Around the Homestead

Thai

For years we have rescued dogs that have been abandoned along the side of the road and given them a home. It is our love for animals that has given us the motivation to do whatever is necessary to adjust our farm to accommodate these dogs and other animals we have taken in.

One day on my way to work, an hour away, halfway there I came up to three dogs along the side of the road. I called Randy to let him know I was about to get out with three dogs and where I was in case something happened. Two of the dogs immediately ran away, but one of them was laying on the side of the road. He appeared to be hurt, but was easily coaxed into the backseat of my car.

I called work to let them know I would be a bit late, turned my car around and headed for home with a slightly damp, very smelly, super timid, but very well-mannered dog in tow. I gave him food, water, and put him in a dog crate in our garage before heading to work. I stopped at houses along the way home to see if anyone had lost a dog and called the local post office where I was told a mail carrier had seen this dog running for weeks.

So he was our’s! A trip to the vet to get him checked out and fixed and then it was time to introduce him to the two dogs we already had (Ash and Koal). Everyone got along great except for one problem. When the sheep would graze along the woven wire fencing that separated our dog’s backyard and the sheep pasture Thai would bit their ears OFF, yes off.

This is the part of rescuing animals from all different backgrounds and all different temperaments that gets hard, time consuming, and expensive. We ended up having to build a privacy fence along one side our our backyard to separate the sheep lot from the dogs to create a barrier between the sheep and what appeared to be a harmless Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix.

The three dogs got along great despite their very different personalities. The vet estimated his age around one year old when we brought him home to live with us. We loved on him for twelve years until he woke up one morning disoriented and sick. It was all of a sudden and we weren’t prepared to lose him, but we let him go with grace and will never forget this big, harry dog who would literally greet us with a smile.

Around the Homestead

Sheep Shearing

And why we don’t have cats in our house all the time…

Shearing sheep has changed a bit on our farm. We used to have enough sheep shearers would come to our place and shear them with electric shears and then move on to mom and dad’s to shear their sheep. Then we didn’t have enough sheep for the shearers to come to us, so we had to load our sheep into a stock trailer and haul them an hour away to get sheared. We only did this once, it didn’t go great, so the following year we decided to try using the hand shears Randy shears the llamas with and hand shear all fifteen of our sheep. We borrowed a stanchion and went to work. It went so well last year we went for it again this year.

Our sheep are so tame this really works well for us. I also got in on the action shearing around their neck and face while Randy worked everywhere else which sped things up also.

It took us one weekend to hand shear all fifteen of our sheep and trim their hooves. It takes maybe 45 minutes a sheep. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it to keep them safe at home and not stress them in a trailer or have them walking through pens where other sheep have been.

Randy shears both of our llamas with hand shears in a custom chute we bought at an auction from a llama farm. We have two llamas that take about an hour each to shear and three at mom and dad’s.

We also shear the sheep at mom and dad’s. They have four, but two of them jumped the fence and were left with only two to shear. The two who jumped are hair sheep and will hopefully shed.

That is how our weekends have been spent lately. It’s good exercise and the animals enjoy when it is all over with as much as we do.

Around the Homestead

Spring is here…sort of…

The tulips are blooming, and we’ve broke out the tote of summer clothes.

The cats enjoy this time of year. We are outside more which means more attention for them.

They just get sweeter with age.

And with spring comes unpredictable weather and days when you just need to stay in your pajamas and do fun things inside.

Also with drastic weather changes comes sick animals. Willie Nelson spent a few days inside after a trip to the vet for an viral infection.

There are also days where a walk is in order.
Even when the wind is relentless.

Spring here has meant, trying to get the garden in shape, shearing sheep, shearing llamas, trimming hooves, doctoring sick cats, washing copious amounts of eggs, loving on an aging dog, and having our story time on the front porch snuggled up with a few cats.

Rescuing animals is not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work and a lot of expense, but in the end they pay us back with loyalty and love. Spring is just a busy time preparing the animals for summer and helping them through their ailments as they adjust to the season change.

Around the Homestead

ATVs with Daddy

Aspen on 4-wheeler

The girls love to ride (not drive) 4-wheelers with Randy and I. They aren’t quite big enough to man one themselves, but love to pretend they are when parked.

Canyon with go-kart
Canyon

I don’t know when I will ever feel comfortable enough to let them ride off into the great unknown on one. Luckily for now, they are content to hop on with their mama and daddy and go for a spin.

Around the Homestead

Around the Farm

A beautiful March day on our farm. We love hanging out with the sheep, llamas, and whatever cats are brave enough to wander into the lot with us.

Aspen, Canyon, and Sylvia
1112
Willie Nelson
Frida

We are so blessed to live here and care for these animals. Some days, I’m not going to lie, it’s the hardest job in the world. Most days, however, it is the most rewarding and fulfilling place I’ve ever lived.

Aspen without teeth

They are growing up so fast. Good-bye baby teeth!

Around the Homestead

Canyon’s 8th Birthday…Quarantined

So Canyon’s birthday turned out to be under different circumstances than Aspen’s. Although they are only 5 weeks apart…a lot can change in 5 weeks. Canyon had chosen to go bowling and lunch at a Mexican restaurant for her birthday. Since we were under quarantine by this point we had to make other plans.

Fortunately for us, Canyon is so sweet and easy-going. She totally understood and was up for whatever.

Canyon in her astronaut suit
All dressed up with no place to go.
The cake nobody’s going to want to eat after she blows those candles out…haha!

And then a great idea from my mom and the contribution of my brother…

Canyon Wii Bowling
Aspen Wii Bowling
Getting coached by Uncle Craig

We don’t have video games in our home, so this was a big deal. Both the girls loved it and Canyon thought it was the best birthday ever. We couldn’t take her bowling, so with the help of my family, we brought bowling to her.

We love you Canyon!

Around the Homestead

What We are Reading

Reading is important to our family not only for entertainment, but also for learning. I would not be able to homestead and care for the animals we have if I didn’t have the books to help me along the way. I wouldn’t be able to bake from scratch, ferment food, preserve food, etc. if not for all the wonderful books to teach me along the way.

I have tried, and not always successfully, to not only instill a love of reading in our children, but also the importance of being able to teach yourself using books.

I tend to read multiple books at one time so I can have them strategically placed throughout the house to pick up easily wherever I land.

Bible-The Book of Acts

Devotional: Quiet Times for Parents-H. Norman Wright

The Little Boy Down the Road-Doug Phillips

Mitten Strings for God-Katrina Kenison

How to Live Without Electricity and Like it-Anita Evangelista

Heidi-Johanna Spyri

Aspen is reading:

Heidi-Johanna Spyri

While reading is a struggle for Aspen, not that she isn’t a great reader, just that she doesn’t enjoy it. Heidi has proved no different. I am hoping to order some books, that I feel are a bit below her reading level, but at this point any volunteer reading would be great and she loves these stories.

Canyon is reading:

The Little House series-Currently Farmer Boy-Laura Ingalls Wilder

She loves to read and will almost always be curled up with a book of some sort. Her vocabulary and spelling reflect her love of reading.

Read Aloud:

We are reading through the New Testament, currently the book of Mark.

The Coral Island-R. M. Ballantyne

Just finished up:

Me and Nobbles-Amy LeFeuvre

These Lamplighter books are the absolute best. I highly recommend them for character building and entertainment. The girls love them!

We have been members of Read Aloud Revival in the past and it is wonderful. The girls have loved nearly all her recommendations. So picture books are still a big part of our daily reading.

That is it for now. Hopefully in a week or two this list will change.