Wednesday, May 29, 2019

It's Going To Take More Than A Couple Weeks

I've been told the only difference between a good haircut and a bad about two weeks.  I think these are going to take a bit longer.  When the majority of the flock was shorn back in March, we didn't shear the oldest sheep.  If you are frail and thin or not super mobile, you shouldn't have to work hard to stay warm until the weather breaks.  

The weather has broken.  Or is broken.  It was 90 yesterday.  In May.  That extra wool needed to come off.  I managed to get Ewen, Woolliam and  PPPP sheared...and only had to call the vet once. Needless to say I'm not going to quit my day job and start shearing sheep anytime soon.  Or any time.  

PPPP doesn't look too bad.

Well, relatively speaking...

A little Biscuit and Muffin break midway through :-).

Kate nervously watching yet another storm headed our way.

"Rebecca Boone.  I'm trying to take a picture of Ewen."


Handsome Ewen

"She snipped me under my jaw and to make matters worse, because it's summer and fly season, she called the vet out and she put six staples in on top of it."

"I"m sorry, Big Wool :-(."

By this point it was raining hard so I sat down with everyone to wait it out.  You can tell by Kate's ears (glued to her head) that she wasn't enjoying the storm break as much as I was.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I'm Not Sure How She Does It

We are all miserably hot (in May :-o), but no one does miserably hot as cute as Maisie.  I saw her as I made an afternoon barn check and she looked so stinking cute that I quietly grabbed my camera.  

I've learned with Maisie to just grab the shot, whatever it may be, as quickly as you can, because you may not get a second chance.

Bing!  Instantly eyes open.  Always watching me.  So much for getting to set up a really nice picture.  But that's okay...because isn't she cute...when she's sleeping ;-).

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

Something Special At The End

We...well 20, Pip, Auntie Reg, Miss B and I...had a great weekend at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.  Tavia, Tabitha and Kaala...won't be going out in public ever again.  They hated it.  A lot.  And Tabitha made sure everyone heard about how much they hated it.  A lot.  

(After you start the video you can click the [ ] at the bottom right to make it bigger.)

This was the 10th year for the fiber festival. Seems kind of crazy when I think about it.  That just flew by!  Here is a quick tour of the booth for anyone who wasn't able to go and would like to take a peek.  You can even hear Tabitha...because I know everyone would like to hear what she had to say...all weekend long :-o.

We were stopped by a road block on our way out of the park last night.  As the person walked up to my truck to explain why the road was going to be closed for a few minutes, she laughed and said "Oh, I don't need to tell you what's going on."  The Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial was over and they were moving 500 sheep into a secure field for the night.  I got out of the truck and walked up to watch.  

Before there was a fiber festival I used to set up my Punkin's Patch booth down at the stockdog trial.  It was my favorite weekend of the year.  I'd be set up close enough to the trial field that I could watch the sheep and dogs all day long.  I'd bring my spinning wheel and my dear old collie Sam.  I made some really good friends down there over the years and it was like the best vacation ever.

I'd stay until the very end of each day because once the last handler finished they'd run all the sheep out into the open field to graze for the night.  That was my favorite.  I love big flocks of sheep and I wonder now if my love of big flocks came from watching all those sheep filter out across that big field each night.  

I didn't have a good camera back then.  Heck, I didn't even know I liked taking pictures in those days.  Maybe that was a good thing.  I might be able to still see things in my mind and heart that I probably couldn't have really captured on film back then.  Now, 16 years later, I pulled out my iPhone and recorded some video as they trotted up the road.

I included a bit of that footage at the end of this compilation.  I did that mostly because it is a treasured memory from my weekend.  A little gift from the universe to a crazy sheep lady who, while she enjoys being a part of the fiber festival, sure wishes there was a way to be two places at once.  

I also included it because there's something of Punkin's Patch significance at the very end.  The man walking past in the red and white striped shirt is Paul Tucker, now one of those good dog trial friends.  But I met Paul long before I knew anything about border collies or sheep or that I even liked sheep.  27 years ago he gave me a little bottle lamb...that I named Punkin.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Baaxter's Stripe

Found it!

I've been skirting fleeces, getting ready for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this weekend.  I've tried to post some pictures on Instagram/Facebook as I've gone along and almost forgot to look for Baby B's stripe this afternoon. 

You can't see it on the top side of his fleece, but if you turn it over to the cut side, there it is :-D.  I don't think it will significantly show when whoever buys his fleece spins it, but I think it's kind of fun to know that it was actually there, just like the picture from the other day.

(screen shot from Instagram)

I'm bringing several pretty fleeces from Tring Farm and sixteen fleeces from our farm.  Most of the fleeces are in good order, but a few have a bit more VM in them than I'd like this year.  It was a super wet muddy year and we had to feed a lot of hay...  They are marked accordingly.

