Monday, November 30, 2015

Wrapping up my birthday month

The weather, it is a-changin'. I posted the above photo on Instagram this morning; within an hour it had clouded over and started sprinkling.  It hasn't amounted to anything so far; I'm hoping the temperature stays warm enough to prevent anything nasty accumulating overnight, because I have to go to work tomorrow.

The boys enjoyed the last morning rays we may see for awhile, while exploring changes to their environment:
Yes, the Shetlands are segregated again. Yesterday Rick finished up a couple projects he's been working on, one of which was an access lane between the little Ram-ada Inn lot and the larger wooded lot. Once he completed that, I caught and moved Vienna and Sarai back into the Sheep Sheraton with the other girls, then led ram-man Blake through the lane to the wooded lot and back to show the wethers the new passageway. To my surprise, they were immediately comfortable moving back and forth through this new set-up. Now I have a much easier way to round the boys up for hands-on management like coat changes; slick!
In addition, Rick finished installing a new hydrant outside the horses' paddocks. Brian helped with that, cleaned the henhouse, and did some homework. Besides shuffling sheep, I worked on some graphics jobs, made a four-loaf batch of bread, and sliced, salted, and kneaded 12 pounds of cabbage for sauerkraut. After all that, I sat down for a well-deserved rest:
Well, one of us got a rest!  ;-)

That's it for November from . . .

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Getting colder or getting older?

It's been clear and cold here for over a week now. Nice winter weather when you can get it in the Pacific Northwest, but also worrisome. Last winter we had a bit of normal wet weather to start with and then the faucet was turned off and mostly stayed off until this month; not good. But it can stay dry until we get a Christmas tree cut and installed indoors next weekend. ;-)  We often do that the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but this year Brian requested that we do it as part of his 14th(!!!) birthday celebration.

Last night my MIL treated us to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo. BRRR! We adults bundled up but still got chilled (the teenager ignored our warnings about how cold it would be and froze); I thought my hands were going to fall off every time I removed my gloves to take pictures (but you can see I managed).  ;-)  When we got in the car to come home, it was only 39° – not nearly as cold as it felt. All but Brian have lived in much colder climes, so we must be getting soft in our old age. Or is there something about the dampness that exacerbates the temperature? We did get nearly 7" of rain in 8-9 days before this clear spell....

It does stay colder in pockets. On Friday I rode my horse down the hollow just south of us, and it looked like it had snowed there:

Things have changed in the henhouse, and not for the better. The morning after we found the Buff Orpington dead, we found a Speckled Sussex in obvious distress. Rick examined her and found a broken humorous, so she had to be dispatched and buried. Also, we have gotten ONE egg in the last week, after getting 1-3 a day this month. All suspicions rest squarely on aptly named Elvira. After fatality #2, I've been confining her to a cage at night, so there can be no fighting in the henhouse before the popdoor is opened in the morning. I am contemplating tossing her out to join the neighbor's free-ranging flock, but I'm afraid the damage may be done, that the two dead hens may have been the main layers. Time will tell, I guess. Chickens!!!

The sheep, of course, are fine. The wethers have an abundance of crunchy potato chips, otherwise known as picturesque fall leaves; I love capturing them in the slanting morning sun:

The traffic has been bad on our lane, thanks to this tradition. I cannot believe that every vehicle leaving neighborhood wineries is piloted by an unimpaired driver, and that makes me nervous. I prefer wineries at night, quiet and vacant:

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sharing a little music and love

I wish you all peace and plenty this Thanksgiving, while not forgetting the many in this world with neither. "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

Thank-you for visiting my little corner of the blogosphere at  . . .

Monday, November 23, 2015

City streets and chicken mysteries

Last week I took some clothes to a local resale store and since I didn't have Brian with me, I had a look around. There, in the furniture section, a big painting caught my eye. The scene of an old-fashioned city street glowing on a rainy night drew me in, and over to look at the price. Even though I'm of an age when I am conscious of needing to downsize and divest, I couldn't resist it for $39. It's hanging in my bedroom (I don't have a lot of available wall space) where I have already gotten more than my money's worth of enjoyment from it.

