Friday, September 29, 2017

Backup bowls

The sheeps and I (the horses, too) had a visitor this Wednesday from a blog reader and fleece customer who lives in California but happened to be in the area. We had a lovely visit about all kinds of things – fiber pursuits, horses, dogs, parenting (we're both older moms of single sons) – and dogs and lambs approved of Sue's hands-on approach. The available time passed all too quickly, and I didn't take a single picture! Since I dislike being in front of the camera I think I'm reluctant to ask others if they mind being photographed, but then regret missed opportunities. You'll have to come again, Sue!

Last evening I decided to get in a short ride before the forecast rain. Before tacking up, I took some photos of Lance . . . and that was the last time I saw my camera. I put it back in my ever-present bag, tacked him up, rode around the nearby field and in the arena, then took my DH up on an offer to go for a walk up the road. When I finally sat down in my recliner to download my photos from iPhone and camera, the camera was not in my bag. I got up and retraced my steps around the place; Brian, on his own volition, trekked around the nearby field with a flashlight; and this morning I got back on Lance to retrace our steps; all to no avail. I haven't gone back over our two-mile walk route, mostly because I think I would have heard my camera crash to the gravel or pavement. But when I leave for town I will drive the route just to be sure. Yes, I still have my phone camera that does some things better than Mr. Lumix, but not everything. Phooey.

Good thing I had some bowl photos waiting in the wings. The first two are Rick's latest accomplishments in black walnut and figured maple. Next they are shown with some former projects from the same woods but different stains, showing the variation one can get. I've claimed the newest maple bowl; the black walnut one went to Rick's mom.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

After raindrops on roses...

As much as I love clouds, and welcome cooler weather and some rain, I have to admit that sun shows off emerging fall colors nicely (especially after the dust has been rinsed off).

The oak in front of the house (that has probably doubled in size since we moved here) is always the first thing on our property to flaunt a little Fall:

My two little Sunset maples on the south side of the house (that have much more than doubled since I planted them) don't get as colorful as I expected when I purchased them, but they do get an inner glow at this time of year:

Lance and I ventured through the woods today and saw LOTS of color – thankfully not on our property. At least the poison oak is easy to see and avoid this time of year!

That's it for now . . .

Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Straw" and shots

This morning during chores, I saw the straw that broke this camel's back – on Bernadette's back. All that hay trash stands out so much more on the darker fleeces! On went the halter and out bucked my chocolate lamb; for the next two hours I brushed and monkey-picked some of the hay out of her fleece before calling it quits and putting a Rocky Sheep Suit on her. As she grows and needs a change of coats, I plan to pick more VM out of her lovely locks.

Tonight I caught and held each of the ten girls so Rick could give them Lutalyse shots. I hope no one is bothered much by the drug; this is the first time I've had to take this measure – and hopefully it will be the last!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A good day from beginning to end

Brian's violin teacher tells him often that the beginning and ending are the most important part of a piece. If the same is true of seasons, summer could almost be forgiven its terrible performance by the way it ended today!

It started with fog that lasted just long enough for lovely atmosphere, before giving way to magnificent thunderheads illuminated by the morning sun.

Clouds of many kinds created beautiful skyscapes all day long,
coloring up for a grand finale at sunset. I thought about hurrying up the hill for the best view of the show, but chose to keep getting my horse tacked and warmed up for a ride. My reward for heading for the arena instead of up the hill?
And looking up towards our house:
Summer, you almost redeemed yourself – almost. ;-)

SO ready for fall at . . .

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Last Thursday was blessedly cooler than we had been experiencing, but at evening chore time the lambs and two young ewes in the Sheep Sheraton were breathing heavily. My nagging subconscious jumped out on one shoulder and fairly shouted at me, "You KNOW you've needed to get those ram lambs separated from the ewes!" I hadn't witnessed any interest in the girls from Bogie and Butler (not that I've been around much) but the older ewes in the Ram-ada lot have been bonking heads, as has Blake with his wether buds; it is the season when Shetlands' instincts start turning to sheepy shagging. 😍

I promptly snagged Bogie and hauled his substantial self to Nightcap's old quarters in one-half of the Ram-ada Inn. Upon returning to the Sheep Sheraton for Butler, I found him pursuing one of the ewe lambs and making awfully 'adult' faces for my littlest lamb. 😳 He quickly joined his uncle in the bachelor pad, although not without drama. It was, after all, his first time to be haltered:
Pretty effective "leaf camo"!
The next morning dawned quietly; Bogie has been weaned for awhile and I think Bree was happy to see Butler go (I haven't seen the three youngest lambs nurse from Bree or Babette in quite some time). But I soon found out another reason things were so quiet – the boys had managed to squeeze through the boards of their gate and were quite happy mingling with three willing "women"! 😱

This was NOT good. There was to be NO BREEDING this fall, and now I could be dealing with lots of bred ewes, uncertain male parentage, and extreme inbreeding (Sarai is the only ewe not related to either of them). I cornered everyone, caught and haltered the naughty little boys, and pondered my next move.
Putting them in with a mature ram was too risky; reinforcing the Ram-ada Inn's divider and gate would take time and materials. The quickest solution was to set up the lambing jug, since Rick hadn't totally removed it when he and Brian last cleaned out the fold. That done, I figured I might as well give them needed pedicures and take their photos for advertising purposes before putting them away.

I have asked Rick numerous times to help me wether Bogie, as his longish tail is set low, making it look even longer. And when I had looked at his fleece earlier in the year, I wasn't that impressed. Must not have been wearing my glasses then, because now I realize that he has very finely crimped fine fleece. He also has a different male tail line (through his sire Blake) than the vast majority of polled fine-fleeced Shetlands in the U.S., so he just might be attractive to some breeders.
Butler, on the other hand, has impressed me from the git-go. He is the smallest of my lambs, being a late twin out of a first-time mother, but he is well-conformed, typey and sweet. He is the last ram lamb by Lil'Country Nightcap whose fleece at nine years of age was Superfine Grade 1; his dam Bree is Superfine Premium. I'd love to keep him, but only one of my ewes is not related to him. He's definitely worth overwintering, though, if no one is interested in him this fall.
As I worked with the boys, Brigitte slipped out. She's our loud, demanding, needy girl (supplemented with a bottle after birth), so she is easy to catch and lead. Might as well trim her toes and get photos....
Under all that wool her tail IS fluke-shaped
By then I figured I was in for a penny, might as well be in for a pound and take care of the whole lot. So I haltered Bardot, Brigitte's twin, for her pedicure and photo shoot. This square, typey, black-based daughter of Sarai has been on my keeper list since birth. Although Ag like the muskets, her fleece has kept a lot of color along with lovely crimp, luster, and handle. As a bonus she carries spots!
The last "big" ewe lamb to trim and photograph was Bacall, Bogie's moon-spotted twin out of Vienna. Bacall has always been "under the radar," not attracting much attention, but she really is a lovely girl.
Moon-spot fleece
Next it was the two little girls' turns. Like their brother/half-brother Butler, Bette and Bernadette have looked good since birth. I dreamed of the cross that produced them, Nightcap over Blake daughters, for four years, and the results were all that I hoped for. Too bad I only got the chance to do it one season – but at least I have three stunning lambs as a result!

Bette's fleece has had the softest handle of any of the lambs since birth. Among her other virtues is a nice long topline and a beautiful head.
Bernadette is my dark chocolate beauty, the only non-Ag lamb of the last two seasons. (I think she knows she's special. ;-)

Now to advertise some of them, and get as much of that VM picked out of all the fleeces so I can cover them!!!

That's it for now from . . .