Tuesday, November 20, 2018

[Sheep] Business Saturday


Because shopping with Maisie is way more
...um...interesting than going to the mall!



We are developing an exciting new program here in the commonwealth (Kentucky is a commonwealth, not a state), The Kentucky Fiber Trail.  Kentucky is already well known for it's Bluegrass Trail (horse farms) and Bourbon Trail.  Now you can discover fiber farms throughout the state as well!  


Okay, so let's set up an event and give this a try!  Our farm shop (and barnyard) will be open this Saturday from 1:00-4:30 for Small Business Saturday.  We'll call it Sheep Business Saturday :-D.  

We'll have calendars, fleeces, roving, spindle kits, Christmas cards and ornaments, wool sheep pins, a few wool wreaths, maybe some felted sheep and for fun, let's make Maisie Orneries!  I'll have a basket of "Ornery"  supplies set out and teach you how to make your own wool roving wrapped ornament.  

So, come hide out (bring your wheel! :-) on the farm with us this Saturday and take care of all your sheep and fiber-y gift giving needs.  We promise you won't be mobbed by fellow shoppers...unless you have cookies ;-).  If you need directions, just drop me an email.  


Monday, November 19, 2018

The 2019 Calendars

How on earth can it be almost 2019?!?  I remember back in grade school being asked to figure out how old we'd be in 2000.  It was a legitimate math problem!  Boy, 2000 seemed so far away.  2000 stills seems so far away...but in the other direction :-o. When I added the page for the upcoming 2020 year...I don't know...that was a shock.



If you are crabby about the cold and snow, you can have a laugh being crabby with Baaxter...who really doesn't mind the cold...he just likes looking crabby ;-).


As always, lots of little pictures.


And dear old friends.


Large and small.




The Lamb Camp calendars have...lots of lambs :-).


Favorite lambs.


Bewildered lambs.


Chocolate lambs.


And angelic lambs :-).

Hopefully there are still a few folks out there who haven't already bought a 2019 calendar.  Sorry to be slow getting these posted.  I appreciate the kind folks who have emailed asking about them and we surely appreciate the support.  Each calendar pays for at least two bales of hay for the winter...and the sheep surely appreciate that!  Saint Tim's back...maybe not so much ;-).

Prices are still $12.50 for the farm calendar and $10 for the Lamb Camp calendar.  If you'd like to purchase, please shoot me an email and tell me what you'd like to order and where you'd like it shipped.  Looks like postage is going to run around $7.25 for a flat rate padded mailer.  

If you are local, or somewhat local, (or looking for a fun road trip :-) and are interested in coming out to the farm to do some holiday shopping, we are hosting a Small Business Saturday event...this Saturday...from 1:00 to 4:30.  I'll share more about that tomorrow.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sheep To Shawl

Oops, I'd forgotten we'd taken these pictures at the end of October :-o.  Probably better to show them for Wovember anyway.  That would be rationalized procrastination ;-).


"Hey, Baba?  Would you mind if we took some pictures of you and the shawl I spun and wove from your fleece?"


"I've got cookies :-)."


"Those are pretty good cookies, so...sure."

This would be a perfect shot...if she wasn't chewing :-o.


"You made this from my wool?"

"Yep."


"That's actually pretty cool!"


It's very cool!

I always love to see what kbdoolin has made, especially when it comes from our flock. Just beautiful, Karen! 


Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Few More


Early in the summer I started taking pictures from the porch swing as I ate breakfast each morning.  They became the #porchpicturedujour on Instagram.  I worried the pictures were too repetitive, but they were hugely popular and I even had several folks ask if they could go sit on the porch when they were here for the Hug A Sheep Day farm party.  I love that :-).  

With the days being short, it's too dark to sit outside and eat breakfast, unless I sleep in, so now I'm trying a #barnshotoftheday.  Again, really repetitive, but if you watch for the subtle differences, it's kind of fun :-).  


