Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guppy and Bucky puppies are READY!!!

Please contact us to be placed on our list for our future litter in spring/summer 2013 with Bucky and Zuli.)

Guppy and Bucky's pups are eight weeks old now. 
They are ready to start their new jobs as stockdogs or companions.

These are THE MOST intelligent, kind and bold little pups! Raised in the Living Room they are well socialized to people and other dogs. They have grown up with their mother, father, grandmother and many step-aunt and uncle Maremmas. They have grown up this way with a strong, stable pack influence and much handling from people making them very adaptable and secure.

They are crate-trained and pretty much house-trained. 

Panda LOVES his grandma, Zuli. And Zuli loves her little grandpups too!
Panda will be going to live west of Albuquerque as the first dog to a ten year old boy for Christmas. 
He will make a great sidekick and will serve his family well!

A few pups taking their first ride around the farm...

There are eight total in the litter, several colors.. all beautiful.

They have grown up underfoot and are used to horses. 
Happy, on the right, likes to lead Dozer the Jicarilla Mustang by his reins.  

Guppy brings her pups to the goat pen to meet the caprines for the first time. 
During the last few weeks she has taken them on walks every day through the orchards around back to the goat and horse pens...

Many different experiences have been had by these pups. They have grown up around the yard and have studied chickens, turkeys...

and Peafowl! Our Peacock has been sure to instill respect for birds in the little ones, and yet they are undaunted in their study of all living creatures.

These pups were born in a den out front of the house. 
We had a job with the goats in Lamy that day and just before we left Guppy disappeared. 
We we came home that night and with Bucky's nose (Zuli refused to even go outside with me too search..!) found the hole she had prepared.

The den was three feet deep then curved to a nest area where eight little pups sat nestled.

A day or two later we gathered from the den and brought them into the living room to a X-Large crate under the kitchen table. Proud Guppy has done well with her little pups. 

All the pups are happy, healthy and brimming with personality. 

These New Mexico Shepherds (3/4 Australian Shepherd) are ready to brighten some homes during the holidays and lovingly brighten some lives for many years to come!

Poley stands guard at the alfalfa trailer...

These are some extra special puppies. 

They are well rounded individuals that have had a relationship with people every day since birth. They  look to humans for cues. The puppies have had Monday Play Days with a three year old every week (save one) since birth. Tiny and Poley are especially fond of her. 
They are just the right age to bond with their new family.

These photos were taken last week:

Poley is one of three naturally bob tailed pups in the litter. 
She is an attentive little sweetheart that really wants to please. This dog will want to have a person of her own that she can work with/for. She would make a great homestead dog or close companion. 
She is especially fond of three year old Sonia and sits politely in hopes of pets... 

Tiny is also quite fond of Sonia. Sonia has palled around a lot with this bold little one! This pup would be great in a home with children. She is also one of the stronger stock-curious pups. She doesn't take no for an answer, but she does listen to her people. Tiny has a great big heart! 

Panda is another bold individual. He is easy going and very secure. 
He loves to play with balls, and is diplomatic about his toys. 
He has a nice easy way of moving and will have black freckles all over his face! 

Blue Cheese is a unique individual. She is all love and gentle kindness. She has interest in stock, but more than anything wants to check out what you're doing. She is very smart and joyful. She likes to jump and hop with her feet together and twirl around... Quite a little dog. 

Petunia is probably the most critter crazy. She often breaks off from the others to stare at the birds walking around the back yard. She is a mirror image of her father and takes after his classic Aussie reserved attitude. She is attentive and the most comfortable with horses...

Happy could be the name of any of these guys, but this one is exceptionally Happy! 
He is always joyful and loves to greet people. He gives lots of puppy kisses and just loves to be loved and also to give love. He is self assured. The photo here does not do justice to his striking facial stripes. 
He looks like a little Tiger! 

Roley is a very sensitive guy. He is very secure, but he will do best with a person as devoted to him as he will be to his person. He has a pleasing way he looks you in the eye and loves to please. He is one of the better house trained pups, he will come and ask to be let out. A natural Bob tail.

