Thursday, March 31, 2016

Babysitters


This momma does not have four lambs.  Only two of those are hers.  She's babysitting the other two and she's got them all working towards...


...taking a nap.  The first picture was taken at 1:29 and this picture was taken at 1:31.  Little lambs go down fast :-).


And now you can see who belongs to who.  It's good to have a twin :-).


"Were you twp good for the babysitter?"


Some ewes just drop them off at the nearest hay bale ;-).  Wouldn't it be great to be curled up next to these two cuties, napping in the warm spring sun?

The Training Center, Cynthiana, Kentucky


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

King Of The Bale



"How'd you get all the way up there?"



"Hey, I think your mom's calling you!"



"Coming, momma!"

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tales Of The Tails


This is one of my favorite ewes.  I think she's very "handsome".  I'm not saying that in any sort of derogatory way.  While she's not exactly "feminine and petite", she's a ewe I always see and think "now that's a nice ewe".  If I was building a ewe flock, I'd want her in there.  And she raises nice lambs.


Look at that tail spinning.  When lambs are latched on and nursing well, their tails goes crazy.  If you see a lamb looking like it's nursing or trying to nurse, but no tail action, be suspicious of a problem.


Round and round they go!


And mom is not complaining.  She's actually just calmly chewing her cud while she lets her lambs fill up.  Isn't she a nice ewe? :-)


The Training Center, Cynthiana, Kentucky.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sheep TV...Part Two

They were watching Annmarie bring in some new lambs from the field!

Ewes have the option of lambing out in the field at The Training Center and most seem to prefer to do so.  This works out well because they can get off by themselves if they want to and the grass that gets "sterilized" by the sun is usually "cleaner" than a barn.  Of course this is only helpful if the weather is warm and sunny, as so many of our spring days have been this year.

Once the momma has had a chance to settle in and clean up her new lambs, they are moved into small "jug" pens in the sheep barn so they can be monitored for the first several days.  It's important to make sure the ewe has enough milk, has no complications from delivery, loves and bonds with her lambs, the lambs are healthy and strong, they can get tagged and recorded...

Moving lambs and their mom out of the field can be a bit complicated.  It's important to not stress them any more than you absolutely have to.  If you only need to move them a short distance, you can pretty easily pick up the lambs and carry them into the barn.  It's important to carry them down near the ground though so the ewe can see them.  Since "lambs can't fly", she'd never think to look up for them and can panic.  

If you have to cover some distance or the ewe has twins or triplets, the trip in from the field can become quite a challenge.  Annmarie's golf cart set up is perfect.  You pick up the lambs and secure them in a small dog crate that is attached to a low step at the back of the cart.  The cage is low enough that's it's easy for the ewe to see and hear her lambs and she'll follow them right down to the barn.



Escorted by a loyal guardian dog :-).


And her hard working flock dog, Shep, who watches carefully from inside the golf cart.


You can see how carrying them this low, even when they are smaller than these large lambs, could be hard, especially if you are lambing lots of ewes.  I love the expression on Sam's face :-).


"See momma, here they are.  Let's go on into the barn."


Well, after we take a couple quick shots of an exceptionally colorful lambie ;-).

The very best time of the year!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

All Together Now





Awwwwwww :-)


LAMB CAMP!!!


"Lamb Camp?"


"What's Lamb Camp?"


Just the very best time of the year :-D.


These are some of the good mommas and babies at The Training Center in Cynthiana, Kentucky.


Lots of colorful lambs this year!


"My personality is colorful!"


Charlie, another good guardian dog.



I love these two lambies and took several cute shots of them.  More tomorrow!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Morning After

Of course it cooled off right after shearing, that afternoon in fact. The next morning everyone was out soaking up some heat from the sun. I sat out with them for awhile and then went back for my camera. It was a very nice morning.


Handsome Ewen


B. Willard


Napping Andy


"Can you believe all the things that she says I say???"



That's not Liddy's coffee ;-).


Comby


The only shearing tragedy - Woolliam's cool hair :-(.


Keebler lost his 'do too, but it was on purpose.


Taking good care.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Under The Burled Arch...Sort Of


Although 20 and I didn't technically complete our Iknitarod goal, we did create a Baaxter memento and finished before the Red Lantern.  And while a sweater would have been nice and a great challenge, a Baaxter Blanket will probably get more use, so I think it's a win :-).


Like Maisie last year, Baaxter seemed to know this was something special.  There is no way (I don't think) that he could smell that it was his wool because I washed it in Mrs. Meyer's lavender laundry soap and fabric softener, but look how carefully he checked it all out.


The small white stripe on each end is to match his frosted ear tips.  I had "a plan" for that and wove it in the front as plain weave where I would hem stitch the fringe.  It looked awful with two colors mixed into the stitched binding.  

I thought I had a different binding figured out that I would do after it came off the loom, so I wove on (with confidence ;-).  As I reached the end I wove the gray in to match the front...and I still didn't like it.   I stewed on it for a day or so while helping the shearers and came up with a "new plan".

I didn't like the look of the plain weave (over one, under one, over one...) and realized I should have woven it as twill like the rest of the blanket (diagonal lines, like the weave of your blue jeans).  It wasn't hard to un-weave the back and fix that stripe, but now the front and the back didn't match.  

Everything you do weaving is easier while the project is under tension.  There's not really a good way to go back to the beginning and put it back under tension (that I know of) but I anchored it as well as I could over the back of the loom and picked out the first eight rows.  I then re-wove the matching twill patterning and color with a needle.  


Checking out all the nooks and crannies.


Even the fringe.  Baaxter is definitely knit/weave worthy (meaning he appreciates what we did ;-).


Here it is just off the loom.  Notice how distinct (almost rough) each strand looks?  It's also pretty loose, like you could pretty easily poke your finger through it.  Weaving is not technically finished into "cloth" until it's fulled.  I full my weaving in the washing machine by putting it in fairly warm water with a little detergent and let it agitate for 30 seconds at a time until it looks and feels "right", in this case two minutes total.


Hopefully you can see that the material has firmed up and fuzzed up and is soft, squishy and warm.  The color is off in the "sunlight" photos.  The picture with 20 shows it the most accurately.  And speaking of colors, can you believe how gray Baaxter's gotten :-o.  


Baaxter and his buddies lost interest pretty quickly, but look who else came over to see it!


Liddy will definitely be knit-worthy :-).  She and Baaxter were the only two sheep to show any interest.  I think that's interesting.


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