Neffie, formally named Queen Nephele, was our livestock guardian dog here for 12 years. She came as a half-grown dog, being about 6 months old.
Part of her breed characteristics as a Maremma included an independence and certain “stand-offishness”. She took that to the extreme, and wanted no part of being petted or handled by humans. The only person she tolerated touching her was me.
For a few days there, we were enjoying temperatures up to 80 degrees F.
All that warm weather jump-started spring blooms. In the flower gardens, the hosta plants have broke dormacy and starting to send up shoots.
In the woods the ferns are doing the same thing.
There are huge patches of green plants coming up here and there in the woods.
Even the moss looks greener!
One of my spring favorites, trillium, is also popping up all over the wooded areas.
In the pasture and backyard, there are violets and white wildflowers blooming around the ubiquitous sweetgum balls.
And while I love ALL signs of spring, my very favorite is when the lilac bush starts to bloom.
I love the smell of lilacs in bloom. Why, even our Maremma sheep dog likes it!
Unfortunately, it is too early for it to get so warm and STAY so warm. Last night The Farmer was watching the news, and the weather man said the dirty “F” word. (No, not THAT one!) He said, “FROST tonight.”
Well, The Farmer being the sweet guy that he is, offered to help me go out in the dark, find a stepladder and tarp, and try to cover up as much of our lilac bush as possible. Now, it really is too bad there was no one around that could have taken our pictures as we struggled to get a tarp over the top of that big ole bush in the dark. (Tarp… too small. Bush… too tall!) But we figured even though we couldn’t cover the entire bush, if it really did frost, at least some of the blooms would be saved.
I took a picture of our covered up bush this morning before taking the tarp off. . .
Did you notice the weights on the corners to hold the tarp down?
The Farmer is nothing, if not inventive!
We did get a light frost, but it didn’t hurt the uncovered blooms.
So now I’ve got 4 big vases of lilacs in the house that I really didn’t have to harvest quite so soon. (Well, actually only three… I gave one away.)
But the house sure smells good!
Our grazing animals have a lot of room these days since we cut way back on numbers. Do you think that makes a difference when it comes time to find a resting spot or someplace to graze?
No, it does not.
The grass is still greener on the other side of the fence, no matter that they can’t keep the grass on THIS side eaten down. And wherever one of the other animals is resting, they want the same spot.
Yesterday I heard Toby barking like a frenzied madman (dog?). I looked out the window expecting to see some of the stray dogs too close to our fence for Toby’s liking. Instead, I saw the two llamas fighting, and Toby didn’t like it. He wanted them to STOP.
So what was all the fuss about? Well, it seems that Samson, the male llama, was resting in the place our cranky female llama wanted. And Samson wasn’t giving up his spot. It’s a nice cool patch of bare dirt, and they both like it. But mind you, it’s not the ONLY patch of bare dirt out there!
See her watching him even while they’re fussing and complaining to me? It reminded me of two little kids fighting over a toy, and looking to me to mediate the squabble.
Of course, kids don’t generally spit vile stuff on each other. And these two were mad enough to do just that.
They were baring their teeth and bringing out (up) the big weapons… and if you’ve ever smelled the stuff llamas can hock up, you’ll know just what I mean. Human vomit smells like a rare perfume in comparison to that vile fermented green goo.
Now under normal circumstances, our female llama, Keira is a real sweetheart. When she is pregnant, however, it’s NOT normal circumstances and all bets are off. She is CRANKY.
She was so upset she ripped a piece of bark off one of the trees, chewed it up and swallowed it. No kidding.
And Samson? He just kushed down and stayed put in HIS spot.
The fussed at each other a couple of more times that day, to the point I was beginning to think I was going to have separate them. Fortunately, they didn’t actually hurt each other, except maybe their dignity.
But I knew every time they were fighting, because Toby just had fits. And Neffie?
She just rolled her eyes and went back to sleep.
It’s just too hot to fuss guys!
I’m not sure how this came about, but both our dogs have birthdays in June, and right close to each other.
Today is Neffie’s 10th birthday. That blows my mind! I can’t believe we’ve had her almost 10 years!
She was just a scared little pup when we got her. We drove all the way to Florida to get her, because I couldn’t find anyone closer with Maremma sheepdogs.
Here she is on her very first day here…
She is not a people dog. She is strictly bonded to her charges, and is really only comfortable with the sheep and goats and llamas. She was with goats the first few weeks of her life, and shows a preference for the company of goats even today.
That doesn’t keep her from protecting ALL the critters though. She’s especially mindful of little ones, and sticks close when there are babies.
I’ve seen her face down a pack of dogs. She’s tough. Through all the years we’ve had her, she has been a great livestock guardian dog.
I’d love to see her here for another ten years, but I doubt I get that wish since the life expectancy of the breed is 10-14 years. But she’s been here on the farm so long, I can’t imagine her NOT here.
Live long and prosper Neffie!