Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tomorrow The Shepherd and I'll spend the day with two of my sisters and a Bro-in-law - Snoqualamie Pass is expecting 1-2 feet of snow and the roads will be too bad for the other sister to make it - I wish this holiday fell in July - it would make planning around the weather much easier.
New Year's Day will bring brunch at our friend Nancy's farm. Good food and good music - I think I'll remember to take my camera and tell you all about it.
Did you notice the new picture on my profile? I also have a link to my email address there if you are interested. My next project is to add links to some more of my favorite places to share them with you all!
I hope you (and yours - whatever or whomever that is) have Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
But first - check it out - look what Santa brought our friend Yvonne!! These two cute little critters are CVM babies.(short for California Varigated Mutant - sounds like some sort of strange nasturcium don't you think?) I love the little brown spot on the backside of the one on the left - They were born on the 20th and joined this fellow - the birth weight of the CVM lambs is almost triple that of the birth weight of a Shetland lamb - so these little ones look half grown to us!
Yvonne was telling The Shepherd about the fact that her "teenage girls" (the yearling ewes behind the mom in the picture above) were having a pretty hard time with everyone fawning over the new rug rats - since before THEY had been the centers of attention. Yvonne had one of her friends come over and, instead of going to the babies first, talked to the older girls and told them how beautiful they were what good aunties they were being. Problem solved - things settled right down. A sheep whisperer - who'd a thought?
Yvonne is a very talented spinner, weaver, & knitter - I met her at the Skagit Highland Games in 2006, when our spinner's guild did a Sheep to Shawl using one of our Shetland fleeces. Then less than a week later, I saw the name "Yvonne" as a commenter on a blog I had just begun to read on a regular basis - Leigh's Fiber Journal and I'll be darned if it wasn't one and the same. (Leigh is a very talented spinner, weaver, knitter too, so it shouldn't have surprised me that they would "know" each other in the blogosphere - I love reading her blog and have learned tons from it - I just find it funny that two people from Bellingham separately knowing another blogger from a whole 'nother part of the country.) Anyhow, I digress.......
Anyhow - Congratulations to Yvonne and her hubby Doug who are not only learning to be shepherds, but, because they want to move their barn, they are learning to be land use consultants too!
On another note - I get a very sweet note of thanks from Meg Gregory at Black Sheep Creamery. I had sent a donation to her directly through our friends Kim & Doug who are caring for the remaining sheep in their flock.
Reading her blog on their website (click on "Musings") is somewhat of a teary adventure. The stories of their flood clean-up rip at your heart, but reading of the generosity of the folks who have come down to their farm to help them clean up and rebuild, mends those rips. Understandably, they have a long way to go. I hope that the money our NW Shetland Sheep Owners raised from our auction helps them a little - and that it helps them to know that other "sheep people" are holding them in their hearts and prayers as well.
Monday, December 24, 2007
We had our Christmas program at church tonight. The Shepherd is also our Choir director & Minister of Music. I think we made him proud - it seems the worse we sound during dress rehersal, the better we sound during performance - which is good - we were pretty lame tonight during dress rehersal! And speaking of lame, I didn't take my camera. It was Greg's last performance with the choir (he's only been singing with this choir for probably 30 years or so...) and I didn't get a picture - darn - and we were all dressed up in our "black & whites" - Black slacks or skirt, white shirt and then we have Icelandic green "stoles" with our choir logo patch on it. I think we looked very professional - (all nine of us...)
One of the traditions at this little church is the great reception after the Christmas program. The background of the group is Icelandic, so you can always be sure that there will be Vinetarte - it is a yummy dessert made from layering big (8 or 9 inches across) sugar cookies with a prune filling - it is frosted and cut into finger sized slivers. A very tasty treat that is time consuming to make - so it is generally only made for special occasions.
