Friday, December 31, 2021

The Year In Review

Wow.  Part of this year just seemed to crawl along and some of it flew by so fast I don't even remember half of it.  I love these iPhone "Rememberings".  It's good to be reminded and reminded that even the sad memories are surrounded by good.

For the month end videos I select all the pictures and video clips.  For the year end...well I saved over 6,700 pictures on my phone this year (!).  I narrowed it down to 800 possible pictures for the year end recap by selecting just the pictures from the months.  That's still far too many to pick from though, so I let the phone take it from there.

I don't know how they have it set up to pick pictures and videos, but it does a remarkable job.  The clip of Salt standing in the driveway "Barooing"?  Nailed it.  Lots of sheep portraits, sunrises, mine and Kate's tracks in the snow, lots of Possum, Tilly with snow on her nose, everyone hanging out in the wash room...and a green bucket.

Why on earth did I take and save a picture of a green water bucket?

Oh right!  The first night Krista was here with her lambs she wouldn't drink out of the dark green bucket.  I had to switch it to a white bucket like she was used to at Kathy's.  I would never have remembered that on my own.  

I did add in a few extra pictures that I wanted included: Frankie's horse shows, sledding with 20, a couple flowers, Ellie bouncing around...and slipping under Short Round to nurse even when she was almost as big as her mom :-).  

I doubt I'll ever forget Salt's big bark...but it was sure nice to hear again.  

It was nice to see everyone again.  We had a lot of good times.

Thanks for the memories.


December was a blur...but it was a pretty darn decent blur.

Friday, December 24, 2021

A Christmas Miracle


"Where have you been?!?"

No, this is not a morning update.  That was going to end up being a lunchtime update anyway, but has now turned into a late afternoon update because I spent too much of this afternoon locked out of my car after Bea jumped on the door locks while I made a quick stop off at Tring Farm.

Luckily a neighbor was home to go find Tim, who in turn found one spare old Honda key, which could have been from at least three different old Hondas we've had over the years...and it happened to be the key to my beloved old CRV.  


The Christmas Eve cookie party will be live on Instagram at 9:00 eastern time tonight.  If you are new to Instagram, you'll find the live feed button up at the top of your home screen in the round icons.  I'll do my best to try to save it to post back here later and over on Facebook.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Maisie's Red Sled And Some Of My Favorite Things

I mentioned the red sled that went a** over tea kettle "several" years ago and broke into a million pieces.  See the kind of weird red plastic Christmas tree ornament?  It was made from that sledding wreck :-D.  It's one of my very favorite ornaments.

I love ornaments that have special stories or memories behind them.  Even years when I don't really feel like putting up any decorations, I always do because I'd hate to not visit with these special friends. 

I had plans to do a post every day this week sharing something special from my Christmas.  Even though it's only Wednesday now Thursday (!), I feel like the week has completely gotten away from me.  And actually, I just realized that one of the main reasons my week has gotten away needs his own blog post before I go any further.  Be right back. 

Okay!  Archie was a pretty good Christmas gift, eh?  :-D

I don't do a lot of traditional holiday stuff, but I do have some favorite things I'd like to share in case you might be struggling to find some Christmas spirit this year.  

One of my very favorite Christmas stories is The Tree Nobody Wanted by Tom McCann.  I love audiobooks and McCann does a wonderful job narrating if you go that route.  It's short and sweet and even if it's not a true story...and it very well's a true story.

I always make a pan of gingerbread from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville.  This year's (first :-) cake was my best yet.  Turns out if you use the actual called for size cake pan you don't have to stress about how much longer you have to bake it or how to get the middle done perfectly.  Thanks, Auntie Reg :-).  Sometimes I top it with poached cranberries (also in her cookbook), but usually I just warm it up and pour milk over it.
Years ago Tim put together a CD collection of our favorite Christmas music.  Yes, a CD collection, that's how long ago it was :-D.  He listens to his copy now on an iPod, but I'm still playing the CDs ;-).  Here's one of my favorite songs.  Sing along and sing it loud!

Of course my favorite sheep are maybe the best part of my Christmas.  I love being in the barn at night any night, but Christmas Eve is always extra special.  We'll once again do a live cookie party at some point in the evening.  I'll post the time on Christmas Eve...which is tomorrow :-o.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Hi! My Name Is Archie!

"I'm the new kid here.  Dr. Bridge knew my new mom was really missing having an orange kitty and I happened to be an orange kitty who needed a home, so here I am.  I'm already hard at work helping promote  calendars."

"And can I show you some Fancy Feast as well?"

"I ran the Wool House Crafters zoom meeting last night."

