Thursday, May 6, 2021

An Evening With The Sheep

The Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival is happening this year and is "in person".  The Bluegrass Classic Sheep Dog Trial is as well.  Both events will be held following strict guidelines for safety to protect everyone involved. I know many people are very excited about this.  I am too...mostly.  

Saint Tim and I are both vaccinated, as are many people we know.  I'm relieved about that, but I don't consider it a magic shield.  We still wear our masks everywhere we go...and I wish everyone else would as well.  A mask is not a magic shield either, but it's a small symbol of care we can show each other.

I thought about how comfortable I would feel being fully involved in the festival this year and decided to sit out one more year :-/.  I am worried not only about the (probably) small risk of getting sick, but the greater fear of the anxiety of being stuck in a 10x10 plastic tent with someone who didn't understand just how hard it would be to take care of a farm if I even just caught a common cold.

To be honest, I'd probably pick up a donut I dropped on the barn floor and eat it (good grief, who drops a donut?!?), but I walked out of a business the other day because not only were none of the employees wearing masks, but one of them sneezed as she walked in the aisle next to mine.  The thought of handing her my credit card...  I'm obviously not quite ready to leave the farm.

There is so much I'm going to miss about setting up at the festival.  Which sheep would I have taken this year?  Probably Big Moose and Mini Moose.  My Renny sweater is finally finished and would have made a nice 'color and story' display.  I have new (and last year) Lamb Camp yarn to start sharing.  I have a barn full of freshly shorn wool that needs a home and I always look forward to seeing things made with fleeces sold in the past.  

It's weird.  And a bit sad.  But it will all be okay...eventually.  And as I say every night as I shut off the barn lights, "Everybody take care of each other!"...but we also need to take care of ourselves.  The best way I know to do that is to sit out in the barn or field watching the sheep (and now lambs :-)...and that is something I can share.

If you will be in town for the festival or dog trial and are looking for something extra to do or would like to go to the festival, but just can't quite bring yourself to do it yet, but would feel okay social distancing at our farm, we are hosting An Evening with the Sheep that Saturday evening from 5:00 to 8:00.

This will be basically like the traditional Hug a Sheep Day farm parties except that along with gaining pandemic pounds this past year...we also added chickens (2020 was a rough year ;-).  We have a plan to corral them...we think. 

It's just coming out to the farm.  It's not some fancy 'farm to table' experience...well, depending on how the chickens behave (just kidding...mostly ;-).  Bring your own picnic basket, fast food bag or carry out pizza box.  Bring your own beverages (adult is fine).  Might not hurt to bring a chair.  

Bring your spinning wheel, current project, camera, an interest in or questions about sheep or fiber or just yourself.  Bring a mask.  You don't have to wear it the whole time, but if you'd like me to teach you how to skirt a fleece or trim hooves or visit Auntie Reg and 20 in the farm shop, please mask up.

As always, if you have any questions or need directions, please drop me an email.  It's going to be a fun weekend!  Don't forget Sunday's exciting "double lift" at the dog trial.  I'm looking forward to being able to watch it this year and I'll probably make a pass through the fiber festival as well :-).

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Hi! My Name's Ellie!

"These are my friends Christopher and Maggie."

I seldom hear "Maggie" without adding "rabbit" to the end.  Remember the sweet hand stitched Maggie Rabbits Autie Reg and I made a couple of year ago?  Oh wait, looks like it never made the blog :-/.    Luckily I was able to find it on IG.

I did manage to get my Christopher Bunny posted :-).

Yesterday I called little Maggie "Maggie Rabbit" and it hit me that Christopher Bunny is a sweet, snuggly bunny and Maggie's brother is sweet and snuggly, too, so Christopher it is!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Virtual Tonight, But... permitting so we can all stay outside and socially distanced, I think we could try an in person Wool House Crafters night starting next Tuesday evening.  

Bring your own snack bag and beverage so we aren't sharing serving spoons.  Please bring a mask with you in case anyone feels anxious.  I think we have enough chairs to spread around, but if you wanted to toss one in your car, that's never a bad idea.

If everything goes well, the new schedule will be in person on the second Tuesday of each month (as in the olden times) and virtual meetings on all the other Tuesday evenings (as in the recent times).  I find the Zoom meetings almost as fun as the in person and I love being able to spin with fiber friends all over the country :-).

For the last two Tuesdays I've been spinning B. Willard.  Two weeks ago I didn't have time to do any fiber prep so just grabbed loose locks and spun an "art" single.  Last week I spun some smoothly carded roving and...miracles never cease...I plied them together on a 'not Tuesday' and really liked the finished yarn.  I'll be spinning more of that tonight!

What would you like to work on?

Sunday, May 2, 2021

...And Then This Happened

I'd always planned to retire this sweet old ewe over here.  I can't remember where she originally came from, but she was part of a small starter flock for a new shepherd several quite a few years ago.  Due to an unexpected move she had to give up her small flock and they ended up at Final Frontier Farm.  

The shepherd's name was Krista and I don't know if it was because this ewe stood out as she was a different color or maybe just extra friendly or...I don't know...but we started calling her "the Krista ewe".  She was a good momma and over the years became just Krista.  You've seen her here a few times (put Krista in the "search this blog" box).  My favorite post was with her personal guard dog, Stella.

After the horrible outcomes from the last two bottle babies, I really had my doubts if I'd ever put myself through that again.  My thinking was "only if someone really needs me"...but then those were exactly the lambs most likely to have issues that could break your heart.  When Kathy gifted me Early's sister, that seemed like the best of all possible worlds.

While Ellie was having a big time being the star of the show here bouncing on and off and on and around between her mom and Uncle Willard and Aunt Cheeto, I knew she'd Willard would have more fun if she had some friends her own age to play with ;-).  I worked out a deal with Kathy to bring Krista on over when she lambed.

Krista, the old pro, had her two lambs up and nursing the other morning when Kathy found her.  Everything seemed okay, but as the morning progressed she could tell the smaller lamb wasn't nursing as well as she should.  She stomach tubed her to get some colostrum in her and increase her energy and  I worked with her that afternoon trying to help her get it figured out.  

She knew where to go and how to latch on, but couldn't figure out the sucking part.  We tubed her some more and again that evening and by morning we thought things were looking better.  She stayed bright and active and wasn't 'crying hungry', but she was still not getting enough to eat and starting to fall behind.  

Her lower jaw sticks out just a bit further than it should, but not so much that you'd think it would cause that much trouble.  She still constantly tries to latch on, but after a second or two her tongue shoots out the side of her mouth and she loses any suction she might have almost had.  Krista is being very patient with her.

I spent yesterday trying to get her latched onto a bottle in hopes of being able to supplement her and occasionally she figures it out and gets pretty excited about it...and then loses focus and forgets how to make it work.  At least with a bottle I can keep poking her tongue back in her mouth and it takes much less effort for her to get the milk flowing.  

Today is a new day.  Keep your fingers crossed.  In the meantime, we need some new names!  The little girl is a tough little scrappy fighter.  Her brother is bigger, but a relaxed sweet lump of a lamb.  He's growing like a weed and will soon be able to keep up with his crazy cousin Ellie...Willard hopes ;-).


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