Morag

 

 

I have been waiting to tell you all about this for weeks but had to keep my mouth shut.  NO easy feat you know.

I have had border collies every since Jan 2000, when I first got married and moved to Scotland to live with Charlie. Before that I didn’t really know what a Border Collie was but I had always been a fan of Lassie dog Collies. Charlie works offshore and here I was first time married, in a foreign country, didn’t know anyone and he had to go offshore for about 5 days. what to do?

Morag ride home

Well I got my first blue smooth border collie before he got home and told him if he intended to leave me and go offshore, this was what would happen.  It just went down hill from there. More and more border collies. People always ask us why we have so many border collies? Our response is always: Border Collies are like potato chips, ye canna hae just one! I have 4 left of my Scotland border collies which will all turn 13 years old in May and June. They are starting to fail and we ended up having to put down 8 dogs this last year as everyone had reached their “sell by date” and was suffering. I managed 15 years with a lot of my borders and 10-11 with most of my Great Pyrs and Anatolian who are the LGD for the goats and llamas.

Fast forward to now, and we sort of rescued a 1 year old border collie.  Charlie wanted a male dog that was “his” even though they are always all mine. haha  His name is Rick and he had been returned to his breeder with some serious issues. He is super high energy, neurotic, OCD, must have been abused in the place he was returned from and knows every bad border collie behavior that there.  He also isn’t really potty trained. This has been a serious trying time.  He has been with us for about 2.5 months and we are still working through these issues.

 

Morag on HER box

We were planing on getting several border collie pups, but were not sure when the timing would be right.  I had lost my Abbey this summer and frankly it gutted me.  I wanted another pup, but I just couldn’t for a while as I was so grieving for her.  She was 15.5 years old and not your average border collie…a stunning bright red tri color. To get a slightly older pup and have to put so much work into him right off the bat…..well I didn’t think getting another little new pup immediately was a good idea.  I am no border collie novice but Rick did have me pulling my hair out. I had never had one so messed up or such high energy before and he is my 10th border collie.  We are still working through things but we are starting to settle down a bit so….

 

 

Morag

While hubby was offshore this last time, I went and got me MY border collie.   Losing my Abbey, I was on the hunt for another red tri color….you know just in case Abbey decided she wanted to return in another fur body. I told her before she passed that I didn’t know if I believed in reincarnation or not but I was willing to give it a go if she was.

Two and a half weeks ago, I got my darling new border collie pup. She was a bit too young from the breeder but we counted wrong on the calendar and realized it the next day.  Since I had experience with border collies, she came and stayed. Charlie said I could get whatever dog I wanted and whatever color I wanted without any interference from him, I could get her when I was ready as he said he was always ready for a new border collie pup and that she would be mine.  I decided to take him at his word.  This one is all mine. Well they are all mine really, but this one is really really mine.

 

 

Morag chilling

I went to get her sister as the breeder said he had 3 reds, and 1 tri. I got there and he said that he made a mistake and he had 2 reds and 2 red tris. The sister was heavily marked with prominent tan points and the one I came home with has less tan points. I wanted those tan points but that pup screamed bloody murder every time I touched her. The one I came home with was in my arms and all calm. AND….she started talking to me right away. I can talk to a lot of animals but have not ever really talked to one so young or so new so quickly. She said to not worry about those tan points as she would make up for it personality…more than make up for it. I was trying to ignore her as I was focused on wanting to have the other pup.  But she kept yammering on in my ear.  Morag told me that she was the one that I wanted and she put her feet on my chest and stood up in my arms and looked direct and deep into my eyes and said, “IT IS ME!!!” I tried to ignore her but couldn’t after that. The breeder was fascinated with how she was reacting to me.

Shortly after Abbey passed, Charlie told me that our next red tri border collie was to be named Morag.  I asked him why and said he chose the name Morag which is Gaelic for Maggie.  Our Abbey was supposed to have been named Maggie and the farmer had intended to keep her.  The farmer wasn’t to home when we went to look at the pups and the wifie didn’t know her husband’s intentions, so we went home with his Maggie who was  our Abbey.  Our new Morag comes from a line of Maggies and Abbeys as well.  Her mom’s name is actually Maggie and her grandmother was Abbey.