One of our members, an 80 year old man, makes krumkake (a sweet pastry that is cooked in flat circles on an iron then wrapped around a cone shaped form while it is still warm - it looks kind of like a cannoli without the filling) It is so good fights have broken out over the last piece - Okay, so I'm exaggerating about the fights, but it would be worth it to pull a little hair to get that last cookie -
I always figure there is enough sweet stuff there, so I generally bring something "savory" I have taken my Caesar salad wraps a couple of years, or, one year, a giant cheese tray. This year I made a Smoked Salmon Cheesecake - and I didn't get a picture of that either! But it was a huge hit - our hostess had sliced it up into little 3/4 x 1 inch chunks - just enough to fit on a Triscuit - I watched people's faces when they took a bite of it - "And she scores again!" I said to myself, as I watched the smiles and surprised looks on peoples faces - it was a universal "Oh, Man, this is GOOD!" (I'll post the recipe in a week or so)
It's Christmas Eve - We'll spend it hanging out - The Shepherd has a fleece to skirt that we donated to the Auction and I have some last minute shopping to do. The most fun we'll have is going to see our friend Yvonne to see her new CVM lambs - and YES, I'll take my camera!
Blessings of the Season to you and your families.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thank you to Karen Jo of Kitty Limericks for the beautiful gold rose. She awarded it to me for the posts that I did to raise awareness of the recent losses from the early December flooding in Lewis County, WA.
It is still unimaginable to me - the losses that so many incurred from this flood. In areas that had never flooded before - even in the "hundred year flood" area - carefully tended flocks of sheep, herds of dairy cattle - years of genetic planning & hard work - destroyed in such a short amount of time.
Tragedies sometimes bring out the good in people. Our local radio station raised over $17,000 for the Red Cross - earmarked for the flood area. The Washington State Farm Bureau's disaster fund exceeded $50,000 - monies that have been given directly to farmers - (members of thw WSFB or not) - dairy, sheep, nursreymen, organic food growers - to help them get their feet back on the ground. Our NW Shetland Sheep Owners auction raised over $4500 for the Black Sheep Creamery - the generosity of the "fiber folks" overwhelming the computer server where the auction was hosted. We hope that everyone will stay tuned for "Auction - Part Two" to benefit another shepherd in the Adna area who lost his flock.
One of our members of the NWSSO group Franna did the huge job of hosting the auction and then keeping the donations and the bids sorted out. Thank you Franna!
And I would like to recognize my friend Leigh, and her kitties, Rascal and CatZee who were wonderful to publicize our auction - because as Rascal said "there are so many Cat Blogosphere humans who love to play with sticks and yarn. " They certainly deserve a bouquet of golden roses for their help.
So, as Joni Mitchell says in her song "River"
Christmas Blessings to you and your family. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit and read my blog - yesterday I had my 5000th visitor - I wonder, sometimes, because I see that you have visited - and that you keep coming back - so, I guess I'll keep on telling you my stories.
Have a good one, and stay safe!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Better news! We're going to have a second auction after the first of the year to benefit another shepherd who lost all but one of his flock. Keep an eye out here for more information to come!
We'll need more items donated so we can all bid on them.
And now for something completely different - One of the funniest sites on the web. Feeling a little blue? Go visit I Can Has Cheeseburger - it will make your day.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"A statement from the Friends of the Lewis County Animal Shelter this morning said donations and supplies are needed for displaced animals, which are filling up the county's shelter on Centralia-Alpha Road. The statement says:
The Lewis County Animal Shelter is full and supplies are running low. Many displaced animals have no other place to go until their owners can reclaim them. Dog and cat food, cat litter, bleach, cleaning supplies and monetary donations are needed. We are coordinating with Red Cross and United Way to get pet food to pet owners who need it.
Supplies may be dropped off at the Lewis County Animal Shelter at 560 Centralia-Alpha Road in Chehalis (360-740-1290) or at Kaija's at 623 NW State Ave. in Chehalis (360)748-4221.
Monetary donations may be made at any Security State Bank, online at www.folcas.org or mailed to FOLCAS at PO Box 1421, Chehalis, WA 98532.Friends of the Lewis County Animal Shelter (folcas) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible."
