Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Well, that's a fine turn of events!

 When I was playing at being Shepherdess, (or, when I was Shepherd-Less, as the case may be)  I sneaked these two pictures of our ladies with the baby bumps. 

That's Vanessa, front and center. 
 And Donna is the one "at 12 o'clock" in this picture - (the little blaze face peeking around the feeder is Garnet) 

These were taken the end of March, and I was really hoping that births weren't too imminent - as I have said before, "I don't know nuthin' about birthin no babies"

Well, Vanessa, who we thought would go first, seemed to slow down - apparently she was waiting for her sister Donna to catch up -

which she did -  and yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far (84 degrees! in Bellingham! in April!!) she popped out this cute little guy.

His name is Carson - a sturdy little fellow, and 'fraid of nobody!

Or, his full "proper" name is:

                         "Marietta's Carson"

And then tonight, these two little ones were born - a ram and a ewe -   He hasn't named them yet.  
But, I'll tell you one thing for sure - these two came out HUNGRY!! 

Sometimes lambs weenie around trying to find the milk bar - not these two - they were right on the spigots. 

So all hands (or hooves, as the case may be) are on deck, so I don't have to worry about The Shepherd wandering around in the dark with his oxygen bottle - (shake your head all you want - yesterday he was out mowing someone's lawn - and it made him realize that he still needs a few more weeks of recuperation too.  Pooped him out good.) 

So that's the baby report for 2016.  Two ram lambs and one little ewe.  They will go out front in a couple of days to entertain and delight the neighborhood - life is returning to normal. 


Friday, April 08, 2016

The Essence of Spring -

 There is a particular "fragrance" about spring in the Pacific NW.  It's called Cottonwood.  Sweet, slightly musky, not really a fragrance you would necessarily wear, but it's oh, so enticing. 

More than any other, the smell of cottonwood really signifies spring to me.  And it reminds me of a walk in the woods, ostensibly to look for mushrooms, with a crush from one of my Soc/Anthro classes. 

Ah, spring fever. 

This little hawthorn is over 60 or 70 years old.  It was gifted to The Shepherd by a lady from our church who was dying of cancer.  She said she  knew he would take good care of it. 

And he has. 

I don't work at the salt mine on Friday.  It "used to be" my day off - Today we had Dr's appointments and hair appointments  - got groceries and took the wool over to our friends house for the Wonderful Woollies Wool sale that is happening tomorrow.  It is our 5th year of participating in this sale - of course I'll take pictures.  

Someone I know is pretty pooped out tonight.  Hopefully he'll take it easy tomorrow.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour through The Shepherd's bonsai garden.

I have to finish getting things ready to take along tomorrow - we have a pot luck lunch for the people who are "selling" - I think there are about 10 farms involved.  I'm taking a chopped salad with chicken & sunflower seeds, plus some banana bread that I just baked up.  I finally found THE quintessential banana bread recipe - on Pinterest of course.  I'll get you the recipe here in the next week or so. 

Til then - have a great weekend! 


Saturday, April 02, 2016

It's Caturday!

 Hi Effurrybody!

George here, just lubbin the spring sun on ma belleh.

And the gravel on my back - sort of like a massage...

Sort of, but sometimes it puts my furs out of order, and we wouldn't want that to happen.  

Mummy says to tell you that The Shepherd is getting a little bit better every day.  He's out working in the greenhouse this afternoon, planting seeds to transplant into the gardens.

We hope YOU are having a good Caturday and a great weekend. 


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Looking back Sunday -

Happy Easter -

We went to church today - much to everyone's delight - The Shepherd is very active in our church - he is the Choir Director, The Grounds Keeper, on the Board of Directors and has been involved in many committees important to the church, like the last two Ministerial Search committees - so people there were feeling, I think, a little vulnerable perhaps? I think any time someone you are close to give you a worry of "what if this were to happen to me" -   But, things went well and some of the choir members had even "modified" a version of an old Methodist hymn, "Low in the Grave he Lay" - with some significant changes in the words - gave everyone a chuckle - especially The Shepherd.    

