Thursday, January 31, 2019

Tough Old Ladies


We hit -1 around 6:00 a.m.  We've had colder nights over the years, but not with so many elderly sheep, cats, dogs and chickens.  The wind during the day yesterday was brutal, but thankfully it died down in the evening and the 10:00 barn check wasn't bad at all.  There is a fun video over on Instagram, but it will only stay up for 24 hours :-(.

I'd put up heavy plastic on the west side of Easy Breezy and closed their door.  That helped a bunch with the wind and I did several hay feedings throughout the day.  Allie is going to be 15 this spring and is horribly thin.  Even though she assured me she was Just Fine Thank You, I felt better putting a coat on her.  

Does it look familiar?  

 


Remember dear old Miss Ewenice taking such good care of new arrival Renny?  Remember Renny's story?  Well, only newer readers won't remember her story.  

Hard to believe Renny is in the Easy Breezy pen now.  Not that she's exceptionally old and definitely not because she's thin, but because the other side of the barn all slopes downhill and her injured legs are starting to give her some trouble.  EB walks out onto a flat paddock.

When I put her old blanket on Allie I wondered what she would think.  Would she remember it?  She didn't.  She was scared of it.  Or of Allie wearing it.  None of the other sheep cared.  I wonder if they remembered seeing that blanket years ago?  Renny wouldn't have actually seen it, wearing it...

Speaking of blasts from the past, Allie is one of Elizabeth's daughters, from well before the blog.  Her sister Amy is still living as well, over at the original Crazy Sheep Lady's farm, and she, too, is wearing a coat this winter.  

All those tough old ladies :-).


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Well, What Do You Know...

I mentioned that now that the folk art winter/holiday farm scene Christmas painting series is "complete" that I wanted to try something new for the upcoming year.  I love watercolor paintings, so that is definitely on the list.  

I went online looking for some painting tutorials.  You can learn to do most anything on YouTube, including how to operate a skid steer...but that's a story for another day ;-).  For now I'd love to be able to learn to paint watercolor pictures of our sheep.

There are millions of painting videos out there.  There are even several specifically for painting sheep.  How about that?  There is even one teaching how to paint a specific sheep.  What?  And that specific sheep?  Does this big brown sheep look familiar?


Well, hello there, Count Chocula!

While I wish the artist had asked for permission to use my pictures and kindly given a photo credit, we've been in contact and she's working on correcting that.  In the meantime, if I want to learn how to paint one of our sheep, it's pretty hard to beat a video of someone actually painting one of our sheep!

I'm always happy for blog readers to use my photographs as screen savers, inspiration, educational purposes...  Obviously if someone wants to use a picture for commercial purposes, that is a different story.  I'm easy to work with though, just ask :-).

Actually, speaking of commercial purposes, there are 4 Lamb Camp calendars and 9 farm calendars left...if anyone is still needing a 2019 calendar.  Sale price of $7.50 and $9.50 sound okay?


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

That's Using Your Head


This was yesterday morning.  It was cold, but sunny and no wind, so...perfect!  Today it's "warm", windy and rainy and the blue skies and white snow have been replaced by...you guessed it...more mud.

While this looks like a rather boring picture, there's more to the story.  If you look closely (sorry it's so dark), Frankie is laying down sleeping in his stall.  Right near the front, overlooking his hillside.  Altogether now...aww...isn't he cute :-).  Let me back up a bit.  

When the temps drop into the single digits, I don't even try to start the old ATV that pulls the small manure spreader.  The manure freezes as well, so even if you could go out and spread it on the fields, the frozen chunks stick together, hit the tines and fly out, usually aimed at the back of your head.

I'd turned Frankie out 24/7 so he could keep moving around all night and stay warmer.  I still fed him in his stall though and was keeping an eye on it.  If it got too messy, I could always pile it up and then spread it after it warmed up.  I was happy to see it was staying clean, thinking he was just pooping outside.

Yesterday morning, as I walked past all the open stalls to carry his hay down to the end of the barn so he could eat next to his sheep friends, I just happened to glance into Hank's stall, the middle one.  It was completely buried in poop.  Frankie had using Hank's stall as his litter box, keeping his own stall nice and tidy.

Poor Hank...but I've got to give Frankie credit for using his head...to be a bit of a butt ;-D


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Frankie's Flock

While most of our friends were getting copious amounts of snow yesterday, we were getting a demoralizing amount of rain...yet again. This is the worst mud I've ever dealt with.  Everyone living in town is complaining about the cold.  Anyone on a farm is happy that at least the mud is frozen this morning.


