Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Corgi Of The Sheep World

For years Short Round has been called Short Round.  Other than a ewe we called Eeyore, she was actually the shortest sheep on the farm and before she lambed each year she was...well...round.  We'd watch her waddle around for weeks and be relieved when she finally lambed and then look at her short, round lambs and laugh.  

It's cute name for a cute sheep, but it's not a pretty name.  I have concerns that it has racist undertones from the character in the Indiana Jones movie.  Also, Short Round was one of the Tilly's nicknames.  We can do better.  

I've tried out several great suggestions for a week now and nothing is sticking.

Ellie and her mom had been here for four days before Saint Tim finally went out to the barn to see them.  Who waits four days to go meet sweet little Ellie?!?  Those are four days he's never getting back ;-).  He took one look at Ellie's short and still pretty round mom and said "She's the corgi of the sheep world!"

So for now...she's Short Round.  

While we continue to puzzle over names, here's a new jigsaw puzzle :-).

Monday, April 26, 2021

Marathon Day

One of my favorite co-workers in 'ye olden times' was one of my favorite co-workers because any time we had a big job to do we always knuckled down to do it and if at all possible...turned it into a game.  We were fierce competitors, but before you knew it, the job was finished and we'd had good fun getting it done.  

Twenty plus years later, I still use that technique to get work done.  For example, when Miss B and I skirt fleeces, as we roll the fleece and place it in a bag, we each pick up the bag and "weigh" it, make our predictions and then put it on the scale to see who "wins".  

It rained most of the day Saturday and the ground was saturated.  Sunday dawned cloudy, cold and damp and our scheduled driving lesson and virtual horse show.......ugh......  I could have easily been talked out of it, but I knew if I skipped this month, it would be pretty easy to skip more months this summer. If I completed two in a row, it would then be harder to not keep on going.  Enter a game!

The arena was too wet to use so we moved into the side field.  The terrain in there is slightly hilly and more conducive to cross country driving, so...why not!  In a combined driving event you compete in dressage, cones and marathon.  It's just like a ridden event, but with a carriage.  Dressage is dressage, cones replaces stadium jumping and marathon replaces cross country.

We built two very simple driving obstacles complete with red and white directional letters like a real horse show.  I pulled out all the marathon gear - protective wraps and boots, colorful harness pads.  Leslie  braided Frankie's tail for better ventilation (I did not know that was the purpose) and we headed out to play.




I think Frankie liked all the dress up gear.  It wasn't necessary, but it was fun :-).

I know he loves Leslie.

Leslie Cashion has done a great job getting into Frankie's head and figuring out what he's thinking and how to motivate him and give him the confidence to learn, trust and enjoy his new job.  We had a super fun drive yesterday and I'm so glad I put out the effort.  Job done!


Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Bee Story

Literally a story about a bee.


There are several lambing, but not lambs, things I enjoy each year.  The dogwoods over by Tring Farm, the blue and white barn surrounded by redbud trees at the main intersection, daffodils on the road to Final Frontier Farm and the wild bees on their farm driveway.  

They were busy...as bees...yesterday afternoon and I stopped to watch them as I was heading home.  "I should get out and take some pictures and a video for Stella!"  


If you look closely you can see the bees who have been out gathering pollen.  They are flying into the hive with their pollen sacs stuffed full.  Look for yellow on their back legs.



See the honey comb they've built near the bottom of the opening?  The comb probably goes throughout the whole tree, top to bottom.


These good old trees provide habitat for bees, bugs, birds and all sorts of other wildlife.  I wish folks would think twice before cutting them down.  Just because you don't think they look pretty doesn't mean there aren't thousands, literally thousands, of other animals who think they do.  But this is not just a story about thousands of bees.  It's also a story about one bee.


