Friday, April 30, 2010

WWE Smackdown

Today's featured match is Dirty Hairy vs. Ugly Mugly. These two wrestlers have very different styles; the match could go either way.

video

Looks like Dirty Hairy came out on top this time, but never fear; Mugly is up for a rematch!

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I wish all was fun and games at Boulderneigh, but I'm worried about Brava. Last night I heard her grind her teeth. I checked her over and could find nothing obviously wrong; when she started chewing her cud I thought maybe it was an anomaly. Rick was out on an emergency and didn't get home until I was in bed, so I didn't have a chance to mention to him, and this morning he left early for a meeting. When I did morning chores she was obviously feeling dumpy; she wasn't really interested in the "lead-the-sheep-to-pasture" grain. I've kept an eye on her out the windows while teaching Brian and vacuuming; she's been mostly laying down, often with her head stretched out in front of her. I have no thermometer or Priobios on hand (I know, how does that happen to a vet's wife?), but I'm going to see if I can get a shot of high-potency B complex into her. All the other sheep are fine; I can't imagine what is wrong.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New flock members...

...or why I don't have more grass for my sheep. :-(

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mostly useless

While I may not be getting much sympathy from my DH, he did bless me with solitude yesterday. After giving Russell his final extracorporeal shock wave treatment for an reinjured suspensory in the morning, he took Brian to the office with him. I didn't have to be mom and teacher and violin practice taskmaster, which was a very good thing as I don't think I would have handled any of that very well. I tried to work on the church newsletter, tried to balance a checkbook, took one short nap, did a load of laundry - in other words, it was not a very productive day. I couldn't even muster up the energy to crack the book "Three Bags Full" I won on Shula's blog, or spin any alpaca, or knit a stitch!

But one thing did draw me outside in the middle of the day:From the house I could see that Blake had found a lamb-sized hole and was on the wrong side of the fence. Of course they can NEVER figure out how they got there, or find that hole again! That hunka-chunka he-lamb quickly turned into a cry-baby (click to biggify and see), so out I went to rescue him. I figured, since he is scared of people, that I might have a bit of a work-out on my hands, but in his panic at my approach he tried to go through the fence, making it easy to nab him and drop him over to the other side. And that was about all I could manage.

Thankfully, I feel much better today after a good night's sleep. Good thing, too, as we hustle through our subjects and practice this morning so we can spend the afternoon at homeschool co-op. And tomorrow morning Rick's mother arrives for a visit through Tuesday, so tonight I need to do some more preparing for a house guest.

Now for something that's completely opposite of my post title. Franna tells me that not only was Blackberry very "useful" in the group of ewes she selected for him, he was also quite "useful" when he jumped the fence to be with some other ewes she didn't intend to breed! She's seeing swelling bellies and beginning bags on quite a few ewes; they are all due around the same time as Katie. I am very excited, because Franna's lambs out of Blackberry should give me a good representation of what he can produce - a much broader representation than I could get here, since I currently only have three ewes who are not related to him, and one of those is for sale. Anyone have a poll-carrying katmoget ewe they want to trade for an Awt/Aa Bb/Bb SS/SS pp ewe?

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Draggin'

After a smug week of feelin' fine while my DH suffered with a spring flu-cold bug, my throat felt a little scratchy Sunday night. Uh-oh. Maybe adding some zinc and vitamin C to my nightly handful of supplements would do the trick. Nope. So now I'm going through my own manifestation of the bug (germs are master mutators, you know) and getting about as much sympathy from my DH as he got from me. (Hey, his MOTHER is a nurse; I'm not!)

So as I sign off to slog through my day, here are a couple of pretty shots from outside:
I think I took those yesterday morning. Yesterday afternoon it started sprinkling, and it rained all night long. Even in my achy fog, my heart is clapping hands over the good soaking the garden, dahlia bulbs, and transplanted trees are getting.

Giving praise for showers of blessing at . . .

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blackberry's horrible headache

Sunday was a very productive day, but it started out with some unexpected drama. Rick and Brian came down to help me do morning chores (it's usually a solo event), so I asked Rick to look at Blackberry's loose scur. To keep Blackberry's head steady, Rick held on to the other scur. Blackberry struggled - and off it snapped! There was blood, which alarmed Brian. At that point Rick figured he might as well yank off the damaged scur - and it bled even more. Blood streaming (well, dripping fast), Brian squawking, me fighting a little panic; what a way to start the day! Rick got some blood-stop powder and screw-worm spray from his truck and calmly applied them, then we turned Blackberry into his lot for the day.

Waiting for Rick and meds; I picked a photo that downplayed the gore.

When I checked on him after finishing chores, Blackberry was looking pretty tough, hunched up and miserable. But by the end of the day he was grazing and acting okay, so I guess Rick was correct when he said he'd be fine.

After breakfast I set up my "skirting table" (a piece of horse panel on our trash and recycling bins; no bending over and nice shade for Jackson) and went to work. Another sunny day, another pleasant period of playing with the products of my flock. First up was beautiful Bronwen:Wow; what a stunning fleece! It would be an excellent entry in the wool show at Black Sheep Gathering, but to me the entry fee and commission aren't worth bragging rights.

Next, I skirted Bramble's pretty fleece.Even though she's softer than Bronwen, she was in the rise so she didn't shear as nicely as her half-sister. I may process and spin this fleece myself in case I didn't get all the second cuts pulled out.

Braveheart was also in the rise at shearing, so I'm in the same boat with him. His fleece is much bigger, though, so I think I will go ahead and have it commercially processed.