"And gave this wool pom pom a good quality control work out this afternoon."

"I have wool in my crate bed and I like these wool slippers, too.  Life on a sheep farm is looking pretty good so far!"

Archie is not as old as he looks in some of these pictures.  He has an uncanny ability to look weeks older than he probably is.  Hopefully that's a certain old soul shining through.  He has not met Possum or Bea up close yet, so I'll have to keep you posted.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Do You See What I See?

So you'll know what to look for.

Do you see them?

Can you see them on the top of the tree?

This was the best I could capture on the now not so little Christmas tree on the creek, but a few are showing up.   I see these when I go down to open the gate and the sun is shining bright on a cold, frosty morning.  Little prisms...or Christmas lights :-).

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Baa-shing Through The Snow...Or Rain

Well, the weather outside is looking a bit frightful, or at least damp, but we're all wearing wool anyway...right?  If you were thinking about coming out today to see the sheep, come on out!  The barn is actually quite cozy even on the nastiest of days.  

* * * * * years ago my friend Susan and I tried to pull one of our trusty sleds like this (sort of ;-) with Handy. I don't think I even got a turn on the sled before it went a** over tea kettle and broke into a million pieces. That wasn't our first sledding wreck...and it wasn't our last. Those are some of my most favorite-est memories.

I'm not sure Maisie would agree, but I think I can almost hear her laughing...or maybe that's Susan or possibly 20, my other favorite sledding buddy ;-D.

If you'd like to work this as a puzzle, here you go :-). 

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Barnside Pickup

Don't ever say "I'm going to go eat breakfast and be right back."  Cue water company calling to say "Just wanted to let you know that you've used two and a half times your normal water this month.  You probably have a leak somewhere."  

After almost two hours searching for a puddle that would tell us where the problem was, I found water dripping from the washing machine hook up at the Wool House.  Brilliant!  I found it!  I cut the water off to the Wool House and practically danced back out to the water meter sure I'd found a for once easy fix.  

We apparently have two water leaks.  Sigh...

Just for fun I looked back and found a blog post I'd written about an earlier water leak.  Look at young Betsy!  And young Saint Tim.  He ain't nearly as cheerful about this leak.  The still running countdown/up timer cracked me up though :-).

Meanwhile, back at the barn, the sheep are gearing up for a Barnside Pickup day this Saturday.  If you would like to come out to the farm to get a calendar and Christmas card and say hi/feed cookies to the sheep, I am happy and proud to say Punkin's Patch is still officially Open For Business :-).

As always, if you have any questions or need directions, just drop me an email.  And if you aren't local, but would like to purchase a calendar, Bea loves to ride to the post office.  She's not much on The Walmarts (too much traffic while she waits in the car), but she likes the post office ;-). 

A Rambling Post That Needs A Follow Up

First off, thank you so much for all your calendar orders!  As the emails came in and I started writing out address labels and saw familiar name after familiar name, something kind of broke open in me.  

I've mostly felt like I've failed as a "sheep business" these last two years.  That I didn't respond properly to having no fiber festivals, open farm days, in person Wool House Crafters meetings...  As the months drug on and I still didn't rally and Do Something, I felt worse and worse. 

While no one is ever going to go hungry here or not get vet attention whenever they need it, the flock had been able to basically support itself for the last several years.  Me not picking up the baton and keeping things rolling felt like letting them down as well.  Did they know I was making them "fail", too?

Of course they weren't failing!  That's just ridiculous. I have no problem standing up for them.  What I had not been able to do for the last two years was stand up for myself.  I watched as shepherds and fiber artists around me embraced online market places and filled in gaps and figured out ways to keep the lights on...and I...I posted pictures on Instagram.  

Mostly those pictures were for myself.  A diary.  Most of the pictures were beautiful.  Things I wanted to focus on and remember.  Some of the pictures were funny, to make myself and others laugh.  I made sure I posted as much as I could even on days I didn't really want to...for myself, but also for my friends who messaged and emailed and wrote actual letters telling me how much those posts meant to them.  

It was the least I could do...but it wasn't a business.  Even Tim said my business was no longer a business and I should close it down.  He didn't say it meanly, but it still hurt.  I'd been proud of what I'd done the last 15 years and felt like I was just throwing it all away and was apparently powerless to stop it.  A failure.

But...this fall some friends I'd made from the online Wool House Crafters group came to visit and a little crack formed.  I remembered that this is what it used to be like.  Good, kind, fun people standing around a skirting table talking about wool and sheep and what they were going to make.  

And as I wrote out shipping labels this week, with names I've seen for years now, that crack widened.  Most of the emails came in with notes thanking me for the pictures and stories.  Those silly Instagram pictures.  Good, kind, fun people.  You are all still here.

