Thursday, November 29, 2012

In need of a Calgon moment

It's been an exhausting week – and it's not even over yet. I'd blame it on going out of town for Thanksgiving, and that certainly did contribute, but I am also in the midst of a perfect storm of time and circumstances. I have just plowed my way through three newsletters (two paid, one volunteer), umpteen loads of laundry, and four days of agonizingly slow schoolwork with a defiant 10-year-old who still wants to be on vacation. I have wrangled rams, and acted as veterinary assistant while Rick stuck Nine Inch Nails 10-inch needles in the horse I am training and did follow-up ultrasound on my new horse. I am watching the approach of holiday functions with their requisite decorating/cleaning/
cooking/baking/gifting like someone in a tunnel with a bullet train approaching. Rick is doing what he can to help – before leaving Saturday night for four days.

I'm not holding out much hope for getting a Christmas letter written this year, folks!

Burning the candle down to a nubbin at . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maybe it's the moon

Tonight's moonrise was spectacular (my camera didn't do it justice). See the bright star above the moon?

I left Cadbury out in the lot overnight, but with heavy wind and rain moving in soon, he needed shelter. I was going to cram-pen the boys together within the Ram-ada, but Cadbury is grinding his teeth. That means he's uncomfortable somewhere, and I don't want to risk making that worse. So I devised separate cram-pens with two available lightweight panels.
Since the boys are well-separated and don't have enough room to really butt, I'm hoping these panels hold up until I think up a better plan – something other than shooting them, which is Rick's inclination! Rams . . . can't live with 'em; can't have lambies without 'em.

Wethers, on the other hand, are wonderful! The two above are dear old Inky's last offspring. Bodhran and Banjo are part of the pampered, petted fiber flock at my friend Jeannie's. Sometimes a fiber-only flock like that looks mighty tempting. Sigh.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Friends and enemies

"Hey, it's good to be back home again." Sing it, John!

Last night while I was still busy trying to catch up and restore order, Rick took up residence in his La-Z-Boy recliner. The dogs wasted no time putting his hands and lap to good use. We know they both got plenty of attention at their respective dog-sitters', but their love cups always need filling.

Dozer assumed such a strange position in the chair that I had to move in for a closer shot:
More human than hound, he stayed this way for a long time, completely relaxed and sound asleep. What a big baby!

This morning I carried hay to the Ram-ada Inn and looked over the partial wall as I always do before filling the feeders. Cadbury was on his knees with his head in the corner, blood trickling from the base of his near scur, his eye half-closed. I dropped the hay and raced back to the barn to grab halters, not knowing if it was too late to intervene but knowing I had to try.

By the time I returned, Cadbury was up and looked alert. I entered the pen with my trusty rod, got Cadbury cornered, haltered and led out of the Inn. In the process I noticed a smudge of blood on Bunker's white poll. No surprise there; the rivalry between Bunker and Cadbury resulted in the destruction of the heavy panel that used to separate them. I tried to sell Cadbury because he's smaller than Blake and Bunker and I didn't think I'd ever be able to run them together; I have been pleasantly surprised that things seemed to be going well so far. All good things must come to an end, I guess.

I left Blake and Bunker in the Inn and gave Cadbury the run of the ram lot today. That gave Cadbury time to recover, but will probably also make him a target when I try to reunite him with the bigger boys. I have a ram shield, and am wondering if putting that on the bigger, heavier Bunker would mitigate some of the bashing. I know there are no guarantees; shepherds who have been at this game for far longer than I have lose rams in the inevitable battles that occur.

I'm a worried shepherd at . . .

Monday, November 26, 2012

'Tis the season, say the sheep

Sunset over western Washington

What gorgeous weather we had for our return trip yesterday. Even better, we had the same gorgeous weather here at home today!

