Monday, October 23, 2017

Well It Wasn't An EPIC Fail...

...but if I have to keep explaining that it's two cute sheep, Biscuit and Muffin, eating a pumpkin and NOT a skull...  

By the way, that's Stella in the background wearing a bats in the belfry headpiece, courtesy of Auntie Reg ;-D.

It was another great Pumpkin Party.  This is really a highlight of the year for sure.  The amount of work it takes to put on a party of this size and cook all that good food and set up all the tables and chairs and bring in all the pumpkins and have carving tools and buckets for everyone to share and a big tobacco wagon to display them all and candles to light them...  We have awesome neighbors!

It's a little less scary in the daylight, or porch light.  And now that you know the bottom is a pumpkin and Not Teeth, it totally looks like Biscuit and Muffin...right?

Shirley won the calendar drawing :-D.  I don't think I have your address, so if you could drop me an email I'll get it sent out right away.  And I'm hoping to get the farm shop updated today so if anyone else would like a calendar...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

She's Baaa-aack

After the sheep were shorn back in the spring, the Sheep Chicken* had to stop sleeping on her ledge.  She couldn't get enough traction on the slick sheep backs to make her jumps.  About the time their wool started growing back to an acceptable length, the days got long and hot and the sheep stayed out grazing in the evenings, well past the time when she wanted to go to bed.  

She slept in the coop all long summer.  A week or so ago I noticed she was back on her platform perch.  I caught an occasional picture of her on various sheep's backs, jumping for her ledge, but hadn't had time to post them and then forgot. 

Two nights (or I should say late afternoons - chickens go to bed early!) ago short little Clover Belly followed a couple of the older sheep in hoping for an evening snack.  She didn't get one, but poked around the stalls for a bit looking for anything that might have dropped.

She was standing at the doorway between the inside and outside stalls (the right side of the picture) when the chicken hopped aboard.  She stood there for a couple seconds and then walked straight over to the ledge and the chicken jumped on up.  If you look closely you can see her next to the fan on the back wall. 

Sometimes I just "live in the moment" and watch what goes on without recording it.  Sunrises and sunsets are always better in real life and should sometimes just be enjoyed.  Bees working flowers...well, they are good either way.  A chicken and sheep so deliberately working together, especially one I've never seen helping the chicken before?  I wish I'd turned on the video camera.

*     *     *   In other news  *     *     *

Hank and June are now best friends.  Other than taking a walk yesterday where she shouldn't have, June is doing really, really well.  I'm putting up some more fencing today to hopefully stop her from future exploration missions.  If the Adventure Chickens figure out they could ride her to town... :-o

Cecil Aguilar's been back and made something extra special for us.  I'm telling you, drystone work is like tattoos.  Once you start you can't stop.  I of course took lots of pictures including a very cool one with Eli, who is trying really hard to make the calendar next year.  I'd say things are looking good for him ;-).

Tonight is the big neighborhood Pumpkin Carving Party.  I had planned to try to do a special felted pumpkin to carve, but...I'm now spending my day putting up fence :-/.  At least I can think about my real pumpkin design while I work.  I'm guessing it will be a Biscuit and Muffin design.  Stay tuned!

I don't know how it could possibly be almost the end of October, but it is and next Saturday is National Hug a Sheep Day :-D.  We are once again hosting a farm party to celebrate and would love if everyone could come!  Needless to say if I can't find time to post blog pictures, I probably haven't had time to work on the teleporter either, but June is all about some cookies as are Biscuit and Muffin and Mrs. Pepperpot and everyone else.  It will be a fun afternoon if you can make it :-D.

*     *     *   One more thing   *     *     *

When I was looking for a link for the words "Sheep Chicken" above, I found the post about Baby Belly and Spud helping last year.  I'd forgotten that had been Baby Belly.  Clover Belly is Baby Belly's daughter.  While Muffin may have ditched me and Mrs. Pepperpot, Clover Belly stayed very close to her momma her whole life.  We lost Baby Belly last week.

I am quite sure we don't have even an ounce of understanding about what goes on between animals, especially animals in a close family.  I was amazed that a sheep who I had thought had no previous experience with the chicken routine was helping out.  Now I'm extra amazed.  Remember Tilly stepping up after Iris died?  Something else to ponder while I'm stringing fence today.

SO, as I did with the long post about Tilly, let's see who made it to the end of this epistle.  Leave me a comment saying which sheep you'd love to hug most and I'll have 20 draw for a winner at the end of the weekend.  There's a 2018 Farm Calendar in it for the winner :-).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Well, It's Not Just Me

I think I've mentioned how all the girl bottle lambs move out of the house and out to the barn and immediately forget they ever loved and needed you more than anything in the world.  The boys?  They never completely grow up.  

I've tried to tell myself that I just raise strong girls who are ready for the real world and hit the ground running.  I do think that's a fair assessment, but I raise the boys the same though and I am having to stand next to Biscuit while he eats now (without the creep feeder) so he feels confident and stays focused ;-).

