Saturday, May 31, 2008

X is for ex

Right now my heart is heavy for a close friend whose husband wants a divorce. She does not, but I learned that one party can initiate and get a divorce even if the other party never signs a single paper. That seems very wrong to me. After all, it takes two people signing a marriage license to GET married; shouldn't it take two to sign the divorce papers before a marriage can be dissolved? Many will argue that it's no marriage if one partner don't want to be in it, but the verse "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt. 19:6) resounds in my head. Besides, God can do anything, even (especially!) restore broken relationships. After all, isn't that what Jesus came to earth to do? Provide the means to restore the relationship God wants to have with His children after Adam and Eve chose to believe the devil's lies instead of walk with God?

Anyway, it occurred to me in all this that I've never been an "ex" - except perhaps an ex-girlfriend to a few teenage boys that I dated but didn't commit myself to in any way, shape, or form. I'm not an ex-wife, or an ex-(insert your denomination or belief system). Sure, there are things I once was and am no longer, such as a child and a student, but those aren't states from which you can sever yourself (unless you drop out of school, I suppose). While my life as a child of divorce has not always felt stable, I'm beginning to realize that my life really has been stable, for which I am thankful.

In a GIANT leap in subject matter, below are the latest irises to open in our iris bed. I stroll by this long crescent every day, enjoying the fragrance and exquisite, intricate beauty of these regal flowers. Before we moved here, I didn't even know irises were scented!
That's it for now at . . .

Friday, May 30, 2008

W is for Wool, of course . . .

. . . and my Wonderful little Shetlands who grow it!

Browning's lustrous fleece, above.
Bryden's perfect little tail, above, and lustrous fleece, below.
Bevin's beautiful behind, above, and Blanche's, below.
If Bluster stacks up like that in the show ring, the rest of the ram lambs might as well go home. :-) And he has soft, consistent fleece (below) to go with it!
Blizz's fleece, above, is just as soft.
So far none of the lambs show Dad's bold crimp, above. I haven't processed Braveheart's lamb fleece yet, but this look at his midside fleece today has got me fairly itching to work it up!

Yes, I've been admiring my lambs a lot lately. But enough admiring; I realized it was high time to start halter-training Blizz and Bluster if I am to be able to LEAD them into the ring at Black Sheep Gathering three short weeks away! We have a long ways to go, but so far neither boy has thrown himself to the ground in protest. (Nancy, is that position #3 or 4?)I'm hoping to get most of the rodeo over with before I leave Tuesday morning, because I'll have precious little time after I get back late the 11th, then entertain company the 12th through the 17th, before hauling them to BSG on the 19th!

That's it for now at . . .

V is for vetting out

This is Russell and me less than three weeks ago, getting ready to enter the arena and win Third Level Test 2.

This is Russell less than two weeks ago, enjoying some pasture time.

This is Russell now, wondering why he's shut in his stall on "all hay all day" when there's fresh, yummy grass is growing just outside (see the pout?).

Today we were supposed to be competing at Third Level again. Instead, a letter from my husband is on its way to the show secretary explaining that Russell had to be pulled from the show due to a torn high suspensory ligament in his left hind leg (although with no waiting list, there will be no refund). Don't ask me how he did it, or when, because I can't tell you. I did notice he took a funny step with that foot on Tuesday, so I watched him closely. He kept cocking his left hind foot whenever he stood still for a moment. My gut told me something was wrong. I went ahead and hauled him for a lesson with my wonderful instructor on Wednesday (she has the best "eye" I've ever seen, so if nothing else I figured she could help me figure out what was going on), but it was obvious when I started warming him up that he was lame. Neither of us could find any heat or swelling, but it was clear I would need to scratch the show. I called Rick, not knowing if he would be able to examine Russell that night before flying out early Thursday morning for a conference. Gem that he is, Rick stayed up late to do a thorough lameness exam (flexion test, ultrasound, nerve blocking) and then treat Russell with extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

Russell could have injured himself Monday when Rick turned the other horses out first (they go in a separate pasture). We heard a mighty BAM from the barn, and knew that Russell had expressed his displeasure about being the last one turned out by kicking the wall. Later Rick found a big chunk of wood missing from the tongue-and-groove. So how am I going to keep my opinionated horse from further injuring himself (or the barn) now that he can't go out at ALL for awhile? Keeping the other two horses in is not an option with hay prices being what they are and at least a month's good grazing available in our pastures. Then there's Cowboy Campmeeting coming up the first week of July; he won't be up to that. Oh Russell, Russell; why ARE you so accident-prone?

That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, May 29, 2008

U is for "uncooperative" & "underfoot"

Blogger sure has been temperamental the past few days! It takes a full day of my asking over and over again before it decides it will upload my photos; I don't know what's up. Might as well get used to the frustration, though, as it is certainly not the only area of my life full of aggravation at the moment. Visit again tomorrow to learn more (if Blogger plays nice).

