Monday, April 30, 2012

On tap

 Eggs! (in green, beige and blue)

Lambs and wool! (in black, browns and white)

And rain. No exclamation point. Can't complain; it was nice through yesterday, giving me time to prepare for and compete in my first dressage show with Larry. Now he'll get a little break. And rain helps the grass grow!

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pay It Forward: Redux

My friend Adrienne is doing this again on her blog, and I couldn't resist. Partly because I still treasure and use the wonderful handknits she sent me several years ago, and partly because I'm ready to be motivated to create some fun little surprises for others.

Ready? Here are the guidelines:

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. What you get and when you get it will be a surprise. I will give you no warning whatsoever.

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it forward on your blog by committing to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on your post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated regularly), as I will blog-stalk you to find the right gift for you. :-)

4. After commenting here, you must post your own Pay It Forward to your blog within 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments.

Think of it: a whole year to make something – anything – to share. Sounds like great fun to me, and completely do-able in the next 365 days. Who wants to play?!?

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Now this is 'Fish On!'

Yesterday Bittersweet was haltered for the first time. He isn't friendly like Bing, so he acted like a "game fish" on the line!

He ended up being used as live bait, too. I haltered Sarai instead of Annabelle (I don't have enough halters for all the sheep) to lead them out to the wooded lot, and Annabelle and Bloom wandered off on their own instead of following the others. I had to tie Bittersweet up in the fold to be able to herd Annabelle and Bloom back in, halter Annabelle, and take all three out to join the others. Then Marta slipped out, and I had to corral her.... It was one of those sheep rodeo days; I got my exercise!

In other news, this was delivered yesterday:
I haven't had time to do much more than admire it with all that's going on. I need to install software and transfer files from my old laptop to this one before my old one quits on me completely, but need a block of uninterrupted time for that – a rare commodity for a homeschooling mom! I can usually find some on Sunday when Rick is home to occupy Brian, but this Sunday is Larry's and my first dressage show together. (You can follow my progress with Larry on my dressage blog, listed at right.) Anyway, I am very thankful I was able to find the laptop I felt best suited my needs in a factory-refurbished model, and the software I need as a deeply discounted Education version (found out I was eligible as a homeschool teacher!). God is good!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fish on!

This week I've started putting the sheep in the wooded lot. Since they are creatures of habit, that means haltering as many as I can and leading them past the pasture gate they are used to entering and into the "new" space. See jet-black Bing in there? Yep, I'm taking advantage of the situation to start his halter training.

Enjoy your freedom, Bloom and Bittersweet; your turn's coming!

Later this morning while working at my computer, I heard a lamb's incessant call (good thing my window was open!). I went to investigate and found Bing with his head caught in the fence:
Another very good reason to have smooth-polled Shetlands!

Our record-breaking heat wave is over, and it is cool and overcast. The rain hasn't started yet, but there's already a "puddle" (of cherry blossoms) on the driveway:

I'm not at all blue about the weather change
because our pink flowering cherry is bursting into bloom!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Today's forecast predicted record-setting temperatures, and delivered. My Arizona MIL still thought it felt cool, but 80-something feels hot to us!

We - and many, many other people - decided it was a perfect day to visit Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. (You gotta love a region where flowers are a "row crop"!) I took Songbird along for the walk, and found the perfect backdrop for her:

In spite of the evening's distant thunderhead, we're supposed to get one more summer day before rain moves in again. I'll take it!

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, April 21, 2012


It is sunny, still and in the 70s here; about as perfect as weather can be. We just got back from a walk. I knew we wouldn't be walking fast since Rick's mom is visiting, so I took along Songbird (my canarywood Jenkins Delight) with some Inky roving. I know Wanda walks and spins all the time, but this is my first experience doing so. It won't be my last!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, April 20, 2012


(That speckled egg is the first one from Welsie - the Welsummer - this year!)

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Last fleece standing; artistic endeavors

Boulderneigh Bonny, still waiting to be rooed. Yearling micron test results: 24.6 AFD, 6.2 SD, 25.1 CV, 12.3 CEM, 82.7% CF, 24.8 SF. Bonny is my first offspring out of two Boulderneigh-prefix sheep. She is the granddaughter of my first (and coarsest) Shetland, so I was happily surprised by her micron results this spring. I plan to keep her and see what she produces with finer-fleeced Bunker next year.

I need to get Bonny's fleece rooed so I can send it and her daddy Blake's fleece off to the lady who reserved them both. I still need to skirt Bramble's fleece, too; I'm hoping to get to that tomorrow. Then all I will have left to skirt are Bart's fleece, which I am splitting with Laura, and Browning's fleece, which has not been spoken for. If no one buys Browning's fleece, I will have it processed into roving for myself. Brian has been requesting something made from his sheep's wool for several years now.

Sitting in long committee meetings at church has given me time to finish up the second color of Romney. It is a purply burgundy that I have not been able to successfully capture. After trying and failing, I threw in the towel:
I've always been partial to black & white photography anyway!

Here is a photo of both colors, 80 grams of each plied and waiting to be skeined and washed:

Fiber and photography have become my most common mediums of artistic expression. The years I did two-dimensional commissioned work (scratchboard, charcoal, pastels, oils, stained glass, watercolor) seem like a lifetime ago. Will I ever scratch and sketch and paint and solder again? I hope so, but in the meantime, I have enjoyed teaching figure drawing to high school students in our homeschooling co-op:
And I've signed up to teach Textiles 101 again next winter!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Little eels

The lambs slip in and out of the pasture at will now, without a whole lot of reaction from their dams. (Bing can't squeeze under this fence or gate anymore, but there are a couple other spots where he can.) I sure like the fleeces on these chocolate lambs - and that ram lamb is a little stud muffin!

Bing's fleece is looking great, too. Before turning everyone out yesterday morning, I caught him up for a closer look. Not the best photos (mid-side and purse), but he's jet black, crimpy, and lustrous!

Bloom may be the littlest lamb, but she's turned into a tiny firecracker. The first short video is of her playing, and the second, even shorter one shows her "eel act."

Focusing on quality, not quantity, at . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On hold

Consider these the visual equivalent of the music you hear on the phone when someone puts you on hold:
(Camelia photos taken outside our church last Sabbath.)

My computer visited the ER today, and while it seems to have made a quick recovery, I'm not taking any chances. A back-up is in progress which means no downloading of the lamb photos and video I shot today. As soon as the back-up is done, a client's job is top priority. After that I can breathe - if I can stop hyperventilating over the price of a new laptop. :-/

That's it for now from . . .