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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: dog

Our dogs are our pets first. We love them and they love us too. If you care about your dogs, the will know it and will protect their family at all costs. Out on the country roads, you need the protection.

Thieves are very fond of the widely-spaced homes overflowing with lawn equipment and metal-laden supplies. These items can readily be traded for quick cash.

There are also coyotes and other wild predators that will gladly relieve you of your livestock. Our dogs treat our goats as their friends and protect them too.

There is a difference between guard dogs and watch dogs. Guard dogs are bred/trained to attack intruders. Watch dogs run around, announcing the arrival of visitors.

Our watch dogs are especially proud of barking at the mail/package delivery people. Their tails normally wag away while they do this job. It is only when they feel aggression from someone that their tails stop wagging.

We keep friendly dogs here on the farmette. Once introduced, any dog or human is welcome in their pack. This is why we are able to foster dogs so easily via OneBlackDog.

This is also why our guests are the not-so-eager recipients of sloppy dog kisses. The happier a person is, the more enthusiastically our dogs greet them. Children are favorites of our dogs.

Our two black Collie/Retriever Hybrids, are inside/outside dogs. The latter have access to our mud/laundry room at all times by the use of a dog door (sometimes they are inside along with our full time house dog “Penny”).

They lay out on the deck when it is cool and/or dry. Lounging inside is something they prefer in the warmer or wetter weather. When a vehicle comes down the gravel drive, you can usually hear the flap swishing. The sound comes from their scurrying outside to trumpet their presence.

Penny, Deirdre & Cecilia looking down into the fenced goat/dog yard.

We keep an auto-fill trough of water attached to the yard faucet. A few drops of bleach are added periodically to keep the well water bacteria free.

Our dogs are also provided with Iams lamb and rice dog food. Corn based food works for many dogs, just not ours. All three of them are prone to the skin/food allergies that come with Retrievers/Retriever crosses.

Sometimes farm dogs need cleaning too. They do not like baths much.

We used Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Mint Soap this time. Later tonight we will apply some “dog oil” to ward off fleas, ticks and other external parasites.

Cecelia is our son’s dog, so he was happy to help bathe her. He was actually glad to assist on scrubbing all three of our dogs.

They did enjoy the biscuits they get as a thank you for their cooperation during bath time. They have been taught to sit and patiently wait for treats.

No matter what the priorities of your home are, residential, country, city, farm, mobile, etc., dogs can add quite a bit to your life. You take care of them and they will take care of you – not only physically but emotionally too. They have the ability to put a smile on your face, no matter what your mood, as your enthusiastic, delightful companions.

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In the Charlotte Region of North Carolina, we have had the first White Christmas in 63 years. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, did not give the luster of mid-day to the open country at that time. Even if the snow had stopped and the clouds cleared, at most, there was merely a sliver of the moon visible on December 25, 1947.

The snow started here in the evening on December 25, 2010. We were full from a lovely holiday meal, as we gazed out at the gently falling flakes. It was peaceful and beautiful. Since it started at the end of the day, we had little left to do but enjoy the calm that belongs to natural winter blankets. The livestock were nestled all snug in their straw, while visions of sweet feed danced in their heads – and their jaws.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;*

Our pack of canines had not dared venture out the dog door into the cold, wet world of wintry splendor. They truly enjoy easy access to the warmth of the mud/laundry room. Luckily, the weather keeps any mischievous souls away from the country roads, and so, no need for the watch dogs outside.

When I had gone out to check on our flock for the night, our homing pigeon was out collecting snow on her wings. I had put up a shelter for her the day before, after the coops had been re-arranged. Apparently, she did not approve. I grabbed, luckily caught her and placed her in the main coop for the night. We’ll have to keep putting her food at the door of her new house to help entice her in.

Our small goat herd came out briefly to wolf down their grain. Then they scurried back into the well shed. They like to be out in the freezing weather, but do not normally stay out in precipitation.

We lost a nanny to the cold/wet about this time last year. She and her billy had access to two small shelters on pallets (the male goat had just broken the third; the one on stilts). The pen had gotten too muddy.  The day had started out wet and warm. It had ended icy and cold.

The high strung billy that had a knack for breaking everything, was replaced with a tiny, mild-mannered billy. Ever since then, our goats have stayed in the fenced area with the shed where we can keep a close eye on them, instead of in the small pen on the far side of the house.

