Wednesday, October 31, 2012


20's been looking forward to Halloween for a long time!

His Auntie Reg assembled his outfit and Uncle John came up with his tag line.
Look up in the sky.  No, not that high.  A little lower.  It's a bird!  It's a very odd plane!  No, it's Super 20!  Faster than a speeding terrapin, more powerful than a wagon without a tractor, able to leap small obstacles with a little help.  :-)
He was all set. And with his cute sheep trick or treat basket (Thanks, Alice :-) full of cookies, he was a popular trick or treater at the barn this afternoon.

"I got to dress up for Halloween when I was a baby.  I was a ghost and Miss Ewenice was a princess."

Stella and I have done some really fun sheep costumes.  We'll catch it again next year.  If you'd like to see some of the past pictures, type "Halloween" in the search box on the right.

Everyone got some treats.

Except sad little Blossom.  She had been told she was going to get to dress up as a Sleepy Sheepy with her very own sheep pjs, a pillow and her trusty cot, but I never finished making her costume :-/.  Then, to make matters worse, the other sheep wouldn't let her through the line to get any treats!

So she got to have her very own private trick or treat party and only had to share with Iris and Weaslie.

And maybe getting a special pumpkin carved with a picture of her and big sister Lila out trick or treating will help smooth things over too.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Just Going To Get This Over With

Marcel's gone.  He had a third bladder stone attack over the weekend and this time couldn't fight it.  He was one of mine and Hank's favorite sheep.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Hug A Sheep Day

It was chilly, but the wind and rain held off and over 60 people came out to hug some sheep yesterday, including a neighbor who'd recently moved back "home" and told about when she was a little girl, driving sheep (on her pony) from her daddy's farm on the next road over to her uncle's farm (ours)!

We set the hugging pen up inside the barn and I stayed in there most of the time answering questions and trying to monitor cookie consumption. Much of the time though it mostly resembled the zombie apocalypse "Must have cookies.  Feed cookies.  Feed cookies now.  No cookies?  Moving on to next person."  

Luckily Amy brought her camera and got some great shots. 

I love this picture of Buddy.

Hank, watchful.

Gorgeous sweater!  Yes, the amazing Aaron.  And B. Willard.

"What, you are out of cookies?  Need more cookies.  Must have cookies."  Petunia

Double fisting it.

In the beginning Blossom tried to push her way behind my legs to hide, but it didn't take long before she was right in the middle of Feed A Sheep A Cookie Day.

The barn swing.  Always a popular spot.

And Graham Lamb, hugging and kissing his way through the day.


By the cookie apocalypse.


Not only does Amy take beautiful photographs, but she's an amazing harpist too.  She played in the Wool House most of the afternoon and folks that stepped in to warm up didn't come back out for a long time.  I hope this link will work, but if not, definitely check back.  She wrote a song for Handy.  

Everyone here enjoyed Hug a Sheep Day and we're all looking forward to the next one...aka as every day!  Hope you enjoyed your day as well :-).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hug 'Em Or Shoot 'Em

Bring out your wool!  The forecast for the party? Um, not so great. After a week of Indian Summer and highs in the 80's, we are looking forward to mid 50's and rain just in time for our farm party tomorrow.  Not to fear though, sheep hate rain and like to snuggle down in the cozy barn during bad weather so they'll still be nice and dry and ready for some hugs :-).

One of my best buds Amy came in last night and this morning we went out to shoot some sheep.  Overcast skies make for nice light and working in the barn is always a great learning experience.  Feel free to bring your cameras and join in!  Some of the least huggable sheep are the most photogenic ;-).

"Just shoot me please.  I only like my momma to hug me."  Blossom

"Did you get some nice pictures?  Make sure my hair looks good!"  Rebecca Boone

"You can hug me all you want, but I'll also be happy to show you my good side...and steal your camera."  The one and only Graham Lamb

The cool hair boys.  Definitely huggable.  Keebler and Wooliam

Sweet Marcel.  Definitely huggable.

"Just pictures please.  Well, maybe a couple hugs."  Ewen McTeagle

"The barn is nice and toasty...and perfect for an afternoon nap."  Petunia

"But in between raindrops, we'll probably wander out for some grass."

"No!  Say cookies!  We'll wander out for cookies!"

"We eat cookies in the barn, silly.  We eat grass outside."

