Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hooking Handy

In the old days, "Hooking Handy" would have referred to hooking up Handy for a carriage drive. These days Handy is happy to be hanging out in the field with his buddy Hickory, letting someone else take over the hooking. Rug hooking.

I have a couple kind artists willing to test hook my first patterns. I'm hoping for some feedback on the designs, ease of use, if I drew them out and enlarged them properly... I'm also dying to see what they look like finished :-D.

I like the idea of sticking with simple farm inspired designs. Like Handy, for example, walking past as I'm taking pictures of his rug pattern. Not that Aria could ever be replaced around here, but in a hooked rug, she could be easily changed into Hickory. I don't think it would be hard to customize any of the designs.

And, of note, the sun came out! I don't really mind dreary days, but after so many sloppy days of flooding rains...

The sheep (and Hank - do you see him?) were thrilled as well.

The cats haven't noticed yet...all tucked away in the condo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Think I'm Being Spammed

In the last 24 hours I've received this comic strip...

And a link to this video...

...involving (one) sheep wearing PANTS.

The spamming actually started a month or so ago with an email about the SINA (Society for Indecency to Naked Animals) issue. I looked it up on Wikipedia and then deleted it in hopes it would just go away.

These things never do...apparently ;-).

**I love Wikipedia. Almost as much as Shaun the Sheep. Go watch the video. It's they all are. Then go drop in on Wikipedia and read up about SINA or Jacob sheep or spinning or Elizabeth Zimmerman or any of the millions of topics someone has covered there. And if you feel like that's a service you can't imagine living without, you might send them a couple bucks. Sort of like public radio or television.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Stills - Bokeh

I decided to use our newly winter-decorated-solar-mailbox-lantern for this week's challenge. Some of my favorite bokeh shots from the past involve Christmas lights, but I don't have our tree up yet.

Tree bokeh

Grass bokeh

Horse bokeh?

The full view.

Better with some pine cones added.

A hint of night bokeh.

For more Sunday Stills...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

High Ho Hickory

I was hoping to be able to post a fun video of me riding Hickory on a Thanksgiving trail ride, 7MSN style. Instead, here's what I got.

Yes, I was having a stroke worrying Hank was going to get run over, kicked or otherwise caught up in the fray. Yes, I moved the sheep out of Hickory's field today, not because I was worried Hickory would hurt them, but Hank's obviously not convinced (his sheep were up at the barn watching the show). Definitely not worth the risk.

However, all's well that ends well and it's fun to watch Hickory put huge divots all over the field ripping around enjoying himself. And I'm glad he cut loose when I wasn't on him....although maybe he could have saved a little bit of that energy for later ;-). We had a nice ride - sorry, no video - and after I turned him back out I found a four leaf clover (in late November?!?).

Thankful and lucky :-).

We hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving...every day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Posthaste...Or Posted In Haste

And I thought Comby warming his 'feets' on the Wool House porch door was going to be the funniest cat picture today.

I walked past the dining room window and out of the corner of my eye...


He he he.

I took a couple pictures through the screen, but they were awful. I knew I'd only get one chance if I tried to sneak outside.

And I was right.

"Hey, can't a cat get some peace and quiet around here?!?"

"Fine. I'm leaving."

"Get that (bleepin') cat condo set up!!!"

The Sun Will Come Out....Eventually

Comby, surprised to have lived through a rainy spell without the (bleepin') cat condo. He reluctantly got up...

...and made it as far as the driveway...10' away.

If I hold on to my tail and look really cute, maybe dad will bring the condo out?

Or maybe I'll just sleep here for awhile.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Rest Of The Fog

I think foggy mornings are so pretty.

Hickory and Handy at dawn yesterday.

Starting to burn off as the sun came up.

And then it came back and we were completely socked in. I could barely see the barn from the house.

It was almost like when it's snowing and everything gets so. quiet. Perfect for a nap.

I held off as long as I could, but finally decided I needed to get on the road. I had miles to go before I could [nap].

Monday, November 21, 2011

Headed To New Homes

I traveled to the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Kentucky, this morning to to deliver some needle felted sheep and drop spindle kits. This is a beautiful facility with an incredible collection of Kentucky arts and crafts. I am so flattered to have a few of my pieces there.

I snapped a couple pictures (of course ;-) before I packed everyone up. I thought it would be fun to have the felted sheep lined up on the Wool House porch, with the actual sheep in the background. It was a beautifully foggy morning and I thought the diffused light would be perfect. It was...from certain angles.

See how shadowed everyone's backsides are? Turned facing me, their faces were completely shaded out. I tried using a flash to fix that, but as I frequently find with flash, I hate the artificial look. And it's actually sort of sweeter to see where they are looking anyway.

This momma with her two moorit lambs was a favorite. As was the gray ewe in the background, with her almost black lamb.

This big fat Boudreaux? I shouldn't have taken him. No matter how simple it seems, I never can make two sheep exactly the same. They always have some quirky personality showing through and I love this guy. I won't be able to duplicate him. I'm just hoping the hay he'll buy will help with my seller's remorse. Sigh.

A group shot.

The Kentucky Artisan Center

Besides the felted sheep, the Artisan Center carries some of my note cards. Here are a few of the rug hooking pattern cards.

And some Christmas cards were over in the holiday section.

Kentucky is blessed with an incredible amount of artistic talent. I'm sure each state feels just the same way, but I look at everything here and am proud of our rich and diverse heritage and how folks are keeping the traditional (and new traditional arts) alive and well. I'm sure I don't speak alone in saying the Artisan Center plays a key role in encouraging us all.

