Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dang it Vern!

What happens when a ram gets bored. This is heavy duty hog panel wire - as you can see - it has a major boo-boo. . . What - Who, Me? Yeah, you, you big knucklehead. You see, Vern's "Play station" was broken (and who, might we ask, broke it??? - bashing through a 4" round post - busting it to smithereens) Well, he's all happy now - The Shepherd fixed it. This time using a 6 inch round post, set in cement - that ought to hold him for a while - Try as I might, I couldn't get a picture of him when he hit the ball, just the aftermath of it swinging... He kept running over to see what I was doing and if I was paying attention to him. Anyhow, this is how the game goes - His brother/buddy/wether Galloway runs up behind him, and smacks him in the backside - then takes off running with Vern in hot pursuit. Just before they get to the play station, Galloway veers off and BAM!, Vern bashes the ball into the middle pole. They will play this game for hours. Ok, so I'm exaggerating, maybe not for hours, but for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Then they get all tuckered out and go sit under their ramada and chew some cud. Then they'll get up and do it all over again. Doesn't take much to entertain those boys...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Progress report on the twin's baby sweaters

Last fall I showed you the yarn that I had made so I could crochet baby sweaters for the identical twin girls that my boss's wife had last summer.

This sweater will be for Annie.

I figured that I'd better get on the stick or they would have outgrown 'em before I could make 'em, so I've been working on these sweaters in my spare time. As the yarn is pretty random, (it was spun and plied "as is" so there are some pretty wacky color combinations - (and there is the yarn that the "left" sleeve was crocheted from that turned into a rainbow!)

I finished the first sleeve for Violet's sweater (honestly, I got the wool long BEFORE I knew they were going to call one of the girls Violet, but isn't this just too perfect?) this afternoon while I was waiting for my laundry to wash. Next the yoke goes on and with that, attaching the sleeves, then the hoods.

All I can say is, I sure hope they fit... I'm definitely going to take them out and try them on the girls before I tuck in any ends, that is for sure!

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wicket & Krissie's big adventure -

Do YOU know why we're locked up in this barn?

(well, notice the "baby bump" on her side there)

Lat year at the fair, The Shepherd talked to a couple who were interested in getting a couple of sheep. At that time, he didn't have anyone for sale, but it's somewhat like the story of "Goldylocks and the Three Bears" around here - sometimes sheep are "just right", sometimes they are "too small" (well, that's not really been an issue...) and sometimes, they are TOO BIG - ie, Ms Stilts - or Krissie (or "Bigfoot" as The Shepherd calls her)

And then there is Wicket - our little 2 1/2 lb. bottle baby, for whom the bowl is always TOO EMPTY - ie - "Feed Me, Seymore" (oh, just google it...)
He also has been known to run right over anyone who gets between him and his food bowl and The Shepherd was worried that he might unintentionally hurt one of the new "itty bittys"

Anyhow, The Shepherd decided that with babies on the way - imminent, as the case may be (look back at the first picture) , that perhaps Wicket and Krissie might be good candidates for a new home and when the couple he met at the fair called last month, he decided it was a match made in heaven.

So today was the day that Wicket and Krissie went to their new home.

I helped by closing doors behind and keeping the "natives" from getting too restless during the transfer from barn to truck & trailer.

I used to go with when he took sheep to their new homes, but several years ago, when we took one of our first lambs, April, over to our friend Nancy's farm, as we left, she ran behind us - crying and calling out "Hey, hey! Don't leave without me! I don't know any of these sheep!!!"

It broke my heart.

So now, I just say good bye at the gate and the rest of the girls? They were just glad there was more room at the feeder...

And Wicket & Krissie's new home? Five acres of lush green pasture, tasty third cutting hay and a canvas covered quonset hut all of their own - pretty deluxe digs - good luck kids - have a good life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Beautiful Things

Wow, it's been a couple of years since I did a Three Beautiful Things Tuesday blog - shame on me!

When you switch computers - my switch was a couple of years ago but I lost all of my "favorites" among them being Three Beautiful Things - her blog is kind of made of up things that made her day - I used it to show you pictures of things that I wanted to share, but didn't necessarily have a whole "blog" about -

So my first of these "Three Beautiful Things" is the pretty singles that came from my January "Roving of the Month" Club that my sisters & I got me for Christmas.

My second TBT was a concert that we went to a couple of weeks ago by our friends Lydia McCauley and Nancy Rumbel - It was called "Live in Rome" - because it was performed at the "Rome Grange" - a sweet old building that has seen many, many events in the community. Their concert was a wonderful mix of old Italian melodies and folk songs and some of each of Lydia & Nancy's newer contemporary pieces.
It was a wonderful evening!

