Saturday 28 June 2014

Spit and Chaos

Okay, the spit came first, then it was calm and then all hell broke loose.  We were leaving for Europe and we were organised, as we usually are, and so the day began.

Cousin came on the Friday afternoon which I really appreciated as this allowed her to have a good introduction to Millie and to see what had changed since she had visited previously.  Millie was a bit timid as she usually is when meeting people for the first time.  However, armed with treats and then offering dinner was a way to her heart and by breakfast next morning all seemed just fine.

So, after serving Millie her breakfast, Cousin did the other few chores involved in beginning the day. I watched as Millie headed out to the field, slowly trotting, tail flapping high and happy, as she went around to see the flock.  A few minutes later the sheep had turned around and were headed back the way they came, slowly moving away from Millie.  The flock does this, avoiding Millie in a calm way as they are still not allowing her to hangout too closely.  Millie proceeded in the same direction, checking some scents and then I turned away.

I hung back and let Cousin do things, on hand in case there were questions that needed answering to see her through the next ten days of our planned absence.  As Cousin headed toward the stack of hay to get some for Dot and her family, Henrietta was in the way, with her back end near to the hay.  I said, “Oh, just push past her”, which Cousin proceeded to do.  I was just about to say that I had never been kicked by the llama when it happened.  As Cousin pushed past Henrietta’s rump, the llama quickly shifted that flexible neck back and around, up the side of Cousin’s head and blasted her with spit.  It was not a warning.  It was kind of yukky.

Well, now that Cousin was fully initiated we headed back to the house for breakfast.  While eating breakfast I turned to look out of the window to the barn.  The sheep were looking outward across the Front Field, ears up, all of them, on alert.  “Something’s wrong” I said and I leaped up and was out the door. 

I had barricaded the person gate to prevent Millie from going under it regularly and struggled with the big gate, but got through and ensured I replaced the cinder block so there would be no escapees.  I turned and ran up the hill.  Millie was on the far side of the barn, in front of her flock, barking.  She was protecting her flock, staying with them and between them and the intruder. 

As I looked across the field I saw the coyote at the fence line.  I yelled loudly at it.  I then turned around toward the house and hollered for hubby.  Later he told me he was in a sound sleep when he heard that.  A rude awakening I am sure.  And although I hollered for him, I had not articulated what I needed.  I turned back to the field and the coyote was gone.  Although I could see nothing I expected there was damage. 

I headed down the ridge and across the field, calling Millie to come with me.  She continued to bark and came along with me.  As I neared the fence I could see the lamb on the ground.  She was still breathing, its neck and abdomen opened up.

I turned back to the barn and moved away from the scene.  As hubby came closer I asked him to get his gun and shoot the lamb.  He did.  It took two shots.  The sound of the gunshot sent Millie into a spin.  She ran.  She ran to the barn, to the front of the field, to the back of the barn and then I think she ran into the woods.  She was gone.

We put the dead lamb in the wheelbarrow and put it in the Small Barn.  I telephoned the neighbours trying to find someone to bury the lamb today so that Cousin would not have to worry about this.  In the end we put it into a grain bag or two, tied it up tightly and the neighbours came by for it later in the day.

We discussed further strategy with Cousin.  This involved Millie and her return, which I expected since she had returned before after a fright.  And also we discussed perhaps keeping the sheep in later in the morning, walking the field in the morning, etc.  And then we had to get ready to go.

We showered, gathered our bags and packed the car.  We gave Cousin a hug and said to email.  And off we went.

At the airport restaurant I recounted the morning thus far to the waiter.  He was aghast.   I apologised.  He said not to apologise that yes a drink was likely in order (I passed) and that it was all very interesting.

It was an amazingly crazy way to begin the day, a day which ended after a lot of hours of travel, in Brussels, Belgium. 

Friday 20 June 2014

adventure, climbing and falling

When I named my blog "My New Farm Adventure" I really had no idea all of the adventures we would encounter.  I have been here now since about February 1st and there have been many experiences in the subsequent 4 plus months.

When my brother asked me the other day if - despite all of the adventures - I was happy, I responded a resounding "Yes!"  Yet, I cannot help but wonder why the events are so many.  Is it because I named my blog 'adventure'?  Does this word attract all of these events and drama?  Perhaps I need to focus on the positive peace of this venture.

For example, sitting on the veranda last night watching the sunset with hubby, I said, "Now, this is beautiful", and it was.  Every night the sunset views are really amazing.