I find it amazing how the equine will stand out in the cold and rain to munch on a round bale of hay or just stand in the field. “Rocky”, the Shetland pony, presently looks like a woolly mammoth, so I do not worry about him. The “Big Man” Dakota has a good winter coat for a small cob size horse, but not the stout body. He has a water-proof blanket on the way from ChickSaddlery.com.

In the dark, they were lured into the run-in using a grain incentive. Grain is like a drug to them. If you ever have trouble catching a horse, just shake a bucket full of pelleted feed and they will come.

View from the road*

We enjoy the changes of the seasons here on the Farmette and the snowy wonderland. The New Year is nearly here, but winter is just getting going. The temperature will remain low for the next few months.

The magic of the winter holiday season bestows upon us many gifts. It also a reminds us to contribute to peace on earth and goodwill to men (and beast). Our life here would not be whole without having both storms and clear skies. But, Spring will be very welcome when it arrives.

* Pics were taken the next evening, December 26, 2010.

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We have almost five acres. It is a nice sized piece of land. Getting the right combination of animals for the space has been a mix and match challenge. It is not enough space to have cows or a lot of other large animals, but it can accommodate a good number of small to medium sized livestock.

On one side of our house, we keep our fowl pens. There is a 10′ x 10′ pen with 2 ducks, a 5′ x 10′ pen with 2 turkeys, a cage with 2 Japanese (coturnix) quail and a homing pigeon, 3 bantam chicken cages, a chick grow out cage and the main standard chicken coop.

Our horse and pony have a double pasture out front. That set of large animals works well. The recent rain storms keep passing over our area, so we have a round bale scheduled for pickup today, but normally during the warm weather, the grass grows at about the same pace as their grazing.

The three dogs all stay inside now. And they have a fenced area in the back to run around in. That is also where our herd is. We have four mini goats. And now there is Charlie.

Charlie

This is our new lamb. He is very quiet and shy. I think that Charlie is an Oxford sheep. They are used for both meat and wool. We won’t be eating Charlie, but a scarf would be nice. Actually, I have a friend that weaves, so she will most likely be getting a surprise package when we shave him.

The goats have been ignoring him, except for Luna. Luna is our little black goat that loves to play all day. She taunts the dogs. She jabs me lightly in the calves with her little horns if I’m not quick enough at feed time. Luna has been torturing Charlie. But Charlie barely feels her pushing him around. His fleece serves as a bouncy, thick layer of protection.

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Dogs

Let’s have another introduction from the pack. Grace is dog #1. She is the oldest at six years and affectionately described as “Dumb as a box of rocks”. She is all about goofing around with toys, playing fetch and reaching a goal.

If the goal is on the other side of a fence, she will chew, dig, scrape, ram or anything that it takes to get to the other side. She could set her sites on a soda can and there would be no stopping her once it was the target of her fancy. So, unluckily, unless supervised, she has to be tied even though her area is fenced.

Grace - Golden Retriever

If you need a kid friendly dog, a Golden Retriever is a great breed. Pure breeding is focused on certain traits and can be used as a guide for temperament. Hybrids and mutts can be good choices too.

A calm puppy is the best choice any way you go as they will be the easiest to train. Training Tip: All dogs need meal time to be quiet and non-competitive. Making sure that your dog is used to hands touching them, while they are eating, is crucial for safety.

Supervised Meal Time

If you plan to bring an adult dog into the family, have it tested for aggression. Although fixable, it is not advisable to start with this type of problem if you have little humans in the house. People without vulnerable family members (having faces level with sharp teeth) are better suited to attempt repair on aggressive behavior.

When you get the right match and care for them properly, a dog will be your loyal companion, protector of your flock and source of unconditional love.

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The dogs have acquired a taste for duck eggs, now that they are sharing stomping ground in the split rail fenced area (so that they don’t pester the neighbors). Every morning now, I rush ahead of the crowd at the dog door and collect the lovely porcelain vessel of goodness, glowing white in the makeshift nest of leaves, surrounded by the challenging red clay earth. But, that early morning jog bypasses the drool-covered egg on the kitchen floor complete with teeth marks or the absence of that egg altogether.

Ducks

Duck Mates

The brown female is a Khaki Campbell. She is a prolific egg layer, as are all members of her specific breed. Her old man is a Pekin. Although his breed started out as small and black, they transformed into the present day “Big & White”, making them a much sought after victim of Peking duck feasts. As far as egg production goes, KC ducks are more reliable than hens.

Chickens

Laying Troop

The gold girl, front and center, is the creator of the golden eggs. Well, actually sun-touched brown with a golden surprise inside. In times of plenty, fresh eggs make great gifts or additions to recipes such as:

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

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