purples/greens/blacks, goldenrod makes gold – and all three of these are more perennial weeds than flowers. The more I look around, the more flowers I see and the more I will have to photo and share with my Pandateers who are so excellent at identifying plants!

Animal Update

I’ve been posting a lot about my growing veggies, but what about my growing animals?

The sheep are all enjoying the great weather and great pasture. Our new additions (Keelin, Macaroon, and Rolo) have all fit in perfectly. Macaroon is surprisingly bold – she is the ewe who is staring down Lee and stomping her feet at him, before going in for a sniff. Rolo is bold as well, but she’s more like Macaroon’s wing-girl. Keelin remains best friends with Price. I have yet to pet either of the two. I will be remedying this in the coming days!

The turkeys are loving it in the garden. They patrol around all day, eating bugs and greens. They are not eating my growing beans and peas and for that I am very glad! Plus all their walking helps keep the paths tame. I have finally cleaned out the basement and let me tell you, I have learned that I will never be doing that again- it’s brooder boxes and a brooder shack outdoors from this point on. But hey, we all do silly things from time to time.  Considering I’ll never be raising such a small number of birds from this point out, it wouldn’t be feasible doing it any other time but this year.

The chickens completely failed at raising any babies so far. The ducks are completely succeeding. Ducks win. Hands down.

Speaking of the ducks, you should see them now! They are all brown-chested with little bum feathers. They wiggle them around when they’re happy. Cutest thing in the world next to the “I’m wet” T-rex arm shaking. I expect they will be adorable when they start learning how to fly! Oh, Tom and I caught a really neat duck behaviour – a duckling fight. We think it was some dominance issue. They were charging into each other with their chests and wrapping around with their necks to nibble on each other’s arms. Eventually mom came over and broke things up, but not until after the ducklings had fought in the pool for a bit – maybe mom knows that cooler heads prevail?

Ruby might be finding a new home in September. There is a farm outside of Kanata who is interested in a mentor goat. That is one thing I’ve learned Ruby is great at, goat mentoring – she’s a good foster mom. But you have to keep an eye on her, else she’ll teach the younguns how to escape and cross the road. With proper fencing though she will be a great leader for raising other goats. I have come to respect her good temperament on a leash – it is nice having an animal come where you want it to go!

Nothing new is with Spirit. She is enjoying her haircut, and was puzzled by Lee’s presence, but now she’s back to her ho-hum style of life. She warned off more coyotes last night. She’s easily made her value known on this farm and has long since recouped her cost. I don’t know how many lambs I would have buried this year had it not been for her presence.

Everything is new with Lee! He is doing mighty fine considering he was a country dog. We went into Rockland today for supplies and he got to go into a local pet store, where we found his #1 favorite toy – the Kong Extreme rubber bouncy chew toy. You can put snacks into it! Lee loves to chase it around because it bounces around unpredictably. He’s a bit bored with his rope and ball, it’s too predictable, but the Kong he could play with all day. And surprise surprise, Lee already has a gist of the “drop” command, plus I’ve been working on his consistency in returning the toys to me (basically fetching without the command yet). Each day I’m learning how to read him a bit more, I can tell what sort of mood he’s in and that lets me provide for him better; in return he remains comfortable and content with his position as Gamma Dog and focuses on being a productive pack member who obeys what Alpha and Beta say. He is one heck of a smart cookie though – when I look into his eyes I kinda get the feeling like he’s a person stuck in a dog’s body. Then he does a dog thing like licking his butthole and I’m brought right back to reality! And then he does an awesome dog thing like rounding up the goat kiddies and making them go right back through the fence they waltzed through a second ago, saving me much time and running around. Way to go boy!

My Sweet Border Collie

Lee

Yes, that’s a little heart-shaped ID tag. Doesn’t he look like such a Romeo with it on!

He will be requiring a very strong hand in training. He is just so excited at being on my new farm with all the new animals that when he’s outdoors he can get caught up in himself. But boy does he ever love stalking the turkeys! He’ll watch them all day long if I let him. Which is very good, it helps to tire him out a bit. No wonder why the dog sport Flyball is so popular with this breed – they have a seemingly endless energy tank! However I’m getting good at finding ways to tire him out. Last night he was completely ready for bedtime, yawning and snuggling into my arm. He makes the cutest sigh when he relaxes before nodding off.

I think he will make a really great partner here on the farm.