I took Elsa to my vet today to get her OFA done…  Finally, I accomplished that goal!
I was late starting out because Elsa is standing as of this morning… and I hoped she and Lucas would uh… consummate their relationship.  But I had an appointment to keep and couldn’t afford to give them the amount of uh… foreplay time they needed!  So, she’s still uh… not knocked up!  Gees… maybe I should have looked up some technical terms to help me out here.
The morning was gorgeous.  I eventually had to pull over and take a snapshot of the diamond snow.
This quickie doesn’t do it justice.   Oops.  Quickie.  Where is my mind?
It was bea-u-ti-ful.  But it looks rather plain here.
We made it to the vet’s… Where I took this …

Somedays, Elsa, the world is your oyster and a hot guy thinks you hung the moon.  Then someone steps in and smears that perfect picture into pooey.  Sorry to have ruined your day and your mood.   But it is for the best… and for the breed knowledge database… and gees.  I really hate it when you look like that.  Life isn’t always full of sparkles.

Dally Learns (Video)

Well, last night when Vimeo told me it would be 65 minutes before my video could be ready to watch… I gave up.

So to learn about this video, go to yesterday’s blog… or just to watch it – go here.

More Preparations

Along with pulling up the electric fence wire, our preparations for calving included cleaning the calving shed.  The red shed is easily seen from my house through the boxelder trees.  It is a five minute walk from here.
Soon we’ll be putting our heifers, 60 of ’em, in here every night.  We’ll sort off the ones that are closest to calving… and keep them in the corral overnight.
They’ll be checked at 10 pm.
And  2 am.
And 6 am.
The pens are south facing.  Gathering that weak sunlight as much as possible.
There are also two inside pens for those cold cold nights.
In this room are kept supplies like iodine, calf pullers, plastic gloves, and boluses.
And my favorite.
Although cracked, this stove does its job of warming the interior pens.
If it was in perfect health, I would have stolen it years ago and put it in my house.  It is the most gorgeous little stove I’ve ever seen.
Look at the detail.
I am drawn to Celtic art… and this stove echoes those designs.
Hickory Pennant No. 25, The Michigan Stove Co., Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, New York City.
On the side it says 1898.
Oh, my!  1898!  Even if that is just the date of the patent… wow.
Even the top has decorations.
I thought maybe those were hickory leaves… my knowledge of southern trees is sorely lacking.  But as far as I can figure, they aren’t.
But I did learn one thing while trying to figure that out… I didn’t realize pecans were hickory trees.  How did I miss that along the way?  Born in Oklahoma, but only visiting it throughout my lifetime… I’ve seen my share of pecan trees.  But I learned that on Wikipedia.  Genus Carya.  Learn something new everyday.
I definitely know fresh pecans cannot be compared, in any way, shape, or form with those pathetic things they sell you in the grocery store.
I know Kiowa pecans and Pawnee pecans are great.
I am extremely grateful for relatives that send us fresh pecans every fall.
I even ordered hickory cabinets for my new kitchen at the Mills Place.
The Hickory Pennant stove is now cleaned up, ready for another calving season.
Beware little spider… your web is in danger… Charlotte?  You better move on…

Dally Learns (Hopefully!)

I made this video the last week… The boys were still here and two friends, L. and S., helped us out that day as well.  Our work is done, so we kick these steer calves out of the corral and take them into the field between my house and Johnny’s house.

I start off with Dally on a leash.  Note the calf kick quickly towards the beginning of the video.  Dally had bit him, but I missed it on my camera.  Actually, I missed a lot with my camera… I’m just not too good at aiming it while action is going on!  I then let her go and she did great for a minute, then she wouldn’t come back, too bad I had dropped the short leash in the gunk, I would have reminded her to listen better to me.  The calf took care of that for me though!
I also talk too much to my dogs in this video.  I tend to do this while people are around, lest they think I’m not correcting my dog… but I think it just makes me sound like I have no control.  Sometimes I don’t!  But had I been alone, I would be much less concerned with some of the stuff the dogs did!  I’m always worried about what other people think of my dogs… I should just shut up!
I regained control of the leash… but Dally protests her inactivity!  It cracked me up! I need a longer long line, but that’s what I had in my pocket.  I hadn’t planned ahead.  I’ll try this some more tomorrow as we’re pouring and vaccinating our cows.
I give up.
It is taking too long for either youtube or vimeo to get my video up, so I’ll post the actual video tomorrow.  Sorry!  But it is past my bedtime!


As of Tuesday, Elsa and her daughter Dally are both in heat.  Thus begins the “dog shuffle” where the girls are either in the kennel or in my kitchen/mud room or supervised outside.  Lucas is rotated to wherever they aren’t.  I hope to breed Elsa as it has been since November 2007 when she delivered her last litter.  Well, not me… Lucas will do that!
However, I have tried to set up an appointment with my vet for Elsa to get her hips tested since October.  In October I was sick.  In November my vet begged off due to his schedule preg testing.  In December he was still preg testing and I was busy with remodeling the Mills house and holidays.  I figured I had January to do it.  They weren’t supposed to come into heat until February!  Best laid plans…  Elsa’s OFA testing is scheduled for Tuesday, and my vet assures me all will be OK.
This will be Elsa’s 4th pregnancy.  She had two litters while she was owned by De Butcher in Oklahoma.  Unfortunately one litter was born in an ice storm and froze to death.  The other litter will benefit from the knowledge of her OFA score as will the litter she had in ’07.  I hope her score will help the English Shepherd community.  Should this disrupt her heat, I will be so sad!  I am looking forward to puppies in springtime and have had 6 inquiries about this litter that’s not even on the ground yet.  That’s not even counting the people I turned down last time or with no advertising.
Dally, on the other hand, is NOT going to get bred as she is just over a year old.  There are males I have in mind for her down the line… that is if I don’t get tired of not having her available to work 2 months of the year!  She could work around here this week, but it seems like anytime we have anything big going on, people bring their intact male dogs along to help!
But look at this… I mean, dog-gone, aren’t they cuter than cute???  And notice who is missing from this group shot… Yep, Dally.  How did that ever work out???