Monday, July 25, 2016

A volley of visits

Browning thinks everyone should visit HIM – and most visitors do!
It's been a busy month of comings and goings. We ushered in July away from home, attending Cowboy Campmeeting. Since then, we've had old friends from our Minnesota days come for a weekend stay, we've had fellow Shetland breeders come for a flock visit, we spent a lovely day with one of my college roommates and bridesmaids who was in the area along with her parents, and had another friend visiting from out of town over for dinner. To end the month, this morning my parents flew in for a week-long visit. Lovely opportunities all to spend time with special people, so I hope you'll understand my lack of time for regular blogging.

I did manage pedal along on the Tour de Fleece this month, spinning into singles one of the bumps of alpaca/silk Theresa gave me and starting on another.

Through it all we're eating well, from our pantry, from our garden, and most recently from the 60 lbs of blueberries we picked on Sunday.
Bad berries don't go to waste around here!
That's it for now from busy . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer shots

What says “summer” for you? For me it is lazy dogs,


the Tour de Fleece,

and working in – and eating from – the garden.
This morning I picked a bowlful of white currants before it got too hot. I thought I'd picked most of them before Cowboy Campmeeting, but I could have filled a bowl TWICE this size!
The snap peas are keeping us in fresh vegetables while we wait for other harvests. I've also made one big batch of pesto from our basil, and used a few turnips.
Hmm; looks like I'd better start searching for more turnip (root and greens) recipes – pronto!

Keeping the soaker hoses going at . . .

Monday, July 18, 2016

Foul and fowl

In her comment on yesterday's post, Jean asked what cheat grass is and why the sheep can't be out on pasture with it. Theresa gave a thorough answer on the first question, and here is the answer to the second question:

The sheep can be – and are – out on pasture when cheat grass is young and green, although, like Theresa said, it is low in nutrients. So the sheep seek out the better quality forage, nipping it down and leaving the cheat grass to proliferate and take over – not that it needs any help. Furthermore, the cheat grass goes to seed first, forming sharp, hard daggers with awns that borrow into fleece and flesh. Foul stuff, indeed!

Rick and Brian have mowed our upper and middle pastures. The upper pasture isn't fenced for sheep so they haven't given the nasty stuff dominance by grazing down the other forages. Rick was going to mow the middle and lower pastures with the riding lawnmower so he could bag the seed heads and burn them, but unfortunately the riding mower isn't up to the job.

In fowl news, we're down to eight hens – the three young Inkspots (black Easter Eggers), one remaining three-year-old Red Sex-link out of the six pullets we were given )-:, two six-year-old Speckled Sussex, eight-year-old Welsie the Welsummer – and Elvira the mystery hen, who I think is an aging (and now ailing) Australorp. While the 2-3 eggs we get a day provide for our needs and generate a little income to offset their feed costs, I've been keeping my eye open for some new additions. Recently I ran into a neighbor from our old neighborhood. As we caught up, I learned she now works part-time at Wilco (a local chain farm store), and through them has acquired quite a collection of poultry. She is wanting to sell some, so it looks like three Australorp pullets will join our flock when they get a little bigger. I have to smile. Last year I was thinking that I'd really like some black hens next; they are so pretty with their iridescent feathers, and I'm partial to black critters. The Lord has given me the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4); since then, He has provided SEVEN black hens to add to our flock!

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Still a shepherd

I wouldn't blame you for wondering, as scarce as the sheep have been on this blog. My Shetlands are still here, lovely and loved as ever, but living in less than photogenic circumstances. The boys are all on dry lot, and the girls are all in the fold, thanks to a nasty proliferation of cheatgrass in our pastures. If only they had the lush, green summer pastures that Sara's sheep enjoy – that provide such gorgeous backdrops for Sara's fine photography! Then again, if I had to endure Kentucky's hot, humid weather to get those pastures, I'm not sure I'd make the deal. ;-)

Anyway, I did snap some photos of a couple of the girls the other day when I was snoggling sheep. Blaise was suspicious of my motives and kept her distance, but that made it easier to "capture" her.

Bree, on the other hand, didn't care what I did as long as I kept stroking her. She and her baby sister are such love bugs!

Today the sheep and I had guests. A couple with one of the first Shetland flocks west of the Mississippi blessed us with a visit. We talked sheep, bloodlines, fleece types, micron test results, colors, and got our hands on every fleece on the place  – on and off the sheep. They are getting some new fine-fleeced stock from the Midwest and East, and the possibility of sharing genetics is exciting to both of us. Can't count our lambs before they're born, much less before they're conceived, but making the connection with these nice people was worth it in and of itself. :-D

Freshly inspired at . . .