Monthly Archives: February 2016

Fridays on the Farm, Rollercoaster Days and Nights, Strike Is Contemplated

It was the best of times…. Wait, no… it was the worst of times… well it wasn’t really the “worst”… Hmmmm let’s just say it was quite the rollercoaster week for me on the farm.

Tuning in for the first time? I am Fuzzy Bear, the lead livestock guardian dog on The Shepherd Hobby Farm and responsible for your weekly update as far as “happenings” on the farm.

First, there was an incredibly windy day… like “Dorothy, there’s no place like home Kansas tornado” windy. I was happily enjoying my morning snow goose (farmer lady gives Nala and I a snow goose every morning as our after breakfast snack (don’t worry, it’s already been shot by hunters and frozen for a couple weeks so it’s completely safe for me to relish) in the middle of the lane which leads up to the barn. It’s my favorite place to lay so I can keep track of all the critters without much effort. So far, this was a stellar day!

As I munched away on my goose the wind picked up and caught the wing of said goose. Before I knew what was happening the goose had come alive and was flying straight at the horses. Of course they freaked out… I can’t say I blame them. If I had a half eaten goose flying at me I might decide to bolt as well.

Pepsi whirled around and straight into the side of Mercedez. That really ticked her off and she reared as the goose gained it’s ground directly towards them. Several of the cats had caught sight of the flying goose and thought it looked like great fun so they gave chase. I stood there and just watched the complete and utter pandemonium break loose as now the horses thought the cats were joining in on the attack.  A goose… that they might be able to fend off but a herd of cats… there’s no way these thousand plus beasts could hold their own and both horses turned tail and sprinted into the barn.

Unfortunately farmer lady had just fed the lamb and baby goat in the barn so they were out exploring and were directly in the middle of the horses’ area. As the horses darted into the barn they were shocked to find two menacing critters squaring off with them.

The world stood still as the wind settled and my goose fell to the ground. Seven cats pounced and I knew there would be no getting into the horse paddock to get it (I learned last week I am too big to safely try to duck under that stupid electric fence…who’s idea was it to plug that thing back in? Sheesh!)

Soooooo… that was kinda a cruddy day.  I found some sticky briars to roll in the next day, encouraging farmer lady to give me a thorough brushing. That was a great day.

Middle of the week farmer lady told me she’s be leaving the babies (two goat kids and one lamb) out to run during  the day and it was my job to watch them. Seriously? When did I become her personal babysitter? I’m not paid nearly enough. I followed as they ran all over, jumped on things in the barn, darted in and out of the horse paddock (oddly enough the horses had decided these babies weren’t as menacing as originally thought), and FINALLY settled in for naps in the fluffy soft hay. Finally! You know the rule… when the babies sleep, mama sleeps. That day I would be mama because I needed a nap!

Naps are good… that was a good day.

Then there was tonight… horses were up to something, I could feel it. I could hear them making their horsey noises, chatting in that language I haven’t quite mastered yet. As soon as I entered the barn, silence. I left… and heard them pick up where they left off. I trotted back in and once again, immediate silence.

I walked back out but stayed close to peek around the corner. I watched as Pepsi grabbed at the stall gate with his teeth and started to yank. Mercedez encouraged him in between mouthfuls of delicious hay. He yanked and kicked… kicked and yanked. I jumped into the barn and gave a loud bark! I then proceeded to inform them both that farmer lady put me in charge and they would both be in big trouble if they continued their shenanigans.

They ignored me and broke through the gate… Uh oh. They flipped the lid off the chick brooder and sniffed some thoroughly terrified chicks. Then they continued out and into the garden. Ooooooh they were gonna be in trouble! I’m telling farmer lady!

Sprinting back to the house I passed some cats who agreed that the horses were gonna be in so much trouble! I couldn’t wait to hear the lecture those stupid horses were going to get.  I barked at the door. I barked and barked and barked. I heard farmer lady tell her sons, “Hey guys, go open the door, I think Fuzzy wants to come in.” Gunner opened the door and I barked but didn’t come in. I paced a few steps toward the barn, hoping he would get the hint. He did not. I know I’m no Lassie but come on… this kid was no Timmy either. I came toward him, barked and took a few more steps toward the barn. Gunner simply shut the door and I heard him tell farmer lady, “I guess she didn’t want to come in.”