The bright green is where the underground spring(s?) lives.  I keep contemplating the size of the area.  I thought I knew where the spring ran...but this is a big area, seemingly far enough away that it should be snow covered.  Wouldn't still warm(ish) ground be a better insulated than water logged ground?  What does this mean?  Those sorts of thoughts...which are not nearly as interesting as the sunrise on Hank's face. 


Liddy is as wide as she is long...and am I'm not sure that's all wool :-o.


This would seem to be just a picture of a sheep and his guardian dog, but here is "the rest of the story."  Rocky and Jared had been breeding rams for 10 years.  They'd lived together, but separated from their main flocks except for six weeks or so during breeding season each year, until they moved here.  

They had their own routine that didn't always mesh with the rest of our flock.  In the heat of summer, our main flock would go out in the early morning and again in the cool of the evening.  Rocky and Jared thought that was silly and they'd come and go all day long.  They didn't mind leaving the flock.  They'd spent their whole lives away from the flock.

I'm not sure if Hank hated that they didn't stay with everyone else or maybe they reminded him or Hickory and T-Bone (who he really hated) grazing out front together and then coming back to the barn, too close to his sheep, or maybe he just flat out hated Rocky and Jared on general purposes (they did try to steal his food once).  

Regardless, there were two or three months of high discord around here.  Rocky and Jared would go out to eat, they'd try to come back to the barn, I would try to watch for them and escort them past Hank, but if I wasn't around to do that, Hank would see them coming and lose his ever loving mind, then I'd lose my ever loving mind...all the while thinking "I am starting to hate a dog I thought the world of" and that was one more loss of a good friend this summer that I just couldn't bear.

I'm not sure why things finally settled down, but they finally did.  I do know Hank stopped to stand there next to Jared yesterday.  Jared looked up for a second, but wasn't concerned and went back to eating.  Were they just greeting each other?  Reminding each other of their places?  Or just randomly stopped.  I don't know, but I thought enough about it all summer that I'm just going to go back to thinking about the green grass over the spring...


...while "old" Hank continues on his rounds, taking good care of all of his sheep.

Here's a new puzzle for you.  

Enjoy :-)


Friday, November 16, 2018

Fall Snow

For anyone keeping score at home, this is actually the second snow.  Neither has been very "big", but if it snows enough that I'm excited about it, I'm counting it as a snow!  Maybe these were mildly foggy mornings back in August ;-).

I was walking around the barn trying to figure out a way to take a cell phone picture that really showed how pretty it was this morning, not having any luck, grumbling to myself, "This is one of the many bad things about not blogging enough - no good camera pictures anymore."

...um...

...hel-lo!  If you took 14 steps to the right, you could go pick up your very lonely camera from the Wool House...

...oh...yeah... (insert eye rolling emoticon)


Burrnie looks like he has a posse!


Spud in the foreground, Jared and Tavia, one of his many "girlfriends", on the left.  Jared is still quite the ladies man even after being 'tutered this summer.


From a slightly different angle.


A new favorite picture (and puzzle :-).  I couldn't have captured the colors this well with my phone, hel-LO!  Sigh... 


I took about 20 pictures of Muffin eating a leaf.  Want to see them?  Oh, Muuufffiin ;-).


"Muffin, Muffin, Muffin.  Who wants to see a billion pictures of Muffin eating a stupid leaf!"


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Wovember - Day One - What Wool Means To Me


Today starts my favorite month, Wovember, aka Wool for November. Daughter of a Shepherd is hosting this year’s month long Instagram photo challenge and the prompt for day one is “What wool means to me.” One picture to represent what wool means to me… I can’t figure out what to do for that. 

Wool means sheep. I have young sheep, old sheep, white sheep, colored sheep, favorite sheep, sheep I’ve thought of strangling on occasion, sheep I’m having trouble living without. I have certain sheep I can identify just by burying my nose in their wool (That's a good thing! :-).