The boys at large; L-R, Cadbury, Blake and Bunker.
The sheep were exuberant at being let out this morning. I don't ask the person doing our farm chores to wrangle them in and out of their fold, so they've been cooped (folded?) up. I even let the rams out; when Rick and Brian cleaned out the Ram-ada Inn, Rick set up a connected lot in the woods for them. Sometimes they abuse the privilege and start sparring seriously, but today they were happy to snoop around and joust with saplings...
...until they caught sight of some pretty girls batting their eyelashes a short distance away!
Bramble and Bonny like the 'scenery'
Annabelle was baa-ing "Come hither" in a soft, sultry voice, the hussy!
I quickly decided that rams and ewes in direct line of sight separated only by two flimsy wire fences and 50 feet of open space was pure foolishness, and put the rams back in their Inn. Oh, it was a wee bit tempting to halter Blake and bring him over for a quick visit with Annabelle, who was obviously cycling, but I was a good wife (I told Rick I wasn't breeding any sheep this year).
But if any of the available sheep find new homes soon, there's always her next cycle! ;-)

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On the road again . . . soon

We head for home today. I'm not exactly sure when; my dad and Rick are dissembling a radial arm saw that we are taking home, and then we'll fit all our other stuff in around it. I'm nervous that we won't have enough room left to pick up the dogs on our way. That's right; they didn't come with us. The day before we left my friend Debbie said that Dozer was welcome to come to "Camp Cummings," so we were just going to take Jackson. But when we tried to load his crate in the car, it wouldn't fit – anywhere, any way. What to do? We couldn't take him without a way to contain him, and we were ready to leave! Rick thought of his secretary, and decided to call her at the clinic. Bless her heart, she said she'd be happy to watch Jackson during our absence, so we loaded him in the car and dropped him off on our way out of town. Lorie's two dogs were at the clinic (she brings them with her most days), and the younger Lab was not very welcoming. Poor Jackson did not want to stay, and about broke my heart looking out the window as we got back in the car to leave.
(Lorie called on Thanksgiving to put my mind at ease, saying that Jackson and Ruby had made up and were having great fun playing together.)

Anyway, I'm anxious to get home and see my dogs – and all the other critters of Boulderneigh.

We've had a good visit, though, and are so glad we came. We've been blessed by family, food, games, and even – gasp – some Black Friday shopping! I was wondering if it would be as bad as you see on the news sometimes, and I did witness at least one nasty altercation, but overall, everyone was congenial.

It was neat to see what a mouflon sheep really looks like!

I found some great deals at Cabella's, too! :-)

That's it for now . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Traveling WIPs

Stripes! I have stripes in my Zephyr Cove shawlette!
And a leaf (two now, actually) on my Leaf scarf:
We got to Spokane last night safe and sound, although we hit some blowing sleet and snow that had us worried for a bit.

We're planning a family cooking event for Thanksgiving dinner (none of us are married to tradition here). You enjoy your turkey dinners; we'll be enjoying case noodle with homemade croutons!

Checking in for . . .

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready to rumble...

...on down the road. :-)
Got my knitting projects ready to go. In addition to Zephyr Cove, above, I'm taking yarn and needles for two more Leaf scarves; gift exchanges are approaching! Totally optimistic, but we do have an 800-mile round trip ahead of us....

Chores are arranged for and Dozer is already at a friend's for the holidays. My friend couldn't accommodate Jackson, so he is going with us. Not ideal, but I think we can make it work by taking a crate for him.

I hope you are so busy counting your blessings this Thanksgiving that the trials in your life (we all have 'em) fade into the background. I count all of my readers as blessings – and those who comment I count twice! :-)

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

They're ba-a-a-ack!

Yep, the silver squirrels have finally figured out that we are serving black oil sunflower seeds again.

It's almost more than Jackson can stand!

I'm hoping the two-year-old girls (like Buffy on the left) get back into laying again soon. The daily average IS improving a little....

Most of the leaves have been stripped and scattered by the recent winds, but the Japanese maples near the entrance to our house still have color. And it stopped raining long enough to take a picture!

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stormy Monday

Too wet to ride, that's for sure!

