Thursday, December 31, 2020


My iPhone sent me a year in review "Memory" this morning.  I used to get those fairly frequently, but maybe my phone knew this wasn't the year to keep hammering things.  I almost didn't watch it, but I took a deep breath and hit "play"...and got sucker punched right from the start.  

Early...with his sweet nose tucked up in my sweatshirt sleeve.  I'd forgotten he liked to do that.  I hadn't forgotten about him bouncing up the road.  I just hadn't been able to bring myself to watch it.  Sound asleep next to me.  He felt like cotton.  Watching my hand move brought that feeling back in a way a still picture apparently can't.

The videos surprised me.  I had needed to free up space on my phone back in the summer and deleted everything up through May.  Backed up of course, but I was honestly a little relieved to no longer chance seeing his pictures anymore.  There were a lot of pictures of Early.

I didn't think about needing to leave all those pictures on for a year in review "memory".  I didn't think about a lot of things this year.  Or...I thought about too many things this year.  And as much as I tried to think about all the good and beautiful things, what mostly stayed front and center was all the junk I shouldn't have been thinking about and it was a heavy weight that I just couldn't figure out how to set down.

I was/am disappointed in myself.  I didn't handle all the 2020 crap very well.  So many missed opportunities.  So little to show for so much opportunity.  So many tears.  I feel like I failed at almost everything.  Myself, my horses, my craft, my business...

I did show up every day and I took care of my family.  On days I'm trying to be kind to myself I think there were times that might have been good enough.  And I took pictures.  And knowing I wasn't the only one needing a place of respite, I tried to share as many of them as I could.  And most days I am convinced that was good.

So here we sit.  So many things I wish I'd done differently.  I wish I'd not deleted all the pictures from the first part of the year.  I'm sure there were pictures of Hank in there.  Who else, now gone?  What other things do I wish my battered brain could now remember?  

But just like the year itself, there was a little gift in this "memory".  Tucked deep away in the archives of my phone's battered brain was a folder of videos.  Videos that I would probably have never looked at again.  Videos that I needed to see.  To remember that he felt like cotton.  

Even the bad years can be beautiful.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Jingling All The Way

 Auntie Reg gifted me a set of antique sleigh bells for Christmas.  They'd been her father's.  As we still had some snow left on the 26th and the temperatures had warmed up a bit, I decided to see if there was any chance Frankie would at least let me set them on him for a photo opportunity.  

I haven't worked Frankie since probably Thanksgiving.  I honestly don't remember.  It's all just been a blur lately.  Pulling a young horse out of the field on a cold winter day and expecting them to go straight back to work like nothing's changed is unrealistic.  Pulling a young horse out of the field on a cold winter day...and adding sleigh bells to the pretty stupid.

Still, it was Frankie.  And what he might lack in giddy up, he more than makes up for with his quiet, unflappable temperament.  I know these two horses pretty well.  If you need to "go to town for the doctor" you would definitely want to take Lancelot.  If you want to do something pick Frankie.

Just to be safe I laid the bells across his back while I brushed him.  I shook them around a bit.  I harnessed him and took him out and ground drove him.  I even ran along behind him trotting for a few steps because frequently it's the higher speeds that equal more noise that get you in trouble.  He never backed an ear and we hooked him to his "sleigh".

My neighbor had come over to help and snapped some pictures and video for me and then I tried to drive with one hand and video from cart and those two videos are both equally horrible...and wonderful treasures. This drive ranks near the top on my life list of memorable drives.  Not only because the super long strand of  bells sounded amazing as we jogged around in the snow, but also because Frankie was a super star.  

It's not as though I was surprised that he was so good, because I wasn't.  I was pretty darn sure he would be that good or I'd have not been "that" stupid.  I was proud of him because he was asked to do something special and I believe he understood that.  And he was very successful...and he knew that, too.  That matters.

If you'd like to ride along...


Friday, December 25, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Dreaming Of A White Christmas

There is actually a pretty good chance we'll get at least a little snow tomorrow if the cold front moves in fast enough.  You'd not know it by today though.  I'm not sure what the actual temperature hit, but I think it was the upper 50s.  Tomorrow night the low is predicted to be 14.

Tomorrow night is the annual Christmas Eve Office Party.  Fifties would be much nicer for a cookie party, but we'll all wear our warm wool sweaters and enjoy our party regardless.  I haven't decided the time yet, but I'm leaning towards 9:00 eastern time.  That seems doable.

I'll host it live on Instagram and then save it to my feed.  I'm thinking I'll do the cookie party first and then do a flock walk through after so I can check in with specific sheep you'd like to see or answer questions...  If I'm not completely frozen, I may try to figure out how to do a live Facebook cookie party.  If so, I'm guessing that would be around 9:30.  