As I drove towards home, listening to an audio book, enjoying the scenery...uh oh...I hear a bee buzzing.  Sure enough I'd accidentally rolled the window up with a bee stuck in my car.  If I'd done that just a mile down the road, I'd have rolled the window back down and let her fly home.  I was almost to the river, way too far for her to have any chance of survival.  

Sigh...

I turned around and drove 15 minutes back past Tring Farm, the dogwoods, the blue and white barn, the still blooming redbuds, the daffodils to the bee tree, opened the window and out she flew.  I realize it was just one bee, but I'd caused the problem.  I could fix the problem.  Many problems are not that easy.

And as I repeated my track back home for a second time, the phone rang.  It was Stella.  I was hoping she was just calling to check in and I could tell her my story about my one bee, but this time of year I had a feeling she wasn't.  She too had a story about several thousand bees.  She was watching a swarm from one of her hives.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Well This, Then...


Well, this happened yesterday...

...and then this happened 12 hours later :-o.

Lamb or freak April snow...tough call ;-).  Lamb first; snow post tomorrow!  


You know who she is :-).  I named her Ellie :-).  Here is a bit more of her story:



She and her mom, Short Round, are hanging out in Easy Breezy and after only a little bit of eye rolling from Cheeto and B. Willard, everyone is quite happy...especially me :-).


Sound asleep on her bunk bed last night.  Here's a bit more of the night check:



Lamb Camp at Equinox Farm, Cynthiana, Kentucky :-)



Monday, April 19, 2021

Showtime

We are supposed to be receiving a ribbon in the mail and I was waiting for that thinking it would be a fun way to post about the online Standardbred show series Frankie and I are participating in this summer, but it's almost time for the second show, so to get up to speed...

There is an online charity horse show series being hosted by a Standardbred retraining group on Facebook.  How it works is you have someone video you and your horse doing the prescribed activities for your particular class, post your video to the class page in the show group and a judge reviews each entry and places them accordingly.  

The entry fee for each class is a donation to an approved Standardbred rescue and you post a screen shot of your donation page receipt.  The April show raised $2100!  The other benefactor besides the rescue groups is me and Frankie.  Well, at least me.  Frankie's not so sure he's actually benefiting ;-).

We I am going to use this summer series to motivate myself to get Frankie ready for the big fall, in person, Standardbred show and hopefully some other fun activities throughout the summer.  Having a video record of each month will be a great way to track our progress. 

I got pretty down on myself last year for not putting much training time in.  To be honest, getting Frankie "up to speed" was less than motivating even without the 2020 slog.  My initial fear of not being able to slow down a race horse was quickly replaced with the fear that I'd never be able to really get him going.

He's still not going to set any land speed records and maybe he never will, but he's getting a little more confidence in his ability to pull the "heavy" cart and the fitness to finally be able to start incorporating some small hills into our workouts.  This improvement is actually in part due to phoning it in last year.

Frankie won't actually be six until this summer.  Five sounds like a plenty old enough to work hard(ish) age, but he apparently grows about as fast as he trots (in harness that is ;-).  He looks like a completely different horse this spring and he's putting himself together way faster than if I'd tried to push it last year.  He just needed a bit more time.

Sadly we were the only driving entry in our class, but I don't care about that...other than wishing some more folks would give carriage driving a try.  Frankie and I can compete with ourselves each month and I'd give pretty good odds on a big improvement by the end of the year!
 

Our second show entry needs to be posted by the end of this month.  We'll probably just repeat the same class this time due to lambing and spring weather conflicts, but we are going to add in some good additional challenges for the rest of the summer like shipping out to a different arena, adding a second horse in the ring, a dressage test, some cones and other obstacles...  

It will be fun, Frankie!  I promise ;-).

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Golden Child's Sister






We've been calling this sweet lamb "the golden child", but we all know Early was the real golden child.  Sad, but sweet to see his cute little nose and be reminded how soft, warm and snuggly he was.  She's a beauty.