If you are ever coming through Kentucky, stop by. The Center is right off I-75 about 20 miles south of Lexington.

Give Boudreaux a pat for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sunday Stills - Portraits

This week’s challenge is Portraits. Let’s not only share some beautiful photographs, but also a new tip or two learned along the way. What worked, what didn’t… If you don’t have a willing human subject, it’s just as challenging to take good dog, cat, horse, armadillo portraits ;-).

My friend Joellen and her dogs Sunshine and Woody.

The full sun was a little bright, but because she wasn't having to look directly into it, I think it works. I like the background and was happy with aperture setting. It blurred out the trees just enough so they weren't distracting and kept the focus up front.

Here she's in the shade, away from the direct sunlight, but that dulled out the dogs, and the background, while pretty, is a bit distracting.

A nice "scene". Wish it was a little crisper, but I'm not sure if that was a focusing issue on my end or something else.

I like pictures that tell a story. This one is a short read ;-).

The lighting is really good here. Not too shady, not too bright. Nice pose, nice color, nice setting. Was not able to blur out the background as much as I'd liked.

I like this. Sunshine is super sharp and the sun is gleaming off her glossy coat. Joellen's sleeve and hand are a bit over exposed, but I like the story they tell and I hope she can feel Sunshine when she looks at this picture.

For more Sunday Stills...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Renny!

Renny, far left, out with her peeps this morning :-).It was just about this time, one year ago today, that I was driving back from an animal shelter a few counties away with a wretched sheep in the back of my car. I remember looking into the back of the shelter's pickup truck and seeing this horribly injured, rotting smelling, so covered in burrs that I couldn't tell if she had hair or wool (not that it mattered) animal that only barely resembled a sheep.

I backed my car as close to the pickup truck as I could and we dragged her into the back of my car on a sheet. We jostled her and she cried out. She cried some along the way out of there and I kept telling her it was going to be alright, it's going to be alright, it's going to be alright...but I knew it wasn't. I called our vets to let them know I was en route and that we probably needed to put her down.

As best we can piece together, Renny and two of her friends had been chased by some dogs. One sheep was found dead in the field. Renny was found stuck belly deep in mud in a pond. She'd been there for several days and coyotes had started eating her alive. A local news crew had been out, the humane society called. I received an email from my friend Shelley at the exact time Tim saw the story on the nightly news.

I knew there was no kind way to get her inside the clinic, so Dr. Baron came out to the car. In the cold rain. She had several of us stand around the opening of the car to block anyone passing by from seeing what she was looking at. She could instantly tell by the smell what sort of infection had set in and we were all surprised she was still alive. All surprised except Renny, now that we know her better ;-).

It took 2 hours to get her cleaned up and ready to head home. Dr. Baron would work on her for while and then see a scheduled appointment and then back out to the car. I remember being cold, Renny being cold. I remember calling my friend Eleanor, saying I wasn't sure we were doing the right thing, that I wasn't sure I could handle this. I remember calling Kathy to see if she could meet me at the farm to help me unload her. I remember Louann getting back from a farm call and offering to come out and help me take care of her that first night. I will never forget that.

I will also never forget Renny hobbling into the stall that late afternoon, with huge holes in her butt and both back legs, sticking her head down into a pile of hay, coming up with a huge mouthful. "I'm going to be okay. Don't you worry."

I will never forget her and Miss Ewenice tootling around in the back yard, napping under the pine tree. Me and Stella sewing up a warm sheep coat after a nice couple came out and sheared all the burrs and most of the mud off her. How Renny would calmly lay down when she knew we were going to doctor on her. Louann trying to pick her up near the end and Renny having gotten so fat she couldn't do it and we both got to laughing so hard that I think we might have hurt Renny's feelings :-).

Louann calls Renny Everybody's Ewe - Ebe. I have a feeling there is a little bit of her story tucked away in a lot of people's hearts, near and far. So many people came out and helped take care of her. We poked and prodded and scrubbed and cut and poked some more. She never held a grudge. I think she knew...or knowing Renny, probably didn't expect any less. There's probably a lesson there. There are probably many lessons from Renny.

I am not a tough person. I used to worry about something happening like getting really sick or injured and me not being able to handle it. I'd think twice about that now. I wasn't sure I could do the actual work to take care of her. I wouldn't think twice about that now. Some people might find it odd or wrong to think just because a sheep could live through what she did, that maybe I could too. I think now I probably wouldn't expect any less.

Happy Birthday Renny! You are your own best present. For us all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Suicide Watch

Eli's on suicide watch. It's c-c-c-c-cold and he can't believe the cat condo is not on the porch yet, with it's 2" insulation, heated beds and comfy warm blankets.

Having to use Comby foot as a blanket? Not so grate akshully.

The slight fuzziness of these pictures is because they were taken through the screen door.

Would you walk out there and face that? We've been using the front door.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The North American

Making a trip to the North American International Livestock Exposition is always a fun day. I have no interest in showing, but I can appreciate the work that goes into it and love to look at all the pretty sheep.

And even though I'm a wool girl, I have a soft spot for these big Ewen McTeagles (Suffolks ;-).

Watching the show.

Or not. Isn't he funny!


See the huge sheep a few pens away? Yes, that huge white shape is a sheep. He'd be even bigger if he was looking up. He's otherwise occupied...not by choice.

Here's a different angle. What on earth is that Tunis thinking???

If I could have just tucked this cutie into my bag...

Or this one. Could this face be any sweeter?

and I enjoyed our day off. Well, I guess it wasn't technically a day off as we researched sheep, checked out the wool show, talked "festival", looked at sheep panels, tilt tables, did some Christmas shopping...

Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life. Or something like that ;-).


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