Friday, May 16, 2008

M is for maples

If I could only have one kind of flora around me, it would be Japanese maples. There are so many fascinating varieties; I would get year-round aesthetic delights with their form, size, bark color and texture, and of course leaves, which vary wildly in design and seasonal colors. Not sure you could live without flowers? Click here to see a slide show of some of the varieties available for sale at Worldplants.com. Their Trans-Pacific Nursery used to be open to the public, and years ago I spent hours there dreaming of the maples and other plants I would like to someday buy. I did eventually get all the trees shown below from them, the exception of the top tree (it was here when we bought this place.) The bottom tree is a cultivar of vine maple called "Sunset," not a Japanese maple.
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We interrupt this blog post for another crazy weather warning! Unseasonably hot weather has settled over the Northwest. Do NOT attempt strenuous activity! Drink plenty of fluids, and make sure all animals and birds have access to fresh water. If possible, go to the coast and immerse yourself in cold Pacific seawater to prevent heat stroke!

Last weekend I was wearing Polarfleece and gloves with my barn coat to do chores; today it is over 90 degrees outside and over 80 degrees inside! Since going to the beach was not possible for us today, Brian enjoyed the next best thing:
Jackson preferred to watch from the shade:
Our grass has shot up all of a sudden, and farmers are literally making hay while the sun shines. Our horses are getting to enjoy some limited grazing time in the afternoons.
The sheep are breathing hard in the sudden heat. The poor mama ewes are still in full fleece, although Rechel and Dinah are trying to lose theirs. If you look closely (click to biggify), Rechel's upper neck is bare and there is a tuft of wool hanging from her chest.
Brava is doing okay; perhaps as good as she's going to get with the exception of regaining weight and regrowing fleece. I could probably pluck her completely naked right now, as the stress of this illness has appeared to cause a complete break in her fleece (any suggestions about what I should do?). I plan to continue giving her oral multi-B and probiotics for a bit longer. Thanks again for all your concern and prayers; I think she's out of the woods!
Sweltering for now at . . .

9 comments:

Sue G. said...

Michelle,
I'd suggest having Brava sheared when you have the other ewes done. She'll then be on the same schedule as them, starting with fresh fiber.
Any idea what led to her illness? It is good to have a Vet in residence! And a person like you with such devotion.

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

I can't believe they're baling hay there already...our grass has just started to turn green! Send some heat up this way, we could use it!

Glad Brava is holding her own, but it would sure be good to know what the heck was wrong in the first place!

Mim said...

I'm with Sue. Now that it's so hot you can pluck the old fleece off or at least have her sheared with the other girls. When do you shear?

Kathy said...

I'm glad Brava is better! Your weather is headed this way tomorrow - glad I got the girls sheared before lambing this year. Now if I can get Amanda to quit pigging out at the feeder she'll pant less!
Have a great weekend!

Tammy said...

Gorgeous picture of Russell! It looks like a calendar shot! As for Brava, it would likely be good to go ahead and shear her. She'll be comfortable in the heat and her wool should grow in fine. Maybe just scissor her off, since she doesn't look like her wool is very long?
Tammy

melanie said...

So...the Northeasterner has to ask...can you tap those maples? I mean, not really because I know they don't reach the larger girth, but is the sugar content of their sap similar to our maples up here? Just wondering what the book says about that...

and Go Brian! We can't WAIT to get the sprinkler out...we have to settle for water guns in the meantime..not warm enough for all that skin!

Karen B. said...

Great post, Michelle. Beautiful pictures, such a treat.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much for the pictures of the Japanese Maples! I love them, too, but they don't do well in our area of town. :(
I am SO glad to hear Brava is doing better, although I too wish you knew what the deal was with her to be able to prevent it from happening again.
Oh, to have grass like that! Pat Russell for me, will ya? :)

Becky Utecht said...

Great photos as usual Michelle. Your horse is so beautiful. I'm glad Brava is doing better too. If I were you I'd just pluck away that broken wool rather than have her shorn with the rest of the flock. We had a ewe who blew her coat after an illness and the regrowth of her fleece was so nice -- just like a lamb fleece! No shorn tips, just natural locks.
Come to think of it, you could probably start rooing the other girl in the coat too. I feel for you all in the heat, but especially the girls in full fleece.