Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Butler Boudini

Butler slips out of the Ram-ada Inn paddock several times a day. I have no idea how; I've plugged all the obvious "holes." Problem is, he can't figure out how to get back in! Bogie tattles on him, I go down and usher Boudini back into the lot, and peace reigns for awhile. I'd love to put them both in with the big boys (more secure fencing, more room, simpler chores), but Butler is such a little squirt that I'm afraid he'd get his neck broke trying to take on the big guys. I've had a couple parties express interest in him as a flock sire; that would be wonderful for all.

The iris parade continues. The first three are peeking out of the tall pasture grass out by our entrance gate.

More of the odd hybrid iris are blooming:

Tucked in the shade of an oak tree is this stunning royal beauty:
I think that's the best photo of this iris' actual color I've ever captured; go iPhone 8!

I keep forgetting to post this, but I did finish a little hat to go with the "old man cardigan" I knit for my niece's baby. I need to get everything washed and mailed in time for her upcoming baby shower. Nothing else on the needles right now; all my fiber focus has been on fleeces!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Woot! I see a light and don't think it's a train!

Sunday I rooed Blake and Butler; today I sheared and skirted Bing. That makes 11 down and four to go, but since Bing's was the last reserved fleece, the outside pressure is off. (The inside pressure remains; I want to have everyone done before June.) Once Vienna, Bogie, Bridget, and Bernadette are sheared, I will advertise on Ravelry again and expect that the ready fleeces will fly out the door.

My gentleman ram Blake has many excellent qualities, which is why he is still here eight years after Brava gave birth to him (and then left him an orphan at five weeks of age). But his roo-able fleece has a heavy grease line at the rise and smells very rammy, so I decided to have his 2017 and 2018 fleeces processed. A fleece client asked me to ship her purchases to Columbia Custom Carding, which she praised highly, so I put Blake's fleeces in the box, too. In a few months I will have some pin-drafted roving available for sale.

Here are the three sheep before and after shearing:

Blake's greasy fleece

Lotsa wool left after rooing!

Rooing little man Butler
Lotsa wool left here, too (I scissor-sheared his neck and rump)

Wonderful waves of crimpy wool
And here are three of my FIVE musket girls thanks to Blake (two daughters and a granddaughter):

On Sunday, Rick finally started prepping our garden space and mowed the half of the middle pasture containing the most foxtail. Now the sheep can safely graze again; the girls approved:

That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sitting duck

This afternoon after we finally got home from church, potluck, and a concert, I let Red out, led the horses to the upper pasture, and loved on some sheep. Then we played a family game of Frisbee "monkey in the middle," with Brian as the monkey on the trampoline. An hour later, when it was time to unplug the hay steamer, I decided to leave Red out because she was enjoying basking in the sun by the barn. After another hour it was time to take the horses back to the barn. As we walked down the driveway, I saw bits of white on the gravel in the distance – and immediately feared the worst. Sure enough, they turned out to be feathers. I put the horses in their stalls and followed the trail of feathers across the driveway, around the manure pile, and through the weeds, hoping against hope I might find Red just frightened or injured. But the sweet and friendly hen that had survived a mink attack at my friend's place would not be so lucky here; my lapse was her demise. I was gutted over letting her down. She's been my shearing buddy, my one pet chicken; this week I've even been hand-feeding her a daily antibiotic tablet mixed with treats in hopes of reversing her painful foot condition.
If I had any doubts about who dined on Red, they were erased when I went back to the barn to give the horses their concentrates.
See the small galvanized pail on the left edge of the photo? That's the cat food bin. It was on its side at the base of the stairs just visible on the right edge of the photo, although the raccoon that dragged it around hadn't been able to open the lid. That's because I had pulled the bail up to secure it after finding it on its side and open this morning. If only I had secured my chicken....

That's the sad ending to an otherwise good day at . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Teenage drama

No, not that one. (Well, okay, yes, that one, too....)

Today it was Bette's turn to be sheared, and oh, the drama. I guess she takes after her namesake, Bette Davis. (They're both blond and beautiful, too.)

Unfortunately, I never got Bette cleaned up and coated. I told the lady who reserved her fleece that she would be trashy; she wanted the fleece anyway. But there's trashy and then there's TRASH....

It's a shame, too, because under the trash is a beautiful fleece, just like her mama's.