Similarly, we went out on the weekend on the motorbikes.  It's not fun on our gravel road and we went out the long way so as to stop at the book store.  I know it sounds kind of weird but there is a bookstore at the end of our road, in sort of the middle of nowhere.  And the bookstore was recommended to hubby by another bookstore in Kingston.  So, off we went.

They were closed.  They have weird hours and it wasn't one of those weird hours.  So, we got back on the bikes and headed down the last one hundred meters of gravel road.  We turned onto the Thousand Island Parkway and headed east.

"Ah" I said aloud into my helmet visor, "This is it".  It was gorgeous.  The river was there, lovely and open.  The day was bright with clear blue and loads of rays.  The highway was good, with little traffic, a good solid road stretching out before us.  It really was a biker's paradise of a ride.

So, sunsets and bike rides are parts of the adventure but the blissful - full of bliss - pieces of this new life.  These are examples of the peaceful bits for which we made this move.


When hubby came in the other night it was pouring rain.  The winds had been high, the rain volume plentiful and he was looking kind of bundled up against the storm.  "You know you won't be going anywhere tomorrow" he said.

"Well, I have nothing planned" I said, not getting the gist of what he was really saying.

"Oh" he said "So, you don't know what the disaster of the day is"

"What?" I said.

And then he explained that there was a tree down across the driveway.  Thus, he could get to work yet I would not be going far at all.

It wasn't too late yet but no matter, I sent off an email.  As it turns out that email was helpful to get us chainsaw help first thing in the morning.  It was after hubby was well on his way.  Yet, I appreciated that by about eight o'clock I was able to get out of the driveway.

As the photo indicates, there really was no way to get out with the perfect fall of this tree.  A good bit of the main tree trunk landed on a fence post.  And so, only a bit of the fence was actually damaged.  Only one u-nail was needed to repair the fence. 

It took me about an hour to haul all of the branches from the lawn onto the growing pile across from the garage.  There were three large and heavy branches that I was unable to move.  Yes, we have more firewood!


Many of the gardens look neglected.  I have done so; neglected them, that is.  I have left them to see what is actually growing there.  And I have been kind of busy...  Really, though, there are lots of perennials growing in these gardens.  There are more desirable plants than weeds and that is a good thing.  Of the desirable plants, many are overgrown and need to be split.

There are dark pink and also white peonies.  This is the perfect setting for them.  I find peonies messy and they are in a place where messy is just fine - even in their extra messy overgrown state.

There are numerous types of hostas and each needs to be split.  There are anemones, which at first I thought were cranesbill but these are just fine.  They kind of take over, but again, in this environment, their taking over is not such a bad thing.  

Then there is Snow on the Mountain or Aegopodium.  A rather invasive species it fills up tough spots nicely.  It has taken over a bit here but again that's okay.

There are some shrubs that may not make it as they are not filling into full leaf.  Perhaps winter was too hard for them.  I have seen some iris and some jonquils but they too need splitting.  Oh, and there is holly which mostly appears dead.  However, I have seen one small very green branch so perhaps it can be saved.

And then there is the Clematis.  It too needs some attention.  Yet, the flowers are monstrous and lovely, a beautiful purple.  The undersides appear to have very wide white strips.  These are some of my favourite flower photos.

There is much much beauty here.  It is breathtaking almost all of the time.  And I am grateful for all of the adventures, the climbing clematis and even the falling tree.

Monday 16 June 2014

RIP Red and Red

Farm life includes lots of living and death too.  The living list is really long - birthing miracles; getting very hot and sweaty filling a wheelbarrow with prickly thistles; seedlings in the vegetable garden; turtles laying eggs; flowers - domestic and wild...

Anemones are plentiful here.  There are some in the garden, more along the roadside at the front of the property and then a patch near the entrance to the woods at the creek just beyond the house.  They are very pretty indeed.

While eating dinner last night I looked out and across the field behind the house a turtle was walking along.  When we finished eating Hubby grabbed the camera and took a few pics.  It must be another female Common Snapping Turtle searching for soft ground in which to lay her eggs.  Likely she came out of the pond behind the house.  

There are a number of peony plants bursting with colour right now.  The garden where they are located is chocker-block full of stuff that needs splitting.  I've just let things grow - including the weeds - in order to learn what is actually growing there.  There is so much in this garden that you hardly know the peonies are there.