Most animal shelters are on a pretty skinny budget to begin with, however the impact that a disaster such as this is huge and uses resources that were previously planned for other uses. If you've been thinking of donating and haven't yet, this is a worthy recipient. Thanks.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
That's Jewell in the foreground, and Moni right behind. They are the two ewe lambs that we got from Donna and Tom last summer. He also took the opportunity and did pedicures and took fleece samples - they had been wormed a month or so ago when he moved pastures.
This is the fleece from back on Jewel's hindquarters - I think this fleece has MY name on it.
Jewell has the markings called katmoget. She is greyish fawn on the top and black on the underbelly. We are hoping that she will give us a couple of kat lambs in the spring of 2009 - they are very cute!
John really likes his new toenail clippers - he got them at his favorite local plant nursery. You can never tell where you're going to find a good pair of clippers.
Back to the original matter at hand here - Susie, loaded into the trailer thought she was being kidnapped and tried to climb out - never had one try to do that before - silly girl.
Here's a picture of her new home. Ellen was very sweet and fixed us lunch - and even gave us a jar of her wonderful homemade sweet pickles - how's that for a trade! AND it turns out that her husband plays bluegrass music with our neighbor. It is a very small world!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch - Scooter didn't know it, but this was his last afternoon with the girls. On our way back from delivering Susie we stopped in Alger at Tom & Donna's to pick up Gwendolyn, who had been "visiting" their ram. (We're hoping for some spotted babies in the spring. ) He wanted to put Regina & Anna D back with the little girls at the same time that he brought Gwennie home - might as well have all the confusion happen at one time. It seems to have worked out the way he wanted - they are all snugged down out in the pasture, together - the way he'd hoped.
Actually Scooter will probably be happy to have his quarters back to just him and Arlo - more food for himself that way.
Isn't he a cutie?
So here are the fleece samples we took today to be sent off to a couple of friends and for micron sampling too, I think. All I know is Pearl and Jewell's fleeces - they're mine - and I deserve them after picking all the hay and stickers out of that Grey wool I'm working on right now.
Thanks for stopping by and remember to check out the On-Line Benefit Auction for the Black Sheep Creamery folks - the link is on the top right hand corner of this blog.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
"Great Thanks to ALL of you for the overwhelming support you have shown the Gregory family during this ongoing time of crisis.
One of my favorite verses is "Let us not grow weary of doing good". I confess that I have been a little weary of phone calls and emails lately--but as I talked with Brad on the phone today, I heard what true weariness sounds like. The volunteers are dwindling, the mess is still overwhelming. The decisions never stop coming.
For those who want to help, they still need LOTS of it. The rental house they own still has wet insulation needing pulling, there is still much to be done in that house as soon as possible before the mold overwhelms it.. Lots of sheds, fences, buildings are yet to clear as well.
Meg is doing a great daily update on their wesbite's "musings" page. www.blacksheepcreamery.com I encourage you to read it.
If you can go there and help they are happy to have you.
Take I-5 south to Chehalis. At the 2nd Chehalis exit take hiway 6 west. Follow it for about 8 miles to Adna. At Adna, turn right onto Bunker Creek Rd. Follow this for about 2 miles to their farm on the left. Big hiproof barn and tall old white farm house. 345 Bunker Cr Rd.
If you want to ask Brad of specific things to bring you can call him on his cell at 360-520-3397. Otherwise bring your lunch, change of clothes, muck boots, work gloves, surgical gloves as liners, warm clothes you can get filthy,basic tools, shovel. Try to keep your calls at night. Email and calls are welcome but realize Meg and Brad don't have a lot of time for communicating right now.
If you go, maybe bringing a soup pot for lots of people would be a nice way to help.
For those who wish to donate money to the Gregories:
We have spent much time trying to set up an assitance fund and it seems the simplest way to get money to them is to just send it to them!!
The website and paypal options all cost money, the banks have lots of legal rules about assistance funds.
SO-- please do help them financially if you wish to.
Below is a partial list of costs of things they will need in the next year as they rebuild.
