Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

What better way to spend a day than by taking a couple of your favorite four legged friends to visit a couple of your favorite two legged friends. And what better day than Halloween! Stella and I talked Ewen McTeagle and Miss Ewenice into dressing up for Tricks or Treats and we went a-callin' on the Eleanors.

Miss Ewenice looks more like a princess than a ballerina.

How could you not give darling Ewen some candy?

Throw in a stop for yummy cider and fried apple pies at Evans Orchard on the way home and you just can't beat a perfect fall day.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sheep Shots

Spent some quality time at the Harrison County Health Department this morning. I needed a tetanus shot and decided to see if it would be easier to run in there rather than drive all the way into Lexington to my regular doctor's office. We have a brand new facility, which is actually quite nice, and all went well except they did not accept my insurance and I had to pay full price...until they found out it was a farm injury and then I got a break.

Today's shot was due to me gashing myself on the hand while trimming, of all sheep, Elizabeth's feet over the weekend. While I was waiting for the big stick, I got to thinking about the last time I'd had to get a tetanus shot. That day was a Sunday about 8 or so years ago and I'd just been "bitten" by Punkin.

He was pretty old at that point and I was giving him some medicine to help his arthritis. I would mix the powder into honey and he would take it off my finger. That day I didn't keep my finger to the side of his mouth though and he accidentally bit down and broke the skin. Since it was technically an animal bite and it had been a long while since I'd had a booster, I decided not to wait until Monday and went into an urgent treatment center in Lexington.

Here's where it gets funny. Now I'm pretty sure you could walk into an urgent treatment center (if we had one) in rural Harrison County and say you'd been bitten by a sheep and no one would even look up. If you go into the "big city" and say that, it becomes a police matter. Apparently any animal bite must be reported, and after being interviewed by several people, filling out and signing many forms and documents, and in general providing the best entertainment some of those doctors and nurses had probably seen in awhile, I was able to keep Punkin out of jail (quarantine), but was not able to erase his police record. And so it goes.

Punkin would have been 15 tomorrow. This picture was taken by my friend Mary Beth during the winter of 2003. He was, indeed, the best sheep ever.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Rainy Day Visit With An Old Friend

I can no longer pick Woodstock from a big group of doves, but he did leave me with one special gift. For some reason, early on, he buddied up with a bunch of little sparrows. I could see that he did hang out with the doves as well, but he always made one last trip to the feeder, morning and evening, with the sparrows. Now that he's all grown up and gets completely lost in the dove crowd, it's a comfort to still be able to catch a glimpse of a giant size "sparrow" outside my window, especially on a dreary, rainy morning.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We just got back from The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, more commonly known as "Rhinebeck".

I took my camera. There were so many things I should have taken pictures of - sheep, llamas, rabbits, goats, people, hundreds of beautiful vendor booths, yarns, roving, bags upon bags of incredible raw wool, toys, tailgaters (yes, I said tailgaters - mimosas and everything at 8:30 in the a.m. in the parking area!), spinning wheels, looms, sweaters, blankets, rugs... I took no pictures. Not even of the incredible fall foliage we drove through on the way there.

I have never seen anything like it. I could have had a terrible time at the festival and still been glad to have made the trip, just for the leaves. I did have a great time though, without a doubt. Everything you hear about Rhinebeck is not one bit exaggerated. We are already planning a trip back next year. For reference, we enjoyed The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival several years ago (everyone should go once), but have never had the urge to go back.

Experience and education was our primary goal, but we also did a little shopping. I had my list ready for weeks - nothing too necessary, but lots of fun - a neat little Journey Loom, a beautiful Golding drop spindle, some books, cool t-shirt... Saint Tim had his thinking cap on though and picked this out.

I had planned on shearing Miss Ewenice before we left (long wool breeds are shorn twice a year), but ran out of time. How fortunate. This shearing stand is quite the handy tool, using a car jack to raise Miss Ewenice as high as I needed - in the picture it's only half way. Things are definitely looking up around here. Pun intended.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Smoke On The Water

The first official photo of fall. I believe this might be as good as it's going to get unfortunately. Most of the good color trees dropped their leaves early due to the drought. I took this from the back porch, looking out to the big pond, which does still have a little water left in it. The frog pond has been dry for months now. I used the 200 mm lens and think that's why the depth of field is so shortened - that's actually a good distance away. It was early and I'd only had one cup of coffee and the camera is still outsmarting me.

That would be T-Bone saying "Good morning".

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Funny Story On Myself

Yesterday, after the last (we hope) 91 degree day, I woke up to light drizzle and cooler temperatures. While I was happy for the fall weather, I was sad that there would really be no more pool days - in October, no less! I did my morning chores and thought some more about it and finally decided I would go for one last swim before the water cooled off any more. I jumped in (quickly to shorten the cold shock) and started swooshing back and forth under water from one side of the pool to the other like a river otter - my favorite "12 year old" game :-).

After a little while I stopped to catch my breath and had an eerie feeling I was being watched. Looking around I found 13 Jacob sheep staring down at me from the field next to the orchard. I have no idea how long they had been standing there watching me and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what they were thinking. I am definitely lacking in their eyes.

Anyone who thinks sheep are dumb animals has obviously not spent much time around any Jacob sheep. Elizabeth, one of our older ewes, is scary smart...and feels free to announce my stupidity on a regular basis. She monitors how much feed I put out for everyone and lets me know if I've shorted them any. I've tried to trick her by putting out the same number, but smaller piles of hay and she's always right on top of it. Her stare can bore holes through you and she never loses eye contact until she's made her point. Most sheep will look at you, even at your face, but a sheep that makes actual eye contact is different. Hard to explain, but everyone who's met her can tell the difference.

Monday, October 8, 2007

"Smoke 'em if you got 'em"

We had a great time (other than the awful heat) at The Kentucky Wool Festival this past weekend. Things worked out so that I got to visit a little with almost everyone I had hoped to see again this year and even made some fun new friends. I know my little sheep all went to good homes, even the one that came back to visit me in a grocery sack after their cat got ahold of him ;-).

As a special treat (and necessary chore) for having survived the long weekend, I decided to visit my beehive and see if everyone was getting ready for winter. I'm still learning, so if I've labeled these pictures incorrectly or am missing something obvious to a more knowlegable beekeeper, I'm hoping someone will jump in and set me straight. Luckily my bees are very tolerant, as once again I could not get that stupid bee smoker going - if you look up slow learner in the dictionary, you'll probably find a picture of me. Thankfully not covered in bee stings.

Here are some hard working bees bringing in some bright orange pollen (their food source) they've gathered from the asters and goldenrods that are blooming right now.

Here is a look at one of the frames from the top hive body. See the honey stored on the top half? The golden arch in the lower half is brood (developing bees - eggs, larvae and pupae).

And this looks to me like some baby bees emerging from their cells (click the picture to view a larger image). Almost as cute as little lambs.


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