Great Pyrenees Puppies for Sale in North Georgia

We are now taking deposits on Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) puppies. 

We are located in North Georgia. The puppies will be ready to go to their new homes between ten and twelve weeks of age, starting on December 24, 2014.

Dam: Artemis (foreground) / Sire: Orion (background)

Dam: Artemis (foreground) / Sire: Orion (background)

Our puppies were born in the barn and are being raised by working parents protecting goats, hogs, and chickens. Our dogs spend 100% of their time within our fenced pasture protecting our livestock from coyotes, domestic dogs, foxes, hawks, raccoons, opossums, and other predators. They are socialized to humans enough that they are friendly to family, friends and invited guests, but they know their jobs and are fierce protectors against predators and unwelcome strangers. 

Puppies are $400 each.

Purchase price includes:

  • Well Puppy Guarantee*
  • Three Year Health Guarantee against inheritable diseases and defects*
  • One bag premium dog food
  • Owner support for the lifetime of the dog

CLICK HERE for more details.

Bucklings to Wethers

First of all, I'd like to announce that we finally named the other two goats. The doeling is named Pearl and her brother is Melvin. 

From left to right: Melvin, LaChonky and Pearl

From left to right: Melvin, LaChonky and Pearl

As I mentioned in a previous post, the bucklings needed to be castrated ASAP. LaChonky in particular was "bothering" Pearl. She had taken to jumping on top of the hay bale to get away from him. 

 
Chiminea fire pit base turned hay bale and goat perch holder.

Chiminea fire pit base turned hay bale and goat perch holder.

 

I did look into castrating them ourselves. There is a technique called "banding", which I won't go into in too much detail, but think of wrapping a rubber band tightly around your finger and waiting until it dies and falls off. The other do-it-yourself method I looked into was using a tool called an emasculatome to crush the cord and blood vessels leading to the testicles. Curtis even offered to cut the bucklings. "How difficult can it be? You cut and pull the balls out." Considering he has balls himself, his cavalier attitude surprised me. In the end, I decided to call a professional to do the cutting for us. 

I thought it would be easy to find a farm veterinarian in our area, but it took me a while to find one nearby. After an interenet search didn't turn up anything, a call to the friendly folks at the county extension office gave me the name of "the vet everyone around here uses for goat castrations". 

I woke up King and Mike early yesterday morning to "help me load the goats in the minivan". It was surprisingly easy to get them to jump in. The tricky part was to get them all in there at the same time. Pearl ended up coming along for the ride, as it was too difficult to remove her without the other two escaping, especially Melvin. Thankfully, once we got there we met a county sheriff animal control officer who helped us unload.

While the boys were away at castration camp, Pearl was left all alone. I don't think she had ever been alone in her life, not that goats are ever really happy without a herd. She was particularly distressed. She yelled for her herd-mates all day, until her little goat voice was hoarse. 

A very unhappy lonely screaming Pearl.

A very unhappy lonely screaming Pearl.

We picked up LaChonky and Melvin in the afternoon. (Would you believe the same animal control officer pulled in as we were arriving and helped us load them in the van again? For real.) The new wethers were a little groggy and wobbly, but otherwise in good shape and ball-less. It was just in the nick of time too, as both Curtis and I independently concluded that just today Pearl came into heat.


Resources:

For more information on different methods of castration click here.

Seed Starting in Soil Blocks

I finally started the seeds for my vegetable garden. A true sign of spring! I ordered almost all of my seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. They specialize in heirloom varieties that perform well in the mid-atlantic and southern states, although they sell seeds to gardeners from all parts of the United States. Whenever possible I choose varieties that are old southern heirlooms: proven southern performers that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Plant Labels in Soil Blocks.JPG

If my seed starting pots look to you like clumps of dirt, you are right! That is exactly what they are. For about three years now I have been starting seeds in soil blocks. Soil blocks are made by compressing a damp seed starting medium into a "block" shape with an indentation for the seed. Once the plant is ready to be moved to the garden you can simply plant the block into the gournd without having to remove a pot. The benefits of using soil blocks include less root-disturbance for your young starts, and no pots to buy, make or store. The soil blocker I use makes four blocks at a time. So far, I have had great success using method.

