Friday, March 27, 2020

They just keep coming!

I'm talking about Poppy pictures. What did you think I was talking about?!? 😉

I've collected sooooo many photos that prudence dictates I not put them all in one post. Here is an adorable series from a week ago. Poppy was being unusually mellow.

Last Sabbath (before the social distancing mandate) my MIL came out for lunch, and then we all went for a walk through nearby Willamette Mission State Park. It was Poppy's first big outing, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were out enjoying it (Poppy wanted to meet them all); lots of wildflowers, too!

Even though we only walked about a mile and a half, Poppy was pooped by the end. I think it was as much all the sensory stimulation as it was the exercise!

Hopefully I can find time tomorrow to share this week's Poppy pictures.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Forty-four feet

Flock work, phase one is complete; all eleven sheep have had their feet trimmed and their annual photos taken. I got three done last Friday afternoon, and the last four on Sunday. Except for Blake, who has been mostly sequestered because of his lame front leg (his limp is pretty much gone now!), trimming was very easy this year because the sheep have been out and their hooves weren't dried out and hard.

The girls' fleeces all look about the same as last year's; the boys', however, are quite different. Bittersweet and Bing, the wethers, are both thin and their fleeces haven't grown as much as usual. What's there is pretty stuff, there's just a lot less of it – and less 'sheep' underneath. They get free choice third cutting orchard grass hay and lately lots of kelp meal; I'm hoping once I get them sheared and out on their little wooded pasture lot (which has had a nice, long rest), they will pick up some weight. If not, some supplementation will be in order. They aren't old, but they aren't young anymore, either.

I've had requests for a sheep 'family tree' of sorts. I've thought about how to draw one, but going back to the beginning of my flock, or even the origins of all my current sheep, gets more complicated than I want to tackle. I will, however, share this year's fleece and sheep photos by relationship as much as possible; hopefully that will help the curious. (Pay close attention; there may be a quiz at the end! 😉)

Boulderneigh Bittersweet (b. 2012):

Bittersweet (Kimberwood Cadbury x Whistlestop 0338, called Annabelle) only has one relative in my flock, his nephew Bing (Whistlestop Bunker x Kimberwood Marta). Bing's sire Bunker was Bittersweet's half-brother; both the dam of both Bunker and Bittersweet was Annabelle.

Boulderneigh Bing (b. 2012):

Bing has one other relative in my flock – his half-sister Boulderneigh Blaise (Lil'Country Nightcap x Kimberwood Marta, b. 2014):

Blaise was sired by Nightcap when I had him here on lease. A couple years after that, he came here to stay, and I kept the two ewe lambs he sired. Thus Bette (Lil'Country Nightcap x Boulderneigh Bree) and Bernadette (Lil'Country Nightcap x Boulderneigh Babette) are Blaise's half-sisters.

Boulderneigh Bette (b. 2017):

Boulderneigh Bernadette (b. 2017):

Bette and Bernadette aren't full siblings, but almost. They have the same sire and their dams are full sisters. Bette's dam Bree (Boulderneigh Blake x OK Acres Vienna) still lives here, as do the maternal grandparents of both.

Boulderneigh Bree (b. 2015):

Here's grandma OK Acres Vienna (Crosswinds Nantucket x Lil'Country Velma, b. 2011):

And grandpa Boulderneigh Blake (Valiant Braveheart x Valiant Brava, b. 2010):

Blake has two other daughters here besides Bree, twins Bridget and Bardot (Boulderneigh Blake x WhitePine Sarai).

Boulderneigh Bridget (should have been registered 'Brigitte', b. 2017):

Boulderneigh Bardot (b. 2017):

That leaves their dam, WhitePine Sarai (WhitePine Levi AI x WhitePine Sedalia, b. 2010):

So there you have it, all 11 sheep, and how they are related to others in my flock. Let me know in the comments if you want to reserve a fleece, because I generally shear on a first-reserved, first-sheared basis. (Some fleeces have already been spoken for; I need to look over my emails and Ravelry messages.)

Quiz/contest time. The person who can name the most previous flock members NOT mentioned anywhere in this post will get an as-yet-undetermined prize. (Possibilities off the top of my head: fiber from a previous flock member; knitting books; something handknit just for you; favorite flock photo in an 8"x10".) To keep it fair (no peeking at others' answers), EMAIL your answers to mmcmillen AT macnet DOT com by Sunday, March 29, at midnight. GO!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, March 23, 2020

National Poppy Puppy Day!

So Poppy hasn't gone national yet, but she is 14 weeks old today. 😍 That means she has spent more of her life with us now (by one day) than she did in her birth home.
In honor of the occasion (or thanks to the pandemic), she got to snuggle in bed with Brian this morning when I went to work, and was surprisingly mellow most of the day.

(Who IS that hairy man???)

I have lots more to share, from finishing phase 1 of "Flockwork 2020" to Sabbath's flower-filled walk. But uninterrupted computer time is even scarcer than usual, so I wanted to get this much out while I could.

