Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Tilly Appreciation Post

Tilly has had as much fun with the new sheep as Kate.  Corgis are actually a herding breed.  I think they are more cattle dogs, but I don't really know that for sure.  Most Corgis I know are best at herding food bowls ;-).  Luckily Kate is very kind to Tilly.  All her "help" would probably have pushed another dog over the edge.  

The noble shepherd keeping an eye on those dastardly sheeps.

Time to come in.

Kate makes a big loop to pick them up.  Tilly cuts the loop in half and swoops in from the side ;-).

Barking her fool head off...  We all prefer Kate's management style ;-).

Looks like they are getting sassy.

And now one is missing.  Where are you, Tara?

"I'm right here!"

On watch.

I'm not sure if Tilly knows they are starting to get too far away or she's just listening to Kate (note her ears). Truthfully, I think she knows they are starting to get too far away.  She does have some concept of what is going on besides just chasing Kate around.  If she would just stop that infernal barking :-o.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Year Of The Giant Metal Chicken

Happy Chinese New Year!

Yarn Along - While There Are Still A Few Hours Left In This Week

I'm not even going to write anything for this post.  Long (and short :-/) time readers of this blog will recognize the pile of squiggly yarn as yet another one of my knitting crime scenes.  This is a Very Simple hat I thought I'd whip out on the way to WV and back last weekend.  Sigh...

I will say the doubled Liddy yarn is working perfectly.  Good call there!  If I'd just thought to actually look up some maths before I tried to wing it...  Luckily Liddy is pretty tough and I eventually came to my senses and pulled out a book and now I'm back on track.

SO, instead of my planned post of pictures I actually took on Wednesday and surprising book, I'm sharing a classic book, Elizabeth Zimmermann's  Knitting Workshop.  More next week.  On Wednesday!

Joining in with Ginny...

*     *     *     *     * picked Benita Story's comment as the winner for the calendar giveaway with the Betsy video on Wednesday.  Man, we were busy on Wednesday...and you don't even know the half of it!  

I'll try to get everything caught up in a couple days.  In the meantime I'm going to pull off a second quick post this evening...while there are still a few hours left in the day!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Kate Appreciation Post

Even though I am very comfortable with farm the Ts came from, it's always a good idea to quarantine any new animals for a bit just to make sure, if nothing else, the stress of moving didn't cause any problems that would need addressing.

Normally I would just put new sheep in the side field, but for the winter I have the 'not quite as old as Jester and Ford' sheep in there.  The best option I could come up with was one of the horse stalls.  I didn't want to keep them locked up for week though with no grass and no room to play. so I decided I'd see if Kate and I could take them on excursions to the front yard.

Keep in mind that I am a complete rookie using a trained stock dog so I may be talking about things I don't know enough about to be talking about.  Still, from what I have picked up, Jacobs are not easy to herd, lambs can be tough and sheep that have never seen a working dog before need special handling.  We have the trifecta!

Our first trip out I cheated and carried a feed scoop in case we got into trouble.  The girls obviously had no idea that a dog could tell them what to do and were a little confused, but Kate was very kind and quietly approached them and everyone stayed calm, cool and collected and we made it out to the yard and safely back in.

Now, three times a day we go out for some grass and gamboling.  The first couple of days I stood out in the yard with them so when they started to get themselves in trouble, Kate could "bring the sheep back to me".  Today I sat on the porch, out of the wind, and let Kate run things on her own :-).

I don't really care where they go in the yard as long as they don't go to the house.  I'd also prefer they stayed out eating, rather than goofing around in the driveway.  Kate would prefer they stayed in the barn or a field because "Any idiot knows sheep should not be loose in the yard!"  

Once we get out of the stall, down the shed row, through the gate and somewhere in the yard, I ask Kate to stop.  As long as the girls are staying out of trouble, she should stay put.  Once they head off somewhere they shouldn't, I ask her to go bring them back (her favorite part :-).  You saw that on the video yesterday.