And death.  It's a part of living, really.  At lambing time shepherds work hard to ensure life gets off to a good start and death is avoided.  And then there are the coyotes.  As the mailman said to me when I shared my coyote woes, "They have to eat too, every day". 

And so, one of my chickens died.  Putting the animals in one evening, I was short one chicken.  Oh, there she was down the hill, dawdling along.  I went to get her.  As I lifted her up, I thought she must weigh half of what the others weigh.  She wasn't very happy.  She seemed down, physically depressed.  I gently set her down in the barn and she slowly moved away from me. 

The next morning, she was off to the side, unlike a happily strutting chicken.  I carefully picked her up and carried her down to the Small Barn.  There I put her in a pen by herself, got her some water and food.  Here she could eat undisturbed, no pecking order to deal with.  I checked her later in the morning and she was in the corner.  I petted her and talked to her.  She had eaten some food.  I looked in a bit later and she was moving and panting.  After dinner when I looked in, she was gone, with no life left in the feathery body.

Interestingly, a number of her fellow chooks showed up to bid her off.  I dug a hole up behind the barn.  It needed to be deep enough not to attract the wild animals.  The spot was also chosen as near to Millie's watch.  When the hole was completed I went and got the feathery bundle and when I returned there were three chooks about the hole.  Now, granted they were very interested in the freshly dug worms and bugs but it was interesting none the less that they showed up when they did.

Our newly acquired Red tractor was just lovely - until recently.  Fortunately, we had not had it long and there was a limited warranty.  It was actually a consignment item at the shop where we purchased it and we were treated very nicely to a full refund. 

I had done about half the lawn one morning.  In the late afternoon I headed out to see if I could finish the rest before dinner.  I was half way up the lawn when there was a sudden clunking and the engine stopped. 

Whoa, I thought, where did that come from.  I quickly rehearsed in my mind the order of operations and had not done anything out of sequence.  I double checked things and tried to start the engine.  It purred, all seemed well, I cautiously engaged the mower and forward we went.  For about twenty feet when there was even louder clunking and the engine stopped.  Now it would not start.

It was Friday afternoon at four.  I called and they said they'd take care of it.  On Monday, we called.  On Tuesday they called and said it had slipped their mind, they were sorry, they'd be there first thing Wednesday.  At eight thirty Wednesday they called to check if it was too early to come and I said no this was fine, I was in the barn.  He arrived just after nine.

In moments he was flabbergasted and declared it had 'dropped a rod'.  He put it on the truck, said he'd get back to us, aware that we needed it yesterday to keep up with the lawn.

On Friday, we called for an update.  They said, it was unfortunate, almost unheard of that a Briggs and Stratton engine would blow a rod, that it cost half again more to replace the engine than what we paid to purchase it.  He said, "We all need to wash our hands of this and move on".  Our money was waiting for us to pick up.

And so, we are down a chicken and a tractor.  Both produced at a high level until their demise.  There was no noticeable decline in egg production and she had not been observed as ailing in any way.  The tractor too purred, was a delight to drive and seemed the right tool for our needs.

Rest In Peace my little red hen and little red tractor.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Photo Collections

I have been taking photos but now that hubby is home, well, he takes more photos with the honking big camera.  So, it is time to put this up here.  I have organised them into themes.  Enjoy!


A four year old Maremma, these dogs have historically guarded livestock in Italy.  It is pronounced "mare Emma" whereas I was saying 'mar Emma' which is incorrect.  She likely weighs less than one hundred pounds yet is solid.  She has lots of white hair, which is falling out of her in handfuls at the moment.

Here she is near the roadway.  Yes, that really is a happy smile.  Before coming to us she had no sheep to guard, no work to do.  And she was kept inside with another dog.  Someone came to visit every day or two to feed them and take them out for a walk.  I'm not sure how long life was like this for Millie.

She is always on duty.  She happily lives outside.  The sheep and llamas will go into the barn when it rains but she will stay outside.

Oh, an even bigger grin, here! The camera caught her!

This is the farthest corner of the Front Field.  When she first escaped she spent most of the day in this area.  Since then she hangs around the barn, unless she's checking out the fence lines for predators.


We have been really surprised to find several turtles in the pasture on hillsides away from the pond and low ground.  We figured out they are laying eggs.  The eggs are prone to predators for the first 2 weeks as a strong scent remains until then.  In 60 to 90 days there should be many little turtles scrambling around.  These turtles are distinctive to the Frontenac Arch Biosphere where we are located.

The Painted Turtle is not endangered.  We saw one of these out of the pond area.