Morag

 

 

Morag on the hunt

I already have a nickname for Morag which is Aggie.  Half Maggie and half Abbey….Aggie. I couldn’t tell you all about her because I didn’t tell Charlie about her. I decided to surprise him and picked him up from the airport with her.  I had her stuffed in my coat and after he leaped in and got his seat belt on, I causally handed this wiggliy squiggly ball of fluff to him and told him to hold her because she was too wiggly to drive holding her. He never knew as I kept my mouth shut for 2 whole weeks. She started to lick him all over and promptly peed on him!!!

Our Cinnamon, who is now almost 13 years old and is our original Abbey’s daughter, had puked on him her first car ride with him. So if you pee or puke on dad, you get to stay!  she is only 8.5 weeks old now but almost impossible to photograph as she is just a wee little bluuuurrrrr most times.  What do you think of my darling Morag…little we Aggie?

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The REDS.

 

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I have been creating a lot of soups and stews in the crock pot recently. Mostly because of A. working outside and B. because it smells fab when cooking and C. because by the time I am actually hungry later on, I can’t be bothered to cook anything. Charlie usually pesters me to eat. I realized the other day that my fiber world has overtaken my culinary world.

No, I am not putting bamboo and silk in the soup, but I am color coordinating the ingredients.

Really?

 

My First Color Coordinated Soup. The Reds.

The Reds:

1/2 cup dried RED lentils ( if you want it thicker, increase to ¾ cup)
1 15 oz can organic Navy (WHITE) beans rinsed
1 15 oz can organic Pinto (BROWN) Beans rinsed
1 15 oz can of Organic RED Fire Roasted Tomatoes diced
1 32 oz can of Organic RED whole peeled tomatoes
2 WHITE onions chopped medium size
1 RED onion chopped medium size
10 WHITE cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 cup bite sized chopped organic Orange baby carrots
I Red Sweet Potato peeled and diced (could increase to 2 if your slow cooker is large enough)
½ to 1 cup of chopped Rutabaga (WHITE flesh once peeled)
1 pound of thick sliced from the butcher bacon with no msg chopped small size ½ inch or smaller
1 cup of White cauliflower if you have it lying around
Pink Himalayan Sea Sat
Boiling water to cover

Throw it all in the slow cooker, making sure the bacon is the last thing and on top. Pour boiling water over the food and bring level up to about top of food and a little under lip of slow cooker top. Put the lid on idiot…I mean you didn’t forget that did you?

Our Smeg

Put the slow cooker on high and leave for 4-6 hours, than turn down for 2-4 more hours on low eating it whenever you feel like in that later few hours. If you are going away, I would put it all together before you get ready for the day, leave it on high while you get ready for work, than switch to low for the day until you get home. I didn’t try to colour coordinate it, it just happened.  Is this what you call Hand Dyed Soup?  Or is that Hand Painted Soup?

 

I threw this together with whatever I could find lying about the Smeg and China Cabinet. I made it about a week ago so I think that was what I put in it….more or less…probably…most likely…..yeah, of course that was what I put in it.

Oh by the way, what is a Smeg you ask?  Here is my Smeg.  We finally got it this fall.

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More Losses…..

 

 

We have had more losses here at the ranch.  Our Livestock Guardian Dog pack was older and being giant breeds their lifespan isn’t as long as the border collies.  Still these dogs have guarded our goats, sheep, llamas, chickens, rabbits and cats against all sorts of predators.

 

Larick March 2006 – October 30, 2016

Larick the big boy

Our Larick has been a working LGD since his first breath.  This boy only stepped paw into our cabin in Colorado ONE time in the entire 7 years we were there and for only a few minutes before he ran in terror back out the door.  Larick was NOT a house dog.  He was a guard.  He has guarded against bears, mountain lions, badgers, hawks, eagles, owls and other assorted birds of prey.  He has been bitten by a rattle snake and lived to tell the tale.  He and his brother Rowan, were the two LGD that had been bitten by rattle snakes.  Rowan was bit in the front leg, but poor Larick was bitten in the face.  His entire head swelled up and I was worried we would lose him.  But I covered him with essential oils which helped dissipate the venom and bring the swelling down so that he could recover and not suffocate with all the facial swelling.  The vets in mountains of Colorado also told us that a dog bitten in the face was surprised by the snake, but a dog bitten in the leg was in a fight and more than likely killed the snake.  Larick was the one taken by surprise and his brother Rowan finished the job. That is how those boys were.  They were a team that worked well together.  We got both the boys when they were 5 months old and Larick was with me for 10.5 years.  That is a long life for a working Anatolian.

