Now THAT was a dreamboat day! By the afternoon the sun came out, the birds were singing, the peepers were trilling … and we had another bug free day to work away at this year’s fencing project.
This is what I am working toward – donkeys AND goats safely grazing on the hillside together. To make that possible the fences need a little fix up here and there.
I also wanted to create a privacy wall between our woods and the new playground that was built at the fairgrounds next door. It is a great spot for kids and families to hang out. I was getting a little tired of feeling like I too was hanging out at the playground all day. We put up one hundred feet of the kind of privacy screening they use around construction sites. I like it. I like it enough that I’m ordering another fifty feet to close the last section.
This evening I enjoyed some time watching the sun go down while the critters grazed. There was a group of people using the play structures and it didn’t phase the donkeys or goats one bit. I like that it is very clear where their territory ends now. And yes … where our property ends. There is about an eight foot buffer zone between the property line fencing and where the screening is hung. Good solution!
I have been so impressed by Darby’s herding skills – and the fact that she cares enough to take it on as her job to keep the goats safe. Yesterday I was not feeling all that great (seems maybe I burned the candle at both ends last week – it was worth it!) and I had only been out for feeding times and to do a quick manure run. When Darby saw that I was going to go out the gate to the dumpster she took a long look at me – a long look at the goats on the hillside – and a look back at me. She tucked her tail, RAN through the gate, and pushed the goats up to the top of the hill. Giving me lots of room to get in and out without worrying about them needing to explore where I’d gone. Wow!
The goats also keep a close eye on her. Tonight Darby was being bothered by a biting fly – which I think she thought might be a wasp – so she bolted to the front paddock to roll on the sandy knoll. The goats froze – looked at her – looked at me – and they too bolted from where they were to be closer to Darby – looking through the fence in total confusion about just what she was doing? Only when she trotted back to join us did they relax and start grazing again.
Darby remembers the routine we set last summer where I would come out after dinner to let the goats out of their paddock to join us in the woods. She stays close by – especially if they wander near the farthest gate (which is newly fenced to keep them in) or the new screened in fence line. When they are more in the woods, near me, she relaxes and enjoys her own time to find grass shoots. Then when I get up and call “Goatie! Goatie!” she makes sure they are following me back to their shelter. They know they’ll be rewarded with a few peanuts if they pop in the door and jump up onto their table. Darby knows she will get a peanut reward as well if she comes along with us. It’s working pretty well! Good thing Darby is smart enough to have trained me to do all of this! 😉
After she got the goats settled Darby headed back up the hillside to bring down Rosie and Bella. She likes it best if they and the goats are where she can keep an eye on them all. Notice Bella coming smoothly down the road? Her shoulders are coming along. She still needs bute twice a day. But she is feeling much better.
She especially loves if I start and end her day with a thorough ears, back, shoulders and butt rub! 😉
See this! Sophie … settled into the hay bale? She looked awfully comfortable in there. When I went over to check she was carefully packing hay strands in around herself…. Hmmmmm … Sure enough, when I checked, there was an egg under there too. Not hers though? Lily’s! Both of the hens have taken a real liking to the hay bale as a nesting spot. That would be awkward! I’ve packed their nesting boxes with fresh hay? So now I have to keep them in their quarters (which do include an outdoor area) until they’ve laid their eggs. They are NOT impressed with that plan.