Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March: going out with lambs, lambs, lambs!

The weather today is not lamb-like; I left the ewes in this morning so the lambs don't get chilled in the cold rain we are supposed to get. While filling water buckets and hay feeders, I fell completely and totally in love . . . but more on that later! First, some photos taken two days ago:Inky, where are your babies?

Smart little lambies, letting mom's body block the brisk breeze!

Boys! (Actually, I've seen both little girls do this, too.) I would feel so bad for my ladies if they were freshly sheared and didn't have all that wool to cushion those pointy little toes!

I took some video footage of lamb races yesterday, but have been unsuccessful in uploading them (sorry, MiniKat!).

Back to this morning. Little Bramble looked interested in being friends, so I extended my hand to her. She approached and let me rub her chin. As my fingers massaged around her head, she occasionally wagged her tiny tail, and soon fell into a trance-like state of pleasure. Then - be still, my heart! - she laid down in the straw, totally trusting and enjoying the full-body treatment I was giving her.
Meanwhile, brother Blackberry was checking out my jeans and Muck boot:
Finally, Bronwen's curiosity got the better of her and she approached:
My three gorgeous gulmoget lambs!
Today is Butter's due date if she got PG from Braveheart's one-night stand. She doesn't look imminent to me, but I'll wait 'til the end of the week before getting excited for more Franjean lambs. Brava has finally developed a little udder which equals Butter's, so maybe they will lamb close together. Two small waves of lambs . . . not a bad way to have them!

Finally, I received this award from two dear blogpals, first MiniKat and then Sharon. I wasn't going to post about it, since it's given to blogs that "invest and believe in the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!” See that little line, "not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement"? How do you accept an award without appearing interested in self-aggrandizement? But when it came my way a second time, it seemed rude to ignore the kind gestures of these two ladies, and not pass the award on to eight others. When I looked through the list of blogs I follow, I realized I've had the fun of meeting nine of them (not counting my sister, neighbor, and the proprietors of two local yarn shops). So although this award is not necessarily for those with whom one has shared a physical proximity, these bloggers fit the other descriptions, too. Tina, Allena, Karla, Franna, Tammy, Donna, Lois, Shannon, and Tammy - consider yourselves awarded!

That's it for now at . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

There is life beyond lambs

Do I hear any sighs of relief? I suppose not everyone wants to see unending photos of lambies eating and growing and exercising and sleeping. Although I really can't imagine what better options are there for your viewing pleasure! (And for those of you who come here specifically for a lamb fix, rest assured I have more cute pictures, and even took some video this morning that I will try to figure out how to share.)

Yes, I find the lambs infinitely entertaining. Of course, life is so much more than entertainment. In fact, life all but crowds out time for entertainment, what with working and homeschooling and cooking and eating and exercising and sleeping and, and, and. It's a good thing I have some commitments that force me to play with fiber. I still have three Pay It Forward gifts to finish/make within three months, a baby gift to complete, and that alpaca I need to spin to "pay" for the rest I get to keep. And since I told myself, "Self, after you finish the first 8 oz. skein of alpaca, you get to spin a bit of something different as a reward," that means I had to spin that something different in order to get back to the alpaca! (Hey it makes perfect sense to me. :-) So here, without further explanation, are some of the things I've been working on lately:
(If you really must have some explanations, email me!)

That's it for now at . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blessings continue

Just as it did on Bronwen's third day of life, today - Blackberry and Bramble's third day of life - dawned sunny. Perfect timing to introduce lambies to the larger world of pasture and flock.

Bronwen approaches to say "Hi." Notice the color difference between these two brown-based gulmoget ewe lambs? Bronwen's dark is darker and her light is lighter. (You can double-click to biggify.)

Butter butted Bramble once, warning her, "I'm not your mommy!" So both lambs retreated to the comforting end of dam Inky.

Let the lamb races begin!

This photo clearly shows Blackberry's small crown of white. Franna pointed out that Inky has spots in her pedigree. Since Braveheart has a large krunet and passed it on to some of his lambs last year, he and Inky could give Boulderneigh some real flash next year!

This is the east side of our house, looking up from the sheep pasture with the neighbor's house at my back. I keep an eye on the sheep from those main floor windows and deck. The partial basement is not finished.

