Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Greener pastures

I got an email this morning from the person who bought Boomer, Berlin, and Sarai last fall. I braced myself; the subject line said "Sad news." Sure enough; "Sarai passed in her sleep last night. She was resting comfortably under her heat lamp with her eyes closed when I found her this morning."

It was a quick decline that just started yesterday, perhaps precipitated by the two younger sheep knocking Sarai down. She was seen by a vet and given anti-inflammatories, but by yesterday evening she could no longer stand. "So we gave her lots of hugs and kisses and some treats and grain and helped her get comfortable under the heat lamp." I have to admit I shed some tears, but they were bittersweet. Sarai had a good, long life, and was surrounded with love and care at the end. All of God's creatures should be so fortunate.
Sarai, yesterday

To cheer myself up, I turned my girls out. It was their first pasture time since the foxtail hardened off last summer, so the yearlings were FULL of energy; the expectant ladies just wanted GRASS. (Dear little Bling; once a bottle baby, always a bit of a bottle baby! And that deep voice you hear in the background is Spot.)

Since some interest has been expressed in a lambing contest, watch for a post announcing that. In the meantime, you can ponder the ladies in waiting:





To close, here is this morning's sunrise at approximately 15-minute intervals. I thought the progress interesting:

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A busy week's report

Last week started with an agility fun match on Sunday. I only found out about it at class the Thursday night before (the fun match was at the same venue); fortunately I didn't have any conflicts so Poppy and I could go. She did really well, although she struggled with the weave poles in our first run and the teeter on our second run; interesting, since both those elements have not been problematic in class. But it's good to learn where our weak points are under adrenaline, so we can work on them. We have a new instructor for the new year; the instructor we've had up until now retired in December. I really like the new instructor, though. I wish I could afford to start Leo in a beginners' class, because he is smart, biddable, and energetic – I think he'd have fun! Of course, he has plenty of FREE fun here at home. A recent sunny morning provided better than usual lighting for photos:

After starting my new spinning project, I switched to a bigger, slower spindle (that doesn't fit in my lunchbox) so as to not over-twist my singles. Wensleydale is a much coarser fiber than I'm used to spinning, and I didn't want to end up with twine. I'm thinking I'll ply this fine single with a loose white alpaca single and knit a big, cozy wrap . . . someday.

In other spinning news, I made a cross-valley trip (over the river and through the woods!) to the Jenkins' last week. Ed is making nostepinnes now, so I got one in Hawaiian Ironwood for myself and proxy-shopped for two other spinners. I also got a new spindle, a Black Limba Dragonfly. No, I don't need more spindles; I destashed my Holly Dragonfly to make room.

After lots of rain followed by a couple days of heavy fog, we're supposed to get a week of at least partially-sunny days. If I can get the corporate tax stuff behind me today, I can look forward to riding time and outside clean-up. I did go looking for our snowdrops, but the big clumps on the bank under our flowering cherry seem to have gotten choked out by ivy and other weeds. We do have one small clump in the island bed, but the flowers haven't unfurled yet. Likewise, the daffodils in the front of the island bed have been mostly choked out by grass, but the ones by the front porch are shooting up. On the north side of our house, the sarcococca bushes are starting to bloom and perfume the air.

For the first time in I can't remember how long, we got six eggs in one day last week; the new hens are really making their presence felt. But they are also increasing our feed and bedding costs (which have gone up in price, like everything else), so I finally increased the price of our eggs to get closer to covering expenses.

All the ewes that were in with Spot seem to be working on covering their expenses; bellies are showing telltale fullness that is encouraging. Hey, it's been a number of years since I've had a lambing contest. Anyone interested in guessing dates? Numbers? Colors? Let me know in the comments, or if for some reason you can't comment, there's an email link in the column on the right. The prize would be a small handspun, handknit something.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 13, 2023

A quieter week...

...except in regards to all things tax-related, personal and business. But let's not dwell on those extremely-necessary-but-unpleasant tasks here, okay?