I had no choice but to stay with the foolish horses as they nibbled yummy snippits of grass just starting to make their way up from the wintry ground. Both horses seemed absolutely content so I settled down for a little nap. Just as I dozed off I heard footsteps coming up from the house. Farmer lady was heading up to give the babies their night bottles.

Immediately, farmer lady noticed the broken open gate and missing horses. She called for them, “Mercedez… Pepsi… come here babies!” Babies? Are you kidding me? You know what those crazy horses did? They walked right back into the barn as if they were well trained dogs. She gave each a good neck rub and fixed the gate as they looked on intently, still chewing mouthfuls of grass. Farmer lady actually whistled while she worked… happily whistled. What…was… happening…here? Where was the lecture? Where was the “bad horses, very bad horses” rant? I think we know who farmer lady’s favorites are now don’t we?!?!

I’m contemplating going on strike… we will see.


It’s the next morning and I’ve forgiven farmer lady for playing favorites… currently munching on the best goose ever. Good day.


Just a tease…

So many of you know that I am ALMOST finished with my book and I’ll be throwing little sections of it at you all to see what ya think 🙂


Here’s a little tidbit from the “family” section of Faith, Family and Farming” 🙂

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a little princess…

It was the cold month of December in the year 1978. In a small southern village in the land of Wisconsin, a little girl was born with the biggest brown eyes and fullest head of black hair you had ever seen.

Ummmm… honesty right? Well, it was a land far, far away… I mean seriously, how many people have ever REALLY been to Wisconsin? I was raised in this magnificent state surrounded by cows, cheese, and beer. I don’t mean to perpetuate stereotypes but really folks, there are A LOT of cows, cheeses, and beers in Wisconsin. We have entire celebrations devoted to cheese (Cheese Days in Monroe… it’s world famous, Google it). Our high school mascot is a mouse and we are the Cheesemakers! Think there’s no football fight song to go with that one? You are mistaken my friend…

We are the cheese, the mighty mighty cheese, say hey…hey…hey…hey.

Stand up,

Be proud,

Say your name,

Out loud


Heard of Limburger cheese? Yup, Monroe is the only town in the world that makes it! Despite popular belief happy cows truly come from Wisconsin. This is an intense battle that rages in our home to this day as our oldest son was born in the state…of…GULP… California!

OK, I digress… back to me… I did have tons of black hair and big brown eyes, like freakishly big brown eyes. My dad nicknamed me Bugsy (he says the eyes had nothing to do with it but I’m just not sure I believe him) and I had a beautiful mother as well as an older brother to complete our standard American family of four.

As is typical with the modern standard American family, my parents divorced when I was very young and my brother and I lived with our mother in Madison, Wisconsin’s state capital. My mom often worked two or three jobs and I remember many nights of my me and my brother rushing through our homework at the local Duds and Suds Laundry so we could race around pushing each other in the laundry baskets on wheels while my mother worked there. Her main employment was that of a beautician and it was always fun to see what new hairstyle or color she would have after school. She and I shared a room in our two bedroom duplex. My brother was always a stickler for neat and tidy and his room was always immaculate. My mom and I saw merit in our “to do” piles and…well…let’s just be honest… clutter.

We shared a bed in our room and I loved snuggling with her each and every night. She had boxes and boxes of stuff piled around the bedroom and one of my favorite pastimes was building intricate tunnels to get to our bed or the closet. I’d stack everything just so and proudly pull my mom in to see our new route to bed that night. I can’t remember what her reactions were so we’ll just say she was totally impressed with my ingenuity. I like to think I’m lovingly holding on to a piece of my mother as I look around my office today with its various stacks of “to do” piles. Ooh and the kitchen, yup, “to do” piles in there too. Oh yes, and my bedroom! Not quite tunnel worthy yet but I may get there by the year’s end if my husband refuses to pick up after me. The craft room… yup there’s my “to do” piles there too… ok let’s just stop now. I think you all get the point… I am my mother’s daughter.


Fridays on the Farm, February 12, 2016



Good afternoon all. My name is Fuzzy Bear (aka Fuzzy but please refrain from indulging in the “Fuzzy Wuzzy” babytalk that seems to take hold of you seemingly adult people the moment you lay eyes on me) and I have decided to take over the “Fridays on the Farm” publication. It was becoming increasingly obvious that the other animals on the farm could not be trusted to submit a byline in any sort of a timely manner. I shall be lead reporter, editor, and publicist. The people demand their news and I feel compelled to give it to them…straight, no chaser.

