Friday, January 31, 2014

Putting Hank Week To Bed

On those super cold nights I'd go in and fluff up Hank's inside straw and add a bit more if it looked a little flat.  In the mornings I'd find a perfect round nest where he'd slept deep in the bottom.  Here's how he does it.

I started this halfway through.  He circles around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around.   And then he turns the other direction and circles around and around and around and around and around and around.  And then back the first way around and around and around and around and around and around and then down.

Thanks for being such a great dog, Hank.  We all love you very much :-).

Thursday, January 30, 2014

C'mon Man

While Hank watches something out front...yep, the little weasel steals his bone!

"Dang it, Weaslie."

I took it away from her and tossed it back into Hank's territory.

And we all headed out back to check the far water line.  All the dogs love to go exploring.  And while I'd like to think they were all investigating some important security breach here...I think they are eating horse poop.  Yeah...

"I laugh in the face of winter!"

Making the rounds.

Hank never hesitates to take a walk and going out back with me, Tilly (Weaslie) and Iris is his favorite thing to do.  He makes sure he sees and smells everything he wants to and then once he's decided he's done, he heads back to his sheep.  And once he's headed back to his sheep, you can't stop him.  He's funny and serious all at the same time.

And look what we found when we got back.  Seriously???  And they've started stealing his dog food, too!

Poor Hank is going to have to make his own commercial!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hank Week Continues

These aren't great shots, but they are a "fun" record of how nasty the weather was over the weekend. 

 A dog and his bone. 

Remember last winter when Maisie hated the cold and snow? Well, who could blame her ;-). She was the only sheep willing to venture out the other afternoon.  Notice Hank doesn't care if she comes near his stuff.  If Graham wasn't such a weenie and had tried to walk behind him... Well, that would have been another "fun" set of pictures ;-).

Off she goes.

Finding a little grass peeking through.

Ugh.  Here comes the wind again.

"Maisie?  You think you should be out here?"

"Nope.  I'm heading back."

"This weather is wearing me out."


The look of resignation on her face.  Poor Maisie.  Hank keeps right on gnawing on his bone.  He knows he has limited time...and not due to the weather ;-).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Patrol

Hank likes to make a loop around the yard and a big loop out back every morning.  This is all usually done before breakfast, but I think his sleeping in on Saturday was the right choice :-).  After the morning brightened up and he'd had a happy roll in the snow, he headed out.

Down the hill, under a couple of fences...

Straight to where a fence plank had been knocked down.  I think that's really interesting - that he noticed that and had to go check.  I should have gone out and looked for tracks in the snow.  There weren't any horses out there (the usual suspects).  Who knocked it down?  I bet Hank knows.

Onward to the Frog Pond.  It's definitely fun to look for tracks there.   

I sure hope we get a "warmer" snow yet this winter.  Armchair snow patrol is nowhere near as fun as the real thing!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Like Shark Week...But Better

I have so many fun story pictures of Hank, it may fill the blog for the rest of the week. Is that okay with everyone?

I'm losing track of which day is which...or maybe I'm just trying to block out some of the really nasty ones.  I think this was Saturday morning.  Was Friday night the night we had the horrible blowing snow that covered Hank's INSIDE bed?  I think so.

So, when I got up there early that next morning, Hank was covered in snow, curled up in a ball right next to the stall door.  His fluffy straw bed with the straw bale added to block the wind...covered in snow and even colder.  It was the first time I've ever seen him look unhappy.

I quickly made him the NEW new bed (pics on Twitter) and he immediately curled up over there and wouldn't even eat his breakfast.  I understood.  Completely.  The cold is terrible, but tolerable.  The wind...just terrible.

I went back up before lunch to check on everyone.  The sun was trying to peek out, so I took my camera...just in case.  Everyone was starting to stir and Hank climbed out of his hideout, stretched big and headed out back.  He didn't get very far.

"Let's do it again!"

And before you think cute, sweet little Tilly is going along to be supportive or play...she's just tailing him trying to figure out where he hid his latest bone!  

Corgis... ;-)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Stills - The Letter F

Feline Friends Forever

Comby and Eli

I already had these put together before I took a bunch of fun fahreezing (did I spell that right, Lori?) fotos of my farm friends yesterday afternoon.  Some great Hank shots coming! :-D

For more Sunday Stills...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Standing Next To Blossom And Maisie

Rebecca Boone

This was just a lucky catch.  It looks like I've done something fancy with the background or taken her to a photo studio for some Glamour Shots, but it's just Rebecca Boone standing in front of the same black shade cloth from the last couple of posts.

