Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Graduation Time!

The day is finally coming. My wife is graduating! She has earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Animal Science. The actual diploma arrived in yesterday's mail. The ceremony is on Cinco de Mayo. This has been a long time in the making.

Most of her family will be here. Her brother is flying in from California. Her sister is flying in from New York. Her parents are supposed to be RVing in from California. The bad news is that her father is having severe coughing fits. They are telling us they will turn around and head back home.

It should be a good day, any way. My wife and her siblings seldom get together any more. The distances are just too great and time is too precious. We plan to spend the weekend at one of the local parks. They have cabins and the lodge has a restaurant the serves excellent meals. Our tenants will care for the herd and the dogs while we are gone.

Other news: Max may be leaving! A young couple dropped by the other day and looked at him. They said that they would take him as soon as they got the $300.00 pet deposit together and gave it to their landlord. It will be good to have the isolation compound back.

Speaking about our tenants... They have a new puppy. It is supposed to be part husky and part wolf. From the looks of him, he is mostly husky. Good thing, too! If any canine starts acting like a wolf, some rancher is going to very quickly shoot it. As long as it acts like a dog and doesn't bother the livestock, there should not be a problem. To compound the matter, our tenant's sister and brother-in-law also have a new puppy. This one is a pit bull. Just as long as they keep him at their place when he gets bigger. Pit bulls are not known for being good around livestock, although there is a tremendous variation between different dogs. My wife is very leery about both dogs, and understantably so, especially with the tenant's very young niece and nephew. I am more concerned about the husky-wolf cross than the pit bull. We will see what happens.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Finally, some good weather.....

The drought may not be ending, but we finally got some much-needed rain. We had several days of rather violent thunderstorms. One dead tree was blown over. No great loss - it was a juniper or "mountain ceder" tree. More heavy weather is due later this week, most likely Tuesday and Wednesday. Even with this rain, we will still be very far behind normal rainfall.

The puppies are getting bigger and more active. All nine remaining puppies are now frolicking in the barnyard. Even though they are only five weeks old, they are already almost weaned. They have been eating solids for almost a week. The mother, Spirit, may very well cut them off entirely this week. Her nipples are getting sore, especailly since puppy teeth are very sharp.

We are checking the going rate for mixed-breed herd-dog puppies in the local newspapers. We are hoping to get about $100.00 per male and more for the females.

Some friends of ours are starting a garden! With the way the weather has been, we wish them lots of luck. To assist them, we delivered a twenty-pound bucket full of aged goat manure for fertlizer. When we delivered it, we just left it by the gate - no one was home. I wish we had called before we went - some of their fresh eggs would have been a welcome repayment for the manure.

When we checked the herd tonight, I noticed that some of the pigmy goats are showing signs of intestinal parasites. It looks like either Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning, we will be worming goats. The process is simple - catch a goat, estimate the weight, measure a dose in a syringe and then shoot the dose down the goat's throat. The hard part is the first step - catch a goat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Good News

Well, the good news is in. The check from the auction house came in. The two bucks sold separately - probably as breeding stock. Net result, we got a reasonable price for each.

We still have the fence problem to fix, but without that dang buck, we have not had any complaints from the neighbors about our goats eating their ornimental plants and gardens. That is the REAL good news.

Good fences make for good neighbors. I wish our neighbor would help us get this shared fence fixed. Not only does our goats escape, but his horse visits our pasture. We can be out in the pasture to watch the goats, but his horse is left in his pasture without supervision. I doubt he even realizes that his horse simply walks through the fense.

In addition to fixing the fence, we have to get the tractor up and running. Just another problem on the ranch...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Label That Dang Buck SOLD

Today, we loaded up that dang buck and another large buck we did not want for breeding onto a truck and delivered them to the local livestock auction. Both will be auctioned off tomarrow. With luck, a buyer will want one or both for breeding stock. If this is true, we will get a better price. Otherwise, the will be sold to a slaughterhouse and will probably become two more frozen goat carcuses that are shipped to the Middle East. I have been told, that there is a goat meat shortage due to the disruptions caused by war in Iraq and Afgahnistan. Those two nations used to export goat meat all through the Middle East and southern Europe.

The good news is that ever since we have been keeping that dang buck confined, we have not received any complaints from our neighbor about the mini-herd eating her garden.

Now, we can get back to the serous work of getting the fences fixed.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

That Dang Buck, Part Three

4Sale, our wannabe herdmaster Posted by Picasa

Well, he did it again. We staked him out yesterday on the end of a chain. He found that he could not break the chain, therefore, he broke the anchor. We had to catch him all over again. This time we will use a steel wire and wrap the end around a tree. It just has to hold until Wednesday, when we can take him to the commission sales pens.

Speaking of animals who have to go, here is Max. He is free to a good home, just come and pick him up.

Max, a good dog with children. Not so good aroung livestock. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

That Dang Buck, Redeux

Well, that dang buck did it again. He broke out of confinement in the house compound. And, of course, the first thing he did was lead his mini-herd back to the neighbor's place. Now, we had to do something I really hate to do - stake out an animal. We put a collar around his neck and attached it to an old dog runner. We made sure he has food, water and shade within reach of the runner.

This only has to hold him until Wednesday. Then, we will take him down to the weekly goat sale and he goes on the auction block. You might say he has gone from being an unnamed buck to one that carries a name - "4Sale"

This buck has really fouled our relations with our neighbor. Good thing the neighbor lives half a mile away, on the south side of the property. Of course, this is one of the reasons we moved to Texas - to get away from living cheek-on-jowl with neighbors.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fence Progress

As always, there is an often proverbial "mile of fence" which needs to be repaired. It rained this morning, so we worked on our income tax. But this afternoon, the sky cleared and the sun came out. We let the herd graze in the east pasture while we cleared some of the fence line and tacked up some small utility mesh. In our experience, the small utility mesh works best at containing goats, especailly pygmy goats.

That danged buck has not yet figured out that he can jump over the fence of the house compound. Thus, for the moment, we have him contained. This will keep him and his mini-herd off of our neighbor's land.