Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Day of School

We had our first day of school and every year I always am going to be one of those prepared, together moms who lovingly take a picture of their children on the way to school.  Well guess what after 20 years of being a mom I still cannot take that all important first day of school picture.   This year I am doing Morning Duty and Lunch Duty for K, 1st and 2nd graders.  

On the way home from school I did take a picture of Onyx and the sheep. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


This morning I want to move the electric fence area.  So I have the incredibly bright idea and decide to put the sheep on the island in the middle of our pond.  I had a plan and didn’t tell my wonderful husband or kids what I was doing I was just going to do it.  That is probably my first mistake.  I go to the sheep enclosure and get my buddy Blackwell, put the halter on her and walk with her to the bridge (a long rickety section of metal scaffolding) and realize Blackwell is not going to cross the bridge on her own feet and she is too heavy for me to carry. 

 I tie her to the end of the bridge and go get my next sheep.  I put the halter on Dot and carry Marshmallow under my arm.  I don’t have enough hands to close the gate on the enclosure so I just push it closed with my foot.  Guess who caught up with me as I reached the bridge? Yes, the sheep that were supposed to stay in the enclosure.  My Wonderful Husband steps outside about this time and yells to me to see if I need help.  Thank You God!  While he comes down the hill, I carry Marshmallow across the bridge, then Dot.  Supportive Husband is standing next to Blackwell asking me what my plan is now.  

I said for you to carry Blackwell across the bridge – for some reason he didn’t think this was the best idea I ever had but he did it anyway.  Then we still have two sheep we need to catch, Maxwell we catch pretty easily and get her onto the island but Deer is still wandering around the pond wishing he was with his friends who are eating happily on the island.  She will not let us catch her.  

The sheep on the island are so happy that they stop answering Deer's bleats for company.  Deer ends up spending the day with our cow who can not escape her.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DMV and Broken Fences 2

We have had so much luck with the electric fencing, we decided to buy more sturdier stuff so we can have our cow and the horse we are taking care of in it.  It came the night my husband and oldest son had a meeting but I decided to try to put it up with just my youngest 2 kids: Warrior Boy and Pre-Teen Girl.  After a few days (or maybe only hours or just VERY long minutes), a few hundred “Warrior Boy, DROP THE STICK AND HOLD THIS”, and  several “Yes Pre-Teen you need to stay and help with this”.  We have about 50 feet of the fencing up and my Wonderful Husband and Helpful Son arrive home and jump into the excitement of putting up the new fence.  20 minutes later we have the rest of the fencing up and wisely decide to wait until the morning to bring Onyx and Magic into the area. 
We decide an above ground pool ladder is a good way of getting into the area without getting shocked.

I have an appointment with the DMV today so we get up move the sheep into their pasture area.  Have breakfast take care of the rest of the animals and rush to the DMV.  The parking lot is empty….something must be wrong.  The computers are down they cannot do anything even give me an appointment.  UGG

I go home and ease my frustration with a bowl of Java Chip Ice Cream and we decide to put the horse and cow into the new electric enclosure.  Everything goes smoothly for a few minutes and  Helpful Son says he wants to go to the house for a few minutes.  didn't feel right about having him go but couldn't think of a reason so I let him go.  Magic and Onyx are happily eating the tall grasses until Son gets out of sight.  Then Magic, the horse we are taking care of, starts getting stressed.  I get him calmed down and then for no apparent reason Magic starts running.  Magic runs around me twice and takes off running through the fence.  Luckily he didn't get tangled in the netting or hurt. We open up the gate into the pasture Magic is used to being in with standard old fencing and he runs into it.  Onyx starts to follow Magic then looks at the tall grass she is standing in and happily starts eating again.  

 The first 150 feet of fencing only has about 3 posts left standing, 50 feet of the fencing is destroyed, another 40 more feet are damaged but we can repair it.  Wonderful Daughter and her boyfriend call to see if they should bring home pizza for dinner, we work on repairing the net fencing until dark.  The cow and sheep are happy, Magic is not hurt, I have a lot to be thankful for.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cats and Sheep

 There are lots of stories out there about the differences between cats and dogs.  Most are awesome and true.  I thought I would share my experiences with the differences between cats and sheep.     

We have had  3 of our sheep  a few weeks and 2 for 6 weeks.  In the morning we let them out into whatever area we have fenced off and at night we move them back into the enclosure that we hope is coyote proof.  We have moved the paths they take so every day has not been the same.  Most evenings the sheep happily go from the weed filled pasture into the enclosure just with me opening the gates and one or two of them run around the enclosure 2 times then they run in happily.  We give them a little corn and hay and they spend the night.  In the morning they happily go back into the electric fence area and eat all the weeds. 

