Ridgetop - our place and how we muddle along

Ridgetop

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Sound asleep last night at 10:00 pm, phone rings and DD2 wants to now if the fire is near us and f we are alright. ????? What fire???
told her no fire here and went back to sleep. 10 minutes later she calls back and says "Yes there is a fire in Sylmar". ??? Sylmar is not far away - about 5 miles - so I get up and look out the window and sure enough there is a big fire on the ridge line across the wash. DH turns on the TV news (now 11:00 pm) and the fire is al over the news. Started around 9:00 pm and had grown to 250 acres, jumped the 5 freeway, heading into the hills to the northwest. 2 neighborhoods were mandatorily evacuated. We are southeast so we are ok - not coming our way, rather blowing away from us. Watched the reports for a couple of hours then I fell asleep again while DH kept watching the news. At 8:00 am this morning, we saw that it was now at 4700 acres, had taken 7 homes, 1 person dead of a heart attack, 1 firefighter injured, had spread into large residential neighborhoods in Porter Ranch, and was heading into more residential areas in Simi, Santa Clarita, and Chatsworth. No containment expected until Sunday because the winds are driving it west into brushy areas where the firefighters don't have access. The planes and helicopters are dumping fire retardant and water hoping to control it. In the meantime, more neighborhoods have been evacuated as it spreads across heavily occupied residential areas.
IMG_5206.jpg Just smoke today blowing slightly away from us. DS2 just called and can't get home - all freeways to and from that area are closed. He will try to get a motel room somewhere but a lot of them are full with fire evacuees. I am surprised that he made it to work this am with the freeways closed!

DH and I signed up to help transport horses and livestock to safety areas if needed. The stock trailer can be divided into 3 sections if needed and we also have a lot of large animal crates for small livestock, dogs, and poultry if needed.

Angel has been removed from our property and taken to a boarding kennel for 2 weeks while she finishes up her cycle Yes, Angel is IN SEASON at 11 months old. Finally we are no longer having to do embarrassing butt checks every few days as we have done since she was 6 months old. She came in season and I noticed it right away. Bubba did not. He did try to mount Rika, so may have been confused as to who was in season. We locked her in the kennel immediately. After 3 days she dug out. We captured her as she came prancing onto the porch. DS1 and DH brought stall mats and lined the kennel with them. 2 days later she was out again! She had pulled out the chain link fencing from the kennel frame. Another job to repair it! Again she was caught as she came happily to the porch. They blocked the hole with a chain link gate and large horse tubs. She still got out in 24 hours, not sure how, so DS1 put her in the ram pen. After another 2 days she decided to dig out of that pen too and came strolling up onto the driveway! Off to the Kennel with her! Bubba still seemed completely oblivious to her being in season. However, he is annoying Rika by following her around. LOL
IMG_5204.jpg Stall mats to prevent digging . . . . IMG_5203.jpg Torn up chain link fence . . . .
IMG_5205.jpg Blocked hole - didn't work! :barnie
DS1 took her to the kennel with a bag of kibble to blend with what they feed (Nutro Lamb & Rice so a good brand), her health records, emergency numbers, and strict instructions to only kennel her between bitches and not let her out for any exercise since she in untrustworthy while in season. We never had a dog that would pull off the chain link wire before - these Anatolians are powerful!!! I will be having her spayed in 3 months. :D =D No puppy worries hopefully - we will know in 63 days. :hide Since Bubba seemed not to be even interested in Angel I think we are ok. :fl

It is good to hear from you. Don't worry about the property in Hawkins, something better will come along. Keep on with what you are doing, it will make your house look better! That is cool that your realtor wants lamb, and so do his friends. Customers!
I do think we will find something else that is meant for us in Texas. Not going to give up, although sometimes I worry that we are getting too decrepit to take this on. :smack Can't think that way though since if I do we will end up just waiting to die somewhere and we are too young to do that! LOL DS2 actually said he loves the house and would like to keep it but is not sure if he could do the up keep with the hours he is working. He certainly can't manage the sheep flock with the hours he is working, and the sheep are what keep down the brush. Things will work out - God will provide a solution.

