Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Around The Water Cooler

Some time ago I tossed out a handful of cracked corn to a chicken standing at the feed room door. Once was all it took.  Now I have to "pay up" every morning.  And not only the chickens come running, but half the birds in the neighborhood as well.  They tootle around cleaning it up and then go get a big drink from the cat and dog water bucket.  I like when everyone gets along and shares. Maybe we could learn something from these "dumb" animals.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hank's Hideout

During the day, especially hot days, Hank holes up in the single stall on the left side of the barn aisle. The big door slides over and covers enough of the small doorway that only Mia and Maisie and one time Blossom (how on earth?!?) can fit under there.  Mostly he has his hideout all to himself.  

Maisie joins him in the afternoons and I frequently find him turned over on his back, sleeping with all four legs in the air.  The mornings though he's still on duty, always watchful.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Best. Cat. Ever.

I know that many of you would vote for Betsy, but other than baby sitting baby lambs...she's really a pretty naughty cat.  Comby, on the other hand, clocks in hours and hours of solid citizen service.  I saw him sleeping curled up with the sheep planter this evening and tried to take a quick pic.  He saw me and immediately jumped up.  

"I'm awake!  What are we doing?  Oh, you're walking all the way out back to check the rams?  Okay, I'm coming."

And away we marched, me, Iris, Weaslie and my trusty cat, Comby, off into the sunset :-).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aging Gracefully

Or else Weaslie's just given her a LOT of gray hair!

Fiber And Flowers

I was setting up a "photo shoot" and couldn't pass up a few more flower photos.  Guess who this is.

The dahlias are blooming now.

This one looking back towards the mighty purple loosestrife.

More prisoner plants.  Everything's behind bars around here.  The chickens love these poor blanket flowers. Or at least the dirt they're planted in.  Here's a fun blast from the past :-D. Those X Pens come in handy for just about anything!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Complicated

A few leftover pictures from the other evening.

I wish the dye garden showed up more.  I could take down that black fence...but then I wouldn't have a dye garden any more ;-).

Woody looks pretty sweet and innocent in this picture, but he's the ring leader. For everything.

"Who me?"

I'm thinking about moving Hershey, Daniel and Chocula into the boy's pen to start slowly introducing them to the big kids.  I'd add Burrnie in too...but he'd miss Maisie.  Daniel doesn't like to be separated from the main flock though (babysitting Burrnie was hard on him)...but he wouldn't want to be separated from his brothers either.  Grahammy?  That's all Woody needs - some encouragement from the master of trouble.  Keebs. Doesn't. Babysit.

"Oh, Uncle WILL-ard..." ;-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Always Up To Something

All this in less than 30 minutes...

"I don't think that's a head rest, Murphy."

"I'm pretty sure this box is supposed to do something."

"And I bet it has something to do with this lid."

That's an old automatic waterer that has a leak in it that needs repair.  Before winter.  Where has this year gone!

"Hey, come here, Weaslie.  We want to, um, tell you something."

Weaslie's heard all that before ;-).

Baaxter knows how to get to those leaves...but he ain't telling ;-).  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Momma's Lil Butterball

It's hard to get pictures of the "little" boys. I'm mostly a popular chew toy and jungle gym as far as they're concerned.  Baaxter is exceptionally tough because he still likes to hang out with his mom (a sweet boy :-), so unless I sneak up on them and take a quick pic over the fence, the best I can do is fall back on eating and sleeping.

I say "Look at that tummy!" so much Baaxter probably thinks it's part of his full name ;-).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sunday Stills - Crowd Work

They say two's company and three's a crowd.  Let's go a bit further this week. The challenge… pics with more than 5 people or animals or even birds. Have fun…..

We haven't seen much out of Burrnie lately, so I made a special effort to try and include him.  It always makes me smile to see him up to his eyeballs in grass, surrounded by buddies.

And usually not far from his best gal, Maisie ;-).

The boys out back.

That's Baaxter's dad in the center.

A crowd of flowers.  Probably the best kind of crowd :-).

I was excited to find this five leaf clover to include...until I went to copy the challenge directions over here and realized I hadn't read them carefully.  More than five.  Sigh...

For more crowded Sunday Stills...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Night Check

I love watching the sheep in the barn at night.  My last view as I get ready to turn off the lights.  The boys in the front part and the big kids on the other side of the gate divider.

"Everybody take care of each other."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Couple Days Late And Always A Dollar Short

Sunday Stills this past week was Faces. Can't pass that one up...even if it's well past Sunday.

PPPP (Popcorn PeePee Pants)


Beanie Baby

Crazy Maisie and her big teefers.

One of my all-time favorite chickens.

One of the all-time greatest sheep faces - B. Willard.

