Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sheep Tales...Or The Sheep With The Tail

"I didn't mean nothin' by it, I swear!"

I got sick Monday afternoon.  I'm not sure with what, but it was not. fun.  I managed to get the early evening chores done, but by the night check there was no way I was making it back to the barn, so Tim did his best to cover for me.

Rocky and Jared go into Del Boca Vista to eat dinner and then move back into the barn aisle for the night.  I explained to Tim that Rocky's vision is not good anymore, especially at night, and how I thought he'd best be able to work around that to move them inside.

Of course some trouble makers, realizing that a substitute was in the barn, took advantage of him.  He did the best he could to sort it all out and he thought he had everyone where they were supposed to be. He doled out some extra hay for the oldies, blocked the front exit so Rocky couldn't go wandering in the middle of the night and get lost, helped Spud get up and called it a night.

The next morning he went back up to the barn, fed some more hay, said everyone was okay and that he thought they'd be fine until later in the morning.  My neighbor came over a few hours later and did another light feeding.  I managed to drive my car to the barn around lunchtime and immediately knew something wasn't right.

Rocky was nowhere in sight (he was fine). Krista was locked in the aisleway with the oldies and was complaining loudly.  Maggie was stuck on the wrong side as well.  Baba hollered to let me know she wasn't happy either and as I shuffled into the barn, Maisie jumped up, raced over and commenced to whaling on me.

I took punches, head butts and bites (yes, she bites) and the more I tried to get away from her, the worse she chased me.  "Things. were. wrong. and. you. weren't. here. to. fix. them!!!"  

"Maisie, honey, I was sick and couldn't do it."  


The hits continued and I started putting sheep in between us thinking she'd eventually settle down and she finally did, but it was by far the craziest experience (in a long line of crazy experiences with Maisie) I've ever had.  I wasn't actually scared, but I was a bit concerned and I also felt sorry for her because she was obviously very upset.

I realize that all of the sheep, even the ones who don't outwardly show it, are very dependent on me. I'm not sure if Maisie was just extra angry because things had not gone exactly right and/or had inconvenienced her or maybe she was scared because she didn't know where I was.  

One thing is for certain, as we always say, watch out for "the sheep with the tail".

There's another tale from the tail coming, hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Cat Tales

I woke up around 4:00 this morning and could not get back to sleep.  I finally gave up and got up around 5:30.   As I was getting dressed I heard a tiny Possum meow.  And then another.  Not her normal "It's about time you got up to fix us some breakfast!", but more like Possum had fallen "in the well".  

What on earth??  I clicked on the light and saw nothing askew.  No furniture tipped over trapping her, no huge pile of laundry burying her...well, there may have been a huge pile of laundry, but it was in no way causing her troubled cries.  The only thing left was Bea's crate, but how would she get stuck on that.

She wasn't stuck on it.  She was stuck in it!  With Bea!  All night!  

I remembered Bea hesitating a moment before she went to bed last night, but I assumed it was because I'd changed her bedding to a blanket she'd not seen before.  Bea chooses to still sleep in her puppy crate and it's a cozy little cave.  Possum apparently thought so too.  

I never heard a peep until I got up, but now I'm wondering if Possum had been throwing darts at me half the night.  It's not a large crate, just barely big enough for Bea.  How they both made it through the night together is...well, let's just say I opened the door without stopping to try to take a picture...that I now kind of wish I had.

(Insert picture of grumpy Possum)

"Dis NOT my bed!"

Meanwhile, back last Sunday, poor not super athletically inclined Archie ended up with one of his back feet under one of Frankie's front feet.  It was a wreck and he ended up having to get five stitches in one of his toes, but he took it all in typical Archie fashion and amazingly he too seems no worse for the wear now that it's all over.  

Cats...  Mondays...

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Slow Motion Train Wreck

The weather turned warm and sunny on Tuesday so I took a break and sat out in the barn and knit for awhile.  I took this picture and thought it would make a nice blog shot to go with a group of progress pictures I'd saved up as I knit through December and half of January.

This is the sweater I'm making.  I thought it would look great with Jared's yarn and since I like to learn something new with each project, a zipper would be a fun (I hope) challenge.  There were some other fun(ny) challenges as I got started, such as the videos accompanying the pattern being in Danish, but I managed to muddle through.

The sweater starts at the top with a fold over collar and then carries on through the yoke and divides for the sleeves and body.  I checked my gauge several times over the first few inches and was spot on my gauge swatch, so I "knit on with confidence".