Cleaning out the unused stuff is good regardless of if or when you move.
I agree! Getting all the junk - I mean, valuable antiques and salvage - anyone want to buy something? - cleaned out and disposed of will take a lot of the worry about moving off our backs. Anyway, we are working on cleaning up everything and will eventually get there.

Shaul's Manufacturing is back n business and I have ordered some gates to make a chute. We will pick that equipment up when we go north and pick up the turn table. We still have to get down and reweigh the lambs, vaccinate the ewes and worm them this year. After all the rain, although they are in good body condition, I want to worm them anyway. One of them looks very big in the belly still and it may be from worms. I haven't gotten a microscope yet so can't do the fecal exams on the ewes. Immediately post lambing is the best time to worm so will drench them this weekend while weighing and vaccinating. I am not docking the ram lambs since the Armenian buyer said they like their lambs with the tails left on. He doesn't care if they are castrated or not although I told him to please ask his Arab buyers if they prefer them entire. Depending on the weights and how fast they are growing, I might not castrate either. We do need to dock the ewe lamb though. I like to be able to see their vulvas and udders even when they are wearing their winter woolies.

Well, I guess I should go check up n the news about the fires. Bay says they are having rain in east Texas - I wish we could get some out here to douse the fires.
 

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Mike CHS

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You have one intense escape artist dog.

I wouldn't worry about age as long as you are doing what you are happy doing. We didn't move on to our place until I was 65 but we keep it manageable as much as we can. We will lighten the load if it starts to get too hard. :)

My biggest gripe now is one of our steers has decided he likes to lick my legs so now that it's getting to be cooler, I'll start wearing long pants. :)
 

Baymule

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I wish you could get rain too. Fires like that are terrible--and you're worried over tornadoes and hurricanes in Texas? :lol::lol:

I like the long tails on my Katahdins. I have two ewes with no tails, first one we bought, and they just don't look right to me. It makes no sense to me to cut the tails off Dorpers, they are hair sheep!
 

Ridgetop

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Back again after a week with no computer! The fire is out and we had a few days of no wind and cooler weather. The winds are back again, and the hot dry weather is also back.

Painted the front entry, installed the moldings and laid the floor. Pix later.

Then I tried pulling up the 60 sf of vinyl plank that were not sticking properly. Using the left over vinyl from the apartment was a bad idea since they had not been stored properly and had warped. DH wanted to pull out the entire laminate floor before I put new vinyl down. I really didn't want to do that since we would have to completely remove everything from the office :thso instead I tried simply pulling the installed vinyl up from the floor. It came up fairly easily (although my muscles complained badly the next day) and I was able to lay the new floor planks easily. :clap However, the project has grown to include installation of new moldings, and a partial repaint of the lower walls up to the nursery border. Or I might decide to remove the border and paint the entire room. Either way I am now using my computer on the kitchen table with my cell phone providing internet access. :(

The ginormous ewe that looked like she was going to pop last month finally lambed yesterday in the middle of painting the entry. The first lamb was a nice ewe lamb and I iodined her cord then went back to painting. I waited about half an hour for another lamb to show up but nothing, so I checked her there was another lamb ready to come out. I gave it another 15-20 minutes but still no lamb so I went in and found the lamb was stuck with his head positioned but forelegs tucked under and back. I was able to get one foot forward and finally just pulled him out by the head alive and healthy. Made sure he was getting up, iodined the cord, and went back to painting. This morning I saw a white dot in the large night fold and sure enough another ewe had lambed. Sadly one of the ewe twins did not make it - the sack was still over its face. The ewe was a first timer. She probably had the first lamb and got preoccupied with it and didn't realize she had two to take care of, or the second one came too fast and the same thing happened. Anyway, several ewes are due around the same time now so we will keep them in the large night fold for the next few days. The month old lambs are looking gorgeous! They are out of the young ram . The latest lamb and all the next lambs until January are out of the new ram. Looking forward to seeing how all the lambs turn out. So far I have 3 ewe lambs, and 3 ram lambs (for meat) out of the first 4 ewes. Still 4 ewes to lamb between now and November, and another 3 ewes due in January/February.

I will try to post pix eventually, but no fancy colors like Bay's lambs! Just plain old white lambs! The only difference between them is their coats. 2 of the lambs have wooly coats while the other 4 have hair type coats. Woolies don't shed as well so I only plan to keep hair ewe lambs for my flock. You can tell the difference in their coats when they are born. They fooled me when we had our first lambs - we had one hair and one wool (the cross breeds didn't count since they were going in the freezer anyway). The one with a hair coat freaked me out - it was a ram so destined for the freezer but I thought something might be wrong with it! :gigI was only used to wooly lambs so they looked normal while the hair coat was strange. When I went to the Western States Dorper Show in May I discussed with the Judge how to tell which would shed well and which would not shed completely. The Judge was so nice and approachable. Not only had he done a seminar for everyone who was interested, but was willing to talk individually with us about the breed. He showed me a newborn lamb with a hair coat and said that any lambs like that would be good shedders. So instead being some sort of freak, the little ram lamb had the desirable coat! I have been able to identify the best shedders in my flock - easy to do when they shed out LOL - and am now able to identify the good eventual shedders in the newborn lambs. :bow

So here are pix of lambs and differences in woolies and hair coats. IMG_5210.jpg IMG_5211.jpg Left is wooly - looks like a dirty tight perm. Right is hair - straight and clean looking.
IMG_5213.jpg IMG_5217.jpg Month old keeper ewe lamb - hair coat. Love the thickness and length on this ewe lamb. Probably through sire's top line which is known for its long thick bodies. Worried about shoulders which seem rather wide at the moment (possible birthing problems?) but as butt catches up when out of small pen and onto hillside should turn into a very desirable ewe.
IMG_5220.jpg IMG_5219.jpg IMG_5224.jpg Twin month old ram lambs - front is larger by 2 lbs at birth so much larger now although smaller brother is gaining in same proportion as larger brother. Smaller lamb is a wooly as can be seen by the difference in coat color. Same thickness and length showing. Final picture is top view to show thickness in relation to length. Looking forward to seeing how younger lambs develop. One more ewe is bred to this ram. I got her at the show and sale and she has exceptional bloodlines and is a beautiful ewe. She is still to lamb and I am really excited about what she produces since both the ewe and ram are Hijo sired - the line producing exceptional thickness and length.
IMG_5225.jpg :hitNo pasture left except some dry stuff in the far edge of the property. Feeding prime alfalfa to ewes near lambing and lactating - where are the rains??? Need green stuff for my babies! Southern California at it's driest! Thank goodness we brought in 10 tons of prime alfalfa last summer at low price (for us). Hope it lasts until the rains bring green forage.

Tomorrow we will weigh lambs and separate the ewes and month old lambs into a small field with the new ram in his breeding harness. That will allow us room to put the newer lambs into a larger barn pen, and free up 2 lambing pens for the ewes coming on to lamb any day.

Angel is out of season and home from doggy prison. She is sooo happy to be back. I am happy she is home too since we will need our third LGD now that the lambs are on the ground and being moved out of the barn lambing pens to larger field pens. In another 3 months I will arrange to have her spayed. She will be 15 months old and I really don't want to go through another season with a male dog on property even though he didn't seem to realize what it meant. I still have to have him collected for Erick and he wants me to have him collected for my self too. Still trying to decide about that but as long as I can have him neutered afterward I am fine with it. Easier to sell semen than mess around with bringing a bitch in season on the property with 2 mature Anatolian bitches here! :mad: Not a good situation. From now on I will only buy replacement LGD Anatolian bitches. We love Bubba, but males are a lot more difficult to train and deal with. Much more aggressive.

