Category Archives: dog

Make It Monday ~ Dog Toys

No farm is complete without a dog. Well, we now have three. Two are older dogs but the third is a 14 week old pup that we just added into the mix on Friday.

I would like everyone to meet Brandy.

Hi y'all! My name is Brandy! I'm a 14 week old bloodhound puppy.
Hi y’all! My name is Brandy! I’m a 14 week old bloodhound puppy.

If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you would have seen that we have said her name was Honey. Here’s the real scope: When she came on Friday, her previous owner called her Vi, short for Vilula. After hours of attempting to get any type of response, other than her running the opposite direction, we went to another name that had been mentioned, Honey. She did respond…about 1 out of every 15 attempts, if that.  After reviewing all of the paperwork that came with her, we noticed that at the top of the original sheets there was a name of Brandy with a number.

At this point, before confusing her anymore, I reached out to the original seller and asked about this. I was informed that she had been called Brandy and pup-pup. I also learned that her favorite treats were bits of string cheese. I had really wanted to respect the lady that I had gotten her from with the name but when a stubborn hound (and bloodhounds are at the top of that list) refuses to listen, you need to show them a little respect and try to work with the dog.

Bloodhounds are a great breed but they are far from perfect. They are stubborn to a fault and already have issues with selective hearing. Having issues with a name just compounds matters and they just refuse to comprehend. Think ultra selective hearing.

We also needed to begin acclimating her to us. This is where our Make It Monday comes in! Hounds primarily use their sense of smell, especially bloodhounds. They can track smells that are a day old, lingering for miles in a matter of minutes. Knowing this is how hounds operate, I decided it was time to do a little crafting. Puppy loves toys, so I started thinking and researching ways to incorporate a few of our old clothes into something useful.

We had just gone through some of Rich’s old jeans that were ripped beyond repair. I knew I had a couple of old tshirts. I had some fiberfill floating around. Grabbing a piece of paper, 8-1/2 x 11″, I folded it in half long ways and then in half again. I cut the end of the bone first. Much like you would cut a paper heart, just stop about halfway to the point. Then I cut straight from their toward the fold. When you unfold, you have a perfect symmetrical bone shape!

Now that I had a template, I traced along the edge of the paper onto a piece of blue jean leg, placing the seam in the center.  I did this to strengthen the point in the loops at the end of the bone shape. After cutting that out, I repeated the process onto a piece of t-shirt. I cut that out and pinned the two pieces together back to back.

Starting at one of the loops, I sewed around the end of the bone, along the flat side, and then around the opposite end. I stopped sewing before the second flat section. Once the thread was secured, I turned the material inside out and stuffed with the fiberfill. I then pinned the flat side and hand sewed it shut. Project complete.

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Brandy loves her new toy and carries it with her all over the place. She even slept with it last night. She now has a favorite treat that smells like we do. If I had wanted to get really fancy, I could have embroidered her name of it but I have a feeling it will be shredded before the end of November.

 

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Muddy Mornings

Muck boots have become a staple of our dress code around here for the past week. Everything is muddy and wet. Rain is a good thing but too much of it always causes issues.

Our alleys for the paddocks are now nothing but mud…so today, we are going to load a bunch of stone into the muddy mess and see if we can cure this issue. Too bad we couldn’t use shale stone…but I refuse to risk injury to the animals for sharp stones!

We still need to get that 30 acre field planted back into grasses. It seems like every time it starts to dry out…in comes another storm. We are aiming for this weekend and the first part of the week. Of course, it would be nice if we could just get out there to pick stone which, of course is an issue with everything else that is going on around here. What makes it even more difficult is Mr. Farmer working a full-time job and myself work two part-time (and NO that doesn’t include anything on the farm).

So…I decided to try something! I put an ad on Craigslist for all of this shale stones! AND low and behold…people are actually willing to come pick stones if they can take them for FREE! And wait…I don’t have to do it or make time to do it!!!!
Even four or five truck loads will help…anything! Look at these photos to understand what I mean…..

Just one small view of the field of stone
One small load…already removed about 30 loads just like this!

Not all crop land looks the same. We don’t have flat stoneless fields or rolling acres with feet of topsoil. As you can tell, we have ground full of stones and very little top soil. This is one of the biggest reasons our future plantings will be no-till. The field shown above will also become part of a rotational grazing system too. This will assist with the build up and retention of top soil. It isn’t going to be a one year fix to repair the damage but more like a 5-10 year remediation!

