I’m excited to be a part of this great event. I hope to see you there. Mat-Su Valley Fiber Festival
I know it’s hard to see but I only had my phone and I couldn’t get too close. This yearling moose is hanging around the field behind our pasture. Last night he was charging the fence, striking at the dogs. Tonight he just has cranky face.
Last night the dogs actively engaged him and they raced up and down the fence line. Moosey was snorting and striking at them and the dogs were LOUD. I let them work for just a couple minutes then called them off to see what Moosey would do. He moved away when the pressure was off. If the dogs started in again he came back to charge and strike so I told them to “watch quietly” which they did. The quiet pressure kept him at bay better than chaos and commotion.
Of course the dogs questioned my judgement (and my safety) and I nearly tripped over them repeatedly while I finished my chores but I’m super proud of how they handle themselves.
Anastasia and Bella both worked just like pros – they have both come into their own as part of this pack picking up Guardian behaviors without missing a beat.
For those that missed the back-stories, Ana was lost from her new home at 4 months old and was running wild for 6 weeks before being trapped and returned to our farm. She was a little feral but has settled nicely and her instincts are spot-on in spite of her challenge.
Bella was gone from our farm for 4 years before being surrendered to animal control. We were lucky that she was chipped so we got a call and were able to adopt her very quickly. Her history is a bit of a mystery, we know the basic outline but not the details. In spite of any hardship she is a loving gentle girl who has also learned to work as part of a team.
When the alarm went up Mia went to the sheep as is her role. Rocco, Bella, and Anastasia went to the fence. Once I saw who it was and told them to watch quietly one after the other would circle back to me as I fed and water the sheep pens closest to the interloper. Once I was checked on they would go back to the perimeter and keep pacing and watching. I know I should have been armed, especially after last night, but it was such a pretty day I only thought to grab my sunglasses and not a gun.
Even Bloo was keeping watch from atop a sheep feeder. He is such a character. I’m sure if there had been a fight he would have gone to help his dogs. At least I can’t trip over him when he’s 8′ in the air.
It was such a pretty evening. In spite of thinking I was wrong the dogs remained quiet and Moosey eventually went to find a snack farther from watchful eyes.
I love my Maremmas and I really don’t know how I could do what I do without them.
There are many theories about barn cats. Some say that it’s abuse to leave a cat in a barn but they don’t know me and they haven’t seen how much love this cat gets.
We adopted this guy after he had been abandoned with his siblings in a rural area. He was young and beautiful and very very sharp. Mentally and physically sharp.
At a mere 6 or 7 weeks old he figured out (within minutes) how to scale this fence to follow me around. Then he went back in to get a toy and brought it out to play. He was a feral kitten who bit and clawed not because he was mean, but because he didn’t understand that’s not how you show affection. He’s still pretty sharp but now he pulls his claws in. Sometimes 😁
We had to have a kitten for the barn because the LIvestock Guardian Dogs will not allow an adult cat, a predator, into their sphere. They have raised Bloo and he is one of “them” so he’s allowed to be there. Heck, he patrols the fence line with the dogs and responds, in his way, when the alarm is sounded. Heaven help anyone or anything that tries to hurt “their” cat.
Bloo comes out in all kinds of weather. He roams through all the pens, lives and plays with the dogs, sometimes even hitching a ride by clinging to their fur coats as the race by.
He is an amazing hunter and a vital part of our team. I didn’t know my barn could be completely rodent free but it is. He never bothers the chicks or chickens and even though he hunts we still provide healthy cat food for him. He’s fully vetted, up to date on shots and deworming, he’s microchipped and neutered because that’s the responsible thing to do. He even has a collar with my phone number embroidered onto it just in case he wanders, or hitched a ride in a car 🙄
He’s fearless but very loving. He will actually grab you or stand up to be lifted, much like a human toddler does, if you don’t stop to give him love before the chores start. He does tend to use his claws when he hugs because he doesn’t want you to put him down. We are careful to wear extra layers and keep the gloves on when we handle him. I’m not sure how that’s going to work once it’s t-shirt weather, maybe falconer gloves or Kevlar shoulder pads 😂😂 He’s ridiculous, and beautiful, and I love him and all his wicked antics.
