Wednesday, February 9

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Watching It Get Whiter

Nothing stays the same on a farm, and yet there are some things that never change. From year to year, we find a comforting rhythm: little lambs in early spring, juicy heirloom tomatoes in summer, beautiful color in fall, feeding hay in winter, and most of our snow in February.

The storms just keep coming. At least today's three inches of snow covered up all the treacherous ice.

Don't get me wrong; I really do love winter.

This photo is from one year ago today (when our beloved wet weather creek was running), but it could have easily been taken this afternoon—except for the lack of blood.

Great Pyrenees Daisy and Great Pyrenees mix Marta, our awesome livestock guard dogs, fluctuate between inseparable and incapable of getting along, and earlier today they spent about 10 frightening minutes literally trying to tear each others' throats out.

Daisy won this round, but both girls walked away covered with blood. It's a dominance thing, and it scares the hell out of me. A few weeks ago Marta tore out a little chunk from Daisy's face, about a quarter inch from her eye. Now Daisy has a pierced ear.

Meanwhile, our new pup Bert is so determined to make some Great Beagles with his hearthrob, Daisy, that he literally injured himself while trying this morning and had to be carried back up to the barn in the hay cart.

As soon as we can make it up the icy driveway, we're taking him to the vet to get fixed, though I doubt that will put an end to his lust.

Fortunately I missed all this canine excitement, as the annoying cold/flu/whatever I've been fighting since mid December came back with a vengeance and has kept me stuck inside The Shack for the past week, sleeping in the living room by the woodstove. The only other time I've gone this long without breathing fresh air and working outside was last summer's vacation in the hospital.

The start of my current indoor sentence coincided with the arrival of Joe's brother, who drove 600 miles last week to come help Joe work on the new house—while I took care of the farm chores. So much for that plan. At least I was able to ply him with a couple of homemade pies, some freshly baked Farmhouse White, and several hearty dinners before he decided to cut his visit short.

I'm finally (hooves crossed!) on the mend, and am looking forward to heading outside during the predicted balmy weekend in the 50s, which should melt the ice and will feel especially nice after tonight's single digit temps eleven below.

In the meantime, this afternoon I busted Mr. Midnight batting one of Bert's bones across the living room floor, and Smudge, who looked perfectly fine earlier, is now all mysteriously wet and matted on both his head and usually fluffy tail.

Bert, who appears to have made a full recovery after this morning's X-rated incident, won't stay out of the cat box, and the closure mechanism thingie on the kitchen storm door is malfunctioning, so now the door goes BAM! every time it shuts, which is all day long because that's the door we use to lug in firewood for the ravenous little woodstove.

Then there's the circuit breaker we manage to keep blowing over and over. And did I mention the two loaves of burnt bread?

Daisy and Marta 2

It's clear that we've all started going a little nuts. Joe said this is just one of those days, and suggested we call the rest of it off. I say it's one of those times that pretty much screams Emergency Chocolate Cake.

The Daily Donkey 4: Daphne

©, the stir crazy but still smiling foodie farm blog where when Joe let Bert back in after finishing up evening barn chores, I asked why he was coughing. "Because he runs around with his head down and his mouth open and keeps shoveling snow down his throat." I gotta get back out there. I'm missing way too much good stuff—and I can't believe I haven't been to Donkeyland in a week!


  1. Here’s to amorous pups, dominant elders and a brother with flexibility. Sounds like you need a nice hot bath with lavender and warm towels.

  2. Wow...that's a lot of stuff going on at once...and not all of it very good. Hope you feel better soon, that the dogs behave peacefully, that your lusty Beagle stays well and gets neutered, and that everyone on the farm, donkeys included, has a better day today!

  3. I have heard that two females can often fight but certain breeds are more prone to it. It's usually to do with the fact that both are dominant. Are they spayed? Will you get Bert neutered?

  4. Once is never (repeat...never!) dull on the farm is it??? Interesting how Marta & Daisy are such typical 'sisters' - fast friends & mortal enemies. And that Bert-ster! Oh My! You do have your hands full.

    I do hope you are feeling better. It is so hard to be sick. This bitter cold dosen't help much either, does it? It's only 3 degrees here this morning (but there is a promise of a 'warm up' starting tomorrow!!! Personally, I can't wait!

    Thanks for all the photos - as ususal, wonderful and lots of fun!

  5. Susan, I might can help you on your illness. The duration sounds suspiciously like one that I've had two years in a row, for 4-5 months at a time each. It's a new bacterial infection going around and it is mean.