Caught this brief glimpse of blue on my way to work Monday
It's been a wetter week, so no pretty sunrises, far less saddle time, and wet, muddy dogs. This morning after chores I decided that typical toweling was not going to be enough for Leo (oh, how he loves to dash about the farmyard!), and plopped him in the kitchen sink. Good thing I left his collar on him, or I never would have been able to keep him (kinda/sorta) in the sink. Good thing I was already planning to do a load of laundry, because I had to completely change my clothes afterwards!

Poppy and I started another session of agility classes last night after a break for the holidays. If I'd known she was going to do so well, I would have solicited someone to video our runs! Instead, I'll share a video of 'what she did (learned) over her Christmas break,' and some perky poses from this morning:

I finished the POF cotton I was spinning and chose something more colorful for my next project. A Jenkins Gooney and more than 6 oz of roving fit in my Christmas party prize lunchbox!

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Houston, we have a resolution!

After a full and satisfying first week of January (with LOTS of photos to show for it), I decided today that I really need to post here at least once a week. If things are busy, that will keep posting from becoming too overwhelming; if things are slow(er; does that ever happen???), posts won't end up so unwieldy. So here goes a recap of Week One.

The year started strong in the sunrise department, but dwindled as the week wore on and the weather socked in (rainy but mild). In spite of the increasing precipitation, Stella and I got in six rides in a row – a great start in my book! (If I get my act together, my dressage/training blog will be updated – and kept updated – soon as well.)
January 1 (already shared)

January 2, due east

January 2, ENE

January 3; my favorite

January 4

The new hens are settling in and definitely adding to the egg production. I think I've gotten eggs from three of them so far, but never catch them at it to identify who is laying the blue egg, who is laying the green egg, and who is laying a pale egg. Pretty Pearl, Ashes, and Puff regularly venture out into the run now, but Lady E rarely does.
L-R: Whiting True Blue egg, eggs from new hens (pale egg not shown)

L-R: Ashes, Puff, Pearl

A better photo of Ashes

I haven't gotten photos of the birds taking advantage of the black oil sunflower seeds I've been putting out this winter (my windows are too dirty), but this squirrel was a new one for our place. I think it is a Douglas squirrel, not one of our usual Western Gray squirrels. Poppy doesn't care; a squirrel is a squirrel and she desperately wants to CATCH one!

Hope springs eternal....

Male Anna's Hummingbird, in waiting

Female Anna's at feeder

I've been seeing and hearing these Red-Tailed Hawks often

Perched in the neighbor's tree; I'm guessing they are mates

Last Thursday I hung out in the Sheep Sheraton with my ewes for awhile. Everyone came up for scritches except Bette and Bernadette, who kept eating (maybe they are both eating for three???). Well, Boop didn't exactly come up for scritches; she was interested and curious, but didn't want me to actually touch her. Broadway made up for it; whenever I wasn't touching her she pawed at me or jumped up on me! I think I detect some swelling bellies; at the earliest lambs could arrive at the end of February but I'm not expecting any until March. I'll just have to watch and see, though, since I witnessed nothing to mark on my calendar.

"What about ME???"

Little Leo is a bona fide member of the family now. He has gone from "The Iceman" to "Frosty the Snowman" (a jolly, happy soul) and regularly cracks us up with his antics, mostly in playing with Poppy. And how they play! "Catch me if you can," "Keep Away," "Tug-o-War," and wrestling.

And then it's time for a nap. Leo stretches out,

and Poppy curls up – preferably in our bed!

A Frenchie and his (their) fishy


And how is Chuckie handling our new family member? Like a boss. Notice who is at the door? Chuckie has Leo's number. Now if both dogs decide to play 'chase,' Chuckie doesn't play it so cool.

Finally, one of my orchids is blooming again! This one has just two buds, but my smallest orchid has a bloom stalk that looks to have more developing. My old, scraggly poinsettias have also developed a wee bit of color (completely overshadowed by my anthurium). All of these are MUCH more colorful than my current cotton spinning project.

That's it for week one of 2023 at . . .