Since we don't have any lambs yet (but there are some pretty good baby bumps on Donna & Vanessa out there)  I thought I'd bring you memories of years past -

I don't know who this little cutie is. Born March 27, 2009.  Generally these ones with the dark bodies and white heads turn grey. 

Here it is a couple of months later - that grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. 

This fine fellow was Wicket - he was born in March of 2010.  
 Some of our "Farm Fresh Eggs" -

A couple at church brought a dozen of their farm eggs to church this morning.  Our Sunday School kids put together gift bags that go up to the hospital for the nurses to give to children who are visiting and need something to do, - the bags have crayons, stickers, other fun things in them.  The idea of the eggs was to "auction" them off to raise money for the Hospital Gift Bag project - Lets just say that someone is going to be eating a pretty expensive omelet tomorrow morning and they raised enough to fill 10 more gift bags.

It's time to get all of his bonsai plants out of the greenhouse!  One of his friends is coming over to help him on Tuesday. Yeah Kurt! 

 This picture always reminds me of "home" - ie, where I grew up over in Eastern Washington.  We had literally thousands of these plants, "Grape Hyacinths" lining the garden paths.  My little clump grows every year, but it's going to be a while before they line our garden paths. They are, however, one of my favorite spring flowers. 

I hope you enjoyed this look back with me.  Can you believe April is only 4 days away?  I could say, "what happened to March"  but I know that 3 weeks of it was spent with The Shepherd being sick - with 10 of those days in the hospital.  Whew - I hope that doesn't happen again. 

Happy Spring to you all! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lookin' good here

 I haven't quite gotten the hang of taking pictures with my camera yet - they always look cloudy - maybe I have fingerprints all over my lens... ha ha - I took this picture of our front garden the other day.  Since then, the "glory of the snow" has doubled and it's all OVER the place! 

But it is pretty and springy, so who cares. 

Pesky stuff is everywhere!
The Shepherd continues to improve - he had a shower tonight - and it went well - the one he took at the hospital was a fiasco - he wasn't ready to be off the oxygen yet, and he panicked - this time it went much better and he felt bolstered by the improvement of not needing the oxygen, so that was good too.  Plus, I think it was just time for a shower, ya know...

I have to work tomorrow (normally have Fridays off, but one of my co-workers is taking off the weekend for a trip to see family for Easter.  Nice for her as she has been working hard, and nice for me, because I get some extra hours.  Always good. 

The sheep chores come early - gotta go. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

He's Home!

He's still on Oxygen, but it is minimal, and he has a 50 foot tube, so he can pretty much go anyplace in the house.  I was so pooped out by the time we got home (trip to the grocery store to get prescription and a few groceries, etc) and met the guy from the medical supply who set up his oxygen maker machine I just called work and told them I wouldn't be in.  I really hated to do it, but I was exhausted, and still had chores to do. 

Gracie is a little bit freaked out by the fans from the O2 machine, but she'll get used to it, I'm sure.  You'd think that I was the one who had been gone the way George is sticking to me like glue. 

Thanks so much for all your support over the past two weeks.  I'm just looking for "normal" now. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Well, what happened to the weekend and Ta Da - the "lost post #1000!"

Miss Frostiana - isn't she lovely?
 This post was supposed to happen back in February - you know, right after we sheared - right when The Shepherd started getting sick...

So we have double duty tonight - first - the Shepherd Update.  I can't figure out why I didn't post last night - I think it might be that I did an update to my Church email list and then, just slipped through my mind.  Not much has changed - they have been steadily dropping the liters per minute for the Oxygen - tonight (Sunday) when I left he was down to 7 lpm. and his "saturation rate was staying above 90 even getting up to 100% -  That is good - very good.

Micah, our Ace Shearer and barn helper
What wasn't so good was he tried taking a shower this a.m. without the oxygen and got a little panicky when he had some breathing difficulties. Once they put him back on the O2, he recovered very quickly, so I think that it will not be long before he can get along without it.  They said that he had to be down to 5 liters per minute before he could come home (on oxygen) - So maybe Tuesday or Wednesday - hope above hope...  We'll just have to wait and see, I guess. 