Here they are starting to work their way back up to the driveway.  She's watching them like a...Border Collie.

Tavia, Tessa, Tabitha, Thelma, Tara

Now she's brought them back to the grass.  Tessa, Tavia, Thelma, Tabitha.  I'm not sure where Tara is in this picture. I know she's close by, because they all stick together like glue, but if someone's going to be an explorer, it's Tara.

And here she is!  Kate is trying really hard to ignore her, hoping she'll do the right thing and back off.

You can tell Kate is really not happy about this situation, but is being patient and kind.


And Tara backed off ;-).  This whole scene was just a couple seconds long and I would never expect Kate to tolerate being disrespected.  I'm guessing she knew Tara was just being curious and not aggressive.  I've seen her handle a threatening sheep...much differently ;-).

I've had some questions about Kate, who trained her, why she's retired...  Kate came from Fetch Gate Farm in New York and a friend of a friend hooked us up after we lost Iris a few years ago.  Here is the post introducing her back in, yikes, 2014.  

As I mentioned above, I am not an experienced stock dog person.  I definitely needed/still need an experienced dog to bring me along rather than the other way around.  The plan for years was after Iris passed, I'd get a dog ready to slow down a bit and then we'd take lessons from one of the top trainers in the nation...who just happened to live right down the road.

Sadly, this never happened.  Vergil passed away a few months after we got Kate.  I'm sure we all knew that was going to happen, but Heather trusted me to take Kate anyway.  I will be forever grateful for that as Kate has far exceeded my greatest hopes and expectations as a friend and a working farm dog.

Working with Kate and these new sheep over the last few days has been a blast.  To have a job that needs doing and being able to put together a safe and sane way to do it (while sitting on the porch no less :-) well, it's an honor. If that makes sense.  I so appreciate the things people (and dogs, horses, sheep, cats, birds...) have done for me, shared with me, taught me.   

Today was fun.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Perfect Video...Well Almost

If I'd just thought to Turn The Camera Sideways...

I've been posting some Instagram pictures and videos of the new girls out in the yard over the last couple of days.  Yesterday I missed several opportunities to take Cat Sniffing pics of Eli (yes, surprisingly out of his condo) and Comby, but did catch a picture of them chasing Betsy up onto the fence.

This morning I missed them checking out Claire Bear, Comby and Eli (it was over 50 degrees ;-), but did catch this with Betsy. Once it was done I realized I'd taken  "the perfect country and western sheep song video".  We've got cute sheep, Betsy, Eli, Cat Sniffing, sun, Kate, Kate working, Tilly, Tilly "helping", sunshine, sheep sproinging, did I mention the sun is shining?

It was a bit too long for Instagram, so here is a YouTube version.

I was going to say leave a comment with your favorite part of this video and we'd have 20 draw a winner for one of the leftover calendars, but I've gotten several emails in the last 24 hours telling me that the comments aren't working right.  Not sure what is up with that.  Hoping just a temporary blogger issue as I don't have time to try to dig through that right now :-/.

So, TRY to leave a comment (and if it doesn't work, just shoot me an email, but try the comments option first).  If you already have a calendar, let me know and I'll find something else you might like :-).  If you don't win and don't have a 2017 calendar yet and you'd like one, they are half price. There are three or four Lamb Camp calendars left, too.  First come, first serve.

There WILL be a Yarn Along post (with a surprising book recommendation!) coming later today.  I hope.  Stay on me if you don't see it.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Ts

Painted Rock Farm uses alphabet names. The first year everyone's name started with an 'A', the second year a 'B'... Last year everyone started with 'T'.






Tabitha, Thelma, Tara

Tabitha and Tessa


Note the green moss/mold/whatever growing on the cross ties.  That's how much rain we've had this winter.  It's everywhere...along with the mud.  I'm trying really hard not to be sore about this after the drought this past summer and fall...

