Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Stills - Signs Of Fall

I really didn't think I had time to go take a walk out back and try for some Sunday Stills shots this week. Please. You don't have time to take a short walk? Sigh. Grab your camera, the Loyal Corgi and take a hike.


Cobwebs.  The number one sign of fall here.   

We get spider webs all summer too, but there's something different about fall webs.

Something you'll hear beekeepers all over this area talk about heading into fall is the aster bloom.  Asters provide a great late source of food to help bees overwinter.  Interestingly, the honey they produce from asters smells, um, funky.  You can walk up to a hive and smell it from 10 feet away.  

There's nothing wrong with it, that's just the way it smells.  Some folks even like the stronger tasting honeys from various late blooming flowers.  Stella and I planted buckwheat last summer and that made the hives smell like graham crackers.  The honey is darker and I've been told has more nutrients the bees need.   

The thing is...I've never seen any bees actually working asters.  Until yesterday afternoon. 

Go take a walk.

Actually, the true number one sign of fall is a ton of stuff spread all over the wool house in preparation for the Kentucky Wool Festival next weekend. And the fact that most of it's not. quite. ready. is honestly the real number one sign of fall ;-).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back Down To Earth...Or The Driveway

How many do you see? 

There is one on the left side of the chunk of white wool, but most of one leaf is missing so it's hard to see from an iPhone shot. I'll give you that one ;-).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cleared For Take Off

Everything's okay here. I've just been really busy trying to get ready for the Wool Festival next weekend. Stella's been having some fun though :-).

Remember when I took photos for the Young Eagles day at the local airport earlier in the summer?  Last Saturday was Silver Eagles - for anyone over 60.  Local folks like Stella came out, but also two groups from one of the local nursing homes.  Everyone had a great flight and a great time. 

Stella, heading out on her first flight.

She got lucky and scored a second flight too.  And to top it off...

...this plane is a teaching plane.

And she got to fly herself over her farm!

That's a super groups of folks over at our airport.  I'm glad they asked me back and I can't wait for the next one :-).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Interesting Development

I don't remember a hotter summer ever.

And I don't remember a frost this early either.  Handy and Hickory from the back porch this morning.

Not surprisingly I remembered to cover my flowers last night...but never gave a thought to the tomatoes. Sigh. Well, I might have eventually thought about them...but at that point couldn't bring myself to crawl out of my warm bed to do the right thing.  Not all were lost, but I should still probably have my gardening license revoked.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Stills - Music

I live surrounded by music. Tractors running, birds chirping, wind blowing through the pine trees and dried seed pods hanging from our redbud trees. Sitting out in the field listening to the sheep munching grass all around me or chewing cud in the barn. Blossom calling to me as I head to the house at night "Come back, we can sleep on the cot." 

On Sunday mornings Weaslie and I head to Paris, Kentucky, to play the piano for a small country church that welcomes everyone and their house cat (or dog, sheep, horse, spider, honey bees). On Sunday afternoons "Jay Cutler throws another interception!" is frequently music to my ears ;-).

This is my beloved old piano.  Well, my beloved church piano.  My house piano is beloved as well.  Both are old and a little "plinky".  Just a little.  This piano was built in 1907 and has played week in and week out for more years than anyone can remember.

And it has a picture of Lila up top.

With a great view as I sit waiting for my next cue.

And while a couple folks would like to "upgrade" it for one of them there new fangled pie-annas, it's an old friend and it knows it's safe with me :-). 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Don't Let The Door Hit You...

I am counting down the minutes. Not to be wishing my life away, but I've never been so glad to see summer end.

Celebrating the fall equinox at Equinox Farm.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Interesting Development

Found growing in front of the wool house.


Wonder how you go about shearing these? ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blossom And Her Buds

Disclaimer: These were all taken "BC" (before coffee). I rotated to straighten as many as I could because pretty much I felt like I might fall out of my chair looking at them skewed downhill the way they were. A couple...not so fixable. But they're fun anyway :-).

