Thursday, September 24, 2020

Things That Make You Go "Awwww"

 One day last week we had an impromptu "pony party" at the farm.  A neighbor came by with her three little girls and they wanted to meet the horses.  I've said all along that as long as Frankie had his grazing muzzle on (everything has to go in Frankie's mouth, especially fingers ;-) I'd trust him with a toddler hanging off his tail.  Frankie loves everyone and he's amazingly unflappable.

Lancelot is friendly to people that he knows...and likes...but he's big and not necessarily careful where he's stepping and I'm watchful with things like water hoses around his legs because he can get startled.  I was kind of glad I could expect him to stay down the hill, away from the little visitors. Oh, and he does not really like to have his face touched.  

Who was the first horse to walk up and greet the princess wearing a fancy dress?  And let her touch his face?






"Awwww :-)"


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Best. Anniversary. Ever.

  

I got up Sunday morning and went to Winchester to have breakfast with John and Auntie Reg.  I took Kate and Tilly with me because...they always go with me.  Kate went exploring around their yard like any other visit and I didn't think anything about it.  Kate doesn't get into trouble.  She never leaves me.  

9-14 year old Kate would never leave me.  15 year old Kate, now deaf and significantly vision impaired and while in good condition for a 15 year old dog, but not strong enough to venture into the woods...ventured into the woods.

I'm not sure if she fell, got disoriented because she doesn't see well or just wasn't strong enough to pull herself back up the hill.  Regardless, even though we realized pretty quickly that something wasn't right, we couldn't call her name and expect any response.

And she wasn't just off in any old woods.  She was on the "hillside" overlooking the Kentucky river.  We immediately starting searching, but I knew we were in trouble.  I called Tim and he came over and brought a neighbor with him.  

We searched and searched and I called a border collie friend who I knew could whistle really loudly in hopes that maybe Kate could still hear a herding whistle and find her way back.  She also brought two dogs with her in hopes they would stumble across her.  Nothing.

We searched the surrounding, very rugged, terrain for 11 hours.  The drive home that night was the worst thing I've ever experienced.  I went back over early the next morning and checked in with some near-ish cattle farms in hopes she'd smelled stock and gone to them.  

We got escorted into the nearby old stone quarry and searched for signs there.  We drove from road to road and house to house and Reg talked to anyone she could find and called so many people.  We re-walked and walked and walked all over the hillside, as far down as it was safe to go.  

This was not a "walk in the woods".  If she'd gone down, the elevation drop is 300' and at best maybe a 45 degree angle.  Much of it is a cliff...straight down.  The underbrush was thick and the area is full of old stone walls.  It was unlikely she could get past all that, but after searching along the upper side of the hill for two days and all the nearby open farm ground as best we could, Tim decided to climb down into the Lower Howard's Creek.

It was definitely worth a shot, heck, anything was, but by this point I had very little hope left.  It was getting dark and closing in on what would be her second cold night in the wilderness. A wilderness full of coyotes and bobcats and sometimes other predators.  

He called to let me know when he gotten down into the creek bed and I waited at John and Reg's.  I was exhausted.  I was broken.  Tilly was with me, but she, too, was upset and miserable.  She ate her dinner, but wouldn't stop walking around and kept sniffing pretty close to where I'd last seen Kate.  I decided to make one more trip down into the woods.

I once again crawled under, through and over and slipped and slid down loose rocks and dirt. I'd maybe made it a quarter of the way down, zig zagging left and right, when my phone dinged with a text message.  I pulled it out of my pocket...and there was the picture of Tim...with Kate.  She was still alive and he had her in his arms!  

I don't really remember scrambling up the hill or, honestly, even driving to the point where he was going to bring her out.  He ended up carrying her nearly a half mile, through water in some parts up to his chest.  When he'd try to set her down to walk, she'd turn around and try to go back where he'd found her. Definitely disoriented and maybe a little shocky.

The vet told us some things to immediately check and do for her before we got her to the clinic.  Luckily I hadn't given all the food I had packed for her to Tilly and she gobbled it up.  I'd assumed being next to the creek that she'd had plenty to drink, but when we got to the vet clinic, her blood work was not great and she needed IV fluids.  

She went back to the clinic this morning and stayed for several hours while they ran more fluids, but by mid afternoon they said she was in good shape and ready to come home.  She is laying at my feet as I type this.  It is truly a miracle. 

This is just the highlights of the story.  Don't try to imagine the rest or what she (and we) went through or what could have happened...  I've done enough of that for all of us and I've never cried so hard in my whole life.  

I want to offer up a huge thank you to everyone who helped bring Kate home, especially Auntie Reg and her friends and neighbors.  

Our friends who came from two counties away and gave up their entire Sunday to help search and then drive me home that night. 