This is just one small example of what farmers like us do…we repair the damage to the environment created by others. This field has actually been used by a commercial dairy for  three years and after seeing what kind of environmental damage his uncaring, unsustainable mind was doing to the land….we put our foot down for Mother Nature and said that’s enough! We really didn’t have the extra money to do it ourselves but we will manage and will start rebuilding and recuperating from the damage as soon as possible. The first step is getting the seed in the ground!!! Four days of nice weather coming….WE ARE GOING TO ROCK IT OUT! no pun intended!!!!

 

 

People Ask…

People ask me questions sometimes that make me really sit back and ponder life in general.

Most Common Question:
“Why do you farm?”

My answer is simple, yet complicated.
I love cows! I love chickens! I love animals…period!

Calves holding a "discussion"
Bubba J and Rosie playing in the snow on a warm winter day.

Then of course, there is the food stuff! From canned, stewed tomatoes to home grown sweet corn, making cheese to eggs for breakfast…without the farm, I wouldn’t have those things like I do.

Right to Left: Canned Beef, Sweet Corn and Stewed Tomatoes

Question: “What is it about your farm that keeps you where you are?”

There are a ton of reasons on this one. One of them isn’t the taxes, I do need to specify that!
There is an easy answer to this one! It’s the sunrises/sunsets. It’s the views. It’s the private pond….and so much more!

The morning sunrise
Sunsets as seen from Barrows Pond

There are many more questions and a whole lot more answers…..But I think this will give anyone a good idea on why I love farming. I think it will also give you a fair idea on why I love being here!

Of course, Mr. Farmer has one very big reason……this land has been in his family for 6 generations! The deed reads out like a genealogy report!

Animal Cruelty

Amid much controversy and bad press…people seem to think that all farmers treat their animals with neglect or abuse. Please consider this: Are all people the same? Do all people treat dogs the same? Let’s use the dog analogy! I will bet that everyone under the sun heard all about a nameless (not really but I don’t want to play that game) well know football player gets charged with animal cruelty for fighting pit bulls. But…just how many people walked away from football because of his actions? Not many I bet.

Coming from a person who has seen first hand what animal cruelty really looks like and still lives with the aftermath of the long term effects it can have…Let me walk you through what some of us have done to overcome animal cruelty.

As many of us do, my first rescue was a dog. She was a beautiful black and tan coonhound that had been left with other dogs that were severely aggressive. She had to fight to get any scraps of food that her former owner would throw full a chain link fence. Most days she would go without food. She became a shy, yet food aggressive animal. When the owner contacted me, I was 11 years old. Can you imagine someone giving away a dog like that to a kid? I begged my dad to allow me to have her…I will never forget bringing that 40 pound beast home in the backseat of my dad’s little Ford Fiesta! She looked horrible and smelled even worse. She had earmights, fleas bad enough to make part of her hair fall off and scars that no dog should ever have. I still loved her immediately though. We connected somehow on some strange level that I have never been able to explain. This dog was my constant companion. The one true soul that loved me no matter what. After getting her cleaned up and slowly working with her to overcome her issues with food, she turned out to be one of the nicest and prettiest dogs you have ever seen! She lived with me for another 6 years until God decided that she had a better place to be.

It seemed to be a long time before I had the chance to have another dog. Again, I took in a rescue that, unfortunately, the owner didn’t seem to understand that hound dogs and 7 kids don’t always get along so well. They might have if the kids had been “punished” like the dog was. Bourbon came to me as a three year old mixed breed (bluetick/redtick) severely underweight at 35 lbs. He was a sweet dog. Not one that like being inside yet, loved his area outside where he could bark, run and play. He stayed with me for eight years before he finally passed away from cancer.

Whiskey came not long after Bourbon did. Don’t make fun of the names either…who else names their dog after alcohol they rarely drink? 🙂 Whiskey came as a very young pup along with her momma and five other pups. Their original owners were going to drown them in the creek behind their home and shoot the momma if someone had not taken them. I managed to find great homes for them all but the biggest of the bunch. Whiskey lived with us until the rip old age of 14, when she too gave up her battle with cancer. She was very much a part of our family, she used to share my oldest sons pacifer when he was a baby and she was just four or five months old. She is still loved and greatly missed.

