Saturday, December 31, 2011

Closing Out The Year

The Sunday Stills challenge for this week is a year in review. What is your best picture from 2011 and what are your photographic hopes for 2012?

I try not to put off the challenge until the last possible minute, but we've been busy here and boy howdy, it's Saturday night. New Year's Eve.

I read a quote somewhere by a famous photographer, who when asked what his favorite photo was replied, "The one I haven't taken yet." The year wasn't over. I could yet take my favorite photo of 2011. I grabbed my camera and headed out. Another winter holiday photo shoot in a light sweatshirt.



This is definitely added into the running as a favorite.



Miss Ewenice seldom takes a bad picture.



I especially like this one.



And this, while not in the running for favorite, is still nice because we have sheep, Comby and Handy off in the distance. Sort of like the blog header painting...that was painted before Hank, Betsy, Hickory, Lila, B. Willard, Sherman...joined our family.

As part of the Extreme Blog Makeover, should I try to paint them in on the original painting or should I paint a whole new header?

And what IS my favorite photo from 2011?

I've got three and a half hours to try and figure it out!

Extreme Blog Makeover



Still tweaking, but wanted to test my new "larger photos" format.

This is Keebler (facing us) and Woolliam having a conversation Christmas Eve night. I took a video that evening too. I guess that will be my next test. Hmmm...



Anyone else making changes for the new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Extreme Barn Makeover

Part one.



The crew from Tri County Lumber is here replacing the backside of the barn.



It's long overdue, but I was being sentimental about the old boards. They are getting pretty lacy though and last winter we had to build a straw wall to keep Renny out of the draft. O-kay...



"What are they doing back there???"



They're getting a lot done, really quickly, is what they're doing. Wow! They started just before lunchtime today.



Betsy immediately joined their crew. I didn't catch the "1-800-rent cat" until I looked at the picture. Leave it to Betsy. I submitted it as a possible lolcat. I think you can go vote for it here. I couldn't think of a clever title, so hopefully they'll pick it up and add one.

I have a recipe blog started, but got sidetracked by all this today. I'll try to post it tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cooking Is For The Birds

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making and hanging peanut butter bird seed pine cone ornaments on Saint Tim's grandparent's trees along the Prairie Path in his hometown. This year I mailed some ornaments for City Boy and Janbaby to hang and made a few for our birds here.

I hung them on Christmas Day during the unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon. Yesterday dawned cold and rainy and the birds were glad to see them in the lilac bush near the feeder...and safely away from Betsy.



The cardinals feed early. I hear them start pipping away before the sun rises.



Then the little birds.





"Thans fo the bir seed anth peanut buther."



You're welcome!

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm Dreaming Of A Warm Christmas

Nope, doesn't quite have the same ring to it. What odd weather this year.

We had a nice Christmas. It wasn't the most fun Christmas, but nice in it's own way. We lost Wiwi, our 20 year old "inside" kitty, on Christmas Eve. It was time. She and I were both sad about it, but it was a good gift to both of us to be together.

Christmas Day dawned just as warm and sunny and after church Saint Tim went fishing and I puttered around for awhile and decided a walk out with the sheep would be the best medicine. The late afternoon sun was beautiful.



Handsome Hank cleaned up this Christmas. I loved opening the mailbox and finding boxes addressed specifically to him. He got a really neat guard dog book, The Guardian Team: on the job with Rean and Roo, by Cat Urbigkit, and a good collection of dog cookies. He was thrilled and woofs a big Thank You!



Popcorn PeePee Pants...and her shadow.



Willard and Renny. Willard's feeling just fine now, but is so addicted to Graham Crackers (the reward for being a big boy about getting his shots every day) that you just about can't live with him anymore ;-).



I can't decide if Renny has short legs or long wool.



You can't beat walking around in a sweater, no hat or gloves, sitting on the ground taking pictures on Christmas Day....but some snow would sure have been pretty ;-).

We hope everyone had a peaceful and joyful holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa's Watching



This is a neighbor's house I pass on the way to town. I think I'm liking this, Santa facing the house instead of the traditional road view.

"You'd better be good. Santa's watching you."

That's some clever parenting!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Too Busy Bees Office Christmas Party

We are having just unbelievable weather for the end of December. It's 60 degrees today! Rained this morning, but sunny now.

Any time it's over 50 degrees or so, bees will come out of their hives and look around for something to snack on. They also do some some house cleaning too, but we aren't going to talk about that...because that's what I should be doing.



I'd much rather buzz around looking for a snack ;-).

I've been keeping a jar of honey (someone else's, not ours ;-) sitting by the back door. When it gets warm - as it has quite a bit this month - I like to drizzle some along the porch railing and see who shows up.



Honey bees, flies and look at that sporty little bee.





Look at her slurping it up. That's a pretty cool Christmas gift. And I think she's pretty happy about it too! ;-)



But maybe not with her fellow office workers. Must be the accounting department.

"Ai! Get away from my honey!"



Everyone bellying up to the bar for a little holiday cheer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Santa



"All I want for Christmas is a fat [cookie] account and a thin body. Please don't mix them up like you did last year."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Okay, So It Didn't Kill Me

And there's some great footage of our farm and family and they kindly left out the footage of Graham nearly knocking down a $60,000 camera :-).



