Tuesday, March 30, 2021

'Tis the season...

...for sneezin'. Whatever ignites my allergies (and Lance's) is stirring, and I'm trying not to scratch my eyes out while going through copious amounts of tissues. At least my breathing isn't affected, like Lance's. We had to up his meds and I haven't been riding him; his sides are heaving (which is why it's called 'heaves') just standing around.

...for harvest – of fleeces, that is! Even though it was brisk and windy Sunday, I decided I had to start shearing, and that I would start with the two preggers-looking ladies. That way I can monitor their progress easier, their fleeces don't get mucked up during and after lambing, and lambs have unobstructed access to the milk bar. Since Blaise's fleece is longer, I chose her to do first. I rooed off her belly and around her tail, then started snipping fleece beginning on her backside. Before long, I suspected that I might be able to roo ALL of her, easily pulled off a side sample for micron testing, and proceeded to harvest her lovely fleece with just my fingers – a pleasant surprise and a first for her. Here she is before and after; the darker area on her butt is where I scissor-sheared her, which left a bit more coverage. (Yes, she got cold! I did put a fresh coat on her.)

Blaise was good as gold and clearly has a 'bun in the oven,' so soon it should be the season for CUTENESS! If she was bred the very first day Spot met his little harem and carries the usual 147 days, she would be due April 11 – which means it is possible to get a very special Easter treat! I don't think she's that close, but will obviously be keeping an eye on her, especially since this is her first lambing.

Next up on the docket, tomorrow, is Vienna. Although she has a slightly bigger udder, that is to be expected from a seasoned ewe; I think Blaise is due first. As for Sarai, the jury is still out. I think her udder has changed a smidgeon but she is as svelte as ever; maybe she's carrying a little singleton. She's the only one of the three I actually witnessed Spot breed; based on that, she would be due on or around April 22.

...for our church's annual women's retreat! We are going ahead with it this coming weekend after last year's pandemic cancellation. It is limited to 32 women in a 7200 sq.ft., 10 bedroom, 10 bath retreat home; still, I probably wouldn't be going if I wasn't fully vaccinated. As a hermit at heart, I'm not desperate for the fellowship, but am looking forward to time with a good friend who is going with me, beach walks, and guilt-free spinning time.

...for local scenery, as always. 😊

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, March 26, 2021

May the road rise up to meet you

I finally took some time today to transfer and edit photos from my phone to my laptop, an essential step for building a blogpost. I discovered that the majority of them were taken March 17 – St. Patrick's Day, and the day we drove to Walla Walla, WA and back to fetch our son from college.

It was bittersweet, knowing it could be the last time we drove there. I like familiar road trips; seeing the scenery change with the seasons, stopping at favorite rest areas or eateries along the way, exploring new points of interest at and around the destination. I thought we'd have three-plus more years at least to travel this route. Instead, I found myself mourning a little, like when I realized I would probably never drive to Spokane again after my dad died. On top of that, our hearts were heavy with the knowledge that our son had thrown away a $40K+ merit-based scholarship and had rather nebulous plans for his future. Oh well; might as well make the best of it. So I got up and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise, even stepping off the deck to get a picture of Mt. Hood, before heading to the barn to do chores.

Then it was time to hit the road for the first half of our 560-mile round trip. We made a pit stop at Starvation Creek, a place we've only stopped at once before just to use the facilities. This time, in the process of walking Poppy, we realized there was a waterfall nearby and decided to check it out. It was a beautiful interlude – with a fascinating backstory (don't worry, no one actually starved there; if you click to biggity I think you can read the sign).

I kept my fingers busy most of the drive; spindles are handy that way. And this fiber is lovely!

Once at Walla Walla, Poppy and I kept our feet busy walking the neighborhood around campus while waiting for Brian to get his stuff packed up and hauled down to the truck. That took three hours. 🙄 Then it was back on the road for the trip home. The sun was setting as we left the Walla Walla valley and headed toward the Columbia River Gorge:

So that was last week. We are all adjusting. Brian started full-time work this week; good thing, as he has rent due next week. 😉 When I googled the words of the traditional Irish blessing to help me in titling this St. Paddy's Day post, a song by Dan Fogelberg came up. I do love his music, so had to take a listen. It ended up being most appropriate:

That's all for tonight from . . .

