Sunday Homestead Update

Another beautiful week on the farm!

Sorry for the picture quality this week – something about the sun while we were working on outdoor projects made for some pretty badly lit photos.

Fall Projects

We have plenty of fall projects to get done before winter and we tackled some of them this weekend.  First we dealt with some small odds and ends that seem to always be building up on a homestead…fix this little thing or that little thing.

Then, since we are borrowing a tractor right now, we wanted to get around to finishing the big onion/garlic patch project by getting all the compost moved over into the patch.  The dirt and compost we put in there last year after building the new retaining wall had settled quite a bit.  In some places it was over a foot too shallow.

As often happens, this was one big project that actually morphed into three big projects as we went.

As we were getting started we realized that to get the tractor into the barnyard we would have to figure out a way to get around the shed.  It is hard to see in the pics, but there is quite an incline next to the shed, it drops about 2-3 feet over 5 feet, and we didn’t want the tractor to roll.

So to make a safe place for the tractor to drive we needed to build a little road with a little retaining wall (extra project #1).  So we needed dirt.

Living on a mountainside there are always ditches that need to be dug to try to keep the water flowing down the hill and away from roads and buildings.  So in order to get some dirt, we decided to dig a ditch (extra project #2) that needed digging to stop the water from the driveway from creating a big alluvium in our field.  So we dug the ditch.

And we used the dirt removed from the ditch to build the little road to safely get the tractor around the shed.

So that we could finally get back to the original project of moving the compost from the barnyard to the onion/garlic patch.  🙂

One scoop out of the pile, and into the patch…only about 20 more to go!

We were SO grateful for the tractor.  This job would have been a beast without it.  While the compost pile and onion patch are only about 50 yards from each other, because of fences, steps, rocky hillside, gates, and buildings, the path we have to take to go from the barnyard to the onion patch is probably about 175 yards including quite a steep uphill portion.  I can’t even imagine doing it with just wheelbarrows.

We got the entire pile moved into the onion patch, which felt great.  We still need to smooth it out and dig the holes for the apple trees going in next spring (while we still have the tractor to dig them with).  And some of the extra compost we have in there will need to be bucketed over into the veggie garden boxes.

There is still plenty to get done, and hopefully we will accomplish more in the coming weekends!

Chickens

Alice and her 5 chicks moved into the lower coop this week.  They love it!  The chicks are handling the ramp just fine, it just took a little coaxing from Alice and a little practice and now they are pros.  It is much nicer for them to live in this coop as opposed to the grow pen in the barn because it has an outdoor section and an indoor section so they can get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.  Plus, it is fun for us because it is just out the back door, so we get to see them a lot more….and no one can look at a mama hen with her chicks and not smile.  🙂

Knitting

I have been sick this week, which means a lot of knitting was accomplished while I tried to rest and recuperate.

I finished the Fish Lips Kiss Heel Socks and I wrote about them here.

I also finished this adorable little Christmas sweater for Mr. Smiles.  The pattern is Snow is Falling Junior by Melissa Kemmerer.  I purposefully moved the snowflakes up higher in the pattern so they would show better when the baby is sitting.  He can’t walk yet, and I didn’t want the pretty snowflakes lost in the rumples of the sweater at his waist while sitting.  So I moved them up.

Remember this hooded scarf I was making and then tore out…?

Well that is the yarn I used on the baby’s sweater.  It is yarn made in our mill, from our livestock (50% angora from our bunny Oliver, and 50% CVM from our ewe, Violet).  We lovingly call it “Violiver.”  It is super soft and very warm, AND…this little sweater is now officially the first project I have finished that is made from fiber from our farm AND was processed in our mill.  I have previously made items from our fiber, but it was hand-processed.  So this little sweater is a bit of a milestone for us, and very special.  I am sure Mr. Smiles will look oh-so-cute in it.

Squash

We cooked up the last of the squash from the pumpkin patch and froze it for delicious breads, cookies, and pies this winter.  We really like the Red Kuri squash.  The pulp and seeds are easy to get out and the ratio of good flesh to pulp is very good, with far more “meat.”  And the flavor is like a mixture of a pumpkin and a butternut squash.  The Golden Nugget squash grew good as well, but the ratio of flesh was not even close to as good, and the pulp and seeds were hard to get out.

 

 

Operation Christmas Child

We are packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child again this year with our church.

