This photo was taken from the top of our property at the "Donut-Shop Pond" where the Highland cows like to lie in the summer and chill...thought you might enjoy the view! The pond has been fenced out but the shade there keeps it cool and breezy.
Our 200-acre farm.......
lies at the base of Bald Knob at the top of West Mountain. This mountain is the basis of the headwaters for the Lost River. It lies along the 'Divide' in the easternmost part of Hardy County, West Virginia. We have lived here 36 years now. We have now lived here longer than any one family since the 1850's when deeds were recorded and maintained by the county. The farm elevation is 1800 ft. West Mountain's elevation is either 2615 or 2715 ft. depending on which map you use as reference. It snows most years--sometimes less, sometimes more (...this year far less than in 2016, a mere 8")! Fortunately, summers are relatively mild, with daytime temperatures in the 80's-90's; and comfortable nighttime temperatures in the 60's-70's.
Our cows; sheep; "Flame RedDog" one-horse; "Tinkerbell Eoyore" one-donkey, and "Obie" one-rooster graze 100+ acres, The remaining woodland acreage is managed as wildlife habit; we gather just enough firewood from the 'dead and down' trees for our own use. Deer, squirrel and red fox thrive here. Coyotes do, as well, but are held at bay by the 'Don't Even Think About It' attitude of our ANATOLIA Sheep Dogs, "Sissy" and "Annie"! The stalwart 'ole Farm Shepherd, "Woodrow", provides backup when necessary!
There is no 'real' cropland. In good years, we harvest hay from our one pasture field beyond the barn past the 'ram-pasture' pond. We otherwise make hay on the farm in nearby Bergton, Virginia, where my husband was raised. Our hay and pastures are fertilized and limed regularly and consists of orchard grass, timothy, and clovers. We buy alfalfa hay from a local farmer in nearby Broadway, Virginia, for the sheep during gestation and lambing. Unfortunately, alfalfa does not grow well at these higher elevations in our poorer high shale soils.
I am leaving this as I had written it early this year before Moose-e was lost on WALKABOUT Saturday, February 4th. It has been so very hard for us that Bev and I could NOT look at her photo or mention her name without breaking down. It is hard to sit here and look at those soulful eyes now without crying. She disappeared and was never found. The ANATOLIANs and I could not find her and if she were to be found, we would have found her!!! Months have passed and it is her big attitude and free spirit that fill my heart and ease the loss.
FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR....
'Moose-e' has gained 3lb. 4oz.. since we got her in mid June and now weighs 11lbs. 11-ozs. All the guardian dogs love her, but 'Annie' has totally taken over as mother and mentor. Poor 'Sis' seems to have ended up with the role of the worrisome grandmother and disciplinarian despite mostly loving her and giving in to all Moosee's attempts to eat everyone's food and steal ALL bones whether given to her or not. Even old 'Woodrow' has taken her under his wings and plays with her as he did the others when they were young...never thought I'd love a little doggie so much, but then I love all doggies and so does Bev!!
She has the body of the Shih Tzu and the mind of the Australian Cattle Dog. She loves 'little people' and hugs and being held and rocked and is particularly fond of TV shows featuring dogs and nature sounds. Everyone wants to steal her! She is feisty and quick to escape. Chases sheep if given the opportunity or not! Trails deer and fox and squirrels leaving Annie and Sissy and Woodrow 'IN THE DUST'!
HERE'S THE WHOLE STORY IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THIS:
We'd wanted a 'little doggie with a BIG attitude' as a traveling companion. Since we lost 'Gus' two years ago, it seemed strange to travel - even so far as the bank or store or town - without a doggie for company. "Moose-e" seemed the appropriate name as we'd recently lost a good friend to cancer who was known to everyone as "Moose"...a BIG guy with a BIG attitude, but ever so sweet and gentle if you truly knew him. I "Put IT Out There" and the universe responded by sending us an Australian Cattle Dog / Shih Tzu cross puppy that perfectly fits the description and is the smartest little pup I've ever attempted to train in my 60+ years of owning dogs. Loves riding and 4-wheeling and walking with the BIG DOGs and cuddling and has adapted to life at the Wild 'n' Woolly Farm as if she had already been here! Dogs are a Blessing -- a Gift of Patience and Kindness and Unconditional Love. It is unfathomable that anyone could treat them poorly or not take from them the lessons of Presence / Awareness / Compassion / Living the "NOW" disallowing the past to interfere with being happy and content with simply "What IS". GOTTA TEACH HER TO NOT FEEL COMPELLED TO CHASE SHEEP, THOUGH! Or, Bev will have us both in the corner with our nose in a ring and hands and paws tied behind us.
Sheep and Cattle are pastured all year and supplemented with hay during the winter months. Ewes are fed grain for the 6-weeks prior to lambing and 6-8 weeks of lactation when the grass is just peeking through the ground. Lambing and calving are scheduled for early March. Lambs and calves then grow to coincide with grass growth and are able to graze nutrient-rich, brilliant early grasses in mid-April, early May. Herbal, homeopathic, and essential oil therapies and 'organic' methods are used in treating all injuries and illnesses. Vaccines and conventional antibiotic therapies are ONLY used if and when situations dictate "no stone unturned"!
"Flame-RedDog One-Horse" and "Tinkerbell-Eoyore" help with predator control and simply provide entertainment and joy during walkabout-rides.