Introducing Princess and Bonita, on loan from a local breeder. We're purchasing a pair of Anatolian livestock guardian dogs from them, but the two we chose are still in training and won't be available for a few months. We are so very blessed to have the opportunity to host these two 5 year-olds during our wait - they'll train us up good so we'll know what to expect from the two young dudes who will eventually replace them.
We picked them up yesterday afternoon from their home in Cameron, and introduced them to Harley (our Border Collie) and the livestock later that day. These big beauties may be the stuff of nightmares for coyotes and other potential threats to our stock, but they're just big cuddly layabouts during the day and paid little to no attention to the nervous hens, curious turkeys, and indifferent cattle as we introduced them to their new abode.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle come feeding time - these girls are territorial when it comes to their food and they didn't care to share with Harley. Harley is quite submissive and wasn't challenging her new friends or even trying to eat their food, she just came too near the bowls. This was the first time we experienced the deep, rolling, rumbling growl these dogs are famous for. It was intimidating, to say the least, but it didn't last long - Harley quickly looked away and backed down and that was that.
Later that evening, after lounging on the front porch until dark, Princess and Bonita went to work patrolling the ranch. We heard from them about 11 PM, deep loud barks that warned off whatever threat they had found. Then Harley started in; we don't really think she knew what was up, she just liked having some buddies to bark with. After the threat was dealt with, the new girls quieted down and continued their patrol. But Harley was having too much fun and kept up the battle cry for a good while longer. She got to spend the rest of the night in the garage as a consequence. All told, it's been an easy transition. We hope these new additions prevent any further livestock losses on the ranch.
Many thanks to my nephew Justin who helped me install about 250 yards of 10' wide ground cover on the berm nearest to the house. John has fruit trees planted here that use the grey water from our house to produce peaches, apples, and more. My plan was (is) to use the area beneath John's trees to grow herbs and veggies, but that's been a challenge the last few years. The soil is so healthy and the water so plentiful that I have a hard time keeping grass and weeds at bay. Justin & Noah have pitched in several times, helping with weed-eating and maintenance, but the I never gained any ground in my battle with weeds and grass.
Earlier this year, my friend Rebekah helped me put down a similar ground cover on the berm we planted with watermelons, pumpkins, and squash. It has been a blessing, and I was more than ready to employ the same technique to the near berm. Our recent cooler weather provided the impetus to get this project started.
It took us about 4 hours to lay the cover from one end to the other and it wasn't an easy task. Laying that ground covert was like wrapping the largest, most oddly shaped Christmas present ever. The berm is curvy, forcing us to make several direction changes, folding and forming the plastic to mold to the snaking berm. Additionally, we had to make cuts and holes to accommodate the trees and plants already calling the berm their home. It was difficult at times, but well worth the effort.