Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's almost here! National Hug a Sheep Day!

I'm busy choosing one but in the meantime, plan your trip to a farm on October 27th for....(drumroll here) National Hug a Sheep Day! Wooooo Hooooo. There are actually a bunch of participating farms listed here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Beau in Recovery Mode

Beau had surgery a week ago last Thursday and is doing very well in his recovery. He was my little conehead for the first few days but now he's not wearing the Elizabethan collar anymore. He's getting used to being a house dog with a lot of solitary confinement. Trazodone and sleeping pills really helped for the first week to keep him quiet and doped up, frankly. LOL. I'm saving the last 5 sleeping pills for the work days next week. He had an evening of withdrawal symptoms last week when the Trazodone ran out. He sat watching a dying fly (it's that time of year) on our wall and was really spacey acting. It was sort of funny. Then he walked around and smelled all of the furniture in the room like he'd never seen it before. If I hadn't felt so sorry for him, I would have giggled a lot. Well, heck, you know I just DID giggle a lot. He was much better the next day and no more of that oddball stuff.

He has a follow-up appointment with Dr. Davis on Thursday morning. Then we start some leash walking (more than just potty breaks outside) and at the 6-week mark he should be back to normal activity. That's pretty amazing to think about right now when he's been limping for so long, and is still limping due to the surgery. Not terribly but he is stiff when he gets our of the crate.
He and Daisy, the Boston Terrier have been sort of hanging out. They each got a bone stuffed with goodies and have been swapping them and taking turns on each one. Daisy has the jaws of life and she can really chew a bone up but these are real beef bones that have been sterilized so they seem very hard. It's entertainment is what it is. Beau needs entertainment that is quiet and keeps him lying down. I am fortunate hubby can come home at lunch and let him out for a potty break. He can take a longer lunch than me so I am appreciative of his help. Today he went up for a day long of hunting and hiking on opening day of deer season. Of course, he never saw a deer but did see a whole herd of elk and they tracked each other for a long way. He also enjoyed the new GPS and showed me his "tracks". He is really into this thing. I don't get it, but that's okay, I don't need to, right?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


We've had a lot of dog stuff going on here at Cooke Creek. First off, Sampson started doing an escape maneuver wayyyy to much. He would go on a walkabout shortly after his morning biscuits and though we live 12 miles out of town in what is considered "country", we have a ton of neighbors all around us on 3 sides ever since the population/building boom happened here. Shortly after the Taylor Bridge fire was underway in August and all kinds of people were organized doing animal rescue and rehoming and relocating, Sampson traipsed over to a home across the irrigation canal not far from us and lo and behold, within about 10 minutes his face is plastered all over the animal rescue Facebook page. The people were worried he was a displaced LGD from the fire...he had "muddy feet" and was "whimpering". I don't mean to belittle them because they were sweet to post his mug and try to figure out if he was a fire victim, but this put the last straw in my hat when my daughter-in-law said "I think I saw Sampson on Facebook." Sheesh. So....after retrieval of the poor muddy dog that had gotten into the irrigation canal on his walkabout, I started thinking it was time for Sampson to find a new way of existing here. Over the rest of the summer while I was off work I tried making a pet dog out of him along with a livestock guardian dog. I taught him to come for treats and taught him a few obedience things. He stayed with the sheep at night and got his morning biscuits, locked into his kennel (out by the sheep) and then I would let him in the yard with the herding dogs in the afternoon for some playtime and relaxation. He and Beau became fast friends and wrestled every afternoon. He still would get out once in a while and this drove me nuts. When we had some folks come and purchase a large group of ewes (new to sheep with a new ranch 3 hours away at the end of a road), we asked if they would be interested in taking Sampson and we were very honest about his antics. They are farming full-time so could really watch him and correct his bad behaviors. We sadly said goodbye to sweet Sampson. We had grown attached, of course. Happy to report, he is doing very well in his new home. It probably helps he is with his flock as well (or most of it). It's been really quiet here at night without him but we've managed to setup a little bit different night setup for the remaining sheep to eliminate the need for a guard dog. It's very close to the house near the other dogs' yard so if lots of barking happens, we check it out to make sure the girls are okay.

Second dog issue is Beau. After a limp became more pronounced and a training lesson with Patrick Shannahan was cut short because he couldn't "come bye" (clockwise running) due to pain/limping, I made an appointment at the vet and we had x-rays done that were sent to WSU for a radiology read and diagnosis. OCD of the shoulder was the diagnosis and a referral appointment to an orthopedic surgeon was scheduled. We saw Dr. Mark Davis last week who said surgery is going to fix Beau all up and he'll be back to herding in no time. He goes in for surgery this week. The rehab and aftercare is important and Dr. Davis is a certified rehab specialist so we are in good hands. But, this is an expensive deal too. There goes my sheep money.