Oh, and I think I've figured out the reason I like gulmogets so much - I already have a dog in that pattern! (Well, close enough. :-)
That's it for now at . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

For Garrett and Franna

Hey Garrett, THIS is our house! This is the west side; the neighbor's house you saw in a previous post sits downhill and almost due east, past our barn and pasture. Below is our house as seen through the island flower bed in the middle of our circular driveway:
Gratuitous shot of Oreo, our barn kitty, strutting her fluffy stuff in front of the daffodils:
And for Franna, who has first dibs on Boulderneigh Blackberry, a shot of his perfect, tiny tail:
Today was cold, wet and windy, much too raw outside for tender lambies. Besides, we were gone from morning to early afternoon, and I don't trust the hawks I've seen circling our hill lately. Dinah has been very vigilant the two days she and Bronwen have been out on pasture, and I'm sure Inky will be, too, but I don't want to take a chance by leaving them out when I'm not here. Tomorrow is supposed to be mostly dry and not as windy, so I am hoping to put all the sheep out. Monday's forecast looks nicer still, so maybe there will be lamb races to photograph!

That's it for now at . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

The problem with being small

At least it wasn't a perimeter fence at . . .

Franjean is a papa again!

No suspense there, huh? I'm too tired for suspense, I guess, or even very organized thought. I checked on Inky last night at 11:30; she was the only one up and eating at that hour. Before falling into bed I decided to crack the window over my head; besides liking a cool room to sleep in, I thought I just might hear something if anything happened during the night. About 6:15 this morning I heard some bumping around in the sheepfold, so I got up to check things out. Inky was breathing fast and it looked like she'd been pawing around in the straw. After waiting a half hour for more daylight, I led the other sheep out to pasture and did chores, checking in on a laboring Inky often. About 7:45 she pushed out a beautiful moorit gulmoget ewe lamb and set to work cleaning her up. Within minutes the little girl was on her feet looking for breakfast. Then Inky had a few more contractions and pushed out a black gulmoget ram lamb! He was up and looking just as quickly as his sister; what a pair! Neither of them have the side flash that Bronwen was born with, but the ram has a spray of white/light hairs on the crown of his head. (He also has horn buds, so I didn't hit the polled jackpot with him.) Both have very consistent fleeces, the girl's is tightly crimped, the boy's is more curly. They are tucked in the "lamb suite" now, colostrum in their tummies and Inky-mom still working on cleaning them off completely. So without further ado, meet Boulderneigh Blackberry (ram) and Boulderneigh Bramble (ewe):(double-click on photos to biggify)

In a few days, Miss Bronwen will have friends to play with; she's started training for lamb races already!
Counting my blessings at . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pregnant pause

Inky on March 20

Inky on March 25

Yesterday was frustrating, what with the calendar telling me something should be happening and Inky not cooperating. The realization that she and Butter could be carrying Braveheart's lambs made it worse. Not that Braveheart is a bad ram; I've kept him, after all, because I like him very much and want to use him again. But I really wanted to see what everyone would throw when crossed with Franjean so I could compare the same ewes' offspring from two different rams, and possibly keep some of Franjean's daughters to cross with Braveheart. Besides, how could I not want more cunning gulmogets?

To keep myself from going crazy fretting after doing what needed doing, I pulled out the fiber sampler that the Sara sent me in trade for some Shetland and started spinning the medium grey Jacob roving. I am toying with spinning fine singles of all four colors (dark chocolate, dark grey, medium grey and white) and adding a fine single of Rechel's light grey, and plying the five different colors together. The other possibility is self-plying each of them and attempting my first Fair Isle project, like a hat, with all natural colors. I would LOVE to do that, but am not sure my time and brain power could handle such a learning curve right now.

Today, to give my eyes something to do besides search out Inky in the pasture, I let Dinah and Bronwen out, too. Big brother Butthead, er, Browning, immediately got himself thrown in solitary by walking up and butting wee Bronwen. The rest of the introductions went copacetically.

Browning in an adjoining "pocket pasture:"
Dinah on alert!
Brava showed mild interest, and went back to grazing:
Butter was intensely interested at first, causing Dinah some consternation:
But that passed, and peace reigns:
Everyone enjoying a beautiful spring day (I wish Inky would stop enjoying and start pushing!):

Breathing deeply and repeating the Serenity Prayer at . . .