Wool means work. I’ve spent much of the last week washing and picking the last of this year’s fleeces and then taking them to the mill to be processed. My feet and back have not forgotten. I’ve got a market day coming up and holiday orders are coming in. Thankfully the mowing season is over.

Wool means care. You can’t raise good wool without good care. Care of the sheep themselves of course, but also the land and facilities they utilize. I think you also have to care about the care you are giving. It’s hard to trek out to the barn for a night check in the pouring rain. It helps to care about why you are doing that.

Wool means friendship. I have shepherd friends and spinner friends (who helped wash and pick fleeces with me this week!), beloved sheep shearers, good vets (who I probably know too well :-o), wool festival partners, yarn shop owners, feed producers, post office clerks…

Wool means learning. I’ve been washing fleeces for 15 years and learned a new trick last week. I picked up a new weaving tip yesterday. I’ve had sheep for 26 years and I learned something new at the beginning shepherd workshop I attended last month. I took a sheep to town a couple days ago and learned something interesting about flock behavior.

Wool means pride. When I wear a sweater I’ve spun and knit from a sheep I’ve raised from lamb, I’m proud of the work I’ve done and, of course, the sheep itself. “This is Maisie. This is B. Willard…” I get the same joy from seeing other people’s dedicated work.

Wool, let’s be honest, means how I’ll pay for my winter hay each year. How I pay our vets and sheep shearer. How I pay the feed mill. How we keep the cozy fire burning in the Wool House and on a good year, contribute to a month or two of the farm mortgage.

Wool is my life. Wool is laughter and tears, sore muscles and aching backs. Wool is snuggly lamb naps in the kitchen and sitting with the adult flock under a shady tree. Wool is standing on the hillside with the guardian dog while coyotes call out back. Wool is sweat in the summer and warm sweaters in the winter. Wool is sheep.

Since I can’t figure out what photo would best illustrate the prompt, here’s a picture of a freshly washed fleece currently drying in the Wool House. This is Petunia. She’s very soft and fine and still a lovely moorit color even at her age. While she would not be a first choice for me to spin (I like coarser wools), she’s a very favorite sheep and I’ll enjoy spinning some of this for a lacy shawl, having some processed for someone else to spin and probably make a wool wreath or two…to help keep the lights on.

* * * * *

I don't know that I'll repost each daily prompt over here, so if you are interested in following along, please join me on Instagram :-).


Halloween Or April Fools Day?

Monday evening the Cynthiana Dairy Queen held a Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest as a fundraiser for the Harrison County Humane Society.  I couldn't resist.  

My original plan was to take sweet little Liddy dressed as a pumpkin.  That would have been easy.  She's quiet and kind and walks on a leash and wouldn't have minded (too much) being dressed up as a pumpkin.  Somehow that plan got changed to taking Maisie.  Dressed as a devil.  To Dairy Queen.  

Yeah...

Tim's first question was "What are you going to do when she hurts someone?"  Not if...when.  I stewed about it for a couple weeks and finally came up with what I decided would be the safest plan for everyone involved.  We had two different types of halters packed, a collar and leash, a set of panels to make a secure pen if needed, cookies, Cheerios and her entourage. 


This is what walked out of the trailer (cue angelic music).

Maisie not only rode over there like a champ, tolerated her costume (she has a bow tie and a devil tail as well as her horns), stood quietly while we waited in line, walked up to the patio (she's never been trained to lead!), through the crowd, stood for her interview, walked off the patio, posed for some pictures and then back onto the trailer.

The devil went to Dairy Queen!






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I'd like to think Maisie knew she was doing all this to help other animals, but I'm guessing it was more that we just got lucky ;-)  However, always remember to support your local humane societies not just at Howl-a-ween, but throughout the year.  They need all the help they can get.  Sometimes even just a couple cans of wet kitten food makes a big difference.

Happy Halloween!


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