Friday, April 16, 2021

O Canada


When we moved here in 2003, we planted the two maple trees out front in honor of Tim's Canadian family, so, yes, of course Canadensis is blogworthy!  Sorry for the unintended slight ;-).


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Well, How About That!

We have had a beautiful spring and the redbuds have been glorious!  And here is where I google "redbud" to include a link with information about the trees and find their scientific name is cercis canadensis.  

Canadensis means 'of Canada', so...interesting, but probably not super blogworthy.  Cercis, however, comes the Greek 'kerkis' which means "a weaver's shuttle" because of the shape of their fruit/seed pods!  

That just made my day :-).





There are six new spring puzzles :-).


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Wool House [Catters]

Back in the olden times the Wool House Crafters met at the actual Wool House.  It was good fun and I always enjoyed seeing what everyone was working on and how it seemed to help motivate some of us to actually finish projects we'd started, learn something new, try something hard...  I feel confident we'll get back to outdoor gatherings, but I wonder if we'll ever feel normal enough to crowd indoors again in the cold months :-/.

Late last fall I was dragged (halfheartedly kicking and screaming) into using Zoom for a virtual meeting.  I did a practice meeting with my friends Robin and Andy and it was....actually really nice to see them even if it was just on a computer screen.  I was surprised how different it was to talk via video versus the phone.  Sometimes technology is a win :-).

After a fun Roc Day Zoom party we decided to pick up the monthly (second Tuesday of each month) Wool House Crafters meetings virtually as well.  And then, because none of us had anything better to do most Tuesday nights, we've just been meeting every week and it's been good fun and we've enjoyed seeing what everyone is working on, motivating each other to finish projects, learn something new, try something hard...  

Maybe the most fun is being able to do this with friends from all over the country.  If you are ever interested in joining us some Tuesday evening (7:00 to 9:00 eastern time), just follow the link at the top right corner of the blog.  If I'm not there right at 7:00, 20 covers for me ;-).  


So, if Crafters night is so much fun, why is Possum hiding under the loom in the top picture?  Kind of a funny story.  Several folks have cats and dogs who don't mind joining the meetings for a few minutes. Some are better knitters than others ;-).  Possum cries at the door to come in...but just can't bring herself to come through it.  Until two weeks ago.

It was a warm night and I'd propped the door open so Kate could go in or out as she wanted.  Possum stuck her nose in...and back out.  Walked in...and then back out.  A bit further in...and then quickly back out.  Then she cautiously snuck in behind the loom...and then back out.  Finally she came far enough in to see the computer screen and hear Auntie Reg talking to her and she stared intently at it for almost a minute...and then darted back out.

The next morning was cold and rainy and she didn't appear on the back porch with Salt for breakfast.  I didn't think anything about it because I'd rather sleep in a warm heated bed myself on a morning like that.  Likewise when she didn't appear in the barn later that morning, hunkering down during bad weather is her normal behavior.  

Luckily I needed to get something out of the Wool House before I left for Lamb Camp.  When I opened the door I heard a tiny meow.  Uh oh.  "Possum?"  "Mew."  "Where are you?" "Mew." "Possum!"  "Mew." 

I guess there are worse places to spend a cold, rainy night ;-).


Sunday, April 11, 2021

All Lambs Are Cute


All lambs are cute, but this set of twins at Tanglewood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, might be (shhhhhh ;-) the cutest ever.




Meet Annie and Angus.  They are F1 Valais Blacknose crosses.   

Their mom is the famous Amy, a Cormo/Wensleydale cross from Wing And A Prayer Farm in Vermont.  Their dad traveled even farther!  The Valais are a Swiss breed and since no actual sheep can be imported into this country, the only way to establish them here is to import purebred semen from Switzerland.  

It takes five generations to achieve the highest percentage.  F1 means Annie and Angus are the first level of progression in the breed-up program in the United States.  


Amy worked very hard to produces these sweet lambs and she loves them very much.











There is a new puzzle.  Enjoy!


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