Shipping for donated ewes: $500.00
Milk: $2000.00 per pallet; $1.00 per pound
Hay:$12.00 per bale
This is just a beginning of things to replace. There will be much, much more. Plus living expenses.
To Send a check to the Gregories:
Make checks out to Brad or Meg Gregory
Black Sheep Creamery
Adna, WA 98522-0293
For those who wish to give a gift certificate at a feed store:
There is a feed store in Chehalis called "The Farm Store" and also a "Del's".
Thanks especially to the MANY of you who have offered stock. Brad is taking one offer of some ewes soon, since the donor needed to send them soon.
BUT--for the most part they really don't know how fast things will come together at the farm. The fields all have up to a foot of silt; and no one knows when the grass will be useable. It seems they will have room for most of the donated stock in the summer. So for most of you who have offered spring ewe lambs that should work out well. Brad will be in touch with you this winter. God Bless you all and Merry Christmas!!
Gretchen Wilson email@example.com"
Our Northwest Shetland Sheep Owners Association has put together an On-Line Auction to benefit the Gregories. Many thanks to Franna from EverRanch in Auburn, WA for all her hard work in putting this together!
The web site for the auction is here:
Black Sheep Creamery Benefit Auction
Check it out - you never know what you might find, and it's for a great cause.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Mom - It's "Yarn with a Purpose"
What the heck does that mean - doesn't look like it's got any purpose to me - maybe a good kick toy...
Mom - Keep your mitts away from my pretty yarn, Mr. Pieface.
Hey - I hate it when you call me that..
Mom - I know, it's a term of endearment tho.
So, what are you gonna do with it?
Mom - Shhh - it's a secret. You'll see.
Also - Tomorrow I'll post an update on the Black Sheep Creamery flooding that I received from Gretchen Wilson at Gretchen's Wool Mill.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I have almost two bobbins full for my project that shall not be named. I am layering grey shetland and kind of a mauve verigated combed silk that I got at the Black Sheep Gathering a couple of years ago. It is turning out really nice for my first project, and I am getting excited to get it done. (BTW, we're making plans to go to the BSG again this year - we had to miss it last year because of John's health issues. I already have a little stash of fiber that I've gotten in past years, now that I'm kind of getting into this spinning thing, it may be a dangerous place for me to be!!! All those vendors - oh, boy!)
We always have a yummy potluck - today, one lady even made potato latkas right there - I took "Reah's 3 Step Salad" - I thought I had posted the recipe before, but couldn't find it so here it is:
Reah's 3 Step Salad
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 Tbsp. sugar
6 c. torn Romaine lettuce (I used the Fresh Express Butter Lettuce Salad – It has some baby greens in it to, so it is colorful and tasty)
1 cup sliced celery
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
3 green onions, sliced
First Step is the Dressing:
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a jar so you can shake it up really well before you put it on the salad. (BTW: if you don't normally keep dry mustard or garlic powder in your kitchen, look in the bulk foods section of your grocery store = you can generally purchase only a tablespoon or so for just a few cents rather than buying a whole can or jar of something that you'd not use in the future)
Second Step: I use a Teflon coated skillet for this part - Combine the sliced almonds and the sugar. Cook over medium heat stiring until the nuts are toasted and lightly coated with melted sugar. This takes 10 or 15 minutes - don't hurry it or your sugar will burn. Spread the coated nuts on foil to cool - break apart when cooled. (I actually double this part of the recipe so I have some extras for munching....)
Third Step: In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, celery, onions & oranges. JUST BEFORE SERVING, top with the sugared almonds. Shake your dressing well again and pour over the salad - toss gently.
To take this to a party, combine your lettuce, onions & celery. Take the oranges, nuts & dressing separately & combine JUST BEFORE serving - otherwise, your lettuce will get limp an the sugar will melt off the nuts, and we wouldn't want that to happen.
They showed one area on TV where the jersey barriers between the lanes had been strewed about like some child's toys. Those things weigh 4000 pounds a piece!