I knit several inches past the armholes and the set the body aside to go back and work on the sleeves for a bit.  As I started the first sleeve I thought it looked too big.  I measured it next to the B. Willard sweater and decided it was okay, so I kept knitting.  

As I approached the midpoint on the sleeve I again tested it with B. Willard and it was a hair bigger, but within a reasonable size.  I did check my gauge though and I was no longer "spot on".  Did I stop and re-evaluate things?  Heck no.  I finished that sleeve and the second one and then back to the body...and started running out of yarn.

I always spin two pounds for a sweater so I know I'll have more than enough for whatever I'm making. I've never used the whole two pounds, not even close.  Now I took the time to stop and re-evaluate things, actually pulled it off the needles and tried it on...and you know what happened next :'-(.

As I ripped back each skein, one by one, I looked for clues as to why I let this happen yet. again.  Why did I ignore the gauge when it stopped being "spot on" yet. again.  Why did my gauge change?  Were the skeins that different?  No, they all looked fine.

It took until this morning to remember that through cold December I'd tensioned my yarn around my little finger and that most of January had been so warm I used my summer tensioning and just carried it through my palm without a finger wrap and sure enough, that was about when the gauge changed.

I recalculated my pattern size after making thorough notes on my yet. again. sweater sized gauge swatch and am ready to start over and "do it right".  It's never fun to rip out that much work, but it was even less fun to do it without being able to call Stella and hear her laugh about it :-/.

Knitting on, once again, with confidence.



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Meanwhile Back In 2021...

I spun a sweater amount of Jared during the 2021 Tour de Fleece...and somehow never documented a single thing about that here on the blog.  Big J is one of my most favorite sheep of all time, but even if he wasn't, just spinning a sweater amount of yarn should have received some note.  Luckily I did take some pictures.

This is an important sweater.  I spent a couple of years trying to pick a perfect pattern.  I knew I wanted it to be big and bulky, like the sheep himself.  I wanted the yarn to reflect his substantial size, but soft comfort as well.  

As per my normal I divided out two pounds of roving into two ounce bundles and spun each bundle, wound it off into a ball, numbered it and spun the next bundle... I no longer remember why I have 17 balls and a plied skein here.  Some notes would have been helpful :-/.

After all the bundles have been spun, I weigh them with my small, super detailed scale and then rewind them into skeins and note the yardage of each.  From there they hit a spreadsheet and get paired up with another skein that best balances out any differences in thickness to hopefully have closely matching plied skeins in the end.

Possum apparently helped.  It was probably good Archie wasn't here yet as I doubt he'd have been, um,  helpful ;-).

I ended up having to borrow a wheel from a friend because my Hansen miniSpinner was not working correctly.  I like to spin singles on my Ashfold Joy and ply on a faster wheel with bigger bobbins. The Hansen has been my workhorse for many years, but this big Lendrum was a treat to use.  It's the Lancelot of spinning wheels :-D.

The finished yarn, washed and hanging out to dry.

Each skein has a tag with re-calculated yards per ounce measurements.  If there are any differences (which there sadly were a couple) I can then decide what skeins should be used where in my sweater.  I picked out the thinnest skein for the thick, doubled over collar and used the thickest for the two sleeves as they are not covered by the vest I wear most of the winter unless it's super cold.

Overall I was happy with my yarn.  It's big and bulky, soft and fuzzy - just like Jared :-).  I'm now probably 3/4 of the way through knitting my sweater.  Of course there have been the usual knitting issues that only an over over over thinker can torture everyone with.  That will be for the next post!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Riding Off Into The Long Shadows

I originally intended for Frankie to be a riding horse.  I now can't remember why I decided to drive him that first year, but then I was having so much fun driving that I didn't really even think about riding anymore other than just on rare occasions, and now, what, four years have gone past?   

I'd be surprised if Frankie had had more than just a handful of rides when he was in rehab at New Vocations.  I've only gotten on him a couple times since he's been here.  He is definitely a green horse under saddle.

I had zero concerns about him not being a kind and careful mount, but I didn't want his first real experiences being ridden to be with an old, fat, out of shape, does she even remember how to ride partner who might do or not do something and cause him concern.

Leslie knew just where to send us for some expert help and we trailered over on Sunday for his first ride.  They both did such a good job that I felt confident getting on him myself at home yesterday.  We didn't do anything too exciting - just walked around the side field - but it was plenty exciting to me to be up on a horse again :-).

Frankie's still not 100% sure he likes this new job, but I think as his confidence grows he'll enjoy having something different to do and some new adventures to go on.  Rockstar-ing on!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin