Tuesday, August 31, 2010

But I'm Not Sure I'm Ready To Be A Big Boy

Shermie got his big boy hair cut today.

The first shearing is always shocking.

Mostly to me. I miss their cute fuzzy faces.

And I'll especially miss Sherman's chubby cheeks. He kept his eyes squeezed shut the whole time, but he didn't seem too terribly concerned.

Nothing really seems to faze B. Willard either. I guess with a name like that...

Freshly shorn lambs always make me think of that Far Side cartoon.

"...Bobby just got sheared today."

Hey watch it. I heard that.

Keebler, Graham Lamb, Buddy, Woolliam and Rebecca Boone all got a little off the top as well. Keebler of course had to have a little extra special attention afterward, but that's a story for tomorrow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Pool Of Bees

Maybe, just maybe, this will be our last super hot week? Right? It can't stay in the 90's forever can it? Right? Don't make me plead...

Aside from watching someone else shear sheep (tomorrow's post :-), the best thing to do when it's so hot is jump in the pool. I'm not the only animal on the farm that thinks so. The bees are hot and thirsty as well.

In the late summer when it's so hot and dry, their natural water sources either completely dry up or become "icky". The pool looks to be an ideal spot for them to gather up water to take back to help cool their hives. However, without something solid to land on, they are unable to get back out of the water and sadly drown.

I've been told you can't have bees if you have a pool and if you have bees, you can't have a pool. As I truly enjoy our bees and would probably shoot myself if I couldn't jump into the pool, we had to work out a suitable compromise.

One of our pool floaties works just fine.

I took Sunday afternoon off to float around in the cool water and re-read A Book Of Bees by Sue Hubbell. There are many good bee books out there, but this is one of my favorites. I like her common sense and bee sense. While I was reading, one of our bees came and sat on my shoulder. She stayed for so long I decided she must be reading along and I wished I could hear her opinion.

If you have a way to provide some much needed water for not only the bees, but also the birds and other small animals in your backyard, I encourage you to do so. And a rock or a simple stick floating in your bird bath would be much appreciated.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Crazy Sheep Ladies

Something to make you smile...or laugh until you cry.


I got an email the other day from one of my favorite crazy sheep ladies that I just have to share with all the other crazy sheep ladies out there. We know who we are!

I just have to tell you this hysterically funny story. If you had been over here tonight with your video camera I would be a Youtube sensation right now.

I went up to the sheep field to check on everyone and get some lovin'. One of my favorites (can I have favorites?), Opal, came up and I started rubbing and scratching on her. Now, I am convinced that Opal has some of the same genes that those weird fainting goats have. When I start loving on her, she just sort of goes in to a coma and TOTALLY relaxes.

I could sense that she really wanted me to spend some time on her, so I sat down, with my back facing downhill. Opal stood over my lap, pretty much with her side in my face. I was rubbing under her armpits and her belly, her favorite spots. I could feel her start to lean in to me and it was kind of hard for me to stay sitting upright. It was like holding a stomach crunch in mid-position forever. Not that I've ever done a stomach crunch, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, she kept leaning, and I kept laying back further and further. I kept thinking she would realize that she was about to fall over on top of me and regain her senses, but she was OUT OF IT. I finally just layed all the way back, and before I knew it, she was laying on top of me, across my chest and stomach, SOUND ASLEEP!!!

Her legs were sticking straight out, which is unbelievable, because we all know that sheep like to keep their legs under them at all times. I swear she was snoring, but she was probably just breathing weird because she was in such a strange position.

Soooo, I layed there for a while looking up at the blue sky and thinking what a cool life I have to have a sheep who likes me enough to fall asleep on top of me. Then my legs started to go to sleep and I started to feel funny I guess because I was laying downhill and all the blood was going to my head.

I gently started to roll over, and Opal STILL didn't wake up, and at this point she was on her back with all four feet in the air, so I just rolled her over downhill, and she woke up and kind of started and shook her head like "Grrffff, ummmpffff, uh, what happened???" Then I think she was a little embarrassed so she started eating some grass and tried to look cool as she walked away.

End of story. Don't you love sheep?
Attached is Opal's baby picture.

Opal, as a lamb.

"...looking up at the blue sky and thinking what a cool life I have to have a sheep who likes me enough to fall asleep on top of me..."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Colors I Love

I grew a few sunflowers this year. Next year I'm growing many more.

I love their colors and sizes and watching the birds feast.

And the bees! I haven't see our bees out anywhere in weeks it's seemed like. The hot dry weather has driven them to sources off the farm - bees can work a 3 mile radius. I'm sure they are happy the sunflowers are blooming too.

If you asked me what my favorite colors are, I'd probably say blues and greens. However (and no, I didn't take these particular blossoms away from their respective bees ;-), look at the woven shawl hanging on the loom.

A perfect match!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Large Marge

...and her amazingly large web.

You'll need to double biggify this to see where the web attaches to the corn crib. For reference, the tall sunflower stands almost 8 feet tall.

Big enough to be a beautiful, but sort of creepy, lace weight shawl.

The biggest writing spider web I've ever seen.

Do you see Marge Simpson's hairdo?

I probably watch too much tv.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Butterflies And Blooms

Butterfly party at the wool house yesterday afternoon. I've not seen any Monarchs this year :-/. Tons of these though.

Remember you can always click to biggify.

On my computer I get a magnifying glass with a plus sign in the middle of the picture and I can click that to get even biggierfied ;-).

A trifecta. Do folks in other states use that term or is that a more regional phrase due to the racing industry around here (and other states of course)?

The butterfly bush is really bringing them in. Heck, it brings me in. I love the smell, even sitting on the porch 10 feet away. Does it really smell like grapes or is that a mind trick because the flowers are purple?

That's Mia baa-ing at the end. The four lambs were over checking out the chicken house with Keebs egging them on. B. Willard is the only one who can (currently) fit through the chicken door so I think they are working on some modifications.

I'm afraid to go out to the barn sometimes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Stealing Principle

I'd love to know if this is a universal sheep trait or just a practice the punks ascribe to around here. I first noticed this with baby Punkin 18 (holy cow!) years ago. I'd bought him a bale of really nice alfalfa hay. I kept a flake in front of him at all times. He barely ate it. However, each night when I got home from work and let him play around the barn with me, he'd immediately run to the very same bale and stuff it into his mouth as fast as he could. The very same hay.

Last night everyone was hollering at me. Everyone. I'm assuming they were yelling about my starving them to death (might have been something else, but I'm going with that as opposed to possibly my lack of intelligence, how big my butt is...). We have about 10 bales of some clean, but not super pretty, soft, or tasty grass hay that I'd love to get rid of before true "hay feeding season" starts. As no one truly appears to be starving around here, I decided I'd throw them a few flakes of that hay just to shut them up give them something to pick around on.

I used the little wagon to pull the bale outside, cut the strings and set out 6 flakes of hay around the barn lot. No one was at all interested, but as soon as I turned my back, they mobbed the wagon.

Don't let pitiful looking "I can't get to the food cart" Mia fool you. She's just studying the situation.

And that's her standing on top just seconds later.

Hank stayed out of the way. Far out of the way.

This morning the hay on the wagon is all gone. All 6 piles remain untouched.

These party pics are all SOOC (straight out of camera) by the way. I can't say enough about that cute little lens. It apparently won't work with my D40x - lacks a motor to drive it if I understand correctly - so in case you too decide you'd like to try one, make sure your camera can support it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Stills - Metal

This can be any form of metal you would like, the challenge is to try to come up with something no one else can think of..;-)

Well, there will probably be a hundred bits posted today...

...but maybe no one will post a picture of their all time favorite trash can :-).

Don't ask me why there are teeth marks all the way up these boards. I can tell you why the copper lightning rod wire is so polished though.

Some of the most important metal on the farm...if you remember to use it.

Some ex-metal. Metal that is no more. Some deceased metal. Pining for the fjords. Also known as "a bad idea". I thought the concrete pad this automatic waterer sits on would be a perfect place for the salt and mineral blocks...

Some metal in the wool house. These are the metal heddles on the four harnesses of my big loom.

For more Sunday Stills...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Lens

Everyone has summer clothes and winter clothes (and I've found Tractor Supply is pretty good at covering both seasons). Now I've found my summer camera lens (and Murphy's Camera is pretty good at covering that ;-).

Poor B. Willard and cute lil' Shermie really got short changed on their baby pictures. It was just too hot. No one got many pictures this summer. By the time it cooled off enough in the evening to feel like walking around with a heavy camera around my neck, it was just too dark for good shots.

This one 'ain't half bad' though. Look who's standing next to napping Ewenice. Kind Buddy makes me smile as much as the nice clear, sharp picture I was able to take of the sun was setting.

I like Elizabeth looking back over her shoulder in this picture. Everyone goes out to graze for awhile in the evening and then they all come into the barn lot for the night. Look at the long shadows. My favorite time of day, but up until now, not ideal for photos opps.

I frequently read reviews of camera lenses and one lens kept showing up as a "must have". The Nikon 50mm 1.8. Not expensive. Not glamorous. Just a good solid lens for portraits and low light situations. A-ha!

B. Willard's black face is frequently hard to bring into sharp focus. I snapped this one pretty much one handed while I was talking on the phone tonight. I can't wait to try it with both hands on the wheel!

This shot is a bit too golden - need to think on why - maybe white balance? Regardless, I had a blast playing around with my birthday present and am looking forward to many more pictures that make me smile.

Thank you Saint Tim. You're the best :-).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Feature - Fog

Woolliam - stealing hay he would never touch if it were given to him, but hey, he has cool hair so he can do whatever he wants...

Handsome Jester with Allie peaking into the picture on the right, Ford behind and Peabody's tiny ears (to match his tiny brain ;-) in the foreground.

Rebecca Boone - a sheep of strong opinions. That's Petunia behind her (she too loves to have her picture taken I think as she always tries to get in the shot) and Beanie Baby with the big horns.

Not a great video, but you might enjoy a little peek into the fog. It's been awhile since the last Friday Feature.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Magic In The Mist

A welcome sign of impending fall.

We've almost made it.


Sherman and B. Willard


Blizzard and Mia

Tall Paul (Ewen McTeagle ;-)

Hank follows me everywhere I go. I think he likes having his picture taken. My old dog Sam was the same way. I'd try to take a picture of something and he'd always run over in front and 'sit pretty'. I posed him so many times he probably thought that was just what he was supposed to do, but part of me thinks he understood pictures were special and wanted to be in them.

So Hank and I walk all around the foggy field, snapping away. I say, "Hank, I bet this is just like Ireland. Now all we need to do is find a four leaf clover!"

I looked down and there it was. Right at my feet.

Just like magic.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aging Gracefully

I was bringing T-Bone out of the middle paddock the other morning - the four horses had all been back in the run in shed. As we walked down to the gate heading for the front field and barn lots, I heard fast moving, thundering hoof beats coming up behind me. Miss Aria. I could almost hear her yelling "LET. ME. THE. HECK. OUT. OF. HERE!!!"

At 28, very arthritic, having some trouble breathing in the high heat and humidity, if she was making that much effort to get back to the front field (most likely away from the boys with whom she maintains a love-hate relationship) I figured she deserved to get out. I let her through the gate.

She happily claimed her very own stall at the barn - no boys allowed - and settled right in.

Over the last several days she's started hanging out with Esther. I think mostly because Esther gets extra cookies and hay, but I've noticed she's very, very careful around her, treating her much as she would a foal.

Hank takes good care of everyone. Whenever the sheep separate out into two groups - in this case Esther up on the hill and the rest out grazing - he sits in between where he can keep an eye on everybody.

Maybe a little closer to his little old ladies.


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