Normally I don't blanket horses unless the forecast calls for something like freezing rain and brutally low temps.  If they have a good hair coat and enough body fat, they are just fine as long as they have plenty of hay, some shelter and a way to get out of the wind.  

Frankie had been living in a closed up barn all winter and came "down south" with very little winter hair.  Even on days I think he should be fine, he's been cold.  Saint Tim put some plywood up on the north side of his run in stall and that has helped a bunch, but he needs and wants his winter blanket, now blankets.  

I picked up a second blanket yesterday because I knew his green blanket, even though water proof, was going to be miserable after all that rain.  His back was still warm and dry, but all around his neck and shoulders he was soaked.  The new blanket fits a little bit better I think.  

I've had several questions about if Frankie is going to get a horse buddy.  He will, but it won't be until late spring.  I will definitely go back up to New Vocations, but it will have to be after winter when everyone is safely back out grazing up there and the mud has dried up here.  

In the meantime, Frankie likes hanging out with the sheep and as long as there's a fence between them, the sheep are happy to hang out with Frankie.  Actually, many of them were fine eating with Hickory and T-Bone, but now that Hank's getting old, I'm not going to ask him to deal with that. 

Hank actually seems a bit more relaxed, well, not relaxed, but maybe accepting of Frankie.  The original plan was to let Frankie out during the day and put him up at night so Hank could have free access to  work the front field at night without stress, but horses are warmer out moving around rather than standing still in a stall.

As we head down into the single digits over the next few days, I think I'm going to let Frankie come and go as he pleases, even at night.  He'll be warmer, can hang out over the fence with his sheep friends and I think Hank will be okay with all that.  

Stay warm out there!  Hey, and go out there.  It's really not that bad once you get moving around ;-).  But if you want to stay in, there's a new puzzle for you :-).


Friday, January 18, 2019

When We Last Saw Our Heroine

...because, oh yes, you KNOW it's going to be Maisie ;-)...


"Maisie!  How did you end up on the wrong side of the fence all by yourself?"


"Wrong side of...wait...what?"


"Oh, bleep.  How did this happen?"


At this point I can't decide if she's scared or embarrassed, but she is headed out!  I assumed she was  just going to rejoin the rest of the sheep...


...but she sashayed on past them...


...tail swinging...


...as sassy as you can imagine...


...all the way back to the barn...by herself.

"I'm taking my dishes and dolls and I'm going home!"

Yet another reason (in a long list) why we all love the little darlin' :-D.  Go back and biggify the closer up pictures.  That mouth...one more reason ;-).


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Forced Out Into The Wilds

If you are following along on Instagram, you saw the picture of Jared staring forlornly at the closed gate to the front field yesterday.  It's closed so that no one, mostly Hank, has to worry about any sheep/horse/dog conflicts, and fer cryin' out loud, Jared, there are 20 other acres of this farm to go out and enjoy!







I have a funny picture story coming tomorrow (fingers crossed).  There is a clue in this last picture ;-).  In the meantime, here's a new puzzle.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Friends...With Assigned Seats


Remember how I painted all the Jacobs sleeping together on the right side of the barn in the Christmas card?  They really do all tend to sleep there.  There actually being the aisleway stall...which is the furthest to the right in real life.

Blossom is sleeping in there with them right now.  She picks a spot for awhile, then moves to another spot and then when she's tired of that spot she moves again...  I should keep a note of how many days she stays each place, just for curiosity.  The "T" in this picture is not actually a "T".  That's Clover Belly.  

Clover Belly stayed with her mom, Baby Belly, her whole life, the way Muffin did with Mrs. Pepperpot.  After Baby Belly passed, Clover Belly just sort of drifted.  No one ever picked on her (Baby Belly saw to that early on ;-), but she didn't really seem to have any close friends.  

I'm not sure why that was and I don't want to speculate on all the reasons that might factor in.  I'm just happy to see six T's now, whether out in the field or napping together in the sunshine.  It's nice to know which table you are going to sit at for lunch every day :-). 

Don't get excited.  It's not sunny here.  I took this picture last week before the weather changed.  Sigh...


Monday, January 14, 2019

The Corner


All the horses have loved this low corner of the front field.  It's nice to see Frankie out there.  It was his first day in the "big field".  He'll sleep well tonight ;-).


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How YOU Doin'?


Jared.  Jared, Jared, Jared...  