Red Clover takes after her grandmother, Zuli... She loves to love and loves a good belly rub. 
She enjoys studying animals and would make a good stockdog. She is a little sensitive, also like her grandmother. She likes to be with people, but as much as she is crazy about people she may not have quite the same need to be always connected to her person. 
Red Clover is the third pup born naturally bobbed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Over-Thinking Brunch

I spread a flake out for the horses to munch in the yard this morning, then went to let them out one by one.. I started on the far end with Dun. Everyone had seen me carry the flake and spread it in three spots. Dun went to the gate right off and hesitated only momentarily, considering the hay truck that I had parked nearby an hour or do previous... I encouraged her with presence and a cluck, and up she trotted to the first bunch.

Then I let Chopo out who veered a little more for the hay truck at the last moment, but again my arms raised and present encouraged him to keep movin in the direction of the spread hay. When i let Dozer out he first went yo the next door pen, no food in that bucket, so he tried Dun's pen. None there either... He went past Dun's pen and back again, standings with rented eyes looking toward the hay truck... The eyes glinted and before he make up his mind I went over to direct him. He trotted over to his own pen and looked at me from within. I took his jaw and led him to rhe gate. He so gently was with me. Pecos Needed no such encouragement.

Funny how Dozer misses things. He knew I had brought food out- but why was it in no feeders?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Use Your Words

My parents taught me growing up never to suffer fools- those fools anyway that push and walk all over you. Take no flak and soon none will be given to you...

As our role in the new paradigm unfolds and clarity is needed for peoples of different experiences to come to conclusion upon the same page I hear, from my parents:

"Use your words".

Which is just what I've spent this past week in Albuquerque at the 11th annual Quivira Coalition Conference working on... Gathering words together to illustrate the methods and methodology we use and the reasoning that diverse cultures of herbivores (and carnivores) and plants are interdependent.

To heal, to manage and to improve the soil you need animals. Our goats (and horses and dogs) have been studying this Natural RangeManship alongside us for over 10 years now under a variety of climates and conditions as well as circumstances...

They are a Vegetation Management Machine! A powerful tool honed to fill the role of roaming herbivore across scapes of land from the remote to urban; improving soil fertility, plant diversity and reinvigorating farmland, rangeland and your backyard.

So I will use my words as well and as often as possible, because it would seem that our work is absolutely integral to the health and longevity of humanity.

Balance is key. Always remember that plants and animals evolved together.
It is that simple.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sun Shine on Goat Trek

The wintertime scouting trips have begun. Long treks through rough country yield winter feed in the form of brush. Sage emanates sweetly from the herd as they pass through caƱons and over mesas...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dozer the GoatPony

Dozer has spent the summer of 2012 learning about domestic life in the saddle.

He is learning from the example of our current GoatPonies: Pecos, Chopo and Doonie...

Though he has been under saddle for just over a year now he is only just settling into it comfortably. 
Here is Dozer on his first day working goats in company with another herder (minimal resposibility for Doz).

His work has been slow and steady... 

The last few months Dozer has been more seriously apprenticing as a GoatPony.
He was introduced to the concept through being ponied by Doonie, Chopo, or Pecos on many GoatWalks over the rugged Range around SunStar.
He learned that he has a job to do, and a partner to work with.

Dozer enjoys a nap after work...

The Dozer went to work in the North Valley with Doonie. 
In this pasture he proved to me that he could be in a large area and be completetly tractable in halter or not...

And also herded the goats to his first job

Dozer was a little unsure, but worked just fine with a little support and gentle guidance.

Dozer now enjoys his days on goat-duty and his days on pony-duty, and loves all his many dogs.

And especially his grey Dun bud.

The Maremmas have worked on Dozer and have shown him so much kindness and unconditional love that he now loves them back just as kindly and gently...

