Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ovine eyes are smiling

It started this morning with this guy – Boulderneigh Blake
Kimberwood Cadbury wanted his chin rubbed, too
At the wooded lot, shy Bart stepped up for some scritches
There's nothing shy about Bittersweet; he pushed right in
(It wasn't until I started uploading photos for this post that I realized I had photos of two father/son pairs. Blake is wether Bart's sire; Cadbury is wether Bittersweet's sire.)

I got my sheep therapy this morning. It thoroughly warms my heart (and quiets my soul) when these defenseless – and therefore necessarily cautious – creatures so obviously enjoy the touch of my hand. Some wag their little tails, some get weak in the hocks, some half-close their eyes and practically swoon.

Tomorrow I'll post for whom I'll be knitting a pair of fingerless mitts. If you haven't thrown your name in for the 'party favor' giveaway, you can do so here up until the time I utilize the random number generator. It's been so much fun to 'meet' new bloggers from around the world through Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party! I've added numerous blogs to my Reading List on Blogger's Dashboard, and am tickled by all the new followers of my musings here. A giant cyber-bear hug to all my readers and commentors – old and new!

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hump Day & Home Ec

Wednesdays are a big hump for me to get over. All my weekdays – and an occasional Sunday – involve homeschooling, but Wednesdays are dominated by homeschooling. As soon as chores are finished, I try to rush Brian through all his subjects, violin practice and lunch so we can spend the afternoon at our homeschool co-op. After co-op, I dash around crossing off errands I have been saving for a trip to town until I get them all done . . . or run out of steam and tolerance for noise and crowds. At least we were well fueled heading into this Hump Day!

I try to make as much of our food from scratch as I can for both health and economy. We were out of two of our staples, so yesterday I made a four-loaf batch of my signature Flax Prairie Bread and four and a half pounds of granola. Then for supper I tried a variation of a soup Laura told me about, with corn dodgers (with organic blue cornmeal) as an accompaniment:
Vegetarian Mexican 'Chicken' Soup
Blue corn makes PURPLE dodgers!
Supper was a hit with both my guys. So much for having leftovers for today's lunch!

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Say it with flowers

The sarcococca bushes on the north side of the house are beginning to bloom. Although the dark purple "berries" are showier, the tiny white flowers are sooo fragrant. These are not the first flowers of the year at Boulderneigh, but I never could get good photos of the little patch of snowdrops.

Next up? Daphne odora, probably my favorite floral fragrance!

Sunny daffodil blooms will be awhile coming, but the shoots are growing every day:

In spite of all these signs of spring, you can still enter the giveaway for my wintry fingerless mitts. This Friday I will choose randomly from all the comments to the Party-time post. May the coldest hands win! ;-)

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, January 28, 2013

Horse-crazy girl

Yep; I've always been one. And today I felt like a giddy kid when Rick gave me the all-clear to train and show my new horse!
"So the leg looks good now, Doc?"
We acquired Lance with a known suspensory injury last September, but I didn't get to bring him home until this month because of another horse I had here in training. I've been exercising him very lightly; now I can proceed with confidence – albeit slowly and carefully because he is still young, green and out of shape.

I look forward to taking my new guy in the dressage ring, on trail rides, and on our family horse-camping trips for many years!

That's the good news from . . .

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fiber time

Yesterday afternoon we drove to Tillamook for a program Brian was involved in, so I got to enjoy some fiber time. I knit a bit on my two WIPs ('works in progress,' which happen to be a small shawl and a pair of socks) but mostly I spun. There's nothing like seeing the end in sight to spur me on to the finish line, and the end of the white Gotland was near!

Here it is, all two ounces of it, sitting next to the two ounces of grey Gotland spun on the same spindle (Jenkins Aegean in olivewood) earlier:

Now to decide whether to ply them together or each with itself! What do YOU think?

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, January 25, 2013

Your words, my thoughts

Thank-you all for your kind words in the comments to my last post and in private emails, along with your prayers, cyber-hugs, sympathy, and understanding. The hardest part of having these wonderful creatures who trust and depend on us is making decisions of life and death. And when death is the only merciful option but they "do not go gentle into that good night," but "rage, rage against the dying of the light," it is utterly devastating, at least to me.

I would still be sobbing if I didn't keep turning my thoughts to other things. I know people who are dealing with much worse circumstances in their lives, so I pray for them; I've spent more time with my other sheep; I've buried my face often in my horse's neck and in Jackson's fur. "Life," of course, goes on, so I work and do chores and homeschool Brian.
My little "Indian" built a campfire this week
Yesterday I cleaned up some dusty hay debris from the barn and spread it in the chicken yarn, which made for happy hens, which in turn made me smile.

To all my new followers who came to Boulderneigh through Vicki's Grow Your Blog Party, I apologize for not being all "sweetness and light" here. My blog generally stays away from most of life's less pleasant aspects, at least the ones that have to do with people (like politics!). We all deal with those; they come and go. But my heart has always gravitated to animals, and because this is, predominantly, a "farm blog," some of the trials and travails of country living do find their way here. That's only honest, and perhaps even helpful for others sometimes. Certainly, having a community who cares helps ME! Thank-you again.

I am enjoying following some new blogs myself because of Vicki's party, and have become more of a(n armchair) world traveler because of it. Rose Fern is in Greece, and is giving away the cutest little earbud pouch on her blog. Check it out!

Peace to you, from . . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


1. A sudden hard stroke or hit, as with the fist or an object.
2. An unexpected shock or calamity.
3. An unexpected attack; an assault.

Feels like all of the above.

We've lost Whistlestop Bunker, my white ram. First noticed that he was "off" late Monday night when we got home from a meeting. By the time Rick was able to diagnose a blocked urethra this evening, his bladder had ruptured.

