Monday, June 28, 2010

Like headless chickens we are

We are scurrying around packing, watering, changing oil and tires, arranging chores, wrapping up work that must be done before leaving, getting horses shod, etc. etc. etc. (Ah, a vision of deliciously buff Yul Brynner in The King and I just came to mind!) Leaving for six days with everything needed for three people and three horses - and making sure everything on the homefront is also taken care of - is a LOT of work! Rick and I sometimes look at each other and wonder if it's worth it, but Brian SO excited, and I know we will be making memories with him that will last a lifetime.

Until our return with memory cards full of pictures (to lambs that have grown exponentially in our absence!), I leave you with a couple shots of my Goldmound spirea, the first with the species geranium in the background:
That's it for June from . . .

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ram lamb horn survey

On Friday I took noggin shots of rammie-lambies. It started with wanting to show Lois how Byzantine's horns are coming along, since she is interested in him if his horns and fleece develop nicely. Both Katie's boys are horned rams; they are one month old today:
Bodhran and Blake are still basically smooth-polled at three months of age. If you look closely (click to biggify), you can see tiny points of horn material on Blake's head only because they are a different color than his fleece. But if you palpate Bodhran's and Banjo's heads, they have the same size points as Blake (Banjo, of course, is wethered).
Barry was born with big horn buds, but knocked off both his horn sheaths earlier (and knocked the left one off again on the way home from BSG). He is wethered, so his horn growth should be very slow now.
How does your horn-garden grow?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

'Tis the season

Last night for supper we had strawberry shortcake. Sweet biscuits (I used half whole wheat pastry flour), strawberries fresh from Brian's patch, and just-made vanilla ice cream. That's all. Hey, it covered the four food groups! Photo? You've got to be kidding. We had our faces in our bowls.

Life is good at . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

The chosen

Yesterday Jeannie came out to visit Banjo, and make her final decision on which wether would join him when he moves to Santiam Shetland Sheep's fiber flock. While she loves the bright-white luster of Barry, and the rich, bittersweet chocolate color of Bardas, in the end she decided the twins should stay together and chose Bodhran. (It helps that he is smooth-polled like Banjo; heads without pokey things are nicer to snoggle with.) They will join the six Shetlands already at Santiam and two more ewe lambs coming from Wally. And all because she fell in love with Boo and Beau at Black Sheep Gathering last year.... :-)

Bodhran will need a little "alteration" before the move, and Rick wanted to wait to do that until after our big Fourth of July horse-camping trip so we can be here to oversee his convalescence. Bodhran is such a tail-wagging lover-boy that a fiber pet home is perfect for him - and there isn't a more perfect fiber pet home out there than Jeannie's and Duane's!

That leaves three sheep still available to good homes: Dinah (6-year-old white ewe), Barry (her 2010 wethered white son), and Bardas (Katie's dark brown ramling with head-spotting). Let me know if you're interested!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Year of the snake

We have seen more snakes around the house this year than ever before. Since we don't have venomous ones, I try to welcome them. I hope they eat lots of rodents and slugs!

Yesterday morning while the dogs were outside, Jackson started barking. Brian went to the front door to check out what he was barking at, and there was a little snake on the front step, doing his best to look and sound threatening so those two big "predators" didn't eat him!I let the dogs in so Mr. Snake could leave in peace. When I looked again a bit later, he had moved UP the wall, and was doing his best grout impersonation:
Our garden is growing well; the sun-loving plants are finally getting some weather more to their liking. We have been eating radishes, spinach and lettuces for awhile:
More recently supplemented by strawberries and red raspberries (swoon):
The broccoli and cabbage, new for us this year, are forming heads:
And the tomatoes and potatoes are blossoming:
While I'm cleaning out the bearded iris bed and watering the dahlias that came up, the white flag stands tall and proud over the island bed. I don't like where the clump is because it is all out of proportion for its location, but at this time of year it fills a void between the spring and summer flowers.
That's it for now at . . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The rest of the BSG story

Friday ended with the AGM dinner and meeting (the food was deelish!). On Saturday morning, after taking care of my sheep, I walked down the street to attend church where a friend of mine is the pastor. After spending most of the day there in fellowship and rest, I walked back to the fairgrounds to eat leftovers from dinner the night before (just as good the second night) and then play dress-up with my sheep. Don't look at me like that; we were encouraged to bring costumes and lead our silly sheep in a Shetland parade Saturday night before the Spinner's Lead! Thanks to having bulldogs, who are born to model (if you doubt me, talk to Zelda), I had three costumes to use - and recruited NASSA's president Maureen Koch and another gal to help me lead sheep!
That's Maureen in the middle with Bodhran in a cute baseball jacket, the spur-of-the-moment recruit on the left with Barry dressed in a uniform of some sort, and me with Bronwen as - what, a ballerina? I'm not sure, but she looked absolutely fabulous, dahling, in blond curls and pink velvet!(Thanks for the photos, Franna!)

When I undressed my long-suffering Shetlands and returned them to their pens, apparently Blake called Bodhran a "boy toy" or something and a battle ensued. They must have sparred for more than 30 minutes while I stood nearby visiting. The testosterone poisoning starts early...
With all that going on, I didn't get back to see much of the Spinners Lead, the event that inspired me so last year. In fact, the only entry I got to see, appropriately enough, was Jean Franklin modeling the wonderful Shetland sheep cardigan she designed herself and knit from homespun, naturally colored wool from her own flock:Jean happens to be the breeder of Inky's sire, Spin Web Holly Boy.