The Common Snapping Turtle is listed as 'special concern'.  We saw 2 of these in just as many days.  Each time we see one it is larger than the last one we saw.

Note the dinosaur like tail and the moss on its shell!  These creatures do not reach sexual maturity until they are about five years of age.  This has an impact on the fragility of the species.

Even Millie found it interesting!  They look for soft ground and the turtle had located a sandy spot where the llamas often roll to rid themselves of insects.

This one was right up behind the barn having discovered the soft wood chips for digging a nest. 

I found it at about 6:30 in the morning and Mr. Photographer grabbed his equipment between his run and a shower.  This camera - and camera person - takes a much better photo!

This one is larger than the one we had seen the day before. 

What a great face to face shot!

We have marked the calendar for mid August and will be watching for hatchlings.


There is a special air about her.  She has this attitude that says, well, a bit of a B---- or Princess - that is, SPOILT Princess!

And she's playful.  Here she is with the lambs, just being a kid.  After all, she's just 3 years of age, a teeny-bopper in llama years, really!

This game we call Queen of the Castle.  She is on the highest possible spot.  She is strutting her stuff!  The posture is upright, erect, stiff, ears back, tail up - the Queen, indeed!

More posturing.  And she shows her derriere, more attitude, for sure!  Ears back, head cocked...


 He is adjusting well to the arrival of Millie.  Mostly this is because they each have their own side of the fence.  In addition, Beau dog really does not care to dominate.  He is pretty confident and well adjusted and just does not need to dominate.

He wants to play!

Each day on the farm - that his people bought for the sole purpose of amusing Beau-dog - there is something stinky in which to roll.

And he is a good boy.  He waits a lot.  We try to have predetermined ball playing times.  Mostly this works.  That is, the waiting and the PLAYING!

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Welcoming days for Millie

Millie is truly an absolute dear.  The transition to life here has not been without drama.  I am beginning to wonder if drama is attracted to me...  As I say, 'watch what you wish for!'

I met Millie at her farm where she had been for almost all of her four years.  She had been born on another local farm.  The owners of the present farm had recently sold off the sheep.  Millie and a border collie lived at the farm, alone, without animals or people.  Someone came to feed them every day or two.  The border collie had become cranky with no work to do and was known to snap at strangers.  Millie continued in her pleasant and friendly demeanour. 

There is a school of thought that LGD - livestock guardian dogs - know what to do and all you have to do is drop them into the livestock herd and you're all set.  What gets overlooked however with this perspective are the care basics.  In addition, often these dogs become almost feral and can be unmanageable.  So there are aspects of Millie that are quite challenging.

The sellers were an extra few days getting her to me as they could not get her into their vehicle.  She had never been in a vehicle.  And feeding her raw steak was not enough to convince her that getting into the vehicle would be good.  LGD's are very smart; independent and courageous.

When Millie arrived on the Saturday she was in a very large cage.  The cage was lifted down from the vehicle and into the Big Barn.  Then the doors were all closed.  I had already put Dot, Lucky and Lucy into a large pen in the Big Barn.  The idea was that Millie would bond with Dot and her family and the flock too would become accustomed to her presence in the pen in their midst.

Millie was let out of the cage and sniffed around the barn.  In a few minutes she came up behind me and stuck her head under my hand.  She knew what she wanted and she is very friendly.  I opened up the gate and sat in the pen, allowing Dot and her lambs out of the pen.  After about ten minutes Millie joined me in there. We got the sheep into the pen too and secured the gate.

I was informed that Millie was a jumper.  We arranged a few things to diminish that possibility.  We opened up the barn doors.  The sellers left.  I remained seated outside of Millie's pen for some time.  We talked.  I gave her treats.  Dot stamped her foot to ward off this intruder.  Lucky was kind of dopey.  He has been handled so much by people that he is losing most of his fear.  Lucy hid behind her mother.  The other sheep came in the barn and left quickly.

I checked back in the barn about every forty-five minutes.  Then an hour.  And longer each time.  I could see Millie from the vegetable garden.  I could here her.  I set up the baby monitor and could here the activity - when I turned on the receiver.

Millie took her job very seriously.  She was guarding Dot and her lambs.  When the other sheep reached to take Dot's hay through the gate mesh, Millie snarled or barked at them.  When a chicken got too close to Millie's food it got a good snarl.