We are all still here.  We are all still here.  We are all. still. here.

I posted pictures on Instagram.  It was the most I could do...and it kept us all together.  I am a part of my flock and we are Not Failures.  We are all still working together, taking care of each other.  Together we are now heading into winter with all our hay and most of our straw paid for.  

So while this seems mostly like a huge thank you post, which it sure is, I also hope a second message shines through for anyone everyone else who has struggled through these times.  Keep showing up.  That is what Not Failing looks like.  It may still feel like it, but you are not failing.  Success is not just keeping your business open.  Success is whatever is important to you.  Don't give up.

* * * * *

Okay, so this post went way off the tracks :-o.  It was supposed to just be a "Come out to the farm on Saturday and pick up a calendar and Christmas card and say hi to the sheep" post.  I'm going to go get some breakfast, regroup and start over with a new one ;-).  

Monday, December 13, 2021



Normally the biggest issue with printing the Christmas card is getting the colors right and we had our fair share of that once again this year.  When it was obvious we weren't going to be able to get it right as it was painted, I headed back home to make some changes and then email a scanned file back to Tim in Lexington.

I really didn't want to make a second 45 minute drive back in to the big city, but I also really didn't want to give the go ahead on a big print job without seeing a new color proof.  I could wait for Tim to bring home the new proof, but then I wouldn't be able to include a card with the calendars mailing out today.  

We decided to do a short run of cards so I'd be able to use them today and then if I hated how they looked, we could continue tweaking the colors before we ran the big group.  They looked great and I gave Tim the go ahead to do the rest of the printing.

I am an obsessive proof reader.  I had looked and looked at the card and was satisfied there were no spelling or horrible grammatical errors.  Something nagged at me though and I picked up one of the printed cards one last time.  Everything checked out...but...maybe I should double check to make sure all the numbers match up correctly.

1.  Krista  2.  Short Round 3.  Ellie...on down to 16.  Cheeto  17. Betsy 18.   18.  18?!?  There was no number 18 on the ID list!  

Guess who is number 18.



I know when I set up the back of the card that Possum was on the list.  I didn't take her off.  Tim didn't take her off.  


I'm going to go ahead and include one of the "limited edition" cards with each calendar order today just so they can get on the way.  Hopefully you will get a laugh as you write in Possum's name...and you can scribble out Betsy's if you wish ;-D.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Almost Caught Up

 (insert hysterical laughing)

There is a big box of calendars sitting on the dining room table and it's not even January yet :-).  Thank you for your orders!  I haven't responded to any of the emails yet because I've been working hard to finish the even behind-er Christmas card.  You'd think with two retired race horses that I'd be better about photo finishes.  Phew!

I think it's "done", but I'm still have some doubts about my snow (how can I still be having this much trouble painting snow?!?) and if there should be some flying straw behind Betsy.  Yes, Betsy made the card this year.  Sadly, she is no longer the naughtiest character on the farm :-o. 

Whether I think it's done or not, I'm headed in to Tim's shop today to get the card set up to print.  We have trouble matching the acrylic paints to computerized printing colors, so this is fairly stressful.  Some years work better than others, but it's frustrating that the colors don't look as bright or clear as they do on the canvas.

Getting the calendars and Christmas card finished is a huge relief.  Huge. Relief.  

If you are more caught up than I am, here is a new puzzle.  Silly Frankie :-).  He was actually just scratching his back, but it's a funny capture.  I'm looking forward to working it tonight when my to-do list is finished...or just tonight.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The 2022 Calendars

"Dis my calendar."

"Those are some pretty pictures!" (Thanks for the shameless plug, Bea :-D.)

And some snarky pictures ;-D.

And a couple more victory lap pictures 💕.

And some good short stories.

And much appreciation for everyone in our farm family, near and far.

Of course Ellie made the Lamb Camp calendar.

With some sweet snuggling siblings.

And some sweet snacking siblings.

And even super sweet Cheeto, who loved helping raise Short Round and Krista's lambs this spring.

* * * * *

I know it's late and many of you have already purchased your 2022 calendars, but we are going to go ahead and print a small run for anyone who would like to support the farm and spend the upcoming year with your favorite sheep, cats, dogs, horses...  

The Equinox Farm calendars are the same larger 12" x 12" format as last year and the Lamb Camp calendars remain the traditional 6" x 8" size.  Everyone enjoyed the little stories on the farm calendar last year, including me, so I've added them again this year as well.  I think they are sweet and fun.

