Sirius on High


Sirius Watching from on High

Sirius is one of our livestock guardian and herding dogs. He loves to walk up on the scaffolding around the butcher shop construction site. Sometimes he goes from there to the roof of the old farmhouse which is attached to the south of the growing facility. If you drive by you might see dogs high up looking down and watching you watch them.
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When I got back this morning from counting pigs in the fields I spotted him up on the kitchen roof observing me. As I rounded the bend he jumped back up on the scaffold and circled around the building to greet me and his twin brother Hanno.

The weather prediction had been for rain and clouds but instead we got drenched with sunshine. It was beautiful. I’m loving the warm weather which is extending our construction season. I could stand another two months of this weather.

Today was steelwork on our minds. We bent and tied up about sixty rods of plain iron rebar. I have five rods of stainless steel rebar coming next week for a special beam and another 90 rods of plain steel rebar to arriving Monday. Most of that will go into the ceiling to make it strong enough to hold the snow load. Ben thinks it is going to be a high rise skateboarding park. Maybe he’s right. It also doubles as a water collector and we could use it for solar panels to heat our hot water and maybe make electricity as well as dark radiators, a.k.a. lunar panels, for cooling the reefer. I’ve never had a flat roof so it will be interesting to see what I come up with for things to do with it…

Outdoors: 66°F/41°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 71°F/67°F

Daily Spark: I’m a secondhand vegetarian. Pigs eat grass. I eat pigs.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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9 Responses to Sirius on High

  1. BeninMA says:

    You’ve written elsewhere about how you rotate your pigs and chickens in a paddock-shift system. Are dogs also locked in the paddocks with the animals day and night?

    (I love the mental image of a dog on the roof!)

    • The dogs aren’t locked in. They free roam and might be anywhere. They tend to spread out, especially during the night, perhaps so they can cover a larger territory.

      • BeninMA says:

        Since the dogs pass under and over your interior fencing, do you ever have problems with them escaping from the perimeter fence?

        • As a general rule no. Many of them are capable of jumping 8′ fences. We teach the dogs which fences are allowed for jumping, where they can go without us, with us, etc. We do have boundary collars on the two leaders. The others don’t go off without them. See Fence Jumpers.

          • David Lloyd Sutton says:

            Walter, by boundary collars do you mean those gadgies that react to a buried wire? If so, have you put that barrier completely around your perimeter or only where fences meet road?

            By two leaders do you mean a matriarch and patriarch, mated pack leaders like wolves have?
            And if you have time to key it out, how do you control breeding?
            I’m really hoping you’ll do a pamphlet or book on your work with LLGDs sometime when you’ve paused with the major architecture stuff.

            We’ve had rain here in Davis for the first time in many moons. Very welcome, as the dust and pollens were tormenting the allergenic, clogging air filters, and so on. Our night temps actually dropped below 70 fahrenheit a couple of times!! Up in the Sierras, they had a foot and a half of snow, much to the relief of the tourist industry.

            Hoping that huge storm passes you folks and your project by.

          • Yes, the pack leader or anyone else thinking they want to be.

            Yes, the buried wire fences. Except we don’t bury the wire. We just string it as the top line on our perimeter fences. Burying it is too much like work and rather challenging with all the ledge, boulders, rocks and tree roots. Burying is for urban lawns. The fence company said that out on farms most people just string them on the fence posts. No problem if the invisible fence wire hits the high tensile high voltage fencing wire since the dog wires are insulated. Buy the extra wire somewhere else than from the company to get it much less expensively – 18 gauge smooth wire copper solid with insulation suitable for UG with UV inhibitors.

            Breeding is controlled mostly by the pack, just like with wolves. I rarely step in but I will if I don’t want the alpha’s mating. Only the alpha pair mate in a normal pack. Trying is ill-advized. My guess is dogs in normal social hierarchies would all behave like this – the instincts are there. But normally people have dogs singly so they don’t develop the social structure of the pack. Since we live with a full pack and no nearby other dogs then the pack social structure comes out and is passed on generation to generation.

            Glad you got rain. We’ve been getting a nice bit this past month and it is welcome.

  2. Karl says:

    solar collectors sound like a great idea to me.

  3. Nance says:

    just checking in. it must be a busy time @ Sugar Mtn Farm. Hope all goes well.

    • We’ve been cranking on getting up the next set of forms which will allow us to do the final exterior pour of the butcher shop that will close in the building. This will let us work indoors in comfort when the winds and snows of winter descend upon the mountain.

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