This will be the second year the kids are making these bandanna backpacks.

And they are also sewing facecloths into little cases to hold the hygiene items we are putting in (soap, toothbrushes, combs, etc).

It is kind of hard to see, but the cases have three pockets inside of them.

“Old Man of the Farm”

I will leave you with a picture of Jerry, our barn cat.

Since our LGD, Tundra, died in July, Jerry is now the “Old Man of the Farm.”  Meaning that he is the oldest of the farm animals, at almost 11-years-old.  He and Tundra were actually best friends and grew up together.  At times we wondered if Jerry thought he was a dog, and if Tundra thought he was a cat.  During the long cold nights of winter the two of them would snuggle up in the hay to sleep cuddled together.  It was so cute.  I am not sure who Jerry will be cuddling with this winter.  Maybe the other barn cats.  I am guessing Anya, the new LGD puppy, is too rambunctious for him.

“Fish Lips Kiss Heel” Knitting Pattern Review

Well that title is a mouthful!

I am an avid sock knitter.  Ever since I learned to knit socks I have constantly had a pair on the needles.  No matter what other knitting I am doing – there is always a pair of socks.  What is interesting is that while I have made myself a few pairs, I don’t really like the feel of hand-knit socks.  Thankfully, Young Man absolutely loves hand-knit socks and will happily take as many pairs as I can possibly make him.  So most of my sock knitting goes to him.  But I also make them for the other kids, Mtn Man, and occasionally others.

Over the years I have learned to make socks all different ways – on DPNs, on 2 circulars, on 1 circular with magic loop, one-at-a-time, two-at-a-time, cuff-down, toe-up….and many different types of toes and heels and leg patterns.  I like trying new ways and so I was intrigued when I saw the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” pattern, by Sox Therapist, on another blog.  I like trying new heels and this one was said to be very quick and easy and fit very well.  So I went to check it out.  What I found was that it wasn’t just a new heel pattern, it also included a method for getting just the right fit without needing numbers, math, nor the foot there trying on the sock constantly.  Great!  Sounds like something I definitely want to try!

The method has you make a cardboard cut-out of the person’s foot, and you mark it in certain ways to know when to start the heel and toe, as well as how the sock should be fitting the cut-out at different places so that it will fit the foot right.  So all you have to do is stick the cardboard cut-out inside the sock you are making to know if you have the fit right, and when to make the heel and toe.

I got my cardboard cut-out made and gathered my supplies.  The method doesn’t help you know how many to cast on for what size and gauge or anything, it just helps you determine fit and heel placement.  So I decided to go toe-up, 2-at-a-time, on one circular needle.  I figured out that with the gauge I had and the size I was making I would normally increase to end up with 48 stitches around.  But with the FLKH method, you just increase until you get to the designated toe increase line.

One problem I had right away was that this particular persons foot has a very steep toe increase.  So I couldn’t really tell how it was going until I got fully to the ball of the foot.  I increased to the line, but when I got to the ball of the foot and put the cardboard in, it was much bigger around than it was supposed to be according to the method.  Hmmmm.

So I tore it back to the increases, had it land at 44 stitches around (which was before the toe increase line) and knit back up to the ball of the foot.  Again, it was too big.  This had me wondering, but I really wanted to fully give this method a try, so I decided that to really try it out I needed to do it just like she said, even if it seemed to be going against what was successful for me in the past.  And I decided that the way she said it should fit around the cardboard was more important that the toe increase line she said to do because there are so many different toe increase methods.  So I tore it back to the increases again, landed it at 40 stitches around, which was a full inch closer to the toe than the toe increase line, and again knit to the ball of the foot.  When I slid the cardboard in it fit like she said it should, so I continued on.

The foot went on without incident, and then I came to the heel.  Time to try out a new heel – which is what started this all in the first place.

Every time I try a new heel it takes a bit to figure it out and get going, but even with the learning curve I was surprised at how quickly the first heel went.  It felt like it was over in no time.  Then on the second heel (I knit socks two-at-a-time), I was able to whip through it even faster, and only had to look at the pattern once to remind myself what to do next.  That is surprising because usually with heel patterns I have to refer back to the pattern over and over again.  This one was super-simple to remember, and could be used with any number of stitches without any major math.  As long as you can divide by 3, or have a calculator that can, you are good to go.

