Friday, July 31, 2009

Swapping suits, suites

Not that you could call our burned-up, grazed-up pastures and lots "suites."

Last night just as Rick was approaching our driveway, Ollie, Sammy and Breezy were on their way out - probably seeking greener pastures. That, and a stiff coast breeze was blowing up their tails. He chased them down through the neighbor's lot into the ravine beyond, falling and tearing both his jeans and his knee and getting covered with sticky burrs in the process. He managed to get them turned and drove them back onto our property, shut the gate, and dashed to the house to yell for our help in catching horses. I had been directing Brian's violin practice and we were completely ignorant of the round-up going on outside until then.

The electric tape around the upper pasture hasn't been hot for awhile but the horses had been respecting it anyway. Still, we always shut the gate when we leave the property just in case. With this escape - and no clue why the fence isn't working (we've investigated) - we had to change things up. So this morning I put those three horses in the secure lower pasture, the two ewes and two ewe lambs in the wooded lot, and Dinah and Blackberry in the long, narrow lot between barn and arena. Only Russell, and Braveheart and Browning, got to remain in their accustomed spaces.

Um, Brava, your wool is showing.

Brava's and Browning's sheep suits were getting a little snug, and I've wanted to get Bramble and Bronwen coated to keep those lamb fleeces clean, so last night I took stock. Looks like I need to order some more! In the meantime, I did what I could, taking the D coat off Browning and putting it on Blackberry (he's not the VM-magnet his sisters are, so no picking was necessary and now he'll STAY clean), switching the E coat Braveheart was wearing to Browning and putting a new F coat on Braveheart (my, he's a wide, meaty boy!). I like washing coats before shuffling them around like that, but keeping fleeces covered was a higher priority. (I did take a moment to drool over Braveheart's and Browning's clean, crimpy fleeces, though!) Brava and the ewe lambs are going to have to wait on a new sheep suit shipment; the ewe lambs are going to take a lot of clean-up before I can put coats on them anyway.
That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I don't know if it's the laser-engraved snowflakes or not, but last night a coastal breeze reached our house and we were able to turn off the AC and open the windows. This morning it was a refreshing 60 degrees outside, that deliciously cool breeze still around to caress my skin and soothe my heat-stressed soul as I did chores. Later in the morning Brian and I saddled up our mounts and went for a ride; it was heating up but not nearly as much as the first part of the week. I think we'll live. :-)

Ready for some random shots taken this week? These don't fit any theme or title, I just like them. The first is Dinah's eyes, the second is a detail on shiny-clean Jackson, and the third is the incredible metallic sheen of Sammy's neck. Handiworks of our Creator . . .
That's it for now at . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can I give away this heat?

Then how about these beautiful little ornaments? I was in a local frame shop yesterday being reminded why I can't ever afford to have anything framed and saw these in a basket. Turns out the frame shop has their own laser engraver and did these in-house. I liked them so much I thought some of you might as well, so home they came with me for a give-away. (Consider it my Pay It Forward for winning Country Girl's giveaway recently.) To be entered to win, just leave a comment at the end of this post about how you would use or display these. (Wait 'til Christmas? Hang one from your rear-view mirror? Stare in concentration at one of the snowflakes to will away weather that you never signed up for when you moved to the Pacific Northwest?)

A winner will be chosen at random next Sunday afternoon around five-ish. (Hey, I have a family and sometimes have no control over my schedule!)

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Distractions in yellow, red and purple

It's too hot to cook . . .. . . but the beans still need to be picked. And look! Our first red tomato!

Not all the plants are handling our record-breaking heat wave with as much grace as the daylilies:

When I have the time (like this morning; Brian rode with Rick), spinning is a wonderful hot-weather pastime. It's very sedentary, alpaca doesn't stick to bare skin and summer fabrics, and my sweaty fingers give me just the right grip on slippery fiber. Pardon me while I indulge at . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

