Monday, May 27, 2013

A Weekend Get Away

Our family had planned a family reunion for the Memorial Day weekend.  In Eastern Washington - about a 500 mile round trip - you go about 60 miles south on I-5 to Everett, then go east on SR 2 over Stevens Pass - and up the hill from Wenatchee to where I grew up - not a big deal, until the day before you are supposed to leave, a truck runs into a corner strut on the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River, about 30 miles south, and the dang thing collapses - ALL FOUR LANES - splash, right into the drink.  Luckily there were only two vehicles on the bridge at the time and both of the drivers & one passengers got out OK, with a minimum of physical injury - only possibly having the c**p scared out of them when the bridge disappeared out from under them.  This has completely closed the Interstate 5 freeway at Mt. Vernon, WA and will push about 70,000 vehicles a day onto the side roads and alternate routes that the state has figured out.    (I took this picture Saturday a.m. out the car window on the fly, but I think you can biggafy my picture and see on the right side of the bridge, where the metal "x"s disappear - that's where the bridge "disappeared" into the river)

The Shepherd is a planner - and he doesn't much like heavy traffic - (it took one of my co-workers over an hour and a half to get through the detours on Friday afternoon) but, since we left home at about 8:00 on Saturday morning, we hoped that we wouldn't have too much trouble - luckily we breezed right through the detours, and were on our way - only a few minutes extra added to our trip.

We figured since we were going to E. Wash. and due to the fact that The Shepherd is looking for a new ram, we would make a little bit of a sheepy tour out of the trip and contacted a couple of Shetland breeders in East Wenatchee and Rock Island - just a few minutes from each other.  

First we went to see Amy in Rock Island.  She and her husband and kids have both Shetland sheep and Dwarf Nigerian Goats (and a few other goats that we didn't meet)  Very nice animals, and can you believe that I left my camera in the car?  So when we went over to Amanda's I had to take a few extra pictures to make up for it.

I can't remember what this little HST ewe lamb's name is, but she is a real sweetie!  It must be a personality trait, because she was a lot like HB - just a little politician -  she comes walking up and acts like "Hi - how are you, what's your name, will you pet me???"

 As you can see, she had everyone's attention - That is Jackie C. in the blue - we met her last year at Black Sheep. 

That is Amanda in the brown coat.  She will be bringing some of her sheep to Eugene in June so we'll get to see her again soon. 

A big thank you to Amy and Amanda for showing up their flocks. 


"Ya'll come back now, y'hear?"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three pretty things in the garden

 Sunshine and blue skies alternating with cool rainy days - that's spring in the Pacific NW.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in Oklahoma and other places in the Midwest that are suffering because of bad weather.

The kitties have been "squirrelly" lately - I think part of it is the warmer weather - they are outside more and it is appealing to them to be outside in the evenings - and, there "may" be some fleas in the carpet :-(     -  but for the most part they are staying inside at night.  I worry so - but they are farm cats and all I can do is try to put a mental "protective field" around them -

Bella got her foot caught in the cat door a couple of weeks ago - we think she was protecting the house from the ebil orang dude.  She bit me on the knuckle before The Shepherd could spring her loose.  Luckily it didn't get infected, and luckily she didn't seem to have any damage at all from the whole event.  The Shepherd came out on the short end of the stick because he wrenched his back in the whole escapade and had to go to our friendly chiropractor several times before it would settle down. 

I have been doing a LOT of reading - Robin Carr (a new-to-me author that my sister introduced me to) and a couple of the Joanne Fluke "Hannah Swensen Mysteries", a Diane Mott Davidson murder mystery (that was way too hard to follow -too many obscure characters)  and a new British author called Marcia Willett - "A Week in Winter" and right now I'm reading "A Friend of the Family" - her writing is in the style of Maeve Binchy, and I enjoyed "A Week in Winter" so much that I went on Amazon dot com and  ordered 5 more of her books.  yippie!   

So that's about it.  Happy Lucky Penny Day! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hey Effurybody! It's Caturday!!

 Hello Effurrybody and effurry Kitty!

It's Gracie, here with the Caturday Report.

It was pretty quiet here on the farm this week.  It has been very sunny and warm - leading to lots of naps outside in the yard. 

And lots of naps inside on the big bed.  Although this morning Mummy unceremoniously dumped us out of bed so she could go to her string makers meeting (her spinner guild)  - she even won the raffle prize, which she said she'll show you later in the week.  

Mummy has been reading a lot of books - she just finished "Crunch Time" by Diane Mott Davidson.  She said it had too may characters and way too many plots to keep track of - do I look like I care?

She also just ordered a whole bunch of other books from - one of her favorite places to shop because you can get almost anything there.  In fact, she just ordered a new flex hose for the shower in the big bathroom. 

The Shepherd, however, shops locally, and finds the prettiest things.  

While Mummy called April the month of "Yellow Things" - May could be called the month of "Pink Things" around here - This cherry three has turned the entire back yard pink with it's petals and blossoms that have fallen off onto the ground.  It makes it hard for me and Georgie to camouflage ourselves with all that pink.  The pink peonies will be blooming soon too.    

But, Mummy said that the weather man says that the blue sunny skies and the warm sun puddles are gone for a while,

It's raining out there right now,  in the dark of night. 

George has been sticking to Mummy like glue ever since he committed his transgression of staying out all night and scaring the stuffings out of her.  So he and I have taken to sleeping at night at her feets in the big bed.  She says we make it hard for her to turn over, but she is glad to know where we are at night...

So, Mummy says "that's all the news that's fit to print" -  what ever that means.  I think I'll take another nap before she kicks me out again.