Mount Larick the daily challenge for the kids

Back here in Michigan, Larick’s life was a little more tame.  Granted he had to deal with all those people driving up and down his road, jogging people on his road…like what is that all about, he so didn’t get jogging, and that blasted postie person that violates our mail box almost every day no matter how much he told them to go away!!

We have a lot of coyotes here, several packs that surround us.  And they have stayed away for most of the time that we have been here in MI.  Recently with the loss of four of our LGD, the coyotes are starting to come up much closer and even coming onto our land and up on the backside of the pens.  Larick would be horrified at this and up singing you the song of his people all night to make those nasty coyotes leave.

 

He was such a gentle soul and let the baby goats stand on him, jump and run off him, and just generally use him as a spring board play ground.  He never growled at them when they ran all over his body  no matter how much pain he was in.  They were his goats and he loved them.

Larick with one of his kids

Both Larick and us all thought he would go out in a blaze of glory defending his goats.  Little did we know when we got 3 new Anatolian dogs to train for his replacements that one was going to be his end.  He was attacked by one of the new Anatolian dogs, Toobies.  Toobies almost killed Larick and only because Charlie heard one of the other new dogs (Rachel) throwing a fit, did he run to see what had happened.  Charlie came upon a horrible scene and it took numerous buckets of water thrown repeatedly at the offending younger dog to get him to release Larick’s throat.  We had to rush Larick to the vet after hours for emergency surgery and even after all that and convalescing in the house for two months, we had to make the decision to let Larick go.  It absolutely broke my heart but I am glad that I had those two months with him in the house and that he had two months inside off duty on the sheep skin rug getting little tidbits of deli meat each day with his pain meds.  He transitioned into the house markedly well for an old giant male dog that had no interest in houses in his entire previous life.   I will miss you my baby, with your calm confidence, steadiness and my complete faith in your protection.  But most of all I will miss all those quiet moments in the goat pen when you quietly came and laid your huge heavy head in my lap and just sighed.

 

 

Ceiba June 2014-October 30, 2016

 

We only had Ceiba for a short time of about 16 months.  She came to us at a year old and was our hopes for a new Akbash female to both guard and to breed.  She was not happy the moment she got here and no matter what we did to try to work with her she would have none of it.  We tried having her in the house to get used to us and to be out with the goats and guard.  We spade her to try to calm her and gave up any thoughts of breeding her.  She was so terrified of people in general and me in particular.  Even after 16 months working with her, she still saw me as a predator and stranger.  When she was in the house she would not bark or growl at me.  She would never come to me.  She never bit me.  Never did in the entire 16 months we had her.  She wasn’t aggressive even though her bark sounded fierce.  She was just terrified of everything in the world around her.  When she was outside, she would bark and growl at me sometimes for 8+ hours per day.  I couldn’t leave the house to even work in my vegetable garden as she threw a fit.  We tried essential oils, Bach Flower Remedies and even medications to calm her and let her be at ease.  But there was nothing that we could do.  She barked at every vehicle, person, or biker that went by on the road.  She barked at every one of us here at the ranch and ran from us.  We were not even sure if she guarded the goats as the only time we saw her, she knew we were there so she changed her behavior.  I was totally bonded to her but she was not to us and I had never seen a dog that was so singularly unhappy at her very core as she was.

Ceiba with Larick and Willow when we first got her

Shortly before we let her go, we did see something phenomenal as in that she had never shown this behavior before.  The new Anatolian that had attacked Larick was let into the pasture where Charlie, myself and two other people familiar with LGD and the breed were standing.  We wanted to evaluate both that new Dog, Toobies, and also a few of the others.  Toobies tore through the pasture almost running down goats and humans alike in his high energy and disregard fro everyone around him.  We had no warning this was going to happen but out of the corner of our eye, we saw a white flash.  Ceiba make a straight high speed bee line for him from the other end of the pasture, and hit him at a full run body checking him and almost knocking him down.  She has decided his behavior was dangerous just as we were deciding it was as well.  Obviously she was way faster than we were.  But that was the only time, in the entire time we had her that she seemed to have any confidence and act in a behavior that would seem appropriate for an Akbash LGD.

