Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hug A Sheep Day

Here are a few of my favorite pictures. We had a great day. National Hug A Sheep Day has definitely earned a permanent spot on the calendar! It was nice to see so many happy faces.



Smilin' Shermie



B. Willard B. Mine



Okay, but only because you made me a cute pumpkin.



Still taking great care.





...then they got the glue gun out and they put elastic behind my butt and Keebler keeps laughing at my hat...







Our littlest punkin. Note Hank keeping a watchful eye on his buddies.






Yeah, I think I kinda remember you holding me as a baby.



Kids with cookies. Graham's new best friends.



Adults with cookies...just as popular ;-).



Miss Ewenice got some cookies too.



Boudreaux the Biter...doing what he does best (click to biggify).



And after much of the festivities quieted down, I snuck over and gave Crazy Esther a hug.

More tomorrow!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

See?



This is why I needed to practice my kissing!!!

We had a complete blast today hugging (and kissing) sheep, taking lots of pictures, visiting with old and new friends, looking at some fantastic knitting, eating too many of Stella's chess bars...

I have so many photos it's probably going to take two or three days to post them all. Graham Lamb wore his Trick or Treat costume all day (that's a pumpkin top on his head) and was a big star. There were also some super nice surprises throughout the day.

Hope everyone else had as much fun as we did!

More tomorrow. Yawn...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick Or Treat?

If you hear Keebler clomp clomping across the porch, it's not really a surprise. He's "special".



When he brings along four of his closest friends, someone I left the gate open somewhere.



Jacob sheep don't tend to come knocking on the door unless they've been otherwise influenced by a member of "the bad crowd".

Trick or Treat!?!



Hey, how come we don't have these nice chairs? Wait! I think I found a quarter!



This would be a lovely picture of Miss Mia...except she's eating all the blooms off one of my favorite geraniums (everything is on the porch because we were worried about frost last night).



And when they start checking out the construction...



Yeah, whatever lady. We are so coming back to egg your stupid house and your stupid porch with your stupid flowers!

T-Shirts!

Well, sort of.


I'm working with a local print shop to determine the feasibility of actually screen printing shirts, hoodies, bags... In the meantime, since time is short and I know folks are wanting shirts for this weekend, I decided to test the Avery transfer paper from Wal-Mart.


I have this image set up as a brown sheep or a white sheep. If you are printing on a light colored shirt, you need to reverse it - follow the directions included with whatever transfer product you choose. I've only tested the light colored transfer on a white shirt and it looks like it worked just fine (click to biggify). I have a gray shirt to test the dark transfer paper this morning.

The reviews are mixed on how well they'll hold up, but the t-shirt was $6 and the transfer paper (for a whole package) was about $8 I think. If you'd like to make your own t-shirt for this weekend, send me an email letting me know which color you'd like and I'll get a high resolution file sent out as quickly as possible.

Like a free downloadable knitting pattern, this is for your personal use only. If you'd like to make and sell t-shirts, talk to me first. We can probably work something out if there is a good charity involved.

For an easier, but slightly more expensive route, I set up a Cafe Press shop. I've not seen the final product, but it "looks good on paper". For the free, not for (your own) profit shop, they'll only let you set up one design, so don't be looking for other colors or sizes of the logo... Still, I think a pink tee that I didn't have to worry about ironing on crooked has it's appeal ;-).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh Lucky Day!



Just got the call that the first 200 bales of hay we ordered is on the way. Talk about a photo finish. Whew!

I'm also getting ready to do a test iron-on transfer for t-shirts. I'm in contact with a screen printer in town, but it's obviously too late to get shirts ready for this weekend. In the meantime, if this works, I'll be happy to send out a printable image. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And The Candidates Are...

Actually, I'm pretty sick of all the candidates on tv right now. Dolores might not be running for anything this time, but I'm still voting Fibertarian!

Without further ado, for your consideration I present:



The front runner, Keebler.

Pros - cute, cool hair, not too greasy
Cons - a little, um, needy.



His running mate, B. Willard.

Pros - pretty darn cute, still small enough that a strong shepherd could pick him up
Cons - he's just big enough that you'll quickly regret trying to pick him up



Petunia. How could I have left her off the poll?

