Saturday, October 31, 2020

Party of one?

 Right this way!

Yes, it was quite late on Hug a Sheep Day, but the girls welcomed me into the fold nonetheless. Well, three of them did. Grand dam(e) Sarai always hopes for cookies (wee bits of horse treats that I save for her), and her twin daughters Bridget and Bardot are reliably friendly. Bardot's version of 'friendly' is a little, um, insistent. She pushes with her head, and if I sit down in the fold like I did tonight, she will strike paw me with a front hoof. It was nice to spend that time with her, because tomorrow some people are coming to look at her and hopefully take her home.

The sheep have been drawing my eye a lot lately, so picturesque in the green grass and autumn light. There are the grand dames, Vienna (head up) and Sarai,

and Blaise (on the left, below), the only one of the other ewes not descended from Vienna and Sarai (with one of the musket girls looking like she's wearing a string bikini).

All three of the musket girls were busting out of their coats, so last night I fitted them with larger ones. They look much more comfortable now:

Other scenes of autumn:

Red Kuri squash harvest, prepped for cooking,

The Japanese maples in front are just starting to turn,

while the ones on the deck are just finishing up

A subtle sunset seen while hand-walking Lance down the lane and back,
and a much more colorful sunrise the last morning of October.

(Itty-bitty) snake alert ahead, for those who get the heebie-jeebies from seeing one (can you tell I've been scolded before???).

This little garter snake surprised me in the driveway down near the barn on a coolish morning. It's late in the year to be seeing snakes; I hope it found a place to overwinter!

Halloween is not an 'event' here, but I have saved a photo just for the occasion. Remember those shaggy mane mushrooms that came up right after Blake died? When they pass their peak picking condition, Shaggy Manes quickly deliquesce, a fancy term for turning downright ghoulish. So Happy Halloween to those of you who 'celebrate'!

Stay tuned for a November surprise from . . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Braving the bigger world

Last Wednesday, Rick and I ventured farther afield than we had to date this year – we flew to Omaha, Nebraska! Our alma mater in Lincoln had asked The Down Home Boys, the college bluegrass band Rick played in, to come back to do some weekend music. Rick wanted me to go along, of course (he always wants me to go along), but even though my sister and some old school friends live there, I told him I didn't want to go. Between arranging care for all our animals, the risk of COVID-19 exposure, and my strong homebody bent, I just had no desire. Next thing I know, he said we had tickets. 😳

I proceeded to stitch together animal care; shouts out to our new neighbors, who offered to keep Poppy (playmates for days!!!), and other friends who shared onsite farm chores. My sister sent me a link to this article that made me feel much better about flying, and I kept my fingers busy with spinning and knitting and even got to watch a free movie that I loved. (Hitch. Yes, it's 15 years old. No, I don't watch many movies.) We got a rental car at the airport and then drove to campus, where we stayed in an on-campus guest room. Then Rick proceeded to practice a lot until their first program, Friday night vespers, while I visited with my sister and a couple of my old high school/college-and-beyond buddies.

This building is new since we last visited

The distant building houses the swimming pool where I taught kiddy swimming lessons my last summer

My sister and family are being UBER-careful during the pandemic, as they all have underlying conditions. We visited in her open garage, sitting on camp chairs with masks on. It had turned cold in Lincoln (as it did here), and believe you me, I was thankful to be wearing a mask for the bit of added warmth it gave! I was also thankful that my sister's French bulldog wanted to sit on my lap for the same reason....

On Friday we did go to my sister's and nephew's favorite craft store, Makit Takit. I had eyes only for the yarn side of the store, and even found two pretty skeins in the half-price bin – which my sister promptly snatched and paid for.

One of my friends took me around a small corner of the much-changed city of my college years. Scheels was a destination in and of itself, a combination of sculpture garden, Cabela's/athletic goods/gift/home decor store, and amusement park. Just inside the entrance there is a giant aquarium made up of three huge columns with connecting archways;  the Ferris wheel is beyond that (not operating in COVIDtimes). My friend thought I "would like the animals;" I just smiled and didn't say I prefer my wild creatures alive and free.

I loved this clever, customizable wall decor!

The 'Boys' provided a musical program for Friday evening vespers, followed by musical selections for both church services at the college church the next day. Masks were supposed to be worn for both; after a little kerfuffle over Friday evening's masklessness, there was compliance on Sabbath (they sounded just as good with masks). This is the church, minus the pipe organ, in which Rick and I were married over 36 years ago (installation started the week after our wedding).

Sunday we got out of Dodge just in time, as snow was forecast for that afternoon. In fact, our airplane picked up some ice on the way into Omaha, so had to be de-iced before we departed:

On the way home I spun and knitted some more, and we got to watch another free movie, one I've really wanted to see – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I was not disappointed; what a wonderful film about the wonderful Fred Rogers.

We picked up Poppy from the neighbors on our way home Sunday night, and promptly built a fire to warm the chilly house. While waiting for that to happen, Poppy found a cozy place to wait:

The weekend was not all pickin' and grinnin', though. I got a text message from my parents Thursday morning letting me know that my 100-year-old aunt had died. She had just been admitted to the hospital the night before for the second time in a week; the first time she had been diagnosed with COVID-19. I'm so thankful she passed quickly; I'm so sad for my dad that he has not been able to see her or visit in person for many months. Then on Friday morning, Rick started experiencing symptoms consistent with past cardiac events. From then until now, he's been on edge, obsessing over every little sensation, but has not yet decided he needs to go to the doctor or hospital.

That's the travelogue from . . .

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Like a little gift from the dear departed

I found Blake dead in the Ram-ada Inn Tuesday morning. I was hurrying to get chores done so I could open Rick's clinic for the day, so all I could do was shut the gate so he wouldn't be disturbed.

Wednesday morning I was hurrying through chores again for the same reason. On my way back to the house I noticed something white at the sheep boys' fence line. A discarded plastic bag? No, a cluster of shaggy mane mushrooms was erupting in a spot I've never seen them before! I snapped a quick shot and went on my way.

That afternoon when I got home, an amazing sky show greeted me. The clouds, the clouds!

Rick didn't have a chance to dispose of Blake's body until Thursday morning. I've heard that animals come to terms with death if you give them time. Bing and Bittersweet had been able to see and even smell Blake for two days, but they still acted distressed when Rick took him away, baaing and running along the fence. That broke my heart all over again....
the lost boys

My friend Kate rode along with Poppy and me to agility class Thursday evening, and I told her about the mushrooms (she was the one who told me how good – and safe – shaggy manes are). She hoped I'd utilize them, reminding me they don't last long. But we got home after dark that night and I had to dash off to the clinic again Friday morning, so I mentally wrote them off.

Friday afternoon I was able to leave the clinic a little early while Rick stayed to man the phone. When I got home I turned the ewes out and worked with Stella, then decided to check the mushrooms. Amazingly, most of them were still in prime condition, and SO much bigger, more numerous, and cleaner than the ones that come up in our arena. I made a sling with my shirt and loaded it up. When I got to the house I weighed them – I had 2lbs 5oz!!! Before long they were simmering with butter, onion, garlic, and alderwood smoked sea salt. Today we had them mixed with whole wheat spaghetti for our Sabbath dinner; YUM. No, I don't believe Blake sent them, in spite of my title. They were more like a gesture from his Creator as well as mine, letting me know He cared about the hole in my flock and heart.

Thanks to a playdate at a friend's while I was at my regular part-time job on Monday, and getting to play with the neighbor dogs a couple times after working at clinic, Poppy survived her stint as 'office dog.' But she thought it was b-o-r-i-n-g.

That's it for now from . . .