Why We Need Guardian Dogs

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This isn’t a stray dog in our front yard.  It’s a coyote.  A primarily nocturnal predator out for a stroll the middle of the day.  Coyotes are the most abundant livestock predators in North America, causing the majority of sheep, goat and cattle losses.  Our neighbor lost several sheep to coyote attacks just this past week.  This one’s a little too close for comfort.

Mine.

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Every time a lamb is born on our farm, Jenna claims it as her own.   She gives it her border collie laser focus.  I’m certain she would stay out there all day if we let her.   The lamb, of course, is more interested in meeting the chickens.

And So It Begins

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When we went out to feed this morning, we were greeted by our first lamb of the year!  Kat had a little boy, isn’t he cute?  They’re both doing really well.  :-)

Hibernating

Three plus raised beds of garlic is what we planted last October.  The bunnies thankfully leave it alone, even though there’s not much else around to eat in the Winter.  The individual cloves sprout greens then it kind of goes dormant during the cold weather.  In May we’ll be harvesting scapes then digging up the heads in June/July.  We’re still using garlic from last Summer’s harvest. I sliced some really thin then put it in the dehydrator. After a quick whirl in a food processor, homemade garlic powder. Tasty!

A Curious Sheep

Beatrice comes in for a close-up.  If she’s nearby when I come into the pasture, she always stops by to say hello.  She’s my favorite.  She’s friendly and cute and likes to smell my face.  I like to smell hers, too.  :-)

Stunning

Jessica’s shaggy hair is magnificent.  Who knew a cow’s coat could be so lovely?  I’d brush it if she’d let me.

Feeding Frenzy

Feeding time for the sheep is in the morning.  We’ve got them trained to come to a small fenced in enclosure for their daily grain ration.   They’ve got two feeding troughs so there’s enough room for everyone to get in there and get their share.   Sheep aren’t as friendly (or annoying) as goats so having them all in one place gives us a chance to handle them when needed.  It looks like someone’s carrying twins!

Snorkeling on the Farm

Hermione can’t eat just the top of the hay, she’s mining for tasty morsels.  The hay ring doesn’t keep the goats or sheep out (or evidently our cow, either) but it reduces wasted hay.  I wonder if she’s holding her breath under there?   Her hiney is just begging for a spanking!

A Good Boy

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We spent three years commuting between our place in central North Carolina to the farm on weekends.  During that time, we built the greenhouse and hutch, fenced the pasture, got everything ready for eventually starting our farm.  Less than a week after we moved here full time, we had sheep delivered.  Three of them.  That morning, we drove to Tennessee to pick up two Great Pyrenees (a brother and sister pair) to guard them.  Zeus and Xena came to us from a Tennessee Fainting Goat farm that was downsizing. We put them in the little barn behind a barricade while we waited for the sheep to arrive.  The sheep arrived with a champion herding border collie  in tow.  When our brand new dogs heard those sheep bleating they broke down their barricade, came tearing out of the barn and pinned that dog under the shepherd’s pickup truck.  What flashed in my brain at that instant was great, we’ve owned these dogs for like an hour and they’ve just killed some famous dog – I wonder what that’s going to cost us.  Thankfully, he was OK.  It marked a very exciting start to our farming adventure!   Zeus passed away this weekend.  He was a beautiful, sweet, friendly good boy who knew his job and did it well.  Rest in peace, Zeus.  You will be missed.

 

Red Roosters

Cranberry orange vodka slushies, aka Red Roosters, are a staple in our house this time of year.  They’re super simple, just three ingredients:

A bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail (cheap store brands just don’t work for this, I think they probably have a lot of water in them)

Frozen orange juice concentrate (the large one, they come in two sizes)

Vodka

Grab a container with a lid that’s freezer safe.  I always use some sort of plastic for this recipe, like Tupperware.  Dump in the entire container of cranberry juice into your container then add the frozen OJ concentrate.  You may want to let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes, that will help with mixing the OJ in.  Depending on how strong you want it, fill the emptied frozen OJ can from 1/2 to completely full with vodka.  Mix everything together well then put a lid on it and  pop it in the freezer for overnight.  The next day, scoop it into glasses and serve it with a spoon.  The alcohol keeps the juice from freezing solid.  It comes out like shaved ice and is super yummy.

 

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