Tiny Tavia

And you'll have to work a puzzle to see the last picture.  Not to worry, it's an easy one :-).  I love the colors.


Monday, January 23, 2017

New [Lambs] On The Block

I let, wait, let me back up, they let themselves out for a little yard time yesterday afternoon ;-). I had been planning to let them out after I got their new temporary quarantine pen set up.  They just beat me to it by a couple minutes.

Jacobs are interesting to watch.  They are considered a "primitive breed" which, among other things, makes them perhaps a bit more "wild" than, say, a Cotswold or a Texel.  Notice how tight they are gathered and looking all four directions before deciding it's safe to graze.  I doubt there's a Cotswold out there that would hesitate before eating haha :-).

Spreading out a little bit.

The sassy ewe looking at the camera is rapidly becoming a favorite.

They've never seen a Border Collie before, so Kate has her work cut out for her teaching them how to follow directions.  Kate is very kind and patient and they are catching on.  And, as they got bolder and headed towards the off limits back porch of the house, it was a huge relief to be able to send Kate to go bring them back.  Thank you, Kate!

Here's a colorful new puzzle :-).

Or two :-).


Names tomorrow :-).

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Okay, So It's Been A Crazy Couple Of Days

I was going to start this post with a let's walk up to the barn and see what's there...and realized it was quickly going to get really confusing.  So, let's back up, what, 36 hours, no 48 hours ago and start there.

Friday night 20 loaded up the truck and prepared to head out well before dawn Saturday morning. He's ambitious like that and isn't "afraid of fog" ;-).  

Obligatory fog shot for Auntie Reg...who is actually more afraid of having to get up too early ;-D.

And yes, those are mountains.  20 took us all the way to West Virginia, to Painted Rock Farm.  For long time followers, that name should sound familiar.  That's the farm Heidi, Henri and Ford came from, turns out many more years ago than I'd like to remember.

For anyone who's seen Ford out in Del Boca Vista and wondered why he was so old and feeble looking...turns out he's 15 years old!  How the heck did that happen?  And Annabelly?  She's 14.  So is Allie and Billy Belly and Baby Belly.  Heidi and Henri are 13.  And of course Jester, clocking in at 17.

I could go off on a tangent about how old Saint Tim and I are and how many more years we can reasonably expect to be able to maintain a farm and flock, but it's getting late and I'm going to cut that portion short so I can finish this post, go make a final barn check and go to bed.  

Suffice to say that if we were going to add any new Jacob sheep, this would be a good time to do it. Getting an odd mid-January "break" in the weather enabled a safe run out there and Mike and Cheryl had exactly what we were looking for.

20 made sure everyone was securely tucked in and reassured that everything was going to be okay and we headed home.  Five or so long hours later we pulled in our driveway to find the lights on out front, the gate open and some friendly faces waiting for us.  

And now we've come to the point in this story where things get a little weird getting new sheep is completely overshadowed by other awesomeness.

Yes, that is a giant metal chicken.  A 7' tall metal chicken to be exact.  He was waiting in the dark behind the closed barn doors for me :-D.  I was startled, but not scared.  I was more excited that it was finally my turn to get surprised (he's been making the rounds of the neighborhood since Thanksgiving) and his sign completely made my day :-).  

Everyone quickly settled in for the night, the next morning came too quickly and before I knew it I was walking up to the barn in the fog and we are back to where we started with the first picture. Except now you won't be thinking "What the heck?  Is that a giant metal chicken???" 

He stood guard all night :-).

Yes, those are Christmas lights and yes, he's exceptionally awesome when he's plugged in and all the lights come on...which they don't do so well anymore, but I'm guessing we can should get some new ones on winter clearance.

His sign :-).

Welcome, new sheeps!

"When do we get to meet them?"

You won't get to meet them for a little while, Petunia, but I'll better introduce them all to everyone else tomorrow.  


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