Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trick and treat

The trick came a night early. Last night Brian helped me figure out that the strange little noises were coming from the ceiling light/fan fixture. He turned the light and the fan off and on (the latter brought more 'crackling') and that seemed to fix it, whatever it was (an electrical short?).

At bedtime Dozer didn't want to leave the cushy dog bed in the great room, so I didn't shut the dogs in the laundry room like usual. Sometime in the middle of the night, I was awakened abruptly by a clamor at our bedroom door. I jumped out of bed, processing that it was probably Jackson needing to be let out – and was met by my dog entering our room! I don't know if he actually figured out how to open the door (we have lever handles), or if he just got lucky while panicking; he's never opened a door before in his life. I suspect that the sound started again, and it did occur to me that he might have saved us from an electrical fire. There was no sign of a problem that serious, but I did cut the power to the fixture completely and it – and my dog – have been quiet ever since.

A shaggy mane 'shroom sprouted in the gravel near the house and deliquesced to an appropriately creepy stage for today.
Inside, I made this seasonally-colored stew for our supper; it was tasty!

Late this afternoon and well into the evening, Brian treated me by tackling a big job. He raked all the leaves that have fallen in the arena so far. I went down and helped him load them into the back of the Ford Ranger, which he off-loaded onto the ashes of the burn pile. There are more leaves yet to fall, but I am so thankful for the head start on this big annual task!

And yes, I spent some time on the Chuckie Channel today. ๐Ÿ˜‰

That's it for All Hallows Eve at . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Deep fall

The house is comfortably above 70° even though it's cool and foggy outside because Rick built a fire last night (and I'm keeping it going!).
We have had a bunch of rain and a lot more leaf fall (the photo above doesn't show the half of it), so I haven't gotten any more done on the arena. Besides that, I was horsin' around on Sunday instead of staying home working on projects – and I may be doing more horsin' around this Sunday and beyond. In addition, my parents are flying in Wednesday morning for a rare 'birthday visit' (need to do some cleaning for that!), so that will take precedence over most everything else. The day they leave, Brian takes his driving exam which I expect he'll pass, then Katie bar the door! He doesn't have his own vehicle and has to pay for our increased insurance (with a teenaged boy added; OY), but I'm sure he'll still be hammering us for the keys every chance he gets. We're all in for new adventures....

Awhile back I showed glimpses of a 'scarf vest' I got, and blogpal Jeanne asked for more photos. Since I wore it again to church last week, I got a friend to help so here it is, Jeanne! (Me and my bowed legs; oh well, all the better to ride with.)

The Chuckie Channel is featuring fall right now. The star of our show is growing noticeably more sleek and shiny, which is gratifying:

Daylight here at the 45th parallel is diminishing daily; so you have to catch it when you can. Sunset two nights ago was stunning, and yesterday huge clouds dwarfed our house:
Right now I've got to figure out what's making intermittent clicking noises somewhere in the great room (sounds like the kitchen area). It's got Jackson completely freaked out; he's hiding behind my chair, shaking and panting. Sure hope it's not a 'killer mouse' because it looks like I'll be on my own in dealing with it!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nobody's perfect

It started with changing 'clothes' one night. Bernadette's bum was busting out the back of her too-small suit, so I caught her and swapped it out for a bigger one, admiring her chocolate fleece in the process. I also noticed that her toes were long – and that others were sporting too-small suits and too-long toes. It was obviously time to do some fall sheep maintenance!

Trimming toes and changing coats (as needed) on each of my eight girls over the next week gave me the chance to compare their great, good and not so good qualities. Believe it or not, I don't have one perfect sheep. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But all of them do have fleeces I'm proud to be able (based on micron test results) to market and sell as

ALL of my girls have close relatives in the ewe flock. There's Sarai and her twin daughters Brigitte and Bardot, who were sired by Blake; Vienna and her daughter Bree, who was also sired by Blake; and then there are Nightcap's three daughters Blaise, Bernadette, and Bette, of which the latter two are also Vienna's and Blake's granddaughters and Bette is Bree's daughter! (Got that? Good; there'll be a quiz later. Ha!) I'll show them to you in those three groups, in the order named, with comments.
The katmoget pattern creates an optical illusion of a long tail; it's not.

WhitePine Sarai, a 'grey' katmoget (not Ag), is my oldest ewe at eight. She has a beautiful head and conformation and a fine, crimpy fleece that can usually be rooed. Okay, I lied; Sarai is pretty much a perfect Shetland. I would love another 1/2" to 1" of staple length, but really, that's just being greedy.

Boulderneigh Brigitte's tail is embarrassingly woolly; I would not sell her as breeding stock because of it. But she has a fantastic fleece with length and fineness as well as good conformation.

Right mid-side
Left mid-side
Boulderneigh Bardot, Brigitte's grey twin, has the perfect tiny tail – buried in an unfortunate amount of britch. She's got great conformation covered with a lot of beautiful, crimpy fleece, but it's the least fine of my ewe flock.

OK Acres Vienna is my second oldest ewe. She's a big-bodied, easy-keeping, very fine-fleeced moorit with fierce mothering instinct – she's the one who took Jackson and suffered a gashed face for it, and she'd do it again in a heartbeat. Her head is rather plain and her fleece is rather short, but she hasn't passed on either of those traits.



Boulderneigh Bree produces a luscious fleece and I love her size, conformation, personality, and head. Her tail is woollier than is ideal, but not as heavy as Brigitte's.

Boulderneigh Blaise is special; her gulmoget pattern, white head markings, tiny ears and tail, square stance, and presence have long drawn my eye. To be perfect her fleece would be finer and her back would be longer (more capacity for lambs).

Bernadette has a tiny, typey tail and a superb moorit fleece. She doesn't stand as square on her hind legs as I'd like; she's a bit 'hocky.'

Boulderneigh Bette has the best fleece in my flock. Not only does she have the lowest AFD at 24ยต, her other qualities make it feel even finer ('spin fineness'). Her tail has gotten woollier (there is a haired tip in there) as she has matured, but the rest of her physical traits are very nice.


I'm body-sore tonight; I spent most of my free time today working in the arena. I was going to make applesauce, but your comments about RoundUp encouraged me and steeled my resolve to do whatever I can to prevent its use where Lance and I play. I wish I could persuade my DH to stop using the vile stuff and it would be great if he'd wield a hoe to help me, but that's not going to happen. I appreciate him for many reasons, but we are polar opposites on some things that mean a lot to me and this is one of them. ๐Ÿ˜” (See title.) Thankfully (although it can be very irritating at times) he is slow to act, so that buys me some time to do it my way. I decided to rake up what I'd hoed before; the weeds didn't turn roots-up like they did in the garden and I was afraid they'd just re-root. In fact, the roots form a matt that holds a lot of sand; I just broke that matt up into smaller pieces when I hoed. So I picked up manure forkfuls, shook out what sand I could, and loaded the cart. Talk about HEAVY; I only used my 'helper' once because it made the load almost impossible to move!
It occurred to me that the matt was so cohesive that I might be able to just lift it up rather than hoe it; sure enough, it worked!
Removing the weeds this way not only avoids toxic chemicals and saves me the cost of a gym membership (ha), it removes much of the organic matter that would decrease the drainage and increase the dust potential over time. Not that I'm going to convince Rick; I'll just have to keep working at it every chance I get and pray I beat the man with the evil sprayer.

My outdoor companion
That's it for now from . . .