SageHill Ranch Journal

SageHill

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Just be ready for spoiled brats that will follow you around for scratches!
That's what I'm worried about! :D =D
I've been doing the herding thing with sheep since the 80's. Helped out at shearing, trials, took care of huge flocks while owners were out trialing their dogs, all that stuff. Owned/shared sheep for the last 10 or so years at a friend's place. Now the sheepies are here (almost a year) - feeding was always 'toss X flakes' check water, ~maybe some pellets or grain on top. And yeah they'd follow me some, but only so far before they'd go their own way. NOW - they see me and are looking and wondering if she's carrying The Bag. One crinkle and that's it - busted and they are practically begging. This is A First.
Now with the ranch I really decided that yes, I'll continue to train dogs/give lessons - but there is a shift -- I want lambs -- some for the freezer, and some to grow, breed and work. I guess those crazy crackers are part of The Shift. :lol:
 

SageHill

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The weather forecast lied. Roasty was the forecast so I cancelled lessons today. 10:30 and it's only 81. 👍
Went over to the barn with Obi and Ree. As I got there I though oh geeze I could've grazed, but Ree (boundless energy) was with . She's really good - but a handful. If I lock her in the barn or a stall and take the sheep out with Obi she will bark her head off. Not what I want to hear. I decided to work her in the corral for a bit. She did good and the sheep did good - ALL of them. But - Little Black stomped at her a few times, Ree didn't notice as she's so fast she was passed before she could see the stomps. I did get her to settle in and go slow and steady. Put her in the barn and took Obi out. I figured I'd just work on him taking the flock into the pasture (attached to the corral) calmly - Obi is Mr Calm, the sheep are 'I'm going out to party'. It didn't work. I had him stay but he didn't take the flank when I told him and the sheep were wellllll into the pasture as Obi looked at me as if to say - 'you told me stay - should've just let me do it my way' --- which, giving him credit is the right way (I'm still a bit gun shy of that toe he broke in June). Knowing that if the sheep know they can get away from the dog they will always try - with that in mind I sent him on a big flank and he brought them all back nicely. Yup - The Littles were out too and they especially have to learn they can not get away from the dog. As he was brining them back Little Black decided to play stomperama and challenged him. Obi looked at me say 'The one has GOT to be kidding, right?' HA! At which point I decided enough of the Mr NiceGuy. Said to Obi "BITE 'ER". Obi is not, I repeat NOT a gripper. That would be a last resort for him. I just gave him ~permission to do what he needed to do. So it was BARK, BARK - Black - STOMP STOMP, BARK, STOMP - LOWER HEAD, BARK-CHARGE 2 STEPS, STOMP, BARK- 2 MORE STEPS, and Black decided he meant business, turn with an 'only kidding' and rejoined the flock. LOVE THAT DOG. I've been thinking that it's about time to go out in the open to graze with all of them. Sooooo, imagine Obi's surprise when we went to the pasture gate and I opened it. He was in doggie heaven - he LOVES grazing the sheep and it's been since the end of May that he's been able to do it.
It felt great to get OUT in the open and everyone decided to play nicely - except - you guessed it Little Black who thought she could take off and head for the gulch that is thick with oaks and sumac (not the poisonous stuff) and
goodness only knows what else - even I haven't traipsed in there. Obi saw the attempted escape from the far side of the graze area and managed to cover her before she got to the 'dark zone' - turned her and went back to being a "fence". Did I say how much I LOVE that dog?

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SageHill

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Oops - missed yesterday. Hmmm
A lot of regular stuff got done, but not much in the house. Barn chores always seem to be 'more fun'. I got out on the UTV with the fire ant killer yesterday. I really need to be able to get down the road to the meadow with sheep and dog. Of course the biggest fire ant mound is right in the middle of the ranch road that we can't just move to the side because it's either a steep drop or a 2:1 hill. With the killer in hand I drove out the the first mound - and lo and behold the activity level was down about 80%!!!! And that's just with the borax. I guess the borax works but just slow. Good to know for sure. The same or better reduction in activity was true for all of mounds. YAY. Still had the killer with me and applied it for good measure. I'll go out later today and shovel/rake those areas if needed to disperse or get rid of the killer.
I took the sheep out with Obi and grazed again, two different areas this time. The Littles are getting more relaxed with the idea of a dog as a fence. :) It was nice and cool - 60 and overcast.
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Two of The Littles are now taking crunchy crackers from my hand! Of the olders only Ol' Spot is taking them from my hand. The Barb is still thinking about it and may be next. The others would rather wait for me to toss them one. Of course Ol' Spot is becoming a bit more of a butt head about it. He's always been pushy. If I tap him on the nose he walks away disgusted. :D =D
Had a visitor at the barn yesterday too. A bit green!

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I should probably get a list made of what needs to get done - the truck
is in and we've got to go get it and drive it back. Stopping in OK to get
a trailer and then the long road home. It'll be a "quick" trip with no
stop overs other than sleep. DIL will be staying here while
we jettison to IA and drive back.
Have a great weekend - hope you all who were close to the hurricane are doing
ok.
 