Finally at the advice of her breeder and the vet, we let her go.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and since it was also the same day that we let Larick go, there were tears plenty all around.  Finally she was at peace.  Because being here she had no peace inside her head no matter her outside environment or circumstances.  This is the hard part of Livestock Guardian dogs.  They are bred to be independent thinkers and to be able to make their own decisions.  Unfortunately sometimes they chose to be unhappy and there is just no fixing that.

 

Broch ?? – October 26, 2016

 

Broch was a Great Pyrnese that I got from a shelter in Trinidad, Colorado.  The shelter estimated he was about 10 months old when we got him and he was with us for 8.5 years.  So by our estimate, Broch was 9.5 years old when we let him go.

He had problems with his hips from the day that we got him.  They didn’t seem to be very strong or set correctly in his hip sockets.  We knew that this would ultimately be the reason that we let him go and it was.  Brock was mentally still all well and very much with us but his pain had gotten to the point that it was unbearable any longer.  No pain medications would really help him because he didn’t have any cartilage at all.  By this more advanced age, he wasn’t putting much weight on his back legs at all.  His front knees and shoulders though were starting to have issues as well.

Broch

This higher level of pain was increasing his grumpiness that had always been there to an extent.  It was making life for him, all the rest of the dogs and all the humans here unbearable as his pain levels were too much.  Dogs express pain differently than humans do.  He didn’t limp like Rowan did so it wasn’t as obvious how much pain he was in.  Since he had lived with his pain his entire life, he hid it well.  But with his increasing bad temper and flare ups it was more obvious he couldn’t manage his pain any longer.  That was when it was time for us to let him go.

Broch, such a happy boy

 

 

Broch had guarded outside when we were in Colorado, but once we moved to Michigan, he was officially retired to the house.  He guarded me and the house.  He was so loving and sweet to people and one of his absolute favorite visitors was Mable.  When Mable came to visit, Broch’s eyes would light up.  He loved biscotti and Walker Shortbread and would almost climb into the chair with Mable if she had any treats.  Broch also was one of the softest furred dogs.  His hair on his head was silky soft and just wonderful for spinning.  I have had many folks get some of Broch’s fur for spining dog hair classes.  I miss you boy, but I am glad that you are free of pain finally.

 

 

Toobies October 2014-October 5, 2016

 

Although Toobies was only with us for the summer, he did make an imprint on our lives.  I thought I should include him because it didn’t feel right to not.  He was a beautiful dog physically and personality wise was very interested in people.  He didn’t seem to have a lot of interest in guarding the goats.  He was much more into people.  I don’t think he would have made a good LGD from what behavior we saw with him.  He not only attacked Larick and tried to kill him, but he would walk off and escape the pens and leave his stock.  A good LGD that was bonded to his stock, will NOT leave his stock to go on a walk about.  Toobies wasn’t chasing predators, he was just on a walk about.  And a good LGD works with his partners to guard against and attack predators, not to attack the other dogs in the pack.  Sometimes you will encounter a dog that is a LGD breed, but isn’t an LGD.  Not every single dog that is a LGD breed will be a good LGD.  It requires a certain confidence and strength, as well as a desire to guard the stock and be with them.  He didn’t the necessary confidence to make good LGD decisions, and he didn’t seem to have the desire to protect and stay with the stock.  We didn’t dare bring him into the house and use him as a house guard with people or to re home because we didn’t feel he could be trusted after the way he tried to kill Larick.  We didn’t feel that our border collies would be safe.  so we had to make the very hard decision to let him go.  Being the right decision, did not make it any easier.  I am sorry but you can rest now.

Toobies

What we couldn’t know until after the decision was made was how it would affect the rest of the pack.  What we saw was absolutely amazing and removed any doubts that the decision to put Toobies down was the BEST decision possible.  His brother and sister were also here.  And his brother Ike, was showing some aggressive behavior that had us worried.  We thought it was triggered by Toobies but were unsure.  I can not believe the change in Ike since Toobies has been gone.  It has only been a month since we let Toobies go, but his brother Ike is a completely different dog.  He is steady, calm, only shows strength or aggression at predators when he should, and he is settling down and starting to finish nicely.  I never thought I would say it, but he may very well be my new Larick.  He has that serious focus for guarding that Larick had although being a young dog is a lot louder than Larick was in his later age.  I do recall though how loud Larick was when he was younger, so I know that Ike will calm and settle down.  I am developing great confidence in him and feel that my goats are much safer with him around as am I.