When you buy a lamb from our farm at Tower Ranch here in Palmer, Alaska or ANY OTHER LOCAL FARMER/PRODUCER, you are not only supporting us, but you are supporting a entire chain of local businesses and farmers, you are supporting:
Barley farmers in Delta!
Hay farmers in Palmer/Delta!
Mt. McKinley Meats and Sausage USDA Plant in Palmer!
Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage!
Food Security in ALASKA! and the list goes on and on! Thank you for supporting local. Please go out and buy from ANY local farmer and boost our agricultural community and food security here in Alaska! Go in halves with friends and family on half a hogs/buffalo/beef/elk/goats/lambs- buy chicken/turkeys/eggs/honey and MILK.
Get to know your farmers! Know your Farmer, know your food
We currently have legs, chops, steaks, stew meat, and soup bones available. Please check our out Shop page for pricing and contact us via email at TowerRanchAlaska@gmail.com
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Our barn kitten is the most amazing cat I’ve ever had. We love him so much, and so do the dogs. Bella was in the barn recovering from her spay surgery while Bloo recovered from hi neuter, and these two became fast friends. Not only is Bloo a beautiful cat, he’s got a super deluxe personality.
Bella is the new dog in the barn, she has only been back with us for a couple weeks, we haven’t seen her since she left at 3 months old. We were worried about her relationships with other animals but I think she’s good 🙂
Finally Bloo had to take a break and do a little hunting. For a very young cat he is a prolific hunter which make me love him all the more.
I’ll post more soon 🙂
If you’ve read anything I’ve written you know I love my dogs. So when Animal Control called and said they had a dog whose chip traced back to me I only had one question. When can I pick her up?
Bella was surrendered by her owner. She is 4 years old, from Mia and Al’s first litter and she is settling in nicely.
THIS is why I chip every pup before it leaves the farm. Because the chip got Animal Control in contact with me so I had the opportunity to adopt and get her back in an appropriate environment. She was a little thin, pretty skittish, but overall healthy. Animal Control spayed her, hence the cone, and brought her up to date on shots before turning her over to me.
Bella was very stand-off-ish while she acclimated to her new home. She barked at everyone but wasn’t aggressive and we didn’t push her to accept us. She is great with chicks, chickens, and the barn kitten.
It’s now a week later and she leans on us for attention, she’s still in the barn because as much as we want to let her run we also want her stitches to fully heal.
Anastasia is keeping Bella company in the barn because she was spayed the day after I picked Bella up. Ana is not as accepting of the cone as Bella, she’s pouting like a sleepy toddler
I tried to tell her it was temporary but she wasn’t believing me. The girls are in separate pens but within sight of each other. They can’t play yet so they are marking time till they can.
Today the cones came off which Ana is delighted about. Next week they can move back outside with the rest of the team.
I’m glad we have the ability to rehab these girls. First Anastasia after her 6 week adventure, lost on Big Lake and now Bella. Her history is a mystery to us so we are focusing on her future, we’ll just let her past be in the past. For now it’s love and positive interactions, both of which are so easy with these dogs.
It’s been rainy for weeks but today we have a lovely clear day. Time to finish things up before it gets too cold outside.
It was time to rinse and dry the fleece I had set out to soak. The salt and sweat mix with water and make soap and act like a pre-wash. I lay it out in manageable amounts to rinse with the hose. Then I let it drip for about 10 minutes before moving it to the drying rack
The drying rack is a length of fence draped over buckets in the back yard. The sun isn’t hot but warm enough for some of the moisture to evaporate.
While I waited for the rinsed fleece to drip I was working on raking topsoil into the damaged areas of the lawn. Heavy equipment left ruts in the lawn that I had filled with compost. The topsoil will provide a bed for grass seeds
Tom was putting to roof on the ram shelter. This will be Niko’s new quarters. We will put another next to it for additional hay storage.
We put a gravel pad under the shelters which will let snow melt soak in to help ensure sheep will have dry feet during breakup.
Anastasia helped supervise the construction. She’s such a big help 😉