There will be plenty of pretty roving and the usual Punkin's Patch "swag" and unless we don't think we can safely manage them in the hot weather, three special sheep coming.  You'll probably never guess who!*  And of course 20, and he's bringing a friend as well!

Once again the festival coincides with the Bluegrass Classic Stockdog Trial, just down the hill from the festival (with free shuttles all day :-) and that's always a good time.  The dog trial is going on every day.  The fiber festival is Saturday and Sunday.

Come out and do some site seeing and shopping :-D

*Don't get too excited.  It's not Maisie ;-)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Fast Food

This nest is on the corner of the Wool House and was actually built last year and remodeled for this year.  Look at all the wool and yarn :-).  

I'm not sure how momma birds do it.  All those open mouths.  I guess they are able to somehow keep track of who's been fed each trip.  It looks like she might have fed half of the worm to one baby and the other half to another.  I didn't notice that until I looked at the pictures.

In and back out in a flash!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Meanwhile, Back In Nome...

If I tried to write up everything that happened during this year's Iknitarod it would probably read more like Homer's Odyssey...with some lots of "grown up words".  Most of it was documented on my Instagram/Facebook feed and sadly not here (where I really want it).  If you weren't following along, here is a Reader's Digest version.

I cast on during the Iditarod's Ceremonial Start.  I hit the patterning section...and the stitches per inch gauge went haywire. I'd swatched the stockinette section, but not the patterning, which was a "rookie mistake" a non-rookie.  Turns out it wouldn't have helped.  Things got That Crazy.

I knit and reknit the top 20 rows two or three times, changing try to "get gauge" and finally gave up and went up a pattern size and then "knit on with confidence".  I got to the body and about four inches in started knitting tighter and tighter and kept knitting on "with confidence" and around 11 inches in decided it was terrible (which I knew at, say, six inches) and ripped the whole body back to the starburst.

The second reknit of the body ended up getting looser as I went on (slow learner), so much so that the bottom flared out.  But that wasn't the only issue.  The sleeves were huge as well.  I should have stayed with the original pattern size I'd swatched for...and done a better job knitting.  The sweater was wearable, but as I said on my IG post, that was not the W I was looking for.  I frogged the entire thing.

Since I was ripping back to the start, I decided to try to do the entire top in Mrs. Pepperpot's white.  I'd had quite a bit of white left over and it measured out to the same amount of all the grays I'd used, plus I was going down a pattern size, so I should have been golden.  I knit the entire top...well, most of it.  I got to two rows left...and was out of white.  

Mathematically that should not have happened.  So why did it?  I'd knit a smaller pattern size, with the same needle as before...and slopped it out.  Gauge and tension matter.  This is not breaking news.  And even if it was, I should have already learned that lesson...the hard way...TWICE.  I ripped it all back out again.  

By now I was just knitting on with [persistence]...and much more care/attention.  I'd had questions about how the yarn was holding up (a good question for sure!) and I am happy to report that Muffin and Mrs. Pepperpot, (oh, those good longwool crosses :-) held up bravely.  

Pip hung in there until the very end as well and I think really enjoyed the whole event.  Stella of course approved all the rips back to "do it right" even though several other neighbors were starting to have thoughts of calling in the white coats.  In the end, Saint Tim said it best, "Well worth the effort."

All in all it was a fun trip.  The sweater is lovely and I finished this project a much better and more careful knitter. I'm sad I didn't get it finished in time for a winter picture, but the weather yesterday was definitely cold enough for a wool photo shoot and honestly, Mother's Day was the perfect day to celebrate this mother-daughter sweater.

Friday, May 10, 2019


...there's obviously a shortage of grass in this field.  Boys...

There is obviously plenty of grass here.  So much so that I have spent much of this week sitting on a tractor or mower, trying to get back on top of it.  I am So Excited by the thought of another inch or two of rain forecast for this weekend :-o.  The obvious answer is I need more sheep, right?  Right.

I have no idea why Daniel and Baaxter are trying to eat the same piece of grass, but I love the dark gray stripe down Baaxter's back. I haven't skirted his fleece yet to see if the stripe shows through. To be honest I haven't skirted any fleeces yet...and the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival is NEXT WEEKEND.

So guess what I'll be doing this weekend ;-).

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Who Knows...

I'm not sure what Maisie did today, but I saw three separate sheep punch her this evening while I was sitting in Easy Breezy.  My first thought was that it was my fault because I'd called to her and she was encroaching on someone's "spot" at the back of the stall, but she got punched at the back, middle and front of the outer knows...

At least she's got Hank ;-).

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Morning Staff Meeting

It rained out the overdue spring barn cleaning last weekend.  We are cleaning in the rain this weekend :-/.  The neighbor has loaned us a big four wheel drive tractor..which just pulled in.  I have a million things to share...after we get through a couple of big jobs today.

Enjoy a new puzzle :-).


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