Friday, November 27, 2020

Yes, the boy is home

Last night I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving before the day was over, so skipped over other stuff – fun photos I've taken, and a day's drive up the Columbia River Gorge and back to retrieve our college student for his first home leave.

We had beautiful weather for most of our trip Tuesday; the wind and rain didn't start until after dark on our way home. The Columbia River was as flat and still as I've ever seen it, and we even had some blue sky and a pretty sunset in Walla Walla.

Poppy was the perfect little traveling dog; whenever we had to stop for human or truck fuel, I took her on a brisk walk around the environs, stretching our legs and getting my steps in (don't want to mess up my now 30-day streak of reaching/exceeding my daily step goal of 12,000!). When we got to campus, I actually thought to have my phone ready to capture her reunion with Brian. 😍

Brian was champing at the bit to DRIVE again, 'deprived' of the privilege as he was this quarter, but only lasted about 40 miles before acknowledging that he was getting sleepy and letting Rick take the wheel again. He slept most of the way home, went to his room shortly after we arrived, and didn't emerge until 4:30 Wednesday afternoon! I guess there's nothing like your own bed after staying up studying for quarter finals. When he finally did get up Wednesday he wasn't here long, because his grandma had invited him to spend Wednesday night at her house; that way he could drive her here for Thanksgiving dinner. Today he's off seeing friends (promising that he'd wear his mask with others) and probably won't be home until long after we've gone to bed. He's easing us out of empty-nesting; ha!

Since Poppy got to co-star in the above video, how about we turn the dial to the Chuckie Channel? In this episode, we can see that the struggle between being terrestrial and arboreal is real. "Terrorize the human, or terrorize the sheep? Why choose just one?!?"

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving blessings

We had a lovely little Thanksgiving here; I hope you did, too. The day dawned with some actual SUN, and while I cooked, Rick blew some leaves and worked on our Fireplace Extraordinaire to get it in top operating condition again; hurray! (He replaced the catalytic combuster, many of the internal bricks, and added a grate to replace the one that burned out years ago.) Brian spent last night at his grandma's and then drove her out for dinner, which was a delicious joint effort. While everyone else relaxed after dinner, I went out and worked Stella and rode Lance; when I came back in, we had the dessert no one had room for at dinnertime.

The 'cherry on top'? I actually witnessed Spot breed Sarai today – twice! Late April lambies, anyone?

That's it for our Thanksgiving at . . .

Friday, November 20, 2020

Soggy days and making plays

When last I checked in here, I was a year younger (at least on paper), I was as yet blissfully unaware of health crises swamping family and friends, all sheep were still living celibate lives, less rain and leaves had fallen, and we weren't in the midst of another pandemic lock-down. What a difference a week can make!

Late last Sunday afternoon, it was time for Spot to start fulfilling his destiny here. He had completed two weeks of quarantine in good health, and sweet-talking the wethers through the panel dividing them was going nowhere. So I haltered the wethers and tied them up in the barn to wait; haltered Blaise, Vienna and Sarai and led them to the 'honeymoon suite' (separated at first to get acquainted); then put the wethers out in the pasture with the younger ewes. Spot could hardly contain his excitement; his 'harem' was unsure; the wethers were confused; and the younger ewes were terrified! Thankfully all have settled down – more or less. On the 'more' side, the wethers and ewes have formed a copacetic flock, and the boys get to enjoy more grass and attention. On the 'less' side, Spot has settled down to focus on one ewe at at time, while the other two get a couple days' respite. I haven't seen him mount any of them, but I can probably count on one hand the times I've witnessed that over the years – and lambs still happen. 😉

When it was Blaise's 'turn;' crossing fingers for blaze-faced babies!

I have photos of other things to share, but as this is photo-heavy already, I'll save them for another post (soon, I hope). And if 'counting sheep' isn't relaxing enough for you, here is a video I stopped to take on my way to work Thursday morning. The starlings are gathering, and I could have watched them all day! Not quite a murmuration, but mesmerizing (at least to me) just the same. Kind of like watching ocean waves; enjoy!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Baa baa black sheep; have you any ewes?

"Yes sir, yes sir; a whole fold full!" (Spot was actually watching Stella playing in the arena, but I assume he can smell the ewes as well as Blaise can smell him.) Now the only question is, which ones will he get to meet?
Poppy, what are you doing in the pasture!!!
When the ewes were out on pasture yesterday, I saw that one of the leg straps on Bernadette's coat had broken. So I put the girls back in the fold before it could get out of place and hobble her, and swapped it out for a bigger one. Of course that called for fleece-swooning and a photo, and I also noticed she needed her toes trimmed. I've been wanting to get my hands on Sarai to assess whether she's in good enough condition to put her in the breeding group, so I did that next. Her toes were really long (she and her line always grow 'fairy slippers'), so she and her daughter Bridget got pedicures and photos taken of their fleeces, too. That took care of nearly half of the girls, so I figured I might as well do all of them – right?







I must admit that getting up close and personal with every ewe didn't help me any with my breeding group decisions. In fact, in a dream I had last night they all got put with Spot! Yeah; that's not going to happen.... But it is oh, so tempting to see what he would throw with each of my fine-fleeced girls, not just Blaise and my oldest two ewes, Sarai and Vienna.

Today was the lovely lull between two wet fronts. I turned the girls out,
swept the garage and outside steps, cleaned out the daylily and white flag beds, then donned the backpack blower and blew leaves off the driveway and arena again. Then I rewarded myself with a ride down the lane and back on Lance, reveling in the beauty all around, and then schooled Stella without concern about mashing leaves into the sand and reducing drainage.

It's been a good day at . . .

Monday, November 09, 2020

Ladders and blowers and rakes; oh my!

And both of us wielded them most of the day, which almost made me title this post "Vitamin D and Aleve." Oh my. Getting a clear, dry day in November means pulling out all the stops on outdoor tasks. Rick was on call for emergencies, but fortunately didn't have any. He did have one patient to check on first thing in the morning, which gave me a chance to take Poppy next door for a play date. A week ago the neighbors brought home a third dog to either adopt or foster, and after giving him some time to settle in, they said they were ready for a meet-and-greet.

Romping hard with three tan friends was perfect for wearing Poppy out so she could relax inside while we toiled away. It was mostly about leaf abatement, as the native maples have now shed most of their leaves. We blew off roofs, blew out gutters, cleared the driveway, cleaned out the arena, and even shoveled off the roof of the Ram-ada Inn, which had transformed into a green, growing space (rather attractive, but very heavy) over years of collecting fir needles and cones, leaves, twigs, and obviously seeds. (The boys inside were pretty sure they were gonna die; the girls kept a wary eye on the activity from the middle pasture.)

In spite of being weary and sore, when we were finished I worked both of my horses in the freshly swept 'dance hall' (arena) as the sun set, getting thoroughly chilled on top of it. My dear hubby made spaghetti for supper (transformed into a gourmet meal by hunger and the love demonstrated) while I stoked the fire to warm up and rested my back. It was a day of shared hard labor maintaining our little bit of 'paradise,' and it felt good – mentally and emotionally at least!

That was our Sunday at . . .