Solutions in black, white and blue

Last night while doing chores, a solution for lonely Blackberry came to mind. Dinah was his intended for this fall in my original breeding plans, so why not put them together? The worst that could happen is December lambs (or finding out that Blackberry isn't fertile); the best-case scenario is that he'll thrive, my Miss Piggy will lose a little weight since I don't grain boys, and they will make beautiful lambs together.
I also found a solution for my "spinning tutorial" yarn, a 14-ounce skein spun from the various kinds of fiber dear friend Kathy sent me when I was first learning to spin. Plying each fiber on itself and joining them all in alternating light and dark colors seemed a good idea at the time, but I've been unsure how best to knit it up ever since. Last night I was browsing through the many lovely patterns of Garnstudio/DROPS Design, and found this pattern. I think it may be just the ticket - I'll have a shawl to showcase not only my "zebra yarn" but also my copper ram pin from Romi! I'm going to resist casting on until I finish my socks, but plan to wash the skein soon; the record-setting heat we're having this week is perfect yarn-drying weather!

Here's a win/win solution. I was asked to design a brochure for a new business a client had opened. Being short on cash the client asked if I'd be interested in trading out part of their bill, and I agreed. Although canine rehabilitation is the business' focus, they also do grooming and boarding, and bath-virgin Jackson had some major mats (I've cut some out, but always worry that I'm going to knick him). So today during Brian's violin lesson, Jackson got primped and pampered/tormented and tortured (depending on who you ask). He was so glad to see me when I first arrived to pick him up that I got a full toothy smile, instead of his usual lopsided grin - I think he thought he'd been left at Git-Mo to rot in prison! Here he is in all his sparkling, fluffy glory, a sticker pulled out from between his toes and everything:
Before leaving town I had to make a couple bank deposits; he got dog biscuits at both drive-throughs. Then he relaxed in front of the AC until we got home,where he could relax on the cool tile of the laundry room. Getting pretty is exhausting business!

Finally, I have to show off my new Keens. My sister has sung the praises of this brand so I tried some on at the local shoe store. They felt great, but I've never spent that much on a pair of leather dress shoes or high-end running shoes, much less casual sandals. So I've been prowling eBay, and scored these. They arrived in the mail today, and I'm wearing them around the house. My feet are happy, happy, happy!

That's it for now at . . .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A new tree grows at Boulderneigh

I think MiniKat has got to be the awarding-est woman in the blogosphere! She recently sent another one my way, bless her heart; it's enough to make a girl immodest. And isn't it handsome?The history behind it is powerfully emotional. The designer Ces said, "I designed this award to celebrate art in the blogs and to honor the value of friendship, sisterhood, sharing and caring. It is to be awarded to the gifted, accomplished, eloquent and talented blogger whose friendship and influence inspire us to do our best. That I named it after Bella Sinclair is because she epitomizes all of these things. She is an inspiration to many of us." (If you click on the Bella link, you will learn of the great tragedy in her life, and hopefully count and recount the blessings in your own.)

I've often lamented the apparent evaporation of my creative juices; I used to create two- and three-dimensional art for the fun of it, then commissioned work took more of my time. But since I've had Brian, I haven't made the time or even really had the urge to do much in the media I used to enjoy - and any hankerings I get are quickly drowned out by the busy reality of my current life. But in pondering this award I realized that blogging is a creative outlet for me. I love photography and creative writing, and blogging gives me a reason to indulge in both - with the hope that someone else enjoys my efforts.

Through blogging I have met many friends and "sisters" with whom I share much in common, or who, however different our lives may be, inspire me. Some of them are:
Lois at Stonehaven Farm (even though she doesn't "do" awards)
Melanie at Our Wee Farm
Kathy at Sheep Thrills Farm
Tammy at Fairlight Farm
Sharon at Sage Creek Farm
Adrienne in Chicagoland
Sara at Equinox Farm

One of the people I've "met" through blogging, but haven't gotten to know as well as the above, is Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl. She is an AMAZING photographer (go see for yourself!). Recently she held a give-away on her blog, and I lucked out and won. My prize?This beautiful ceramic bird and two colorful fabric napkins. It was such a thrill to get these little treasures that it made me want to "share the love." Watch this space for your chance to win . . . something!

That's it for now at . . .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week in review: something for everyone!

Three little ram lambs - and then there was one.

Good dog, Jackson. (He's not allowed to follow me through the arena because of the amount of sand he can collect and bring into the house, so he's waiting while I take the ewes out to pasture.)

