Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can I Have An Extra Leap Day?

So my original plan was to tell you about all the things in this picture...and then some. I'm going to step away from the coffee pot and break things down a bit. First I'll tell you about what's in the plastic bag. You'll just have to wonder about the Minwax ;-).

This might be the nicest (at least to me) fleece I've ever worked with. No, it's not one of ours. You can tell that by how clean it is. Sigh. It's a Border Leicester lamb fleece from a friend who would like it spun so her mother can knit her a vest.

Here is it before washing. Have I mentioned how much I love the way wool smells? Sitting out in the sun - even better :-).

After the first wash cycle.

Here it is completely washed and dried. Look at all the color variations.

Here's a close up from a lock I picked up off the floor, mid-wash. Is wool cool or what? And isn't it weird that wool and cool are pronounced completely different? Maybe I do need another cup of coffee. Or a nap!

Anyway, I wish we had some sort of feel-evision. Not only for this, but for the white (guess what that is) and the red and the gray (in the brown bag) from the first picture. More tomorrow.

In the meantime, how did everyone do with their Find Five challenge? I fell off the wagon during shearing and found it hard to crawl back on. I did get quite a bit accomplished fiber-wise in the last few days though and if I could just have a couple more leap days I might even get the house cleaned ;-).

I am enjoying these challenges and have the next two months already planned out - both good ones! Ready to play along? :-)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Grahaminator 2000

I think this picture pretty much says it all.

But just in case...

"Hey, what does this sign say?"

"Very. Funny."

"It says No Sheeps Allowed! That means you Graham! You stay away from my food!"

"And Hickory - I'm really watching you now!"

Saint Tim built Hank his very own tree fort. We had tried feeding Hank in a creep feeder, but we had too many creeps ;-). Lila could squeeze her way through some amazingly small doors.

You can't really blame her. It wasn't that she was interested in eating Hank's food. She just remembered when she was a baby, the sound of her food hitting the plastic pan inside, so it must be dinner time...


Hank was a little nervous last night learning how to negotiate his ramp, but Iris did a great job showing him the ropes. Weaslie? Well, Corgis will do anything for food ;-). Lila was only curious because she grew up with Iris and Weaslie as her playmates and was sure anything they were doing was something she'd want to do, too.

"Hey, let me up there too! Remember when we used to do everything together?"

Iris not only remembers, but is probably scarred for life. Those good Border Collies :-).


Now you have to keep in mind that Graham supervised the entire construction project. Start to finish. And while he doesn't technically have access to the tool shed, if ever given the opportunity to grab a chain saw or hammer, we are pretty sure he'll remember exactly how to disassemble the fort.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen if he can learn to negotiate the ramp. I've played the Shaun the Sheep games enough to know that anything's possible and this is Graham Lamb we're talking about...

Let's vote on it! (Poll on the right)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Stills - Trees

I really struggled with this challenge. It sounds easy enough. Trees. There are trees everywhere. If you don't have a tree (or trees) you love...well, who doesn't have a favorite tree?

Sycamores are my favorite trees. Well, except for Blue Ash, White Pines, Maples, Redbuds, Apples... ;-). In my head I saw a picture of one of these fabulous, huge, best viewed in winter trees out in the middle of a beautiful field of rolling pasture. Couple cows standing under it? Perfect.

It wasn't a tough idea. Should have been a snap. I ended up being reminded of one of Ed's challenges several years ago - Power Lines and how they so often ruin a perfectly good picture. I finally found a clear shot of this tree, down by the river.

Next problem. They are so darn big that you have to stand WAY back to get the whole tree. At that point it runs the risk of becoming just a picture of a tree. Luckily I hit some great light this morning - no polarizer lens. The sky was that. blue.

I'm going to have to go back and look at this scene. That sure looks like a fallen down barn/shed next to this tree, but I sure don't remember seeing that. It's a road I drive fairly frequently, but I'm probably always looking at the trees ;-). Maybe Stella can set me straight on this.

