Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Bat Tales

That blurred dot in the sky is a bat ;-).

The only thing more fun than watching bats swoop out of the barn as night falls is watching them swoop back in as the dark fades in the morning.  Both appear to me to be at full speed.  Swoosh swoosh swoosh and then (whoosh!) under the quilt square.

Morning is finally starting to arrive noticeably later these last few days.  I'm cautiously optimistic that I've almost made it through summer.  Yesterday I was able to watch the bats for almost ten minutes after I did my early morning barn check.

At the very end there was only one bat still out and it stayed out grabbing some extra insects for several minutes. Suddenly another bat flew in from the northwest.  They met in the air and swirled around each other for a few seconds, not making contact, and then one bat flew into the barn and the other headed out across the fields to the southeast.

My feeling is the bat I had been watching flew into our barn and the other bat was just passing through, but the bat I had been watching very well could have been an intruder who had just gotten run off. It didn't seem like an aggressive interaction however.

Regardless, there must be another bat colony nearby. Maybe they have branched off of our bats and the two were friends or relatives just checking in, sharing some news.  I'll poke around in the run in sheds and see if I can find any signs.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Breaking And Exiting

Meanwhile, back in July...and June...and May...and, to be honest, again just two days ago...  These five hoodlums lovely sheep, have been outsmarting me by busting out of their paddock and running wild in the yard.  Well, if we're being honest, I've technically left a gate unlatched and thereby outdumbed my own self.  Where I'm being outsmarted is trying to get them back in.  

This is not my first experience with leaving gates unlatched and finding sheep grazing picturesquely in the yard.  I'm actually pro level.  I'm eating breakfast, hear a sheep bell that sounds too close, look out the window, see the entire flock out in the yard and jump up and run outside yelling and clapping my hands and they all race back to the barn and I latch the gate. 

I've given up yelling at Krista and her loyal followers.  She barely raises her head and when she does, it's just to take everyone under the Christmas card pine tree that she knows I can't get under and continues eating until I get around to her side of the tree and then she trots to the other side and continues eating and when I get back around to that side...

 After much effort (and usually much cursing) I can get her to eventually saunter back to the barn "area", but even then the chances I'm going to be able to get them back in their paddock are low.

Her favorite move is "Okay.  Lighten up, lady.  We're going back in (insert eye roll)."  She'll calmly lead them all past the truck, heading straight for the open gate...and right at the last minute, when she gets me just far enough around the truck, she'll make a break for it and race around the far side of the truck and back down the driveway and back to eating.  Her kids think this is the funniest thing ever.  

We have gone round and round about this.  Literally.  If Kate were younger, she'd have nipped this in the bud, problem solved.  One day, after we'd gone around the truck five or six times like that, I'd had enough and grabbed a buggy whip and I nipped her in the [butt] myself.  "Oh, you want us to go back in the field?  Why didn't you just say so?"

You might think I could just end this story here, but this is not the end of the gate shenanigans.  Krista's well schooled kids can get through even latched gates.  I feel like I have a picture of that somewhere back in the phone archives, but I need to get busy so I may just try to take another picture this morning.  I'm sure they'd be glad to demonstrate (insert eye roll).

Friday, August 13, 2021

Weaving At The Wool House

We haven't had a good spider post in awhile!

I'd like to introduce you to a friend who's been weaving pretty regularly on the Wool House porch this summer.

I believe she's an Orb Weaver, but I can't decide exactly which one.

Orb Weavers are distinguished by their organized and circular webs.  I wish I'd gotten a better picture of her underside.  Doesn't it look like her "weft" is pulling straight from her heart as she quickly weaves around and around her "warp"?

She's been very successful and productive.  I drink my coffee next to her every morning, hoping some of that will rub off on me ;-). 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

On A Hot Morning

These two friends make me happy.  If they only grazed side by side when the heat was on and the flies were bad I would just think they were making their lives a bit easier by sharing some tail swishing, but they are fair weather friends as well.

And since it's too hot to do much else this afternoon, how about two new puzzles :-).

Monday, August 9, 2021

Good Sheep

We lost two good sheep today.  One I loved from the very day I met him and one who took 15 years for a truce friendship to form. 

Woody has been terribly sick.  It took a long time to figure out what was going wrong, but he bravely fought like a warrior for four long weeks.  I just don't have the energy to type out what all was/went wrong.  I will say that if you have a sheep that's just "not right" and you can't figure anything out, ask your vet to test for anaplasmosis.

We had a great team of people helping try to keep him going long enough for the treatment to work.  No one worked any harder than Woody.  And in classic Woody fashion, he stayed cheerful and friendly and patient and let me know he knew we were trying to help him.  

He'd had to move into Easy Breezy because Jared was not being nice to him, but he liked Cheeto and Willard and they had fun sharing some hay together and I thought things might be turning around.  Last night he seemed a little down and when he asked to go back in with his old friends, I decided that might be a good boost after a long, hot day.  

I locked Rocky and Jared into Del Boca Vista so they wouldn't cause him any trouble and when I left at the last check he was out in the barn lot cheerfully eating some hay with everyone.  I looked forward to seeing him out grazing with them the next morning.  

Sometime during the night I think he stumbled over the board at the end of the stall and he landed hard and in a bad position and in his weakened condition could not get himself back up.  I found him early this morning, but the damage had been done.  We worked hard all day in hopes he'd rally, but he let me know he was too tired and that was our deal.  He was one of my all time favorite sheep.

May 2014 - August 9, 2021

Beanie Baby, on the other hand, was never a favorite sheep.  In fact, there was an incident years ago involving Ewen McTeagle that if it hadn't ended well for Ewen (due entirely to Beanie's irrational stupidity), I'd have...well, let's just leave it at that.  "You are here.  You are part of our family.  I'll take care of you.  I don't have to like you...and, honestly, I really pretty much don't."

Beanie Baby was one of the sheep who looked at me. And while he spent many years trying not to catch my eye at all, the last couple of years, as he's gotten old, I'd catch him making eye contact with me and I think he finally understood things like not getting shorn with the main group in the spring and me shearing him by hand once the weather was good and warm.  

That if he could bring himself to duck through an opened gate that I'd give him some much needed grain. That if he'd let me catch him and pick dried mud from between his too tiny toes that his feet would feel better.

This spring he just laid down on the shearing stand and let me give him his summer haircut.  And I was happy to do it.  I gave him a good scratching when we were finished and told him he was a good sheep.  He still wasn't my most favorite sheep...but after all those years, we'd finally become friends, maybe even good friends.

Over the weekend I noticed some flies buzzing around his bad horn.  He'd cracked it on something and it was infected deep inside and while we were able to clean it up enough to get him through the weekend so our favorite vet could check him, I had a feeling that at 16 years old it was not going to be something we were going to be able to fix.  

Beanie Baby
April 2005 - August 9, 2021

Friday, August 6, 2021

A Gift From The Way Back Machine

I was deep diving yesterday, looking for an old file someone needed and I stumbled across a picture of my friend Pam and her sheep...and a big white flock dog.  It didn't really look like Salt, but thinking the time frame would have been right, I had to ask.  It wasn't her, but she sent me these pictures.  

I wish the Way Back Machine could give us more than just pictures...but the pictures are nice :-).

Thursday, August 5, 2021


July was a hard month...but we are all still here.  As I finally worked on my month end compilation I kept coming across pictures I'd taken for blog posts.  Stories I wanted to share...and just didn't.  I'm going to try to return to them.  They are good memories.  There have been some bad memories too...but they deserve sharing as well.  


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