I looked out and saw Hank sitting on the hill with a white sheep yesterday morning. Blossom is so big now that from a big distance (and BC) it's sometimes hard to tell where she is, but if he's out with one sheep, it's usually Blossom, little Miss Independent. Or Keebler. This is Keebler.

Then, something must have startled the sheep on the hill because next thing I knew, everyone was racing for the barn. It was obviously nothing or Hank wouldn't be racing alongside with a big smile on his face. Sometimes a cool morning is all it takes. That's Marcel in front.

And here comes Blossom. With Uncle Graham and Auntie Lila. You can tell by the look on Graham's face that he a. isn't in the mood to run and b. wasn't done eating ;-).

Just missed her big wheeee jump by a split second.

And she's pulling ahead.

Catching up to Renny.

Who isn't about to let anyone beat her anywhere :-).

And across the creek.

I've had lots of complaints lately about no Blossom shots. Tell me about it. If I show up out in the field with the camera she stops doing whatever cute thing she's doing and runs over to see what I'm up to (and if I have any cookies).

Interestingly, and this started from early baby days, if I sit down either in the barn or out in the field, she runs over for ear scratching, story telling, naptime... However, if I pull out my phone, she gets disgusted and walks away. Even a sheep kid knows she's not getting mom's full attention like that. That's why most of the phone shots are of her sleeping ;-).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Stills - Shadows Of Ourselves

Shirley posted a nice shadow self portrait the other day. Lori is good at those as well. Let’s all try that this week and share a little about ourselves.

Out standing in my field. (snort ;-)

For more Sunday Shadows...

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Baker's Dozen

This post is heavy on pictures. I thought about breaking it up into two posts, but decided that the garden was overflowing with flowers so the post could mirror. And also because Stella's getting high speed internet today and I'm hoping she'll enjoy being able to see lots of pictures :-).

"Hello there, Stella!"

I just love praying mantises.

And pretty moths that look like they are wearing light summer dresses.

Flies...yeah, um... I guess they are pollinators.

I'd have missed this if I hadn't finally taken some time to go explore the flower bed with my camera.

Or this. Although now I'm a little gun shy on lady bugs. Is this really one or one of those awful lookalikes that stings so hard? How do you tell?

I thought my borage didn't re-seed itself, but it's finally back. Love this flower. So do the bees. Thanks Deb :-).

Speaking of bees, look at these goof balls. They are fighting over this one flower. Like there aren't hundreds of other flowers. Probably says something about us all.

Sllllluuuuurrrrpppp. Look at her proboscis. Actually, cooler are her wings - doubles! Look closely.

I love dahlias. We have to dig them up and bring them inside for the winter, but they are worth it.

Another favorite - a Daddy Long Legs. Not a Daddy Long Legs Spider. Two different critters. I'd always heard the rumor that DLL were highly poisonous, but just couldn't actually bite a human. Turns out that's wrong. And there's not proof the DLL Spider could either.

Zinnias. So easy to grow and bloom and bloom and bloom. Tons of color. Even the flowers without much color are beautiful.

Doesn't it look like this flower is wearing some smaller flowers? Ya can't beat that :-).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Long Suffering Border Collie

I heard my Aunt Debbie asked about me this morning. I'm glad someone cares about me. I am surrounded by idiots. These sheep are useless. The Crazy Sheep Lady should let me take care of this, but no, she yelled at me this morning. So I might have gotten a little too, um, assertive, and snapped at Mia making her crash into her, but I'm telling you, if you don't stay on top of these spoiled sheep... And as far as all the insane barking at the neighbor dogs lately. What am I supposed to do?!? They are getting into another neighbor's cow field and dogs. should. not. be. in. there. Not even that neighbor's dog. Even if he is a Border Collie trying to do his job. It's against the (my) rules. And don't even get me started on that moronic Corgi. Let me just ask you this, who showed you where the bunny den was so you could put that baby bunny back with it's family after Weaslie tried to kill it this afternoon? Yeah, I thought so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Good Morning

We had another awful scare with Marcel yesterday. I can't help but worry that he's a ticking time bomb and when I saw him in distress again, I feared the worst. I immediately gave him some banamine (anti-inflammatory/pain killer) to try and make him comfortable and hoped he'd once again be able to pass the crystal or stone.