I was there for his 'tutering so I know he's not able to breed anymore, but since he slept through it, maybe he doesn't know?  Jared has sweet talked every ewe...over and over...all fall...and he's still at it!  It's a good thing I didn't how much I'd love this silly old guy back then or I'd have been sorely tempted to have a couple Jared babies this spring :-o.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Dead, Dying Or Asleep?

This may just be weird shepherd humor, but there is a thing (is it called a meme?) on Twitter where people post a picture of a sheep laying out, usually in the sun, and tag it "dead, dying or asleep?".  Those are pretty safe to click on because it's done to be funny, not shock people ;-).

I spend much of my day and even one last time before I go to bed, peeking in on everyone to make sure everybody's okay.  When I looked down the barn aisle, into the arena where Frankie was turned out on Saturday and didn't see him anywhere, I immediately walked out to get a closer look.


Since it was a warm, sunny morning, I felt pretty sure he was just cashed out asleep, but still...


Laying there flat out on the ground with his knocked over water bucket, it sure looks like it could be a bad scene.


"I'm okay!"


"I was just resting my eyes."


I felt bad that I'd woken him up.  Heck, I'd have loved to have been out there sleeping as well...except for all the mud.  I am always happy to see an animal lay down to sleep here.  They don't do that unless they feel safe and secure :-).


Something else not dead is my camera!  I'm thinking Frankie must have loaned me one of his old horse shoes.  The saying around here when you get by with something you really shouldn't have is "You must have a horse shoe up your ****!"  The saying when you do something you really shouldn't is "You need a foot up your ****!"  

I apparently need both!



Saturday, January 5, 2019

If Anyone Can Help, It's 20


Back in the summer my neighbor bought a Serta mattress pad and sent me a picture of the box because the sheep pictured was 20!  It's hard to be just a farmer.  Most of us have second and third jobs or pick up extra work whenever we can.  20 is no different.

"Oh, wow!  Can I have the box?"

"Oops, I already got rid of it." 
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I really didn't need a mattress topper...  But it had 20's picture on the box...  I guess I could put it on the spare bed...  And it IS on sale...  I got a mattress topper ;-).

I'd planned to do a post sharing the cute box, but I never did.  And while it would be fun if there was now a baby lamb or some kittens warming up in there...it's not.  It's my camera.  Yeah...  The deluge rain I was complaining about yesterday?  My camera and favorite lens was sitting out in it.  I am beyond sick.

20's helped clean up several messes I've gotten myself into.  Okay, I was going to link a couple posts here, but there are so many fun 20 posts that I'm just going to suggest following this link to read/reread all of them :-).  

In the meantime I've got my camera and lens inside this perfect big, vented box with a space heater running.  Everyone cross your fingers. 

Oh, and yes, it's January 5th and I have the kitchen door standing open.  Yeesh...


Friday, January 4, 2019

Watercolor...Waterlogue...Waterlogged


The watercolor "painting" from the Wool House Crafters post and the picture above were actually done with an iPhone/computer app.  The app is called Waterlogue and it's one of my very favorite apps.  

And speaking of waterlogged, we have been deluged yet again.  2018 was officially the wettest year on record.  At the risk of jinxing things and causing a drought, we are all ready for a bit of a dry out around here.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Those Boys


When Rocky and Jared moved here last summer it was fun to watch them out exploring the farm, side by side, best friends forever.  When they moved into the main flock I hoped they'd both become friendly pets, but wasn't sure that at their age that would happen.  

Jared immediately bought into the cookies and was happy to let me scratch his head and back.  Rocky was Not Interested At All.  No cookies, definitely no scratches!  In fact, as soon as I'd come around, he'd head for the field...and tell Jared to come with him.  And Jared would.  For a few weeks ;-).

I'm not sure why Jared is so fascinated by Frankie, but I keep finding him standing in front of Frankie's gate.  They actually sniffed noses just a second before I was able to grab my camera and take this picture.  

The best part of this picture?  Well, sure, Jared and Frankie are pretty darn cute, but look in the background.  Rocky.  You can just see the disappointment written across his face.  "We don't act like that, Jared!"

Jared has become one of my all time favorite sheep.  I love Rocky, too, but Jared is extra special :-).


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Other News


I've had some inquiries lately about spinning and weaving guilds in the area.  Luckily we have several throughout the state and I'm always happy to forward on information about them.  Before we moved to the farm, I participated with a couple of the groups and really enjoyed the camaraderie and educational opportunities.  

