04/09/2013 There is no way to say this but straight
out, I guess. My husband Bill, has been diagnosed with the On-Set of
Early Alzheimer's, March a year ago. I have known something was wrong
for over a decade. That was one of the reason's I had decided it would
be best to return to our homeland and the farm a decade ago.
What better way to live your last years than under
a familiar roof, land you know and have worked before. Then to top it
off with family as well as a bunch of heeler's that adore you .
At the time our children were in transition and
making their own adventure's in life. It was a good decision for the
Bill is now 57 and is progressing
somewhat on a daily basis. I thought it was just dementia myself. I do
not know if that is a fact or just plain denial. I know when folks tell
me what their relative did in the beginning of Alzheimer's, he is
I have to say, besides
our loved ones, these wonderful little dogs have been a pure blessing
these years. Bill's daily visit is in the middle of the floor surrounded
by puppies. I believe they are all that much better for being with him
on a daily basis.
He is not in the
mindset of not knowing where he is and things like that, yet. He is not
driving any longer. He does get lost quite easily. Yet he has just built
a great little milk barn for my dairy goats. He loses his keys on a
daily basis and is looking for them as I write this. (They were not
found. We will look tomorrow. :) Then again he loves to look after
our little church, even though his clothes might not be quite right.
I can go on and on. In all truth, this type of thing cannot be made
light of as much as I try. As soon as I do, he will do something that is
a serious jolt of reality.
Bill and I
have been together for 40 years. I have had a lot to think about and
decisions to be made.
Although I have not had as much time to spend with
my Sapphire families, e-mails and on the phone this last year, we have
managed well here on this little farm and made many memories together.
As far as the kennel goes, I must say, to you it is a
kennel. But to us, it is just our home blessed with our blue or red
girls and boys. We never really use that term here.
I do plan to meet all of my present obligations of
course. I will have extra pups too as I have not committed to many folks
through this last winter.
I do still have my dogs. I will have
pups this spring and this fall. I really cannot say what I will do after
the fall of 2013. I will let you know at that time where I am in my
life. I will not make any future commitments I cannot fill.
I am well into my second decade with my (breeding)
dogs at this time. I cannot say that will be the last of me and my
dogs. I do not know how you can have one (me) without the other
(my dogs). They are such a large part of my life. My dogs know only me
as their "person". I am the same as you are with your heeler. I still
have my old dogs, too.
As for now, as I
said, I will be having a few litter's this spring and then this fall. I
cannot have good pups if I do not have my good families. Please, bear
with me through this time and I hope we can all just make good memories
Dear Friends, We have been working hard here on the farm….. But, have
you ever heard anyone say “we have had an easy job here on the farm.” It
is in our blood as all folks will tell you that live like we do.
We are such a small operation
compared to others and yet it keeps us busy. I cannot remember the day I
could set down and say the list was finished. That is the way of farm
life. Don’t feel sorry for us or think we are too busy, we asked for
There is much satisfaction in
being able to provide for your needs and building things that will last
a lifetime mostly out of other people’s scraps. We do have all of the
new words for what we say now, for instance, we are now recycling this
old wood. It is has been our habit to reuse what we can all along.
We have one other old house to
tear down and our supplies will be dwindling. Bill has built nine
different buildings and structures in his four years back on the farm
and all built to last. Also about 30 acres of fencing, new driveways,
waterlines, garden plots and the old houses I mentioned, he tore down
for wood. Not bad for a fellow in his fifties. I tell him a lot of 18
year old kids couldn’t keep up with him. As I always say, “If we just
could clone Bill about three times we could get it all done.” He has not
missed a day out in this heat the entire summer except for church. I
wish I had his batteries.
The kennel is back up in full
swing. I am excited about getting back to normal. It does feel good.
We do have puppies on the
way. Two girls are due this week. We are watching them around the clock.
I have folks on my list for red pups I will need to honor first. We will
have other pups available soon through the fall and by Christmas.
Our older generation will be
retiring soon and as I had mentioned before I pulled out an entire
litter of pups from Sassy and Dink sometime back. They are reaching age
now. (You can look at Dixie to see a full blood older sibling.)
Almost two years ago I brought
in two red female pups that are fourth generation out of Dink and Sassy.
There grandma is a blue girl out of Dixie’s litter, if you can follow
me. I have watched these two girls for two years and I am happy with their
overall growth and personalities. They are Tootsie and Rockette, (Rockette,
because she loves to carry rocks around, but we wanted her to sound
girlie.) What can I say?
