Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fleeced!

But not in a bad way. I had some great Santas this year. One of my favorite gifts was the fleece from a colored Cotswold ewe lamb I sadly hadn't been able to pick up this past fall (hey, you can always find room for one more sheep ;-).

I had originally planned to spend a good part of the day cleaning the house (much needed, especially after the holiday rush and all the mud of late), but the sun was out and the temperature was pleasant and I caved and played with wool. After washing her fleece and spreading it out to dry I realized that three of my other favorite gifts looked like they wanted to come play too.



A colorful fleece with matching accessories!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stocking Stuffers

Hopefully everyone had a great holiday with friends and family and traveled safely, got everything they wanted, ate too many cookies and are looking forward to the new year. We had a very nice Christmas and Santa does read my blog! ;-)

Aside from that fabulous gift, all our gifts were either home grown, hand made or purchased locally. It turned out not a bit hard and I encourage everyone to give that a try for the upcoming year. You've already seen the jars of honey and peach preserves. Here are some other handmade stocking stuffers.



Some handspun and hand knit mittens for my mother.



A Jacob wool hat for my dad. I did another one for my BIL, but forgot to take a picture.



A miniature horse blanket (table runner) woven for a friend.



This was spun from her guardian llama Andy. I had thought he was truly brown and white, but found out there was quite a bit of gray undertone - I always learn something, no matter what I do - yet another gift for me :-).

And the winner of the jar of Frog Pond honey is Tammy! Please send me an email with your mailing address.

Merry Christmas! (And remember, there's no reason why every day can't be Christmas.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sweet Christmas

It's always nice to have help getting ready for the holidays. This year I had maybe 60,000 helpers.



Thanks to John and Reg for the loan of a honey extractor, Stella and I were able to join in the fun of The Frog Pond Honey Factory and now have some really fun Christmas gifts to share.



Here is a partially filled frame of honey. The drought really slowed honey production this year.



First we scraped off the wax cappings.



Then set the frames in the extractor.



It spins like a centrifuge and then strains into a holding bucket.



Next we filled the jars and labeled them, and then with an added bow it's just like we've bottled summer sunshine, flowers, warm breezes and the buzz of busy bees.



I've saved a jar to gift to one of my wonderful blog friends. Leave a comment (Click on the tiny word "comments" at the bottom of the post and the comment screen will pop up. If you leave it via "anonymous", make sure you provide a name in the message box so we can identify you if you win!) and tell of something sweet you've done for someone this holiday season. I'll have Saint Tim pick a random number to choose a "winner".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For The Birds

We hit 67 degrees last Friday and it was in the single digits by Sunday. Now we are looking forward to a brown, muddy Christmas. We did have some snow a few days ago and look who I found under the feeder.



I can't say for sure, but one dove all alone feeding with the little birds sure sounds familiar, doesn't it :-). I had thought about tagging Woodstock when he was a baby, but decided not to. Now I wish I had. Hindsight...



Here's a shot of one of the goofy "neighbor kids" - a brief moment when he wasn't fighting with his reflection in the window.

One good thing about severe cold (other than freezing all the mud) is the necessitated building of some new friendships.



Comby and Eli

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A New Angel Among Us*



Boo is gone. We knew it was coming last night and were with him. And it was odd. Like it always is. We left him on his porch bed so everyone could see him and Saint Tim buried him in the orchard this morning.

Comby was nowhere around last night when I turned the porch light off. He's never missed a night in his condo. This morning he followed us out to the grave site, walked around it and then stood for awhile looking at Boo and then after he finally walked away, Tim covered Boo up.

I normally wouldn't tell all the sad details, but more than a few of us have been intrigued by the Boo and Comby friendship. And while the "scientists" may say animals don't understand or have feelings, we all know different. Comby knew. Iris knew. Weaslie chewed on a stick.







You were a good dog Boo. Saint Tim said that you were one of the few dogs to actually "go to a nice farm in the country". We know you enjoyed your time with us.