I'm still working on several gifts (sigh...) but I do finally (as of this afternoon) have all the decorations up.  I almost didn't put up the yard cut outs, but I didn't want to hurt their feelings and I decided I'd really enjoy seeing Hank out there.  I like them positioned under Salt's tree.  I should make a Maisie cut out.  

I always hope to be more ready for Christmas than I always am.  It's still fun though.  I hope you can find some peace and joy as well.  

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Easter Eggs For Christmas

I came up with a plan for the Christmas card early in the year.  It was something cute and fun with the horses and sheep and I was excited about trying to draw and paint it.  Just before I started to work on it, B. Willard got into a bucket of greenery I'd cut and ate just enough off each branch that I could no longer really use any of them and would have to start cutting all over.  

I was laughing with Auntie Reg about that and we agreed it was 2020 in a nutshell and that should be the card design this year.

I sketched it out, had my yearly conference with my favorite art teacher, started painting...and I didn't love it.  It wasn't terrible...but it wasn't great.  There were good parts...and parts that I just didn't feel  were working out at all.  There were several things I wished I had done differently and I considered just starting all over.

It's been a sad, sentimental sort of year.  The thought of painting over the top of naughty Cheeto and Willard or the horses running around the yard or Salt sleeping under her favorite tree made me...sad and sentimental.  Those were good stories.  Good times.  

Tilly digging in the bucket to see if there was anything to eat, Possum, so happy on "her" porch, Maisie standing watch over the flock...and wearing a Santa hat, no less!  Rocky and Jared grazing in the yard and the chickens...the chickens... ;-)

There's probably too much focus on the Wool House porch, but sitting in those chairs with Kate and Tilly, watching the sun come up and Willard hobble out to "make the donuts" each morning meant a lot to me.  I hope we aren't the only ones still sitting out there somehow.

Maisie floating around by herself out in "left field", well, kind of Maisie.  I added her red hat to try to draw some attention away from the heaviness of the porch and it became a nice reminder of the fun we had dressing her up this year. 

Oh wait, I did paint out one character - Betsy (said like "Newman" from Seinfeld).  I'd originally had her looking out of the window of the Wool House, but after yet another vicious attack on sweet little Possum, I replaced her with a potted plant.  It's a special plant though.  Every year Stella gives me a beautiful poinsettia and it made me happy to include it.  

So...while I might not love the overall design of the card, when I notice all the little stories behind the big story I have to admit it's still a pretty good card. Sure, there are good parts and not as good parts and things I wish I'd done differently and stories I wished had ended differently, but...that's probably 2020 in a nutshell.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Sneak Peek

The card is finished and printed and almost all are ready to mail out this afternoon.  Whew!  I want to write up a story/explanation to go with the design this year, but I need some free brain cells before I try to do that.  I'm hoping that reboot will happen tomorrow...along with some Christmas decorating...finally.  

In the meantime, if you'd like a sneak peek of this years card, I've set it up as a puzzle :-).

Monday, December 14, 2020

So...Funny Story...Sort Of

I've been enjoying baby Big Moose's picture in the 2020 Lamb Camp calendar this month.  Look at  those buggy eyes and big ears!  He was such a handsome and silly lambie.  Still is :-).  I'd like to say that's all the fun December Lamb Camp Calendar news...but it's not.

I ran out of 2021 Lamb Camp calendars a week or so ago.  No worries, I just ordered some more from my maybe too local printer.  He brought home a fresh stack and I promptly sent them out to fill the waiting orders...and on Saturday afternoon noticed that he'd re-printed 2020 calendars.  

think I've emailed everyone who may be panicking about having to go through 2020 all over again, but just to be safe, I'm posting it here as well.  Double check that you received the correct Lamb Camp calendar and let me know if you didn't.  The cobbler's kids...

While you are checking your orders, please make sure you received everything you wanted.  I ended up with an extra drawstring bag and possibly an extra felted wool pin when I tidied up the shipping area.  Hopefully I just miscounted, but at this point I'd say anything is possible.  Sigh...

If anyone has any interest in a 2020 Lamb Camp calendar, if you'll cover the shipping, I will happily send them out.  Maybe for an art project or something?  And if you'd like to order a 2021 calendar, we have a few of those left as well :-).

Thursday, December 10, 2020

House Cleaning

Don't get excited.  It ain't the actual house I'm cleaning ;-D.  

Just some check in notes:

The calendar sales were amazing.  Thank you so, so much!  Everything has been shipped and other than a few far away destinations, should be there by now.  If you haven't received your order, please let me know!  

