Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Spider With A Lot To Say

Our writing spiders are back!  One of only a few good things about summer ;-).


Look at this interesting web.


 I've never seen anything but the single straight lines before.



I've been watching the egg sacks hanging on the garage, hoping to see all the babies floating down like Charlotte's Web.


I missed this hatch out.


Definitely a lot to say.  A novel perhaps?


A young writer, with a web the size of a quarter :-).

"Instructions for living a life.  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it."  ~ Mary Oliver

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keeping With A Theme

Another misty morning.  


From the back porch.


I wish I'd noticed the rams in the background. I'd have probably moved off the porch for a different angle.  It was early... ;-).




We are back in the 90s today, but then it's going back down to the upper 70s and lower 80s for a couple of days later in the week.  Weird.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Misty Monday Morning

We've had a fabulous stretch of unseasonably cool and rainy weather this past week. I enjoyed every minute of it! The sun is shining bright (and getting hot :-/) now, but this morning it was still cool, foggy and beautiful.

 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Early Morning

We have a group of early risers that hit the green at daybreak. I saw them out by the pond and grabbed the camera.


Miss Renny


Coming in from way back - Daniel, Burrnie, Lila and Graham


Graham might be re-thinking the early breakfast.


"I was just resting my eyes!"


See all the lines in the dewy grass?  Those are the sheep paths.  Mia is always the farthest out.


And here's what she thinks about having her picture taken ;-).


Crazy Miss Maisie


Friday, July 18, 2014

Kindness To Animals

Today's poem from The Writer's Almanac is one of my favorites.  It hit extra hard this morning though as we just got done 'tutering the boys this week.  There's no nice way to do it.  Period.  It hurts.  They're sad, I'm sad.  They do get better in a couple days and all seems to be forgiven, but still, it's a rough couple of days.

I try to take mostly boy lambs because they are the ones typically needing a home.  You can easily place ewe lambs in starter flocks, as replacement ewes...  Boys...there is only so much demand for breeding rams and only super trained professionals (like this guy :-) should ever keep a pet ram.

I tell the boys that getting 'tutered means they are extra special and that they'll get to stay here forever, and while for the next couple of days that's not going to seem like such a good trade, in the end they'll be happy. We make sure the weather is as comfortable as possible.  We give them pain medicine.  I sit out under the pine trees with them and Betsy's there, too.

Kindness to Animals

Little children, never give
Pain to things that feel and live:
Let the gentle robin come
For the crumbs you save at home,—
As his meat you throw along
He'll repay you with a song;
Never hurt the timid hare
Peeping from her green grass lair,
Let her come and sport and play
On the lawn at close of day;
The little lark goes soaring high.
To the bright windows of the sky,
Singing as if 'twere always spring,
And fluttering on an untired wing,—
Oh! let him sing his happy song,
Nor do these gentle creatures wrong.
"Kindness to Animals" by Anonymous.
The Writer's Almanac July 18, 2014
Some shots from yesterday evening.






I am not completely set on Spud as this boy's name. I still have to "think" to come up with it when I'm calling him. That doesn't seem right.  Auntie Reg has suggested Teddy and that seems to work, but one of our neighbors is named Teddy, so that's a little awkward as they like to bring their grand daughters down.  I think a two syllable name might be easier for my brain.  Any thoughts?





This portable gate is blocking Hank's cut through between the paddocks.  For some reason Baaxter never figured out sneaking through the "portal", but the other three loved to bust into Del Boca Vista. Our retirees (Jester and Queen Elizabeth) had ZERO interest in being visited by grand kids! ;-)




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Tour Update

While I'm chomping at the bit to start on Miss Maisie's spinning, I'm not letting myself do that until I meet my Tour de Fleece goals.  Or at least most of them ;-).


This is Henrietta - some roving from several years ago.  She has a beautiful silky fleece for a Jacob and it always sells quickly.  When I noticed this ball had started to felt down into itself (it seems the silkier/looser crimped fleeces like hers and the longwools tend to do that if you're not careful...and sometime when you are :-o) I used that as an excuse to stick the last ball into my stash.


All it needed was a little fluffing up and some pre-drafting and it was back to spinning like butter :-).  Drafting is how you determine how thick or thin your yarn is going to be.  It basically means pulling the combed/carded (brushed) out thinner.  The fibers slip past each other and say the original roving is (just a random guess) 1000 hairs thick all side by side, you might thin it out until it's maybe 50 hairs thick.