SageHill

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Pretty easy and relaxed day around here. Took the sheep out with Obi and grazed different areas for about an hour or so. Got to watch them eat, watch Obi work seamlessly with any commands, listen to the birds sing, watched the hawk vs crow airshow. I didn't make it out to the areas where the fire ant mounts were to check on the progress of the ant killer yesterday so we didn't get down to the meadow.
This afternoon though I did go and check the mounds - OMG that stuff REALLY WORKS! On the biggest mound there was ONE --- only ONE ant - and it was going all around trying to figure out where to go. The top of the mound was covered with dead ants. All the other mounds were the same - and not one more live one anywhere to be seen. Raked them all up, we're good to go to get down to the meadow when the time is right. I want the sheep to be calm and happy getting there and getting back.
Had DS and DIL for dinner here and to show them what needs to be done while we're out getting the truck.
All is good here. A great day ending with family and a good meal. DIL brought butter tarts for desert - YUM.

Ranch Help

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A cool cloud - the things you get to see when you're out. :)
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SageHill

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You put Boraxo on the fire ant mounds?
Yup, borax straight out of the box. I saw on some homestead site they made ant traps out of borax water and sugar - put it in a container for ants they had in their garden and it worked.
I figured with the fire ants I'd give it go - but not use the water and sugar out on the ranch road figuring that could attract some other critters. Straight up it did ok. :thumbsup
 

SageHill

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This morning just Obi and I took the sheep out. Yesterday the Barb was a bit sketchy at times during the move to the graze and back. I don't think Ree could have handled the situation as well as Obi. She's more push and zoom with not much finesse. Obi has the push and zoom but also just plain old knows the best way to handle unexpected things. Yeah, Ree needs the experience, but I need both her and the sheep to be a little more calm, don't want any of them learning the wrong way. We got half way to the meadow and the Barb just got that "look" in her eye like she wanted to bolt. So, plan B - put the sheep on the hill and let them graze there for about an hour. They are not as spread out as I'd like yet - but that will come with time. They all did eat so we are making progress. The walk back was as expected, though actually much calmer than feared. Yeah, sure I could "let them go" and we all know the sheep would beat feet home to the pasture. But in doing that they'd learn they can escape the dog - bad, bad and very bad thing. We kept them under control the entire way back. No easy feat because the Barb wanted to charge home, The Littles had know idea what to do (but heck if the Barb runs they just might as well), the Oldies were happy enough to saunter along grabbing a bite here and a munch there, and of course there had to be ONE that decided to be Pokey - Ol' Spot. Obi had his work cut out for him - controlling the head and pushing the rear.
I took a couple of pics and some video. When I took him to the vet last week my vet asked if I had a video of him working. I did - but it was 'raw' - kind of long and boring (almost like watching paint dry :rolleyes: IMO) and my vet loved it. But in my mind I thought I should really make a video of him doing it all from start to finish and edit it down so it's not too long. With that in mind I took videos too - but of course to be in a good spot so see him I had to be closer to the sheep than I normally would - and that made the sheep think they should be close to me. Sigh. Usually when I have them out Obi turns on his living fence mode while I take care of things like cutting out old irrigation risers and lines, pick up ancient boards that were once used to prop now non-existent avocado trees - usually there are nails in those boards (95% of which are nail points ground side down), and other assorted ranch chores. That's when everyone does their own thing - sheep eat, Obi is a fence, and I'm getting things done.
The rest of the day will be more getting things ready to run as smoothly as possible while we're gone. DS and DIL were here last night and I showed them them the ropes. Together we put the sheep away - complete with The Littles going into their own stall (got to love the creatures of habit). And all with NO dog.

Obi "The Fence" this morning.
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SageHill

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A pretty regular day today - sans taking the sheep out to graze, a late fog bank rolled in so I took care of house stuff - almost ready to leave now - all "experiments" taken care of :) , still need to finish up my normal "book" of instructions. I should just know that feed and pick up is pretty much all I need to say - but you know how it goes - just gotta provide "entertainment" via the "instruction book" complete with extra written instructions of the margins, arrows pointing to other extra notes, etc. Sheesh I'm a goob. :lol:
'Twas typical Tuesday - cleaning stalls and listening to the Mike Rowe podcast. I'm sure there's lots of other stuff I just don't remember it all. It was go, do, go, do all day. One detection student coming late tomorrow - just may be able to squeeze in working my own dogs and grazing sheep. 🤞
 

Baymule

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I love that you take your sheep to graze with the dogs. It's not what I'd do, but I sure enjoy you and your dogs.

Here's a funny for you. Had some friends come over, their grown son was enchanted by "those red dogs" (has he never seen FAWN color?) and he approached the fence. He probably thought he was going to pet them. Well, THAT didn't happen. The Anatolians barked and growled and he backed off. We visited and he remarked that he had a way with animals and dogs liked him. He was plumb bumfuzzled that my dogs didn't like him.

I told him, "Those are GUARD dogs. Stick your hand in there and they will take your arm off." Then I explained to him where they originate and how for a thousand years they have protected the flocks from predators. So Mr. Dog Expert decided he would go out on the front porch to pet Carson, my big black Labrador/Great Dane cross. Carson backed away from him. Mr. Dog Expert walked towards Carson. This made him a threat and Carson stood his ground and barked at him. The dummy showed a glimmer of intelligence and came back in the house. :lol: He just couldn't understand that my dogs didn't like him.

Good dogs!
 
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