Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beautiful things

We don't see a lot of icicles here, so these hanging from the eaves of the Sheep Sheraton are a treat.

That's right, it's our first three-egg day of 2011 - hurray! Lucy started laying again this week, joining the precocious Speckled Sussex and Morgan.

From the gifted hands of Ed and Wanda Jenkins to my little spindle stable. Meet "Holly," my Aegean spindle, nestled in the sample fiber she came with. The olivewood Aegean I got is winging its way to Italy to be fully appreciated for her heavily patterned beauty, while this Aegean crafted from holly makes my heart sing with her more subtle charms.

As my blogpal Bill says, life is GOOD!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

All that glitters is not gold

(Click to biggify the sparkles in the snow!)

This morning dawned clear, windy and COLD. As the meteorologist predicted, a new front with much drier air had moved in overnight, sublimating much of the snow and ice from yesterday. It feels more like West Texas than Western Oregon out there!

Then there's this. Swoon.

I follow Rosemary Hill's blog. Romi crafts exquisite creations out of yarn and metal, like this copper ram shawl pin I just had to get as soon as I saw it, even though I didn't own a single shawl.
(I hope to get these little ewes to add to his harem someday, too!)

Last year Romi announced that she intended to design a total of ten shawls in 2010 (she had already designed three at that point), and offer the final seven in an ebook along with some little extras. Those seven were to be small shawls knit with sock yarn, which seemed perfect for a newby to lace like me. I jumped at the early-bird special.

Here it is, nearly a year later. My ram pin is still penned in his little box, still waiting to fulfill his purpose in life. I did go so far as to buy some roving to spin into yarn for one of the seven shawls, but that's it. Then along came a skein of variegated blue-green perfection, thanks to Dianne's generous giveaway. The colors are perfect for Maia, with its leafy motif (DO check out that link!). The pattern comes with an optional beaded chart, and the beaded versions shown on Ravelry are simply stunning. What does it matter that I've never used beads before - or tackled a significant amount of lace? I went out and bought a bunch of tiny beads, and a microscopic crochet hook with which to place them. By the time Rick and Brian return from their trip, I will either be well into this project, or positively certifiable.

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow day!

These are the same croci shown in yesterday's post, poor little things!

Yesterday at times it snowed like crazy, but the air temp was warm enough that most of what we had and the additional snow that fell melted. But it got colder last night, so we awoke to more. Not as much as originally forecast, and a paltry dusting by many standards, but it shore is purty!

(That's my bed of daffodils.)
I took these on my way down to do chores this cloudy morning, which is why they are so "blue." Since then the sun has broken through, bouncing brilliantly off the white surfaces and melting some of it.

I opened the pop door of the henhouse and was surprised when the new girls hustled out into their white yard. None of the older girls care for snow, thankyouverymuch. Oh, and yesterday was another two-egg day; Brian's favorite hen (Morgan) did it again!

Brian's science class in Newberg was cancelled, and the friend who takes a weekly dressage lesson from me also cancelled. Then Brian decided to ride with his dad (I figured he'd want to play in the snow), so I am home alone going great guns getting various obligations checked off my list. I might even find time to work on my latest spinning project:
This is some fiery superwash merino I bought from my friend Adrienne's destash sale. I'm spinning it very fine in hopes of making a 3- or 4-ply sock yarn, so it will take me awhile.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One week 'til "D-Day"!

At 0'dark thirty next Wednesday morning, I'll be driving my guys to the Portland airport (hopefully in better weather!). They are going to play music in Indiana and chase genealogy clues in Ohio while I stay here and hold down the fort. I am looking forward to quiet and crafting time, and lambs! (Just a reminder; the day they leave is the day my lambing contest closes. Go to this post to leave your best guess in the comments for a chance to win a sheepy wall hanging similar to the one below, only with fabrics I chose and hopefully more Shetland-looking sheep.)

I'm also looking forward to spending some one-on-one time with a couple good friends while I have the chance. Homeschooling moms don't have many opportunities to enjoy their girlfriends without kids in tow. Some women seem to be able to tune out their kids and visit, but my brain doesn't work that way. When Brian is around, I am in full-on "mother mode," and there is no circumventing it. It will be nice to lay that role aside for a week!

I started this post before Russell's grim diagnosis, so had to alter what I am looking forward to doing while my guys are away. I just want to say that being able to share my heartaches as well as my joys here, and having faithful blogpals who respond to both, means more to me than I know how to describe. Thank-you so much for your visits and comments; they feed my soul!