Pros - she's always smiling and she LOVES to have her chubby cheeks scratched
Cons - she's never forgiven me for giving her her lamb booster shot in her behind three years ago and no longer wants to be grabbed and squeezed.



Miss Ewenice. I purposely left her off the poll list because I thought she'd gotten enough extra attention representing for the Tour de Fleece and needed to give someone else a shot. However, in retrospect, no one gets more attention around here than the Keebster, so my logic is apparently a bit fuzzy. Sorry Ewenice.

Pros - if you look closely, you can see she likes to GIVE hugs as much as receive them. Every morning she comes up and leans on my leg to give me a hug. Sheep hugs are the best!
Cons - I don't believe she has any. Well, maybe don't let her step on you. She's a big girl.



Boudreaux and Ewen McTeagle - I didn't get a good picture of either this morning.

Pros - both are tall sheep, so easy reach for sheep hugging.

Cons - Boudreaux really wants all the attention, so if you focus anywhere else, he'll most likely bite you. Ewen is pretty much a momma's boy and has not shown much excitement for Hug a Sheep Day.



Miss Mia. Thanks to Ed's visit, Mia's shown some late interest in scoring some extra cookies attention.

Pros - she's pretty darn cute
Cons - she'll paw you in the kneecap and jump on you to get cookies



Graham. What are you doing?

I'm practicing my kissing!

Um, it's HUG a sheep day.

Yeah, whatever. If you make it up... [you can do it as many times as you want - City Boy]



Rebecca Boone.

Pros - excellent 'do, even in the wind.
Cons - doesn't suffer foolishness well and might haul off and pop you one just on principle.



Keebler and Woolliam - the all hair team. Woolliam's disappointed in his vote count, so he's giving the head tilt thing a try.

Pros - again, excellent hair
Cons - Woolliam's a grease ball. Bring an extra shirt.



I've only got one vote? I thought people liked cute little kids with freckles.

Poor Sherman. He's actually the most huggable sheep we have. In fact, he's starting to rival Buddy (another candidate I didn't get a good picture of this morning :-/) as the kindest sheep in the world. I give him lots of hugs, so he's not too traumatized ;-).

Don't forget the open house Saturday. Come out and Hug a Sheep!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Same Cat



Same chair.



Different day(s).

Yep, I'm busy (the broken record), but I'm hoping to have a little fun this afternoon doing a profile on some potential hugging sheep for Hug A Sheep Day, Saturday. How could a sheep known for biting have more votes than sweet, cute, love bug, chubby cheeked little Shermie?!?

Speaking of Boudreaux, he did his own flock survey and has convinced me that all the sheep want to see Graham Lamb dressed up for Halloween this year.

I can sort of see that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eatin' Good In The Neighborhood

Stella and I decided that while we'd like to harvest more honey this fall, we honestly had enough to cover our needs. We knew that the drought that had decimated our pastures had also dried up all the late summer flowers the bees needed to produce enough honey to carry them through the winter. It's a rule. No one goes hungry on either of our farms ;-).

Normally we'd remove the honey supers in the fall and extract the darker fall honey for our own use. This year we decided to set out most of those frames and let the bees come get the honey and carry it back into their stash - the two big lower boxes.

By setting the frames out in the open we knew that not just our bees would come get that honey, but that we'd probably get bees from all over. In all shapes, sizes and colors. We did. We figured if our bees were hungry, all the wild bees were too and wild bees are just as important.



Look closely - click to biggify. How many different bees can you find?

If a small sacrifice in honey will help them through the winter, we'll all bee happy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Come Out And...



We are still planning an Open Wool House next Saturday, October 30th, from 1:00 to 4:00. October 30th is a special day not only because it's National Hug A Sheep Day, but also because that was Punkin's birthday. He would have been 18 this year. How could that much time have gone by so quickly.


Baby Punkin

I know several other folks around the country are hosting special activities that day. There are farm and sheep education days planned, spin ins, knit ins, sheep herding demonstrations... Anyone can participate. I bet there are even some yarn shops out there with a big stuffed plush sheep you could hug :-). Leave your name (and a link if you'd like) in the comments and I'll post everyone on the Hug A Sheep blogspot.

