I bit the bullet and bought a program that will hopefully help me sell knitting patterns that I write. I found it on Ravelry, and I am very impressed. It lets you design patterns either by charting (and it will automatically write out the directions), or you can write out the directions (and it will automatically chart the stitches). You can save them as a pdf, which means you can sell online copies rather than having to print them out and mail hard copies.
So now begins the fun of transcribing all my scribbles into the program, then a few test knitters to proof things. I’m not looking to make a million dollars (though wouldn’t that be nice?), but it would be good to cover at least part of the beasties hay bill.
Now my rant. A couple of things have gone into me feeling that I need to say something about loose dogs. Leigh posted about having a neighbor’s dog on her property chasing her animals (I commented, but tried to keep my comment brief). A friend posted on Facebook about being upset over getting a ticket because her dog escaped and was running loose, and was very upset that I thought the cop was right. And I came home Saturday afternoon after spending a lovely couple of hours at spinning. As I got out of the car, I noticed my black kitty Burt moving quickly and low to the ground, obviously trying to get out of harm’s way. By the side of the house was a loose dog, nose to the ground. I hollered. I have a voice that can cover some ground, and he started moving off. I grabbed my sheep crook on the way, just to make sure I could get his attention (or protect myself, if it came to that). The ewes were agitated as we moved past them, so he probably spent some time barking at them earlier. It took quite some time to convince him that I meant business, and we covered most of my property in the process.
Now, I understand that dogs get loose sometimes. But all too often, folks (especially out here in the country) don’t spend near enough time training their dogs to stay home. They open the door and let Fido out to amuse himself, sometimes all day long. A single dog can be a problem. Two or more dogs is a pack, and they can be downright dangerous. I have friends whose flocks have been devastated by dog attacks. While I have not had to deal with dogs getting in with my sheep, the dogs don’t have to actually bite to cause damage. A single incident of a strange dog barking at them can cause a break in the fleece, ruining it for that year. Ewes can lose pregnancies up to a month later. And I have suffered those kinds of losses due to a neighbor, who one year had 2 large dogs that liked to stand on opposite sides of one of my pens barking at the animals in the pen. I spent a lot of time talking to sheriff deputies. Every single deputy that came out patted his holster and told me I could shoot the dog that was on my property (I already knew that). Nothing changed, until one morning when instead of running home when I yelled, one of the dogs charged me (he finally backed down after scaring the crap out of me). I went in to the sheriff’s office, and the deputy that day asked if I had talked to me neighbor about his dogs. Nope, last time I talked to him he was waving a rifle in my face (one of the reasons I didn’t want to shoot his dogs. Not someone I want to start a shooting war with. This guy is nuts). Well, the sheriff ripped up the ticket the first deputy had me sign (since he hadn’t witnessed the dog on my property), and went and delivered a new ticket to the neighbor, as well as what I gather was a very forceful lecture (he came by my place when he was done next door). Dogs were gone that afternoon. I lost 6 lambs to those stupid dogs (the ewes aborted because of the stress).
Before we moved out here we had several chickens (Easter chicks that didn’t realize that Easter chicks usually die). We heard a commotion one night in the coop, and actually watched a dog run out of their fenced area and run next door and jump into a pickup (his owner was visiting our neighbor). When confronted with the evidence (2 dead birds and blood on his dog’s muzzle), his response was that his dog would never kill a chicken because he was a hunting dog. Huh? He did the right thing and paid for the birds, but my kids learned a hard lesson that night.
I’ve got nothing against dogs, but I have real problems with folks that refuse to take responsibility. Dogs need to be trained. They need to know what their boundaries are. Discipline is not a bad word. And I think every dog should know the command “Go home”, so that if they do leave your property I can send them back without risking life and limb chasing them away. In a perfect world I could afford to put up a predator-tight perimeter fence. The local wild predators don’t bother me or my beasties (knock wood that will continue). Why can’t I expect people to keep their domesticated predators from harming us also?