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Siggy – the stubborn puppy

An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is now nine weeks old. He loves running around with the big boys – Chevy, a nine-year old German Shorthair Pointer, and Parker, the five-year old English Setter. Siggy runs and jumps on them and wants to play with them all the time. Sylvia, Siggy’s master, knows playtime is important for little puppies. She also knows that Siggy must learn some basic lessons so that he will grow to be a useful, obedient and safe worker on the farm.

Chevy and Parker are also working dogs – they help David hunt for pheasants, grouse, and woodcock. David spent many, many months training Chevy and Parking to do their jobs well. Both dogs come to David when he says “here,” and they stop moving when they hear the word “whoa.” When David says “heel,” both dogs will walk close to David’s left leg. They do not run ahead of David, nor do they trail behind him. This is important because it means David can prevent the dogs from running into traffic, or from being distracted from their job – hunting.
Right now, because he is very young, Siggy has not learned to obey Sylvia’s commands. In fact, Sylvia knows Siggy is very independent and can be a very stubborn little dog! He will not always come to her when Sylvia says “here.” This is a problem because Sylvia wants to keep Siggy safe from traffic and from large animals that can hurt little dogs. He must also learn the very basic commands before he can begin to learn to be a herding dog that will work with the free-range chickens, and perhaps, the grass-fed BueLingo cows as well.
Sylvia wondered, “What can I do to train Siggy better?” She asked her friend Claire for some advise.
Claire knows all about training puppies. She told Sylvia, “Don’t put Siggy’s food in a bowl any more. Instead, feed Siggy from your hand, and only give him some food after he obeys your commands.”
Sylvia thanked Claire and began to do this several times every day. For example, early in the morning, Sylvia brings Siggy to a quiet spot and gives him a command. She says “sit,” “here,” or “stay.” When Siggy obeys her command, Sylvia feeds him some of his puppy food directly from her hand. Siggy is learning to obey!!
Sylvia knows that there are many, many months of training ahead, but now Siggy is making progress.

For all story installments, click here.

A dusting of snow

Like so many in Wisconsin and Minnesota, I woke to snow this morning and quickly bundled up for morning chores. I pulled up thermals and pulled on my purple balaclava, and braced myself for the cold. What a wonderful surprise it was to open the door to a gentle daybreak. It was calm and felt absolutely balmy.
There was barely a quarter inch of snow on the ground as I headed up the short hill to the tractor. The snow was already dripping down the windshield facing into the sun, and the diesel started right up. The dogs played tug-of-war with a stick as I speared bales and slowly moved them to a distant pasture, and i could hear the rooster crowing from within the coop. I’ve already fed and watered them, but I’ll wait until a few hens have laid eggs in the nest boxes before letting the small flock range the farm for the day.
Now to bake bread.

Morning break after a three-dog night

It hit -28 last night at Bull Brook Keep, and that’s without taking windchill into account.
After pulling on my flap-earred hat, long-johns and heavy jacket, I fed and watered the chickens and fully expected to find frozen eggs in the nest boxes. Today’s harvest was small and cold, but not frozen. I’ll check the coop several times this morning to gather up any new contributions before they freeze and crack.

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night


Chilly morning chores prompt substantial morning breaks. Today’s includes toasted French sourdough fortified with pastured butter and homemade jalapeño jelly, extra sharp Cheddar, a fresh pear and piping hot organic Welsh Morning tea with plenty of organic half-and-half and vanilla-spiked organic sugar. Thank you God.

Video

The timekeeper – a noisy video

Our free-range chickens are built to forage for themselves

Our free-range chickens are built to forage for themselves

I’m typing away at my desk and then it comes, the crowing that says, “Hey, it’s 11 AM. There are things to do.”
My free range chickens seem to be thriving in the cold and snow. They peck at any patch of dirt or brittle grass blade they find, which is why they love to hang out under my office window. In addition to being out of the wind and facing into the sun, they love scratching through, and nestling into, the mulch around the bushes. It makes for happy hens, and a very vocal rooster.

A day in the life

6:00 AM – As always, MPR’s Cathy Wurzer’s bright voice from the bedside radio let’s me know the world has survived another night and Minnesota is involved in all kinds of activity. Although I now farm in Western Wisconsin, I pulled many of my Minnesota habits with me when I crossed the river. In an hour the radio will automatically switch to Wisconsin Public Radio – new alliances. 6:45 AM – Doing some laundry. In the heat of summer, and when you’re dealing with livestock, sweat, dirt and manure build up on everything. Dave and I often go through two … Continue reading