Friday, October 19, 2007

Rainy Day Ruminations - Drought Facts

Goats hate the rain. My sheep, horses and geese will stand out in the middle of the pasture soaking wet (as long as it's not windy) - but one drop, and the fainting goats are in their barns or shelters.

This is our first rain in a month. The long term drought indicator puts us in D2, our area rain total for 2007 according to NOA is 22.87 inches, which is 9.22 inches low for the year.

Observations are dry stream beds, dry pond, lots of dust and thirsty critters! We are watering everyone now out of the wells, instead of using the normally generous natural springs that run through the property.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LGD Follies or 'Farming By the Moon'

This morning starts with one of our LGD's going on what we have termed 'Walkabout'. He is half Anatolian and half Pyrenees, and sometimes that Anatolian need to walk MILES, not just acres, takes over.

I know his 'route' so I watched him from one of our hillsides as he marked his way down to the neighbor's and checked their barn and flocks...and knew he'd be up over the hill paroling the hay field afterwards.

Great job, paroling over 15 miles of fence line. But heck, what about those goats and chickens back in the OTHER pastures? I guess he assumed his partner would take care of them while he went for a jog?

He'll be back in training again, as it mostly has 'stuck' but he seems to like to squeeze through our front gate.

And so the adventure begins.

Goats making me wish I had a herding dog that wasn't too aggressive (found our Giant Schnauzer is too harsh with the fainters), my normally standoffish gelding has to be in our faces while we are replacing a gate. Can't find the cat. Other LGD ate all of this morning's eggs my hens work so hard at producing.

So I was perusing the September/October issue of 'sheep!' magazine, and was reminded me of the lunar activity of animals. I have worked with them in the past when working with their normal activity patterns - maybe time to freshen up on the logistics?

sheep! reads
October 11-18 Moon Above-Afternoons Moon Below-Midnight to Dawn
Basically, this means that the moon is above the continental US during the afternoons and below midnight to dawn. Animals are supposed to be most active at these times. The lunar activity also exists during the 'below' period, but not as strong.

HMM so much for the morning when they weren't supposed to be influenced by the moon!!!

Oh, yah, LGD is a livestock guardian dog!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Notes for Fiber Sheep Show

New things I've learned this week - thanks to Oogie McGuire and others from her black welsh yahoo list -

  • DO NOT wash your sheep for a fiber show. At most, use a cloth and water to wipe dust off.
  • DO NOT card your sheep out
  • DO use a cut side of an onion to shine hooves and horns without getting oils in the fleece
  • DO cover your sheep
  • Burrs come out fairly easily when crushed!
More soon as I prepare two of our sheep for the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, October 27th and 28th in Berryville VA. You can view the information on the show here.