Emily throws those ewes around like a pro! 

These pictures were taken back on Feb 26. We met Micah through our friend Janet Maricle who is a 4-H leader and a Shepherdess of a beautiful, price winning, flock of Dorsets.  She recommended Micah to help John with some tasks, like worming, moving the ewes after they had been bred and she also mentioned that Micah and his sister Emily have both taken the WSU (Washington State University) shearing class.  After meeting him and seeing how he worked with the sheep, The Shepherd decided to take a chance and have them do our shearing this year.  They just did a fantastic job.  Because of school commitments and weather, we decided to do shearing on Friday evening - and we did it right in the barn for the first time.  Worked like a charm.  The Shepherd put a 150 watt bulb in the one light in the barn and it worked pretty good - (I think that we could have used another light on the other side of the barn - hopefully we won't be doing it at night again)

 The shearing went really smoothly - the kids sort of tag teamed - switching on and off - very few nicks on the sheep - one cut toenail, that they sprayed the heck out of with that purple stuff (should have put some spider web on it - bled like crazy)  Only one was hard to shear at all and that was Garnet - I think though, that she might have been coming on to the rise - Micah said that her wool was just "sticky"  (Shetland sheep, if left to nature, naturally shed their fleeces, called "rooing" and if you are trying to shear into the rise, well, it's just "sticky" 
Garnet being Miss Nosey

And luckily, unlike in years past, it didn't snow the day afterwards - although it did turn pretty darn cold and rainy.

Both Donna and Vanessa are showing baby bumps.  I don't think they are due until the middle of April though, so The Shepherd is going to have a couple of weeks to get better before the Blessed Event happens because you know he'll want to be out there snooopervising.  
Nekked girls - good haircuts, don'tch think?
It was a good shearing - Micah & Emily can shear for us again anytime -

So I have some observations on the past week:

~ The people who work at our local hospital, St. Joseph's, Peace Health Medical, are just fantastic.  Everyone has been so friendly and helpful.  I can't say enough about how nice they have been.

~ Sometimes you just have to depend on the kindness of strangers.  But the kindness of neighbors and friends can't be overlooked.  I have had so many offers of help, it has been really gratifying.  This has really made me step up to the plate and quite frankly has helped me get a little bit healthier.  I can certainly walk a lot farther than I could a week ago.  I can't remember if I mentioned in any of my updates that after nearly loosing my balance and falling over in the wind storm that we had last Sunday night, I determined that I would be safer to use my walker to get from the car to the hospital (about a block -maybe not quite that far, but it seems that way...) People are very willing to help you when you are using a walker - it is very sweet actually.

~  I'd like to mention, if you have a friend who is caring for a loved one, or has someone in the hospital, it is nice of you to say "let me know if you need anything"  - but here is what you might say:  "Can I go to the grocery store for you - give me a list of what you need" ;  "Can I bring you lunch at work" or, "What would you like for dinner, my treat".  Because I had been on the "sickly side" the whole time The Shepherd was getting worse and worse, things had kind of slid (worse than the normal slide) and I had 4 big loads of laundry to do - of course it had been raining cats and dogs, so I didn't dare do it at home - (drain-field issues) Our friend Nancy helped me take it to the laundromat - just the assistance of helping carry the laundry bags in, sitting and chatting while it washed and dried, then help with the folding when it was all done - that was enormous.

Sometimes it feels like there are too many balls in the air - juggling hospital, work, home, sheep.  Yes, I have hope above hope that he gets to come home this week.  Then I can at least take one of those balls out of the mix...

The "fruits of his labors" 

Ok, fellow spinners - doesn't Frostiana's wool (second from left on top) just make you drool - look at the beautiful crimp on that baby.  And it is snow white.  Lilah is the youngest of the six and her wool is the longest - I think it is probably about 8 or 9 inches long - I should go measure it.  One or two of them are pre-sold - the rest will go up for sale at the Wonderful Woolies Farm sale on April 9.

So there it is - Post #1000 - Michelle you won the "contest" - I'll be in touch about that lovely alpaca :-) 

Oh, and PS - Happy first day of Spring!!