**Updated to add that we are also giving SMZs and penicillin because very seldom do you have stones without battling bacteria as well.

He dripped urine for awhile, strained a couple times and then after about 2 hours I saw him pee a stream. The standoff was over. Marcel would probably rather I didn't share such personal details, but if it might help someone else, I'm going to put it out there. I watched him until dark, saw him pee a couple more times and finally headed to the house.

This morning he was out grazing with the rest of the early risers. Whew.

I call it the cottontail check. He has a white tail like a rabbit :-).

And once again the farm seems peaceful and happy.

The lab is not finding anything helpful. The soil and forage samples...don't get me started. I sent over a 2 gallon bucket and "it wasn't enough to test" and they want me to send samples to a lab in Ithaca, NY. Seriously? We have a big ag school here, why? I've had better results dealing with the folks at Purdue. Sigh.

In the meantime, these are the things we've changed here. Sort of a shotgun approach, so hard to say if it's helping and if so what part is helping...

1. Per a sheep nutritionist, all the boys are getting a dose of ammonium chloride every day for a week and then twice a week from here on out. Except Marcel, who's gotten it every day for almost a month and will probably continue every day forever. Normally AC is added into the feed source, but everyone here is way too fat to be eating that much grain. Besides, grain can actually cause the stones, so to me not worth the risk.

Here's my "recipe": 1 teaspoon ammonium chloride (looks like salt and you buy it at the feed store) mixed in 8 ccs of applesauce. At that concentration it will flow through a 12 cc syringe squirted into their mouths. I mix enough for everyone at that ratio and then draw out 10 ccs of mix for each sheep. Please keep in mind that I made this up and may be completely a bad method or the math could be off... Check with your vet. Remember, cookin' ain't my strong suit.

2. While normally you don't feed white salt alongside your sheep mineral mix that has salt included in it, we are wondering if, due to the super hot summer, they've needed more salt and to get that salt, they were over-consuming the mineral mix. They now have a plain white salt block next to their minerals and they are eating both.

Besides, the thinking is if they eat more salt, it should make them more thirsty so they drink more so they pee more. My whole life has become based around how much everyone is peeing and I'm sure everyone would be happy if the peepee stalking could stop. I know I would be, but I'm not sure I'll ever relax again.

3. We had changed from one sheep mineral to another company's sheep mineral. We've changed back to the old brand. Again, not sure if that has anything to do with it, but changing back at least makes me feel better. The lab looked at both labels and didn't see anything wrong.

I realize that part of our problem is we are keeping a lot of pet boys. The odds are stacked against us. The hard facts are boys usually end up on someone's table well before problems show up :-/. However, we'd gone almost 10 years without a problem and now to have so many...that's the mystery.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mama Goes To The Mill

Remember Mama? After washing, I had hand processed a small bit for a spinning sample. I was finally able to get the rest of her fleece to Ohio Valley Natural Fibers last week.

First it gets picked.

Then headed on to the drums (I switched sides of the machine for this photo).

Around and around from drum to drum.

And the last step turns it into a long tube of ready to spin wool.

Look how pretty.

Here's a video (not Mama) that shows more of the process.

This is Mama.

Guess who this is? Well, you'll never guess, so I'll tell you. It's Renny!

Huge, smushy Sherman. That's one fleece. I think it might become a huge, smushy blanket that I can keep forever.

Messy Boudreaux. At the last minute I decided to take his awful (too bad to show you the pictures!) fleece just to see what would happen. While I sure wouldn't try to sell it to anyone, it's clean enough that I can spin it. Would be nice to get something outta the boy. He can't really help it; the chickens are sabotaging him. At least that's his story... ;-).

This is a lovely (clean and washed like they all should be) Border Leicester lamb fleece from one of B. Willard's cousins. It's running in the first video above.

Lined up ready to go home. Renny, Willard's cousin, Boudreaux, Sherman (how they smushed all that into the bag is a wonder) and Mama. I waited on these to run and left several others for later pick up.

It's almost time for the Kentucky Wool Festival!


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