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Weekly Farm Update - Week 1

I had the best intentions of doing our farm updates on Sunday, recapping the previous week, it seemed to be the logical and most traditional way to do it. And as with most things, traditional and logical never work for me. For now I'm going to stick to mid-week updates. This will give me time to put together my thoughts, gather pictures and make a good quality post for yall.

2020 went out with a bang here, I guess a bang might be overly dramatic. Right before Christmas, Karen came down with...something. We're not sure exactly what he had, the symptoms were flu like, and he opted to stay home, in bed and recover. I touted my impressive immune system as I took care of him. Continually reminding him that I was always the nurse because nothing ever brought me down. Then the kids caught it. I was still hanging on to my Mama immune system's track record, secretly praying to all the gods that I wouldn't also fall to this creepy crud. Could 2020 go out with me being the hero? Nope, I too fell victim to the plague. Back in 2010 I had the swine flu, and this was on par with how I felt then. Just add taking care of 3 other sick people on top of feeling like I had been hit by multiple busses. We rang in the new year with plenty of Elderberry syrup, Ginger tea and pizza!

There is nothing like home made, from scratch pizza. The girls love helping, and portioning it out so everyone can have their own pizza helps my control freak side. Here's the recipe I use for the dough

Heat the oven to 450F, and bake each pie for 10 min. Comes out perfect, every time!

After a total of two weeks dealing with varying stages of sick, almost dead and recovering people, we took advantage of the beautiful weekend weather and organized the garage.

Any excuse for Karen to bust out his backpack blower and blow sand, dirt and who knows what else all around. The cats and the puppies were NOT fans. The cats quickly scattered and hid far from the ruckus Karen was blowing around, and the girls took the puppies out into the front yard to play.

Speaking of puppies, I've completely forgotten to give them a proper introduction.

Everyone, meet Loki (fluffy) and Thor. From the time we first moved to Texas I knew we would need some sort of farm protection. Back on the east coast we had limited predators, and Karen reveled in keeping our flock safe, but here we have lots more to deal with. Coyotes, raccoons and hawks aside, we've got badgers, bobcats and a whole menagerie that will gladly make a buffet out of our soon-to-be flock.

Wanting to keep our future animals safe and most of all alive, I started my research on Livestock Guardian Dogs, LGD for short. I'm not really much on babies and things that need my full undivided attention. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but I am very thankful that they are to the age where they can help me with things and grab themselves snacks.

I had ruled out puppies, after all, adopt, don't shop!

I found two different LGD rescues here in Texas and reached out to them. One didn't even reply and the other put me through an application process that was rigorous to say the least. Then radio silence...I didn't hear anything back, even after fully explaining who we were and the amazing life we wanted to give these LGD's, getting glowing referrals from friends and sending pictures and videos of the farm.

Then I got to thinking, our youngest daughter is, hesitant around fully grown dogs, and that's putting it mildly. She's terrified of them. For no particular reason other than we've never had a dog and she doesn't know their behavior. So anything they do is scary to her.

One morning, after Karen had text me that he arrived safely at work, I called him.

I'm not much on planning and plotting to get my way, I don't do that devious, wifely manipulation, I'm clear cut and direct.

I told him, as much as I'm leery to get puppies, I don't think that kid #2 is going to be ok if we try to introduce a grown dog. He agreed, and added that she would absolutely love having a puppy. She loves small animals, and hopefully if they grew up together, when the LGD is 100lbs he would double as her protector and she wouldn't be afraid at all.

Growing up I had a Great Dane, I can fully vouch that every little girl needs a big dog to grow up with. Karen sighed and said, 'So they can grow up to be mouthy women who think they are invincible?'

Well actually, Yes Karen, that's my goal here.

I did a quick search on craigslist and as fate would have it, there was a litter of LGD puppies in our town that came from working parents. They had been around goats, chickens and most importantly kids. Needing reassurance that I wasn't crazy I sent my cousin and soul sister a text. She confirmed that I was indeed crazy and she wanted to help to make this Yule a super special one for my girls. We would be getting Yule puppies!

Now did you notice that, when talking to Karen we were talking a puppy, singular. Then somehow in the texting of the person who had the puppies and my cousin it switched to plural, puppies. Karen was about to be surprised big time when he got home from work.

My girls and I spent a couple of hours playing with all of the puppies and seeing how they behaved. One stood out, he was fluffy and couldn't get enough of my youngest. Instantly I knew he would be coming home with us.

Then there was his only other brother left, with two black patches over both eyes. He was more reserved, a watcher. That's exactly what I needed for watching and protecting our future livestock.

Somehow I went from getting a full grown LGD, to a puppy and now I was coming home with two puppies! I really shouldn't have been surprised, after all we do things very spontaneously here.

And seeing the HUGE smiles on the girls faces confirmed that this would go down as the best Yule ever!

That was how we became a dog family, and a cat family. Although the cats are still protesting the new additions. Our days are filled with taking breaks from inside chores and school to go out and have a run with the puppies. And as crazy as I feel, I know this was the right decision every time I hear the girls laughing as the puppies give them kisses.

Even Karen is warming up to them...

Not a super eventful first weekend working around the farm, but we're in no rush. I've made myself a promise to not be so focused on the destination that I don't take time to enjoy the journey. We ended the weekend sitting on the porch, kids and puppies playing in the yard while Karen and I talked of future projects and plans. Cheers to 2021, we've got big things in store!


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Steph Polochak - Elder Oaks Farm
Steph Polochak - Elder Oaks Farm
Jan 06, 2021

So sorry you guys all got sick! We had something very similar here - started on Christmas Day and we are still dealing with it. The worst!!!! Hope you’re all feeling better!

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