"They don't have to know that.  We can eat cookies both places!"

"Good point."

So, we'll just make the best of it.  There will be plenty of hot cider and coffee and I'm sure, no shortage of wool.  Come on out between 1:00 and 4:00 on Saturday and enjoy visiting with some of your favorite sheep. If you need directions, email thecrazysheeplady AT gmail DOT com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


So, this started out as a Hey, not to worry, Hug a Sheep Day is still a go even though the weather is looking cruddy sort of post, but I ended up typing War and Peace.  So, I'll do a more thorough and fun Hug a Sheep Day post tomorrow and let this roll today because it says a few things (well, probably more than a few ;-) that apparently want to be said.  My pictures weren't very inspiring anyway.  

I met Handy about 25 years ago.  He'd flunked out of a big show barn down south (as a two year old) and they sent him up here to donate him to the college I was attending.  When they found out that because they'd bred him, they could not get a tax right off for his donation, they said he was not worth the freight home (when gas was still cheap) and to "stockyard" him.   

Standing in the stall, high headed and big eyed, he was a beautiful colt.  He had a royal pedigree with a full brother who won a blue ribbon at the World Championship Horse Show.  He was... "a silly SOB who's going to hurt someone."  I knew the trainer, the assistant trainer, good friends of the owner and trainers.  They all said "You don't want to mess with him."  I was young (and cocky).  He was cheap (killer price). I took him home.  Their only other words of advice were "Don't ever take the halter off him.  Even in a stall you'll never catch him again."

I remember the guy I was dating at the time not wanting me to be there by myself when the farrier came to pull his show shoes.  He was late getting there to meet us though and the farrier and I went on without him.  Afterwards I led  him to the round pen, threw a saddle on him, messed with him a little, felt good about him and climbed on.  We walked around a bit and then went out to the open arena.  We walked around a bit more and headed out to the back 40.  We were just riding back down the lane when the boyfriend drove up. I gave the colt a name to grow into - Handy.

He was a big, gangly young horse.  And while he never, ever did anything dangerous or even remotely stupid, he was kind of a hard ride.  He trotted okay, but cantering was a disorganized disaster that frequently resembled a cartoon ride.  It was suggested that maybe if I drove him for while he'd strengthen up.  I ground drove him a time or two, hooked him to a jog cart (you really need to do more prep work than that - be safe!) and never looked back.  Handy had found his job.  

I worked at an office at the Kentucky Horse Park at the time.  They were hosting a big Combined Driving Event and I walked over at lunchtime to see what that was about.  I met the neatest lady from Michigan driving a cute Morgan mare and she let me ask her a million questions and ended up taking me under her wing all weekend and became a trusted mentor.   The following year Handy and I were competing in that event.  Our first driving show.

I didn't have money for a trainer but I'd joined the local driving club and taken a couple lessons.  I'd navigated for Marlene a couple times so wasn't completely in the dark.  Handy, on the other hand, was.  Our first day of competition was "an easy day" though - dressage.  He did everything I asked for and at the end of the day I walked over to check the scores.  Our score was way different then all the others in my class.  What did I do wrong? 

A couple of the judges were standing nearby and finally one (an older east coast judge) asked me if I needed some help.  I explained this was my first event and wasn't sure how to read the board.  "Okay, which number are you?"  I pointed.  "Oh, the big red horse?"  "Yes, ma'am."  "Your score is that low because you are in first place.  That was the nicest training level test I've ever judged."  

As I shakily walked away from the office, several of my friends from the local driving club saw me and came over and started doing this silly bowing down thing saying "We're not worthy.  We're not worthy." ;-) 

Then next day was "Marathon" day - cross country.  Each obstacle is completely different, resembling the big solid jumps the riding eventers compete over.  We go through.  My navigator and I had planned our routes through each one, but Handy had never seen one in real life.  As we approached the first one, he put on the brakes, no, go on, what?!?, trust me, huh?!?, go on, okay, and we finally skittered through.  The second obstacle he barely questioned and by the third he'd figured out that it was all a "game" and fellow competitors and spectators started following us around the course whooping and hollering, cheering us on.  

The final day - cones - was, well, honestly I don't even really remember it.  But at the end of the weekend, Handy had won the training level single horse class, the training level division (singles, pairs, four-in-hand) dressage championship and the training level division overall championship.  I still seldom took his halter off though ;-).