Emily and Casper Belly

The cool hair club.


"Why yes, I do have cool hair."

Keebs.  Nobody sleeps cuter.

Cute Buddy...who seems to be perpetually walking through life with un-cool hair and toilet paper stuck to his shoe (or a piece of straw stuck to his nose ;-).

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Dye Garden

This has been an outstanding summer for flowers here. We've gotten several July rains that we normally wouldn't be getting and the gardens look the best they've ever.  In addition to the extra rain, we also added in some extra fencing this spring to keep little black lambies and marauding sheep from pillaging plumes on those occasions that I leave a gate open or someone big and fat leans on the gate and breaks the hook. Hmmm, wonder who'd be fat and cunning enough to figure out something like that... ;-)

The garden was designed mostly for decoration, featuring as many different colors and varieties of natural dye plants as possible, but not really producing enough to harvest for more than just small samples. Originally there were some wool protecting plants included, too, but they've all been pushed out or relocated.  Black-eyed Susan and fennel are two plants that are pretty...but very pushy.  

I can't remember what the tall purple plant on the left hand side is and my dye books are up in the Wool House.  Maybe someone can jump in?  Whatever the tall purple spikey flower is, that's a winner for sure as it blooms and bloom and blooms, year after year.  I'd put it somewhere bigger next time though.  It would like (and deserves) a little more room.

As far as the other plants, I'm going to do my best to label them correctly and hope that someone can correct me if I'm wrong.  Regarding what colors they make when used to dye wool, it depends on what part of the plant is used, what's used to mordant...  There are several really nice books on natural dyeing and a ton of information on the internet.  I just like looking at the pretty flowers ;-).

Some purple coneflower getting over shadowed by the mystery purple plant.  Normally they'd be much taller, but they're doing the best they can under the purple power house.  I'll move them down towards the other end this fall.

We've had almost more bumble type bees than honey bees this spring and summer.  I'm not sure why.  The honey bees are working the white clover now, but usually they'd be all over these flowers and the lavender as well and they're not.  Very curious.

Black-eyed Susan


Looky looky!  Do you see it?

I think this is cat mint.  It too has bloomed and bloomed all spring and summer.  I guess I put it in for the cats, but this hummer likes it as well.  Borage in the back.  Another plant good for bees that blooms and blooms.

Hopefully you can click to biggify.  I think he or she was turning around in flight, checking out the big sunflower off to the left, just out of view.  I love seeing the hummingbirds working flowers.  I keep two feeders filled all the time, but they have plenty to chose from around the yard. They like the blanket flowers out front as well.

Another full(ish) view.  You can see the borage down by the garden shed.  That's where I spotted the hummer.

Fennel.  Lovely smell (just like licorice), but holy moly it's invasive.  Or at least around here it is.  I pull quite a bit and what gets left or keeps popping up adds some dark texture to the rest of the flowers...if you can keep it under control.

Marigolds.  Mine are late blooming this year, probably because I started them all from seeds rather than buying plants.  I think next year I'll set out some plants and add seeds around.  I never was a huge fan of marigolds until I started growing them.  What hard workers!

Tick seed?  It's tucked in by the water hydrant and it too blooms all summer even with Baaxter sticking his head through the fence and chomping them off when he was a baby.  Oh wait, he was chomping on the yellow coreopsis, but it too toughed it out and is still blooming and I missed getting a picture of them :-/. 

Zinnias.  Definitely a top five flower in my book.  If you look back at the first picture, the zinnias fill the entire raised bed on the right side of the brick walk way.  I'd put my whole yard in zinnias if I could.  Imagine, an entire yard full of bright colored blooms :-D.

Adjacent to the flower beds, the lavender.  I lost many many plants over the hard winter, but I've replanted and everything looks to be growing well.  I'm concerned that with the cool summer we are going to have another cold winter, so am trying to figure out a better way to over-winter everyone.  

Several of the losses were to be expected as they were "tender" varieties that had been gifted to me. Everything out there now is "hardy".  They are in raised beds and only lightly mulched with straw.  I've been told keeping the wind off them will be a big help.  Any thoughts?

And peering over the garden gate, my tomatoes and zucchini and off in the distance Julie's gladiolas :-).  The tomatoes on this side of the fence are the big ones and the single plant in the outside bed is a Coyote cherry tomato.  The tomatoes haven't loved this cool, wet weather.  I think the upcoming week will be more to their liking.

I missed a few plants on this garden tour and several are later in the summer bloomers, including the sunflowers, so I'll try to do an update in a few weeks.  I'm sure the grass won't still be spring green, but who knows.  It will still be pretty I'd bet.  Hard to believe it's the beginning of August already!  


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