The farm calendars are $18 and the Lamb Camps are $12.  The shipping...yikes :-/.  I haven't gotten any sample quotes, but I tried to send a small package of 20 Christmas cards to neighboring Lexington (30 minutes away) the other day and it was going to cost $10.65 and take 4 days to get there :-(.

So...for the local folks, if you are interested, we are going to offer pick up options at Tim's print shop in Corporate Center, just off New Circle Road and an on farm pick up option on Saturday, December 18th.  Fighting New Circle Road isn't much fun, but coming out to the farm and saying hi to the sheep might be a nice holiday break.  I'll post more details in a couple of days.

For the not local folks...I'm guessing the shipping is going to be $10.65 for most of the country and probably $15 or so for parts distant.  I still have some mailers left from last year, so I'll donate those to the cause and that will save you a dollar or so.  Sigh...

If you are interested in purchasing a calendar, just send me an email letting me know what you'd like and please provide your mailing address.  I will start shipping calendars on Monday (maybe Saturday if they get assembled in time) and will do my very best to get everything sent out quickly in case they are Christmas gifts.  

I will also include an invoice and return envelope in the mailer and you can stick a check back in the mail to me (preferred method) or we can usually figure out how to do an online payment method if we need to.  I'm going to try to get smarter/more tech-y in the new year.

* * * * *

The calendar is late going to print this year.  Another hard one in the books for sure, though once again I found comfort in looking back through the photos I'd collected over the year, many of which I knew at the time would be the last ones I'd take.

Having three dogs over the age of 15 was not for the faint of heart. Neither is trying to raise a puppy it turns out.  Bea only "keeps our feet warm" when she runs herself completely out of gas and has to rest and recharge.  She gets high points for entertainment though...most of the time, but I sure wish Comby was still here to bust her cat chasing chops.  Possum is far too polite.

As always a special thanks to Saint Tim for doing all the hard work and heavy lifting and a grateful thank you to all of you who have become such an important part of our farm family.  Your care and kindness is appreciated more than you can imagine.  Here's to a new year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021


I wanted to get a post written with some photography news, but I didn't think I had enough time so I threw together a quick puzzle...and then couldn't help working it...which was about the same amount of time it would have taken to write a blog post...

Get busy out there! 

* * * * *

Quick note:  the 2022 calendars are finally finished and have "gone to print".  I'll post more details tomorrow (No. Puzzles.)

The Christmas card painting is officially underway.  I'm not worried about that because if the calendars are just now printing then it must only be October at the latest....right?

Getting busy!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Happy Birthday, Maisie

Our little Maisie turned nine today.  Yes...nine.  That is a odd number to me.  Nine seems so much older than she should be...and yet it feels like she's always been here...  Here's to many more odd years!

Auntie Reg baked her favorite cake and we made her a special birthday princess crown, complete with sappy hearts and lots of glitter :-D.

Now we only do this once a year.  The other 364 days are just normal days where you would struggle to get Maisie to separate from the flock and go off into the arena by herself  do anything.  Somehow she knows what her birthday is and once again marched right in and immediately looked for her cake.

Remember, pictures can lie.  The chickens were absolutely not this polite.  

The spillage :-D.

And like all good Maisie birthday parties, it deteriorated into fisticuffs.

I'm pretty sure if I were a chicken I'd sleep with one eye open tonight!

But, not to worry.  Auntie Reg repeatedly ran them off and made everything all better.  

I'll post pictures of the after party with the rest of the flock tomorrow.  A good birthday was had by all :-).

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wovember Day 24. Stash

I've decided I need a new sweater.  While I really don't mind wearing any of my handknit sweaters out to the barn, the sweaters I reach for the most are Baaxter and B. Willard - the simple, dark colored pullovers.  I'd wear Ford too, but that's 20's favorite sweater ;-).  

I was also looking for a simple, almost mindless evening knitting project and a simple sweater definitely meets that criteria...until I mess up something ;-).  I have Jared's yarn set aside for the Iknitarod in March, but who wants to wait that long!

Remember the Jacob yarn I spun for the Tour de Fleece a couple of years ago?  It would be perfect for a cozy warm barn sweater.  I then searched Ravelry for a new pattern and picked the Sophiasburgh sweater by Sam Lamb.  Just enough color to keep things interesting and it has an interesting design feature I want to try.

I was sure I had something in the yarn stash that would work for the patterning and I did.  I could tell it was Jacob, but I couldn't remember which sheep it was.  I had a couple guesses, but unfortunately I hadn't tagged it.  I scrolled back through the blog and found it under a Spinzilla post from 2015.  