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Pi-Day pupdate

The scent of daphne odora is in the air!
After a brilliant burst of sunshiny spring days, today brought the other kind of spring weather – cloudy, cool, and damp. Rick is off doing his own thing, so it's a good day to stay mostly indoors and do things like make a pot of beans, bake a four-loaf batch of bread, write up minutes from an in-person(!) meeting last night, spin, blog, and snuggle my pup. (I suppose I should make a pie in honor of 3.14....)
Said pup is doing much better now. Last Wednesday I took her with me to run a couple errands and decided to see if her sister was available to play before we headed home. She was and oh, they had fun! That night Rick x-rayed her front legs, and found the cause of the swelling and soreness; she had fractured her left dew claw bone, probably playing with the neighbor dogs Monday. Since it is a vestigial bone it's just sore, not serious – but he also saw problems in her right leg. She's developed arthritis in her 'wrist,' possibly from some previously undiagnosed fractures there that were missed in the original x-rays after Lance stepped on her. That explains why she still sometimes favors that leg, and mouths/chews on it occasionally. It makes me sad to think of her having to deal with a lifetime of discomfort, but it is better to focus on how much she enjoys an active life. Yesterday all three of us visited her sister's family, and Poppy and Penny ran and wrestled and played as only two young terriers can! It was impossible to track them with video and still photos don't do them justice, but these will have to suffice:

Penny's 'dad' is Rick's woodturning mentor, so Rick took him a chunk of our almond tree that came down in the ice storm. We got to admire the dining room table he is making out of English walnut slabs and glass; it's gorgeous!

Look at that chatoyance!

I asked Rick to save a chunk of almond for Ed Jenkins, who makes my favorite spinning tools. In fact, I may have a couple more on the way, so there will be more gorgeous woodwork to show you!

Not much woodwork to see on this spindle, as it is filling up with POF:

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

State of the Ewenion and other animal news

Sarai is outstanding in her field, but I don't think she is pregnant.

I have been keeping a casual eye on the three ewes who were in with Spot last fall. Sarai is the easiest to eyeball, because she is Johnny-on-the-spot for handouts whenever I'm around. In spite of the extra calories, she doesn't seem to be getting any thicker or rounder, so the other day I put my hand on her belly below her flank and gently pushed, then waited to see if anything 'pushed back.' Nothing. So today after the girls came in from the pasture, I checked Sarai again, then caught Vienna and Blaise to do the same and compare. Vienna and Blaise definitely felt like they had more 'stuff' inside, with maybe a suggestion of movement in Blaise and definite changes in her vulva. Blaise is moving differently as well. She's a small, compact girl, so it makes sense that lambs would make her waddle more than the bigger, longer girls. So my best guess is that Blaise is definitely pregnant, Vienna is probably pregnant, and Sarai is not pregnant. A shame, that, as she is a beautiful Shetland in every way and I would have liked a ewe lamb from her and Spot to keep. But she is 11 years old now; I don't plan to try again.

As for the boys, Spot continues to be a tail-wagging charmer; he and Poppy have become friends and sometime-playmates (which I try to discourage). Bing is his usual pinball-sheep self; Bittersweet has gone almost completely blind now (no, I don't know why) but does fine by sticking with his buddies.

Chuckie is ever the attention-hound, following me around, hanging out at the front or deck doors of the house, looking in the windows. I swoop him up and love on him often, which he appreciates so much that he eventually has to BITE me. Cats. 🙄

Poppy, on the other paw, is not the same full-speed-ahead girl as ever. She did something to her good front leg (the left one) yesterday, and has spent all of today but for two potty breaks laying on my lap or on my bed, neither eating nor drinking, acting much worse than a sore leg would seem to warrant. On the other hand, now that both her front legs hurt (she still often favors the right one) maybe she's depressed. I know I'm tempted to be when multiple joints hurt, which they often do anymore!
Yesterday morning Poppy was fine; I snapped this photo because it showed her front legs so well. You can see that her right leg, which is the one that was broken and splinted, is not as substantial, and her right foot is splayed.
When I got home from work I took her over to the neighbor's for a short playdate; she's been feeling so deprived. One of their adult sons and his dog is staying with them right now, so Poppy got to play with three dogs. I don't know if she strained something then; I didn't notice anything until hours later. We went down and did evening chores and she seemed as active as ever. But when I cleaned off her paws to come inside afterwards, she yelped when I toweled off her left foot. I looked more closely at her foot and couldn't see anything wrong, and she didn't mind me looking. Later, I realized the inside of her "wrist/ankle" was swollen – and she definitely DID mind me touching there.

When Rick gets home tonight – if it's not too late – we're going to do some diagnostic imaging to see what is wrong in there. I doubt we'll be going to agility class this week. 😔

At least the chickens all seem fine!

That's it for now from . . .