Speaking of Bubba, I have figured out how to deal with him around the newborns, Absolute calm and no talking except sweetly and encouragingly to Bubba in the barn. Complete about face from previous behavior resulting from him! Still wants to be in with HIS babies, but much calmer about it. Not sure how much the change results from being incarcerated last time, and how much is from change in how we deal with lambing ourselves, but either way it is a good change in his behavior.

I have typed a lot this time since I don't know when I will be back here. So much to do since I have to finish the office painting and molding, rearrange the furniture to a better design, add some shelves for DH and the computer equipment, and then spend a couple days refiling all the paperwork, etc. :eek: Once it is done it should be more workable - if DH keeps his filing and desktop under control!! :fl LOL

Once I am back in the office I will have to catch up with everyone's posts. I have marked everyone for watching them but don't seem to get the messages in my emails. Maybe I need to check to see if they are going into the spam file? Just occurred to me. I am not a big computer operator. More in another week or so.
 

Baymule

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Good to hear from you, I know you have been busy. Those sure are some gorgeous lambs! You have some very nice sheep, you should be proud of them.

Glad the fire is out, you have fires and earthquakes, we have tornadoes. I would say hurrricanes, but I am far enough inland, that they really don't matter much. LOL

You are a whirlwind of activity! So much to do! At some point, you need to have some down time for you!
 

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Miss @Ridgetop,

Just checking in with you again. I see there are fires continuing to burn in both Northern and Southern California and am wondering if you are being impacted.

Senile Texas Aggie
 

Ridgetop

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Fire was all around us for about 2 weeks. It seemed like every day or two another started up, but the wind blew the smoke away! Very lucky.

Two more ewes have lambed but the rest have not. I am trying to remember if I actually saw udders on all of them or not. The end of November will be the last dates they were exposed to the 2 bucks I used this year. Next dates ill be January and February and any lambs then will be sired by Lewis. I used him last year and he threw nice lambs, so all is not lost. He is a very good ram. Low birth weights, but incredible ADG. I have no ewe lambs out of him yet so we will have to see what he throws. His lambs were incredibly long.

I finished the entry and the office. See pix. I ant to add by pass closet doors in the office since we will be using it as an overflow closet and will look cleaner. We took the doors off years ago when we put DH's desk in the closet nook and had a crib and bed in the room. Now it is just a shared office for DH and myself. Lots of file cabinets and some storage.IMG_5291.jpgIMG_5292.jpgYou can't see it but I removed and replaced all the oak moldings with white painted MDF. I also painted around the nursery paper border because I like the bright colors and cute animals. What?! It's my office and I can have a nursery dado if I want! LOL I am probably heading into my second childhood anyway so . . . . One nice thing is the window that looks out across the ravine.

The entry came out very nicely. It looks like a real front entryway! Haven't had one of those in 30 years! LOLIMG_5294.jpgIMG_5295.jpgAgain white MDF moldings, but there were no oak ones in there to start with because it was a garage. You can see the barn style doors to the laundry room next to the antique ice box in the first picture. In the second one the doors are on the right side just before the step up into the main house.

It took forever to finish those 2 rooms mainly because I came down with a cold - thank you DH - who thanks DS1! This cold laid us all low, although I crawled out of my bed for several hours a day to work on the office. Finally feeling better and getting over this, hopefully.

