Friday, January 13, 2017

Early morning wolf moon, Temple Grandin, and LGD pups

On Tuesday I was up early and heading out in 15 degrees with ice still on the roads. I'm not an early bird by nature but sometimes when I need to be up and out at this early hour beautiful things happen. This captures a little bit of the gorgeous wolf moon from the driveway, with the cat porch illuminated by its Christmas tree lights.

The road was dark and there were areas where the ice was still heavy. Along one curving section of roadway a truck had gone off the road and was perched nose down in a deep culvert of trees. I was glad to get where I was going with no issues.

That same evening the temps had risen to 49 so everything melted! My daughter and I went to hear Temple Grandin speak at NCSU's Hunt Library. It was a high energy lecture about different kinds of minds and how they learn. She's a very animated, intense speaker and has so many good things to say. 

Every day this week the temperature has risen. Today I finished the tung oiling of the cat tunnel along with the front porch steps. I am SO happy to have completed that chore! Next up is completion of the last bit of painting I need to do on the front porch. 

Today in the balmy 70s outside I spent some time mucking and raking in the back field with the herd. The mud is drying out, much of it actually ON the horses, pony, and donkeys, and the raking helped me remember what the melting snow does when it falls, rests, and then melts on top of fallen tree leaves. It kicks off the composting process! All I had to do was rake a few swaths to see the start of dark crumbling humus material. For some reason that is a comfort to me - it might look like mud out there but there's good soil amendment cooking too!

We are continuing to research livestock guardian dogs. At the moment we have narrowed the field to Maremma Sheepdogs, Great Pyrenees, and Kangals. 

The Maremmas are said not to wander as much as Great Pyrenees do and the Kangals have shorter, non-white coats that would likely suit our summer climate and our red clay better than solid white junior polar bear coats. We've been invited to meet some Kangals who guard horses locally and also a Great Pyrenees who does the same. And even though I don't yet know anyone local to us who has Maremmas, I have to admit that this photo from Windance Farm in NY is totally singing to me about this breed:

I'm fretting the coyotes and the idea of having huge canine guardians out there 24/7 makes me happy. Though I know we would have a good year of work to do to help any breed of LSG pups get up to speed to do their jobs.

Any thoughts welcome! 


Judith said...

You might find this blog very informative about LSG dogs. She s a thoughtful writer and a wonderful steward of her animals and land and there is SO much to learn about LSG.

billie said...

Judith, thanks SO much - going to read there now!

Grey Horse Matters said...

The moon is beautiful. I love the picture of those pups. Before J. had Gunnar I hadn't even known about the breed but I've come to love them. So sweet and lovable and trainable and so eager to please. You would be surprised but even when he got dirty it seemed to fall off of him easily and trust me this dog could get dirty! He was always in the creek or laying in the shaving in the stalls. But it never seemed to stick on him. Good luck!

billie said...

Thank you, A - I have wondered about the white coat and although it sounds too good to be true about the dirty just seeming to fall off I also know this is true with our painted pony. He can roll and really grind in the mud and red clay and then a day later his white is clean again with no grooming on our part.

The puppies are so adorable - I remember the photos of Gunnar when he first came to live with J. Amazingly cute.

nuri said...

"Dog Tale Ranch" is a wonderful blog written by Arlette Seib, who has a good number of LSG dogs protecting her sheep. I haven't been following her for a long time yet, but am captivated by the way she talks about her LSGs and stock dogs and sheep and nature... And she is an artist, too; I really like her drawings. This page contains mountains of knowledge about all things LSG dogs:

Ts ts, I'm half a world away from you, and yet I'm all excited about the prospect of you getting--and blogging about!!--a pair of these amazing dogs! :)

billie said...

Nuri, thank you so much for the support and the terrific link! We tend to be overly careful when bringing new animals to live with us (though if two showed up in our driveway they would likely move in that night!) so this might take a little while. But given the increase in coyotes in our area and the idea that if we put in the time up front we could end up with some very serious peace of mind about the herd, I am determined to keep rolling with this plan. Heading to read the blog now - love having help from so many parts of the world in this endeavor!

nuri said...

:) Thought you might get a smile out of this cute video posted today: (title of post: "Howling...", scroll down)

billie said...

Big smile - thank you, Nuri!!