Thursday, March 26, 2020

Well...

Well.  

I've tried to find the inspiration to post a blog.  I've even gone out on three occasions and taken some good pictures specifically for the blog.  I write "BLOG!" on my daily To Do list.  I don't know.  

I've kept the Instagram/FB feed going, which has been nice.  Sharing pictures and videos of the normal craziness of the farm is a respite for sure.  The ups and downs of the 2020 Iknitarod - no, I didn't finish...yet.  Rebecca Boone getting sick again...and now doing better again.  Frankie and Lancelot rolling in the mud.  Billy Belly sleeping with his head on Woolliam's back.

Billy Belly.  Billy Belly flew under the radar here for years, just another one of those crazy Jacobs who, while they might sneak up and take a cookie from you, really didn't want any other sort of attention.  He was probably 10 years old before I realized that whenever something was wrong with someone, Billy Belly was always there.

As Renny lay with her head in my lap that last morning, Billy Belly stood next to her.  He looked at her and then turned and looked at me.  I hope he wasn't looking for me to do something to help her and was disappointed that I couldn't.  Hopefully it was a look of understanding.  Maybe it was nothing more than a look.

I wish I could explain "looking".  I think about it a lot.  Cheeto lives here because she looked at me several years ago.  She still looks at me.  Lancelot looks at me in a way Frankie does not, even though Frankie does look at me all the time.  I never walk into the barn when I don't lock eyes with Maisie.  Everyone watches me, but only a few actually look at me.


Billy Belly is the sheep looking at me.


He was the caretaker of the flock, especially the old sheep.  


I'm glad I took these pictures last week.  He got down the other day and couldn't get up on his own.  I was able to help him up the first day and he could then get around.  The second day he could no longer stand on his own...and he was completely over me trying to help.  He was older than the blog.  To the best of my recollection he'd have been 15 next month.

I hope everyone is okay.  I really don't have any words...but I can share pictures.  And a new puzzle.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Spring Shearing Shots

Another spring shearing is in the books and this may have been our best shearing yet.  The fleeces are a little messier than I'd like, but they aren't terrible.  The weather, with the excessive rain and several high wind events, has been extra challenging this winter.  

Bill, our shearer for the past...many years...has stopped shearing.  Without his big shearing trailer with it's ramps and chutes to rely on, both Tring Farm and Final Frontier Farm had to set up in-barn working systems to handle their big flocks.  

I watched how both set ups worked out and decided to set up a similar system over here.  Tring Farm kindly loaned us all the gates and panels we needed and helped design the areas and angles and it worked a treat.  

The sheep were all penned in the aisleway stall which funneled into a small catch pen which funneled into the chute which fed into a tiny catch pen where the sheep were then turned around and backed out onto the shearing board.

The fleeces might have been messier than I'd like, but the shearing itself went great.  Taylor Schwartz came over from Mayslick, Kentucky, and did an outstanding job with our, um, challenging interesting flock.  I've got more pictures to post tomorrow.


Sweet Cheeto


Big Moose marched into the holding pen...and then decided maybe he really didn't want to be the next sheep in the barber chair.  Either that or he's standing up making some sort of speech.  Either seems plausible :-).


All those beautiful baby curls :'-(.


Even prettier on the inside.


Mini Moose watching.  I have a video to upload of Big Moose being sheared, but the internet is so slow tonight that I barely got these pictures loaded.  You can hear Mini Moose calling to him.  First hair cuts are probably a bit scary.


"They are."



Remember Mini Moose's dark gray stripe running down his shoulders as a lamb?  It's still there!  I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow.


Tabitha


Count Chocula


Big J aka Jared


Good old Salt.  I think I've taken a shearing day picture of her at Final Frontier Farm every year for the last...many years.  Seemed kind of funny to be taking a picture of her on our farm.  Seemed kind of funny to not be shearing with Bill, too, but that worked out as well.  


Monday, March 9, 2020

The 2020 Iknitarod


I'm starting this post with my 2020 Ravatar because if I led with the picture of the actual project, everyone would just pass on by because you've seen this yarn so. many. times.  


For the 2020 Iknitarod...I am knitting the Renny sweater!  

