Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meet Chloe and Balloo - the new LGD's

Since losing our 1/2 Pyrenese 1/2 sneaky neighbor dog male guard dog recently, I've been worried about simply raising lambs for coyote bait. In praying about what to do and not wanting to spend money on a guard dog that could potentially experience the same fate, I began looking at craigslist postings for potential replacement guard dogs instead of ONE guard dog.

In just a few days time, these were available and free. So far we've lost two chickens to the larger male 1yo's curiosity and I may have to pen my chickens back in the garden coop to keep them safe. So far so good though as the female isn't interested in the chickens at all and is routinely patrolling the exterior fenceline. While I would like for the dogs to stay with the sheep, they're unrelated and young, so I should be able to get some good pups that will be raised with our sheep and chickens. These dogs have such a wonderful peaceful presence and have settled in with our bordercollie/aussie and tiny Cricket already nicely. Cricket is daunted by their size, and tucks her tail and stays out of their way for the most part.
Chloe is too thin, looking like she recently had pups (the man we got her from said she'd been with his sheep and they'd let her raise on litter of pups which they sold), so I picked up some drumsticks and am transitioning them to a raw diet. Balloo basically inhaled his first 2 drumsticks without chewing, Chloe acted like she'd never had a raw meal and was quite cautious at first, but then was happy for seconds. Balloo came covered in cockleburs to the point I'm going to have to give him a haircut to clean him up and keep him from skin issues. I tried picking some of them out, but they're too numerous and matted in spots. Balloo wants to herd the sheep back into the barn, so for now the dogs are fenced OUT of the sheep's pasture. Chloe is a houdini and will climb, dig under, or simply go through any openings in a gate or fence. Balloo's head is too big and not as bright, but learning quickly from her. We attempted penning them at night in a cattle panel area in the barn till they knew this was their new home, it was merely a suggestion to her. She's out there watching everything, laying where she can eye my daughter working in the garden, and the sheep in the pasture and beyond. Every so often she gets up and they both go round the property line again. Cool dogs, thank you Lord!

irises in bloom

My Grandma Jessie always had irises surrounding her yard, and those I brought with me from the old house have survived and multiplied nicely.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

weeding and mulching

We've lived here now almost 3 years and the things I planted have done well multiplying and growing. Since we had so much going on when we moved, I would simply stick a shovel in the sod, plant something, mulch around it and go on. I created some beautiful garden beds in this manner and now they're really filling in so there's not much open space in them. This makes it very easy to pluck something in without any chickens or dogs really knowing I've been there.

Today I was able to transplant 6 gorgeous Hopi red sunflowers to a new bed. If they're happy, pics will follow later. These sunflowers happily seeded themselves from last year, only I've decided that this year since they're so tall I want them down the hill closer to the larger summer garden instead of in the front yard. I'll probably let a few go ahead and grow in the front yard to the side, it's amazing to me how many are coming up freely.

I mulched the 4 earliest potato plants well and discovered lots of freebie sage babies coming up. Took 4 of the sage babies out and potted them up for transplanting elsewhere. DD#2 picked out some pink yarrow seeds, so I sowed a few of those in some pots and planted a few fennel seeds in pots also. Dill is coming up in abundance now, I can be seen grazing on it, walking onion, and parsley now, and if you see me doing this, pray with me that the dog hasn't been there since the last rain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homeschooling Musings

I haven't talked much lately about homeschooling because for us it became just a way of life quite a few years back. I thought some of you might enjoy a short "day in the life" post about this though. First, my early bird used to be our son, and the one sleeping in was the middle child. Now, that's flip-flopped and slightly bizarre as things are even more quiet in the morning now.

My son detests handwriting and that includes signing his name and dating math worksheets. He detests being laughed at even more though, but sometimes we just can't help it. This afternoon for example when I asked to inspect his math sheet, of course, it had no name and no date. I've tried to tell him that at the least he must know how to efficiently sign his name and write the date on things. He tried to tell us first "I can't figure out the calendar" then says "I'm not stupid." which promptly brought up belly laughs from his sister and myself....it might have worked as an excuse if he weren't almost 12. Even he had to laugh though when he realized how ridiculous that claim was just after attempting to claim he couldn't read a calendar.

Katie rather seemingly spontaneously got in the kitchen and started whipping up a cake to which I had to inquire "what's up with you in the kitchen?" Her response with a grin was "well, you said you would only give me a 'B' in home ec." laughter again from me. She's working on a high school transcript to turn in with her application to the computer/office skills program at the vo-tech and trying to earn a better grade. I even saw her doing math on her own again.

We're reading aloud from Around the World in 80 days and enjoying that together, finally traced the journey on the world map in the kitchen. Interesting thinking of travelling around the world using the ocean so much. This morning we had a morning 'shout a long' that really wasn't much shouting using some marvelous I Am confessions. This afternoon I picked up dd#2's very own violin from the music store, where they very kindly and affordably re-strung and tweaked things/rosined those knobs, and tuned it. This was really a fab bargain from ebay and I was scared it would sound like a bargain from ebay, but it actually sounds decent! It's beautiful, black, came with a nice case, brand new bow, and straps and chin rest too! DD#2 had taken lessons for a season or two on a borrowed violin, then gave it up for a bit and took painting lessons, and just recently decided she missed violin after we got the piano. Now we're set to attempt some piano/violin stuff, just as soon as I get that piano tuner back to fix the middle C that went quite sour shortly after he tuned it.

Some older friends of ours stopped by around lunch with some beautiful and tasty potato garlic bread, fresh green onions, and some beatiful red potatoes and garlic. They enjoyed walking out to the pasture to see all the baby lambs and seeing my flowers, roses, apple trees, and cherry trees in bloom. The cherry trees came from their garden, so it was nice for me to have them see the nicer one in full bloom right now. They took home a couple sage plants from my garden as sage really likes my garden and has multiplied nicely. My thyme has really taken off and is covering about 3sqft now! The mint would take the whole yard over if I let it. We've got our first large asparagus stalk up out there too.

Now on to the rest of the evening with a ham in the oven, bread dough to set out to rise for rolls, 2 to take in to TaeKwonDo practice, and I might just squeeze in an hour or two of knitting on these two at a time socks for dd#1's birthday that was back the end of Jan.

Sunday, April 4, 2010