In our old house, I started my seeds under a grow light in our basement (which was basically a dirt cellar) . In our new house we don't have a basement, or a cellar, or extra room anywhere for starting seeds. I considered buying or making a small greenhouse or cold-frame to start them outside. I found some cute ideas on Pinterest.

As usual, I ran out of time and inclination for these ideas. I ended up putting them in the bathtub we use for washing the dog.

Bathtub Seed Starting Set Up.JPG

Maybe next year I'll build or buy something cute. For now, rub-a-dub-dub the seeds are in the tub.


Resources:

Simple expanations of heirloom open-polinated seeds can be found here and here.

This site has lots of information about soil blocks including sections on making your own blocking mix and soil blocker. They also sell soil blocking supplies. I believe this is where I bought my soil blocker years ago.

Johnny's Seeds also sells soil blocking supplies. I have purchased their soil blocking mix before.

Amazon.com also sells soil blocking supplies.


How do you start seeds?


My Impulsive Goat Purchase

On Thursday I went to the farm store to get milk and eggs and pork chops. I came home with all of that, plus three goats. They are our first livestock on the farm.

Three Goats in a Mini-Van.JPG

It was an impulsive purchase. One that was not cleared with my husband. I texted him the picture of the goats in the back of the mini-van along with the word "sorry". He was not pleased, but not really all that surprised either. How long can a woman last on a farm in the spring without buying baby animals that are right there in front of her for sale and everything?

I am not going to say how much I paid for the trio, as I really don't want to know whether or not I got a good deal. As I said, this was an impulse buy which by definition excludes logical considerations like price; and the fact that the main pasture fence isn't installed yet; and the fact that we are going on vacation in two weeks; and the fact that two of the goats are uncastrated males and may impregnate the three-month-old female at any moment. 

Let's just look at their cuteness and think about that, because that's what I did.

 

Goat #1

LaChonky

LaChonky

This is one of the male goats. He is the only one who has been named, so far. Mike came up with the name, "LaChonky". He is a Pygmy goat. I'm not sure of his age (one of those pesky details one forgets to ask during an impulsive purchase). He has proven to be the feistiest and most charismatic of the bunch.

Here he is doing an impression of Curtis finding out I bought three goats without talking to him first:

Oh, snap!

Oh, snap!

 

Goat #2

Male Lamancha Pygmy Cross.JPG

This is the other male. He is a cross between a Lamancha and a Pygmy goat. I believe he is three months old and twin brother to the female. He is also "intact", as they say, and could possibly impregnate his sister (another pesky detail). He is the most skittish of the three and scoots away when we try to pet him. We are working hard to win him over.

 

Goat #3

Femaie Lamancha Pygmy Cross.JPG

This is the little doeling. Like her brother she is a three-month-old Lamancha-Pygmy cross. The Lamancha breed is a dairy-type goat, so perhaps when she is older we will have her bred and try her as a milk goat. She is as cute as a button and sweet as can be. My favorite for sure.

I wanted to introduce you to the new members of the farm, but you can expect more goat pictures and stories soon, starting with my search for a vet who will castrate the two bucks.

Toward a Pasture Fence

One of my dreams for our farm (and one of the main reasons I wanted a farm) is to raise our own livestock - for food, for sale and for fun. We have lovely pastures all ready and waiting to be grazed.

 
Freshly Mowed Pasture.jpg.jpg
 

My dream does not include animals scattered to the four corners of our county, therefore we must first put up a fence.

Enter the bulldozer.

 
Bulldozer Arrival.JPG
 
 
Cleared Fence Line.JPG
 

We now have a path cleared for a fence through the woods on our Eastern property line. We are one step closer to a fenced-in pasture. I am so excited!

The Winter of Poison Ivy

 
Sportweasel.com Winter Poison Ivy Rash on Face.jpg
 

King has a poison ivy rash (again) ... on his face (again).

This is the third or fourth rash he's had since we moved to the farm and the second he's gotten this winter. I thought we were supposed to get a break from this stuff in the winter. Believe it or not, we think he might have been exposed at his dad's house in the city this time. I guess there is no safe place, or season, for the highly reactive.