We have had our older cats 3 years.  Every night, we bring in the cats in, in the morning we try to put them out unless it is raining.  At night the cats get their food AFTER they come in.  The cats have the choice of not just the people beds but also they have also taken over our dog’s bed.  They should be happy about coming in but being cats they circle me just outside of my reach.  They look at me and taunt me with their sweet meows, roll over for me to scratch their tummy and as soon as I bend over they run away.  They are coming in for dinner not to be tortured but every night my children, husband, and I open the door 8 times to get 4 cats into my house. 

  In the morning our Princess Cling sits at the door crying to go out so we get up and open the door and she puts her nose in the air walks away and swats the dog’s nose. 
 Our cats and sheep have basically the same schedule.  The sheep figured out what to do in an average of 3 days the cats just enjoy proving we will open the doors for them over and over again.  Maybe we are the trained ones.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Solar Charger

 We have been messing with the solar charger and trying to figure out why it works part time then seems to stop for no reason.  I emailed the company we ordered it from on Sunday morning and to my surprise by Sunday afternoon I had a response.  Not one that worked but still a response.  Monday and Tuesday we go back and forth between email and phone calls and on Wednesday I actually talk to the person who can help me the most.  It turns out, I live in an area that is too sunny for my solar charger.  It is overheating and shutting itself off.  The solution it seems it to cover part of the solar panels.  It sounds crazy to me but we have a piece of cardboard covering ½ of the solar panels and it has worked for days without any problems.  I am very impressed with the company and their quick response both in email and on the phone.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The DMV and Broken Fences

I drop 1 child off at Sports Camp, one child off at Band Camp, had bring one child with a limp to the DMV with me.  IT’S HOT! The line is out the door.  After being in line for an hour and 5 minutes we get to the reception desk and I get a phone call.  My oldest Daughter is panicked, dressed for work, and the sheep are tangled in the fence!  I am more than 30 minutes away from her if I leave the DMV NOW.  I have her call her sister for help.  Together they untangle the sheep, put the fence back up and she goes on her way to work.  Hours later I leave the DMV with an appointment to come back later, go home and check the fence.  It isn’t working!  I wiggle the connections and fuss with the solar charger and it starts working again.  Then a few hours later I check it, it has stopped working again.  This time I wiggle the connections nothing happens until I open the lid all the way so the solar part is in the shade.  I don’t understand much about electricity but this doesn’t make sense.  I tell my  husband and he agrees it doesn’t make sense and every time he checks it everything is fine.  This is exactly what happens when I think something is wrong with the car!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Lambs

The fencing is amazing and working wonderfully.  Do we relax?  
Do we enjoy life? Do we take a trip to the beach?  NO!  We do not!  

We decide to buy 3 more Shetland Sheep.  We call to meet with Dianne a local breeder of Heritage Animals that I have been speaking too.  We do not own a trailer yet so while we are sitting discussing who to ask if we can borrow their trailer a friend calls to say he knows someone who a trailer has been abandoned in front of their house and they contacted the police but nothing has been done and they want it GONE.  So we go to pick it up instead of borrowing one – it has no license plate and we do not want to drive it so we finally end up at the breeders without a trailer.  We learn a lot and have a wonderful visit with all the Heritage Animals.  My 3 youngest children pick out 3 lambs.  These will be our first registered sheep. 

The next day we go pick up the lambs and put them in our dog crate.  We have a big dog so all 3 fit easily.  We put the new sheep,


 Maxwell, and Dot
 into the new area enclosed by the electric fence.  

Deer is very bossy to the new sheep she pushes them around when they walk in front of her or eat a weed near her.  Blackwell seems to enjoy them. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Electric Fence 2

I calm my daughter down and send her up to the house, she has had enough of sheep and sun for the day.   Thankfully I have my cell phone on me and call to ask Hyper Boy to come down quickly.  My youngest son is very energetic but when animals are in danger he calms down and gets helpful especially if he gets to hold a stick!  After a few minutes Ninja Animal Warrior and I catch Blackwell put the halter on her and Juanita Deer follows nicely.  Warrior Boy pays attention to the sheep keeping them from running away  while I set the fence back up and hook up the solar panel.  It works beautifully!  Sheep are eating in their new area happily.  

Electric Fencing 1

The electric net fencing came in today! 
  The instructions say 1 person can put 100 feet of it up in 10 minutes.  This may be true IF you live some were with ground that is not rock hard and know what you are doing.  My husband and oldest son are gone at camp until late this morning and I had the bright idea that the girls and I would put the fence up to surprise my boys.  

