Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All about Bart

Well, almost.

This morning I set out to take head shots of the lambs in their new "jewelry." I hate having to put tags in their ears; not only does it hurt (temporarily), but I think they look so much better (just like people!) unadorned. Alas, it is required if they are going to ever leave Boulderneigh for any reason, so we do it. ANYway, I wasn't having much success except for this one nice shot of Barrister:

As I was waving my hand around to get lambies to look one way or another, I touched Bart under the chin and he froze, hoping for some of that feel-good scratching he's experienced a few times:

So I decided to focus on Bart, who is still intact and available as a future flock sire because of his many nice qualities. At nine weeks he has small, loose scurs (one must have broken off early):

Nice, square conformation and soft, crimpy, consistent fleece in a grey bersugget package:


And a perfectly fluke-shaped tail:
If he doesn't sell as a potential flock sire, we will wether him and try to find a fiber pet for him. Except for the uncomfortable procedure, he would probably vote for the latter, if it meant he could get a lot more of that feel-good lovin'!

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, May 30, 2011

Da Do Run Run Run

Whew; that's what this long holiday weekend has felt like - lots of doing and running!

Saturday we went to church and potluck, then came home to an email saying that one of our Christian trail-riding club members (who went on the horse-camping trip we didn't) had taken a spill and was in a Portland hospital with a "separated pelvis." So that evening we drove up to see him, getting home late.

Sunday morning we attended a funeral for a church member and friend, stayed for potluck, then drove on to get a pick-up load of hay/straw. Unloaded that when we got home, and then Brian cleaned out the henhouse while I pulled thistles and Rick planted the spindly little garden seedlings we started in the house.

Monday morning Rick helped me tag the lambs and strip the sheep fold. Then I worked on our church's newsletter, while Rick and Brian worked on electric fence and a desk for Brian's workshop. (The workshop doesn't exist yet, but Brian has been insistent about his need for this desk.) Rick and I got the rest of the garden planted, except for green beans and summer squash (need seeds).

Knitting was prominent throughout the weekend. I wore my Sakaki to church (photo courtesy of Brian, just for those of you who pressed for a photo of it on me) and to the funeral; it was just enough warmth for both cool, grey days. While driving to the hospital, waiting in the sitting area while our friend got additional x-rays, waiting in the truck for Rick to load hay, and watching the nightly news, I knit on Alcyone.

The latest iris to open:

That's it for the holiday weekend from . . .

Friday, May 27, 2011

Things that please me

Last night I cast on for Alcyone, the last shawl in Romi's ebook "7 Small Shawls to Knit." Love this yarn; love this pattern! On top of that, I wore my Sakaki over a black long-sleeved t-shirt with jeans when I went to town today, and felt both warm and elegant as I ran my errands.

One of those errands was to the vacuum repairman. My old vacuum, a Compact canister my mom bought from a door-to-door salesman when I was a baby, has been a workhorse for nearly half a century, but last week it died. I feared the worst, and the repairman confirmed it. So you know what? I bought a new vacuum, a really good vacuum, that should last the next half-century! (It was half-price because of its calf-scours-yellow color.) As soon as I get off the computer it will make its debut, and I'm really looking forward to using it. Call me crazy, but I can't wait to see how well it works!

Lastly, exciting sheepy things are in the works. Sheep will be leaving, sheep will be coming, and the future of the Boulderneigh flock is looking bright! Arrangements are still fluid at this point, but I will share when I can.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Barn swallows and lamb struggles

I saw my first barn swallow this week, but by the looks of the nest I saw in the barn this morning, they've been back a bit longer than that!

I've taken the sheep to the lower pasture a couple times now, which requires haltering as many as I can to get the whole ewe flock to follow me through the arena to a new area. This gives me the perfect opportunity to halter-train lambs, because they want to stay with the others regardless of the contraption on their heads. Once I get everyone else busy eating grass, I work with the "victim(s) of the day" a little more.

Here is Bonny, in halter and on a lead for the second time. She is such a smart little girl; both times she fought the halter for awhile then came up right up to me. I, of course, scritch her all over and tell her how smart and beautiful she is, then remove the halter and let her go join the flock.



This is Barrister's third time in halter and on a lead. He is much more dramatic and vocal, demonstrating his displeasure with lots of head-bobbing and tail-wagging. His new owner plans to show him at Black Sheep Gathering, so we obviously need more practice!



These are the latest two iris to open. Yes, they are adorned with raindrops; we've settled into another cool, wet stretch here. For that and other reasons, we opted out of a Memorial weekend horse-camping trip.

That today's report from . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Using stash

My Sakaki shawl/scarf is done! It is a silky, substantial piece that feels luxurious about the neck and shoulders. It could use a "freshen-up" bath, but I might just wear it before I do that. I started with 470 grams of this yarn and used 190 grams, meaning I have enough yarn left for one more Sakaki plus maybe a skinny scarf. But I think I'll do something different first....



The temptation above is the last pattern release in Romi's 7 Small Shawls to Knit ebook; the fact that "Alcyone" was released the same night I finished Sakaki seems serendipitous. And I have the perfect yarn for it, too:
This yarn was a gift from Adrienne when I started knitting socks. It will get ever so much more appreciation on my shoulders than it would have on my feet! Never fear, there is enough sock yarn in my stash that my feet need not be neglected. ;-)

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More stash enhancement?!?


Well, there was that six ounces of dyed BFL/silk gorgeousness I bought from Laura; the colorway is "Water Lilies," after all, and the Impressionists were my special interest in college. (She also gave me her mom's McMorran Yarn Balance, bless her heart, since she already had one.)

Then yesterday I won a new book, Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting, along with two skeins of Buffalo Gold Moon in the author's blog contest. It's not here yet, but both the book and the yarns look wonderful!

I only recently learned of Jamieson & Smith blog and started following. Today they announced that they are offering free worldwide shipping for online orders of up to two kilos till noon on 5/31/11! The opportunity to try combed top from Shetland sheep raised on the Shetland Isles, the grading of which is overseen by Oliver Henry himself, was irresistible, but I only ordered the small sample packs of both the natural-colored and dyed tops.

I'll leave the dyeing for professionals like Laura and J&S (I'll stick to occasional forays into Kool-Aid), but here's some dye-day inspiration from around Boulderneigh:

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, May 23, 2011

Soul support and stash enhancement

I've done what I can. I've spent all my discretionary pennies and a considerable amount of time at Woodland Woolworks since Diane made the sad announcement that she is closing her doors. My heart goes out to Diane and all the lovely ladies who work for her, not only for the financial impact on each home represented, but also for the end of - not just an LYS - but a long-standing institution and a dream. Every time I've had the opportunity, Diane and I have hugged. We're going to try to meet up once in awhile to keep that up - the hugging, with maybe some coffee and fiber thrown in for good measure. I'd love to meet the beautiful Davenport Arabians she takes care of; maybe she'd like to come snoggle sheep sometime. Animals are good for the soul, along with hugs.

Above is a group portrait of what came home with me over three separate visits - a lazy kate, 14 ounces of rainbow dyed 50/50 wool/soysilk top, 14 skeins of yarn, assorted buttons and Norwegian-style clasps, four Addi Turbos and two Jenkins Turkish spindles. I think I've got everything I need to spin and knit from my stash for a long time. And I'll think of Diane when using every single one of those things.

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, May 22, 2011