Weighed the lambs yesterday, vaccinated, docked and castrated. I know Bay doesn't like docking tails in hair sheep, but it is what I am used to. I like it since I can see changes in the vulvas without having to catch and handle the ewes when they are ready to lamb. I can also see the first udder growth in the pregnant ewes too. So we docked only the ewe lambs this year since my Armenian meat buyer wants his lambs to have tails and the other buyers don't care. Then we castrated 2 of the 3 ram lambs. I have a buyer for this ram lamb who is double bred on a terrific bloodline. He is super thick, long and all around very nice. Weighed 45 lbs. at 8 weeks, is one of twins, will be good shedder when grown, purebred, all the good thing. Plus, if the buyer backs out we can eat him. LOL It's a win-win. He will go in with the older rams when weaned at 10-12 weeks. The ewes will be in with one of the other rams and we will remove the second ram from the ewes in another week, then after a month the third ram can go in with them if they have not shown any udder tissue yet. I think a couple of the must have reabsorbed their lambs since they were definitely bred but that is livestock for you! At least Dorpers are not seasonal breeders! We need to sort out the rams pronto too since we need to set up a creep for the lambs so they can eat undisturbed by their moms. No rain, no forage, so no grazing. That means carry feed and competition for grain. We don't give them that much so it is important that they can each have their share. Since I don't plan to hand feed anyone, we need to have enough space at the feeders for everyone. Having a creep pen where the lambs can eat undisturbed makes sense even when not feeding them special grain rations.

We drove up to Turlock just before catching our colds. DH actually started feeling bad on the way home. We took DS3's dump trailer back to him since he needed it and we had take quite a few loads to the dump already. Since he is just outside San Luis Obispo we were part of the way up so when Susan Schaul called and said they were going to be at a Boer goat show in Turlock if we wanted to get the squeeze, DH said yes. When we got there it was the final dy and she actually had some of the things I had ordered that they were using as samples as well as some on my "wish list". I went ahead and bought a 3 way sorting gate, picked up the 2 guillotine gates, another 6' field feeder, a 3' creep that opens as a gate (so nice to be able to go fro the creep to the large pen without having to go out and around) and 4 of the panels for the lambing jugs. We will pick up the rest on our way back from Washington state later. As they were loading the truck, Susan and I were going over what she had left and I kept encouraging the men that it would all fit. We only had the truck without the stock trailer but they got everything on. Now we have to put everything together and make our alleyway, find a location for the large walk in scale (the older lambs are already 45 lbs.!) and the tile table/squeeze. We actually have a narrow area about 4' wide between the chain link fence to the yard and the large night fold. When we try to pen the sheep they like to run through there to escape from us. DS1 and DS2 and I re going to set up a small pen to sort the sheep into at the end of the run, and then make that part of the alleyway. We just have to attach panels at the end to narrow it to a single sheep width before the sorting gate. Having an alley way and sorting catch pen will be so much more handy to drench the rams and ewes and vaccinate them. Then we also need to do some sort of shelter over the tilt table to use it so we are not in the blistering sun when trimming hooves. And of course another run into the scale. So much fun!

So upcoming work for this week - setting up the sorting pens with the Red River rodeo panels (10' long, 5' high, 7 bars so they hold the adult sheep) which are light enough for me to move without help. Put the creep gate in the smaller hillside barn pen. Break down and pack the moving boxes which my daughter keeps bringing over and wrap them in cheap plastic paint drop cloths. We will need the eventually when we come to Texas. I bet y'all forget about that! Then I have to move them into the barn loft which I also have to finish cleaning out. OH NO! But first thing in the morning I have to move all the purchased Christmas gifts out of the 5th wheel trailer since DH is taking it in to have the water pump replaced. OOPS! Forgot I have to do that before the grandkids come home tomorrow afternoon.

Anyway, lots of stuff to continue doing here to get ready for DS2's wedding and also eventual house sale and move to Texas. Next time I will take pix and post of our new lawn. After 30 years of living with dirt and gophers, we finally broke down and installed artificial turf in the front of the house (good curb appeal) and at the end of the patio wrapping around behind the house. Looks great, but the dogs don't understand they should be pooping on it. This morning I went out at dawn to remove a giant poop but it turned out to be half of a decayed rabbit which proceeded to leak maggots into my new (albeit fake - sorry "faux") grass! Managed to get it onto a shovel and dumped it in the trash so they couldn't bring it back. Don't look at me with sad eyes, guys, this is new grass - at least let it get faded and worn before desecrating it! LOL

Gotta go serve dinner. . . .
 
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