Monday, October 23, 2023

Knee Deep

We got our first heavy frost last night. Frosted grass is especially dangerous for hefty horses, but I worry it's hard on hefty sheep as well so I don't like to let them out to graze until the sun has melted the frost and hopefully some of the sugar in the grass has receded.

I walked out with them to see where we were grass-wise and what was going to need a fall mowing and what might be best left as it stood.  We usually try to mow off the seed heads so as to reduce weeds re-seeding, but it got so dry at the end of summer that we are just now ready to catch everything back up.

I wish I'd taken my big camera.  What a beautiful morning.


Ellie, Maggie and Christopher

Muffin, Pinto and Christopher

Pinto, Maggie and Christopher

I love that the four "lambs" are still good friends.  

Yep, this paddock looks like this could use a little off the top.

Happy Fall, Y'all :-).  And there's a new puzzle, too, just to keep everyone's production high on a Monday morning ;-).

Monday, October 16, 2023

The Puzzle(s) Of Sunbeams

If this was back in September, when I should have been working on the calendar, I'd have maybe put this picture in the running.  I love sunbeams breaking through trees.  Add in some sheep or horses and it only makes it better.  I love the peace of this picture.  I could look at it for a full month...

...if it wasn't so heavy on the dark bottom area.  Using a square format now, this sometimes happens.  If I crop the picture to balance out the heavy lower half then I lose a bunch of the sheep and sunbeams that make the picture what it is.  As it is, the sheep are almost lost, becoming part of the background.

I like this cropping better and I brightened it up to better match real life that morning.  The sheep are now as much of the story as the sunbeams.  As they should be ;-).  I really like this picture.  I'd like to use it for the calendar.

Here is a further cropping...which would put it in the correct format.  The sunbeams don't look too bad.  The sheep look okay, too, but there are now three missing from the first picture.  I'm not sure which three, but it doesn't matter.  I don't want to lose any sheep.


The first thing Saint Tim would notice was the broken fence plank ;-).

I thought the top picture would make a fun puzzle and it did.  When I saw the picture posted to the blog was when I noticed the unbalance and so did some editing.  The second picture made a good puzzle, too.  You can find them, and other puzzles, here.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

2023 Hug A Sheep Day

Thirty-one years ago this month I rescued a tiny lamb born at the local stockyards and, looking back, the only thing I regret about that was that I didn't save his mom.  I wish I could have changed her life the way I was able to change her lamb's...and how he changed mine.

I can't even imagine a different life than I have today.  I cannot fathom not walking out to the barn to check on my sheep each morning.  Standing in the driveway with my oldies, wearing a wool hat I spun, dyed and knit from my own flock. The way it's feeling this afternoon I'll be wearing a wool sweater tomorrow as well, probably Jared's.  He and I will both be warm.

I'm proud I know how to trim feet and check eye scores and what different wools feel like and how they are best used.  And how to move sheep through a chute or work in a pen and how a herding dog is different from a guardian dog and how to prepare my sheep for shearing.

Would I have learned how to take pictures?  Paint folk art Christmas cards?  Needle felt wool ornaments?  I had zero interest in fiber arts and now I can shear (if I have to), skirt, wash, comb or card, spin yarn, knit a sweater or weave a blanket.  

I opened a calendar last night and found Hug a Sheep Day included as a national holiday.  I'd been told a paper "days" calendar had picked it for October 28th, but I wasn't sure I'd ordered the right one until I saw it for myself.

Hug a Sheep Day was based on Punkin's birthday.  He was actually born on a Friday, but when I decided to host the first farm party 15 years ago, his birthday fell on a Saturday so we've since stuck with it being always the last Saturday on October.  This year it's the 28th.

We are once again hosting an on farm Hug a Sheep Day party.  The traditional party will be on Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 as usual and will include sheep hugging and cookie feeding and visiting with old friends and new.