It doesn't change the color.  There's just more air and light showing through.  It spins up looking like the darker gray.  Of course, it would have been helpful to have shown that, but it didn't cross my mind until just now.  I used to work for a man that always said "What a brain...", usually about one of his horses.  I find it usually fits me just as well.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Sideshow Bob

Around here, the more names you've been given usually reflects how much we like you. Keebler is also Keebs and Kaner, Count Chocula is also Choculon, Murphy is now Donut Murphy...  There are some exceptions, like Miss Tilly/Weaslie/Tilly Bobby/Short Round/The Little Shriner or Graham Lamb/Kevin/bleep bleep Kevin. Just kidding ;-).  


Hershey's other name is Sideshow Bob.  That's "little" Burrnie/Burrnerd racing to keep up :-D.


Hershey is only Sideshow Bob because of his hair, not his character.  And if you're wondering why I'm calling this super light gray sheep Hershey after just seeing his chocolate brown bag of roving from Ohio Valley, it's because that was his baby fleece sheared last August and his hair has since turned almost white! Probably from living with Graham ;-)  

It's very pretty with his dark legs and head, but still, confusing as to why he'd be named "Hershey". Hopefully you can biggify and see his moppy top.

Some more shots from last week.







Sunday, July 13, 2014

Night Sights

I rode Hickory up to check the rams and fill their water tank last night. It was getting dusky and out from the Frog Pond I saw a waddling cluster of black fur.  We rode down to (carefully) get a closer look.  A beautiful momma skunk and four tiny babies.  I love watching mommas (of all kinds) teaching their little ones how to forage.  

Working on a farm, I frequently find myself still working, watching the moon come up.  Two nights ago the moon rose while it was still really light out.  Last night, one night later, it was almost completely dark as it cleared the trees out back.  I'd like to find a good book that explains why that is (remember, simple shepherd, not scholar, aka limited big words ;-).  Any suggestions?


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Maisie Goes To The Wool Mill

Here she goes!


The washed wool gets dumped into the back hopper, gets picked up and picked out by the swinging arm thingy, then over the top...


...and falls out of this smaller hopper...


...where it's picked/fluffed some more and then onto the drums.  I think I counted 20 or 24 rollers, but now can't remember.


And then, after it's brushed and brushed and brushed through all the rollers, it gets pulled off the final drum into ready to spin roving.

Here's where it gets a little dicey on who this is.  It appears to be Maisie according to my camera files, but looks too clean to be Maisie.  My tongue in cheek post about her fleece being white as snow came back to haunt me.  I hope the shotgun shells don't jam up their machines!  Maisie, Maisie, Maisie...


This I know is Blossom.  Remember the huge fleece from the festival?  Yep, still huge.


Beth sets it all in neatly and then (over and over) pushes it down into the bag in the box...


...where it springs back out, ready to have more added to it!


This is Hershey's lamb fleece, flying free around the drums.  That'd be Hershey for sure!  Luckily most of it drifts back onto the drums, but some has to be swept up off the floor and tossed back in.  Yep, classic Hershey ;-).




B. Willard.  I thought this would be an interesting shot with the contrast between the stationary curls and the whirling drum getting ready to pick them up.  However, when I look at it now, it kind of makes me feel like someone getting ready to jump off the high dive for the first time. 


Ideally I'd hoped to show the gradients from dark gray to white, but the lighting was tough and I didn't have my "big girl" camera.  (Left to right) Hershey, Boudreaux, B. Willard, Henrietta, Ford, Allie, Maisie and Blossom. 

It's sure hard to beat a car full of fresh roving!

Ohio Valley Natural Fibers

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tree Climbers

Baaxter had a stressful day yesterday, nearly dying from starvation and neglect as he was left with lots of company, a big field of grass and yummy weeds, a shady, fan cooled barn with hay, water and some (quickly gobbled down) lamb chow while I was gone for several hours to the wool mill yesterday.  

I immediately tried to revive and rehydrate him with his miniature baba as soon as I got home, but I knew it was going to be touch and go ;-).  I peeked out on him and the boys a couple times throughout the afternoon and all was well, but as the sun was starting to set last night I saw the three boys...and no Baaxter.

Baaxter grew up with me as his mom.  It took him several days of staring in amazement at the new boys out eating grass in the middle of the field during the middle of the day before he'd finally join them.  We always grazed in the shade!  Mad dogs and Englishmen...

This is where I found him.






Comby, doing a little tree climbing, too.

Speaking of cats, as I peeked in on the boys for a late barn check last night, there was Betsy, sleeping next to them in the hay.  She loves her lambies :-). 

I'll leave the Calling All Bottle Lamb comments open until 6:00 tonight and then draw for a winner.  The top stories so far have been Litter Trained Lila, Blossom and the Cot, Maisie Goes To (and Leaves) Church and Maisie Destroys Her Halloween Costume.  Any other good ones we've forgotten?



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