We shall go back to the roots for this column, really giving you a feel for who I am and my angle on the world. I came to The Shepherd Hobby Farm after a chance meeting with Mrs. Conway (aka “Farmer Lady”) at the store that claims to make pets smart. I can’t quite remember the name now but if I don’t think about it I’m sure I’ll think of it… and will be sure to let you know.

If any of you have met Mrs. Conway you know “shy” is NOT one of her leading personality traits. My original owner had gotten me as an eight week old pup to be a farm dog out in the country. He had fallen ill, became unable to care for me, so his niece took me in. She lived in a very small apartment and I was already growing into my massive paws at an alarming speed in the two weeks I had been with her. She took me to the store to pick up some food and a new kennel, apparently I was “eating her out of house and home”… wouldn’t take long for a Chihuahua to eat that home, it was tiny! Admittedly I am not a fan of confined spaces and I tried to explain this to her by eating my way out of three kennels, the bathroom (doors are notoriously flimsy these days), six baby gates, and one two-person pop-up tent (seriously woman, you thought that would hold me?). She was a little slow on the uptake and was looking at new fangled “escape proof” kennels made of iron (or something like that).

Mrs. Conway saw me at the store and struck up an immediate conversation with my caretaker. Apparently the Conways had recently acquired livestock (goats, chickens, etc.) and were in the market for a livestock guardian dog. She wanted to know what Great Pyrenees breeder my caretaker had gotten me from. Instead of explaining where she had gotten me and the troubles she had had with me this far she simply put the leash in Mrs. Conway’s hands and said, “She’s yours.” It felt much like a drug deal as my caretaker looked all around to be sure no one had seen that she just made a “transaction” in a place where transactions are only to be made by employees. She made Mrs. Conway agree to take me before she launched into the simple facts that I eat 40 pounds of dog food in a week, refuse to learn any obedience commands, am not potty trained, and cannot be contained by any human means.

I was three months old and about to launch into an adventure of a lifetime. Mrs. Conway purchased a bag of the food I was accustomed to as well as another bag of this stuff claiming to be made of or made by buffalos… not sure on that one.  She loaded me and the bags of food up into the minivan and snapped a couple quick pictures of me in my adorable puppiness. I do believe one of the pictures were sent to her husband with the simple words, “This just happened.” If “Ask for forgiveness instead of permission” is not her motto then I don’t know what is. She’s gotten better about that over the years though, I must admit.


When we arrived at The Shepherd Hobby Farm there was an assault on every one of my senses. Chickens walking freely everywhere, goats making a ruckus, dogs barking, cats giving off an intoxicating bouquet of smells and sounds, guineas berating me for merely being alive, and country air, beautiful country air as farmers spread manure on the fields. I wasn’t sure what to think of it all and Mrs. Conway had to lift me out of the vehicle because I was not budging.

I thought we would head inside so I bolted towards the door and away from the intrusive sniffing of no less than four cats! Mrs. Conway calmly walked up to me, pet the top of my head, gave my ear one of those amazing rubs, and said, “No little one, not in there, we’re taking you up to the barn.” The what?

Up in the barn a new smell pummeled my nostrils. Hay…lots and lots of hay. Straw… lots and lots of wonderful straw. This was the first time I had ever seen hay and straw and I loved it. You can dig down into hay and straw and bury yourself with the light and yet oh so warm shafts of grass. It smells clean and yet earthy. So hard to describe… try sleeping on a bed of hay and you’ll totally get what I am saying.  Mrs. Conway gathered up a water bowl, food bowl, and a blanket. She began grabbing pallets made of wood and bracing them together with 2x4s. She then lugged large bales of straw and began stacking them on the outsides of the pallets. In no time she had made a cozy den in the barn that was about the size of that entire apartment I had come from. Here’s the kicker though, she didn’t try to shut me in there all alone. She went in, situated my food and water bowl just so and then sat down like she was there to stay. I crawled into her lap and fell asleep instantly.

When I woke up I was on the blanket, sandwiched between two cats, and Mrs. Conway was nowhere to be seen. I could hear someone in the barn so I walked out of my little den and saw her stacking hay bales in the far corner of the barn. It all smelled SO GOOD!! I love hay! I ran up to her and she must not have seen or heard me because as she stepped back she tripped over me and came crashing down on her bottom with a fifty pound bale of hay landing squarely on top of her. She really ought to be more careful.  I licked her face which seemed to make it all better. I then peed on her hair… that did not seem to make anything better but I really had to go, she wasn’t in any hurry to get up, and well…it just happened. I knew I had found the right home when the only scolding I got was “Ewwww Fuzz ball that’s kinda really gross.”

That night I had a new roommate in my den. I think it was punishment for peeing  on Mrs. Conway because I got to room with a two week old baby goat kid that peed EVERYWHERE! You think dogs aren’t quick on the uptake about potty training… have you met a baby goat? Like a fire hose that never shuts off! His name was (and still is) Elliott and he was a twelfth year birthday present for the oldest son in the family, Jackson. He smelled kinda goofy, was an incessant snuggler, and LOVED to play. We got along beautifully. Our days were full of helping Mrs. Conway on the farm and exploring every nook and cranny we could find. We chased cats… until we were told to stop chasing cats. We chased chickens… until we were told to stop chasing chickens. We chased guineas… until the guineas chased us back! We chased Nala and Katja, the other two dogs on the farm… forever and ever until they told us enough was enough and went inside. We chased butterflies, grasshoppers, snails, and bugs… I ate whatever insect I caught which totally grossed Elliott out. Elliott drank milk out of a bottle and got the foam all over his mouth which really grossed me out. I liked being outside as long as I had company. I liked not being caged up in a kennel.

Before long (a couple of months) I was able to come and go out of the den as I saw fit and Elliott was always close behind me as I began to make “rounds” on the farm. My rounds haven’t changed much over the years… just more animals added to say good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to. I start each morning by heading over to the hen house. It’s still dark so I try to be quiet and not wake the ladies or the obnoxiously loud roosters.

Queen of The Shepherd Hobby Farm... with my minion cat

Queen of The Shepherd Hobby Farm… with my minion cat

Then it’s on to the goats. Elliott was put into “general population” behind a fence at about a year old and we both agreed it for thebest. Mrs. Conway and I had a long conversation about it… well, she talked and I just stood there waiting for a treat. She explained that he was eating her garden, pooping on the porch, and needed to be with other goats. I understood  he needed to be with his own kind and he had a new BFF named Pedro that wasn’t grossed out by all the cud chewing and constant peeing… seriously bro, get that under control! After I say wake up to the goats every morning  I head over to the sheep.

I use the word “sheep” loosely… they think they are goats. It’s kinda weird. I really wish Mrs. Conway would just keep them with the goats (would make my job easier) but there’s a whole copper issue that I know and care nothing about so they have to stay separate most of the time.

Sometimes Nala (long haired German Shepherd who flunked out of search and rescue school and therefore has become my helper) helps me with rounds but she tends to be a little hyperactive which can get annoying quickly. She’s a year older than me but will always be a puppy at heart when sticks, balls, or anything throwable is involved. Seriously, how many sticks are you going to retrieve when you know those people are just going to throw them again? Insanity at its finest. This is why I don’t retrieve.

Me and cat buddy checking out a snake. Move along snake, move along...

Me and cat buddy checking out a snake. Move along snake, move along…

As I walk up to the barn to check on baby goat kids and rabbits I begin to feel as though I am being watched… stalked. I look back, nothing. I walk a bit more and still can’t shake the feeling. I look back again but still nothing. I know they are out there… watching me… mocking my big hairy booty… laughing at the way my tail wags as I dutifully make my rounds. I keep walking, but slowly… they have no attention spans and sooner or later they will pounce… I’ll be ready for them this time. Just as I reach the thick cover of the black raspberries I am assaulted from all directions… a cat comes at me from the berry bushes, another from across the horse paddock, another from above (must have been perched there this WHOLE time), two flank me from down the driveway, and another shoots out of the barn straight towards me. I run straight at the one coming out of the barn and they all run after me. As soon as it began it is over and they all disappear just like the little kitty ninjas they are. Next time… I’ll get them next time. Later that afternoon they are all snuggling me in the sunshine. Silly ninja creatures.

I don’t usually need to do much with the horses… they just kinda do their own thing and really don’t need much guarding.

Epic picture ruined by a photo-bombing goat's back, ugh

Epic picture ruined by a photo-bombing goat’s back, ugh

We free range rabbits but those guys and gals are so fast not much is ever gonna get them either! I’m mostly here for the chickens, goats, and sheep… oh and writing… gotta keep you guys updated! I’m good with that.

Have a great day,

Fuzzy out (wow, did I just say that? I’m full gangsta’ now… I guess)

oh the humanity... I did not sign up for this

oh the humanity… I did not sign up for this