I'm sure there's some science as to why this worked, maybe having to do with how the camera read her gray...or the gray and black combined...or because the sun was shining bright in the field (where the Chocula butt kicking contest was happening ;-) and she was in the shade...but I can't answer that.  I do know that I'll sure try to stage this again sometime!

Here's a short snowy video from this morning.  

The dark lump in the middle of the barn lot is a big pile of frozen horse poop.  I found it in there yesterday and tossed it over the horse fence (barn clean up at its finest ;-).  It was back this morning.  I guess that's a hint that I need to go buy Hank some more bones

Even with the straw bale added last night for a windbreak, poor Hank was covered in snow this morning.  Yes, inside the barn.  We have snow blown in 20 feet from all four sides and three of the sides are closed!  He now has a new bed in a more sheltered corner.  Everyone else seems fine.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 24, 2014

She's Not Fat

She's well insulated!  :-D

As I walked into the barn tonight to check on everything, I thought about how much I missed seeing sheep sleeping behind the barn like normal.  Frequently Maisie is sleeping up against the gate, B. Willard is usually next to the lamb pen fence, Lila's in the corner and Graham is, well, Graham could be anywhere.  Renny likes to sleep out back.  Blossom's almost always back there and every now and then Petunia.  

Some sheep always sleep in the barn.  Buddy, Woolliam, Boudreaux, Ewen McTeagle, Peabody, PeePee, all of the Jacobs...  And they are usually in the same spots every night.  Buddy and Woolliam sleep so soundly that I can walk all the way up to their door and even turn the lights on and they may never open their eyes.  I love sleepy sheepies :-).

This cold though has everyone tucked inside.  Or does it?  As I looked out the back door to see how Jester and Elizabeth were doing, there was Blossom (or as I now call her, for a reason I've long forgotten, Baba) comfortably sleeping out in the open, with 20 mph winds blowing across her!  

She got up and came inside when I set out a little more hay and when I stopped to talk to her I noticed she still had frozen snow from the storm the other day crusted down her back.  Her fleece has her so well insulated that her body heat has never leaked out enough to melt that snow!  No wonder she was so happy outside :-).

So, if you need an extra warm sweater or blanket for next winter, she's your girl :-D.

'Night all!

The Enforcer

Rebecca Boone:  "Hmmm, what's going on out there?"

Daniel:  "I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and try to stay out of this one."

Woolliam:  "I don't like this one bit!"

Baby Belly:  "Me neither and I'm gonna go take care of it.  Chocula needs to stop bothering my (five year old ;-) baby!"

Woolliam:  "Step aside little lady.  Let me handle this!"

That's Clover Belly and Baby Belly standing together off to the right :-D.

With the rest of the peanut gallery gathered around.

Ewen:  "Kids..."

I ended up leaving Elizabeth in her "own home" last night.  I added some more wind blocking plastic around the north and west sides and more cozy straw on the inside.  Jester is in there with her.  He's not super happy about it, but he's easily bought off with graham crackers ;-). 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Little Sunshine...From The Other Day

It's too cold to sleep outside like this today. The sun IS shining this morning and Hank's out there, but he's curled up with his nose tucked under his tail. Still happy though.  He and I love winter...most of the time.  

Here are a couple shots of his buddy Miss Maisie.  When she's not sleeping with him, this is her spot in the big stall :-).

"I'm still pretty stinkin' cute :-)."

I took a bunch of fun(ny)  pictures (and lucked into a really nice one of Rebecca Boone) on Monday. We have more/better snow now, but it's so finger freezing cold that I've let my camera sit.  Monday's snow was more fun, so I'll keep posting those pictures.

The furnace is limping along and the house is warm.  Elizabeth and I are fighting about where she wants to live.  She's miserable in the heated pen and is adamant about staying in her own home.  I can understand that.  What do I do?  Force her to move into a "nursing home" or let nature take its course "at home"?  She's a tough old bird, but the forecast is just not great.

While we're all thinking on that, here's another silly video that will make you smile.  This one is a little longer and some of the super boring stuff could have been taken out, but there are a couple priceless close ups mixed in and I decided to let it ride. 

I do these by setting my camera up somewhere (this time it's on the Grahaminator), turning it on and walking away.  I've figured out how to cut out the beginning and the end, but haven't had time to figure how to cut out parts of the middle and the middles mean something to me anyway... 

