News Letter: Summer, 1999

Remember we had that heavy rain and flood back in April? Well, while it was a mostly good thing for the rest of us, it was a bit hard on the beaver family that was making a living about a half of a mile downstream from us. It washed away all of their dams, and we all thought they had drowned. It took them a few months to reorganize and set up shop in our section of the creek (aka river).

Whenever we have time, we go to check on them and see how they are doing. There are a male, a female, and two babies from earlier this year. You know how folks say "busy as beavers"? There is something to that. When they can be seen, they REALLY are quite busy. Cutting willows and then moving them from one place to another.

So far, they have built a dam across the north fork, and another long diagonal dam across the east end of their pond. I have read that they need about six to eight feet in depth in their pond for them to survive the winter. They do not have that depth yet, and so it remains to be seen if this location will work out for them.

You may also recall that we lost our old Pyrenees, Boo. Lilly (Boo's sister) had been sick for some time and then we lost her in August. We had been on the Pyr Rescue list for sometime, and so were lucky to get Marley. He came to us last June from Texas.

As you can see, Marley is quite the smiley dogie. He is very enthusiastic about his new job on the farm. He barks at everything, even thunder. He is always pleased with himself... after all, every time he barks at the thunder, it quits. He is just a year and a half old and still a puppy at heart. Badger seems to like him, in spite of his constant playing with the food dishes. We never know where to look at feeding time. Marley will have moved them yet again to somewhere else.

The sheep have also become used to his bounding from here to there. He hasn't yet learned the "tail-down-slow-walk", but will in time.

His only other bad habit is standing in the stock tank, especially if I have just cleaned it. He doesn't do this so much anymore, since he discovered the creek. Definitely the place to go on a hot day.

It won't be long now until the breeding season starts. Already the ewes have started to cycle and the rams have definitely noticed. Actually they all started to notice one another back in August, but they will have to wait for the first part of October. Some farms have enough pen separation (1/4 of a mile or so) so that all of this "noticing" doesn't happen. Every body here has to stay kind of huddled up around the barn. It would be a bit risky to spread their pens out any distance. The cougars and coyotes would like it, but I don't think we would like their liking it!

We have spent some years now engaged in a line breeding program that we hoped would produce the very recessive and ever illusive brown or "moorit" colour in our sheep. It's true there are brown Merinos, brown Romneys, and brown Karakuls. We didn't want to go so far away from the Corriedale in breeding and so have not used any of these other breed possibilities. I must say, it's rather a disappointment. I have looked into the possibility of artificial insemenation, but have not yet found a suitable brown ram donor.

So, I will go through our flock records and pair the ewes and rams for another season. Perhaps by next year there will be some other breeding ram possibility, and we will finally have brown Corriedales. Hope "springs eternal" on the farm. Well, we all have to have our goals and something to look forward to.

I will say that the summer hay crop has been good this year, so we can look forward to fall and winter knowing that we should have enough hay. It just doesn't get any better than this!

We hope your summer has been good to you as well... Joanna & Keith Gleason [an error occurred while processing this directive]