One last thing. Morgan DID lay an egg yesterday! It was a special little gift at just the right time. :-)

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A two-egg day?

Probably not, since Morgan hasn't laid in months, but one can always hope!

As for my horse, all hopes were dashed last night when Rick examined him. If you want to, you can read about it here.

There's lots of soggy kleenex at . . .

Monday, February 21, 2011

Enjoy it while it lasts, ladies!

Today started out sunny and warmer than the past few days. That is about to change. The meteorologists are predicting snow to 1500' Tuesday, snow to 500' Wednesday (that would include us here on the hill) and possibly up to 4" of snow on the valley floor Thursday! That is a significant snow event for this area at any time, much less the end of February.

I would have gotten in a ride on Russell today while the weather was good, but he's lame. :-( Have you seen the tongue-in-cheek customer service sign that says "Today is not your day; tomorrow doesn't look good, either"? Apparently when it comes to showing my horse, "last year was not my year; this year doesn't look good, either."

That's life at . . .

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let the lambing contest begin!

The magnificent moon on Friday night inspired me to take "moon shots" of the four ewes who were in my breeding group last fall. The information provided in this post and the following photos are your clues. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to guess how many ewes will lamb at Boulderneigh this spring, and the total number of lambs which will be born here. Include in your guess how many will be ewe lambs and how many will be ram lambs.

I used CIDRs (hormone implants) in all four ewes to time estrus. FirthofFifth Barish was in with them October 14-18, and Boulderneigh Blake was used as a clean-up ram October 30-31. No breedings were witnessed.

The contest starts now, and entries will be accepted through March 2, one week before my lambing calculator says lambs are due. The winner will receive a sheepy applique quilt wall hanging, made by yours truly.

Let the guessing begin at . . .

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wood in water, sheep in hand

This image captured my eye at chore-time this morning. Love the floating wood (courtesy of Brian) and the trees reflected in the ice.

This evening I sat in the fold near the heat lamp and loved on the girls, trimming up the shaggy tufts left by the shearer in the process. Bronwen (top) and Bramble were first in line for attention, as they always are; you can see how much Bramble appreciated having her back scratched - she's smiling!

Katie didn't want to admit her desire, but finally succumbed to a good, all-over rub-down.
"The shepherd-lady got awfully personal at times, but okay; it DID feel good." Yes, Katie, I AM looking for clues to help me figure out what to expect in a few weeks!

Even old Inky asked for her share of affection, which I happily provided:

Annabelle has yet to voluntarily seek human contact, but she's gotten a lot calmer about human presence since she's been here. Daily grain hand-outs have certainly helped - she gets downright pushy for her share! Today I caught and haltered her, and then proceeded to rub and scratch to show her that humans could please more than her tastebuds. It went well; she went from cautious acceptance of my hands to reluctant rapture when I found the itchy spot on her withers. After I slipped the halter off, she stood quietly a few moments longer while I gently stroked her face.
I think we made real progress!

That's it for today; a lambing contest starts tomorrow at . . .

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shivery shearing

This morning I looked out the window and saw this:
It was snowing snowballs!

It's only sticking to Jackson, but still, this is NOT the weather I ordered for shearing day!

For the first time I remembered to withhold feed from the sheep so being bent like pretzels wouldn't be so hard on them - especially ewes already round with lambs. But I sure did feel sorry for leaving them hungry on a cold and blustery day like this - especially when Jeannie and I went into the fold to do some pre-shearing skirting and Bramble was shivering and grinding her teeth! I was shivering and feeling pretty hungry myself before we were done, so I guess the shepherd got a taste of their trials, too.

My friend Jeannie came to help me today, and what a blessing she was! (Jeannie is my fabric/quilt-enabler and the owner of four Boulderneigh fiber wethers.) She pulled the fleece off the shearing mat after each sheep was done and picked off the second cuts and yucky bits while I put each freshly sheared sheep away and brought out the next "victim." Fortunately, there were no real victims today; I think I saw one or maybe two tiny knicks. As always, some sheared easier than others. I grabbed quick side shots of everyone before putting on clean coats and letting them finally fill their tummies with choice hay. Then Jeannie and I scuttled up to the house for some hot homemade creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches!

Annabelle, who sheared like butter:
"Sticky" Blackberry:
Handsome Blake:
Blackberry's "sticky" sister Bramble:
Blurry Bronwen:
Well-fed wether Browning, sporting the only real knick of the day:
Bunker, who sheared nicely like his dam:
Clean Katie:
That's it for shearing 2011 from . . .