But for today I will focus on more pleasant subjects: our chickens! They really are charming, amusing additions to Boulderneigh. It is very hard to get good photos of of them, because if I go in their yard or coop, they gather underfoot and I have to move carefully to avoid trampling them. Either that, or they are gathered around the feeder; I can hardly believe how much four little pullets can eat! (And I thought my sheep were little piggies....) We've given up trying to tell the three Rhode Island Reds apart, although there are differences between them; only Morgan the Easter-Egger has retained her moniker. I think she is the loveliest of the four, and certainly looks more grown up. (What is it with all the baby fluff still on the one Rhodie's neck?) Corinne has made me green with envy over her lovely portraits (and the many beautiful varieties!) of her pullets, but I will swallow my pride and share my humble efforts below.
That's it for now at . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

T is for tagged

Although in the past I've referred to sheep ear tags as jewelry, I find nothing at all attractive about them. I hate to mar the looks of my perfect little lambs with flaps of white plastic, but if they are to ever leave Boulderneigh for flocks of their own, punch holes in their ears I must. So last night I recruited Rick's help, and we tortured all six sweet lambs with tags and CD/T shots. Within seconds, most were back to eating or asking for attention, so obviously the deed was harder on this shepherd than it was on her lambs! It is nice to have such a small flock that I can wait awhile to tag them; when they are a bit older, their ears don't sag under the weight of the tag. If Blizz and Bluster weren't going to Black Sheep Gathering, I might have waited even longer! Anyway, here are all the Boulderneigh lambs with their new accessories:Blizz (you can see his scurs peeping out from his poll wool, if you look carefully)Bluster (compare his horns to those of his twin brother, above!)BrowningBlanche (a feminine beauty, even with a mouth full of hay and a tag in her ear!)beautiful Blanche again, with her brother Browning trying to horn inBrydenBevintwins bedding down together.Here Bevin joins Browning and Blanche, showing the difference in color between Valentine's extremely dark moorit twins (Bevin and Bryden are the same color), and Browning's slightly lighter fleece.

As you can see, all the lambs have wool on their polls except for Bluster. They all look good at the opposite end, too; Braveheart did an excellent job of stamping his get with his perfect little fluke tail. (Hey, it's my blog and I can brag if I want to!) All are priced to sell, although if I could find a good home for Dinah, I would keep her daughter Blanche. And don't forget Bella, if you are looking for a nice, young grey ewe!

That's it for now at . . .

Monday, May 26, 2008

S is for silly sheep, "Supersheep"

We've all heard that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but what if there is no grass at all on the other side of the fence?As this photo proves, it doesn't lessen the appeal!

Nearly every morning I turn the sheep out to graze freely while I do the rest of the chores. After eagerly gobbling up all things green for awhile, the sheep start yelling at me (especially Valentine; I should nickname her "Ol' Yeller"!). They've had enough salad; they want DESSERT! What can I say? They are sheep after my own heart. So I ration out their little dab of morning grain and let them in the sheep lot.
As soon as they finish the grain, they all crowd around the fenceline hay feeder like they are starving.
Then there's Bella. She is my Shetland Lipizzaner. She has perfected the Airs Above the Ground in her pursuit of leaves.
Poor Brava is still in quarantine most of the time. Some mornings she gets to join the others for salad, but then I put her back in the fold. She is eating well and has plenty of energy, but I'm afraid the "men before their time" ramlings would run her into the ground. Not only that, but her wool has been falling off almost as fast as water runs off a duck's back. Our weather has turned cool and rainy, so I was afraid she would get chilled. It was time for action. Today in a matter of minutes, I helped her go from "sad sack" -to "Supersheep"!Then I added a Rocky Sheep Suit for a little more protection. She seemed to appreciate my ministrations; I think the loose wool was tickling her. Becky mentioned that when she plucked a sheep of hers who had a break in the wool from sickness, it grew back wondrously soft like a lamb's fleece, so I guess I have that to look forward to. What Brava lost was very soft and I hate wasting it, but it's pretty short stapled since she was sheared three months ago and I have too much on my plate to think I will get around to processing it.

That's it for now at . . .

Sunday, May 25, 2008

R is for Russell and rhodies

His registered name is Special Majesty, his breeders called him Rusty, and his second owner, the girl I bought him from, changed that to Russell. My dressage friends have dubbed him "Special Russell," which fits him well. He is wonderful with Brian, good on the trail, and impressive in the dressage arena. The story of how and when he came into my life leaves no doubt in my mind that he is a gift from God!

Yesterday afternoon we drove up to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, one of the annual "flower pilgrimages" we try to make. Hard to believe this chunk of heaven is in the middle of downtown Portland! Below are just a few photos from our visit.
That's it for now at . . .