From Big Sis to Li’l Momma

Three weeks ago, when the puppies were born, Dally was a confused soul.
She wasn’t sure what happened, but she wanted to be part of it.
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It earned her some whippings from Elsa.  But Dally is a persistent gal and her sympathetic hormones seem to rage full bore.
Each time I took photos or checked on the pups and Elsa wasn’t there, Dally was brave enough to sniff, then lick, then watch in amazement.  She wanted more.
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I was there when Dally first made her move.  Elsa had left, knowing I was there to watch the pups.  Dally zipped into the straw house and settled in, stretching out to let the newborns climb into her belly searching for nipples.  They willingly obliged her, attaching themselves in a unified search for nourishment.  All I could say was…. “OW!!!”  Eleven pups trying to get milk from dry teats just seemed like pure pain to me.
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Then Elsa returned.
It wasn’t pretty.
I quickly told them to take it elsewhere, they were stepping on puppies!
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Elsa resurrected her dominance.
Dally quickly submitted.
But Elsa let her stay.
That astonished me.
We had moved from “Stay over there and watch.”  to “You can be here, but behave!”  If a baby bottle had been available, this is where Elsa would have handed it to Dally and told her to BE CAREFUL.
I continued to track this development, amazed that Dally would encourage the dry pacifier sucking of the pups.
“Do you think Dally will have milk come in?” I asked of friends and relatives.  They all told me no…
Guess what.
Within a week of nurturing these pups, Dally’s four back teats are producing milk.
Not a lot.
She can handle four pups though… and does with happy abandon.
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She is quick to admit they are Elsa’s pups and she is just a babysitter.  Elsa continues to remind her of that, just in case the temptation to steal some permanently would broach Dally’s mind.
I’ve begun to help out some… a little udder balm seems to relieve Dally, who now, like Elsa, seeks comfort away from the pups on occasion.
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Today the pups got their first real meal of dog food mush.  I’ll see if this tips the balance they’ve created.  I doubt it.  They have worked out a good deal, with no interference from me.  I’ll leave it to English Shepherd logic… it seems to have worked so far!

Lil Bro’

The magic 3 week age has hit the litter…
They are quickly working on their personalities…
They “bark”.
They “run”.
They “growl”.
They “sit”.
They make me use lots of  “quotation marks”.
If I can get an in focus shot… It is easy to come up with Photo Titles.  Like today’s…
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“Hey, Li’l Bro’, whaddya say we blow this joint?  I hear there’s a big wide world out there!”
And when sunshine returns to the Cowboy State… I’ll lay out in the grass and take mucho photos… and I’ll title some more!

Test Drive OOPE

Yesterday I spent the afternoon horseback, hunched against the Wyoming wind.  That is guaranteed to make my shoulders ache, but it seems impossible for me to ride in the wind without raising my shoulders and trying to protect myself from the blasts.  Luckily, the wind wasn’t the freezing cold temperature that it often is, and so, I suppose, it could have been much worse.  I only had one layer of grit on my face… not grit *and* ice!
I was test driving a little 4 year old mare, full of flash, and come to find out, more “spunk” than I was looking for in a new horse.
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She has a good handle on her for a four year old, and she did everything I asked her to do, except BE CALM.
Yesterday’s objective was to get as many cows and baby calf pairs across a highway to a new (and greener) pasture.  This is accomplished by separating the pairs out of the main bunch.  I’ve taken pictures of this before.  It takes a calm horse and rider to do this, and Wild Blue Eyes just didn’t get it.  You can’t ride into a bunch of cows sidestepping, headshaking, and prancing, and expect the mommas and babies to stay together.
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Sigh.
Too bad.
I might have liked her otherwise.
We sorted and sorted and lost control for a bit… so we kicked them out on the highway and across into a holding pen.  We re-sorted what we had and put the extras *back* across the highway.  We then trailed the 64 pair we managed to cut out the mile and a half to their new pasture, where we again matched pairs and then turned them loose.
I admit.
After hunching in the wind and riding a jigging nervous new horse (when I didn’t know whether she was going to blow or not) and then having to sort and re-sort and re-re-sort… it wasn’t a particularly fun afternoon.
I did enjoy moments…
Like Lucas not giving up on a wild calf and bringing it in a big loop back to the bunch… alone.
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Like seeing yellow bells and blue bells…the first wildflowers of the year.
Like viewing these wide wild Wyoming skies in glorious blue-greys before the storm hit.
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Like seeing fresh elk sign and wondering from which draw or hilltop we were being watched from.
Like riding a fastwalking horse and being a leader… I’ll give Wild Blue Eyes that much… she sure can travel the country!
So if you’re interested in a fastwalking, country eating, good handling young mare with TONS of flash about her… let me know and I’ll put you in touch with S.  But for me, I want that calm horse that’ll sneak into the bunch and cut out a pair without them ever realizing I was there.  That horse is out there somewhere.  I’ll keep looking

Test Drive

I went to a good friend’s house yesterday afternoon for a test drive.
I’ve been on the lookout for a new horse, and he’s been helping me.
My dream horse:
         6 or 7 years old (the stupid has usually left by then!)
         Short enough I can get on…(the stirrup keeps getting harder to reach for some reason)
         no buck (duh…)
         good right turn, left turn, and whoa (the most important is WHOA!)
         has an idea what a cow is… (a horse that can read a cow is important here)
         can relax and be mellow… (a nervous, side-stepping, head tossing horse is a PITA)
         and if “flash” is available… I prefer buckskins!  (never had one… everyone wants color)
My friend has this horse.
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He even saddled and bridled her for me.
She’s four… hmmm… kinda young, kinda got that 4 year old stupid about her…
Short enough
He says there’s no buck in her… but you know, I’m a dude, he’s a cowboy…
good enough on right, left, and whoa
I’m not sure on the relax and mellow thing…
Cows… That’s why she’s here and I’ll ride her in the next few days…
Flash.
This girl’s got a lot!
Just look at those wild blue eyes…
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Just for the record…
I hitched that brow band for my friend.
It took me hours and hours and I was gonna make one for me, but it takes hours and hours.
I just used some cotton cord… and it matched his saddle pad back in the day, but he’s a cowboy and goes through saddle pads… so now it doesn’t match anything.
That’s probably more of a cowgirl thing anyway… guys don’t care.
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Like I said… lotsa flash.
I’m trying her behind cows… because flash doesn’t get you there… and get the job done.
But I had the nicest time.
We rode for two hours for FUN!  I can’t remember the last time I rode a horse for FUN.  We talked and laughed and looked at spring coming to Wyoming…
I could have ridden for two more hours.
Thanks, S, I’ll see if she’ll work for me!
Just can’t get over those eyes…
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Busy Day… one of many to come!

I know I’m late, but I have had a busy day…

My mother and daughter left after lunch today… so we spent the morning trying to talk about everything we’ve not had a chance to cover the past two days.  It always seems like such a short visit…

We had to play with the puppies one more time.

We had to go to the Mills place again, just to review the progress we’ve made.

We had to finish off some of the great food we cooked yesterday.

We had to eat chocolate.

They left at 2.

By 2:15 I was on my way to a neighbor’s place to try out something new.

Something new and gorgeous.

Something with spunk.

Something with Rory-blue eyes… and if you ever met Rory… you’d know exactly what I meant in a split second!

Something like this:

But then I had to hurry home and teach some Korean students… so this entry is short… but tomorrow, depending on the weather… I’ll talk about this again!