I think this is the airport - the Walmart looked like this as well. My sister said that they had just opened a new Walgreens Pharmacy - it had 6" of water throughout. Pretty amazing.
I emailed Gretchen Wilson of Gretchen's Woll Mill last night about how to get aid to the people at the Black Sheep Creamery. Her response is as follows:
"Thanks Tina -I have fielded about 100 emails a day and 30 calls a day since I sent that email to close friends and dairy sheep folks. It continues to go people I have never heard of, and of course is old news now.
I wrote it Tuesday. Since then I have sent out updates but those don't seem to be making the rounds! I have not had time to see Meg's musings but I know they did get the computer up finally and she got to the website. Good thing.
Please stay tuned there for updates- and please pass this one on to your group.
MANY thanks to the folks housing their ewes!
I have not spoken with Brad for a couple days but know they are getting lots of help. A Heifer International Volunteer group went from Seattle today. MANY replacment sheep have been offered from around the country. Beechers was sending truck and crew to resuce the cheeses. Keep praying for Meg and Brad and kids, as the adrenalin will wear off by first of the week and exhaustion will set in.
Money is a good thing. the best at this point I think.
We are setting up an Assistance Fund with website and paypal options. There will hopefully be a link from their website. But I will also send you the info when we get it up on Tuesday.
If folks want to send a check sooner they can mail it to me:
28014 120th ST SE
Monroe WA 98272. Make the check to Black Sheep Creamery and I will get them all to Brad.
The mail is still pretty messed up down there.
Thanks so much!! God Bless- Gretchen"
I did find out that their surving sheep are currently being cared for by Kim & Doug at Mt. Niche Farms in Chehalis - Kim said that they were doing well and the three injured ones were improving.
More information can be found on http://www.chronline.com/ (the local newspaper on line)
Friday, December 07, 2007
Here is the email:
Hey Spinners - got this today from Kathy Green. Read on, and help if you can:
Many of you have heard of, or met, my freinds Meg and Brad Gregory of Black Sheep Creamery in Chehalis WA.
The recent floods have hit them very hard. Their hundred year old homestead had never flooded dangerously in all of its recorded years.
So they were not expecting this to be worse than the last big flood; and they knew where that water mark was.
But-this came very fast and many times worse than ever before.
They did save their family.They were evacuated by boat and helicopter.
They lost 3/4s of their dairy sheep flock including all the rams and the best ewes. All pregnant and due in February.
22 of 85 were alive when they got back in today. All of those spent 12 hours in water.
The creamery, parlor and aging room all were under water. The house had 4 feet and is uninhabitable now. They have 3 kids.
They are in shock and staying with friends. But their are 22 ewes to keep alive now-all of them spent 12 hours in water-they are at a fellow farmer's place nearby.
They have lost next year's income with the ewes that died and their milk.
They have lost years of carefully selected breeding stock.
There is several inches of muck in the creamery and aging facilities. Pasturizers, milkers etc-- all in muck.
They lost all of this years hay.
They lost all fences and many field shelters.
They have lost many thousands of dollars of aged cheeses.
As some of you know they were just getting out of their "day jobs" and expanding the farm, which was doing great in the national cheese market. There is no insurance for this sort of loss.
SO-- please pray for them.
If you can spare time this month to help them muck out and set things right before their lambs start coming, please call me-Gretchen Wilson at 360-793-0962.
If you have dairy stock you can donate when they get ready for it, please call me.
If you have hay you can spare please call me. God Bless- Gretchen Wilson"
As I said, we are looking for ways to help. Their web site Black Sheep Creamery.com has a gripping story (click on "Musings 12-2007) - Whew, what a story.
I will let you know what I find out.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Looks like everyone had a great time at Miss Peach's birthday party . They met so many new kitties from all over the world and enjoyed Miss Peach's Victorian hospitality. There was a surprise today too, it was Peach's mom Karla's birthday.
Neelix & Sinda joined with all the other kitties to sing "Happy Purrthday" to her - they must have had a big day (takes a lot of energy to teleport - even if you're only going as far as Pasco, WA) They are both crashed out.