Bunker had Boulderneigh's "best fleece on the hoof" – superfine, super crimpy, super consistent, super length. I used him for the first time – the only time – in 2011 on two ewes, but just one settled. Bunker's sole legacy is Bing, a black wether with an awesome fleece who proved his daddy could throw color. I had hoped to use Bunker to produce fine, crimpy replacement ewes . . . he was a huge factor in my future goals.

Still reeling at . . .

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Change is a'comin'

The frost's not quite gone although the sun's been doing it's best. But the sky is filled with that harbinger of change – clouds.
Looking up and eastward from horseback this afternoon
Looking westward over barn and house, from whence comes most of our weather
Things are supposed to look and feel very different tomorrow, with a 100% chance of rain. It won't warm up much, just enough to keep things wet instead of hard. Not what I need at the moment for managing the rams! (Since that is a frustrating and discouraging topic, I will leave it for another day.)

For now I will dream of being the world's fastest knitter, able to produce these in time to use THIS winter. (Ha!) These "not your 80s legwarmers" have been on my to-knit list for a long time, and Laura (who left today after a welcome visit) pointed out that the grey yarn she gave me would work perfectly for them. I think I am going to make me finish the slow socks and Lanesplitter skirt before I let me cast on for them, though. NEXT winter my gams shall be styling' AND warm!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, January 21, 2013

Farewell to frost?

The sun came out yesterday, and everything it touched was transformed with a million glittering diamonds. Winter still flaunted its iron-fisted grip in the shadows, though. Our weather is supposed to return to more normal patterns tomorrow. I will miss the magical beauty of this cold spell, if not the frozen footing in my riding arena nor the bucket brigade to keep the sheep in water!

When I downloaded the photo above from yesterday, I found photos I took on Sabbath when I was out walking Lance. This long-needled conifer is at the NW corner of our property, and has grown tremendously in the nearly 17 years we've lived here. These photos will probably be my final homage to hoarfrost this season – but then again, only a fool would try to predict the weather. :-)

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beautiful and tasty!

(No, this is not a cooking show!)

Grandmother! What big teeth you have!
Grandmother! What unusual weather we are having! We are feeling the effects of an inversion, which makes it colder at the lower elevations than it is up in the Cascades. Can you believe I'm staying bundled in wool and polarfleece from morning till night and people are snow skiing at the area resorts in shirtsleeves?

Yesterday morning we awoke to a fresh accumulation of hoar frost. I bundled up and headed out to do chores as quickly as possible in order to get to church on time – and kept getting derailed by beauty. Then, on my way back to the house, I got derailed by this:

 Silly Annabelle. What a hoot!

That's it from the funny farm at . . .

Friday, January 18, 2013


I'm joining in on Vicki's "Grow Your Blog Party" – because who doesn't love new blogpals and hopefully more comments?!?

As with any good party, it's good to start with an ice-breaker. Vicki says to "Tell about who you are and why you started your blog. If your blog pertains to a particular interest, tell about that also." So here goes.

I began this blog in July, 2006 as an alternative to a website to help market my Shetland sheep and fleece. But it quickly became so much more than that. I have always liked to write and take pictures, and it turns out a blog is a great outlet for both pursuits! So although my little sheep make frequent appearances here, so do the spinning and knitting they got me into, our little five-acre piece of paradise on which we keep them, the other critters that live here, the food we grow, and the veterinarian husband and homeschooled son who help me take care of all of it. I also include places we go and things we do off the "farm," assorted musings, occasional recipes and give-aways . . . in short, the list of what this blog is all about is long! (If you are interested in something specific, click on the appropriate label in the "cloud" at right and all the posts containing that label will come up. I also have another blog which acts as a training journal for one of my passions – training horses in general and dressage in particular.)

How about a little prize drawing? Because my latest FO (finished object) generated so many positive comments, I've decided to give away a pair of these fingerless mitts as a Grow Your Blog Party "party favor." I will randomly choose one person from among all the commentors on this post (be sure your name is an active link, or include your email addy!), ask your preferences on size, color and yarn type, and knit a pair of fingerless mitts just for you. There are no restrictions; I will mail them anywhere, and you don't have to be a follower. (ETA: If you just can't see yourself ever using fingerless mitts, and don't know of anyone to whom you'd give them, I have an alternate idea; just let me know if your name is drawn.)

So if you are visiting "Boulderneigh" for the first time – WELCOME! And if you come here regularly – thank-you! And if you are one of my blogpals who often leaves a comment – you are the wind beneath my blogging wings and I love you. :-)

That's it for now from . . .

Bright followed by white

Yesterday was sunny! The ground thawed! I could have ridden my horse with ease . . . but instead I drove two boys to the new Portland Aquarium, a belated birthday gift for Brian.

Although small, the Aquarium is packed with beautiful little exhibits, many of them hands-on. We must have spent at least an hour at the shark and ray pool, running our fingers over stingrays, bat rays, and blacktipped reef sharks. The boys even managed to touch a few of the fish in the pool!
The little bat rays were cute and curious, sometimes surfacing to get
a better look at us. I want one!!!

At that point my camera battery died, so I missed the other incredible photo opportunity – the aviary. It was filled with four sub-species of lorikeets, loud, social and brightly colored. We must have spent close to an hour in the aviary as well, being perches, feeding nectar, and watching them fly, preen and play. Oh my goodness! I had no idea some birds play like puppies and kittens, wrestling and rolling around on the ground! It was absolutely hilarious and I may have to pay full admission (I got the tickets for yesterday on special) in order to go back with a full-charged camera battery and video them!

This morning I awoke to a cold world white with frost again. I'm sure my arena footing is frozen hard like concrete – and my horse is super-charged with pent-up energy. :-/  Oh well, at the least the sheep won't have to deal with mud!

That's it for today from . . .