It's wild outside – not cold, but very windy and wet, and has been since yesterday afternoon. Lots of fir branches littered the ground this morning, all of which will need to be picked up and thrown on the burn pile. Not today, though; we'll just busy ourselves indoors, thankyouverymuch! Well, except for taking Brian to his violin lesson . . . and grocery shopping afterwards . . . .   :-/

I did crack the patio door enough to capture a couple short videos of our environs. The first one is of the younger trees bordering our north property line; the second is of the tall trees along our south property line. It's gotten worse since I took these. Brian says this kind of weather scares him a bit; he can imagine monsters trying to break into the house. Oh dear!

I still have some beautiful apples in a box on my front porch (which Rick did an amazing job of decluttering and cleaning up yesterday in response to my plea for help in preparing to host a big Christmas party here). Last night I processed another batch of applesauce (with a hint of cinnamon); today I'm sorely tempted to make this recipe. Well, I'm thinking about making HALF that recipe, so I won't be tempted to eat one pan by myself! I'll let you know how they turn out if I get around to making them. The electricity has flickered a few times, so that may be a deciding factor.

That's it from blustery . . .

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chicken camo

The other day I noticed how well the newest Easter Eggers, Peaches (top) and Sweet Cheeks, blended into the leaf-banked walls of the chicken yard. I don't think either of these girls have started laying yet, but they are integrated into the flock and are pretty, gentle girls. Thank-you for them, Laura! I now have four speckled hens, three brown hens, three golden hens, and a single all-white hen (all of a sudden I have 'The 12 Days of Christmas' on the brain!). These eleven are only averaging two eggs a day this month, but that's enough for our needs and the occasional customer. I think I'll take a dozen when we go to Spokane for Thanksgiving next week.
: : : : :
My time and attention for blogging has been suffering lately. I have too much on my plate, and the holiday season, like a giant jolly ogre, is standing by ready to heap on more, so much more. I'm not sure when this season went from being fun to frenzied. Probably about the time that my perception of time went from normal to warp speed. To a kid a year has vast stretches with nothing special happening; they impatiently anticipate the arrival of the fall and winter with its festivities (especially for those with birthdays then, like me). When you reach a certain age, time becomes a creature with wings, and in its rapid flight there doesn't seem to be time to appreciate all the special activities that the holidays bring – on top of all the usual responsibilities and activities.

And overarching it all, my thoughts constantly turn to my folks. I am waiting to hear news. My folks are at MD Anderson in Houston, TX, getting a second opinion on the best course of action for my dad's cancer. A new wrinkle arose just before they went down; continued prayers are appreciated.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Model Tuesday, with trees

Today for props we added trees to the leaves. Some of the models obviously skipped "Hair & Make-up" before the photo shoot, but they still 'worked it' like pros. The results? Centerfolds, all!

Besotted with my beautiful sheep at . . .

Monday, November 12, 2012

A gift only I can give me

Inspired by blogpal Sabrina, who is newly committed to exercising, I decided that on this birthday, I would (re)make that commitment to myself. It's a feel-good gift that I want, no, I need – and best of all, it's free! I'm not going to start another blog like Sabrina did, but I am adding another 'gadget' to my sidebar to add accountability.

I also stopped by my local LYS to take advantage of my birthday discount and spend the money my MIL sent for the occasion. Long on choices and short on time and patience after a wearing day, my mind and will froze up; this is not an uncommon reaction of mine to shopping. Anyway, I ended up with a package of locking stitch markers (to use as stitch holders) and one skein of yarn – but a delicious skein it is:
Madelinetosh Light in "Tart" – mmmm!
Perhaps my selection was influenced by a choice photo I captured at Brian's violin lesson this afternoon:
I'm rather proud of this one; That's Myrtle and Gertrude, the teacher's cats.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Leave(s), III

The fall winds bid the leaves leave their unfurling places and flutter off to field and fallow spaces.

Fiber and faces to fall for still for sale!

That's it for now from . . .