The god of old dogs (and maybe sheep and cats) and their angels who I'm sure gave Kate a strong "lie down" so she stayed put when she hit the creek.  

And to 'the old man of the creek and rivers' who had the vision to go down the creek...and carry her back to me.  I guess all that fishing finally paid off ;-).  Today is our anniversary.  I'd like to say we make a good team, but honestly, Saint Tim is always carrying us all. 


Saturday, September 19, 2020

My Pet Sunflower

A month or so ago I was pulling some weeds (well, unwanted weeds that is ;-) from the B Garden and accidentally pulled up a small sunflower.  She came up with very few roots and it was hot as the blazes and I knew if I tried to put her back in the ground she'd never make it.  

I stuck her in a leftover pot of old dirt I had stashed behind the Wool House and tucked her rapidly wilting body into the shade.  She lay collapsed, leaning on the side of my horse trailer for a couple of days, but I kept giving her a drink every time I walked past and she began to slowly perk up.

I staked her up using a dowel rod and some soft yarn and gradually moved her back into the hot sun.  Being a sunflower, she was happy to be back near her friends and she eventually began to grow again and one day I noticed a small bud forming on the top of her head.  


And then she bloomed :-).
Instagram followers may remember this video of the spider spinning the web from the corner of the garage roof down to a zinnias.


The sweet sunflower took over when she got big enough :-).


And look at all the pollen she's made for her bee friends.  They've been having quite a party!  

Her big golden petals are starting to fall off, but she has some new buds coming on so the party will continue a little while longer.  And once her blooms are all dried up, she'll have plenty of seeds to feed the birds this winter...but I'll save back a few to stick in her old pot next spring :-).

*   *   *   *   *

Thank you for all the kind words about Daniel.  I know he was as much a favorite on the blog as he was here on the farm.  I am so sorry.  I hate that most of the blog posts this summer seem to be obituaries.  Hopefully meeting the sunflower will help sway the balance.  

Deb, I have a question about the Ruminex B or D.  Could you please send me an email when you get a minute?


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Daniel

One of my favorite things to do is stand in the barn lot in the evening while the sheep are milling around getting ready for bed. The best part of these nighttime sessions was standing with Daniel. Daniel was a hugger. When he saw the opportunity, he'd push his way in and then stand there next to me, leaning against my leg. 

My arm would instinctively wrap around his neck and I'd bury my fingers in the wool around his neck and shoulders, gently scratching, and he'd stand there like that with me forever. I know my sheep like me. Daniel loved me. If I'd known the other night that that was the last time we'd do that, I'd have stayed there forever, too. 


Daniel aka Big D

May 2013 – September 17, 2020


We've lost another good sheep to bladder stones.  We tried to get him unblocked surgically, but were unsuccessful.  The vet autopsied him and collected some sludge/sand to send off to be tested to determine the mineral make up of the stones.  I hope that tells us something.  Is it our grass, the water, the mineral mix...?  
  

Monday, August 31, 2020

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

One day back in the early spring I found some super adorable tadpoles swimming around in one of the water tubs I keep next to the Wool House to collect rain water off the roof and rinse water from washing wool. 

All together now... "Awwwww..."

I love frogs.  I really love tadpoles.  This will be So Much Fun watching them grow up!


You are pretty cute.


Of course as the summer blazed on I had to provide some super attractive shade from the afternoon sun and, so they'd have enough to eat, I scooped up some plants from the actual Frog Pond, where they should have been living.


And after that, all I've been able to see is adult frogs staring at me from the top of the green.  Occasionally I pull some weeds back so I can see all the taddies below, but mostly I just see frog eyes.  

And as they have been so happy here, they've multiplied into all three tubs, so now I have to put buckets under the downspout of the barn to collect rain water to water my plants and gardens.  That's pretty special looking, too.

If you'd like to watch it all unfold on Instagram...






Pro-tip:  When you hear two frogs talking like that...you're going to find a bunch of new frog eggs in the morning.  


I haven't figured out what I'm going to do this fall.  I guess I'll scoop everyone out and release them back at the ponds.  It's been "kinda" fun, but I "kinda" hope they don't move back in next spring.


Friday, August 28, 2020

Another New Angel Among Us


Comby

2004? -  August 27, 2020

When I have to 'make the call' on an animal, I sit with them while we wait for the vet and I tell them stories about their life with us.  "Remember when..."  I thank them for being my friend and working hard on the farm and taking good care of everyone...  And then I tell them to go find [someone who was a special friend] because I sure hope we all end up somewhere together again.

"Go find Boo."


* * *

The beautiful punch needle portrait was a gift from sheepmom


Monday, August 24, 2020

A Sweet Story About A Sweet Sheep

A couple of weeks ago I needed to run to town and pick up some groceries and pet food. Or, I should say, go to town to pick up pet food...and some groceries ;-).  