Post farm, I haven't been to a guild meeting in years :-(.  Heck, I have a pretty darn complete studio right here on the farm and I still don't show up near as much as I should I'd like.  I always have big hopes that various events we've hosted here will allow me to sit down and spin, but I always end up talking and teaching...and watching over my shoulder while everyone else makes and uses yarn.

I've decided to start a small guild here on the farm, open to anyone interested in wool crafts.  Any fiber crafts (or any crafts as I guess there are other crafts than just wool based ;-) and not just from our sheep, although if you show up with some alpaca, mohair, camel, rabbit...we might make you sing a silly sheep song! ;-)


We are going to meet on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 6:00 p.m.  While that sounds like an odd day and time, I don't want to conflict with the Monday, Friday and Saturday meet times of several other local groups.  Plus, it's nice to have something mid-week to look forward to :-).

Most folks coming out to the farm enjoy visiting with the sheep.  Some even want to learn more about what it takes to have sheep, how to care for them, shearing...  If that's you, come a little early and you can help with the evening chores (or just watch if you prefer).

We'll even have food!  Don't get too excited.  It will most likely just be a loaf of fresh bread and a Trader Joe's soup...or blue box mac and cheese...just kidding...mostly ;-).  You are welcome to bring something to share, but absolutely can just show up and relax.

The first meeting will be next Tuesday, January 8th.  I sure wish everyone was "local" or they'd get that stupid teleporter working.  Please join us in spirit!


P.S. I didn't paint the Wool House picture.  That was done with a phone app ;-).  Still pretty though!


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Is Off To A (Not) Racing Start

Well, I thought the big news for New Year's Day was going to be something fun I'm going to try with the Wool House this year, but it turns out the big news is we got a new horse!

Being without a horse this past year has been...so...(insert so many words).  Robin helped me clean all my tack for my birthday when she was here in August and it was a Job as I hadn't even been in the tack room all year and everything was molded and...so sad.

I had several kind people offer me horses throughout the year, but I knew the only horses I'd be willing to try on our rich grass were Thoroughbreds...and I am not a Thoroughbred person.  They are beautiful and versatile and talented...and, as a whole, way more horse than I would ever feel comfortable with.  I'd accepted that my horse days were over until a carriage driving friend asked if I'd considered a Standardbred.  

Um...no...I hadn't.  

I honestly didn't really know anything about Standardbreds other than seeing them pulling Amish buggies around town and that a girl I groomed Saddlebreds with many years ago told stories about jumping on and riding them around the backside of the tracks in the afternoons when they weren't racing.  

I talked to our vet and a friend who has handled Standardbreds, did some research online and found the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and New Vocations, a race horse (Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds) adoption program.  The SRF had several nice sounding possibilities, but they were all in NY and NJ.  New Vocations has a Standardbred facility much closer, in Ohio, and they had a couple strong candidates as well.  

With high hopes, but no expectations, we hooked up the trailer yesterday and headed north to check out a couple horses we'd been approved to adopt.  I was extremely impressed with all the horses we looked at, the knowledge the manager had of each horse, the talented rider who came in to show the horses...and the breed in general.  Without further ado...meet Frankie's Rockstar :-).


Frankie is a three and a half year old gelding who has had some soundness issues and was not going to make it as a race horse.  Apparently the groom who cared for him throughout thought enough of him that she bought him herself so she could send him to New Vocations in hopes he'd find a safe pleasure horse home, not pulling an Amish buggy or...


Frankie walked right into the trailer and rode like a trooper all the way home in the horrible rain and wind yesterday afternoon.  We got home in the dark, but he quietly backed off the trailer and walked right into the barn full of sheep.  We got him set up in one of the outside stalls and while he was obviously scared and missing his buddies, he handled his first night here like a...rock star :-).


Because the weather in Ohio has been as wet as here, he hadn't been turned out for a good while.  I turned him out in the arena this morning rather than the big field.  He skipped around for few minutes but then settled right down.  After about 45 minutes I brought him back to the barn, brushed him, trimmed his bridle path, took him outside to hose his muddy legs off and put him back in his stall.  He was a complete gentleman.

Now keep in mind that even though he IS very well mannered, he's honestly just a baby, even more so because of the time off he had due to his leg injury.  We have plenty of ground work to do before we can safely ride or drive off into the setting sun ;-).  That being said, I'm very excited to start the new year with a horse again.  The relationship you have with a horse is something so different than any other.  



And while Frankie is puzzling things out... ;-)


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