He has been mapping his new territory and taking notes of the water holes, in all stages of existence...
Until February of 2011 Dozer was a wild born Stallion, running free with his own band of mares and foals on the Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory in the Northern reaches of New Mexico... 
His out of the box thinking got him and his band removed and taken to town for adoption after the third time they were picked up outside of his "territory". From there he went fairly quickly to the Mustang Camp where he was readied for adoption (to say this gave me a good start is an understatement).
When I saw a photo of him with his band I was sure that he was a horse I could use. 
I liked his looks and I liked the calm quiet way he stood protectively with his family.
 When I received my wild mustang he could be haltered and led, trailered and front feet lifted (with patience). He did require lots of repetition and it was awhile before the halter and feet and leading was easy.. then again our approach was a little different from his conditioning which we employed parts of. Being food motivated makes the mustang your friend quite well. Dozer can be well fed and be offered a bit of grass and will give a shoulder, or forehead, or withers, or butt... to earn his reward. But he has also come to enjoy giving "kisses"for free. Offering my hand he reaches out to touch and I simply smooch a kiss sound. He understands language quite well, body as well as my english.
Mustang Camp is a remarkably valuable organization greatly improving the adoption success of Americas feral horses. Thanks to them I had a positive foundation on which to build a meaningful relationship. 

Dozer and Chopo are good buddies now...
When Dozer was joined as a member of the herd this spring he had only lived with Doonie, whom he loved. But Chopo all the while resented this new guy, Chopo never really gets along with dominant males as he is sure his muscles are the biggest... Dozer took many the shark attack while out riding together before they were penned together. When we did put them all together very little happened. Only when no one was looking did Dozer bite and kick Chopo leaving him subservient and more than a little banged up. I have actually witnessed very few fights between the boys, but for a few months a war went on between red horses leaving Dozer the leader but Chopo a companion boss. 
Now Dozer enjoys quiet power. And Chopo teaches Dozer where all the potential food stashes are around the yard when they have "free" time in the yard/orchards etc.

Here they watch a local impromptu-feral band of horses stampede down the valley beyond the goatherd. I was glad Dozer was not inclined to join... Some weeks later we encountered these horses out on the range with a 20 foot arroyo between us, Dozer called to them and they came to us just like out of a painting as they had been just watching stark still. It would have become interesting quick if not for the burro, Stella. She has a large dislike for dogs and tries to get the horses to as well. She started chasing the Aussies, and so the Maremmas were forced to send her away, along with the horses. The Maremmas are always working on befriending this herd, but if Stella is around she always messes things up... Until then it is a pleasant scene with horses and hounds.

Dozer ponies and palls around with everyone now..

He has been an interesting horse to work with. He is very intelligent and also a strong personality. He requires a dominant person, but one with a light and sensitive touch... he is the kindest most gentle horse... yet we are only now coming to the place where we really trust. He has bucked me off a dozen times, as well as Kino... but the last time he dumped me he returned to the horses and I (with a little coaxing) rather than heading toward the Jicarilla, and went back to work. 
He has managed to restrain himself from a full bucking episode since that day. 

That day when he returned he drank deep his water  and munched his hay and seemed happy to have a home in domesticity. 

I am very glad to have this Jicarilla pony on the goat string. 
He is becoming a fantastic horse as he embraces goatherding and all the adventures that result. 
We were following the herd toward home a few days ago just off the top of the hill east and north of the house. I rarely take that particular path anymore just because I don't need that adrenaline feeling as much as I seemed to when Doonie and I were learning... but hey, how do you know you are living if you are not on the edge? This path is completely doable. On a good horse. 
He was happy with the direction and also with the terrain which is up-and-down-up-and-down steep and rocky. He flew through there like he had wings. I always talk about Dun having the power of flight, but Dozer zooming and rappelling off of large ancient coral boulders felt like we had truly taken to the sky. Partly because we were in the air so much... he went over the ridges only touching down in the valleys between... Such a happy dragon was he! And I! Because it is those moments when we are one that are so intoxicating. To share that wild pride and strength. To feel his gentle heart. 
To have his heart! To be fair he also has mine.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Between Dogs

We meet many of our neighbors while out herding the goats. 
Groups of animals have lived on this range for a very long time.. 
Cattle, horses, deer, sheep and goats have historically grazed and browsed. 
Feral horses which were maybe used at one time now "retired" as well as a few breeders  released by current residents have replaced Madrid's miners' burros which were released into the Ortiz and brushy tail mustangs that once roamed the lands lending their strength as Pony Express ponies... and the last remnants of the cattle herd grow fat even without a bull...
We add our hooves and hearts to the land but under an entirely different management plan. 
We always accompany our goatherd with ourselves on horseback and dogs to herd and dogs to protect.

