Sunday Homestead Update

It has been SUCH a busy week.  It was our first week of school, plus there was a ton of canning to be done, and the bear break-in and subsequent clean-up work.  I’m exhausted!  Let me show you some of what has been going on.

Farm Dog Moves Indoors

If you have been following our blog for long then you know about our amazing old farm dog, Tundra.  He is closing in on 12 years old now.

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You also know that every summer we struggle with the flies eating his ear.  Some years it is worse than others.  We have tried EVERYTHING to deter them…blue kote, new skin, bandaging, herbal salve, several different essential oils, several different bug sprays, both natural and chemical….nothing works.  71114-12photo (5)We have taken him to the vet and discussed it with her.  We even considered cropping the ear surgically but the vet said they would probably just eat the new edge.  Her only answer was to bring him indoors, which we have done for a few days at a time in the past when it got bad.  But you have to know Tundra to know how much he hates living inside.  He paces back and forth to the back door, looking out and trying to see what is going on in the barnyard.  He whines.  He won’t settle, even after several days indoors he still paces like a caged leopard at the zoo.  This dog LOVES his job as farm protector and he HATES it when he isn’t allowed to do his job.

This last winter, as his age was beginning to show, we attempted to get him to retire as an indoor dog.  We thought with the intense cold and the dealing with predators…why wouldn’t he want to become an indoor dog for however many years he has left?  Nope, he was having nothing of it.  He wants to die with his boots on, doing what he loves, guarding the livestock.  So we put him back outside after a week-long indoor trial.

But this summer the fly damage to his ear has reached an all-time terrible level.  The new-skin was working for awhile earlier this month, but then in the last week it stopped and every time we went out he had about 20 flies on the wound at once.  So we decided the only option was to bring him indoors until it healed fully and the flies decreased because of cooler weather.  We are guessing this will take at least 4 weeks.  4 weeks of him pacing and being unhappy.  😦  But nothing else has worked and we can’t just leave it to become infected or worse.  So in he came.

Here is what it looked like when we first brought him in from the barnyard:

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We gave him a thorough bath – we are not having a dog who used to live in the barnyard live in the house without a bath! – and cleaned the ear up too.  Here it is after his bath and cleaning:

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We are glad that Finley, our other farm dog, is now 2 years old and has really matured into his job in the barnyard.  Tundra has raised and trained him well, with some help from Mtn Man, of course.  So he can take care of the livestock while Tundra is out-of-commission inside.

The indoor cats are not impressed with the new situation.  They huddle and glare at him, despite the fact that he is fine with cats and completely ignores their existence.

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Canning

We have been canning almost every day this week.  First we finished the apples from last week, and then we got nectarines at the discount grocer for $0.20/lb!!!  So we grabbed two cases of them (58 lbs), spent just under $12.00, and worked hard to get them all canned as well.  I think we got about 24 quarts canned in honey syrup…(I wrote down the exact numbers, but don’t have them easily accessible right now).

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Also, the Purple Queen bush beans (green beans) in the garden are coming ripe by the thousands, so we have been canning them as well.  I think we are up to almost 20 quarts of them.

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Bear Break-In Update

After the bear broke into the camper this week Mtn Man ran into a friend of ours who is an officer in our area.  He told him about the break-in and how strange it was since there was no food in the camper.  The officer told him that they have had 5 times the amount of calls of bears breaking into houses and vehicles this year than they have ever had before.  In the last year or so they passed some laws that made it illegal to not protect your garbage from bears, so people will be ticketed and fined if they don’t keep their garbage in bear-proof containers or indoors.  Ever since then, everyone is keeping their trash locked up (finally!).  But since the bears have become so accustomed to eating from human trash and several generations of bears were taught to do that by their moms they don’t know any other way to eat.  So now with the trash locked up they are getting desperate and thus breaking in to homes and vehicles like crazy.  Hopefully, if we can all stick it out for a few years they will get the hang of eating without human help and we can have a more balanced, safe, and healthy life with bears and humans living near each other in our area.

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