We have two young males from two
other farms with champion bloodlines we brought in to cross with our
own. They have been here almost two years too and looking very good. I
am looking forward to what these crosses produce. There is a lot to
finding the right dogs including good genetics to begin with, but also
conformation and color among a few things. It took me about five years
to work up another generation and this one will be successful I am sure.
Bottom line, we are preparing for
our next generation and will be retiring some of our older ones real
soon as far as breeding goes.
It is satisfying to see our pups
generations on down the line doing so well. We have now been hanging in
here through ten generations and hope to be around that many more if the
Lord is willing. We sure would not have continued on through these times
if not for his help.
In the coming weeks we will
be updating the site and taking new pics. I am learning to work the site
as I can. Trying to get Bill inside to set for hours at the computer is
near impossible anymore. He loves working outside.
An update on the death of Sam: I
had mentioned previously we had placed him for adoption and the family
had thought he got into poison. The vet exam found a snake bite to the
neck and said in this heat the venom would have traveled rapidly. So
that is what happened to Sam. It is still hard to believe he is gone. I
guarantee he killed that snake. He hated snakes. Sam had been found
lying in his spot under the carport shortly after death. They have small
children and I am sure he did his job well.
We are still in the stage of
working to have each animal provide for itself. Even the chickens must
make a living. I now have the most wonderful chicken coop all out of
reclaimed wood and tin. It is positioned to block the north and west
wind from the winter cold and the evening sun of summer.
I designed the nest box to have a
drop down hinged board across the entire length of the front of the nest
box for easy cleaning. We have an old window installed in the upper
corner for quick detection of those old chicken snakes. (You do not
reach for eggs if you can’t see in the box here.) It is vented for air
circulation and will accommodate at least 50 hens. What more can you
There is an adjoining 10 x 20
structure for roosting. I told Bill, 30 years from now when I am in my
80’s, I want that chicken pen to still be there and I believe it will.
The fencing is old chain link and we are putting aviary netting over the
top. He has buried the bottom of the fencing so no critters can dig
We placed the hay in the nest box
just yesterday and got our first egg. I believe it has met their
approval. Someone else that approves is Ms. Keisha. For those of you
that do not know her, she is a Nubian goat in advanced years. She was
let out to pasture this morning and since the chicken pen is not
complete I looked up and there she was standing in the doorway chewing
away with a mouth full of hay. She thinks we have a new salad bar on the
The heat has been unbearable as
I am sure it has been for a lot of you as well. We are in a severe
drought here. If we do not get rain soon we will not have enough grass
for the cattle. Please remember us in your prayers for rain.
That late garden we put in has
done wonders as long as I pour the water on. I have put 20, quart bags
and 5, gallon bags of squash in the freezer the last 8 days. I think it
is growing while I am writing this. It sounds like a lot, but if you are
putting up for a year that is one bag a week for 20 weeks and 5 large bags in case company shows up. I will be putting up
purple hull peas tonight. The okra is blooming and the corn has tasseled
so they should be making soon. The cantaloupes and watermelons are
coming along as well. The tomatoes seem to be not doing to well. We have
community water and some plants do not like chlorine and I think that is
a big part of it. We plan to hook up the old well again next month. I
can’t wait for that.
We are replenishing our
collection of heirloom seeds if anyone has any to spare. We would love
to buy them or share. You cannot find a lot of the old seeds in catalogs
any more. The big company’s are buying out the little ones and a lot of
our old seed is going by the wayside. I encourage any of you that have
old family seed to be sure and take care of it.
Well here is my story for today.
Things are always happening on a farm. Our four turkeys are now over
twenty turkeys. These are the old heritage solid white turkeys from the
1600’s. The oldest turkey hen came up for water today while Ms. Keisha
and I were checking out the new chicken nest. I never saw such a stinky,
yellow bird before. Bill had told me she was nesting up the hill, so I
decided I better go take a look and see what was going on.
I waited for her to return to her
nest and you would not believe what I found. She was under the edge of a
gate sitting on her nest. Now this is a pipe gate, absolutely no shade
in this 100 plus degree weather. Our heat index last week was 119. That
poor bird was sitting in the full sun, her mouth wide open, wings spread
and every feather she had was standing straight up for air.
I shooed her off of her nest and
there were two eggs left. It was so hot her eggs were rotten and
exploding underneath her. The mess was unbelievable. I broke up
the nest and got her on her way. The reason for this story…..You cannot
match the natural instincts of a mama taking care of her babies. That
little thing had been sitting on that nest for almost 3 weeks. I think
that says it all.
By the way you can’t give a
turkey a bath, but you can give her space until a cleaner time.
Our Adult Dogs Are Micro-Chipped
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