The heels look quite a bit “pointy-er” than what I am used to.  So as I finished them up I was starting to feel skeptical again about the new method.  But as I said above, if I am really going to give it a try, I really need to give it a full try and keep going.  So I continued to work my way up the leg.

Finally, they were done and it was time for the moment of truth.  I gave them to Young Man and had him try them on.

I must say that the sigh of comfort and contentment he made when he pulled them on said it all.  But, for purposes of experimenting with a new method, I asked him to discuss the fit as compared to previous socks I have made him.  He is used to this, because he is usually my guinea pig when it comes to trying new sock heels and such since he loves hand-knit socks so much.

He said the length was “perfect,” and the fit around his foot was more snug than previous socks and that he liked that snug-ness A LOT better than the looser socks I had made previously.  He felt like the heel was good and fit well too.  He loved them and proceeded to wear them happily the rest of the day.

So, this method definitely worked for his foot.  The one problem was the the way that I increased the toe did not match up with her markings for the toe.  But following the rest of her plan I was able to make it work how she said.  And looking at his very steep toe angle, I am going to experiment with different ways to increase (if toe-up) or decrease (if cuff down) the toes of his socks to help them fit that angle better for him.

I was extremely happy with the simplicity of the heel and the speed at which I was able to accomplish the heel.  And I like the method of using the cardboard cut-out for figuring out the right fit.  I will definitely continue using this method and heel.  I am looking forward to trying it out on all my kids’ and husband’s socks now and seeing how it works for each different foot.  I give this sock fitting method, and heel pattern a thumbs up!

 

Garden Review 2017

We had a bountiful garden experience this year!  It is so satisfying to grow our own food and gardening continues to be one of my favorite parts of the homestead.  If you are not interested in the amounts we harvested, scroll down to read some reviews of new gardening products we tried out this year.

Harvest Stats for 2017

I tried to keep good records this year on the garden harvest, and here are the results…

Some items were weighed, others (like herbs) I just give a general amount based on our usage (plenty, very good, good, pretty good, poor).

Seeds:

This year we didn’t need to save many seeds because of previous years’ saving.  I don’t have amounts, but we successfully saved seeds from tomatoes and drying beans.

Produce:

  • Basil – plenty
  • Drying Beans – 2 lbs
  • Garden Beans – 31.5 lbs
  • Beets – 6 lbs
  • Cabbage – 33.5 lbs
  • Cabbage Sprouts – 2.5 lbs
  • Carrot – 26.75 lbs
  • Celery – 8.5 lbs
  • Cilantro – poor
  • Dill – ooops, totally forgot to plant!
  • Grapes – 2.5 lbs
  • Lettuce – plenty for salads several times a week all summer and shared with friends.
  • Onions – 32 lbs
  • Oregano – plenty
  • Parsley – plenty
  • Pea (sweet) – 8.75 lbs
  • Pea (snap) – plenty for fresh eating.
  • Pumpkin – 3.5 lbs
  • Rhubarb – Plenty
  • Sage – Plenty
  • Spinach – Plenty for fresh eating and to freeze for smoothies
  • Winter Squash – 7 lbs
  • Strawberries – Forgot to weigh 😦 But more than ever, so over 5 lbs. 🙂
  • Tomatoes – 100.5 lbs
  • Turnip – 33 lbs
  • Zuccini – 10.5 lbs
  • Berry Bushes – Not good this year, late frost with heavy wet snow squashed them down and they didn’t produce well.

For a grand total of over 314 lbs of produce!!!

New Things We Tried This Year in the Garden

Most of our experiments had to do with extending our season using physical protection for the plants.

#1 Pop-Up Tomato Accelerator

We have always used Wall-o-Waters to protect our tomato plants and extend the season for them.  This year I got 3 of these Tomato Accelerators to see if they worked better, or if they were used in conjunction with the WOWs would improve our growth.  For two of the plants I put the accelerator over the WOW and then when the plant outgrew the WOW I left just the accelerator on until the plant outgrew the accelerator.  For one of the plants I used just the accelerator with no WOW.

We were not surprised that the accelerator alone was not enough to protect the tomato in our cold climate.  The tomato with just an accelerator frosted and died down to a stem, although it came back from the root and did end up producing some.  The WOWs are much better for protecting tomatoes in a very cold climate.

The tomato plants that were in a WOW with an accelerator over it, and then when they were bigger just the accelerator, and then nothing, didn’t do any better than the tomatoes that were just in WOWs and then nothing.

