Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where's my crab pin?

A dear friend of mine used to wear a hat with a crab pin on days when she wanted to give her family fair warning to tread lightly.
You've been warned. I blame it on sleep deprivation, on (dry, hot, buggy) summer, on lack of saddle time. I am addressing the first one by trying to take a daily nap; the second won't last forever – and I fervently hope the third one won't, either!

I should find out this afternoon if Lance's every-six-hours treatment schedule will continue past today. It wouldn't be so bad if I could go back to bed and sleep after his 4:30 a.m. treatment, but by the time I get back in the house at 5 a.m. I'm thoroughly awake and the morning show has begun. The visual Hallelujah Chorus of sunrise, the fresh morning air, the peaceful solitude, and a hot drink are all too beguiling to trade for another fitful hour or two in bed.

After placing ads on Ravelry, I've been busy skirting fleeces and getting them ready to ship. I never got around to skirting and advertising four of last year's fleeces, so I included them in the ads as well. Comparing the "professionally sheared" 2016 fleeces with this year's scissor-sheared (by moi) fleeces has confirmed something for me. Shearing may take me ten times as long as it does a professional, but I make up a lot of that time when skirting. It also saves me money (a little), my sheep's skin (no nicks), and fleece (I was stricken by the amount in second cuts that I threw away!). Plus, I can shear (or roo) each sheep at the optimum time of the rise for best results. You can probably guess what I plan to do from here on out.

Last night Rick asked me if I am interested in getting more pullets. He has a client with too many chickens who might be looking to part with around four blue Wyandotte pullets. We currently have six good black hens, but I've been contemplating getting a few fall chicks to refresh the flock and keep production going next spring. Some pretty gray girls almost ready to lay sound just about perfect!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The sun also rises

Sorry; I couldn't help myself. ;-)  If you look closely on the horizon in the top photo, you'll see Mt. Adams up in Washington. The second photo features my favorite peak, Mt. Hood.

We were all up early this morning – Rick and Brian to take my MIL to the airport, then meet with a vet school classmate of Rick's for breakfast who was also taking someone to the airport – me to medicate my horse. We've changed Lance's treatment regimen; for now I'm treating him every six hours so I will be seeing more sunrises. Mixed blessings!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, July 24, 2017

The sun has set on TdF 2017

Looking east this evening at the pretty sunset colors!

For this year's Tour de Fleece I signed up for Team Footloose (for those using Hansen miniSpinners) and Team Jenkins (for those using Jenkins Turkish spindles, also "footloose" ;-). But between Cowboy Campmeeting, time-intensive treatments for my horse, holding down the fort for eight days while my guys were gone, and all my usual work at home and in an office, spinning here and there on my handy little spindles was all that occurred. Since Team Jenkins had a Spindle Showcase thread which required at least 10g on featured spindles, I divvied up my Renaissance Faire mohair into 10g lots and then broke out a bag of Jacob roving from Kim so I could feature all 11 of my Jenkins spindles. By the end of three weeks I had accumulated 161g of singles! Here are all my pretties in a bowl:

In the next week I want to get the mohair plied, then finish spinning the Jacob and ply it, too. I've already had a request for fingerless mitts from some of the Jacob, and I'm thinking it would make a beautiful base for another Sheep Heid hat.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, July 21, 2017

The big kids

As I said yesterday, Brigitte slipped out while I checked water buckets. I easily caught her, then of course had to see how her fleece is developing (very nicely, thank-you!). Figured I might as well document her "well insulated" tail, too, noting that it does have a hair tip and a proper fluke shape on the underside in spite of its appearance.

When I led Brigitte back into the fold, her twin sister Bardot came up to me, so she was haltered for a once-over. I've been keeping my eye on this girl since her birth because I really want a black-based ewe out of Sarai.

She is fading more slowly than the musket lambs so is still hard to photograph, but there's not much to fault on this girl!

Vienna's twins were more of a challenge, since neither Bogie nor Bacall has been haltered before. On top of that, I've been mostly hands-off with Bogie, ram lamb that he is. But since we plan to wether him very soon, I guess that can change now.

Bacall is more shy than Sarai's two girls but usually friendly, if unsure of the restraint.

Her fleece was a delightful surprise – crimpier than I expected, with the longest staple and the softest handle of the four. I don't need three full siblings out of Vienna; there are hard choices ahead!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Unexpected battle midst the never-ending war

After chores this morning, I armed myself to launch an attack on the noxious weeds. This is an ongoing war; new recruits emerge, and seasoned soldiers that escaped detection in earlier battles are now locked and loaded:

It is essential to take them down before those flowers turn to seed heads! (If only the owner of the logged lot to our north would do the same; grrr....)

I worked my way through the upper pasture until I got near where that ewe was bedded down yesterday morning. A movement at the fenceline caught my ewe; a fawn was caught!
I ran up to see if I could free it, but realized that the job was going to require wire cutters. I sprinted to the garage and back while my mind sprinted through the hints I'd gotten over too many days indicating that this fawn had been trapped for awhile. I snipped and freed the leg, and the fawn dropped to the ground   – exhausted? Scared? In pain? Playing dead? Likely all of the above.
I groaned over my lack of foresight; I should have grabbed some sort of antibiotic spray or cream from Rick's vet truck to apply to the deep wound before releasing it. The doe was waiting in the weeds beyond; I doubted the fawn would wait for another round trip to the garage for medicine. Sure enough; after I moved away, I could make out the fawn moving through the grass and weeds towards its waiting mother. All I could do was pray that it heals and survives, poor baby, and get back to work.

I turned my attention to picking berries and red currants and taking pictures of current and future harvests.

I made a big dent in the boysenberries, a smaller dent in the currants, and a tiny dent in the marionberries before my horse escaped under the single electric strand containing part of the upper pasture. I put my containers in the garage for safe-keeping and moved both horses to the securely-fenced lower pasture. Since I was down there anyway, I checked the sheep's hay feeders and water buckets – and Brigitte slipped by me.
She's as tame as a dog so haltering her and putting her back in the fold was not a problem, but I needed to assess and photograph the four weaned lambs for marketing purposes anyway, so.... You know how it goes. (You'll have to wait until tomorrow for those photos.)  ;-)

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Good fences

Early this morning when I started water on the strawberries, I noticed someone watching me from the other side of the garden:

(I didn't notice the brown lump to the right of her until I uploaded these photos; I wonder if that's her fawn.)

This is why we have a small garden space; it's what we could afford to put an 8' fence around!

It may be small, but it helps feed us. This evening I harvested a nice-sized zucchini, two more small Japanese eggplant, and a big handful of kale leaves to make a quick and easy sauté (along with one of those big garlic flowerheads and a can of garbanzo beans) to serve over red quinoa for a friend and myself. It was tasty, and I have enough for a repeat meal tomorrow. It should be good fuel for all the things I want to get done before driving to the Portland airport to pick up my guys. Tomorrow is supposed to start out cloudy and stay cooler, perfect "hard work" weather. I'll just have resist the siren song of my spindle.  ;-)
That's it for today from . . .