By the way, the sky on these two shots might look funny. To get the file sizes down small enough for Stella and other folks with dial up internet connection, it looks like it's pixilated it pretty good :-/.

This shot is sort of interesting, but not exactly what I was wanting. Do you see the big tree behind all the little trees? I'm wondering if a wide angle lens might be worth exploring. Any thoughts?

Standing on the bridge, looking down the river. It's almost paddling time :-D.

I'm going to keep working on this challenge. I think I have a few more weeks before the leaves come in. I think it warrants a re-do.

For more Sunday Stills...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Since It Should Be Christmas Every Day

With losing my old cat on Christmas Eve, I lost some momentum sharing Christmas gifts and such. I just delivered my last gift though and thought I should go back and find some pictures.

I knit a couple of these cute sweater ornaments and had a lot of fun making them. They are a great way to use up small amounts of handspun and are the perfect size to stick a gift card into. I should be making these all summer so I'm stocked up for next Christmas. Should, should, should...

I think this mug is identifiable. If the droopy ears don't give her away,

...maybe the side view will ;-).

"Hey, I'm not fat. I'm fluffy!"

I loved how this Cotswold ewe turned out. Each felted (and real) sheep has a completely different personality. I'm not sure how that happens, but it does. I don't question it, but it sometimes makes them hard to send away. The felted sheep, that is. If Graham Lamb** or Brat Willard shows up on someone's doorstep...

I didn't get a great picture of her curly top...and now that I think about it, I should have made tiny dreadlocks instead of curls. I'll work on that. Maybe I can retrofit her with some :-).

I like the first picture best, but I'm not sure why. It's definitely "busy". Probably too busy, but maybe I'm liking the extra background just because it's from a favorite spot in our house.

The last picture is almost the same view, but without all the extra stuff and colors. Do you find the first white sheep picture too distracting? Like if you were looking on etsy and there were actually some Punkin's Patch felted sheep on there ;-).

Should, should, should...

** Stay tuned for a high fivin' "we outsmarted Graham post". That is if we can actually outsmart him.

Shut up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Say Cheese!

Don't get excited. This adorable lamb is not living in our kitchen. It was tough to not slip her under my jacket as I was leaving Good Shepherd Cheese last night, but honestly, I'm not sure I'd be able to keep up with this precocious little lamb.

"When I grows up, I'm gonna make cheese!"

Already studying hard!

Kentucky has its first and only sheep dairy, Good Shepherd Cheese, just down the road in Bath county. I first met the Dotson's at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival a couple years ago. They were just getting started with their sheep and cheese making venture and we only talked briefly, but I walked away with a good feeling.

After visiting their farm facility yesterday, I know why.

Not only are they making some darn good cheese, but they also really love their sheep (most important :-) and it shows.

They are milking a growing herd of East Friesian sheep. Here the ladies are outside, patiently waiting their turn to come into the milking parlor. They walk up a ramp, find a spot on the line where they eat their dinner as the family washes their udders and start milking. They then continue down the walkway, out another door and the next group moves in. In a nutshell. Their website is full of more information, pictures, videos...

I was supposed to be there bagging fleeces for Bill and Don. Oops. I got sidetracked touring, taking pictures and yes, hugging lambs, and they had them all done in no time at all. It was pretty dark, but I got a few good pictures. I love this one, with the last ewe to be sheared watching her friend.

"Oh man, I can't believe they're doing that to Ruthie."

Her name isn't Ruthie. I just made that up. All the Dotson's sheep do have names though. As they pointed out different sheep and told their stories, it was obvious that this was a big family business. I liked that.

And we won't talk about why it looks like this fleece (not that yellow in real life) is in a plastic bag, possibly headed out to my car. They aren't currently marketing the wool, but it sounded like there was some interest. And if the wool spins as nice as it looks...

So we've covered lamb snorgling, nice folks, happy sheep, pretty fleeces. What about the cheese???

Here are a couple blocks/wheels (looks like I need another trip up so I can get the terminology correct ;-) aging in the cheese "cave".