*2007 Christmas Card Angels Among Us

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Of My Favorite Things

I'm sitting up tonight with Boo, who's not had a great day. Getting old ain't for sissies. I need to work on some Christmas gifts anyway, so it all works out.

Still, it's been kind of a sad day so I decided to take and share some pictures of a few of my favorite sheep ornaments (this is not the time to do a new sheep count! ;-). I really enjoy putting up my Christmas tree each year. Each ornament, even the few non-sheep ones, is an old friend.



This silly sheep always makes me smile.



Is that Brushy and the neighbor kid sitting on that sheep's back?



Brushy again, and this time with Claire Bear behind him doing a little sledding. The tiny gray swatch was from when my sister-in-law Jan Baby was teaching me to knit a few years ago.



Brushy and the neighbor kid again? I love the expression on the cat's face (click to biggify).



A friend brought the large round painted ornament back from a trip to Germany and the small painted gourd was done by a well known Harrison County artist, Sally Cammack.



I love this wooden sheep and peaking out behind is a crocheted (I think) snowflake made by the talented Jan Baby.



Well, I'd better get back to work or there won't be any brown paper packages tied up with string under my tree.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sixth Photo

I've been tagged by Alta-Pete Stockdogs for the 6th photo meme. I am to post the 6th photo in the 6th folder of my photo files and tell the story of that photo. I was worried that it was going to be something not worth sharing, but look - it's little Sunshine!



And, there is even an actual story behind the picture of her behind. She can't be too old here and my, look at all the green grass, clover and sunshine. We're sure missing that right now, here in mudville.

If you notice, Sunshine has Desitin or Boudreaux's Butt Paste all over her tiny little bottom. For those who don't already know, she was the result of an accidental breeding and has to deal with several physical issues. Her spine is crooked, she has a probable heart defect and she has no control over her bladder.

We were hoping she'd outgrow the last problem, but alas, it's not looking like that's going to happen. And, to be honest, in "the real world" she'd have not grown up at all. However, a spunkier lamb you'll never find. And neither will you find one that's more of a character. Little did I know as I was tube feeding her those first hours how important she'd become on our small farm.

I'm not going to actually tag anyone, but here are just a few blogspots where I can promise you'll find some wonderful pictures:

Mudranch's Real Dirt
Sheep Dreams
Life on a Colorado Farm
Boulderneigh
A Shepherd's Voice

And, of course, Alta-Pete Stockdogs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chicken Snow

This won't make a lick of sense unless you've seen the Sony commercial with Peyton Manning, Dale Jr., James Brown, the camera guy (his name is Ben? - how does Saint Tim know all these details?!?) and the San Diego Chicken.




I've seen this a hundred times and still laugh every time I hear "Chicken, no!" In fact, we've even named one (or all) of our chickens Chicken No. And Sheep No. And Tilly No. Comby No... (but we're sticking with D@##*t T-Bone ;-).

This morning only two Adventure Chickens were brave enough to venture out in the freshly fallen snow to make the run from the coop to the first horse stall. Of course, one of them was Chicken No (the white one).



The rest?



"What the heck is this stuff?" (Heads sticking out - click to biggify)



"I don't think so." (Butts sticking out...as they head back to bed)

I don't believe they liked the "chickens no" (chicken snow ;-).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Cat-mas, Y'all!

We have four - count 'em - four barn cats. Three occasionally follow me out there to feed or if they think I might be getting into something that needs their supervision. I will give Clair Bear credit for spending most of the time up there keeping the mouse population well in hand (she must have drawn the short straw), but Brushy and Comby are the best porch "setters" we've ever seen. Eli has a secondary rooftop apartment, so at least part of the time isn't blatantly flaunting his lack of work ethic and taunting Saint Tim with his eat, sleep, fish, eat, sleep, fish...lifestyle.

After years of fighting with them, we've just become resigned to tacking up the lovely plastic sheeting to block the weather for them every winter, plugging in their heated beds and this year built the de-luxe Boo house/cat condo (which I do have to admit looks better than the cardboard box of last year). We may have had just a bit much holiday party punch the other night though, because now we've added a Cat-mas tree to the little "village".