Several times we heard Millie barking furiously in the night.  In the morning, something didn't seem right when I opened the door but it took me a few minutes to figure it out.  As the sheep were departing for the pasture I realised that Lucy had squeezed out through the bottom of the gate.  She bleated for her mother but followed the others out to pasture.  Millie stuck her nose through the opening as if indicating the problem.

Later, when Lucy returned to the barn I was able to lock her into the barn.  I was not having much success catching her so I opened the gate and let Dot and Millie and Lucky out into the larger area.

I had noticed that Millie did not soil her pen at all.  Millie explored the barn area and had a good long pee.  We talked.  We had pets.  She wants lots of loving.  She's fluffy.  She's big and white but really her white hair is streaked with gold.  It was not difficult to get her back into the pen.

I had a huge egg that would not fit into an egg carton.  I expect it was a double yolker and sure enough, it was.  I whisked it up and cooked it quickly in the microwave.  I added it to Millie's food.  She hadn't really eaten very much and this went down very well.

There was more barking during Sunday night.  As far as I could determine Millie was barking at coyote and other intruder activity.  This is her job.  The barking however is upsetting to the sheep.  I know they will become accustomed to this behaviour.

On Monday morning all seemed well.  I quickly did my morning routine.  I had to get some errands done.  On my return, as I drove up the road at about 11:15 I could see Millie in the field.  She was having a pee so I figured she had only just gotten out.  She must have jumped or climbed over that gate.  She was sniffing and checking the fence frequented by coyotes.  I ran from the car to Millie.  We talked, she was excited to be out and about.  She let me pet her but was cautious so as not to get 'caught'.

She headed to the field behind the house and I followed her.  I thought this was great since Millie was checking out all of the fence lines and I was interested in walking the fence lines with her.  And then she moved toward the electric fence.  "No!" I shouted "No, Millie".  She yelped!  A long yet sharp and loud yelp.  And she ran back up the pathway toward the Big Barn, down the hill on the other side and into the creek water.

I met hubby running from the house with a rifle, thinking we were under siege by coyotes.  "It's okay" I said.  "Everything is fine.  Millie must have jumped out.  Now she's gotten zapped by the fence and is freaked out".  He headed toward Millie while I went to the house to change into my barn clothes.

The two of us together put her off.  She thought we were going to wrestle her and drag her back to the pen in the barn.  With her nice demeanour I didn't realise just how upset she was from the zapping.  She wandered around the field and ended up in a large copse of shrubs.  There we could see her lie down.  We checked on her in a half hour, an hour, two hours...

In the late afternoon she could not be seen. Hubby went right into the copse and there was no Millie.  She was gone.  I drove around.  I went to her old farm.  I walked back near the cabin, across the middle field, to Table Rock and searched for her from the high vista.  There was no Millie.

When I put the sheep in the barn at dusk I called her some more.  I put her food outside the barn door under the light so we could possibly see her if she came for it. I was pretty sure she was gone.  Yet, I didn't want to give up.  With no collar and certainly no microchip, there wasn't much way to recover her...

At seven the next morning as I walked toward the gate to go up to the barn I looked across the field and there she was.  "Millie!"  I shouted several times.  I was so enthralled to see her.  I let out the sheep and fed the chickens, Dot and babies and then watched Millie.  She had not moved.  The sheep realised she was there and slowly turned back.  I headed out to her.

I was greeted with very submissive behaviour .  She laid on her back and turned her belly up to me.  We talked.  I rubbed her belly.  She got up and pressed herself into my legs.  She was wet from the rain overnight and now I was wet too.  Then she came with me toward the barn.  She didn't come all the way to the barn.  I went to the house and made her some scrambled eggs.  She ate all of the food.

Throughout the day hubby and I took turns and sometimes together, visited Millie.  She did come right to the barn.  She even went into the barn.  We have no intention of penning her up again.  Trust is hard won with these dogs.  She trusts me and I now trust that she will stay here.  The sheep are still so very timid of her and she senses that.  The most accepting of her are the lambs. 

At dusk when I went out to bring the sheep into the barn, Millie had already positioned herself on the other side of the field near the copse.  I went out to see her.  We talked.  We had pets.  I started to walk back to the barn.  I called her and she came along at a distance.  I put the sheep into the barn and she hung back but was very near.

When the sheep were locked up there arose an opportunity for Beau and Millie to have a face to face.  So, hubby allowed Beau into the pasture and he ran down the hill to Millie.  She snarled at him.  He did not boss her as he doesn't do that.  They were fine.