I skirted Katie's fleece last. Yeah, I was putting off my only uncoated fleece (Katie came to Boulderneigh in January), and it really was a LOT more work (and still wasn't as debris-free when I was finished) than the others. If her roving comes back with too much VM in it, I will spin it myself instead of offering it for sale. Getting better acquainted with her fleece would be a good thing, regardless!

If you are interested in purchasing any of my fleeces, please let me know soon. I plan to pack them up and send them off to Aunt Janet's Fiber Mill this week. She did a great job with my fleeces last year (hand-picking, not mechanical picking), and was highly complimentary of them.

After I finished skirting, I joined Rick in the garden. Earlier in the day he had to respond to an emergency, and came home with all this:He proceeded to work up the ground with our old rototiller, then switched to our even older tractor when the rototiller died. By the end of the day we had planted salad greens, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, radishes, bell peppers, eggplant, onions, crookneck and pattypan squash, cucumbers, and three tomato plants. We still have melons, green beans, zucchini, winter squash, peas and more tomatoes to put in, but I was pleased with our day's work.
That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lap of luxury

That's what a lap full of lovely Shetland lambs is, IMHO. Yesterday afternoon I sat with the sheep awhile and soon had the "three friendlies" gathered around for scritches. Bramble came up for a nice, long love-fest, too.

Mr. Love Bug.

Bodhran must be singing "The world is black, the world is white...." (Your earworm for today, if you're old enough to remember!)

I couldn't catch Blake in as handsome a stance as he struck yesterday, but he looks pretty good from any angle. :-)

Katie, five weeks from her due date, is starting to waddle a bit. I can't wait to see what she and gorgeous Constantine produce for me! They (has to be twins, right?) could be gulmoget, solid or Ag (or Ag/gulmoget), in shades of brown or black. So many wonderful possibilities! A solid or gulmoget ewe lamb or two would be dandy, although that wouldn't answer the question regarding Katie's horn genetics. I guess the ideal outcome would be healthy triplets - a fully-horned ram lamb for Lois, an obvious half- or full-poll ramling for me, and a knock-out ewe lamb in solid moorit or moorit gulmoget to retain. A girl can dream!

That's it for now at . . .

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Savior, like a shepherd

I was going to crop and enlarge this photo to make the sheep more prominent, but then decided that the broader view better shows Inky babysitting all four rammy lambies while the other sheep grazed out of sight. It warmed my heart. My Shepherd watches over me; I watch over my sheep; Inky was watching over the lambs.

I love this photo, even though I think I caught Bramble mid-pee. (What do you think of it for a new header photo?) Brian is running down to help me usher the sheep into the fold for the night and (almost) all eyes are on him. Click to biggify and you'll see what a handsome hunka-chunka ram lamb that smooth-polled Blake is!

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

May sheep safely graze?

Rick came home from his last call last night with a report of a mountain lion on our hill. The client had seen it clearly, toying with his blue heeler, and then lost a three-day-old Hereford calf without a trace. The thought of such a predator gives me pause, but not panic. I think cougars are incredibly beautiful, and they were here first. Besides, we need them to help keep our rampant deer population in check. So life goes on; I just keep my eyes open.

Yesterday I got two more fleeces skirted, so that means I'm halfway through those off the sheep (Inky is still wearing hers). It was such a pleasure to pick through Blackberry's and Browning's dark fleeces as they were warmed by the afternoon sun. Blackberry's was a dream - so very soft, crimpy and lustrous (I had to share a photo of his terrific little tail, too), and Browning's chocolate with a sprinkling of iset was delicious. Today I plan to get Bronwen's hogget fleece done, and hope to finish the last three on Sunday. If anyone is interested in a fleece, now is the time to speak up, before they go to the processor! If you've forgotten what is available, just ask.

Oh, here's the earworm to go with the title of today's post. :-)


That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, April 22, 2010

John Denver on my mind

"Celebrate Earth Day every day" goes the chorus of one of his later songs - an appropriate ear worm for today. Not as achingly beautiful as some of his tunes; does "Sunshine on My Shoulders" make anyone else almost weep? I still feel sad when I think of his early demise; I've heard he wasn't the nicest of people but he was so talented....

When Mom and Dad were here, they read to us a book titled "Mr. Creator's Borrowed Brown Hands," a wonderful biography of George Washington Carver. Carver was someone who celebrated the earth, and all the wonders God created, every day; what an incredible mind he had, and a selfless love for nature and mankind! Last summer when we were in Missouri I really wanted to visit a museum dedicated to him, but there was no time.

Color me philosophical at the moment....

Speaking of color, it's busting out all over Boulderneigh:
Mid-morning I heard a commotion on the deck, and looked out to see our first evening grosbeaks of the year!
Our "sheep visitors" had to reschedule and I've already done two blog posts today, so I guess that means I have no excuses when it comes to all those fleeces I have yet to skirt.

Happy Earth Day from . . .

Back home on the "farm"

My parents are back home in Amarillo, TX, thankful to find their house unscathed by the tornadoes that blew through the area the night before they returned. I'm thankful to live where tornadoes - or killer hail, or poisonous snakes - are not a threat!

Well hello, girls! You're all looking in fine feather these days. I'm especially pleased to see Lucille (second from bottom) looking so good. She was the first of the neighbor's hens to seek asylum, and was then nearly killed by the other chickens when she developed a bum toe. She has recovered completely.

Wednesday's lamb races were hotly contested after a day of being pent up in the fold. Those boys NEED to run!
video

And just in case you're getting tired of lamb races, look here for an entirely different kind of sheep video.

Today we are getting a visit from the couple who bought Beau and Boo last year. It will be fun to have some "sheep visitors"!

That's all for now from . . .