So far, he's only got four small patches of it: one on his face; one on each side of one arm; and one in the elbow pit of the other arm. Because of our last bout with the rash, I come to this battle fully armed with an arsenal of washes, soaps, creams, ointments, sprays and herbs. Hopefully, we can keep this case contained and short-lived, so that we won't have to resort to using the Prednisone again.

Stay tuned for updates on King's latest dermatological drama. Ugh.

Goodbye, Old Barn

Dear Old Barn,

I am sorry, but you have to go. I want to keep you, but I can't. The insurance company says we must spend $30,000 to repair you and we just can't do it. As much as I'd love to shore you up and let you live on in all your glory, it is not possible.

I do love you. I even fought to get back the wood that was taken off your back. I lost that battle, too.

Do not despair! We will carefully save all your beautiful pieces  Your weathered siding. Your hand hewn beams. Your notched log supports. Your stacked stone foundation. Your rusty tin roof. All of it will be kept and loved and cherished. Although you will not continue on in your current form, you will have a resurrection of sorts. We will give new life and purpose to all your salvaged parts. You will live on as a coop, a shed, a shelter, a bird house, and who knows what else. Your possibilities are endless.

I promise, however and wherever you reappear, I will remember your original beauty and thank you for your sacrifice.

Goodbye, old barn. I will miss you.


Before we pulled her down, my parents, the boys, and I carefully removed all the boards we could from the outside. My mom and King had nail pulling down to a science. When Curtis got home from work, he started up the tractor, fitted it with a tow rope, and he and my dad took care of the rest. As sad as it was to have to tear her down, the culmination of a hard day's work and the impressive collapse was very exciting.

Here is a tribute video to the old girl and a documentation of her collapse: 

The song on the video is by Amos Lee from his album Mission Bell.

Behind Me Now
$0.99
BLUE NOTE

Discovering Mistletoe

All I knew of Mistletoe was that you kiss under it at Christmastime. I was surprised to hear that it grew wild in the South. I was also surprised to hear that it grew on trees. Mistletoe is not a tree, but a parasitic shrub that grows out of the branches of existing trees like oaks. I began to look up and around, and sure enough, there it was all around me, high up in the trees of my own yard.

At a quick glance you might assume it is a squirrel's nest left over from the summer. But with a longer look and a closer inspection you will notice that it is not a mass of brown dead leaves, but green, like strange and untimely new growth on an otherwise dormant and barren tree. 

The boys and I decided we would try to harvest some for ourselves. Apparently, the preferred way to harvest mistletoe in the South is to shoot it out of the tree with a shotgun. I was a little skeptical about this approach for many reasons. So we hauled out an old ladder we found in the barn and hoped it would reach high enough. That's another thing about mistletoe. It seems to prefer the highest branches on a tree on which to grow. We could only reach a small clump of it from the top of our ladder. Even this relatively "low growing" cluster was a little too high for my comfort and letting go of the ladder to do my clipping (and photographing) left me more than a little uneasy. 

The botanical name for American Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum, is derived from the Greek words for "tree thief". It is a hemi-parasitic shrub which obtains water and nutrients from its host, although it also produces some of its own food through its own photosynthetic processes. The common name "Mistletoe" may come from the Anglo-Saxon words for "dung twig". This alludes to the plants method of propagation. Some birds enjoy eating the sticky white mistletoe berries which, when passed through the digestive system and deposited on a branch, may germinate into a new plant.

Kissing Under the Dung Twig

It is unclear why we kiss under mistletoe. The practice may have originated with the Druids who believed the plant to be sacred. It is said that if two enemies met under a mistletoe plant, they must lay down their weapons, great each other warmly and observe a truce until the following day. 

In any case, we have been kissing under the "dung twig" for hundreds of years. Washington Irving referenced the tradition in The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., first published in 1819. 

the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids.** The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas; and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege ceases.

The only mistletoe we were able to reach was devoid of any berries, so I guess our kissing privileges were gone before they even began.

I think I need some hand lotion.

I think I need some hand lotion.