For many years Handy took me as far around the country as I could afford to go.  Most shows, unless I screwed something up, he was at very least reserve show champion.  We went to combined driving events, pleasure shows, pleasure drives, exhibitions, parades.  He did all the work.  He was fearless and smart.  He was kind, honest and safe.  I wrecked my cart in a hazard once and he froze, standing to let us step down and untangle him while two other wrecks the same day sent their drivers to the ER.  I trusted him with my life. 

I loved having people come out to the farm and take a drive.  He'd let everyone take a turn driving him if they wanted. Once we hosted two executives from the US Pony Clubs.  The first lady climbed onto the carriage and when I asked Handy to trot off, he did the slowest, softest, collected trot ever.  It wasn't our normal warm up, but I trusted him completely and went along with it.  At the end of the ride, my passenger admitted being very scared in the beginning, but "What a nice horse.  I had a great time."  The next lady climbed on and Handy marched off like normal, happy to show her the difference between "come left" and "hard left" at top speed.  He knew.  He always knew. 

So, if you've made it to the bottom of this epistle, I think, other than just wanting to explain the earlier blog title and share a couple (out of hundreds) of stories, what I think Handy would probably encourage us to walk away with is don't ever let anyone pigeon hole you, telling you who you are or who you'll never be.  There is a spot for everyone.  Sometimes you have to go out and look for your spot and sometimes it finds you and you just need to raise your hoof and say so. 

And those rare horses, dogs, people...that you can honestly and completely trust your life to?  Treasure them.  And be grateful.  And thank them for their gifts, large and small.  For their encouragement, shared knowledge...and so many kind words when you are hurting and lost.

Thank you.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another Stella(r) Day

For those of you with camera phones, you know how you sometimes accidentally hit the button that reverses the view so you can take a picture of yourself and how every last time that happens it scares the dog hair out of you and you think, "Yeesh, is that really how I look!?!" 

You should try it sometime after you forget to fully zip up your bee suit and get stung right on the underside of your nose. 

Don't ask me how I know this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When You Can't Think Of Anything To Say...

Post a picture of your [sheep].  

I'd like to say I'm okay.  But I'm not.  But I am I guess, really.  See?  Friends shouldn't let friends blog incoherently, so I'm just going to stick to posting a picture of Blossom and try hitting my "re-set" button one more time.  

Stupid button.  

Why don't these things ever work.

Friday, October 19, 2012

[I'm] Not Worthy

There's a fun (but accurate) story behind the title, but I'm afraid I'll electrocute myself on this stupid computer if I try to tell it.  Or any of the hundreds of great stories about the big red horse.

I took pictures of his halter because I haven't decided what to do with it.  Part of me thinks it should be buried with him in the morning...and part of me wants to hang on to it so tight they'll have to bury it with me.  

My heart and soul.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spinning Gold...Or My New Favorite Spider

A spider with impeccable taste in home location.

I'd love to live in the middle of a beautiful, aromatic lavender plant.

In a house spun from gold.

At first she was shy, hiding from me as I sat down to take some pictures.  As I moved a little left or right, she'd duck the other way.  After a couple minutes though I guess I was perceived as Not A Threat and I think she was proud to show me her "finished item" :-).  I believe she's a Jumping Spider.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Leaves For Leontien

An Autumn event to show our support for fellow blogger and farm gal, Leontien, who is battling cancer. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Use Of Force

As I finished up with the evening chores tonight, a pack of coyotes started yipping off behind our farm.  Hank charged to the back, hollered at them and then trotted back to the barn.  I walked out to meet him and he and I stood out in the arena and discussed the events of the day and what we anticipated for the night.  Blossom came over and stood with us.  Hank washed her ears and I scratched her chin and Betsy rubbed up against the back of my legs.  The four of us enjoy nightfall.  

Blossom started softly butting my shins - play butts.  I knew she was just taunting her friend Betsy, not trying to hurt me, so I didn't stop her and just watched them play.  Hank, on the other hand, decided not to let things escalate and reached up and gently placed a paw on Blossom's head.  

"Okay, that's enough."  

And Blossom stopped.  


Hank takes care of everything on his farm.  I am just as important as a sheep...and I think that's pretty cool.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hold On To Your Hats

There is finally some fresh yarn in the Wool House!