    Do you have these symptoms: painful sore throat (that "moves" around on you); hacking cough that is meaner than anything you've ever had; ear pain and issues (it attacks them); voice disappears for a while; cold-like symptoms; and you'll get better for a little while, only to "relapse?"

    My doctor finally came up with a medicinal combination that worked, after he also caught it and had it cultured/tested at the CDC (he thought it was whooping cough, that's how terrible the cough is). It's bacterial, not a virus; which means it won't work its way out of your system. You have to take medicine to make it go away.

    Here's the combination: Lincocin or Bactrum antibiotic shot; a steroid shot; and a B-12 shot. I don't want anyone to suffer with this the way I did, which is why I send people to my doctor in town when I hear talk about an illness lasting for months (unusual), or tell them about this combination.

    Don't know your symptoms, but thought I'd put it out there. Feel better! And feel free to email me with any questions and/or sympathy if it all sounds too familiar.

  6. Our two dogs occasionally pull the dominance fight and it's terrifying. Unfortunately, one is bigger, and the other one won't back down. It's a bad combination! Gracie has a lovely rip in her ear from it, and she's had stitches too many times to mention.

  7. I'm thinking that spaying them would keep them from fighting. Plus there are too many benefits to having them spayed. Another is less prone to ovarian cancer.

  8. Emergency Chocolate Cake sounds like the perfect solution to winter cabin fever. Perfectly delicious.

  9. I hope you feel better and can get outside again for some fresh air. You're just not having a good time of it right now. I'm glad Bert is better. Hope things get better for you real soon. This winter has been a bad winter. Hope spring comes around real soon.

  10. Are both girls spayed? I've got Pyr sisters that used to fight and draw blood until I got both spayed. Fighting ended except for an occasional growl over food dishes. These never lead to blood shed anymore though.

    I bet having Bert hormones in the mix isn't helping either. Years ago I had a 2 yr old male Aussie neutered. It took couple of weeks for the testosterone levels to drop, but after that the aggression with my neighbors stud Cocker Spaniel ended and the interest in courting every bitch in sight ceased. It was a relief.

  11. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks so much for all the helpful comments.

    Oh my gosh, a bath with lavender and hot towels sounds fabulous. :)

    Definitely never a dull moment! And the Bert-ster - ha! I love it. Yet another nickname for that silly little dog - who has captured all of our hearts.

    Yikes - you basically nailed it on the head. Thanks for the info - I'll be emailing you.

    Around here, Emergency Chocolate Cake is the solution for pretty much any situation. ;)

    Sheila (and Catherine),
    Thanks for confirming what we suspected. Marta was spayed when she was 6 months old, but Daisy hasn't been. The serious fights didn't start until fairly recently, which I think has to do with Marta turning 3 years old and really becoming an adult. Daisy is 5, and Marta was just 6 months old (and very recently spayed) when Daisy, who had just weaned a litter of pups, came to live with us in August 2008, so she was the dominant bitch from the start - until recently. And yes, I'm sure, despite the fact that Marta pretty much ignores him, Bert's hormones aren't helping things.

    We'd planned to get Bert fixed asap all along, but after yesterday, we're going to go ahead and get Daisy spayed, too. I'm a HUGE fan of spaying and neutering (Bear was fixed when he was a pup, too), and the only reason we hadn't spayed Daisy was because we had talked about breeding her in order to get some more awesome livestock guard dogs. But that plan has changed, and next Wednesday we'll be taking both Bert and Daisy to the vet, which is 40 miles away. Wish us luck! ;)

  12. Wow! We New Englanders finally got a break from the storm-after-storm weather pattern we were stuck in, but we still have ginormous piles of snow on the ground.

    Some days you just have to pull a (vintage) quilt over your head and ride it out - I hate it when I burn anything, but luckily my family likes things well done, and tolerate some of my kiln-fired baking gone awry.

    My favorite home remedy is simple: when you start to feel congested or get a sore throat, gargle 4-5 times a day with warm salt water, about 1/4 tsp salt to 1/2 water. You can avoid getting really sick or minimize your symptoms, or at least feel like you're doing something!

  13. Hope things even out for you soon! And thank you for sharing the bad with the good, sometimes it's easy to get the idea that your country life, with so many animals and beautiful scenery, is without problems. As someone who grew up in the country, moved to the city and is itching to go back to fresh eggs, LGDs and wide open spaces, it's a helpful reminder to keep expectations in check! So thanks for sharing and I hope that spaying helps things calm down for you. There are few things more stressful than disharmony amongst the family members!!

  14. The dogs are so cute! Hope the emergency chocolate cake helped.


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