I have no idea what Maisie has been up to, but her Orneries and kits are sold out.  I'd like to think it's just that she's so popular, but she's been popular for years and she's never sold so, nervously, I'm afraid she's up to something.  Just a head's up if you are fixing to hang one on your tree...

Speaking of Maisie Ornerie kits, I'm trying to get up my nerve to do a live video of how to make them.  There are written out directions online, but it might be easier/more fun to watch me make one?  Part of this is to try to ease into doing more online or virtual stuff.  I'm not very comfortable that sort of thing, but as the spring festivals are already cancelling for next year, we are all trying to figure out a way to move forward. 

The Christmas card has finally been started.  I had a perfect idea all year...even wrote it down so I wouldn't forget about it...and changed it at the last minute.  Hey, it wouldn't be 2020 if it went by the plan ;-).   

Everyone here is doing okay.  I hope you all are well as well.  Stay safe and remember to look for joy...all around.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Warmest Before The Dawn

In the summer I wake up with the sun (around 6:00 a.m.) and start my day.  I let the dogs out, feed them and Bad Betsy, fix myself a big cup of coffee and walk up to the barn to do an early morning check.  

My main concern is B. Willard.  He likes to dig himself a comfy bed, but if he isn't careful how he lays down in it, he can get stuck with his feet higher than his overly round body and then not able to get up on his own which can be dangerous.  I hate to find him that way and on occasion he's given me a bad scare.

If I wasn't worried about him, I'd probably keep my 'get up with the sun' schedule during the fall and winter and sleep later in the morning like most animals.  However, that leaves him unwatched for a couple extra hours each day as the sunrise is so much later right now and I don't think it's worth the risk.  Plus, I love watching the sun rise

During the fall I sat on the Wool House porch with the dogs, and now frequently Possum, and check on my social media sheep friends while I finish my coffee.  If it's too rainy or windy and cold, we sit inside.  If it's not windy, I can tolerate some pretty cold temperatures and those cold, still mornings are some of my favorites.

This morning the moon was still pretty bright even though it's almost a week past full.  I did a flashlight check to make sure Willard was right side up and then stayed outside talking to Salt, giving Possum a snack, visiting with the horses, listening to the neighbor's rooster crowing and watching the stars disappear and the sky brighten.  There was no wind, so even though the thermometer said it was cold, I wasn't. 

This is the first year I've had to do these early morning checks and by doing so, I've learned a few fun things.  One, I love to be outside at dawn. Being able to watch everything on the farm wake up is a peaceful treat.  Another, you might think the coldest part of the day is right before the sun rises.  It's not.

The first couple of times I got too cold outside I thought I was imagining that it had gotten instantly extra cold.  Then I thought maybe it was just that I'd stayed out too long.  I'd be warm as toast for an hour or so and then suddenly freezing cold.  It didn't happen every day though and I noticed it was only happening on clear mornings with a bright sunrise...

Sure enough, if you google "Why does it get colder after the sun comes up?" you'll find the answer.  

Did you know it got colder just after dawn?

P.S. Today's frosty sunrise is a new puzzle :-).

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Meanwhile Back At The Wool House

20 has taken over shipping out orders because he says I'm disorganized and make too many mistakes.  Fine by me! The house is pretty disorganized as well...just sayin', 20 ;-).

20 has a stack of packages for me to take to the post office this afternoon and now that he's on board, we are hoping to be completely caught up by tomorrow except for a couple of special orders.  Hay feeding season started two nights ago and it's amazingly comforting to know that the farm calendar sales will cover that bill and at least part of the straw bill.  

Thank you all so much!!! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What's That Smell?


Salt kind of shows up everywhere.  She comes up to the house to eat with Kate and Tilly.  She greets visitors at the barn.  She follows me around while I work and sleeps in the tack room.  Hank had his routines, too, but they were pretty much all behind the barn and out of sight...until it snowed.  

I remember his first night of really nasty winter weather here.  I *knew* these dogs were well equipped for cold weather and I shouldn't worry, but I did.  When I couldn't find him in the barn with the sheep or tucked into his dog house, I thought the worst.  He was miserable and had run away.

I finally found him out back.  He was running big excited circles in the front field, bounding through the snow with a huge grin on his face.  I went out and joined him and from then on, any time it snowed he and I would have a party.  

We got our first snow of the year yesterday morning...and even though I wasn't consciously thinking about Hank, my subconscious remembered and I realized I was looking around, expecting to see him.

I ended up having to run a lengthy errand in the afternoon and didn't get back until dark.  As I hustled up to the barn for evening chores, I cut through the snowy yard.  As I approached the big pine tree in the middle, a big white snow dog came bounding out to greet me with a big smile on her face.

Such a fine memory.


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