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I wonder when I’ll have to change the title of my blog: “This Circle of Quiet.”  I assumed that country living/rural life was quiet, and it is compared to living in the city.  But, we have 5 pets and a baby on the way.  Its already not very quiet at our house, and I suppose its only going to get louder.  The animals have been more of a handful lately.  Pooping inside, for example.  And, integrating our huge white, polar bear dog with our two medium-sized herding dogs has been an event.  There’s been lots of growling and snarling.  Max got body-slammed by Aspen at one point for getting in her face (I don’t know how else to explain these fights besides making them sound like 13 year old girls in the lunch room.  I went to a ghetto middle school, ok?).

But, I’ve been loving them.  Even when I’m cleaning up their poop (I never realized how amazing Resolve was!), I’m thankful for them.  I’ve been comparing them to kids a lot.  Like, “Okay, its time for everyone to go outside, so I can get some stuff done around the house,” and “I need to give ____ some attention because I haven’t in awhile.”

Aspen is starved for love and attention.  She’s still a working dog.  She’s protecting our sheep and our chickens.  But she won’t stay in the fenced-in area where the sheep are.  She also won’t leave our property (unless she sees us leave), so I think she’s still doing her job pretty well.  She reminds me so much of Max.  We got Max from a shelter and Aspen from a rescue group.  They both have separation anxiety (or some other psychological diagnosis that our human feelings have projected on them), so they need a lot of love.  Even our cats, that were found on the side of the road, are extra affectionate.  I don’t think I would love them all so much if they weren’t so loveable.  Roo, who was the pick of the litter, knows that she’s loved.  She thinks that she’s hot stuff, and she can be sweet and affectionate at times, but she’s also a snob.

As I’m writing, Aspen literally just threw up on the couch that we are cuddling on together.  Its like she knew what I was writing thinking about.  Okay, apologies to all the weak-stomached out there.  I’ll try to limit my bodily fluids talk in the future.

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Sheep

We’ve got sheep.  Three of them.  We don’t actually have them yet, but they have been purchased and wrangled from their former homestead.  Currently, they are living with our friends’ sheep.  We’re hoping that our sheep will mate with our friends’ ram before the weather gets too cold.  Surely they can still mate in the cold, but, for some season, now’s the time for mating.

Chickens

We also still have some chickens.  They aren’t living with us right now either, since they would get eaten.  There’s no protection in the openness of the farm.  So, for protection, Gregg might actually get a Great Pyrenees.  These dogs have been bred to (get this) protect sheep and chickens.  As much as I don’t want another dog, I don’t want Gregg’s sheep and chickens to be another wild animals’ prey.

Garden

We do have a small autumnal (like that word?) garden with some leafy greens growing in it.  Each year, I’m hoping we produce more and more food from our own (rented) land.  With a bigger garden next year, we’ll have more to eat in the summer and maybe even be able to can/freeze some goodies for the fall and winter.  I’ve been happy (and jealous) to see Instagram photos of friends doing the same thing with the produce from their own gardens.  We’ve learning that produce grows quicker than meat is produced.  Duh.  It’ll be nice to produce something on our land, since we won’t be eating lamb for at least a year from now.  Even the chickens won’t really be good egg-layers until next year.

Cow

Our friends with the sheep (okay, their names and Robert and Jen) got wind of a free Holstein (super good dairy cow) that a family in the area is looking to get rid of.  A cow, for free.  Gregg really wants fresh milk (so do I), but he doesn’t want the responsibility of milking it twice a day (I don’t either).  Lazy…but understandable for two suburban kids.  I’m not sure what the latest is on the cow, Gregg mentioned it to me early this week.  I’m not sure if we would keep it at our place or if our friends would keep it at theirs.  Don’t know.  My non-reliable google search tells that such cows will produce anywhere from 5 to 20(!) gallons per day.  We would need to share the wealth.

Slow

A friend asked me how Gregg’s farming was going.  Slow.  I guess that’s why they call the organic/local movement the Slow Food Movement.  Like I mentioned, we might have lamb to eat next Fall, if everything goes as planned, which it may not.  Farming is the slowest of learning processes, because sometimes you don’t know if you’ve made a mistake until months after the initial bad decision was made.  But we’re still learning.  Slowly.

I hope its all worth for us.  For Gregg to do what he loves (and actually love it, not just the idea of it).  I’m definitely guilty of liking the idea more than the reality.  For us to eat what we grow and raise.  For us to know exactly where our food is coming from and what went into growing it/raising it.  I think that will be worth it.

I want to write about this process and talk about it, but we don’t have a lot to really show for ourselves yet.  No meat.  No eggs.  A small amount of produce.  We’re getting there though.  Gregg’s getting there, I’m trying my hardest to be his cheerleader.  Its just the slowest cheer I’ve ever done.

Our dogs love our new house.  They love sniffing and rubbing themselves into whatever it is that they are sniffing. They love prancing around (and pooping) in the soy fields that surround our house.  (I’m banking on the fact that the soybean farmer doesn’t read my blog, because I don’t think he would appreciate the prancing.)

The dogs have been banished to the kitchen full-time.  We have carpet in the living room and bedroom, and they treat the carpet like the grass.  Digging up carpet and rubbing fur all over it is not ideal for our rental house.

Look how happy they are, though!

Max is having his 12 week(!) check-up with the vet to see how well he’s healed.  I hope it goes well–please, oh, please.  I hope we spent our money well with his surgery.  We just got to a point where we could not keep him down.  We were supposed to give him a much more stringent recovery schedule than we did.  You can’t keep a good dog down!

Sickey

This is Max the day after his surgery.  He’s depressed.  This photo shows his Fentanyl patch, the tape that was used to keep his catheter in place, and his shaved leg with freshly inserted staples.  Poor baby.  The photo was taken a month ago, and he’s doing so much better now.  He’s bounding around the house with pent up energy and going on short walks per the Vet’s orders.

Gregg and Max

Gregg nursed his puppy back to health.  He did not take seeing post-op Max very well.  (Those pink house shoes in the background are my mother-in-laws.  She bought them so that she would have a pair to wear when she was visiting us.  I was borrowing them because my feet were cold, even though they are about 4 sizes too big for me.)

Me and Roo

She didn’t have surgery.  She’s just being a happy beach dog.  I thought some of you might like  seeing these green sunglasses that I just can’t bear to part with even though everyone hates them.  🙂

Hammock Dog

I realize that this is an awkward angle.  That’s what I get for taking picture while swinging on a hammock.  Very cute though, right?  She just jumps into the hammock when I first get into it.  She doesn’t stay long.

Me and posting pictures do not get along.  But, Brenna asked to see pictures.  So…here you go.

 

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