To refresh your memory, the dark Jacob yarn was from our very first five Jacob sheep.  I think it was a 2005 shearing.  It had originally been processed by Ohio Valley Natural Fibers as quilt batting, but when it became obvious I was never going to get a quilt made, I had them re-run it as roving.

The light gray? It's a blend of Emily and Annabelly, our very next two Jacobs!  Nothing could be more perfect.  

The historical significance of these yarns is (inspiring/heartwarming/exciting....?).  I'm really looking forward to spending some time with seven of my most favorite Jacob sheep ever and wearing the finished sweater while working around our present day flock.

Stash for the win!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Dese* Bea's Beds

Apparently one is for playing and one is for sleeping.  Who knew?

*There is a series of posts on IG and FB of Possum claiming and sleeping in all sorts of places around the farm.  Each post is titled "Dis my bed." ;-)

Friday, November 19, 2021

The 2021 Lunar Eclipse

I got up several times last night to watch the lunar eclipse.  At 2:00 there wasn't much to look at.  By 3:00 it was starting to get interesting.  By 4:00 it was excellent!  We had crystal clear skies and a great view.  It was cold, but no wind.  Perfect. 

It reminded me of watching the 2017 solar eclipse.  

Without the soul crushing heat.

But with 20.

Oh dear.  He really should get to see this eclipse as well.

I mean, how many sheep can claim to have seen both eclipses?  

I probably couldn't have pulled it off at, say 11:00, but by 4:00 I was up for an adventure.  I thought 20 was always up for an adventure as well, but he actually seemed a bit confused as to why I was putting his sweater on him in the wee hours of the morning.  Once we got outside though, he was all in.  

We sat out by the farm truck looking at the moon, taking some pictures with my phone and the big camera, talking about the solar eclipse and how the moon was different and why we could look right at it and I thanked him for being a good friend and a good sport about everything ;-).  

Note: I did wake Saint Tim up to take a quick look, but he too seemed a bit confused as to why I was waking him up in the wee hours of the morning ;-D.

It was worth it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Fall Friends

Bea and I went for a walk out back yesterday afternoon.  Possum came with us for the first time.  She followed Kate down to the creek in the front field once a couple of weeks ago, but I think that was more her taking care of Kate than taking a walk with friends.

Possum is lonely.  She and Betsy do not get along.  She likes me, but is still wary and only lets me pet her when she feels safe up on something like a cabinet or one of her beds.  She loved those quiet old dogs.  Bea is as far from old and quiet as she could possibly be.

I think Possum understands that Bea is a baby.  I bet, like me, she is just hoping Bea eventually quickly grows out of her way too exuberant behavior.  In the meantime, I'm seeing some action that makes me think she's trying to figure out a way to be friends.

I try very hard to stop Bea when I see her chasing Possum.  There is nothing I hate more than a dog who chases other animals...well, unless it's a guard dog chasing a coyote.  Lately I think Possum might be deliberately letting Bea chase her sometimes, almost teasing her into a race.  

Yesterday I saw Possum chase Bea back a couple of times as we explored around the Frog Pond.  The forays up a nearby tree looked almost more like a fun game than an escape.  I'm still not comfortable with Bea's behavior, but I think we're all trying.  No one's trying harder than Possum.

I thought this picture would be too busy and not fun, but it is actually made for a good puzzle.  Bea is a bit too busy as well, but maybe she's turning into a fun puzzle for Possum as well.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Just In The Nick Of Time

I think the last time I dyed the yarn for this sweater was fall of 2019...which is around the time the blog got sketchy, so who knows what really happened :-/.  

I do remember the yarn started out (years ago) in springtime colors, then (years ago) tweaked to be more summer and then (two years ago), when once again I wasn't finding much inspiration from the yarn that was so special, it occurred to me to shoot for a fall palette and then, even better, a blanket flower palette. 

I started (for the last time) knitting the sweater for the 2020 Iknitarod.  Something went wrong, I think the gauge in the green section (?), and it didn't get finished until the 2021 Iknitarod.  At least it was finally finished and I miraculously remembered to take pictures the other day just before the blanket flowers were finished for the year.

I regret I was not able to finish this sweater while Renny was still alive.  I would have loved a picture of it with her.  I would have loved for her to see her beautiful yarn made into something that will last long after she and I are gone.  It's hard not to compare the hard fought journey from sheep to happy sweater with her hard fought journey from what should have been her tragic end to such a happy life.

Blanket flowers make for happy bees, too :-).

There are so many previous posts I should link throughout this post to tell a more complete story of the sheep, yarn and knitting, but it's a beautiful fall day and I'm going back outside.  Long time readers know her story.  If you are new, follow this link or her "label" on the right hand side of the blog and meet a tough sheep and her even tougher yarn.


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