Sunday was full of people and sheep and marketing and window-shopping and loading up and heading home. I had to say good-bye to Garrett early, as he headed out Sunday morning for the long drive back to Minnesota. Here he is with his new katmoget yearling ewe:He bought her from Wally Rutledge, the man from whom I got my first two ewes, Dinah and Rechel.

This ram lamb of Wally's has a most unusual marking on his face. He looks so much like the protagonist in a famous musical that several of us told Wally he just HAD to name the ramling Phantom!

I did very little shopping at BSG, just a little new-to-me fiber thanks to Franna tipping me off on a "bargain bin." The white is pygora/cormo roving and the chocolate/white is Jacob/cormo. The sparkly purple batt was an unexpected gift from a young lady who bought two of my fleeces - how sweet was that?!? In all I sold three fleeces, and took the remaining four to Aunt Janet who will have my roving ready for me to pick up at OFFF in September. I test-drove a Hanson e-spinner, but would need to sell a LOT of sheep to be able to afford one of those. But man alive was it sweet!

What better way to end my posts about Black Sheep Gathering than to once again say that getting together with friends was the very best part?From left to right, that's Sharon, Becky, Laura, me (the tall one) and Mim - all blogpals, all friends in "real time" now, too. Here's to more get-togethers, and more hugs!

That's it for BSG '10 from . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A photo-heavy detour

While I wait for some photos that other people took at BSG, I thought I'd give you an update from the homefront. Let's start with the youngest members of the flock.

Now you see them . . .

. . . now you (almost) don't!
Monday morning after BSG, the time was ripe for Katie and her twins to join the flock in the big pasture, and then share the greater fold at night. (Right now that flock consists of Dinah, Bramble, Inky and Banjo, since the other lambs and Bronwen are in after-show quarantine and Browning is keeping the new ram company in the Ram-ada Inn.) Bardas and Byzantine thought they were pretty hot stuff getting to run with the big sheep, and Byzantine told Bramble what he thought of her pushing him around:
Both boys quickly figured out lamb races and hopping through the arena panels like all the other lambs before them:
Here's one last shot of Byz, just for Lois:
Today I picked Bronwen's and Blake's on-the-hoof fleeces and put coats on both of them.Several people at the show gave me positive comments on Blake's fleece, confirming my plans to keep this young ram for flock sire evaluation. His fleece is a lustrous rosy taupe with lovely wave/crimp; the jury is still out on whether he is a musket or rose mioget.He is very woolly from his poll to his hocks, and yes, even on his tail, although there IS hair at the tip. His teeth are nicely on pad now, and he still has just rough little bumps of horn material in the depressions in his head. I'm not holding my breath, but it would be wonderful if he turns out to be a full-poll. I won't know for quite awhile yet, though, because there's a new ram in town who gets all the ladies this fall.That would be Franna's new ram FirthofFifth Barish who traveled all the way to BSG from Minnesota, and is on a breeding layover here until late October. (Oh my; I'm going to be actively involved in breeding season in just over three months!) He's a polite, small three-year-old with big (aberrant) horns and a very soft fleece; I am hoping he passes on that softness to his entire lamb crop, and that lovely katmoget pattern to at least some of them. He is homozygous black, so all his offspring will be black, grey or grey kat (unless Dinah passes on her white pattern).

Another BSG report coming soon from . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Black Sheep, the show

Friday morning was the Shetland sheep show. As expected, Black Sheep's usually-big Shetland classes were HUGE because of the extra attendance generated by the NASSA AGM (the annual general meeting of our breed organization) being held in conjunction with Black Sheep Gathering this year. There was no way to get entire classes (yearling rams, ram lambs, yearling ewes, ewe lambs) in one shot, as each class had two full lines of sheep and handlers in the arena. For instance, this is half the ram lambs entered:I took pictures when I could, then handed off my camera off to Jackie when I was busy in the ring. Thanks, Jackie!(Jackie is one of the blogpals I got to meet - and hug - for the first time at BSG!)

Since I wasn't able to get photos of all the winners, I'm just using photos that show my sheep - plus some special people!

My first class was ram lambs, and since I had two, Garrett helped me out. (Garrett drove all the way from Perham, Minnesota, where we lived for Rick's first job as a veterinarian, for Black Sheep and the AGM.) The judge deemed Blake and Bodhran "too young" (among others) to evaluate for placement. I wonder if the judge thought they were so young their horns just hadn't started growing yet, because he asked me when they were born!
(Second photo taken by Jeannie Wright.)

My other entry was Bronwen in yearling ewes. The judge really liked her structure but not her fleece; still, she was a good girl who made me proud:
Another very special blogpal I got to meet in person for the first time was Kathy. She had a harrowing travel story of her own after driving with her DH and her daughter's in-laws (from New Zealand) all the way from Flagstaff, Arizona. Here she is, on the left, helping Lois show her ewe lambs:Like Lois, Kathy is someone who became a dear friend via internet and phone long before we ever got to meet in person, and the face-to-face friendship meets every anticipation. We got a lot of bear-hugs in, but I could have used even more!

That's the report on the BSG Shetland classes, from . . .