As more people move in so do more dogs. Coyotes continue regardless, but the deer are long gone. Occasional deer tracks ceased appearing in the late 1990s as the drought made it too unattractive altogether... Our goats have begun to fill that niche in this environment over the last 10 years. 
The goats have an advantage over the deer-their own body guards! Over the years we have not had many incidents of dogs drawing blood, few goats killed. Most of these happened before we had a mature pack that lives to serve and protect. Whether I am aware of these things happening at the time or not I am made quite aware by how my dogs treat such dogs on subsequent encounters. 

Zuli at seven months single handedly defended me from a pack of three dogs (one a coydog..) after the pack had begun killing and scattering the herd while we were working for the USACE at the Galisteo dam. That was then. She was the only working dog in a pack of older farm house-dog mutts. 

Now we have a substantial pack which can prevent trouble. 
And the way they do this is really effective. 
They avoid real conflict, relying on their impressive size and confidence to intimidate and push the perceived threat away from their stock. 
In Eldorado they return dogs to their people, then rejoin the herd. They establish a territory in this way and are given respect thus preventing any issues. They are, of course capable of backing up their threat. Everyone knows that. 

But Maremmas are really kind and gentle creatures preferring that we all just live peaceably. 
They are smart.
I know a lot of the dogs out here by sight anyway. Some are penned and some stay close to their homes and so I know less about them. Many dogs like to come and greet our Maremmas and Aussies as we pass by their territory. Lots of wagging tails and some play even from old house dogs ensues. 

This black dog I met one day south of her home on the mesas. She had followed a car departing from her home up the road leaving home and was on her scenic return trip, quite unaware that the goats were drifting through. I was on a finger mesa watching the goats drifting just off and on the adjacent mesa east of my finger mesa. I watched from there with Dozer as dad on Pecos went around to push the herd back my way and toward home.  

Here trots along a long black dog.. Guppy did not much like her because I was giving the strange dog some of my attention, but had nothing much else to say. So the dog hung out for awhile watching the goat specks in the distance and such while Gup sulked under a tree.

Dozer payed no attention to the strange dog, we were as yet still untested on so many situations I was glad this was not an issue...

She is cute, but those ears! 

At some point Dog spotted this black pooch from her mesa with the goats who were beginning to turn this way... Dog was upset, she ran all the way down and up that little mesa-let in between, then all the way down and up again and was some winded by the time she got to me. 
She gave me a smile and a tail wag, before looking around for the dog...

Spotting her, Dog proceeds to push the black dog away.

Dog was jealous like Guppy, but also a guard dog and so told the dog to be on her way, and that was that. That was maybe a month ago. Last week the herd passed nearby the black dog's home and there was also a red dog there, they both stood in their yard barking. But something about the red one's energy the Maremmas took offense to and chased the dog south and east quite a ways. As the last of the herd left the valley two old does that were a little slow that day dropped behind a bit, they were still connected to the group, but hesitating... The black dog ran down to the goats and I thought "Ok she'll probably push those two into the group."... But only one did, the other evaded the dog by going off the edge of the arroyo stranding herself four feet below the lip and six feet above the ground. I tried to push the herd back to the stranded doe a few times, but the barking of the excited dog kept them from getting too close. The Maremmas were still returning from driving away the other dog. Once I made it back to the arroyo, and the dog, I was back-up to Bucky who told the black dog the gig was up. 
She ran off after the direction the other dog had been pushed... 

Like most encounters out here these days no one was hurt. The old doe was persuaded to find a way down and jumped in three foot increments to a fairly easy landing below. She eventually made it home. She is a wild individual and had little trust in me, but knew her way home...

So then a few days ago we were in the same neighborhood, but to the north of the house. The black and the red dogs saw the goats a ways off and began barking in their yard. The goats veered north and up the hill completely avoiding the entire area... but the Maremmas ran over to hold the dogs in their yard while the goats made their escape. I didn't really expect that reaction, but accepted it. I was too far away to do much about it and figured the white dogs would catch up as we left the danger area... The dogs' owner came out to shoo away the Maremmas before long. and all was quiet.