Weeds and roses along the road in the late afternoon sun on my way home from the airport.

The harvest is ready at the bottom of our hill.

Why has no one made a horror movie featuring chickens? They really fit the part sometimes!

My favorite Celtic band at Thursday's Brown Bag Concert.

Brian decided to go English on Friday. That pony is earning her keep!

I think these actually qualify as socks now - or at least footies! :-)

Happy Sabbath from . . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sheep goings - and comings?

Ready to roll!

Poor Blackberry; it's like he's being weaned all over again. Good thing he has a low, throaty yell instead of an even more annoying high-pitched one!

As scheduled, Beau's and Boo's new owners arrived this morning with spiffy new halters and lead ropes for their two new fiber pets (Rocky Sheep Suits are on order). I am thrilled to be able to place them in such eager and loving hands, and expect to get lots of updates on Brava's boys. There's even a possibility of another sheep leaving Boulderneigh once Beau and Boo get their "hoo-ha-ectomies;" Dinah may retire from breeding there, opening up a spot for a finer-fleeced poll-carrier ewe here.

But that's not really the sheep "comings" I was talking about in the title. I have my eye on two new ewes already, and wouldn't even need to wait to make room. And the cost to ship them here is quite reasonable. Check out Romi's new shawl pin designs!Don't they look like wooly Shetlands? When she came out with a handsome ram (see him here), I HAD to buy him for myself, even though I have no shawls to use him on. Now I want the rest of her flock! I'd better cast on a shawl or two, quick.

That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Assorted updates

Knitting update: I've turned both heels and am beginning the cuffs! Good thing, since Sock Summit is less than two weeks away, and the cuffs are patterned all the way around.

Scurs update: Juliann and Sabrina have both posted photo updates of their ram lambs' horn growth, so I thought I would do the same - as much for my own records as anyone else's interest. The photos below were taken today. Blackberry (born 3/27/09):He had little wiggly scurs that broken off; these are solidly attached. I hope they don't take off and grow long; two-year-old Braveheart's nubbins (below) have spoiled me.
Below are Beau's little knife-blade scurs and Boo's substantial horn growth (twins born 4/5/09):Only test breeding could prove whether Boo is fully horned (pp) or a half-poll (Pp), so I guess we'll never know because...

Flock update: Beau and Boo are leaving for their new home tomorrow! I predict they will live long, happy lives as well-loved lap sheep, with the minor yearly inconvenience of being sheared for their beautiful, soft fleeces:

Chicken update: Lucille is looking better, although still very lame from her broken toe. She's eating and drinking well in her private hospital room)- and laying pretty well, too! That's more than I can say for the rest of the girls, who have dropped their production dramatically.

Garden update: We have harvested maybe four Sungold cherry tomatoes, a handful of green (actually purple and wax) beans, a thimbleful of peas, several small zucchini and a couple of cukes. Some bell peppers are about ready. The lettuce has bolted; salad season is over. There may be enough colored Swiss chard for my mom to enjoy a serving when she's here next week, and enough rhubarb to make a crisp. The berry bounty is keeping us busy; yesterday we picked 22# of blueberries at a commercial farm so we could freeze some.

That's all the updates for now from . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Rick's mom loves it when her visits coincide with flowers and/or fruit (I'd accuse her of coming JUST for those, but I know better. :-) She's been out picking berries in our garden every day, and yesterday she decided to look for any remaining good cherries on the tree on east side of the house.

When she recruited Brian to help her, he decided he needed a "boost," too - only Breezy would be a lot more fun than a ladder!

He didn't last long; soon it was more fun to carve on a stick (note Breezy tied to the gate in the distance).Then it was back on Breezy; he even gave Grandma a ride!

I have been disappointed that Brian hasn't shown more interest in riding his pony since Cowboy Campmeeting. Then I found out that he has been going out and riding her around the pasture bareback with her halter and lead rope! Not long rides, but he has been enjoying her nontheless. Today with my help he was able to bridle her by himself twice (Grandma helped him yesterday); I predict he'll have even more fun with the control the bridle gives him.

That's it for now at . . .