And some short lived samples.

I wasn't sure what to expect. And I don't know food terms any more than I know cheese making terms, so I'm just going to say it wasn't just good, it was really good. Here is a link to some more educated reviews.

One thing I do know is cute lambs, so I'll leave you with another one. This is the spotted lamb's sister - Dorothy and Rainbow.

Those two lambs terrorized this poor Border Collie all evening. Two lambs running amok? Just. Not. Right.

Those good Border Collies.

"You sheep aren't supposed to be getting into everything. Sheep don't touch dogs! Sheep don't KISS dogs!!!"

But never did more then show some sharp, pointy teeth...and send some sharp, pointy looks at the shepherds ;-).

It was a nice evening.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Name Is Thecrazysheeplady...

...and I'm a fleece-aholic.

You will note that I did not take a picture of the back of my car this afternoon or the bags of wool stashed on the Wool House porch before I even stepped on the shearing trailer yesterday. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

"My name is Sweet Pea and I'm a potato chip-aholic. Can I have another one, please? Since I'm standing here so nice, holding the front position on the trailer?"

I love working the trailer with shearers Don and Bill Haudendschield. I especially love working at Kathy Meyer's.

From coarser, curly fleeces (my favorite kind :-)... softer, fine fleeces (my least favorite kind, but I still think they're awfully pretty).

And lots of pretty sheep.

We pulled out several especially nice fleeces for her to sell at the open fleece sale at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this spring. Kentucky wool should be at a premium this year. With the mild weather, sheep stress was practically non-existent, hay feeding has been minimal and all the fleeces I've seen have been exceptionally clean and in good order.

May be going on an interesting shearing trip tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Still - Textures

One of our softest fleeces...and hardest heads. Ford.

Buddy, the kindest sheep in the world. His fuzzy chukka boot legs are so soft. His curly fleece is soft too - a different kind of soft than Ford - if you can get past all the lanolin ;-).

Ewen McTeagle. I tried to capture his super soft cheeks, but couldn't. Such a contrast to his dense, coarse Suffolk/Hamp fleece. Different breed's wools feel completely different, so don't just feel one sheep and think you've felt them all.

For fun - can you tell who this is?

For more Sunday Stills textures...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Peaceful Kingdom

Feeding this morning. Finding Five to take some pictures. Not hard to do ;-).

Handy does not engage in Sheep Bowling, so is not considered Enemy #1.

The sheep LOVE to go out in the front field, so even though it's probably not the smartest thing to run sheep, horses and a guardian dog who doesn't want the two to mix (mostly if it's Hickory ;-) together, I cave on a regular basis.

Who's this Fatty McButter Pants?

The chickens mingle with everyone and Hank guards them along with his sheep. This looks like a sheep/chicken intersection. The sheep must have the red light.

Okay, so not always a peaceful kingdom. And Graham is usually the center of most un-peace. Here he's trying to steal Hank's breakfast. Again.

How he developed a taste for dog food I don't know. He'll hide in the shadows at night, waiting for me to sneak Hank's food to him. Just as I set his bowl down he steps out and I swear he says, in a creepy voice, "Good eeeve-ning."

Or, even worse, we think he's learned to throw his voice so that as soon as Hank starts eating, he "hears" coyotes off in the distance. Hank leaves his food to go protect his sheep (that would be including Graham) and Graham runs over and starts gobbling. If I were Hank I think I'd drag GL out back and do some voice throwing of my own!

Just kidding, Grammy. Sort of ;-).

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Heart Sheep

Some morning shots.


Boudreaux. Now don't think he's hiding behind the door because he feels bad that everyone thinks he's fat. He's waiting for me to turn my back so he can sneak in and raid the feed room.

"Huh? I wasn't thinking that at all! I was just concerned that you might be leaving the gate open...again and was trying to help. Yeah! I was trying to help!"

The tall and short of it. Ewen McTeagle and Allie.

Mr. Handsome. Recognize that face?

Lila and Keebler.

Do you see the heart? :-)


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