Millie moved out into the field where she could see things well.  And that's where she was when we went in from the veranda at dark.  We could hear her barking during the night and again early in the morning.  I took her breakfast and she came right to me and ate it up.

This morning, Wednesday, she is trying to be an integrated LGD.  She is moving to the flock.  They keep moving away from her.  They really are timid of her.  She wags her tail at them.  It's like she wants to be a sheep.  She moves slowly so as not to frighten them.  She seems to know.  I think there is much she knows and will teach us.

I am developing a plan for Millie.  It involves basic health care such as vaccinations, de-worming; grooming; and diet.  She will have to be spayed.  She has had two litters by a Doodle.  She needs to learn some basics such as minor work on a leash.  And then there is the car.  Much of the above can be accomplished with a vet visit here but the spaying likely will not.  We have time.  We have time to get to know each other, learn from each other and improve each others lives.

Millie is so very welcome here!  She is lovely in temperament and brings great peace of mind.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Lucky, Millie and flowers

The next morning I was amazed when I went out to the barn.  Lucky was lying down and got up when I peered over the doorway.  He stretched and walked over to the hay I had fed them and began to nuzzle it.  The swelling on his face and throat was substantially diminished.

About an hour later I went out and had another look.  Lucky was up and at the water bucket.  He drank deeply.  So, dehydration issues should now improve.

Oh, and it popped into my head that his twin should be called Lucy.  Although this is not really his twin, but the lamb that Dot likely stole from Spot, two days before she birthed her own twins...  Lucky and Lucy - it has a nice ring to it.

Later in the day the Vet's office called and I returned their call.  The Technician was reminding me of Beau-dog's booster appointment later this week, but, really, she wanted to know about Lucky.  She couldn't wait until later in the week.  She was delighted with the morning's observations I shared with her.

That afternoon Cousin arrived to review farm sitting stuff in anticipation of our upcoming absence.  Together we built a creep feeder for Dot's lambs.  A creep feeder is a small pen in a big pen in which lambs can 'creep' into while there mother cannot.  At least, that's the plan.  In the creep pen is extra food for the lambs.  This will really help Lucky.  When construction was completed I put down some cracked grains and some watered down Gatorade.

Later in the evening the grain was gone and so was the Gatorade.  And then we watched Dot walk into the creep - Oops!  The next day I put on an addition, a skid with pieces missing that allowed the lambs entry but not Dot.  Then my concern was that she would jump over.  I put a partial covering over the top to discourage such thoughts.  So far, so good.

This evening I pulled delicious grasses from in and around my flowerbeds and fed these to Dot and her lambs.  Lucky did not get up.  So, I took a few handfuls and put them in front of him and he ate them.  When I fed Dot some oats earlier in the day, Lucky did eat some of that too.  But he's slow and Dot pushed both lambs out of the way to allow her to hoover it up faster.  The creep will benefit both lambs.

Millie the Maremma guard dog is expected to arrive tomorrow.  She is not a pet.  She is a working dog who will become a part of the flock of sheep.  I have a pen area prepared for her and I bought her food and treats - the ones her owner says she likes.

The llamas are perhaps more attentive to the sheep - at least I am hoping so.  Last night as the sheep were herded into the barn, the llamas scooted up from the lean-to barn and into the Big Barn.  Tonight the llamas were in the Big Barn before I began rounding up sheep for the good night rituals.

After tucking in the sheep last night, Beau and I walked down to the get the mail from the mailbox at the end of the driveway.  In the field across the road I thought I saw a coyote.  I clapped my hands and it moved away.  I spoke to a fellow working in that field today.  He works for the owner.  He says there's not much you can do for coyotes.  I laughed about my scarecrow.  He thought it was silly.  "I will do anything", I said, "to keep them away."

Yesterday I changed the clothes on the scarecrow.  An androgynous being it is wearing hubby's discarded jeans and my beige blouse, held with black electrical tape.  I pulled these clothes from the discard bag and left them in the laundry hamper for a few days to absorb its odours.  I also moved the scarecrow.  It was very windy and some extra props were required.

Cousin helped me to plant the flowers I bought the other day.  I just got a few.  We put white impatiens in the hollow in the Weeping Willow tree.  I bought a rectangular planter and we put in it a white geranium and red petunias.  This we set on the bench by the fence at the end of the driveway.

The remaining plants - another geranium, a few petunias and impatiens, along with a basil plant - we put up in pots near the house.  I have lots of empty pots and they will just remain decoration this year.

