Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Positive postscript, and pictures

Momma squirrel showed up at the bird feeder today; I was so relieved! The thought of orphaned baby squirrels slowly starving to death was a sad burden.

A picture is worth a thousand words:
The lambs at large, while the mamas wear a "worry track" up and down the fence.

In the photo above, the ewe lambs are facing the camera. Below are "da boyz."
I should have named Jet "Shadow." Poor guy; it's so hard to get a good picture of him. On the other hand, the camera loves his brother – going and coming!
And Benny's still a love:

Girls and boys; pink and blue.

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cheers and tears

Recent cheers:
• A ten-egg day!
• Blaise is coming close enough to touch her nose to my fingertips
• Goldfinches, Evening Grosbeaks and a rare red-winged blackbird showed up at our bird feeder this weekend
• Rick built a fire Sunday afternoon, and there was warmth

Recent tears:
• We played basketball with group from church Saturday night. Some of my moves made my frozen shoulder scream. But I took two Aleve, went to bed, and awoke to increased range of motion – so that's actually a cheer!
• The ewes no longer have any influence on their adolescents; I can relate!
• Jackson caught and killed a squirrel Sunday; I'm afraid it was the momma squirrel who's been eating for five at our bird feeder. I haven't seen a single squirrel since. :'-(

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bracing myself for weather whiplash

We've had days of changeable spring weather – rain, wind, sun breaks, showers, downpours, occasional hail. It is getting to 50 degrees or a bit more most days, but the dampness makes it feel colder. It's too warm for a fire and I'm too cheap to turn up the thermostat, so I bundle up in wool socks and polarfleece – which I can easily doff when having my own personal heat waves – and consume lots of hot beverages. Dozer spends a lot of time snuggled into his fleece blanket on the couch:

All in all, I'd much rather have it chilly than hot (which at this stage in my life is anything over the low to mid 70s!), so I'm not really looking forward to this week's weather:
Ack! At least it will still be cool at night....

The Braeburn apple tree that Rick planted for me looks like it will have a nice crop this year, and the blossoms are an early treat:

The prunes, Asian pear, red Bartlett pear, and old apple trees are all setting a goodly amount of fruit, but the cherries are going to be scanty, no doubt still recovering from their thorough pruning last winter.

Contemplating a different kind of harvest, I took a look at all the ramlings' "purses" last week. Lambs' birth coats can be deceiving; more experienced breeders than I say if you want a more accurate indicator of mature fleece type, look at a ram lamb's scrotum.
As you can see, all three of my ram lambs are going to be nice and crimpy. Fine, crimpy Shetland wool can be turned into soft, lightweight yarn with wonderful "memory" for knitted goods like socks, sweaters/jumpers (such as the one worn by Sir Edmund Hilary during his ascent of Mt. Everest), and stockings (such as those which adorned the royal legs of Queen Victoria) that fit, wear after wear and wash after wash.

That's it for the sales pitch from . . .

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Drive-by posting

I wish I had time for more than photos, but I know some of you come for a glimpse of Spring, or a glimpse of home. We are blessed; I am happy to share.  :-)
Oh, I spoke in dismay over this red rhodie's performance too soon! Turns out it just had an eager-beaver bract; the rest of the buds continued to develop and are starting to break forth.
Last night's sky as I rode my pony around the arena. Double blessing!
That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Can't resist the cuteness!

Benny and Jet are enthusiastic grazers now, although they still play and explore plenty – mostly outside the fence. They won't turn down a good scritch in the fold, but Benny has given up hope for a bottle so doesn't come running when he hears me outside. He's still the most vocal of the lambs, though; old habits die hard!
All three ewes are excellent mothers, but Marta is the most attentive. She's not as leery now of getting shots, etc., which means that Blaisie is calming down a bit, too. Instead of always hiding behind mom, she will stand at a distance and watch as the other lambs crowd around me for scritching. I'm hoping she'll eventually get curious and brave enough to see for herself what the attraction is; in the meantime, I occasionally catch and love on her to prove that she'll survive human contact.
The rest of the photos are compliments of the "window" Lance created in his stall wall. It makes an excellent blind from which to capture lamb portraits – although my BFF Bali has figured out when I'm there and comes running over to stand on her hind legs so I can reach her head. In other words, once I make noise to get everyone's attention, I'd better snap fast!

Since the photos above were taken, the weather has taken a week-long detour into cold and wet here, with snow in the Cascades. As late as the snow skiing season started, I'm sure the ski resorts are thrilled that it is extending well into the spring!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Can't keep up!

It's spring, which means there's so much to SEE – and so much to DO! Chores, lambs, and photo opportunities all vie for attention; I'm trying to give some of my time to each. ;-)

Sunday I got four reserved fleeces skirted. Two are already in the mail; the other two await a big-enough box. I wasn't taking photos as I went – until I got to Bart's. His fleece was arresting; I have to show you his lusciousness!

Out of the bag:

Out on the skirting table:

I have to say I'm really happy with what my flock produces. My fleeces are all in the "Fine" category of the Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association's grading chart (which is based on Oliver Henry's grading system), with good length and weight besides. Bing and Bittersweet are both very fine and crimpy, and their skirted fleeces weighed four pounds and almost five pounds respectively!

Yesterday I got the wethers and Bramble moved to the wooded lot; that's Bart, Bing and Bittersweet above. Then there are the future fiber producers below (caught at a rare moment INside the fence, the little rascals – and even lined up in birth order!):

I have several lovely lamb portraits to share, but I think I'll leave that for tomorrow's post. I'll close this post with some posy pix.

That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Egg orders filled.

New flowers planted.

New BFF loved.

I saved the best of Friday for last. ;-)

That's it for now from . . .