Monday, March 07, 2011

Death and Life at HPA

It has been a rough two weeks here at High Prairie Acres.
The picture is of our Anatolian Shepherd puppy and was taken about a month ago when he was 8 weeks old. We called him Bru or Bruski. He had just started working with the goats, and he had figured the shepherd thing out. He would bristle and bark (pretty deeply for a pup) at approaching dogs, or chickens that he didn’t recognize as such because they were too far away (hey, it could have been a BIG THING farther away! It takes time to get used to such things as range and what is normal on the farm). He was our daughter’s puppy.

Past tense.

Long story short, he drowned in our pool/pond. Our above ground pool quit being a pool two years ago and instead, became our pond. Ducks swim in it; gold fish grow in it and I had plans to divert our house roof water into it and then pipe the overflow into an-as-yet-to-be-made small pond. I was also planning a solar pump affair where I could pump the “dirty” (nutrient rich) water from the pool to our large vegetable garden.

Well, two dogs walked out onto the ice when no one was watching, the ice cracked and they fell in. The larger dog lived but the pup didn’t make it. It was really quite tragic. Not only was the death of Bru a sad shame – the dogs just tore up the liner trying to get out and now our pool/pond has only about two feet of water in it. A new liner cost us $400 three years ago. So, the pool is coming down and going away and I’ll plant something that does well in sand where it once stood. Any ideas?

We have also had a critter sneaking in and killing our chickens. We are down to only a few. Every few days we’d find a dead, half eaten bird. We then discovered the culprit – our Aussie Shepherd/Blue Heeler. Yep, Drover is a chicken killer. We have tried all the “remedies” and they don’t work. They didn’t work with another dog we had years ago either. Once they get a taste for fresh chicken blood it is darn near impossible to get it out of them. Drover is a beautiful boy. House broken, polite, comes when called, sits, etc. But he kills chickens. We tried to give him away but no luck. His days are numbered here at HPA.

Regular readers will know that we raise goats. We like Alpine Boer crosses. About ¾ Alpine and ¼ Boer so that we can milk the girls and the boys have some meat on their bones to eat. Last year we got an Oberhaslie (also a milk goat) and bred her to a Boer. She had triplets on “Easter” – Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. It was difficult for her.

This year she looked like she was carrying at least twins. And then she went down. As in – wouldn’t stand up.
For a few days. We did everything three different vets and four different goatherds told us to do. She went into labor – for about 48 hours. The first kid came out (with assistance) dead. The next morning I checked on her as I went out for a jog. She had a little goat foot sticking out of her. I pulled gently on it and it pulled back – “good, it’s alive”. I decided if it was still there an hour later when I got back I’d see what I could do. It was and I pulled and maneuvered the little guy as Brownie contracted – he was born!
He did great – for one day. Then he crashed too. We tried to help him but he died about 4 hours later. That was yesterday and Brownie is still not standing up - I think her days are numbered also. Well I know they are - even if she lives, I doubt we will be able to milk her and we certainly cannot breed her again. I'm not into feeding critters that don't produce - it sounds hard, it sounds cruel but it is farm economics. As much as we love them - they aren't pets. They are livestock.

Last year, someone gave us a registered, papered Red Boer. They are supposedly rare and expensive. Last night, we took her to a friend’s house. Our friend recently “got into goats” and also purchased a three year old Anatolian. She had about four goats and had a borrowed Boer billy so we took our girl over to get bred. The dog killed our goat sometime last night.

That’s just how it goes sometimes I reckon but, MAN! It’s been a tough couple weeks.

Today however we got a delivery of 60 chicks. Half Barred Rock roosters and half Barred Rock hens. I think they are about the perfect all around farmstead chicken. We’ll see. They have taken to their new temporary home just fine. Very soon though we are going to have to expand their personal space and we have not yet decided if we will get another trough or what. All of our other troughs are currently being used to water critters.

So that’s life here at HPA.

I’ll see ya out there!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
- Eccleasiastes 3:1 - 8


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

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At 7/3/11 18:31, Blogger Gorges Smythe said...

My dad had a whole summer like that one year. It's a wonder he didn't give up farming.

At 8/3/11 10:33, Blogger Stephan said...

Carrots love sandy soil. Actually pretty much anything that grows underground prefers a loose sandy soil.
We had to get special carrot seeds to break through our clay.

At 10/3/11 00:12, Blogger Anji said...

It's very sad to lose animals - especially the puppy.

As you say, you are running a farm, it's life. We expect so much to be perfect in this day and age. The quote says it all.

At 11/3/11 12:08, Blogger Stuart Mathieson said...

Poor Bru...

At 15/3/11 17:47, Blogger Jimmy the Screwdriver said...

Sad to lose animals- they can be such good friends. We came close this year to losing our dog- $1000 later she is still with us.

I bought a grinder at and I've been using it to grind my wheat. Even the dog likes it.

At this point it can only get better.


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