They did say that Miss Peach sent this beautiful gold rose home with them for me. Thank you Miss Peach and many happy returns to Mom Karla!
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
"Oh, I'm getting all cleaned up, because we have been invited to Miss Peach's house for a Tea Party. I'm very excited about it!"
What's the occasion?
"Miss Peach is celebrating the fact that she is feeling better. She got so sick last month, but she has recovered. Are you coming with us mamma?
No, sorry, I've got to work tomorrow. But I'm sure that you and Neelix will have a good time. Would you like to take her some flowers? Some iris perhaps, an orchid, or maybe some plumeria ? It is so fragrant, I'll bet she would really like it.
So, Neelix what do you think of taking Miss Peach some flowers?
"I'm looking to see if I could catch her some fresh fish out of the pond."
Oh, baby, I don't think you'd best catch any of daddy's fishies - he would not be happy with you at all. Maybe you'd best help Sinda carry the flowers.
"Well if I'm taking a flower for Miss Peach, it will be a sunflower. Gold & brown striped, just like Miss Peach and me."
OK, well you two behave yourselves at the Party. Remember not to slurp your tea, and don't make too many trips back to the buffet table. Miss Peach has a LOT of company coming, leave something for everyone else. Give Miss Peach's momma a hug for me, OK? Have a good time. Be home for dinner!
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thankfully the President of The Sudan pardoned Brittish teacher Gillian Gibbons (who was sentenced last Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation for insulting Islam because she allowed her seven year old students to name a class teddy bear Muhammad) and have let her safely return home to Great Britton. Many Sudanese said they thought it was an innocent mistake which could be forgiven after an apology, but radicals called for her to be flogged, or even worse, killed. (now what does that teach those seven year olds?) The Sudanese government has been under pressure in recent years because over 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million have fled their homes because of ethnic and political conflicts in Darfur. I'm sorry, I think maybe some of the Sudanese people spend too much time in the sun or something.
My co-workers & I have "adopted" the sister-in-law of one of our fellow employees. This young woman is serving in the Army in Kuwait. We have put together five boxes of "stuff" to send to her - food items, fuzzy socks, stamps & stationery, a VISA gift card so she can buy international phone cards, other cool and fun stuff. Items on the list were a little slow to come in, but people really came through over the weekend. I hope it cheers her to know that someone is thinking of her over the holidays.
Neelix jumped up and RAN over to the back door a little bit ago. I looked down to see what he was looking at and there was A POSSUM - its little beady eyes were checking out the cat door! I waved my arms & shouted and it ran away. Hopefully it'll see this as an "unfriendly place" - (by the way - do you know what's the difference between a Possum and an O'Possum? An O'Possum is Irish.....) Ok, so much for lame jokes...
Gwennie is down in Alger visiting one of the boys at Tom and Donna's farm. We're hoping that she will produce some wonderfully spotted babies for us. Actually there was some concern last fall about her "gender" so to speak - larger horns than most horned ewes, agressive behavior, and kind of a bass voice. But after a trip to the vet, who checked out all her "girl things" and proclaimed there were no "boy things" about her, (other than her big horns, agressive behavior and deep voice). I guess we'll see in about the middle of April if all her "girl things" are working correctly...
Ok, I'm randomed out - think I'll watch the news and go to bed. Thanks for checking in.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Outside - the sheep are hunkered down - the bonsai are all tucked away in the greenhouse.
Neelix was not happy about the snow - he gave me a look the last time he went out and came right back in that indicated that the whole inconvenience was my fault. Of course.
Inside Sinda has made a little nest up where she can see out the window. It is a little chilly for her, I think I'll have to look for a kitty heating pad.
Outside, it's snowing and snowing and snowing. I was going to go to the grocery store this a.m. - I decided that it was better to stay home - they just said on the news that there had been 43 accidents in our county today - I think I made a wise choice.
Neelix decided that he'd make the best of a bad weather day. I'm surprised that he isn't in front of the TV watching football with the Shepherd.