I peeked around the corner of the barn at lunchtime and saw Biscuit and Mrs. Pepperpot side by side and assumed Muffin was just a little further around the corner...

...or halfway done the barn (!).  That's her next to Bullwinkle at the end of the blue gate, sassily chewing cud with her back to her long suffering momma.  

Poor Mrs. Pepperpot. At least she still has Biscuit.  Those boys won't let you down ;-).

Monday, October 16, 2017

The First Official Meet And Greet

There had been an accidental meet and greet a couple months ago when I'd not latched a gate all the way and the two lambs gleefully bounced out into the big flock with Mrs. Pepperpot having a stroke racing along behind them trying to fight anyone daring to get close to Muffin.  The "official" meet and greet went much smoother.  

As I'd mentioned before, Muffin just marched on out into the main flock like she'd been there all along.  Mrs. Pepperpot still wasn't thrilled, but there was no stopping her bold baby.

Biscuit was a bit more backward reserved, but B. Willard, who'd been a bottle lamb many years ago, helped him feel welcome.

Mrs. Pepperpot finally caught up with Muffin and then gathered Biscuit to get them both to "safety".

"I'm coming.  Waaait!"

But not far enough away.  Here comes Tara.

"Don't get in a punching match with a sheep with horns, Biscuit."

"Uh oh, I can't believe he did that.  I'm probably going to have to go break this up. That boy will never grow up."

She didn't.  Everyone got along fine.  It was getting late when I finally was able to let them out (the night before June came) so we only stayed out for a little while and then the three came back out for dinner and bed.  I have one more group of pictures to share and then we should be almost sort of caught up.  For now.  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happier Hank

"What's the matter, Hank?"  

"Everything.  I need a tummy rub."

"Sorry Miss June, but it's Hank's turn."

"Can you believe that?  That guy is so mean, talking to that other dog and not me."

"This place is (yawn) terrible."

Hank loves everyone, but he especially loves Saint Tim :-).  

Just making sure June knows he's getting all the attention.  June's not losing any sleep over it ;-).

"I think I need some more tummy rubbing."

And that's why Saint Tim is his favorite ;-).

Before you feel too sorry for June, she'd already had a turn ;-).

Flock dogs are endlessly fascinating.  While many people have seen border collies working, herding sheep under direction of a shepherd, the only way you could get a taste of how livestock guardian dogs work would be to live with them.  I love the teams of guardian dogs at The Training Center and Final Frontier Farm.

The first night June was here we heard Hank and June barking together out back.  When the coyotes started calling last night I woke hearing June barking in the side field, up near the road.  Hank was barking out back.  They'd divided up and put the sheep, in the barn, between them.  Teamwork!

In the past Hank would have had to work the back AND the front.  It's not like this is big open range, but that's still a big job traveling back and forth.  This morning when I walked out to let the chickens out I quietly peeked around the back of the barn.  Both dogs were sound asleep together in the barn lot about 25 feet apart :-).  

I did morning chores about an hour later and Hank seemed much happier this morning.  He finally allowed himself to slip out the gate to make his normal yard check and then a big loop out back and I think that helped as well.  We've had everyone closed into the arena, barn lot and side field so we can keep a close eye on everything for a few days.  

I think life is starting to settle back down.  For everyone.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Meet June

While it seems impossible that Hank is nine...even though it also seems like he's been here forever...Hank is nine...and it's time to think about bringing along the next generation of farm security.  

I was hoping to wait another year or twelve, but the point was made that it would be best to do this before Hank got too old and then a situation presented itself that seemed like a gift from the dog gods and, well, meet June.

June is a 6 1/2 month old Anatolian Shepherd.

She loves sheep.

Even, I think, our Very Opinionated Sheep.

This afternoon.

Checking in with Hank.

I've had several questions about how Maisie likes her.  You can tell by her face that she is not a big fan.  I was surprised by that as she loves Hank.  She might come around...but it might take some time, sort of like cookie eating* ;-).

I'm honestly not really sure how Hank feels about her.  In the beginning I think he was excited to have some company, but he was also a little concerned about her around his sheep and watched her pretty intently all day.  Today he didn't worry about her much at all, but did seem maybe a little miffed that she was still here.  

She's very good around the sheep so I think that's reassured him safety-wise.  We've tried to make sure he knows he's still very special and loved and he and Saint Tim had a big tummy rub session this evening and that cheered him up quite a bit.   He's run this farm by himself for almost nine years.  Change is hard.  But change is frequently good.  Right, Maisie?  ;-)

*Maisie has refused to eat cookies her whole life (almost five years) and just when I was thinking I needed to get a video of her torpedo-ing a cooking out of her mouth...she decided to prove me wrong and start eating them.  She probably still hates cookies, but thinks that's funny.    

Play Quietly Amongst Yourselves...Everyone

If you are following our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feeds (links on the right), you know about Biscuit and Muffin's Integration Day and have also met June.  I have a bunch of cute and funny pictures of Biscuit and Muffin goofing around the other night and I'm hoping to get some June pictures today if it dries out some.  

