Monday, June 27, 2011

We took 4th Place!

This is Ian Stewart - he was this year's fleece judge for the Black Sheep Gathering.

He had to pick the top 5 Shetland fleeces out of the class of 24. Not an enviable job, by any means.

Click on any of these pictures to biggafy them and see the beautiful crimp in this fleece

This is the proud Shepherd with his fourth place fleece from our wether, Galloway. Hopefully the ribbon will help us find a nice fiber home for him, (Galloway, that is, not The Shepherd) even if we can't find a place for him with his twin brother Vern (the ram) who has produced so many beautiful babies for us.

We have entered three times in four years, and been in the top 5 twice, and in the top 10 all three times. Good job Mr. Shepherd!

And can you believe it? I think I convinced The Shepherd not to sell this fleece - I want to spin it.

Nice strong locks - and it will wash out a pretty creamy white.

I took a few more pictures of our visit to the Black Sheep Gathering - I have stories of the class I took and pictures of (I know I didn't need any more, but I just couldn't help myself) the fiber that I bought to play with. Later -

Friday, June 24, 2011

Show & Tell

This is some Kathy Green combed top - probably mostly Targhee - nice fluffy stuff - I'm calling it Caramel Fudge Ripple. I bought an 8 oz. ball of it at the Spinner's Eden Fleece sale in April.

I will make a couple of pairs of fingerless mitts and have the rest of the yarn for the craft sale.

This was the April offering from my Roving of the Month Club. It looks like the sky on a summer's day.

I still have 4 ounces of it left to spin - I'll do the same with it as the brown - a couple pair of mitts and the rest in yarn.

I'm trying to decide if I want to enter anything (yarn or crocheted items) for the Fiber Arts Show at BSG - It will depend on if they will let me remove it from the show on Sunday morning because that's when we are leaving....I guess all I can do is ask -

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's in the feeder today?

The Shepherd gave us some icky hay last week.

My mom was really mad and she would stand out in the front pasture and yell, and yell, and yell. Some of us yelled with her, but he didn't realize why she was yelling.

The Shepherd's Wife (that lady who doesn't come out to the barn very often) thought maybe there was something wrong with our food - she found that we were out of water and filled it up, but that still didn't shut up my mom.

But this stuff doesn't taste too bad...maybe it's a new bale?

Let's see if I can get in there a little closer...

Yes Eva, The Shepherd discovered that he had an old musty bale of hay - actually almost a bale and a half -

Your mamma is a pretty smart sheep - now if she would just stop getting up at a quarter to five in the morning...

Monday, June 20, 2011

A very long 10 minutes -

The little miss in the front is Rita - she's got a thing for sticking her little schnoz through the fence (you know, the grass is always greener thing...)

Well, Saturday evening, I heard one of the lambs calling - I said to The Shepherd that it sounded like someone was in trouble - "Oh, no", he said, "it's probably Blanco - his mom is cutting him off...and the world is a pretty horrible place right now"

Turns out, later, he said - "You were right, that was Rita crying - she had her head stuck in the feeder - I had to cut her out" (4" hog panel holding the hay in - just the right size for a hungry lamb head to stick through, but not the right size for her to get it back out again)

Tonight, The Shepherd had a church meeting (in Blaine - 25 minutes away) - I'm at home, puttering and trying to get the living room to a state that doesn't look like chaos for our house/sheep sitter while we are at the Black Sheep Gathering this weekend. Suddenly, I realize that there is a lamb crying again - frantically crying - Adrenaline kicks in - I grabbed the cordless phone and ran out to the pasture - sure enough, she didn't learn the first time - now she has her head stuck through another piece of hog panel that he'd put up as a temporary fence right after the lambs were born to keep them in a smaller space and he just had it tied up against the fence in case he needed to use it there again. And on the other side (the greener side, mind you) was some very choice looking bamboo... and there was Rita with her fat little head stuck again.

Now, one might think there might need to be some genetic interference here - and we've lost a lamb from getting her head caught in a feeder a couple of years ago - it was a very sad deal - and Rita has a very pretty apricot colored fleece - Don't want to lose that - So I get on the phone to The Shepherd - luckily he has his cell phone turned on - and even more luck - he was on his way home - but he could hardly hear me "what is the matter?" he kept asking - I'm out a ways from the phone base, so he can barely hear me - "Rita stuck - head in fence" I kept yelling (like that was going to make him hear me better...) I finally determined that he was going to be home in about 10 minutes - (it was 15 but who's counting) - and he had to change out of his good clothes - (another 5 minutes-)

Luckily, Rita was still pretty interested in the grass on the side of the fence her mouth was on - go figure - but she was struggling and it was hard to keep her still -

The Shepherd found a hacksaw blade (unfortunately blade only - the saw was too big to fit in the space) and it seemed like it took him forever to cut one of the bars and free the little gal - after a quick once over, she took off for the comfort of her mommy and sister -

All's well that ends well - the old saying goes - I'm still strung out on the adrenalin from seeing her stuck in that fence and trying to hold her still, while waiting for The Shepherd to get home. That was a very long ten minutes.