I shop mostly at the small family owned grocery because "small, family owned", but also because there's (sadly for them) less people.  However, when you are feeding a large Pyrenees who likes her dry food topped with canned cat food and a couple, okay all three, "complicated" cats, about once a month I brave the big box store.  

So, well stocked with hand sanitizer and my mask, I headed to town...and the parking lot looked like it was a holiday weekend.

My first thought was to just turn around and go home.  We're pretty good at scrounging the pantry for weird stuff that needs clearing out and, in fact, it's become my main house cleaning strategy this summer ;-).  However, Comby really needed his special food :-/.  Sigh...  Wait!  I could go to TSC (Tractor Supply Company).

As I walked in, for some reason (special sheep spotting super power :-) I looked in the sale bin at the front of the store.  I never look there.  But I did.  And I spotted two dog toys stuffed sheep tossed in the bottom bin!  I picked up one and immediately texted a friend who I knew would come rescue the other one.

From there my new little sheep friend and I "crossed the river" and went to the little grocery.  No four year old tin of black eyed peas for dinner that night ;-D. 


Look how happy he looks to be out in the fresh air and blue skies! :-)

...and then I started worrying about his friend back in the dog toy bin.  What happened if my friend couldn't get there in time and some terrible person who would buy a stuffed sheep for their dog to rip to shreds got to him first :-o.  Since I had to drive right back past the farm store on my way home anyway, I decided I should foster the other sheep.  Crisis averted ;-).

...and I pulled in their parking lot just behind my friend :-).  Before she went in to rescue her sheep, we stood outside talking for awhile.  She's not had a stellar year.  I haven't had a stellar year.  We commiserated on our not stellar years and counted our many blessings and I left feeling a little better and less alone and I hope she did as well.  

...and I thought of how if the box store hadn't have been too crowded, I'd have not gone to the farm store at Just The Right Time and then on to the little grocery and back to the farm store at Just At The Right Time and of how two little stuffed sheep could help brighten up a couple of afternoons.  


Meet Chocula Chip :-)

Of course I had to pull out some Count Chocula roving I have stashed and spin a couple of ounces so he could learn about his namesake and a bit about his new home and what we do here.  He watched very carefully.


...and picked up spinning right away.


Then we washed his skein to set the twist.


That is a happy little sheep :-).


He even has the ear pillow down pat :-).

...and if I can ever get the Renny sweater finished, he'll have a warm wool sweater to wear this winter...before the next Iknitarod starts :-o.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

I'm Back, Baby!


...sort of.

My beloved old Windows 7 computer with all the old programs I love and know how to use...except a newer version of Microsoft Word that I've hated since the very day it was installed...crashed last week.  Being a glass half empty sort of person I assumed it was done for and was bracing myself for another "upgrade" that I'd really hate, and...

 


I say "I'm back...sort of" because it's taken forever to get this tiny post put together (and I haven't even tried to upload it yet).  I don't think it's a computer issue as it's been professionally repaired and tuned up, but more an AT&T internet (that I've also hated since pretty much the very day it was installed) issue.  I'm not even going to mention the new Blogger format.

I'm sounding so curmudgeonly that I almost decided to change the title of this post to "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It!", but I'm just so happy to have my old computer back that I'm going to focus on that part and keep "I'm Back, Baby!"


 


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Honestly...

 

(graphic all over the internet the last couple of days)

...I feel a little (#7).  I don't really care that they used one of my pictures to what I'm hoping is promote wool...but if that's the case...I'm pretty sure (#3) ain't even a sheep :-(.  

Sigh... I should probably just stop complaining about it (#8), go stick my head in a bucket (#4) of margaritas,  jump off a cliff (#9) or put myself down for a nap (#5).  Then maybe I'd feel a little more (#2).

Pfffffttttt (#1).

In case you don't remember, (#6) is Blossom ;-).  


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

If You Build It They Will Come...Or Not

After the milkweed took off like...a weed...this spring I had high hopes for a record number of monarch butterflies this summer.  I've only seen four so far and none of them stayed more than a couple minutes and I can't find any evidence of egg laying, much less caterpillars.  

I can only guess that maybe the cold spring caused problems?  Or maybe I should say I hope that is just the problem.  I'd hate to think the loss of habitat and too many pesticides have pushed them to the point where it might be too late to help them.


I have seen a few more swallowtail butterflies than normal this year, but interestingly they have all been in pretty rough shape.  Even this one has a tattered "tail".

Here's a short video tour of the B Garden.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this messy place full of blooming and seeded out buckwheat, sunflowers, milkweed and all sorts of bright colors, shapes and sizes tucked here and there.  So have tons of wild bees, some smaller moths and butterflies, lots of birds and even a couple bunnies :-).


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