Enough Snow Already!

January 21, 2011

Last night we got more snow.  Nothing like the previous snowfall, but still.  This is the SOUTH, so ….


picture of maremma sheepdog in snow

Our Maremma sheepdog, Neffie, doesn’t look too thrilled with the snow. I agree with her.

Granted, it’s just a light blanket of snow. . .

picture of field and trees and snow

The sheep don’t care about the snow, whether we got a lot or we get a little.

picture of ewe sheep in snow

It’s not a lot of snow, but it evidently is possible we’ll get more snow this week-end.  sigh…

Enough snow already!

Midnight Southern Snowstorm

January 10, 2011

It’s midnight here in the south, and the snow is falling thick and heavy.

picture of snow falling at night

Midnight Snowfall

As you can see here, the snowflakes are fat and there are LOTS of them!

picture of snow at night

Snowflakes at Midnight

Toby the Tough doesn’t mind a little snow and runs around all over the place.  Where I go, he goes.

picture of dog in snowstorm

Toby braving the snow!

I tried shining a flashlight on The Farmer’s tractor to get a picture of all the snow piling up on it.

picture of tractor in snow at night

Allis Chalmers with a blanket of snow.

The snow is piling up fast, and the ramp to the work shed is buried in snow.

picture of snow on ramp

Lots of snow!

I was out checking on the animals.  I wanted to be sure everyone was in their proper place.  They weren’t.  The goat had pushed her way through a gate and went into the sheep shed.  Now there is plenty of room for 1 goat and 3 sheep in this shed, but there’s just one problem.  The ornery goat stands in the doorway and won’t let the sheep in.  So I had to chase her back into the pen with the llama.

picture goat and llama

Getting tucked in for the night.

If she would just go up into the corner of the pen, she could be snug and dry.  Of course, the little rascal caused the sheep to be covered in snow because they were standing out in the snowstorm.

picture of snowy sheep at night

Snowy Ewes

At least they can spend the rest of the night in the shed and not become abominable snow ewes from being outside all night!

The chickens are smart and roost in the middle of the shed.

picture of chickens roosting in shed

Snug and safe for the night.

The guineas get in the mix too, and get in out of the snow…. some of them anyway.  Others choose to stay in a tree, even though there are plenty of places they could be in out of the weather.  Others roost along the outer parts of the sheep shed.

picture of sheep, chickens and guineas at night

Guineas looking for shelter.

I’ve done all I can to make sure everyone is snug and sheltered from the snow.  Now I think I’ll go to bed myself.  It should be interesting to see how much snow there is tomorrow morning!  Many pundits around here are styling this SNOWMAGEDDON in the SOUTH!

Baby it’s cold outside!

December 6, 2010

It’s winter and I know it’s supposed to be cold.  And I also know it’s not near as cold here as it is in other parts of the world.  But I’m still thinkin’ … Baby, it’s cold outside!  It’s a sharp contrast to the balmy weather we were enjoying in Florida over the Thanksgiving holidays!

The animals have their own ways of keeping warm.  During the day, the guineas like to nestle down in some leaves in the yard – of which there are plenty due to the huge oak and walnut and other trees around the house!

pictue of guinea birds

Two guineas nestled in fallen leaves.

Some of the chickens like to shelter under a big viburnum bush in the front yard, even though it’s in the shade.

photo of chicken under bush

Buff Orpington Chicken hen under viburnum bush.

I suppose it provides some shelter from the wind, and they apparently want that more than heat from any sunshine there might be.

picture of chickens under shrub

Chickens 'parked' under shrub.

Meanwhile, the squirrels are still scampering around the yard gathering up nuts.

picture of squirrel with nut

Squirrel on fencepost.

Once the nut is buried, off the squirrel goes to find another!

picture of squirrel on fencepost

"I think there's one that-a-way!"

A little cold weather doesn’t slow down our mighty hunter, Spot the cat.  He was playing with his food again, and chasing this rodent around.

picture of rodent

Food to go.

He’d catch the thing, then let it go … then catch it again.  I don’t know if he ever ate it or just played with it.

While all this was going on, the goat, llama, sheep and Maremma sheepdog just took it easy and rested in what sunshine they could find.

picture of goat, llama and sheep

Resting in dry grass for warmth.

They like to nestle down where there is some dry grass to provide a little insulation.

And me, once I’ve made sure everyone outside has food and water, I’m headed back to the house to get WARM again!

Llama Fight

June 24, 2010

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.

2 llamas fighting

"I spit in your general direction!"

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!

2 llamas fighting

"It's mine!" ... "I want it!"

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.

I dont' care how much she spits, she's not getting my spot!

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.

I'm so mad I could just chew wood!

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.

You can tell that cantankerous female I am NOT moving.

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?

Don't look at me. I can't help it that they're both idiots!

She just rolled her eyes and went back to sleep.

It’s just too hot to fuss guys!

And Neffie is another year older too!

June 14, 2010

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!

Queen Nephele

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…

Everything is new and strange!

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!