An hour and a half later (pretty good timing in my opinion)we get 164 feet of fence up.  We put the sheep in the enclosure and tell older daughter she can be done.  Then  I ask youngest daughter to go to the other side of the fenced area and make sure they don’t stick their head in while I finish hooking it up and turn on the power. 
  Well one of the sheep sticks her head through the fence and Daughter SCREAMS at it.  Sheep bolts taking 75 feet of fencing with her getting it all tangled in bushes weeds and herself.  I try to tell daughter to calm down but she will not stop screaming.  Finally I get my child and the ewe calmed down, untangled the ewe from the fence, and fence untangled from weeds and brush we are hoping the sheep will eat.  I give daughter a stick and ask her to stand in about a 4 foot space that I think the sheep will try to get through while I start putting the posts back in.  The mischievous sheep tries to get around daughter and daughter screams and runs into the area we are enclosing scaring the good sheep out following the mischievous sheep.  Now I have 75 feet of fence down, 2 sheep running away from me, and daughter screaming.  ….

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


  We have Juanita Deer and Blackwell.   They spend days in the pasture with our Lowland Angus and nights in the enclosure we put together.  We had the sheep 2 days and they were avoiding us moving them to the enclosure.  Blackwell decided to dive under our cow for safety. 

  Now this might be a good plan with a full sized cow but our cow is only 36 inches tall at the tallest and only about 14 inches between her belly and the ground.  Not enough room for a sheep to dive under.  Sheep freaking out diving under/into our cows belly and cow freaking out at this creature slamming into her – some how the silly sheep ended up with a cut leg.  We though t it would heal on its own and didn’t do anything the first couple days.  

Then it started swelling so every night and morning I have been soaking it trying to get the worst of the stickers, hay, mud, and poop off of it then I spray it with an antibiotic spray that the feed store told me worked wonders.  Sounds easy right?  Well let me tell you a 70 lb sheep can really buck you.  Last night I looked up to tell the youngest children to calm down while trying to hold the foot in the bucket and boy did she know it and up Blackwell leapt and flipped both of us over I didn’t want to land on her so tried to spin onto my side and ended up landing on my hip and wrist.  Tonight I was much more careful so according to my lovely husband, daughter, and two of her friends it looked like Blackwell and I were dancing.  I asked why they didn’t come help me and they said I looked like I was having too much fun.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Our Escapee

Juanita Deer, we call her Deer,
 has found several holes in our fences that she will either crawl under or jump through.  Blackwell either likes the safety of being with the larger animals or doesn’t have Deer’s sense of adventure.  Deer loves eating baby tumble weeds we have growing along our driveway but will not wander too far from Blackwell.  Every morning and evening we try to put a lead rope halter on the sheep and lead them from the enclosure to the pasture and back.  Blackwell seems to enjoy walking next to us on the lead.  If we get Deer on the rope she fights and frets walks on her knees and is a royal pain.  2 days ago I decided to just let her follow us and see what would happen.  Blackwell leans her head against us to have behind her ears scratched while we walk and Deer happily munches away and scampers around us.  The problem is with Blackwell she also head-butts you  if she is unhappy with you.  So far I have not found a way to tell if she is going to lean her head against you for a scratch or going to but you.  
My darling husband and I have been trying what to do to control the weeds on our property.  We had been tossing the idea of raising sheep around for a while.  I had picked out a breed that seemed would work for us but I wasn’t having much luck finding them.  He went on Craig’s List and read an ad for Shetland Sheep that said “sweet sheep that like people and wag their tails when they are pet.”  He decided they were the sheep for us.  5 hours later we were back home with 4 sheep.  We put them in our pasture with a neighbor’s horse and our miniature cow.  Immediately the horse started chasing them. 

Our cow was not sure how to react to the sheep but she was very thankful the horse had someone else to tease.  We ended up taking the horse out of that pasture because he was just having too much fun tormenting the sheep and went to bed thinking life was good. 

I got up with the sun the next morning and took our dog on an early morning walk to check the sheep.  At first we only see 2 as we walk around the pasture I find the third sheep huddled up not eating happily like the other two but still do not see the 4th – until I get around the bottom of the pasture I see a lump that shouldn’t be in the pasture.  I take chicken-dog home to his crate and find a wheelbarrow and shovel to help me deal with the dead sheep.  Hoping I will be able to take care of it before the children wake up.   Walking back to the pasture I see a neighbor up and let him know about the sheep.  As I am taking care of the dead sheep I look up and occasionally see a coyote watching me or the surviving sheep at one point one starts into the pasture following me and thankfully the neighbor shoots his gun missing the coyote but it scared the coyote off. 

Later that day, we finish making a coyote proof sheep enclosure that will make do until we come up with a better one.  My darling husband goes off to the hardware store to see if he can find some part we need and #2 daughter, her friend, number 1 son, his friend, youngest daughter, youngest son, and I go out to try to catch the 3 sheep.  It takes all 7 of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off to catch the sheep.  I dive for a sheep and it jumps and we collide.  Finally 2 hours later we have the sheep in the enclosure medicine on the hurt sheep and go to the house to clean up.  That’s when I notice the hoof print bruise on my face.