These pictures were from Saturday afternoon while everyone was milling around - I managed to catch them when they were lined up so you can see the colors.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking Back Sunday? Nope, real time...

I went back to 5 years ago on the 18th of June (when these pictures were taken) and I had almost the same pictures - so I thought I'd show you the pictures I took last week and what is in our garden this spring.

This beautiful peony was a gift from our friend Diane. We didn't have it staked very well and the blossoms were so heavy that the stalks are all lying down on the ground - but it is still one of the prettiest peonies I've ever seen.

I took LOTS of pictures of bonsai azaleas -

Mother Nature came out all "girly" in our yard this year - it seems like everything is pink or close to -

Actually I don't think I had any pansies in my 2006 pictures, but this one was so cute, I just had to show you - and remarkably, the color came through real true - and my camera is not very good at picking up the reds and blues...

This little rosa glauca was just about a foot tall when The Shepherd planted it out by our driveway - now, even with some pretty stringent pruning it is over six feet tall - the flowers are just about this size. and the blue foliage is very striking.

Last year, The Shepherd experimented with planting lupine out at the front gate - it has come up much bigger than his expectations - some of these plants will probably have to be moved - but they are so pretty - especially the pink ones.

And this picture is for my older sister - recognize this paper bark maple that The Shepherd got from you a couple of years ago? He whacked it off and put it in this little pot. If you click on the picture to biggafy it, you can see how the bark is beginning to peel - hence the name "Paper bark maple"

I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through our gardens - up next? Sheep! They are growing!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What we've been up to...

I know that I have talked about our church before. It is a small, and, as The Shepherd puts it. blue collar, Unitarian-Universalist church in Blaine, WA - - Established by Icelandic fishermen in the late 1920's - in fact for many years, the service was even given in Icelandic!

Well this spring, our minister (Rev. Nan) , who has been there for 20 years (!) announced her retirement. Although only paid half time, her ministry has been much more -

Here she is with The Shepherd, who is also known as "The Minister of Music" -

They have worked very closely over the years.

For several months he has been planning a service to celebrate her ministry with our church. A couple of weeks ago, he decided to make a small "garden" on the table that holds our chalice.

Isn't it pretty? (If you click on the pictures, they will biggify - and you can see the details - so cute)

He put plants that he will re-purpose into Nan's garden at home and interspersed them with some button mums and freesia for color spots.

He used moss and little pieces (maybe 2 x 3 inch) of slate for a little path.

It made a lovely centerpiece for the front of the church.

He spoke and did some readings - we had several church members volunteer to write about how her ministry had affected them.

Nan's daughter came up from Seattle. She spoke about how her mom had influenced her life and she sang two songs, one "Wild Mountain Thyme" needed my guitar accompaniment

And our choir sang several songs

And it was not all serious business though - Remember I spoke of the church's Icelandic roots? - one member proclaimed Nan and her husband Queen & King of the Vikings - including the fancy "hats" -

One of the gifts we gave Nan was a lap quilt (that I made) - (don't ask - it was the first of quilts, it was the last of quilts)

I can really see, though, how quilters are seduced into the craft - it was kind of fun (except for the midnight work by flashlight) , and the materials - oh my, it just made me drool to walk through the aisles of fabric in that quilt store -

I used four panels of photos printed on material - just used my old ink jet printer - worked like a charm and they were very good reproductions. I was impressed.

As people came in the door of the church, we had them sign the back of the quilt as the "Guest Book" so she could see the names of everyone who was there

Here is our Board President Vikki presenting Rev. Nan with a picture of another gift - a wonderful slate garden bench - (to be delivered at a later date to her home)

Some of you also know that I also do the newsletter for our little church - Here were my thoughts from my last column as our church looks for a new minister -

"Holy cow! Loosing Rev. Nan AND Oprah at the same time? What ever will we do?

Over the past 20-25 years, both of these fine ladies have nurtured and taught us new ways to deal with the events and issues in our lives.

It will be a brave new world out there for millions worldwide (on a grand scale) and oh, 40 or 50 of us here in Whatcom County (on a much smaller scale) - but soon, it will be summer and we will be distracted by (hopefully) warm sunny days - until reality hits - the re-runs are over - wait a minute - what do you mean, there are no new episodes?

Both Nan and Oprah have encouraged us to be the best that we can be. They have encouraged us to take responsibility for our own actions and to share, lovingly, and sometimes outrageously, with others who are not as blessed as we might be."

So, we'll use those lessons to do our best - we'll be OK - and sooner or later, they'll be back.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tree peony Tuesday

The Shepherd is slowly building a collection of tree peonies -

They are pricy little suckers - $25 - 40 minimum - but well worth it - they have been fairly hardy and are putting on more "shrubbery" every year.

I particularly like this variegated one - some of the blossoms came out all red this year - I hope that isn't a sign of things to come.

I like the flash of color that they add to the garden.

And here is another of our pretty Japanese Maples for Michelle - this one in miniature!

We are enjoying the few days of sunshine that we have been given - It had been almost 9 months since we had 70 degree days!

I need to get out and take some pictures of the lambs - or the little sausages as The Shepherd calls them - they are so rolly- polly, and growing like weeds!