Next up is Windy. We tried our luck at a trial in Arlington in July. It was a training trial and it was fun. I surely didn't expect we would do super great but it was pretty pathetic really. Her outrun is really lacking and she doesn't seem to know her directions. Hmmm. We had been working on directions so I was frustrated about this aspect. She did travel well and was a good girl in the travel trailer, sleeping on one of the dining cushions and not moving all night. After the trial, I was thrilled to see some openings for private lessons with Pat Shannahan in early September in Arlington. I took both dogs and we had an hour of Pat's time. He helped a lot. We got home to yet another huge wildfire that prevented us from working/herding sheep for weeks due to terrible air quality (this fire is still going and is 90,000 acres). Windy did help us bring in sheep for some buyer pick-ups but but dang, she was pushing my buttons in lots of other ways, as in personality BS. She growled at me a couple of times and started being a real stinker about not listening. I called a friend who liked her working style and breeding and could find a working home for her on a cattle ranch as she likes to work in tight and isn't pretty brave and is a gripping fool, if allowed. I was thinking this might be the best solution but they wanted to come see her work again. Last Sunday they visited and we ran Windy through a few paces. He thinks she was just started incorrectly and she's too old to change a whole lot. But then he remembered a trainer he thinks could get her "listen" back on. She's got lots of talent and natural instinct/ability...we just need to harness it better. So, this is going to be pursued. I will be talking to the trainer this week and we'll see how it goes. The really funny is...I had started having second thoughts about selling her before the friend came over on Sunday. I get so attached to my dogs. I told my hubby that she was being all nice to me and loving like she knew what I had in mind. LOL. I've had to clamp down on her BS behaviors and that has helped as well. She's got a bit of a passive-aggressive thing going on which I've seen in many a female border collie. Go figure. So, that's the latest dog sagas. I'll let you know how the surgery goes and how Windy's training is coming along soon.

Happy trails....

Monday, August 20, 2012


We've had a wildfire for the last week. 23,000+ acres burned with over 1,000 firefighters working on it and today it's over 50% contained. Yay. 48 homes lost plus outbuildings. Animals are displaced and fences are burned so lots of rebuilding going on to get critters back home. It's a tough deal for lots of folks but so much is being done to help as well. Great community effort to help those in need.

Thankful there were no lives lost and even very few animals were lost, from the reports I've read.

While I was listening to the scanner and staying abreast of where the fire was located, I sewed up a new coat for Socks, the Border Leicester ram. His fleece has grown out a lot and his old one got tight. I got this Sunbrella fabric on sale. It's a little over the top for a sheep coat but he's kinda pretty, isn't he?

I sewed this on my "new" Singer Rocketeer 500 Slant-o-Matic. What a machine! Wow!! Went through the straps and multiple layers like a champ.

I've put one for sale on Craigslist here that is a very similar model and works great. I don't need two! Pass the word. Pickup only, please.

This week I'm helping with the sheep producer's fair booth display and a float for the fair/rodeo parade over Labor Day weekend for the Friends of Animals local group. Should be fun!

Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Plain Jane - After Photos

Here are some "after" shots of Plain Jane. See the before shots here. She, the dogs and I are taking our maiden voyage this Friday to a herding trial on the west side of the State. It's just an overnighter as we have family coming to visit for a few days, so I need to get back home but I couldn't turn down a "trial run"...pun intended. : )

I still have a few things to do but the main stuff is finished. I did this redo on the cheap. I only purchased one gallon of paint (most was paint I had leftover from other projects) and the black gingham fabric for the curtains. It's almost packed and ready to roll. Hubby just bought me a spare tire mounted on a wheel, just in case. I'll let you know how it goes when we get back.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Plain Jane - my new vintage trailer

Meet my new girl, Plain Jane. I've been busy, busy, busy scraping, prepping, priming, painting her up inside and making new curtains. The outside will remain true to her name. I will take you for a tour after the inside makeover is complete. It's not a remodel, just an update.

For now, here are a couple of "before" shots.

Dog we come!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chair Makeover Reveal

I never did show you the Freecycle glider chair BEFORE, but I do have an AFTER to show you. I ended up using way too much black spray paint to paint this chair. 5-6 cans with the primer. Fortunately, I found some extras in my storeroom and I gave up on using the same brand and finish. At $4 a pop, it was getting out of hand. I am sure this was the least cost-effective way to paint it but with the slats it was the quickest. The wind we had this spring held up the painting quite a lot as well. So, onto the cushions. The old ones were toast mainly due to this chair being in a home with a couple of cats that loved to lay in it. One of the few animals I am allergic to are cats, so new cushion foam was in order. Have you ever priced this stuff?? Wow. Even with a 40% coupon from Joann Fabrics, the cushioning alone cost $50. The original bottom was contoured around the arm supports but I decided not to try to cut this stuff. It's messy and being so thick, I wasn't sure what to use to cut it. I don't own an electric knife and I was thinking that would have been an option. The back support cushion is 2 layers of a thinner poly foam. I like how it turned out and it is so different from the original chair. It's a nice addition to the eclectic hand-me-down/yard sale furniture in my guest room. I am encouraged to try another re-do project....a previously painted but stripped dresser in our bedroom. I'll take a before photo of it before I get underway. 