In Loving Memory of Whiskey

The next rescue was Rosie. I had always dreamed of having a bloodhound of my own and several of the local SPCA’s and dog wardens knew it. One day out of the blue, I get a phone call from a warden about 30 miles away. He had a bloodhound that had been with them for nearly six months that wasn’t adoptable and would I come visit her. If she got along with me, I could have her. Needless to say, I was almost evicted from my own home but it was love at first sight. She came out of her stall, came looping over to me and put her big paws on my shoulders, laying her head up under my chin. She looked horrible but it didn’t matter to me. With tears in my eyes, I told them I would come pick her up the very next day. I got her into my vet, had her all checked out. Come to find out, she had been eating lyme to stay alive for nearly a week prior to the time the warden had picked her up. They had kept her, put about 15-20 pounds on her and she still only weighed in at a whole 50 pounds when I brought her home. Some really good food, lots of love and she now weights just shy of 100 pounds. She had been so severely beat at some point, that when I brought her home she wouldn’t even go to anyone else in the family. She still hides behind does at loud noises and is extremely terrified at her own shadow. She has done very well here on the farm. She adopts all of the animals, including the chickens and gets sad when she can’t visit them.
Rosie after being with us for six months.
A moment of rest while checking hay fields

Then I got a phone call one day from a young man that knew all about my background growing up on a dairy farm. He explained about this girl who ran out of money to feed her cows due to bills for school. Instead of selling them, she just stopped feeding them. It was April of 2010 and the pasture grounds here in Upstate NY hadn’t even started to grow. This cow, who had two calves nursing, was literally starving to death to provide milk for those two calves. Immediately, we put up fencing and scheduled to have the cow and her calves delivered to us within a matter of less than 48 hours. When she arrived, she almost feel flat on her face as she came off the trailer. As I watched her walk out into a short grassed pasture area, the tears started welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe that someone could do this to an animal.

This is Belle. She was taken in as a rescue from a farm that couldn't feed her properly.
We took care of her, gave her gain, hay and all the fresh grasses she wanted. Slowly, overtime she started looking much better and back to the way she should look. She recovered from a wound in her back that we managed to get a chunk of wood out of her back that was about 1/2 inches wide by at least two inches long. It’s amazing she could even walk considering this “chunk” didn’t miss her spinal column by much more than an 1/8th of an inch. As time went on, she regained her weight. She has the most amazing attitude. She loves to have calves around and loves her attention. She gets brushed daily and looks like a completely different animal.
Belle after a year and a half on our farm.

Since then, we have adopted two calves and a bluetick coonhound from bad environments. I think some people just don’t have the respect for animals and the welfare that some do. The calves and the newest hound were not really treated horrible or starved to death but they we not given the proper care and attention that they really needed either.
I know this blog is long…but I just want to point out to those of you with a bad taste in your mouth for agriculture that not all of us within the industry are the same. Some of us really do care about our animals. If I have time later I will type up an article on how animals act. Kind of a dog vs. cow comparision that might really get some minds wondering!
Til then…God Bless and Have a great day!

Inspiration Number Twelve-Cats and Dogs

In Loving Memory of Whiskey
You can’t have a farm and not have a cat and atleast one dog. I almost think it’s a given for both. People who have cats that want to dump them off, always seem to do it at the nearest farm! Sometimes it drives me crazy but if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have great mouse and bird control! Our cat that came from another farm is perfect. She chases anything that moves and more often than not, exhibits characteristics that would make you think she is a dog!

Midnight, our cat-dog

Then, we have hounds instead of traditional dogs like Collies here on our farm. Rosie, the blood hound, was a rescue who had been extremely abused and was nearly starved to death when she first went to the dog warden. His kennel kept her for almost three months working to rehabilitate her so she would be friendly. She is not aggressive by any means, she is scared of everything including her own shadow. Once I brought her home (something I thought I was going to get grief forever for) it took her nearly three months to warm up to Mr. Farmer. Having her around our animals has been the greatest rehab thing for her. She mother’s each and every one of our animals. When we first got chickens, we kept them in our addition on the back of the house until they were about two weeks old. She would sit at the edge of the box and just watch them for hours. When we moved them into their “hut” outside, she moped around the house for a whole day. When she finally decided to come inside the hut, she discovered her little ones and she went through smelling and licking her one of them.
That is the way she is with all of the animals. From chickens to turkeys, steers to cows and mostly the calves. She is my “mother hen” here on the farm. She is also my constant companion. She rides with me to town (and sits higher than I do on the seat), runs with me when we got out to check fields with the four wheeler, assists with daily chores on the farm and sits with me on the couch.

Playing in the snow

A moment of rest while checking hay fields

Then, we have Raven. She is a Bluetick Coonhound. She was found on Craigslist, free for the taking. She was skinny, had worms really bad and was also abused. We went to look at her and couldn’t leave her there. She is Mr. Farmers baby. She pouts on his side of the bed when he is gone, she follows him all over and plays with him when she won’t with anyone else. She is high strung and really doesn’t like to sit still to have photos taken, no matter how many times I have tried! She doesn’t spend much time at the farm unless there are calves around. The only reason why she does then is so she can lick the remainder of the milk out of the buckets. She does love to go run through the fields!
Raven, our bluetick coonhound, waiting to play while out in the early, early spring fields