Friday, April 28, 2017

NOW for those flowers and feathers!

Visual delights come at us fast and furious this time of year, and I want to share some of them before they flee the scene! From our show-stopping flowering cherry to the flowers in my island bed, to the wee wildflowers in the pasture to the overwintered geranium recently relocated to the deck, these are just the newest entries in the grand floral parade at Boulderneigh.

We've had a parade of new birds flying in as well. The violet green swallows are back – and a pair of them appear to be setting up housekeeping in one of our nest boxes:

We've had a flurry of newcomers at the feeder, too, including evening grosbeaks (shoot; where did my photos of them go?), red finches, golden-crowned sparrows, Eurasian collared doves – and a bright male goldfinch.

Fortunately our feline seems to prefer rodents over birds. (I love how cats can be both graceful and goofy at the same time.)

I've started another Fair Isle hat out of leftovers (because Sheep Heid is FUN!):

and have some new fuzz for which to form a plan:

I agreed to knit something for charity with this BFL yarn Theresa spun and sent to me; I think it will make a fabulous cowl. :-)

That's a Friday FULL of Fs from . . .

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Littles

I can't help it; they are too cute not to share!

The Littles, as I call Bree's twins and Babette's single, will be a week old tomorrow. They have "found their legs," much to the consternation of their dams – Babette especially. I didn't get to enjoy the older lambs at this age because we were in Nebraska and they were cooped up in the fold, so it is doubly delightful to watch these cuties. I took these photos and videos yesterday; now I'm off to let them enjoy a romp today. ;-)

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Better times

The plan was a post of "flowers, feathers, and Fair Isle," but before I could make that happen, other "stuff" happened. The only one I can share is this: Welsie our nine-year-old Welsummer died today.
Photo taken five years ago, in much better times for both.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sheep inside, outside, downside, upside

Hunky polled ramlet Bogie, taken a week before the last lambings

A fairly successful attempt at capturing Bardot's amazing fleece and structure
Bette, left, and Butler, right, to show their slight difference in color

A better look at Bette's beautiful back end
Bette's scrumptious fleece without flash...

...and with flash
Bernadette's color and crimp for comparison

The littles got left behind! Then ONE ewe remembered her babies....

Little lambs

Big lambs

No lambs

Friendly lambs – Bacall and Bardot

In their lust for lush grass after being cooped up a couple days, Bree and Babette abandoned their lambs! Bree came to her senses almost immediately; Babette, unfortunately, did not. Confused by the big, big world, Bernadette hung with her cousins until Bree realized she had an interloper and butted her away. So I scooped her up and went to find her mother – who kept moving on to avoid me. I finally got them reunited, and left them all to graze and play. Then it started to rain – no, pour!
Hard to see just how wet it is out there
Upside: The newborns got a shower to help clean off the birth fluids. When I brought everyone back in the fold, I toweled off the three littles so they didn't get chilled.

Last night I realized that all the data is in, so I needed to calculate the winner of my lambing dates contest. I tackled that this morning, figuring out how many days off each person was for each lambing and adding them together. Diane started off with a BANG, missing Sarai's and Vienna's lambing dates by just one day each (-2). But after all four ewes lambed, a new leader emerged – Tina, with -17! Since Tina spins, knits, and weaves, I'm hoping she'll appreciate winning my first Fair Isle project, Sheep Heid:

I started another Sheep Heid out of scraps today while at a memorial service. (It lasted over two hours – I sit still ever so much better when my hands are busy!)

That's it for a busy day at . . .

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Secret agent lamb!

Babette took me by surprise last night. She was acting a little odd so I watched her for a bit – and realized she was in labor! In fact, when I went to move her into a hastily created jug next to big sister Bree, I realized her backside was already wet with birthing fluids.

For two first-timer ewes who lambed on the same day, my Vienna daughters couldn't have presented more differently. Bree, with her big belly, well-developed udder, and uncomfortable waddle, looked ready to pop for days. Babette's hogget fleece hid her belly and her itty-bitty udder – but I did notice with surprise yesterday that her vulva was pink and puffy. Trust the puff, I guess. ;-)

By 9:00, Babette was baaa-ing with each push, so I grasped her lamb's ankles and helped her out.

I hardly dared hope for another ewe lamb, but glory be, I got one! I named her Bernadette, after Bernadette Peters, a name and an actress I really like. (Thankfully, she isn't exhibiting the lung power of either her dam or the actress.)  ;-)

Because of Babette's high and tiny udder and her newbie mistake of wanting to keep her lamb in FRONT of her, I spent time making sure Bernadette got some nourishment before going to bed. Fortunately, that was all the assistance needed; they are doing just fine together today.

This little girl looks darker than all the other brown lambs; maybe she'll be my one moorit. If so, she'll be hard to give up!

So thus ends my 2017 lambing season: seven lambs, five girls, two boys. Blessings abundant indeed!
this morning's sunrise – just before it started to rain

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, April 21, 2017

Frankly, my dear, you have Bette Davis eyes!

Early this morning, my sweet Bree delivered beautiful brown twins. In keeping with my movie star theme, I've named them Butler (Rhett) and Bette (Davis). Butler came first, then Bette slipped out minutes later while Bree was busy cleaning her #1 son.

I've been expecting Bree to pop any day, and last night at chore time I could tell she was in early labor. I put her in the lambing jug and checked in on her every hour or so. At 1:30 this morning there was a water bag so I stayed by. After 20 minutes of teeth-grinding and intermittent pushing on Bree's part with nothing more to show for it, I opted to investigate. I found a normal presentation just inside, so I grasped the little ankles and provided gentle traction.

Bree is an excellent mother just like her dam and granddam. I checked to make sure her milk was in, then stayed by to make sure the lambs found nourishment and Bree didn't get carried away with cleaning (causing injury at the umbilicus). Bette was actually trying to hop a little before I headed for my warm bed!
This morning all was well. Looks like both lambs are musket, and I think they are going to be everything I've hoped for from this cross of Nightcap on Blake offspring.

Last night I found it interesting that Babette, Bree's full sister (a year younger), seemed very interested in the proceedings. She remained uncharacteristically quiet, and close by. Baby sister Bacall (who looks like a TANK compared to the newborns) also changed her usual napping spot to be near.

I took the little family out for their first excursion at noon after I turned the rest of the ewes and lambs into the pasture. Today was perfect for it; we're supposed to hit 70 for the first time this year. Blaise was very interested in the new lambs; when I put them back in the lambing jug, she ran the fence and got into the storage end of the fold trying to follow them.
I predict Babette won't be far behind with a single. She is hiding her pregnancy extremely well, but when I got a peek under her tail, her pink parts betrayed her!

That's the good news today from . . .