Bette YELLED the whole time I sheared her, periodically fighting the head restraint and succeeding once in hanging herself and peeing on part of the fleece I had already sheared. 😳 The only saving grace is that she was really easy to shear, so she didn't take as long as the others have.
Tonight when I did chores, I had to work at distinguishing Bree (she has an ear tag that gives her away) from Babette from Bette (who has her aunt's earset) from Bacall – once Bridget is sheared, I'll have quintuplets!

In other news, someone had a tough labor and delivery today:
This opened in the iris bed:

And the nearby fields of crimson clover appear to have kissed one of my Japanese maples:

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Baa baa (almost) black sheep...

...has lost most all her wool.

I got Blaise sheared today. It took me over four hours  😳  through no fault of hers; she was perfect on the stand and her belly and upper legs rooed easily so I could pre-skirt her fleece (sorry for the sheep lingo if you come here for other things). Oh well, it's done and I'm very happy with her fleece and her condition. Now it's on to her half-brother Bing (on her dam's side) and her half-sister Bette (on her sire's side).

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A floral mystery

This morning I noticed a new color blooming in the iris bed, so I went over to take a photo. Instead of the yellow bloom I was expecting, I was shocked to see this:

Why shocked? That is a strange new iris we've never had in this bed. And things got stranger yet. There were actually three similar iris, with progressively more abnormal petals:

At first I thought it might be a genetic sport, but there wouldn't be three different plants. So they must be seedlings resulting from wild cross pollination between our rust iris and something else. Why now, after all these years? Who knows!

Keeping life interesting at . . .

Monday, May 14, 2018

Out of gas with a(n almost) punctured tire

Out of gas with a(n almost) punctured tire
That was me (not my car) this morning!

After fueling up with my family (including MIL) at a local cafe yesterday morning, it was time to get motoring. First up, Bacall:
This yearling had a big fleece that collected a lot of VM before she got coated, enough so that the person who reserved it backed out. Still, what is under the tips is SO pretty. I started at the back and it went fairly well.

I took an hour break while the horses had pasture time, then sheared Bree. Since I sheared her VM-filled neck fleece before uncovering her torso, I didn't get a photo of her without her coat until she was nekkid.

If you see a strong resemblance, it's because these two ewes (along with Babette) are full sisters from different years.

So this morning, after yesterday's six hours of various contortions during shearing, I was feeling like an old jalopy. Then I nearly ran myself through with a broken dowel!
After putting away some clothes, I removed an empty rod with a broken tip from my old drying rack and turned around to put it in the closet. Only I didn't quite clear the doorway and rammed the pointy end into my abdomen just below my left ribs. It felt like a gut punch and torqued my back from the impact, but fortunately didn't break the skin. Rick just shook his head; he says I run into things more than anyone he's ever known.  :-/

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My Mother's Day gift

A week ago Friday we drove to Spokane for my dad's memorial service. It was a beautiful day for a drive, especially through the scenic Columbia River Gorge. When Rick turned off our route, I wasn't totally surprised because of some cryptic conversation between him and Brian earlier. My guys had conspired to stop at Maryhill Museum of Art as an early Mother's Day present for me, since I've wanted to visit it forever (well, since we moved to Oregon in late 1989)! The building and the setting are spectacular, with outside installations wetting one's artistic appetite.

Once inside, we went first to the library where an OPB documentary on Sam Hill, the man who dreamed up Maryhill, was playing. Watching it made the rest of our visit that much more meaningful; I would highly recommend it.

I didn't take many photos inside, although photography is allowed without flash. The main floor is mostly dedicated to Queen Marie of Romania, who came to the Museum's dedication. I took a photo of some of the royal wedding gifts:
There is an extensive, comprehensive Native American Gallery that features displays from many North American tribes, from ancient artifacts to modern examples.

There is an Auguste Rodin gallery that ties into a Loie Fuller exhibit; I was familiar with the former but not the latter and enjoyed learning about this pioneer of modern dance.

There is an impressive gallery of international chess sets; this is only a small sampling:
And there was much, much more!

My guys were very gracious in indulging me this memorable experience. Brian did his part by being quite patient in letting me look at my leisure, with only one or two "Are we done yet?" type questions. ;-)

For Mother's Day itself, we took my MIL out for breakfast (so I got taken out, too). Now I need to go get greasy and shear some sheep!

That's it for now from . . .