On Saturday afternoon, I stepped out of a memorial service in town to see this across the street:
It was achingly beautiful, creating strange harmony with the aching sadness of a father dying too soon.

Last night when I shut the pop door on the henhouse, I noted that Elvira was up on the roost. Joining a Speckled Sussex and a Red Sex-link (both have been doing somewhat poorly for weeks) on the floor of the coop was the Buff Orpington. Hmmm. I looked her over; she looked as robust as ever so I left her alone. This morning she was dead. No signs of violence; just dead. ???

I continue to spin Blaise's fleece and knit on these:
They are for a Christmas gift exchange coming up soon; I'd better knit more and spin less!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another refugee

Last week a dear friend texted me. Her daughter had rescued a chicken on a highway. Could I take it? Before I could answer, a photo followed:
A black sex-link! Just what I wanted to add next to our little flock! Of course, what I had in mind were a few pullets, not a single hen of undetermined age. Oh well. ;-)

Meet Elvira. I put her in a protective cage within the coop when we got home late last night. This morning I tossed out some tender greens to keep everyone occupied and turned her loose. After ducking under the nest boxes for a bit, she ventured forth into the yard, and was quickly challenged by one of the big Speckled Sussex hens. Elvira took care of her – and ALL comers, then went after those who weren't challenging her. Now half the flock is clucking in consternation and the other half is watching her warily. There's obviously a new hen at the top of the pecking order!

Cackling good-bye for now, from . . .

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Refugees welcome

We have had a bunch of pine siskins at our birdfeeder recently. Yesterday I stepped out onto the deck for something and noticed that they didn't fly away. Photo op!

The occasional chickadee was less comfortable with my presence; I was only able to capture one at a distance.

Later Rick asked me what kind of birds they were. When I told him, he said, "That's why there are so many of them!" – referring to the loss of evergreen habitat next door. I hadn't thought of that....

Late last night I couldn't sleep, and wandered out into the great room to look out over the moonlit landscape. I watched, thinking I might see some wildlife like deer or raccoons. Raccoons – I hadn't thought about them since the neighboring lot sold. The family that visits our birdfeeder at night always comes from that fence line. The thought of their home being destroyed made me sad. Hopefully they had made safe their escape, and found a new home in the woods to our south.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, November 20, 2015

Texture Tuesday

– with photos shot on a Friday, because I don't have enough time at the moment to compose my Thankful Thursday post. Ha!

Oh, and here's a "portal" shot, inspired by Sara, taken through my "last stand" Japanese maple at the front of the house.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"O-ewe child...

things are gonna get easier."
Last night I had a little uncommitted time so I turned my attention to Bree. It has pained me to see her lovely lamb fleece – the nicest fleece she'll ever grow – covered with hay, but timing, as well as time, has been a problem. The ├╝ber-soft lamb fleeces, sometimes tipped with birth coat, seem prone to cotting when coated too soon. The hay load will only get worse when I break up my breeding group soon, though, so it was time to clean her up as best I could and get a coat on her.
This lightweight Rocky Sheep Suit should help keep her gorgeous fleece from cotting on the tips. It is SO soft and crimpy, with excellent length – just the outcome I desired when I crossed Vienna and Blake last year. Here's hoping for more (ewe!) lambs just as nice next spring from the same cross!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Old dog, new tricks

Yesterday it rained and blew and blew and rained. Before work I snapped a couple photos of "alternate sunshine" and posted them on Instagram; it was a good day to report to a desk job!

But this morning...

Since Saturday night....
...oh, this morning! The sun was shining and the birds were singing! Although many of the leaves had been stripped from the trees, they made such colorful confetti on the ground. When I returned from barn chores, Brian still wasn't up so we could get through as much of our homeschool curriculum as possible before leaving for homeschool co-op. Rather than getting frustrated, I went back outside and rode my horse, pulled some weeds, pruned some branches, disconnected and coiled all but the barn hose. When I returned to the house just before 10, he and Rick were finally up and eating breakfast. So I sent Brian off with his dad and will report to the co-op alone – after a little alone time here. Maybe I'm finally getting smarter in my old age. ;-)

That's it for today from . . .