In 25 (or so) words or less, Muffin marched right into the flock like she owned it.  Biscuit is happiest right by my side, but he's doing okay mixing in, too.  June is doing everything right and other than being a little confused/concerned with letting a dog in with his sheep and figuring out dinner time, Hank is pretty happy with her and they've had some good romps and naps and we heard them both woofing together out back last night.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the other night.  Biscuit has always been a good great jumper.  The highest jumping lamb we've had.  It's his super power :-).  I'm glad I caught this and just wish it was a split second later when he was at full height, way higher than Muffin's back!

I made a puzzle from this and at first cropped off some of the grass so there wasn't So Much Green, but it made his jump appear smaller and that took some of the fun away and moms always put their kids first and in the best light so you'll just have to slog through some green ;-).  There is also a new puzzle from one of those cute pictures of 20 at the festival to keep you busy while we catch our breath here.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

20's Favorite Part Of The Festival

Well, besides all the great hugs :-). 

Several cities in the area have showcased painted animals in years past.  Cincinnati did pigs, Lexington did horses...   The Pendleton County Tourism Council hosted sheep for their Ewe-nique Art Walk a couple weeks before the wool festival this year.  They were fabulous!  20 took a few minutes before the gates opened on Sunday to get a closer look.

Speaking of gates, at one point I looked over (the sheep were across from the Wool Tent) and noticed the gate into their pen was open.  I had a moment of panic and almost jumped up and ran over...and then remembered they weren't real sheep.  I'm going to blame that on lack of sleep, not any sort of experience I might have with gates being left open around here ;-).

*     *     *     *     *

Thank you for all the kind comments about the booth!  The wreaths, pins and pumpkins are all sold out right now, but I'm going to do my best to get some more made to add to the farm shop as soon as possible.  I still have a couple loose ends to tie up from the festival and another Really Big Project in the works :-o.  Hopefully things will settle down by next week.

Stop laughing.  It's really not funny ;-).

Monday, October 9, 2017

The 2017 Kentucky Wool Festival

Well, another Kentucky Wool Festival is in the books.  Whew!  This was probably my favorite booth set up to date.  Or I should say booth design.  The set up was as brutal as always :-o.  A huge thanks to Auntie Reg and Uncle John for all their help.  Setting up a festival booth is not for the faint of heart!

The weather was atrocious - upper 80s on Friday and Saturday and then deluge rains on Sunday.  Still, the crowds were heavy (even in the rain!) and they were happily spending money, which was a huge relief.  Maintaining a flock of increasingly aging sheep is not for the faint of wallet and we desperately needed a good show.  Thank you!!!

Here are a few booth shots.  

Can I say once again, Thank You, Auntie Reg!  Not only do you keep everything running smoothly, but you are a great salesperson.  I am Not Good at self promotion.  It was a huge relief to hear you covering that awkward part for me.

I've never tried to make something like felted wool pumpkins before.  If I'd had any idea how cute these would turn out, I'd have been trying to make them all summer.  They sold out quickly and I was sad to see them go, but I can make more and that bushel basket paid for 83 bales of hay :-D.

There were some funny votes for sheep throughout the weekend.  It was pretty much a toss up between "Maisie" and "Everyone because I can't pick a favorite."  I guess because a vote for everyone includes a vote for Maisie, we'll let her think she "won".  The prize for playing was a packet of farm note cards.  

The fleeces inside the booth were from the Christmas Lamb Camp lambs, just recently shorn.  This was one of my favorites.  

Tavia was the festival's "cover sheep" this year.

I think the wool wreaths were very pretty.  That is Petunia on the left and Blossom on the right.

I made some Biscuit and Muffin Christmas ornaments that look like the Tour de Fleece ravatar.  Instead of grazing on clover, they are eating hay...since that's what they'd be eating at Christmas time :-).

I really like the new small tote bags.  I really like the original bags, too, but since Biscuit, Muffin, Mrs. Pepperpot and the Ts weren't on there...  

A few felted sheep.

And a few you can wear :-).

If you saw the new table cloth at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival in May, you may remember that only baby Biscuit was looking at the spinning wheel.  I can no longer think of Biscuit without Muffin, so even though she wasn't technically here when she was a tiny baby, she was already in our hearts so I painted her on :-).

I have some cute 20 pictures to share tomorrow.  For now I'm signing off and heading to bed.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Favorite Sheep Is...

I always love it when someone stops by a festival booth and tells me they enjoy reading the blog.  I could look up the computer stats to see if people are still reading, but a personal comment is always more fun.  For extra fun this year we have a small gift for anyone stopping by.  

I tried to figure out a way to link this "coupon" as a downloadable file, but that seems to be above my pay grade.  You could do a screen shot and print it that way I guess, but I'm going to draw on one of my favorite/most useful Homer Simpson lines "Can't someone else do it?"  Someone meaning Saint Tim ;-).

If you are as non-techy as I am and can't figure out how to print your own coupon, I'll have a stack of them available in the booth.  Stop by this weekend and say hi and vote for Maisie your favorite sheep.  


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