Saturday, June 07, 2008

Very shaken, but very thankful...

Edit: I finally got a post in this morning whining and crying about how tired I am. I deleted all that nonsense. Tonight, to say I feel humbled and happy to be alive would be an understatement.

This bad boy made his way just southeast of my home, crossing our road exactly one mile to the east of us. Exactly...ONE...MILE...EAST.
The gal across the street watched it and said there was two of them, and they were the biggest she's ever seen. I'm so sick of these stupid things, I hate them!

We were visiting my parents about 25 minutes north of our farm when we got a call on my husband's cell phone from a friend, saying "Funnel cloud over the Braidwood cooling lake, and sorry to say, it's heading right towards you. It keeps touching the ground and going back up again." Nice.

This photo was taken by someone on a message board who lives in the town of Manteno, way east of us. I can't take credit for it, I was hiding in the basement.

As soon as the storm passed my folk's house, we drove home and were relieved that our home had suffered no damage this time around. I gave my dogs big hugs.

I pray for those people in the path who did lose their homes. I don't know if anyone is hurt yet. I'm still shaking.

Something like this sure puts all the little, stupid "problems" we think we have into perspective.

Stuff posted earlier today:

The sheep are doing great. We'll be cutting back this year. I bred 24 ewes this year, next year I plan on only breeding seventeen. Fifteen shetlands and the two Cluns. My thinking was the more I bred, the heavier I can cull. The more I cull, the more good sheep I can retain or sell. But it's too much for my pastures to take during the summer, and I'm anticipating terrible hay prices this year. It will be wise to cut back.
I've got six ewe lambs picked out to retain, plus a few promising ram lambs. I'll try to dicipline myself not to breed those ewe lambs this fall. Most (but not all) of our lambing troubles this spring were from ewe lambs. This should make things easier next spring.

This is a very promising grey gul-kat out of Lil'Country Meadow (fawn kat) and by Shelteringpines Octavian (full poll black gulmoget). I really like this little guy, he'll be probably offered for sale after the next round of evaluations in a few weeks. Also on my list for potential flock sires are an Awt white out of Twinkle, and a fawn kat out of Sandcastle. I've got some nice up and coming ewe lambs, also. A black out of Maisie, and a fawn kat out of Carmella come to mind...
Valora's polled heterozygous Ag grey gulmoget, sale pending on him. I'm not a huge fan of the Ag gene, which causes colors to fade, but the gulmogets wear it nicely!

On the Jellybean front: We've had a few scares with her. Long stories short, she will seem to be improving mentally for a few weeks and give us hope that she will someday be a normal dog. We allow her off leash with no incident for days at a time. Then, somebody stops by unexpectedly and she will have a total meltdown. She will bolt in a blind panic, or hide from us like she doesn't even know us and we can't find her. These experiences are terrifying to me.

A friend recommended Cesar Millan's book "Cesar's Way". I cried reading it, I've been doing so much wrong with her. I've been treating her like a human child, comforting and coddling her when she is frightened, trying to relieve her of her phobias. I've been ignoring stereotypic behavior when we have company over, instead of addressing it.
First step, exercise! Cesar says when we bring dogs into our lives, we are obligated to care for their needs. And every dog needs exercise no matter the breed. So I have started almost daily walks with our dogs, around the property.

Banjo is our cattle dog mix, a stray I found 10 years ago. My husband's Bouvier, Angus on the right. And Jelly.
Angus. I like small dogs, my husband likes having at least one big dog around.

The dogs LOVE our walks and sleep better afterwards. I should have been doing this with them on a regular basis a long time ago. The exercise makes me feel good, too.

I will also dicipline myself to only give Jelly affection when she is in a calm-submissive state of mind, and not when she is acting phobic. This will be hard for me but this isn't about what is easiest for me. I have to do what is best for her.

I will also no longer allow her to hide from company. I've started putting her on a leash and making her be around people. Oddly, she seems okay with this, as if the leash calms her.

Our Frenchman, Fester, is nine years old and has has some arthritis in the back end. He usually chooses not to go walking with us, although occasionally he will.

I finally got my fruit trees pruned, and my vegetable garden in. I planted two varities of tomatos, a new variety of strawberry, plus brussel sprouts, cabbage, green peppers, acorn squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and watermelon. Hopefully my lazy ass will keep up on weeding it unlike last year.

I still need to finish mulching the flower beds, tending to my grapes, and submitting fleece samples for micron testing. And finish reading Cesar's book, it's really good. :) In another few weeks, the lambs will be needing their CD&T booster shots and another round of evaluations, and they will be at weaning age.

Off to hug my dogs again.


Nancy K. said...

OMG, Juliann! I'm so glad that you're OK. This has been a very dangerous time all over the Midwest. We've been getting severe weather, almost daily. Somehow, I feel safe in my little valley.

Good for you for getting out and walking with your dogs! I'm always GOING to do that...

Fester is one good looking little Frenchman!!

Yeah, right ~ your lazy ass. Give yourself some credit my dear. You do so much and give so much to others ~ canine, ovine and human alike. You are a very special lady and the world is a better place because you are in it!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

SO glad you're okay! I hate tornadoes, too. Would rather live with the hazy threat of earthquakes, although the potential for damage is great.

Sure wish I could swing a way to add one of your full-poll ram lambs to my line-up! Maybe if someone really likes my Braveheart at BSG and offers an obscene amount for him...and Bella and all my lambs sell.... Ha!

I didn't know you had a Frenchie! What a cutie!