Full hands

We took the truck into town yesterday, so we could visit Wellscroft Farm to pick up some electrical tape and portable fencing to use for the horses, for a hopeless search for heirloom tomato plants, and to visit the new Cheshire Horse store.

Dave showed me how to stop the puppy from barking while he waited in the truck. Brilliant and worth the visit. He’s so eager to please and I so rarely need to scold him that it worked like a charm. I just grabbed his muzzle very firmly and said “no, don’t you do it again” and shook him firmly for about a second. When I walked away, he tentatively tried another, so I returned and did it again. I walked away, and he whimpered softly. I turned back and glared at him, and even that stopped. I went back three, four minutes later and praised him, showed him his chew toy, left again. We stayed about 15 minutes more, and he was silent the whole time.

We then dropped him off with Valerie for babysitting while we ran the rest of the errands. We are clearly still at the limits of his good behavior ability. It is so handy to have her near by. When both she and Jeremy were home for the weekend and helping on the farm, it was amazing how much got done. We clearly should have started this venture before the kids left for college. Doh.

We spoke to a Purina rep while at Cheshire Horse. We are looking for a pellet that will feed all critters, rather than having six different kinds of feed. She suggested Allstock, which we are trying two bags of. We also got special Mare/foal food for Pearl. She will have to be supplemented for a while, specially. I can’t believe we are going to have a baby horse soon. It’s a bit overwhelming, that thought.

DSC05126I never did start my tomato seeds this spring. I just had no time or energy, and we’d misplaced the seed packets from three years ago. Frank finally found them yesterday, which inspired me to clean up the raised bed, anyway. It’s just too late to start them now, so I searched all over Keene for something worth planting. I couldn’t find anyone growing Heirloom Tomatoes, so there’s clearly a market niche there for me still. There was three years ago, so I guess I’m glad to see I can help fill it again, but next year. In the meantime, I reminded myself that home grown tomatoes of most any type are better than most any type of store bought ones. I now have enough random stuff to fill that raised bed, waiting to get planted.

We have some bark mulch being delivered tonight. I really need as much help as I can get as I weed these beds. It is so much work to get them back under control, and I have to keep myself from being overwhelmed with how much work there is to do. I have time. I don’t have a garden tour or something to prepare for. There’s no deadline on my flower beds, and I really enjoy having them, so it is okay to take my time on them. I worry that some gardeners coming out to save the trillium will sneer at how weedy they are, but it is more important to save these plants than save my ego.

The traffic in Keene was horrific. They have started on the construction for the new circle thingie, and that is right in the middle of where we go for hardware purchases, animal feed, and the state liquor store. At least the grocery store is on the other side of town, though I’m cooking so much stuff these days that we are down to an every other week trip. That should get even less painful as I grow our own veggies again.

DSC05163 DSC05165Look who we saw when we entered our driveway. It was really hard not to laugh. They saw the truck, and quickly turned around to walk all the way back down the 800 foot driveway. Thank god they’d already been introduced to the Red Scoop of Joy. Getting them back in was pretty easy. There was only one who was too stupid to get the concept of a gate, but Frank and I handled her in a couple of irritating minutes. He kept muttering “I thought pigs were supposed to be smart, little chorizo” as we went round and round in circles.

(I watched to see how they are getting out. They are rooting under the cattle panel, lifting it with their noses. We need to get them trained to an electric fence quick like before they learn to tunnel.)

DSC05157We quickly went to all the evening chores. Hay for the horses, water all around, bottle baby fed. He is finally, finally coming in to be fed, rather than needing to be chased. I’m good with a crook, but man. If you are hungry, come have it and stop crying about it. We lost his mama to worms, sadly, our first of the season. I need to call the vet, as soon as they open today.

I heard someone calling “is anyone home?” and called out to Frank that someone was here. “Are you missing a llama?” I looked around, and sure enough, no Misty. Damn it. “Yes, we are”, I told Rick, our neighbor from down the road. He and Liz own these pretty horses. (She had visited last weekend to get us to sign a petition about the house with the awful puppy mill. She wants one of the feeder pigs for a roast in August. Sold. One down, two to go.)

Rick said a neighbor had called him with a llama on his deck. (I must remember to ask for that picture.) He figured it was ours and he was right. I finished feeding the baby while Frank finished water duty, then we jumped into the truck with some grain and the red scoop of joy. We found her about a mile away, over near the Quinn’s, where we’d put the critters two summers ago.

DSC05173I think she is looking for her sister, poor thing. She was completely uninterested in grain of any sort, and in a panic, quite upset. Stubborn, no moving, pulled off her halter. It took every guile of ours and three sets of neighbors (two of whom have horses) to get her back home. We finally shoved her into one of their trailers.

I don’t like her condition. I had a lot of time to feel her yesterday, and I think she is losing weight since the vet was here a week ago when Mary died. She won’t eat any grain, unless I feed it to her by hand. Then she’ll eat it. Poor thing. Everyone seems to think I need to get her another llama buddy. I’m feeling so overwhelmed at the thought of another animal, though. A new llama, especially a rescue, needs time and attention, and I just don’t think I have either to spare. I’m really not sure what to do about her.

She also really, really doesn’t like the pigs. She looks at them and makes her danger call warning, all. day. long. I wonder if it is worth the stress on her to rehalter her and bring her over to meet them in person. I’m also not sure what to make of the fact that she was out at the same time the pigs were. Did she see the break-out and go try to bring them back in, as she does with the sheep? And then go visit the Quinn’s, where she might find her sister? I’m just not sure of the sequence or motivation.

I’m not sure who it was that said yesterday that we sure have our hands full. We sure do. I’m so glad we have such helpful (and understanding) neighbors. I need to think of something nice to bring them. (honey? eggs?)

(oh yeah. We have the chickens restricted to the coop in the mornings now. We can’t figure out where they are laying. Again. I think they might be doing it under the deck, where I can’t see. The puppy has found several. I wonder if I can train him to bring them to me.)

I’m trying to remember that keeping this journal helps me. I felt a bit of a jinx by writing a sheep and llama update, patting ourself on the back for a fairly easy lambing season. We then promptly lost a mama and got a bottle baby, and had issues with attachment with Gracie and her baby. I’m not normally that superstitious, but Murphy isn’t my friend, really. I do know that this all would have happened anyway.

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