Wednesday, May 31, 2023

On your mark, get set....

I've been thinking for awhile now that June is shaping up to be a busy month. This week, I realized just how busy – as in, if I don't keep running, I'm likely to get dragged! On the docket in rapid succession (and sometimes overlapping!):
Agility match
Farrier appointment
Wedding anniversary
My mom arrives
Dressage show
Fathers Day
Mom leaves
Black Sheep Gathering
Hay (seven tons are waiting to be moved from the grower's barn to ours)
Sheep leaving
A sheep coming?

Other things (mowing, moving wood, garden prep, dressage lessons and possibly my dressage show) are at a standstill because of the following equipment problems:
Lawn mower (still at a shop)
Tractor (still in pieces on the driveway)
Rick's vet truck (dead in the garage)
'My' pulling truck (pressed into service as temp vet truck)

Wish me luck in being able to post at least once a week. In the meantime, here are the last photos from May.

I moved the three yearlings into Spot's old quarters, the Ram-ada Inn and the wooded lot; they might as well eat the grass, get more exercise, and not add to the mess in the Sheep Sheraton:

Over the holiday weekend, I got the old gals and their lambs out of the barn stall to eat along the driveway, got all the lambs haltered for the first time, and tried to get last rib shots (only managed two; I needed another set of hands):



I admired the last of our iris, and one of our daphne bushes:

Rick borrowed his mother's little electric lawnmower to mow the garden, then tried to burn some of the grass. I'm pretty sure the garden's a bust; I need to get planting medium for my stock tank gardens:

Sure would be nice to make like a dog and relax!

No rest for the weary at . . .

Friday, May 26, 2023

Beach ball or steamroller?

As usual, life has been rolling right along here. The record-setting heat finally gave way to a (very) cool, cloudy spell, and now it's just about perfect. Through it all, our iris have delighted. The 'brown' ones dominate; I know, that really is an ungenerous descriptor for such a rich color that goes equally well with pinks, yellows, and reds, as well as being striking on its own. Bonus: I got to see a few wild iris on a ride through the ravine last Sabbath; such a treat since I thought they were long gone and especially given the day I had (see next paragraph)!
the resident iris in our pasture
the iris in our island; all the rest are in a different bed
wild iris!

Sometimes life rolls on near-miraculously. Last Sabbath I picked up my 94-year-old friend and took her to church as I often do (her 98-year-old husband hasn't felt up to coming in several months). When church was over, she and I remained in our pew while Rick gathered up his musical gear. When it was time to go, Anneke couldn't quite get up, even with my help. I asked her if she was okay, but although she looked at me, she didn't say a word. I asked her to stick out her tongue at me; nothing. A stroke immediately came to mind, we called 911, and EMTs arrived quickly to take her to the local hospital. Within two hours, she went from non-verbal and limp on her right side to talking and raising both arms and legs; on Monday an MRI showed that the clot in her brain had broken up into smaller ones and she was discharged!

With life rolling right along I'm concerned that it's going to be another year without a real garden here. Ever the optimist, I picked up six tomato starts and two pineapple ground cherry starts from a neighbor who was giving away his extras; I figure if nothing else, I'll fill one of our leaky stock tanks with planting medium and plop them in! In the meantime, my garden pot is transitioning from an abundance of arugula to flowers on my tomato and sugar pod pea plants.

The seasons of shepherd life are rolling right along, too. On Sunday Rick and I got future fiber wether Blackjack banded and all the lambs vaccinated. On Tuesday I finally got the last fleece standing – Bette's – harvested, and on Wednesday I shipped off two reserved fleeces to their new owners.

all 4+ pounds of glorious Boop!

And then came yesterday, which fell into the category of "life rolls along . . .  until  it doesn't." At morning chore time I found Spot, my prepotent, gentle flock sire, dead in his pasture. I have no idea why or when (within the last 24 hours); he was only six years old and seemed just fine, if a little on the thin side. I feel sucker-punched, and of course awful for him. But I am thankful that I bred all my available ewes to him last fall; this spring's eight lovely lambs brought his total legacy to a baker's dozen – 14 counting my friend Kate's crossbred. It's the end of a  too-short era; his will be a hard act to follow.

It's been quite a week at . . .

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Take a number

Last Friday through Monday it hit 90° or above and didn't cool off much at night, breaking all kinds of weather records here. We employed open windows, ceiling fans, ice water, fresh strawberries (Rick bought a flat of local berries; heaven!) . . . and all of us continued to work (except on the blessed rest day). I finally utilized the heat pump A/C to keep the house at 80° on Monday; don't ask me why I didn't do it sooner. Yesterday 'moderated' into the 80s, but today nearly reached 90° again. Where can we file a complaint???

Since it cooled off nicely Monday night, I actually used the oven yesterday. Not for lunch; I made myself a big salad with arugula from my deck pot;

but for supper I made a loaded baked frittata and a rhubarb/strawberry custard 'pie' (no top crust, and I cheated on the bottom crust with a large flour tortilla!). This got rave reviews; NO one complained!

As I said in the last post, I rooed Blaise on Friday, then rooed/sheared Bree on Sunday. Yesterday I sheared Bernadette and fully intended to shear Bette today, but decided a long overdue newsletter had to be tackled so Bette is still sweltering. On top of that, I found a foxtail awn on one of the lambs Monday, so no more pasture time. No more bottles, either; I used up the last of the milk replacer earlier this week. Not that Blaise's twins need it anymore; the supplemental feeding did its job and Bijou and Bauble are as fat and sassy as the rest of the lambs (their mom Blaise, however, is too thin). They miss it, though. Trust me; the shepherd is not a popular figure right now. The ewes and lambs are wondering where can they file a complaint!
sweet Bauble after one of her last bottles

Bree at last rib, mid-side; luscious!
Blackjack shimmied through the gate to be near mom while I rooed her

I'm not sure why Bernadette's belly is so big!
I had no complaints about Mothers Day. Rick made us a wonderful breakfast (my choice; I didn't want to go out), Brian gave me a very sweet card and two kinds of chocolate – and then weed-whacked for hours as the other part of my gift! While he did that and I did laundry and rooed Bree, Rick worked on the riding lawnmower and old tractor. He finally got the mower working enough – barely – to mow the lawn, and then brought a ladder in to change the battery in a chirping smoke detector and vacuum out the air intake vents high in ceiling and wall of our vaulted great room. Nothing warms my heart better than everyone pitching in to accomplish a bunch of work around the place! (I'm trying to be patient about the untouched garden plot....)
the old Kubota is still sitting in our driveway in pieces

Late Mothers Day afternoon, the first of our bearded iris opened:

I had noticed the large number of buds on the iris in the island bed,

but that one in the actual iris bed took me by surprise. Two days later, two more varieties added their beauty:

They are blooming later than usual because of our long, cool, wet spring. Ahhh; that kind of weather sounds so refreshing right now!

That's it for now from . . .