Friday, December 18, 2009

Almost Christmas

I am 3 months behind in blogging. It's what happens when you have sheep festivals and dog festivals and church volunteer obligations. And life. Wow, so much has gone on. First, today brought one dear sweet barn cat, Tootsie showed up. She goes AWOL for very long periods of time (longest was about 9 months we figured). She is quite vocal and friendly so while she may actually come home to the barn each night, she's not been there in the mornings or any other time of day. We once caught her at a truck machinery spot about 1/4 mile away. We saw what we THOUGHT was her and turned the car around and it looked like her, but she would not come up to me. That was reassuring in and of itself tho as I knew she was still alive and had not become coyote appetizer. But that was months ago. Each time we drive by that place, we look for her. And this morning she was greeting me in the barn and let me hug and cuddle her for a long time. Just like the prodigal son. Yet as I left the barn to come inside, I realized that it might be the last time I see her. Such is life with barn cats.

Updates: Early October we hit the road in the RV to Sun Valley Idaho for the annual Trailing of the Sheep. It's a sheep festival which celebrates the winter migration of flocks and re-enacts the path that sheep farmers have taken for many decades. Our dog club participates and every other year it is the site of our annual meeting. This year we took Basha and Tesia (4 month old puppies at the time) plus Tiger Lily the rat dog. They did quite well never having traveled like that. Besides the aromatic scents throughout the RV often, traveling with puppies was easier than I would have guessed. They were good girls.

Seeing everyone in Idaho was just great. I also got to hook up with 2 dogs I had previously owned....Cubby and Buddy. Cubby was my dog from a litter of Tatra Mixes born in 2006 by Brandy (owned by Andrew Tokarz) and Quincy my male Tatra. Cubby was the puppy who from day one would lay on his back in my hand, just totally relaxed. When I needed to place Buddy in a good home that could care for him (in 2008) due to hip dysplasia, I sent Cubby along too. It was the right thing to do, they were BFF. I could not separate them. They are now owned by a loving, caring couple in Oregon who take them with to work as therapy dogs. Here's a picture of me and Cubby this October in Idaho. What a delight to see him again.
The trip was also one of the saddest big boy Quincy, died at home while we were away. Unexplained, unexpected. Best guess is that he had a fatal arrythmia, and went very quickly. Still difficult many days realizing he's not here by my side protecting me. I always felt so safe with him. Even with other dogs in the house, it's not the same. I trusted him in a very real way. I have yet to establish that trust of totally guarding me in the same way with the girls left in the house. Here's one of the last pictures we took of him, joining us on our trip to MN for the Twin Cities Polish Festival in August.
Life moves on. Been very busy since that trip to Idaho. We left Tesia with club members when we left Idaho. She had been the puppy I picked out for my new house dog. Good, solid temperament, all around nice girl. Basha came back to me after placing her at 8 weeks. The new owner realized having a rambunctious puppy was not all it's cracked up to be. Living with Basha was easy enough but she knew me and responded well to me. So I decided if our friends wanted one of the puppies, Tesia would be the easiest to adjust and she'd do well anywhere. Wasn't quite so sure with Basha. So that was a bit melancholy leaving Tesia behind but I know she's doing well and keeping those new owners on their toes.

All puppies are large.....I have not weighed my 3 recently but my guess is that they're close to 70 lbs. and very well proportioned. They have good correct coats and each has a slightly different look. Basha is drop dead gorgeous in her face. She's the smallest of my 3 but still a good sized girl. Margita (Gita) is very large and has a blockier face. She's out with Gracie and the ewes. Dunaj Jr. (doon-eye) is also very handsome and lives with the rams out front. He was way too frisky with the small ram lambs from this past year and so putting him out with the big boys solved that problem immediately. Even tho Shetlands are small sheep, the rams are tough enough not to take any bad behavior from a puppy, despite the fact that the puppy is as big as they are.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my husband built me a hay feeder in the barn, 24 ft. long! This is awesome. I have always fed on the ground and while it was not the best, it was just what I did. But I never liked this method. Now I've got a place where all my ewes can feed up off the ground and stay cleaner and drier. The ones outside (rams in front, one small breeding group out back) still eat off the ground, but that will be a project for 2010. Look at the great job he did in building this in one day. It's very nice. Even the smallest ewe lambs from 2009 just put their front feet in and all can reach. So all but the tiniest of lambs can feed from here. It's got a nice ledge on the bottom also for grain should I want to feed the girls that. Right now I have the larger breeding group of 10 ewes in here. This is all I can do for today. Christmas is fast approaching. Thought I was finished shopping but realized last night I have one more GC to get. We are enjoying watching our 2 grandchildren grow and thrive. They are delights. It just makes you smile to see them. Sorry, I don't post pictures of the kids on the internet. But trust me, they are priceless.
We have so many blessings to be thankful for; our family, our friends, our faith. Here's hoping you all enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2010! I'll try to be back soon :)