The Christmas episode of Kentucky Life aired on TV last night. We were away at my parent's 50th anniversary party, but when some messages started coming in about the segment being good, I was relieved, but not too surprised. I knew producer Valerie Trimble would take good care of us.

I really enjoyed working with the entired KET crew. They did a great job putting me and Hank and all of the sheep (except the New York "mafia", apparently hiding out here as part of the Witless Protection Program ;-) at ease. They even shared some handy photography and video tips. It actually was pretty fun.

Update - you can disregard all the instructions below. I think. Here's a direct link that should work.



The show will air again here locally another time or two (schedule), but is also online. Go to http://www.ket.org/kentuckylife/, click on Program 1709 (circled on the screen shot above).



You'll then need to click on Schedule (see screen shot above) and the scroll down in the pop up box to episode 1709 and then click the little eye icon (circled above).

Kentucky Life is an excellent program. I wasn't really familiar with it (?!?) until this all came about, but have started DVRing each episode and am really enjoying learning all sorts of neat stuff about Kentucky and the interesting people living here. To be included in one of the shows? I don't know what to say. Wow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gone Fishin'

See the little dot down by the creek?



That's Eli. Gone fishin'. At least that's what we call it.



He's actually hunting. Or at least that's what he calls it. Looks kind of similar to napping to me ;-).



"Ai! You're blowin' my cover!"



"You've ruined everything!"



Eli? Is that your STOMACH?!? Your six pack abs look more like a keg there, buddy.



"Those are muscles!"



And hair. I have thick hair!



But apparently not thick skin ;-).

Just kidding with you, Eli. Sorry I blew your stealth cover.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

B. Willard B. Well

Poor Willard's been sick. Today is day three. And three days of worry due to some unusual symptoms that weren't getting any better prompted a veterinary team visit.



His breathing has been labored and while that could easily be pneumonia, it could also easily be a sign of something wrong inside making him uncomfortable. After a thorough external exam and finding nothing significant, including clear breathing, they decided to ultrasound him.



They were initially worried that his hair would be a problem, but it turns out his "fat layer" was a bigger issue with getting a clear scan. Willard got by with just a few shaved spots...and a little good natured teasing.



And they found fluid around his lungs and something else that was uneven that showed up on the screen that now I'm so tired I can't really explain (and probably couldn't even if I wasn't tired). A lung problem. That's treatable.

They spent a long time looking at him, discussing what they were seeing, answering my questions... I can't express how much I appreciate all the time and help all of our vets provide. We are so lucky.



And Louann, crouched down on the ground until her legs went numb, never stopped scratching Willard's face, making him feel as good as she could about everything Dr. Barron and Dr. Dortch were doing to him.



Which made me feel as good as I could.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tunes

In case you happen to be looking for the Christmas playlist, I moved it down to the bottom of the page so it would fit better and I could reach the right side scroll bar.

I've enjoyed playing with the playlist. It's a great site, easy to use. I've added as many of my favorite songs as I can find, but there are a few I can't find...if any of you more playlist savvy folks know how to add songs or something.

Christmas by Blues Traveler

Christmas Song by Dave Matthews

The Christmas Tree's On Fire by Holly Golightly

Corn, Water and Wood by Riders in the Sky

A couple by John Denver

Anyway, there are some pretty songs, some funny songs, some rockin' songs, the classic 6-8 Black Men... I've got it set so you only hear it if you want to - just click the arrow and skip around wherever you want...now that you can access the right hand side ;-).

What are your favorite songs? Any recommendations?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Once Upon A Time

When I was first learning to wash fleeces, I was told that rather than pulling all the wool out of the washer to refill the machine with hot water that I could just push the wool over to the far side as it was filling. Yes, that's true. I did it quite a few times. However, the One Time I got side tracked and the machine started agitating... Well, you know what happened.



"You did WHAT to my wool?!?"

It was, of course, a favorite sheep with a favorite fleece (Jester :-o) and even though it only agitated for probably less than a minute, it came out as a big rope of Jacob sheep dreadlocks.

Ruined.

Or was it?



I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. It was Jester after all. And it still was beautiful. It just needed a different job. I often wondered if I had let it agitate a little longer if it would have come out as a solid circle and look like a wool washing machine shaped wreath. I liked the idea, but stewed on it forgot about it for a few years.



I pulled it down out of the loft over the weekend and decided to try wrapping the rope of dreadlocks around a wire wreath form. Perfect!

I anchored it with some yarn - just simply tied a piece around the whole form about every 4-6 inches and snipped the tails. The wool completely hides the yarn.

I then took a felting needle and touched up any spots that looked like they needed it.



I wanted something for the bow that was either wool related or at very least natural looking, rather than plastic/nylon/polyester. This is an old felted (on purpose) sweater...that might look a bit familiar to some of you.



The Jacob sheep horse harness brass was an eBay find I think. That too was several years ago and it has been sitting around waiting for a job as well. Sometimes it pays to hang onto stuff ;-).

I'm not sure if I just got lucky with this or if it's repeatable...on purpose. The wreath is pretty neat though I think and might be a great way to utilize a fleece that wasn't an exceptional spinning fleece. If you try one yourself, let us know if it works!

_____________________________________

Random.org picked #1 in the Christmas card giveaway. Congratulations Susan :-). Drop me an email with your address and I'll get them sent right out...as opposed to the calendars that are still not ready to mail - a stapling issue of some sort. Hang tight!

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