All around the month of October was a particularly difficult month for both Charlie and I.  It will take some time to heal and it is much quieter here on the ranch.  So much loss in such a short time.  There are hard and difficult sides to LGD and ranch life.  This is one of them that no one ever talks about.

 

 

 

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Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Kids Born

 

 

We have had some new Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat kids born 11 days ago.  This is from our new doe, Meg’s Mini Rachelle, and our new buck, Amasanti BB California Gold (aka Fred).

Amasanti BB California Gold (aka Fred) -Sire

I in particular was looking forward to this breeding with great anticipation because Rachelle is a Swiss marked Nigerian and I have never had one of those before.  Fred is a Gold and I haven’t had that one before either.  I have had a cream, possibly a gold but never in a buck.  Fred is from a buck recently imported from California and Rachelle is also from lines totally new to my herd. I researched the lines and have brought in some pretty goats but only after making sure they are from very milk producing lines.

Meg’s Mini Rachelle-dam

I bought several new bucks this year and a few does as well.  The bucks specifically are from proven milk lines and should be of the quality that my does are.  In the past, I believe my bucks were more neutral when it came to milk production and now I have bucks that are as high or higher in milk production than my already high producing does.  I am hoping that it will breed my does, who are already high producers, up even farther.

My goal is to have my does and their daughters all be half gallon or 4 lb a day milkers or better….always.  I don’t want average milk production or low production that so many Nigerian breeders seem to think is standard.  I am not focused on only pretty faces or eye colors.  I have pretty faces and fabulous eyes but not at any expense in the milk pail.  Dashing colors and sparkling eyes do NOT put milk in the pail.  Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats are just that….DAIRY GOATS!

3 kids less than a day old

 

I have been a closed herd since moving back from Colorado to Michigan.  We did our testing and with the herd negative on their tests, it is now time to close the herd back up.

I have a few photos of these lovely little darlings.  We were lucky and right there when mama went into labor because she went EARLY! and she had triplets and if we had gone into the house even for that hour or so before coming back out to do evening chores, I have no doubts that we would have lost two of the kids.  She popped number 2 and 3 our in about 30 seconds total at once after having had kid 1 about 15 minutes prior.  She was a bit dazed, I would have been also with two kids popping out in 30 seconds, so she couldn’t react quick enough to get the sacks off their heads.  That left me with towels in hand to help her.  I was her labor and delivery nurse.  Kid 2 was the only doe in the lot.  1 and 3 are gorgeous bucks.

Kid 1 is a black and tan Swiss marked boy.  He was the smallest of them all.  I think he might have only been a pound and so tiny.  But he was strong and up and nursing about 3 minutes after she had his sack off before he was even dry.  And 11 days after, he is one of the bounciest of the three!

Willow the Akbash meeting the new boys for the first time

 

Kid 2 is the doe.  She appeared white.  But a couple of days ago, I realized she is not all white.  She is a Cou Blanc!!  I am so excited.  I have one Cou Blanc in my herd currently, but Sweet Pea is 13 years old and has never thrown a Cou Blanc herself.  This little darling is white head, white neck and white shoulder area and color on the rump.  I can see the distinct line mid back where a buck skin pattern would break except her color placements are the opposite of a buckskin.  Where a traditional Cou Blanc has white on front and black on rump, this little gal has white on front and pale gold on rump.  So I am guessing that Gold is her color family and Cou Blanc is her pattern.  She has the little gold strips in the same spots on her nose and face as Sweet Pea has her black strips.  The only thing that Sweet Pea has that this little one does not have is any gold strips visible yet on her legs.  Her legs currently just appear all white.  Oh and she doesn’t have Sweet Pea’s wattles.

So after three hours of unplanned goat midwifery, we returned to our normal lives….minus the hours lost playing with the new kids over the last 11 days.  but…..Aren’t they all just so cute?

 

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just a goat….riiiight….

 

Just wanted to share a little photo.  It’s just a goat. nothing special….RIGHT!  What do you think?

 

Minnie Pearl

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