I continue to observe what is coming up in the flower beds.  There are flowers.  There are weeds.  There are trees too, especially the invasive Manitoba Maple.  I just puttered away this evening with the goal of finding treats for Dot and family.  The lupins are developing a flower.  The Sand-cherry bushes are almost out in full leaf.  The mistletoe is mostly dead but has one branch that is green.

So, some hard pruning is in order and some digging.  The soil is nice to work in so it should not be too difficult.  Many plants need to be split.  I have offered some to my sheep neighbour who is interested.

I was quite exhausted after Cousin left this afternoon.  She did not exhaust me.  She did suggest I rest the remainder of the day.  I listened.  I had a huge nap.  The grey day is almost done and the rain has stopped.  Tomorrow's forecast looks great.  And Millie's coming...

Tuesday 3 June 2014


I was calmly working away, taking each fleece from its plastic bag and putting it into a clean feed bag.  I'd been looking for paper landscape bags but the nearby village stores don't carry them.  Who would use them?  Really, they are an urban item. 

I checked at the feedstore but they didn't carry them either.  Then, I had an idea and asked if they had any discarded, perhaps damaged, feed bags.  "Oh" the young fellow said.  "Come along with me", and I followed him outside to a trailer filled with garbage.

Someone had dropped off a quantity of new feedbags from a different feed store.  There were two bundles, likely of fifty each.  I took one and later wished I'd taken the other too.  These would do quite nicely for fleece.  I expressed my gratitude and he was happy to help.

The plastic garbage bag is not breathable although the modern day feedbags are made of some kind of plastic woven into its structure.  The newly bagged fleeces were then going into the blue plastic barrels which DB had kindly sawed open for me on the weekend.  These would be a rodent proof and dry storage for the wool until they were sold or I decided on next steps.

So, there I was working away at this little project when I noticed the flock of sheep outside looking odd.  A number of ewes were peering into the field, all watching attentively.  I quickly ran to the gate and entered the field.  The ewes quietly turned to the barn and scampered to it.  I ran to the edge of the wood chip pile and peered out over the field.  There, centred in my view, was a long legged coyote holding a white lamb in its mouth.  The lamb dangled by its throat. 

It wasn't surreal.  It was very real.  "No!"  I shouted.  "No!  Get away!"  I shouted louder.  It looked at me.  I leapt forward and waved my arms at it.  It hesitated and dropped the lamb.  I yelled more and ran down the hill toward the coyote.  The coyote ran straight away from me and calmly flew over the fence and disappeared. 

Not far away the llamas were watching.  "Do something!"  I yelled at them. 

The lamb had scrambled up, ran a bit then fell over.  I had a look at it.  Then I ran back and let Beau into the field.  This turned out to be an error.  He wanted to finish off the lamb!  I stood there not knowing what to do.  I gathered up the lamb and headed to the barn.  He was not small.  Later I would find out he weighed just under thirty-five pounds. 

I put him in a box stall in the Small Barn.  He just lay there on his side. 

I ran to the house and got my sister who was visiting.  We looked at the lamb.  There was blood but nothing profuse.  He got up and staggered across the stall before falling again.  He did this a few times. I thought about shooting him but in the end that wasn't going to work.  I called the Vet.  They gave me an appointment time, which I thought was kind of weird.  The receptionist did not deduce that a lamb attacked by a coyote was an emergency and maybe an appointment time necessary.

I bundled up the lamb and put him on the floor of the backseat of my car.  Where the chickens had been a few months ago.  It was about a half hour drive to the Vet's.  I stopped twice.  Once I pulled the lamb back onto his side of the car as he'd stood up and then nose dived to the other side.   The second time he was too upside down and from the driver's seat I was able to right him.  From there I kept a hand on his head and pushed it up and forward.  At one point I took another towel I had in the front seat and shoved it under his shoulder to support him.  This worked and I could put my blood stained hand back on the steering wheel.

At the Vet's I parked and went in and announced my arrival.  They had to decide where to put us.  They were going to put him on a table and I suggested the floor.  I brought him in and on the floor we went.  The lamb stood up.  One of the Tech's sent another to find the Vet and tell him it was "an emergency."  They didn't seem to get that on the telephone.  The Vet came in and was terrific.  He gave the Tech's instructions and they went to work. 

The Vet said it would take a half hour to an hour to stabilize him and then go from there.  I said there needed to be a decision made as to whether to euthanize the lamb or try to save him.  The Vet agreed, stating he was farm born and raised and understood the economic perspective.  We were on the same page.