So, we give these Pop-Up Tomato Accelerators a thumbs down for use in our high-altitude, short season, cold climate.  We will stick with the Wall-o-Waters, that have always worked very well for us.

#2 Super Hoops with All-Purpose Garden Fabric

We decided to create tunnels to not only extend the season, but also to protect the plants from pests.  We built them in our 2-foot wide garden boxes around the edge of the garden.  The plants we put in these tunnels this year were cabbages, beets, turnips, spinach, and lettuce.  We have previously had a lot of trouble with root maggots, leaf miners, and cabbage worms in those plants.  We used the Super Hoops to build the frame of the tunnel and covered them with the All-purpose Garden Fabric, which was left on all season.  All these plants were in the ground under these tunnels during our last few frosts of the season, as well as through a heavy wet snow.

 

We were really happy with our results from these tunnels!  The super hoops had good structure that held their position for the most part.  During the heavy wet snow we had several fall over (to be expected), and we had a couple that were problematic all season.  Those few problematic ones were either because they had a lot of tension on them because of the fabric and their position, or they weren’t able to get very deep in the dirt.  But overall I felt the hoops were totally worth it and I plan to get some high-rise ones next year for our 4-foot wide boxes.

The fabric worked great as well.  It kept the young seedlings happy and warm through the end of winter, including a heavy snow, then it protected them from the harsh hail storms of June, we had no problems with the pests of summer, and it has kept the turnips, beets, and spinach all warm enough to last into late fall.  The downfalls of the fabric are that it does tear, so in the wind here over time it has torn and I will have to buy more.  It is also definitely extra work to keep the tunnel fabric in place and held down.  At times I was very frustrated with it.  But overall, the benefits far outweighed the extra maintenance.  We definitely yielded a better harvest from the plants that were under the tunnel.

We give these super hoops and all-purpose fabric a thumbs up for use in our climate.  We plan to continue using them year after year.

#3 Drying Beans

We decided to try drying beans (like for soup and chili) this year and see how they would grow.  We tried them previously, but a vole cut them all off at the ground level before they could really do anything.  We tried Kentucky Blue and Rattlesnake varieties this year and I planted them at the base of our new garden arch.

Despite being torn up by June hail storms, they produced and grew pretty well.  We plan to plant a lot more next year and see how it goes.  This experiment was a success!

#4 Fence Around the Pumpkin Patch

Our pumpkin and squash patch is exposed to the wild animals because they don’t generally eat the leaves, and we try to guard it and harvest the pumpkins and squash before the animals have interest in them.  So as far as the plants go, a fence isn’t a necessity.  However, the wild animals, especially the elk, like to play with, knock over, and chew on our Wall-O-Waters.  So we have to plant the pumpkin and squash seedlings a month later because we can’t use the WOWs on the pumpkin patch.  With our very short growing season of 10-12 weeks frost-to-frost, that 4 weeks really makes a difference for long season veggies.  So this year we decided to fence the pumpkin patch so we could use the WOWs.

It did make a difference and we had a pretty good harvest.  So we will leave that fence in place to continue to protect it in the future.

#5  Remodeled Onion/Garlic Patch

Last fall and spring we worked to rebuild the retaining wall that held the onion/garlic patch.  By doing that we were able to add about 12-18 inches of good compost and soil into that patch, making it much deeper and covering the shallow bad soil it previously had.

It definitely worked, our onion harvest tripled this year!

#6  Mystery Box

We had an interesting occurrence happen this year, which led to some research, which led to a plan for something new we will try next year.  We had one section of garden boxes perform EXTREMELY well.  Like 10 times better than the box next to it containing the exact same seedlings.  Once we realized how much better it was doing, I looked back at my records and found that everything that has been planted in that box the last couple of years way outperformed the ones not in that box.  I am not sure how we missed it before, but it is very clear now.  So what is different about that section of boxes?

That section was built in 2014, a year after the rest of the garden.  It has the same drip system as all the garden.  Because of its position on the hill those boxes are much deeper, at about 18-20 inches deep, as opposed to the rest of the boxes that are 8-12 inches deep.  They also were filled with compost from our animals, after we had had a couple of years of good compost build-up from the cow, rabbits, sheep and chickens.  The other boxes were filled with a store-bought compost and topsoil mix, and they had a 1-2 inch layer of the same compost from our barnyard put on top.

