Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Two more done; two to go

Sunday I got Bittersweet and Bree sheared. Both were tough for different reasons. Bittersweet is a big, stubborn sheep (with a big, luscious fleece); Bree is a small, worried, first-time mother (with a very fine, crimpy fleece held VERY tightly to the front half of her body). Due to all the variables each sheep presents, I have to change or adapt my method of scissor-shearing. Bittersweet got the rump-first treatment; Bree kept trying to step off the stand so I couldn't safely photograph her during shearing and was too tired and frustrated afterwards to take anything but a "fresh coat" photo. I was able to roo her belly and backside, which was very helpful; those are difficult areas to shear on a restless sheep.

Sheep must be very visual; all freshly shorn individuals get harassed as "newcomers." Bittersweet was chased around the lot, bashed by Bing and mounted by Blake; Bree was bashed by Blaise and ignored by her hungry, crying twins no matter how loudly she called to them. I had to walk about from both scenarios, because it is distressing to watch/hear. Eventually they get it sorted out....

I intended to get Vienna and Nightcap sheared yesterday after playing in the morning, but that didn't happen. Partly because I was tired (too little sleep these days), and partly because Rick needed me to be available to man a gate. The horses were out and he was hauling composted manure up to the garden; hurray! He couldn't get the tiller to function properly to work it in, but it's looking more hopeful that we will indeed have a garden this year, albeit with a late start!
That's a happy horse and a whole lotta grass!
He also got the foxtail knocked down in the middle pasture, so I let the pent-up ewes and lambs out to eat and play.

Sarai shows her lambs where the green and tender grass grows
Unfortunately, they still picked up foxtail awns, particularly the lambs. Not only are the lambs shorter, they stayed busy crawling back and forth under the fencing to play and explore. I probably spent an hour going over Brigitte, Bernadette, and Bette this morning trying to find and remove them all. They, of course, LOVED the intensive "magic fingers treatment," but I don't have time to do that to seven lambs every day!

Like yesterday, today dawned cloudy and cool, a welcome break from sun and heat. There is even a bit of mist in the air, not enough to wet the ground but maybe it will settle the pollens. Lance and I could both use a break in our allergy symptoms.

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, May 28, 2017


South Falls, 4/29 (see the people at the top?)
Another view of South Falls, 4/29
South Falls, 5/27 (see the hikers behind the falls?)
Lower South Falls, 4/29
Another view of Lower South Falls, 4/29

Lower South Falls, 5/27
Kids on a log, 4/29

Yesterday we paid our second visit of the year to Silver Falls State Park, exactly four weeks after our first. The first time we were invited for a hike by some of Brian's friends; the second time my MIL asked us to take her. It was a popular destination both times, crowds of people speaking several languages. But after you hike a bit past magnificent South Falls, which is only a short stroll from the parking lot, the crowds thin and the peaceful sounds of forest and water utterly take over. Abundant wildflowers were in bloom both visits, with some overlap. Until I read Julie Zickefoose's blog, I didn't know these transient treasures are called Spring Ephemerals. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get clear photos of every variety I saw. Once home, I found a couple good sites to identify most of what I saw, so I put names to 'faces' where I could. (I think the names show up if you hover your cursor over each photo.)

Also seen: Rose Checker Mallow, Baldhip Rose, and Oregon iris.

Finally, I love this scene:
The lamp post looks rather Narnian, don't you think?

Friday, May 26, 2017

If you can't stand the heat....

Yeah, well, we gotta eat. After a refreshing "cold" front our weather is turning summer-like again, which is not really all that common for Memorial Day weekend in these parts. Our Christian trail-riding club is camping at the base of Mt. Adams this weekend, but we bowed out. Brian a lot of late assignments to get done and turned in before the end of school on June 7 (this semester has not been his "finest hour") and my horse isn't up to mountain trails, so our time is better utilized at home. I'll get the rest of the fleeces harvested; maybe Rick will get the foxtail in the middle pasture knocked down and our garden tilled (she says hopefully).

I didn't get any sheep sheared today; Friday is "preparation day" so I was busy cleaning and cooking. I used all four burners and both ovens to cook pinto beans, granola, lentil loaf, apple crisp, and Swedish rice porridge on this warm, sunny day and thought, "I should have bought that Sun Oven." A GREAT promotion was offered to all those who took the class Leigh hosted, but we've had a lot of extra expenses this month and I just couldn't spend the money. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Maybe someday....

This is Rick's latest creation; isn't it pretty? It's a small bowl made out of hazelnut with a natural edge and "blemish."

Violet green swallows are utilizing our nest boxes this spring. Bug-eaters are always welcome!

That's it for Friday from . . .

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Brown and white and black and blue, part 2

This sight greeted me this morning:
Congratulations, Benny; you just moved to the front of the line!

It was quite a feat to get him up on the stand; there was a lot of heaving and ho-ing. Under that big white fleece was a "fluffy" white sheep; ahem.

With Benny sheared and outfitted with a fresh coat, I looked at the time. I had enough to do one more before showering and leaving to pick Brian up from school. I chose the smaller of the remaining two wethers just to be safe . . . silly me!

Bing is affectionately known as Bing-aling, because he can be skittish, aka a "dingaling." Turns out he is also VERY.TOUCHY. about his behind. He bucked and hopped, kicked and body-slammed me while I tried to get his tail, rump, and britch area sheared without drawing blood. Eventually I got most of it and decided to move on to his main fleece.
I heard my phone ding several times and ignored one incoming phone call. When I was almost done my phone rang again, so I looked to see who it was – and noticed the time. Ack! It was time leave for Salem! I threw a coat on a mostly sheared Bing, put him in the Ram-ada Inn, and dashed off to pick up my son in all my greasy, stinky "glory."
That's Bing's sister Blaise peeking through the gate behind him

As soon as we got home I cleaned up Bing and put him out with Blake and Benny, then took a much needed shower. Where is my personal masseuse when I need one?
"Who are you again?"

That's it for today from . . .