The first foghorn you hear is Buddy.  Of course :-).  Then you can hear me clear my throat and Maisie wicker back at me.  I think she's so cute following me around.  It looks like I'm wandering all over setting out random piles of hay, but really I'm looking for any openings that allow me to get through with the least amount of spillage on fleeces.  I think it's funny how they keep moving to fresh piles like maybe this one is better...  Sheeps ;-).

And that's why you should always keep an inexpensive UV filter lens on the end of your not-so-inexpensive lenses ;-).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Quick post from the land of no furnace.  Well, the furnace is fine (I hope) but yet another thermostat has tanked (I hope).  Regardless, it's as much fun as you can imagine at MINUS SIX this morning :-o.  Not to worry, the repairman has been called, but while I can put on a warm wool sweater, our water pipes can't.  This normally wouldn't be a big concern in Kentucky...

Since I think we could all probably stand to soak up some sun, here's Betsy in the barn rafters a couple  mornings ago.  I'm sure I could have framed this better, but I still like the shot.  The colors are pretty and the white contrast with the dark loft background provides something a little different. 

I used my "spot" metering setting to take this picture.  That's a simple manual setting that I'm pretty sure every camera has (check your manual or look your camera up online ;-).  What spot metering does is read the light just off her rather than trying to read the light throughout the whole picture.  

Under normal circumstances, our cameras do a pretty good job balancing everything out, but in this situation, with a bright white cat in full sun and a dark shadowed background, with "matrix" metering (the whole picture area), Betsy's white got blown out (glaring white and no detail).  You could see much of the barn rafters in the background, but since I wanted the picture to be of Betsy, I wanted Betsy to look her best. 

I play around with this setting when I'm taking pictures of something going on in the barn, when I'm trying to take a picture of something with the sun not at my back, if it's sunny and I'm trying to take a picture of bright white(ish ;-) Hank...  Give it a try sometime :-). 

Speaking of pictures, I posted some early morning shots on Twitter today.  I wish I'd had my big girl camera.  It was a stunningly beautiful morning.  As the sun rose over Stella's hill, it was so cold that our ponds were steaming.  And the steam was sitting in layers over the water.   And the sunlight turned it pink.

The horses had frosty noses and eye lashes and even T-Bone's neck hair was frosted.  I've never seen that before.  Hank was still curled into a tiny ball in his straw bed.  He looked up as I brought him some breakfast, but decided he might sleep in a little bit longer.  Maisie was ready to start her day!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

About The Bells

"Who has bells and could you show me what a good bell and collar look like? Who would you like to see have a bell? :)" 

I originally purchased three bells from Premier1.  Mine are the Swiss Bells.  I didn't feel comfortable using their nylon collars in case they got it caught on something, so picked out simple leather (breakable) dog collars from Tractor Supply.  

I knew right off who two of the "lucky" bell wearing sheep would be, for two completely different reasons.  The third bell?  Well, I thought maybe Annabelly would like to be special...but NO!  Rebecca Boone was my next choice, and while she was okay with it, three bells was a bit much.  Two is pretty.  Three is noise.

"I have to wear this stupid bell because they said since I aggravate them all the time, it was my turn to get aggravated.  Whatever.  Now they use it to track my every move.  They say they are amazed at how much I eat, where I eat, how late at night I go out and eat...  

"The collar is the worst.  They use it to drag me all over the place.  "Stand over here, Graham.  Get out of the feed room, Graham.  Stop trying to knock the ladder over, Graham...""


"I get to wear this pretty bell because I'm special.  I like bling.  One time I got to wear flowers in my hair to get my picture taken.  It was awesome.  You can't really see my bell because I have so much pretty wool.  My wool is almost the same color as my bell and I think it would be cool if someone used my wool to make a cardigan sweater and put brass buttons on it."

Interestingly, as soon as I put the bell on Petunia, something changed with her.  Before that she'd always just been part of the flock.  She was one of those sheep that never caused any trouble or did anything to stand apart from the rest and if you didn't think to initiate contact with her, you might never know how neat she was.  

As Elizabeth has aged, I've wondered who would take her place as the flock matriarch.  Petunia never crossed my mind.  The bell changed that.  With a calm grace that is Petunia, she assumed the duty.  Assumed is probably the best word.  There was no question, no power struggle.  She just stepped up to the plate and is now the leader of the flock.


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