Bill With Anastasia

Bill With Anastasia
Bill Eatmon - 1955 - 2006 Co-shepherd at Sheltering Pines from June, 1996 to August, 2006.


Friday, May 22, 2009

An Era Ends at Sheltering Pines

I came home from work this morning and my old friend and trusted livestock guardian dog, Alpha (thus named by her breeder because she was the alpha puppy in the litter) had died in her sleep. I knew she was getting old and had problems but as we always are.....I was not prepared for her to leave this world last night. She was curled up in a hole she had dug to keep cool in and apparently died in her sleep. I will miss her terribly. There is a lot of "history" and sentimentality wrapped up in that old dog. She was Bill's and my first experience wih LGD's. A Maremma by breed and a dog that had many people fooled for the most of her life...she seemed aggressive and most people were terrified of her. I knew her secret: she was a "love" deep inside. Alpha came to live with Bill and me in Nov., 1997. We had gotten our first sheep in 1996 and were afraid of predators and roaming dogs. Alpha came from Julia Farmer's farm in West Virginia. She raised Nubian goats and bred Maremmas. Julia was very particular about placing dogs...she is an incredible person who loved her dogs and wanted them to go to the right home. I will be forever thankful to her for allowing Bill and me to have Alpha. Alpha was 13 years old this year which I am told is pretty old for large breeds. I had a good cry and will miss my wonderful friend and think of her every time I go to the barn. There is a big "hole" in my life right now. I will post some photos of Alpha through the years below.

Alpha guarding over a very pregnant Laura in March 1998

Alpha lying in the barn Nov. 1998. Julia (Alpha's breeder) loved this photo and used it on her web site for many years.

Alpha, Nov. 26, 1998

Bill and Alpha May 31, 2002 soon after she suffered a stroke from the then new heart worm 6 month injection medicaion. That med was removed from the market as many pet owners had horrible problems with it hurting their dogs. We thought Alpha was going to die and were trying to prepare ourselves for her death by buying a new dog, Bella. But thankfully she made a miracualous recovery and lived many more years.

Alpha "vegging" near Bella's kennel soon after Bella's arrival. (june 2002) We were afraid alpha would no "take" well to anothe dog after having been alone for 5 years...but we were soon to learn that a 2nd dog was just what the "doctor ordrered"! They became inseparable friends...and you hardly ever saw one without the other after Bella became used to her
new home.

Bella and Alpha together Aug. 2, 2002 after becoming good friends.

Alpha and Bella doing their "daily rounds" June 2003

Alpha and Bella May 21, 2004

Alpha and Bella May 6, 2006

Alpha, May 19, 2009 (2 days ago): her last photo

Good-bye Alpha. You were an incredible dog and I shall never forget you.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Mother's 96th Birthday

My mother turned 96 years old on January 30, 2009.
Here are a few photos from here "open house".


My niece giving her "tough" pose. (her black eye was an accident acquired from
playing Wii with her friends. lol

3 of my great nieces

My cousins with my Aunt (father's sister). She's 87.

Lake Michigan in October

My niece took these shots back in October. I thought they were neat so I'm posting them. They were taken at Holland, Michigan...about 30 min. from my farm.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I saw the PBS special, "Hit Man" featuring David Foster and friends a couple of weeks ago. Was a fantastic feature. It is available on dvd at the music stores. Anyway, Katherine McPhee (who has an incredible voice) sung "Somewhere"....the song from West Side Story. It has always been one of my favorite songs. I can listen to it over and over again. I think Katherine has the best version of it I've heard. Anyway, the lyrics are very special to me.


There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us

There's a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time to spare,
Time to look, time to care,
We'll find a new way of living,
We'll find a way of forgiving

There's a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we're half way there.
Hold my hand and I'll take you there