I think about the Iknitarod off and on all year long and some time ago I picked this sweet gray dog to be my Iknitarider.  I had originally planned to spin and knit a Jared sweater and have been tossing patterns around for months.  I could never settle on one though and I kept feeling bad about never knitting the Renny sweater and when it dawned on me that Charcoal had something in common with Renny, I knew what I was going to do.


"Are you sure?  That is a LOT of color!" ;-)


Like many animals on our farm, Charcoal was a rescue.  In his early life he had worked hard in a grade school classroom.  So hard that he ended up with a patch on his backside, just like Renny :-).  When his teacher retired, she took him home with her and kept him until she found a new home for him...and he eventually ended up with me.


With the dog connection to Renny - the bad dogs who caused her to end up here in the first place and the good dogs who took care of her for the rest of her life - and how old those dogs have all become, this year the dogs are center stage, along with Comby, who is a close to a dog as a cat can get :-).  And of course Renny is there, too, up in the stars.

I am knitting the Icelandic Star pattern.  The pattern is written as a bottom up sweater.  It's written to be knitted flat, back and forth, not around and around to then be steeked.  If you remember waaaay back, learning to do a steek was one of the original goals for the original Renny sweater.  I'd link all those old posts here, but even I don't want to revisit them (and I'm hungry and want to go eat lunch ;-).  

I have done the math to convert the pattern to be knit in the round.  I am worried about running out of yarn, so I've also done the math to convert it to be knit top down.  And, just to throw in one more challenge, I am between sizes so I've done the math to create my own personal size.  What could go wrong... ;-D.


*   *   *   *   *

As always, I encourage you to follow along with the actual race at www.iditarod.com.  The Insider coverage is fantastic!  I'll be posting my usual daily Iknitarod updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and the Iknitarod group is in full swing and we have several on the scene "reporters".  


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Put Your Coffee Down

The 2020 Iditarod started yesterday.  Well, the ceremonial start was yesterday.  The actual start is today.  And like the Iditarod, my Iknitarod has once again made a ceremonial start...and will restart today.  Sigh...

I was planning on doing my official start post yesterday to let you know who and what I was knitting and introduce my Iknitarider and share my Ravatar, but something hilarious happened and I'm going to preempt that post with something silly.

Put your coffee down.



Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Strange Voice In The Barn

As I was starting to do evening chores the other night and the sheep were filtering in from the back field I heard a strange "ba-a-a-a-a".  Low and gravel-y. 

"Who was that?" I called out. 

"Ba-a-a-a-a."

Hmmmm...  "Who said that?" I asked again, hoping to see someone's lips move, but it was nearly dark. 

"Ba-a-a-a-a."

I know pretty much every "baaaa" in the flock.  Rarely does someone say something that I don't at least recognize as a familiar voice.  A deep voice does not necessarily mean a ram or wether (boys); a high voice doesn't necessarily mean a ewe (girls).  Liddy can growl with the best of them and Jared sings soprano ;-).

I called out one more time.  The sheep looking most intently at me was Big Moose.  He was standing just outside the door though and it was too dark to see his black face...and besides, I knew his voice.  Still...  I pulled out the lamb dinner call.

"Beh-bies?"

"Ba-a-a-a-a-a!"  "Baaaaaa!"

It was Big Moose.  His voice had changed!


And Mini Moose's hasn't.  Just something silly to make you laugh :-).




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Speaking of big voices, if you missed this video the other day, that's Biscuit with the Big Baaa hollering as the sheep run up.  And you definitely don't want to miss Maisie racing everyone in with her propeller spinning :-D.


Monday, March 2, 2020

Sunny Sunday

We had a nice break in the weather Sunday so I headed out with the sheep for a late afternoon graze.  The sheep were spread out between the Pond Field and the Lower Paddock.  The Pond Field is...the one with the ponds in it, behind the arena.  The Lower Paddock is the closer of those two paddocks next to the Front Field.  I was sitting in the Lower Paddock with Kaala and about 12 other sheep.


This should be a fun puzzle :-).


That better just be a lot of wool, Kaala ;-).


Hark!  Who goes there?


An intruder!


And someone or something else?


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