And what could be more beautiful than the promise of spring?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We watch the Super Moon Rise

Remember the old song "When the Moon Comes Over The Mountain"?

Well, tonight was a "Super Moon" coming over the mountain and at about 7:45 p.m. The Shepherd said "Do you want to go over on the Ferndale Road (a spot north of our house that has unimpeded views of the horizon) and watch the moon come up?" We had seen the following article in our local newspaper so it sounded like it might be a cool thing to do. "Sure," I said.

On Saturday, 'super full' moon will be biggest in 20 years

On Saturday, March 19, a full moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon" - the biggest in almost 20 years.

"The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."

In Whatcom County, the chances of sighting the full moon are problematic - the forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies Saturday.

Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee): diagram. Nearby perigee moons are about 14 percfent bigger and 30 percent brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon's orbit.

"The full moon of March 19th occurs less than one hour away from perigee--a near-perfect coincidence that happens only 18 years or so," Chester said.

A perigee full moon brings with it extra-high "perigean tides," but this is nothing to worry about, according to NOAA. In most places, lunar gravity at perigee pulls tide waters only a few centimeters (an inch or so) higher than usual. Local geography can amplify the effect to about 15 centimeters (six inches) - not exactly a great flood.

Indeed, contrary to some reports circulating the Internet, perigee moons do not trigger natural disasters. The "super moon" of March 1983, for instance, passed without incident. And an almost-super moon in Dec. 2008 also proved harmless.

The best time to look for this "super moon" is when the moon is near the horizon. That is when illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.

It had been partly cloudy all day long, so we weren't sure if we would be able to see anything, but we found a likely spot - and as luck would have it - after about 15 minutes of waiting and wondering... UP she came! As cool as it looked reflected in the little puddle of water beside the road, we wished we'd headded further west to Lummi Shore Drive where you could see it rise over Bellingham Bay. I'll bet that was pretty cool.

So her are my pictures of the super moon - as good as my little Panasonic could do. - and Happy first day of SPRING!!!! Coming soon? Lambs!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Shearing Day!

We had the sheep sheared last week.

It begins with an intricate dance of getting everyone into separate catch pens.

Vern & Galloway have to be "babysat" because Vern (the ram) occasionally takes umbrage to being shut up in a small pen with his brother -

"Maybe if I just twist it one more time...."

Thankfully The Shepherd did some halter training with Vern when he was younger, so he is very good about being on a lead, because that's were he went after his attempt at a jail break.

Our shearer, Zander, was due anytime between 11:30 and noon - so he had about 15 minutes on the lead.

While the girls and Wicket were all penned up in the barn

Keep these fluffy girls in your memory bank...

Vern, in a "look how handsome I am" pose.

He does have quite nice wool, don't you think? It is very soft for a ram fleece.

I think The Shepherd will be taking this to Black Sheep next summer.

Zander arrived right after noon and got straight down to business.

He had very good control of the sheep - even Vern didn't wiggle around. The Shepherd and I were speechless!

The fleeces came off in beautiful straight clips - I was concerned that they had started to "roo" (where the fleece of Shetland sheep comes off naturally with the warming of the spring weather - not all breeds of sheep will roo - mostly only the primitive breeds) Rooing makes it harder for the shearer to get a good clip and often the sheep will look like "lumpy Lizzies" afterwards because it is hard for the clippers to get through the fleece.

And here is Luna's baby bump....Not quite Natalie Portman, but it will do for us.

After each shearing the fleece is laid out and then folded and rolled.

Then they are all put on a tarp in the greenhouse to cool down.

The Shepherd has already skirted out Galloway and has started on Vern. Vern's fleece completely covers his 4 x 8 skirting table!

Everybody got pedicures and worming medicine.

Remember all those fluffy sheep from before? Well - here they are after their haircuts - trying to figure out who is who - there was quite a bit of head butting going on for a while.

The four "little girls" (our yearling ewes) were just that after shearing -little! Zander seemed very amused that he could just pick them up and tuck them under his arm to return them to the barn -

So, the temps were not as bitterly cold (in the teens and 20's that they were the week before - mostly hung out around 40-45 degrees - so The Shepherd took pity on the ladies and put the heat lamp on for them for a couple of days - it is supposed to get below freezing tonight, so I think he shut the barn door and turned it on tonight too.

Lambing is next - probably a couple or three weeks to go. "Christmas time" for The Shepherd.