This is Mama.  Remember from way back in the summer?  When Blossom was still a wee baby, sleeping by my spinning wheel?  I was going to add something about "before the weather"...but I'm trying to let it go.

Now is prime spinning season.  The gardens have been tucked away, the grass doesn't need to be cut, the fall wool festival is over.  It's time to be thinking about warm woolens and Mama was happy to oblige.

I decided to spin a fat, fluffy yarn for Celi.  Most of that decision was because I know she doesn't have any more time than I do, taking care of her farmy (AND she cooks ;-).  Thicker yarn will knit or crochet up quickly.  Also, light airy yarn will trap and hold warmth better than a denser yarn, which might come in handy up north.  

Granted you wouldn't want to use this softly spun yarn to make a hard wearing item like socks, but Mama was so soft and squishy that I wouldn't think twice about wrapping her around my neck or tucking her up over my nose.  The yarn easily spun just as soft as her roving and I hope it still feels much like Mama herself.

Enjoy, Celi!

Next up, another custom order for a different type of yarn, from one of Willard's young Border Leicester  cousins.  

Then - you could probably guess this if you thought just a minute - I ran out of white Jester yarn.  For a second time.  Are you kidding me?!?  Of course I never dreamed that would happen (slow learner) so had his 2012 fleece processed all together this summer...which makes gray...that I have way more than I need.  Since Annabelly was Jester's first "baby" (he adopted Emily years ago and in turn all of her babies) I'm pulling out all her white and hoping that will cover it.  I'm close...but not close enough.  Sigh.

Then...I'm trying not to think about the rest of my list until I get through these projects...

I'll get caught up some day - hahahahahahaha (yep, slow learner ;-).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Momma's Lil' Butterball

I tried to take some pictures of Blossom.  I actually took a LOT of pictures of Blossom.  She's eating in each one.  Looking just like a regular sheep and not her normal adorable self.  Yes, she's still pretty darn cute.  When she's not eating.  Momma's lil' butterball :-).

Or butterballs!  That's Lila out front.  She and Blossom are frequently together now.  I'm not sure if they realize they came from the same farm or maybe they are cousins or if it's just because they look quite a bit alike.  Like butterballs ;-).

And the little weasel (Weaslie) finally found us after we moved into the arena.  Poor Tilly.  She thought she'd found us, but her vision has never been outstanding and it took a little convincing for her to make the run through that gate past those mean sheeps to come out and sit with me, Betsy, Hank and Marcel.

And Hank's 'done give up' ;-).  

He's actually just rolling around being a happy dog.  He loves cold weather and it looks to him like things are coming 'round.  Finally.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Nice Sheep

When Marcel first got here he was still a ram. A young ram, but a ram lamb who occasionally had a bit of one of those looks that said, when I get older, I might not be a real nice guy. It happens. Rams are not pets. We didn't want Marcel as a breeding ram though so a quick 'tutering' took care of that. Wethers (castrated rams) make GREAT pets :-).

When Marcel got sick this summer he was really hard to catch to doctor. I was a bit surprised about that because he's one of the sweetest, friendliest, best behaved sheep we have, but when you don't feel good, you don't feel good and you sure don't want someone to make you feel worse, even if they are just trying to help.

After a couple of days though, when he started to get better, I think he figured it out and that afternoon he came over and leaned on me and just stayed there for a good while. Ewenice used to do that too and I swear it's a sheep hug. I think Marcel was apologizing.  That would be something Marcel would do.  He's that kind of sheep.

Yesterday I had to move the flock away from a freshly painted fence, so I took them out into the arena.  That's their "treat field" and as soon as you open the gate, everyone runs out to gobble down the same grass that's all over the farm extra special grass.  Marcel did too...for awhile.  But then he came over to see what I was doing.

"Are you over here all by yourself?!?"

I wasn't.  Hank was right next to me and Betsy was on my lap, but Marcel loves Hank as much as he does me so he joined the group.

And then he came around to my other side so he could get a little closer.  Marcel's a "close talker" ;-).

See the rest of the sheep?  See how odd it is that Marcel would leave them to come over and stand by me?  Even Blossom is out there somewhere, gobbling down grass far away, oblivious to her momma sitting out in the paddock with her.  Sweet Marcel.

"Marcel, stop sniffing me and go away!  I was here first."


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