I pray you are all successfully navigating this strange, new world we live in. After throwing a royal snit, the teen seems to be adjusting to the reality that his spring break is not going to be anything he hoped for, and is actually helping get some things done around here – like mowing the lawn yesterday.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Happy first day of spring!

And it really felt like it here, with sun and temps in the 60s. Good thing, too, as smoke woke me up in the wee morning hours. I got up and opened the damper, and by this morning the fire had burned out (and the house smelled better). We'll give the wood-burner a good cleaning (again) so we can utilize it next week when it is supposed to be cooler and wet.

Today I went to work and then to the grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to see a 'normal' number of people acting in 'normal' ways, and filled my cart with nicely priced oranges, apples, cabbage, onions, asparagus, garbanzo beans, and a few other things. I would have gotten a bag of russet potatoes if there had been any, but they were gone, along with brown rice, rolled oats, and whole wheat flour. No worries here, though; I have enough of the latter two to get by and can work around being out of the first two.

A 'service day' (technically a half-day) was on today's schedule for Brian's high school, so students had to give their parents two hours of work at home. I directed Brian to weed the garden – his least favorite chore (so LOTS of balking, arguing, and otherwise trying to get out of it), but more necessary now than ever. He didn't get very far, but did clear around the volunteer parsley and up to the kale. I need to do better at utilizing those and the beet greens (from the beets I never got harvested last fall 🙄); yay for free food!

Here is Poppy with her new splint, courtesy of her vet visit yesterday:
She also got puppy shot #2, which had her feeling puny – for about six hours. Then she was up and tearing around when we were all ready to wind down – ha! I think we should have named her The Unsinkable Molly Brown – it would have fit her, but for the color. Anyway, the x-ray showed Poppy's leg is healing, but definitely still needs the splint. One of the three broken bones is demineralizing instead of mending, usually a temporary set-back. As long as the other two bones are looking good in four more weeks, she'll get switched to a support bandage instead of a splint, as using the leg more will actually help the third bone heal. We'll have to monitor her activity level because of the laxity in her carpus and general atrophy, but the vet said not being willing to use the leg is more common at first than over-using it. (Maybe that's a common problem among other breeds, but I suspect over-use would be the danger for a Decker puppy!) She weighed 14.7 pounds, up six pounds from four and a half weeks ago; growing like a weed she is.

Hand out the cigars; Blake is a papa again! This morning the Babydoll Southdown owner who leased him for breeding last fall called this morning. She found a ewe with a water bag protruding at 4:00 a.m., and at 8:00 she still wasn't pushing or showing any sign of progress. Rick told her she'd better scrub up and go in; something was wrong. While at work she texted me: "FYI; I wasn't able to find lambs in her womb but was able to load her into our trailer and take her to a vet in Dallas for emergency help. I was sure we would find a dead lamb or two. Turns out he pulled out two ram lambs. They both sure looked dead initially but both survived! The vet was really surprised and so am I!"

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Norms, new norms, and no norms

As usual (normal), Poppy is the star of the show and the major "time hog" here at Boulderneigh. Thanks to the nice weather (after our little snow surprise), she is able to be outside more; I tracked down Brian's old baby gate so I could shut her on the deck to enjoy the sunshine and torment play with Chuckie. Except.... She has started digging at the rotten wood on the deck, opening up rather alarming holes and eating the pressure-treated wood, which doesn't agree with her tummy. So that option is now limited. 🙄

We interrupt this romp to watch what the neighbors are doing.

So yesterday morning I attached her Flexi-lead to a nearby tree while I weeded the island bed. The daffodils now look worse for wear play, but I did get pack two five-gallon buckets full of weeds.

Inside she is trying to master getting two tennis balls in her mouth at once. One of of these days she'll no doubt succeed; terriers are tenacious!

All that supervising and play can be exhausting!

So what are the neighbors doing next door? Coronavirus concerns don't impact construction crews; for the past few weeks they have been erecting forms for the house's foundation. This morning the concrete trucks came:

I imagine a lot of people are feeling isolated and lonely from complying with requests to limit contact with others (extremely important, since our country has so little information, thanks to paltry testing, on who is in fact positive for COVID-19). I'm a happy clam to be home alone, so for me this period is enforcing more human contact than I usually have because Brian is home. And I expect he will be schooling from home for the rest of his senior year and foregoing a graduation ceremony, too. The infectious disease specialists (along with health-care acquaintances who live and work north of us in Washington giving us news from working at the nation's epicenter) are saying we are many months, probably more than a year, away from seeing the worst of this. The scope of societal change is probably beyond comprehension....

But some things have to be done. This morning I shut Poppy in the laundry room and started on 'flock work, stage one' – trimming hooves and taking photos. I got four sheep done, which was my back's limit; I will wait until all 11 are finished before sharing, as I plan to do kind of a 'family tree' description showing how all my sheep are related to each other. Oh, and I'm still making yarn, thanks to the Jenkins spindle group on Ravelry:
My latest singles

Two previous spins, one plied and one awaiting plying (now started)
Now it's time to take Poppy to the vet for her next shot and a check of that leg. I'll report tomorrow.

That's it for now from . . .