Complete with yarn balls, jingle bells, wiffle golf balls and some special treats.



I think the dead fern is an especially classy touch!


We have (had) a beautiful back porch and I've always said backdoor guests are always best, but now I hope folks just come to the front door.



This is one of my favorite porch pictures. Ah, the good ole' days with only one cat food bowl, flowers that haven't been trampled down...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Feature - What Woolliam Really Asked Santa For



"It's about time you added to the temporary grazing paddock!"

"Hey - hurry up down there!"

"I get to go out first!"

"No, I do!"

"Me, Me, Me!"




I not only sort of forgot about the Friday Feature (until I was reminded this morning), but I also sort of "forgotted" about asking Santa for a better video camera.




Maybe Santa reads my blog...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Mail For Heroes

Speaking of holiday cards, if you aren't already aware of this program, today is the last day to send cards to US troops serving overseas and recovering in stateside hospitals. Our cards must be postmarked by the 1oth!!! For the address and more information, use the link below.

Let's all send good cheer to some true heroes!

http://www.snopes.com/politics/christmas/soldiercards.asp

Six Sheep A-Skating

For the last several years Saint Tim and I have been designing Equinox Farm Christmas cards. The first year we just thought it would be a fun way to introduce some new animals on the farm and nothing more. I painted the scene and we put a diagram with their names on the back.



There were originally seven characters - listed four on one side and three on the other. For anyone who knows me, knows that just. wouldn't. work. So, back to the drawing board and that's how "the neighbor kid" was added (the inside scoop).



He was a huge hit and right away folks were saying they couldn't wait to see what he was going to be doing in the next design. Next design? Uh oh ;-). Seriously, we've had a lot of fun with these cards and boy, it sure doesn't seem like five years.

Happy Holidays everyone. We wish you peace and joy for the season and upcoming year.

"Six Sheep A-Skating"





(As always, click to biggify)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

...Hah Hah Hah

Was asked for the posed portrait...



You gotta' admit, that's pretty darn cute!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Laughing All The Way

The neighboring Scott County Humane Society offers, as a fund raiser, pet photos with Santa Claus at the local Tractor Supply Company every year. Stella and I had taken Miss Henri several years ago and had a lot of fun. When our fabulous farm sitter (a SCHS volunteer) called to see if we could bring a sheep again this year, we decided that even though we didn't have the official sheep hauling car (it had gone to Green Bay for the Packer's game), we'd give it a try.

Sunshine had been the special request, but I was afraid that she would be too stressed leaving her momma at home. Let's see - who do we know that's really cute and has had some experience riding in the car? Woolliam!



And off we go!



First he had to meet Santa.



Then he got to do a little shopping.





Then some more PR work.



"I asked for lots of cookies! What did you ask for?"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Red Skies In Morning



What a nice rosy sunrise over our tiny little paddocks out back. Tiny little paddocks?!? What?!? Those are long, narrow 2 1/2 acre paddocks and the back paddock is at least five acres - while not big by Texas standards, definitely not as small as they look here. Those cows next door are a good way off!

This has happened before.



Buddy, Boudreaux and Ewen McTeagle

Miss Ewenice was watching her boys play from the driving arena - almost regulation size, meaning it's not small - and there is a small barn lot in between the arena and the barn. Not all jammed together like it appears.

So, I need a little photography help here. I'm guessing I should be using a different setting, lens, something... but being a hack photographer, I'm not sure. I'm using a Nikon D40x and had the 200mm lens on (maybe the problem?).

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Self Striping



This little tree, by the way, was this tree last year.



And the lights this year came from this tree.



Well, except for two strands that are still up there - so high up that I couldn't get them down (that was a great tree, eh?). I would have done a re-run of that awesome tree, but had to turn the lights off last year because the cats were having a field day terrorizing the birds that were trying to sleep in there.

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