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Archive for May, 2008

Stanny-luv

This is Stanley:

It’s a unflattering picture of him, but this is how we usually see him: barreling full-speed to God only knows what. He’s a German Shorthaired Pointer. He’s one hell of a hunter. He’s one hell of whiner. I’ve never met a dog with more spunk or attitude. He’s loud, brash, smart as a whip, fast, enthusiastic, demanding, head-strong, persistent, cunning and did I mention loud? He’s also a cuddle-bug, empathetic, sweet, genuine and goofy. He’s a love-or-hate kind of dog and I stand firmly on the love (yet sometimes want to strangle) side.

After work today, I took him and his big bro, Barry, out to some BLM land outside of town for a good romp. He tore around as illustrated above, occasionally stopping to point at some bird smell or something. When we got back home, I caught him licking furiously at his paw. I called him upstairs to the bathroom, pulled out some tweezers and had him lay down. I sat down on the floor and he handed over his paw in a way that most dogs would be a little hesitant about. He’s been through much worse–such as a leg and face full of porcupine quills–on several occasions. He had 3 big cactus spines in his paw. I pulled each of them out and inspected his paw for more.

When I was done, he got up and I expected him to scamper out of the room and go play. Instead, he put his head down and pushed the top of it against my chest. I scratched his neck a bit and then he rubbed his head under my chin, slinked against me and plopped down in my lap–all 70 pounds of him. He looked up at me with a face of pure love. This dog, who can be so incredibly challenging sometimes, just slayed me at that moment. It’s times like this that make me such a sucker for this dog.

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Sound advice

Through his job, EZ has the privilege of working with and getting to know many ranchers and farmers all over the state. There is one in particular, who runs sheep, with whom he has made friends. Last week, EZ went to do some field work at his place and as they worked, the rancher gave him advice regarding our new ventures. I thought it was all great advice, so I wanted to pass it along.

You have plenty of time. You’re young; you have our whole lives in front of you to attain our goals. You don’t have do it all at once. If you overwhelm ourselves from the start, you run the risk of burning ourselves out. So only add a thing at a time. Once you can handle that easily, think about adding the next thing.

Be 100% ready for the animals before you get them. You should have VERY good fences already built, good quarters for the animals established, and have your research done before you bring anything home.

Start with chickens. See if we really like caring for animals before we dive in.

Don’t get goats. They’re a pain in the ass, he says. I sense a bias here, but what do I know?

Don’t get exotic breeds of sheep. Get Rambouillet or Targhee. He says that these breeds have better flocking instincts and thus try to escape less, tend to be docile, and do well in Western Climates. I had been wanting to get an endangered breed to help protect genetic diversity, but perhaps we should start with easy breeds first, at least.

Don’t overfeed your sheep. He said that that’s the primary reason sheep get sick. He said sheep are very hardy animals if they are fed appropriately.

Don’t rush. You’re young. You have lots of time. Did he already say that?

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