Over the next hour, the Vet attended appointments and the Tech's were amazing.  They clipped the wool from all wounds.  They irrigated the wounds.  They gave him fluids subcutaneously across his ribs and administered an anti-inflammotory and an antibiotic.  For some time there were three Tech's sitting on the floor working on this lamb. 

And they took care of me.  I washed up my blood covered hands arms and brushed my hair.  I can be a poor patient and an even poorer observer.  As the Vet later stated, they already had one emergency and didn't need another.  But at least I forewarned them.  I had a fruit bar and ate that.  I found a chair.  They got me some water.  It was cool in the office.  I was fine.

The lamb had puncture wounds from teeth at his hind leg and on either side of his throat.  The puncture on the hind leg went right through the leg above the hock.  The testicles were torn but they were beginning to fall off anyway from the elastorator applied for castration.  The Vet just tidied it up.  Loose sutures were done at the throat and the hind leg.  Loose as these are puncture wounds and drainage would be important.

More drugs were given and some were prepared for me to take home.  The lamb's ear tag had become infected and the Tech's cleaned that up too.  I paid the bill and pulled up my car.  The Tech's named him Lucky and carried him out to my car.

The Vet did not guarantee the lamb would live but thought he had a good chance.  "And, oh" he said.  "Change your clothes before you go out anywhere."  He was referring to the blood on my shirt. 

"Do you think I can go through the Tim Horton's drive-thru?"  I asked.  We all smiled and I carried on.

As I'd pulled away down the driveway I'd asked my sister to make a scarecrow.  I had read this somewhere on the net.  You take some strongly human smelling clothes and make a scarecrow out in the field.  Every few days you change up the clothes with stinky ones.  It's not foolproof but it does make a difference, impressing the coyotes with the presence of humans.  Sister had made a great scarecrow right down where the coyote had struck.  It was flapping in the wind when I came up the road.

She made us a good hearty lunch.  Then, we brought the flock into the Small Barn and pulled out Lucky's sister and mother, Dot.  Dot had had the triplets - well sort of.  I have concluded that two days before she gave birth to her twins she stole Spot's twin.  one of the previous coyote losses was one of Dot's 'three' lambs.  We put these three in the box stall.  Dot nickered to Lucky and he peeped back.  He was on his feet.

The next day Lucky lived.  That's today.  It's evening now and Lucky still lives.

Today I bought a Maremma guardian dog.  Her name is Millie and she is four years old.  Her family sold their sheep and she is really bored.  She will move here in a day or two.  She will have to get penned up for a few days.  Millie needs to learn that I am the Lady with the Food, the lesson everyone else here knows already.  In addition, Millie needs to make friends with her new sheep family and they need to get to know her.  They have never had a dog live with them.  Hopefully they will see her as another sheep who eats different food.  Also, Millie and the llamas need to get acquainted.  The llamas need to see Millie as a big sheep who can help them scare off coyotes.

Millie currently has a border collie friend so I expect she will be fine with Beau.  Let's hope Beau is fine with her.  Beau has just about figured he's the only creature in the Big House and that it's okay not to go to the barn with us every time.  He's also getting used to waiting for me on the outside of the fence.  He can now wait quietly while I have conversations with the other animals that don't include him.

This evening I borrowed some lamb milk replacer powder from my neighbour to give to Lucky.  Lucky's face and throat are very swollen.  The neighbour suggested an ice pack which I was able to apply for about five minutes but it is too big to tie on to his head.  I had thawed some colostrum and mixed that with water.  I don't think Lucky has had much success nursing from his mother.  I am concerned about dehyrdation.  Although he looked - and smelled - bloated yesterday, today he looks gaunt.  So, I also borrowed a baby bottle from my neighbour and got him to suck a small amount.  Then he seemed to have spasms and convulsions!  I actually thought he might die. 

While at the Vet's yesterday Lucky experienced apnea several times.  That is, he stopped breathing but his heart remained strong.  In addition there was concern that there was fluid in his lungs.  With the mild bloat he frothed a bit.  So, I think today's reaction to the bottle was a bit of apnea and lung congestion.  It is possible because of the swelling that he cannot swallow properly and he inhaled some of the liquid. 

At last check tonight Lucky was laying down in the corner of the stall.  He was up on his chest and not flat out on his side.  When I entered the stall to top up the water, he followed me with his eyes.  At eight thirty this evening, Lucky lives.