If you'd like to come out to Equinox Farm and Hug A Sheep, bring some vanilla wafers and take your pick of any number of punks who'd be thrilled to welcome you with open mouths arms. I'll have my camera set up and be happy to take a picture of you being mugged hugged by your favorite sheep. There is also a Flickr site where you can upload your own pictures.

Bring your wheel, camera, a current project, questions, good ideas (but please not your dogs ;-). Would you like to learn to spin? Knit? Needle felt? Hook rugs? Prefer to just sit out in the (hopefully) warm fall sun and watch the sheep graze? You are welcome.

If anyone needs directions or if you are coming from out of town and need a good B&B, drop me an email.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Fleeces...

There are billboards all around Chicago that say "Some messes no one should have to clean up." They are advertisements for a cleaning service that will apparently clean up anything. Anything. Yikes! Creepy billboard, but a fun saying that we use around here a lot...usually involving our house.

Fleeces sometimes are like that. Some fleeces no one would want to spin. Unless they are your baby's and he's just. so. cute.



B. Willard.

Willard wasn't bred for his fleece. And even though he was coal black as a baby, he's turning silver pretty quickly. I like silver. What I don't like are his extremely sunbleached tips. It happens though and he got those being a cute little lamb out playing in the sun all day eating lots and lots of clovers and growing up big and strong. And did I say cute?



First big handful loaded onto the Louet coarse cloth drum carder. As the handle turns, the two drums work together to start "brushing" out his curls.



After the first pass. Yep, it's about as bad as I'd feared. Poor cute little Willard.



After the second pass. Still way too many clumps and pills. Time to pull out the secret weapon. The Patrick Green Super Carder. Now that we have so many sheep (yes, I broke my 30 limit with Marcel) I let the professionals handle all the carding. I should probably sell the Super Card to someone who'd put it to better use, but every now and then you need a secret weapon.



You won't set any land speed records with this carder, but you sure won't have any complaints about the finished product. Willard? Is that you, cutie? You're so beautiful!



Speaking of beautiful, I'd seen the new Golding celtic sheep spindle advertised in (probably) Spin Off last month. As we passed their booth last weekend, you had to wait in line just to get in to look. As I stood there contemplating if it was going to be worth the wait to see it, someone was walking around holding a spindle they'd gotten out of line to show their friend and then couldn't get back in to put it back. Guess which one it was? I had to. It was fate. Right?



It spun fabulously. B. Willard's roving spun fabulously. The final yarn color? Well, I wish I could say I had the white balance set wrong, or the light wasn't right...

It's a yarn with character. And that's all I really care about anyway. He's my baby, so up on the frig it goes ;-).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marcel

As anyone with a farm and livestock (or old house cats) knows, it's hard to get up the nerve to leave town. And that's if you have a good farm sitter, which we do. Thanks, Barbara, for always taking such good care of everyone!!!

I'd planned for months to go to Rhinebeck this year. Both Saint Tim and I had had a crazy couple of weeks though between the wool festival, WEG, lots of out of town company, work, Tim traveling, more work...and by about T-12 hours of leaving, I decided to bail. Just. Couldn't. Do. It. At 3:00 on Friday morning (much to Saint Tim's surprise - and why we call him Saint Tim), I woke up and thought, life is short. Go to New York.



And along with a few festival goodies, we brought back Marcel. You may have seen him before ;-).



Riding for 10 hours with a sheep in the back of your car can be dicey. Rebecca Boone was quiet the whole trip. We barely lived through the hour it took to bring Sherman home. This handsome boy said hardly a word. Marcel Marceau. And when he did, it was so low and growly that Tim said he sounded like Marcel's Talking Chainsaw.

How many are going to have to google that one? Let me know, especially you western folks. I know the yankees won't know ;-).



"So you're the famous Woolliam."

"Yeah, what's the news from back home?"



We had a great trip. Rhinebeck was awesome as always. The company was outstanding. The weather actually cooperated. The trip home was uneventful. I'm very glad we I decided to go. Still, this picture was the highlight of my weekend.

It's always good to be back home again.

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