So it seems that the difference is either the compost, or the depth, or both.  The garden location can’t really be it because there are boxes right next to them that are the shallower ones filled with different soil that didn’t perform even half as well.

Our plan for next year, to try to figure out this mysterious miracle-growing box is to increase the depth of another section of the garden, and fill it with our barnyard compost.  Granted, our compost is much different now, it doesn’t contain cow manure.  But it is the best we can do to try to figure out how to make our entire garden grow as well as that section.

Next Year’s Garden Plans

  • Plant more drying beans
  • Build another section of garden boxes deeper and fill with barnyard compost to try to replicate the miracle-growing box section
  • Buy high-rise super hoops to build a tunnel on the 4-foot boxes
  • Add more compost to the onion/garlic patch to bring the depth back up
  • Plant 2 apple trees behind onion/garlic patch
  • Everything else the same, rotating crops around the garden

So we end another garden season, and look forward to next spring when we get to do it all over again!

Sunday Homestead Update

More Snow!  We got more snow this week, this time it was about 5 inches and it stuck around for a couple of days.  It was pretty and we enjoyed being cozy by the woodstove through it.  But this continuous rain and snow pattern we have had the last 3-4 weeks has made the barnyard into a gooey mess and leaves the animals with few places to stand that aren’t mucky.  Hopefully things will dry up a bit in the coming weeks.

The day after the storm a flock of wild turkeys marched through our property.  They used to not live in this area at all, but in the last few years we have been seeing them occasionally, which is fun.

Knitting

I finished another project this week.  It is a balaclava for Little Miss.  I made three of these last year, one each for Little Miss, Braveheart, and Mr. Smiles.  They absolutely love them and wore them all winter.  But Little Miss’ head has grown and hers doesn’t fit her for this winter.  So I made her another one for Christmas.  I love the color of the yarn, it is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in the colorway Wild Strawberry.  The pattern is the Bailey Balaclava.  It is a super fast knit, and it is fun to knit something that I know will get so much use.

I am really enjoying the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” pattern and method.  I plan to do a review on both the heel and the method in a future post.  For now, I have made it to the leg of the sock.

The Problem With Roosters

Because we have 5 kids and the kids love being involved in the farm, it is very important that the animals we keep are not aggressive.  Whenever we raise up breeding roosters we let them mature and then pick our favorite two (taking into consideration conformation as well as behavior).  Then we let those two mature even more and cull the most aggressive one.  That usually leaves us with a nicely tempered breeding rooster.  But every-so-often it doesn’t work, and here is why…sometimes when there are two roosters with the flock and one seems nice and sweet and the other is the boss and aggressive, when you remove the aggressive one and the sweet one is left all alone to take the dominant position in the flock, he all of a sudden decides he needs to be aggressive because there is no one else filling the job.

Unfortunately, that has just happened to us.  We have had two roosters for a couple months now and one was significantly more aggressive than the other.  So we butchered the more aggressive one this week.  The next morning all seemed fine, but the morning after that, when we opened the coop to let the chickens out, the previously submissive roo blew right out of the coop and attacked me.  Most times when a roo gets cheeky with me if I go after him aggressively with my big black muck boot he backs off.  Not so with this guy…he got more upset and attacked me more when I tried to get him away from me.  He is acting even WORSE that the one that we butchered earlier this week.  😦  And he is the only rooster we have left.  Sigh.  Sometimes homesteading just doesn’t work the way you hope no matter how hard you try to plan and prepare for it to go well.

Soooooo, I don’t know what we will do now.  At least for the time being no kids will be allowed in the chicken pen.

The hens on the other hand….are doing beautifully.

Alice and her 5 chicks are doing well.  We are hoping to move them to the lower coop soon, so they can have some fresh air and sunshine.  We are just waiting until we feel like the little ones can handle the steep ramp that the lower coop has.  Maybe this week…

One of our other Partridge Chanteclers is wanting to set now too.  We don’t normally let them set in fall, but we decided to go ahead and go for it, especially since we might not have a roo soon.  So we put 10 eggs under Ava today, and in 21 days will hopefully have another set of chicks running around.

Garden

We are finishing up the garden year.  We have beets and turnips still in the ground under the frost fabric tunnels, but everything else is done for the year.  I am hoping to get around to tallying up the harvest amounts this week.