Just wait until next time. I have a BIG surprise!


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Additions Merge

The new flighty girls are merged in with a small group of 2-year olds. They are so light that I've decided to keep them separated so I can work Beau on them. This will build confidence and will "dog break" these ewes who may not have seen a herding dog before? They are all meshed in with the group of 3 I put them in with. Funny can tell these ewes are from a range flock. They really don't graze, per se. They much prefer hay or to browse. Our pastures are so nice, there isn't a lot of "browse" except for weeds once we get drier later in the season. Funny how different breeds like different stuff to eat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stella - A Goner

I wrote about Stella a few posts back. Sadly, Stella was killed last week by a cougar. Another lamb is completely poof. We did find Stella's body. She probably had a quick demise, which is all you can ask for when this sort of thing happens. Sampson and the dogs were carrying on like crazy late last Saturday night (2 Saturdays ago now actually) and we shushed them in no uncertain "shut UPPPPP!" Two grumpy shepherds wanted their sleep. We thought feral domestic variety cats were fighting and heard yowling but it didn't sound like BIG yowling. Ya know? Won't be ignoring a "little cat fight" outside again, let me tell you. 

It was a cougar! How do we know? The mechanism of kill for one thing. You can read all about predation and kill mechanisms here

Secondly, the neighbor called us about 6 weeks ago saying their dogs treed a cougar across the irrigation canal from our property, so it probably scoped out the smorgasbord we supply here on the sheep farm. We were on the lookout for a couple of weeks after that sighting but we got happens to two old shepherds who want their sleep again now that lambing is over

So, we are again on the lookout. Things have been quiet for the past week. Did hear the usual coyotes calls last night which the dogs love to join in and sing. Beau has a tendency to have this really high-pitch baby bark anyhow...the most annoying, silly thing ever. You want to put him in a diaper or something. LOL!

Over and out for now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Scored a nice little chair from Freecycle!

I scored a nice chair (actually a glide rocker) from Freecycle recently. Maybe you haven't heard of It's an online listserve organized by locality where folks list free stuff and can get free stuff. You sign up for your local area and there is no shipping involved. It's a pickup and drop-off type of swapping. Local yokel only. This chair has been Freecycled (now it's a verb..look at that!) at least twice so far. And I daresay someday I will pass it along as well. But  not quite yet....cause I've got big plans for it.

I have received a sewing machine ---and a rack for drying wool plus this chair so far from Freecycle. I've given away a ton of stuff too...and it's surprising what people will want or give away. I fixed up the sewing machine and gifted it to my sister-in-law, who was machine-less.

Geez, new furniture is expensive even when it's cheap stuff. Ya know? I've been looking for a chair for the guest room for a while and now I don't have to back burner the chair any longer!

The chair needs:
  • a good scrubbing - CHECK!
  • a couple of screws to sturdy it up - CHECK!
  • a paint job - UNDERWAY
  • new seat and back cushions
So, I need some advice on what fabric to use for the new cushions. I'll be back with the process of fixing up the chair with photos. For now, it's in pieces so I could scrub it and primer the pieces in preparation for painting.

Wind is blowing too hard to paint tonight (spray paint) so I took a 3.5 mile walk around the block with Windy. She is not nearly as leash friendly as the pup, Beau. But she improved a lot after a couple of miles. It's the first time I've taken her for a long walk like that.

Happy trails.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Th- th-th-that's all folks!

All finished lambing. Hurray! 73 lambs all told, 38 ewe lambs and 35 ram lambs...well, now a whole bunch are wethers. : ) Lost

So, I washed up all of the towels and little lamb coats and put them away for another year. Still have milk replacer in the kitchen and bottles because I'm supplementing a couple of lambs from a couple of my old, old ewes that just don't milk like they used to.

Tonight after work I went out and watched the group have their evening races while the mothers ate their dinner. It's hilarious. They run and split up at one point and meet back up again. It makes me smile. 

So, this is Stella....I named her this because I wanted to go out and yell "STELLA!!! STELLA!!!" just like Marlon Brando. Hey, a girl gets her farm kicks where she can.

Stella is a twin out of an old ewe . She sort of got lost in the shuffle for a few days until I took off her lamb coat she was all hunched up and sunk in. Now she's filling out and is my sidekick and her mother is acting like I'm doing her a favor instead of tossing Stella into La-La land of bottle fed lambs.

I have a new project....will share next time.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Baa'ck! With lamb photos too!

Okay, it's been a long while since I've posted.

But...the real baa'dgirls are keeping us busy....

Bringing us these little cuties!
31 so far....but expecting 80 this year! Can you believe it? Whew.

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