Effurybody have a great week, and remember to hug YOUR Mummy tomorrow!  

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Looking Back Sunday - Waayyyy Back - to 2006!

Oh, Happy Day!

Tuesday, May 7 is my 7th Blogoversary!  My walk down memory lane is looking back at spring (since I started in May)

I started my blog after a diagnosis of cancer - to be able to update my friends and family in one spot - The name "A Blip on the Radar" came from my sister, who said - "Hopefully this (the cancer) will be no more than A Blip on the Radar"  -  and a blog was born.  Then, when everything "sorted out" after surgery, etc. people began to say - "You're still going to blog, aren't you?"

Hmm - I kind of enjoyed having an outlet to write and post my pictures - "Sure," I said -

That spring (2006) we had 6 lambs - It is always so much fun to see them running out in the front pasture - I'm sure you've heard my whining about not having any lambs this year, but it's really been a blessing - The Shepherd has had colds all winter (but, thankfully no pneumonia this year) - and spending nights out in a cold barn would not have been good for him.  It has also gotten progressively harder to find good new homes for the sheep - so he just decided to take a break this year.  

On my blog header it says: "Stories of everyday life on our farm, featuring cats, our little flock of Shetland Sheep and garden life, plus a recipe to try every once in a while. Wait, now there is spinning and crocheting, don't forget spinning and crocheting all that Shetland wool... So, thanks for stopping by - who knows what you'll find!!" 

So that's what I've tried to deliver - just every day life - I've made some wonderful friends - we've met up in Eugene at the Black Sheep Gathering in June, or gone to visit in Arizona.  We have sheep friends, cat friends, dog friends, crocheting & spinning friends and other friends who also write of every day life. 

It has given us a chance to show off our handsome new little fellows

or show pretty things from The Shepherd's garden.  

 and his flock.

Our special little boy "HB" brought a lot of excitement into the neighborhood - a sheep that looked like a panda!   

I started a "sitemeter" a year or so after I started blogging - it shows I've had over 48,000 visitors so, if I extrapolate out - I figure I've had over 50,000 visits to my blog.  When Blogger started keeping tabs on "referring traffic sources" - it shows that the most visitors come over from Nancy K's old blog, A Shepherd's Voice - I understand that since she isn't farming any longer, she is mostly on Facebook (which I'm not), but she has a great blog roll, so I'm sure a lot of people visit her blog, just to go through her blog roll - I know I do...

 I also get a lot of jumps from Sharon's blog "In Stitches"  Sharon is a weaver of extraordinary talent - she's also a spinner, a crafter, and a wonderful grandmother.  Her blog is one of my favorites.  (she's one of the bloggers I've met at Black Sheep Gathering)

It's also fun to look back through my "Labels" section - "From the Garden" and "Neelix"  are hands down favorites - Neelix went to "The Bridge" in August 2008 - we miss him still - George and Gracie (and Bella) have filled the holes, but he was such a character, he left awful big paws to fill.

 My post that gets the most visits (according to Blogger) is my post on "Green corn tamale pie" that I did in August of 2006.  it says I've had 447 visits to that page.  Now, I don't mean to think badly of Blogger's stats, but it seems to me,if there have been 447 visits to that page, there would be more than 1 comment.  Don't ya think?

And why would "A view from the cat door" from January of 2012 be so interesting that it would come in second with 421 visits?  I don't have a lot of confidence in Blogger's stats page.

 And maybe I'm wrong but here's my audience:

United States  25,693
Russia    7051
Canada  1486
Germany 1133
South Korea  895
United Kingdom   830
France   629
Netherlands  576
Ukraine  442
Indonesia  379

South Korea and Indonesia???   What's with that? 

Unless they just like looking at the cutest darn Shetland lambs around...

Or the prettiest, serene-ist looking ewes -

As I say in my emails -  Marietta Shetlands, Bellingham, WA, where "the ewes are strong, the rams are good looking and all the lambs are above average."

 My "most viewed months" were June of 2010 with 1906 visits and September 2012 with 1910 visits.  In June 2010 I didn't have a lot of posts, but I had a big one about Black Sheep Gathering and I was participating in a blog hop called "The colors of (the month name here)" where you would take pictures during that month and link up with other bloggers who had done the same - wow, that was a fun meme - you really got to see a lot of the world -

One of my favorites was the lady from Australia (and I've lost her blog now) who had a picture of a pasture full of kangaroos.  Just like we would have a picture of a pasture of sheep or goats.  The photographer must have made some kind of noise because they were all "heads up" and looking at the camera - what a cool picture.  

My blog has been a place of solace in times sadness and a place to celebrate in times of gladness. 

I have met many many talented people and have gotten encouragement from them on my endeavors.  

 I've gotten to show off some of the more unusual fruits and vegetables that The Shepherd has in his garden (yes, this is PURPLE asparagus)

So, who knows how much longer I'll keep blogging - maybe in another 7 years I'll have that site meter up to 100,00 visits?

And I sure appreciate your comments -  Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Oh, good, it's almost Friday!

The weather is supposed to be spectacular this weekend.  Yay! 


April Showers bring May Flowers

 The patch of tulips right beside where I park my car.

These pictures are from early last month.

The little green flower buds grow and grow

And grow

And start to show some color

Then they burst out in all their glory.

We took bouquets to church and I took a vase full to work for our anniversary - they lasted all week and just kept getting bigger and bigger.

They are called peony tulips and The Shepherd doesn't remember where he got them, but everyone always insists that they aren't tulips - like we wouldn't know???

But last week they got kind of beat down by the rain.

It's supposed to be 70 degrees this weekend.  Yippie!

Happy May (2nd) Day!