The Gooseberry bush is turning a beautiful purple/red/brown color.

And the strawberry leaves are turning red and starting to lay down for the winter.

Continuing to Train Our Livestock Guardian Dog

The training of our Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD), Anya, has been full of ups and downs, steps forward and steps backward.  We are learning a lot, and really love this sweet girl, who is such an integral part of our farm.  It has been hard this year, with the loss of our lead LGD, Tundra, this summer.  But Anya is doing a good job of stepping up to the plate and taking over the protection of the barnyard.

Bobcat looking for a chicken dinner at our farm

Living in the Rockies means predators…lots of them.  It seems not a week goes by without some sort of predator-near-the-barnyard-incident.  We have coyotes, bears, bobcats, and mountain lions that are all anxious for some lamb, or chicken.  Plus foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey that would enjoy an easy chicken dinner.  Our first defense against all predators is properly built fencing and livestock housing, and closing all animals indoors at night.  The way we have built our housing and fences pretty much takes care of the threat of coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.  We are still left with bears, bobcats, mountain lions, and aerial predators – and that is where having an LGD becomes a necessity.

 

We got Anya at 10 months of age last April.  She is an Anatolian Shepherd and had a good foundation with livestock before she came to us.  We started her living in her own pen, sharing a fence with all the livestock and watching Tundra as he did his work with the sheep, goats, and chickens.  We worked with her at least 5 days a week, for an hour or so each time, teaching her to not wrestle and play with the livestock.

We made quick progress and in May she was able to live full-time with our grumpy old nanny goat because the goat wouldn’t let her get away with roughhousing her.   That went really well.  Then we butchered that goat and didn’t really have anyone for her to live with safely yet, so she went back to living in her own pen sharing a fence with the livestock, and having her daily training sessions with the livestock.  Then in July Tundra died, and we tried to accelerate her training as much as we safely could, knowing she was now the only LGD.  We had a really good two-day time period where we were out in the barnyard almost all day long and she was with the sheep the entire time and did fine.  So we let her start living with the sheep, but not with the chickens.  The weanling lambs were about half size by then (much bigger than in this picture) so we figured she could handle them.

It all was going fine until a couple of days later we caught her holding down one of the weanling sheep, licking her like crazy.  She was not trying to kill, her, she just wanted to play, but the lamb was super stressed and went into shock.  Thankfully, the lamb pulled through fine, and doesn’t even show fear of the dog.  But after that we had to move her back to her own pen again to be safe.  A day later we had the chicken incident, where a chicken squeezed into her pen and she killed it.  We again took a step back and re-doubled our efforts at her training with chickens.

That was all back in July, and since then she has been living in her own pen, sharing fence, and we have continued daily training sessions where she goes in with the sheep and chickens and we keep an eye on her and reprimand her if she does anything wrong.  But for the last couple of months, she hasn’t done anything wrong at all during those times.  I usually just sit there reading or knitting while she hangs out with the flocks.  So we felt it was time to take another step forward.  She is about 16 months old now, so we still are not ready to trust her with chickens or young sheep (most people say not to until after 2 years old and plenty of training).  But in preparation for breeding season we put the ram in the back pen, along with the young ewe lambs who wont breed this year.  Come November we will put the ram in with the breeding ewes for breeding – we don’t want earlier breeding because it will land us lambing in Feb/March, which is too cold here for lambing.  We like to lamb April/May.  So that left the 3 older breeding ewes in the main barnyard.  We decided this was an excellent chance to try to get Anya living with livestock again in a situation that she could be successful in.

So she has been living with the three older ewes for over a week now.  At night she is separated from them, but all day she is with them.  We have been checking on them all often, to be sure she is doing well, and so far everything has gone great.  She has not been trying to wrestle them or play with them.  She has not been chasing them.  She has just been doing her thing, being the LGD.  I love seeing a dog living with the flock again (or part of it at least).  It is cool how they kind of just mesh in and become part of the flock, even though they are not sheep.

We plan to continue with this situation even after we put the ram in for breeding, of course keeping a close eye on things when we add him in.  Then if all goes well, at the end of the year we will decide if we think she can handle having the younger ewes (who by then will be 9 months old and about 3/4 to full size) added into the mix or not.

It has been a bumpy road, but we know that the time and effort we are putting in now to train Anya will pay off with years of an excellent LGD watching over everything for us.  It will definitely be worth it!