Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies!

For those of you who don't check Facebook, here are some photos of the pups I took yesterday.

Moon sleeping with her ice water bottle.

Zac, Jr., using his Holee Roller ball as a pillow.

Ranger and ZJ doing the yin and yang thing.

Moon's cute face.

Ranger and ZJ: ZJ says "Stay away from my cat tree!"

Exploring: The stool is favored for crawling under.

Ranger killing the tablecloth that is supposed to be protecting the carpet.

The aftermath of a morning feeding frenzy. Poor Ranger is wearing the food dish, but he didn't seem to mind.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Old Songs

So last week I was pestering everybody I know with Cat Stevens' Moonshadow. I couldn't get it out of my mind, thanks to Robin calling the one puppy Moon, and was singing it everywhere I went and no matter what I was doing. But shortly thereafter, another song from that era wormed its way into my head. Sing it out, but you have to do the Peter, Paul, and Mary version!


Lemon Tree

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me,
Come here and learn a lesson from the lovely lemon tree.
Dont put your faith in love, my boy, my father said to me,
I fear you'll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree.

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Beneath the lemon tree one day, my love and I did a lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled the sun rose in the sky.
We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my father's words from me:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

One day she left without a word. She took away the sun.
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done.
She'd left me for another; it's a common tale, but true.
A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you:

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Someone save me from the songs of my childhood! ;-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meet the Newest Denizens of Willow's Rest

Because it's not enough of a circus around here, I gathered up my intrepid partner in crime, while also dropping Pip off for a week-long stay at Camp Crazy, and headed to Stokesdale to pick up a few ducks. I'll spare you the details of trying to find our way there--for some reason road signs are nearly non-existent in that part of the state, so we just guessed what roads we needed to turn on, but I'll say that Laura is a most excellent navigator, and even though we saw a good part of the local countryside in the process, we made it to our destination just a few minutes later than planned.

We went on our duck-gathering trip to pick up four ducklings that had hatched out last week. When Jill e-mailed to say she had ducklings if I wanted them, she also said she'd go through her adolescents and give me some of those as well. Because you know, I need ducks. The noise, the mud, the general mess that is ducks. But you gotta love 'em! And I know that Lark will love them. Her own personal ducks. Is she a spoiled dog or what?

So without further ado, meet the latest additions to Willow's Rest Farm.

Did I neglect to mention that Jill (the dog, not the person) also loves ducks? There's no prying Jill away from Duck TV. She literally spent hours with the ducks this afternoon. I had to force her to come back in the house and give the poor ducks a break. Apparently Duck TV is even better than Puppy TV....

Jill watching her ducks, who themselves are wondering why they are surrounded by "coyotes."

Lark: "Back off, Jill, those are my ducks!"

The stars of Duck TV. These are Ancona, Welsh Harlequin, and Indian Runner crosses. The smallest chocolate-colored duck is a runner drake. We're hoping the rest are females.

And in case you're wondering, yes, the dog lot is now a duck lot. It's a nice size for them, so hopefully they won't turn it into a mud pit. Once they are dog broke, it will be Lark's job to take them to the creek in the morning and bring them back to their pen at night. I'm hoping that if they will dabble in the creek on the sheep pasture side, Maia will keep them protected from predators during the day. And if they like the creek, then perhaps they won't trash the pen formerly known as the dog lot.

Jill just can't get enough.

But Lark isn't going to be outdone in the duck-viewing department.

But wait, there's more! The ducklings. These aren't great pictures, because this little pen is under the garage where a heat lamp can be safely used. They're still little enough to need to be kept warm at night, so they'll stay in this pen until they no longer need an artificial heat source. Yes, that's Lark staring at her very own personal baby ducks.

Sorry for the poor focus, but light was low, and this is the best I could do for a close up. Ducklings are some of the cutest babies on the planet. Oh my!

And we're still not done. Jill (the human) happened to mention in her e-mail that she also had wheaten OEG bantams. She said she had considered selling some, but had rethought the idea and was planning to keep them. Well, I managed to talk her out of two hens. I've put them in a little chick tractor, where they will stay for a couple of days until they are better acclimated to their new residence. The real clincher for me begging these hens off Jill is that they are small like mine, and such small OEG bantams are next to impossible to find anymore.

Yes, Lark managed to insinuate herself in just about every picture. She was going crazy trying to figure out which new group of feathered "friends" was the best one!

And of course my own OEG hens are still hatching out chicks. Here's the latest group, hatched a little over a week ago.

The puppies are growing like weeds; I think they all weigh over three pounds now. They're walking much more like actual dogs and less like drunken sailors. They should start playing and acting like real puppies soon. ;-)

If I'm slow to post updates to my blog, at least you'll have an inkling of what might be keeping me busy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Could Be Cuter?

If you're wondering where I've been hiding, I've been in the "whelping room" (aka "the dog room," also known as the computer room) playing with these little dolls:

Our long awaited Chris x Zac litter arrived, but there were just three little bundles of joy (um, using that term loosely, as they are very vocal and not the least bit afraid of complaining--at all hours of the day or night). They were born July 31. The pictures below were taken over several days this past week.

This is the little female, whom Robin has dubbed Moon.

This is the little firstborn male, who apparently prefers to sleep the same way his mama does.

And this little guy apparently doesn't have a care in the world. What else but a carefree puppy could fall asleep in the bowl he's being weighed in? (These two photos are backward, but for some reason Blogger won't let me drag them to switch them.)

The pups are two weeks old today. One opened its eyes this morning, and the other two look pretty close to doing so as well.

They're so young that we're still in the easy part of raising them--in another couple of weeks, they'll be working me to death, no doubt.

Aside from having puppies, things have been fairly quiet around here. I have more chicks hatched out (always OEG bantams), and the garden has pretty much dried up and blown away. We've had storms come through on numerous occasions, but they never seem to drop much in the way of rain--more just scare the dogs, who in turn keep me awake at night. Sleep deprivation is becoming a way of life.

On the livestock front, I will be getting three more mule sheep at the end of the month, this time Scotch mules out of West Virginia. So far this summer the NCC and Clun mules have done better than I expected--staying fat on what pasture I have and not requiring anything extra in the way of parasite control. I am going to slowly switch the flock over to mules and just keep a small core group of karakul and tunis sheep (I'm using the tunis to make tunis mules as well). I'm curious to see the tunis mule lambs, which should arrive sometime in October. The yearling mules will all be crossed with my dorset ram to produce market lambs. I won't have many this spring because I don't have many mules, but it's a start.

I need to get hay. I've been putting it off thinking I might find a job somewhere and not wanting to have to move a bunch of stuff like that, but if I don't go on and do it, I might not be able to get what I need.

So aside from a little freelance work and job hunting, that's what's going on here at Willow's Rest. Lazy dog days of summer, literally.