Monday, April 19, 2021


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!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

April Flowers

We had two hard freezes a week or so ago and I was very worried the low 20s would zap all the nearly ready to flower trees.  Whew!  This was yesterday.  Today is just about peak. It's been raining ever since I got home just after lunch, but maybe I'll get some good pictures tomorrow.  Beautiful!

How about a new puzzle :-).

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Enforcer

For a "happy little farm", we had an incredible amount of sheep fighting this past winter.  Girls fighting girls (not that uncommon), girls fighting boys (also not that uncommon), young boys trying to fight with girls (older boys know better ;-) and the clashes of the titans (big fat boys fighting with big fat boys :-o).

Somewhere back in the archives that I can no longer locate I think I took a video of one of the fights and definitely some better "action pictures".  The pictures below look pretty tame, but if you notice Woody's ear in the first picture, you can see that it no longer stands upright.  

Woody, Baaxter and Burrnie all have busted and broken ears.  Woody's ear was so bad that he required three vet visits and a minor surgery.  Rocky incurred a shoulder injury from which he now, six weeks later,  finally seems to have recovered.

This fighting went on for weeks.  Many weeks.  I could do nothing to stop it and even toyed with separating everyone into four different paddocks - the oldies, the girls, the boys and the fat "jerks" (not the word I actually used ;-).

There was plenty of food, plenty of space, plenty of space between food.  No new sheep, no change in routine, nothing had changed from any of the previous years.  Or had it...  

During shearing at Final Frontier this spring I was sharing my tale of woe and Kathy said, "Well, some dynamic has changed."  What was it?

The sheep who loved to "mix it up" the most was Chocula.  He'd excitedly race over to fight with anyone!  And when he'd join the fight...everyone else would give up, look grumpy and just walk away.  

I don't think Chocula was joining the fights.  I think he was breaking them up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Tail Of Two Friends

One of the most interesting relationships on the farm is between Salt and Possum.  Most mornings Possum is sitting on the porch with Salt, waiting for breakfast.  Salt won't let the chickens eat from her bowl, but she will turn a blind eye to Possum grabbing a piece of turkey or some other treat.  This morning Possum must have been "busy" because she met me at the barn and walked down the drive to greet Salt.  

Here are a few other more recent Salt and Possum posts from Instagram:

 Possum loves everyone, but Salt is her favorite :-).

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Oh, And Here It Is April 6th...

...and I've forgotten to post the March month end video. It's long, but there were lots of good memories. Re-watching it I realize I haven't shared any of the Iknitarod and Renny sweater updates, shearing pictures, Frankie's first horse show... Good grief. Stay on me!
Is everyone able to watch this even if you don't have an Instagram account?


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