On Friday, the 27th, we are adding in an extra day for anyone who'd like to come out to learn about sheep, sheep care, wool processing, spinning, knitting, felting...  I'm open to anything!  We could even take some pictures or do some sketching or painting...  I am no expert on any of this, but I'm happy to share what I've learned over the years.  

I'll post some more details as the next two weeks fly by, but wanted to give everyone a bit of a head's up.  Let's get together and have some fun and celebrate all the gifts of our wooly friends, near and far.  

Thursday, October 12, 2023


Lots of cats, sheep, horses and of course, Bea.  And some wool, a few chickens, some wildflowers, a big fish, a cool spider and some sparkly stars.

And The Verdict Is...

...well, it's a bit undetermined.  

As I scrolled through all of the photos from this year, Murphy was always in front except for the picture from the beginning of the year.  I knew I'd need to pull out the photos from 2022 to get a better idea, but I had a long 'to do' list that I needed to keep I pulled out the photos from 2022.  That's how things are not done around here ;-).

There were a couple of pictures of Krista leading everyone out.  Oh right, I remember that.  Her kids were young and she wanted them out early, eating square meals so they'd grow up big and strong.  I really enjoyed watching her raise them up.  She was a Good Momma.  She still keeps an eye on them.

There were a couple pictures of Bea leading them out and another series of pictures of Archie leading them from atop the fence.  He mostly looks annoyed that they are following him though, so I'm not sure that was actually a leadership choice.

Here's a picture of Murphy in the lead.  I wish I'd written down the dates of each of these pictures.  I thought I'd remember.  

And from...okay, I'm going to go back and look for the dates...this was back in June (the rest were from fall).  Look who's in the lead :-).

It seems that maybe the girls used to go out first.  I'm not sure that was an actual leadership role or just being more efficient (cough cough ;-).  I really don't have a daily record of the flock going out because back in those days I wasn't locking them in the barn lot at night so I wasn't opening the gate each morning, watching them walk out.

Regardless, Murphy is obviously the solid leader these days, at least in the matters of food.  I wish I knew how that was determined.  I first thought it was his "I'm getting to all the food first" mentality, but that doesn't explain why they all wait on him when he's not there.  

Is it just routine now?  

I know from years of fighting with him over every style of gate latch and handle on this farm that IS he very smart.  Do they recognize that as well?  

Is he the bravest?  I'd probably put Krista at the top of that list now that Rocky and Jared aren't heading up security.  Boy, that was a great story, eh?  

Or is he just the pain in the butt they are all willing to sacrifice?  Just kidding, Murphy ;-).

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them all walk out each morning this year.  I love thinking on what is going on with that.  While I sure miss the days when Hank was on duty and I never worried much about flock safety, watching the flock dynamics is a great trade off for walking out to open the gate each morning.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

What The What

Good grief.  It's October 10th. 

I still don't have my September month end compilation done.  I haven't posted a blog since something like the 26th.  I don't have the 2024 calendar finished...but I'm working on it.  

Looking back, there is always sadness somewhere.  But lots of good.  And so much I've forgotten. I'm glad I "have" to look back, whether for a month end compilation or the yearly calendar.

Here's something interesting I stumbled over a few minutes ago.

Where the heck is Murphy?!?

This was taken the first week of January.  I'm going to enjoy scrolling through the pictures even more now because I'm curious to see if I can figure out when Murphy took over being the boss.  And how or why.  I mean, did Archie try to lead them up a tree chasing squirrels and they decided they needed to vote in a better leader?  Stay tuned!

* * * * *

So yes, there will be a 2024 calendar.  I have some great pictures and stories to share this year - one of my all time favorite pictures of Maisie, an extra fun one of Pinto, a sweet picture of Baba that you won't be able to help smiling every time you look at...

I will have them ready no later than the Hug a Sheep Day farm party which will be on Saturday the 28th.  Actually, I have something fun planned for Friday the 27th as well, but the traditional farm party will be on Saturday, as usual.  

Maggie and I also have a fun Christmas kit almost ready to share. 

Okay, back to work!


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