Saturday, December 30, 2017

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Well, I decided to take the Instant Pot plunge.  The programmable electric pressure cooker that had taken the internet by storm.  And I must admit, it's pretty cool.

First off, I don't have any extra space on my kitchen.  One solution, give the bread machine to my church for our garage sale. 

Secondly, they are kinda pricey.  Enter Christmas elf, sister Merrill.  I could get it on sale at Amazon, and it was right in her giving budget.  Woo hoo. 

Gotta love Amazon.  Ordered that baby up and it was here in a day.  Then it sat in the laundry room/back porch for the past month.  I had to find the right time, study the blogs and the recipes, etc, etc, etc. 

Well that roast sitting in the freezer wasn't getting any younger, and I've had a week off to study and read, etc, etc, etc... tonight was the night. Actually it went pretty well.  I didn't blow anything up, and the pot roast was quite tasty.  Mind you it took an hour longer than I thought it would, they say "oh it cooks so much faster", but they don't mention all the time you have to wait around for it to come up to pressure or for the pressure to drop.  But now that I know that, I can allow for it. 

So, it might be a little late in the game for me to have one, but I think I'll enjoy using it.  Didn't have time to take a picture of that beautiful pot roast...someone was very hungry and I think he might have bit me if I said, "oh, wait, I have to take a picture". Ha ha.  Stay tuned for more stories from my kitchen and the Instant Pot

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A little halter training

The Shepherd had started halter training before Fiber Fusion, but when Annie got sick that was put aside.  He had a couple of the boys sold and it is infinitely easier if they will walk on a lead.  Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it's like dragging a dead sheep behind you.  These lambs seemed to take to it pretty well and just hopped up into the trailer when it was time to go.

Halloween snow!

Mother Nature surprised us with an early snowfall.  Actually it wasn't on Halloween, but pretty darn close.  Like me, Gracie isn't a big fan of snow. 

Monday, December 25, 2017


I have been making up for lost time on my new electric spinning wheel.  Since I'm working on yarn for a new vest for The Shepherd, I have decided to do one bobbin for him, one bobbin for me. (I get easily bored spinning plain white yarn) This green is some merino and fire-star that I got from Paradise Fibers in Spokane.  I finally had to unsubscribe from their newsletter because I kept buying stuff and god only knows I don't need to add to my already abundant stash. (You think I'm kidding don't you...)

This is also the last project on my Ashford Traveller wheel, so it is for sale. Contact me if you are interested.

Fall colors, etc.

Well, I have been widely rounded for neglecting my blog.  So, since I have a little time this week, I'll do little catch up.  Sadly I have a spammer who will not leave my blog alone so I've had to implement comment moderation.  I really hated to do it but the spammer was bad, so it goes.  I hope you will still leave comments. 

These are some pictures from our garden.  It was so pretty this year.  The biggest red maple was planted shortly after we moved here.  It was one of the trees that formed the background for our wedding in 1994! 

The Shepherd has planted our yard with great thought to how it will look at all times of the year.  His 45 +/- years of landscaping experience shows. 

Pumpkin harvest

The Shepherd picked all his pumpkins  (try to say that fast, ha ha) at the end of October and brought them in the greenhouse to set a while before processing.  This year he switched from the Amish pumpkins to a French variety,  they are bigger. 
Just before Thanksgiving we started baking them up.  I scrape the baked pumpkin into a big bowl and hit it with my immersion blender until it is nice and smooth.  Then I pack it in two cup amounts in freezer bags.  Just enough to make a pie or pumpkin muffins.  Nice to have as the year goes on. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Quite a scare

We had quite a scare with Annie last week.  The Shepherd was getting ready to go to Monroe and Fiber Fusion NW with our "teen aged girls" and he realized that something was wrong with Annie.  Called the vet and loaded her into our dog crate not knowing what was wrong...did she have pneumonia like Jefferson had just had or what.

She was in very bad shape by the time he got there - they sprang into action and a quick diagnosis determined it was most likely sheep polio, caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1. Which causes swelling on the brain which leads to blindness.  They started   B1 shots immediately and something to stem the swelling in her brain.

Long story short, we almost lost her and she did go blind, but she began eating the next day and more shots here at home plus pills for pain and isolation from her sisters and brothers miraculously she has recovered.  No blindness that we can tell and she seems to not be any worse for wear.   Shetlands are genetically hardy little sheep, they have to be to live on those cold windy islands in the North Sea. 

Now we just need to stop the bullying that happens when you reintroduce a sheep that's been out of commission into the flock.  Poor little thing. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

He got another pretty ribbon!

 Look who got the Grand Champion Colored Fleece at Fiber Fusion NW in Monroe WA yesterday.

This is The Shepherd with Jefferson's fleece.  The one that the judge at Black Sheep said felt like cashmere, and then forgot to move up to the top 10... Oh well, you win some, and you lose some.  This time he's the winner. 

At this rate, we're going to have to make a "Ribbon Board" for him :-)

Nothing would be more fun to make.

Hope you've had a good weekend. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

A current pic of #1Son

Here is a current picture

Thursday, September 14, 2017

He's for sale - with prize winning fleeces in his background

 The Shepherd calls him #1 son, I call him Lamar - but we're both calling him "For Sale"  He even comes with a little brother wether buddy.  (that's a must) 

He has awfully nice horns and his fleece is like silk - Judith McKenzie said his dad's fleece felt like cashmere and he's inherited that fine trait.

So if you are interested, please leave a comment on the bottom of this blog, or you can email us at marietta_shetlands at hotmail dot com. 

We also have some ewes available - you'd need to talk to The Shepherd about which ones, but I know one of them is white. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Things are great in the pumpkin patch

Getting bigger every day.  These are a French pumpkin that don't necessarily turn orange, but if I remember, they were very tasty.  I'll keep you updated. 

The Pacific NW has been on fire for the past month but a particularly bad one is burning critical habitat and endangered species in the Columbia Gorge.  Fire was started by teenagers setting off fireworks.  It makes me incredibly sad. 

One of my coworkers will be out of the office tomorrow and my boss asked me to work.  I'll miss the sleeping in time, but appreciate the hours. 

Well, time to go fix dinner.  Fresh corn out of the garden tonight.  Yum.

I'm on Instagram now.  @menolly44.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Are YOU ready?

Yes, the "Great American Eclipse" - coming up on Monday and I'm ready.  Got my official solar shades and my observing guide - ap's on my tablet and King 5 will be broadcasting all morning.  And I decided not to even try to pretend that I was working on Monday morning, I took some vacation hours so I could stay home and see the real deal. 

What are YOU going do be doing?    

Meanwhile, out in the pasture

Did anyone see what happened to the month of July?   The lambs are bigger, the pasture is browner, but I sure don't remember the days going by...

I think part of it was the smoke.  About mid month, there were fires burning up north in BC.  The smoke, however, doesn't respect borders and soon our skies were filled with dirty brown haze.

Not only making it hard to see, but hard to breath as well. Happily it rained last weekend and the skies cleared. 

The Shepherd has been working on socializing his crew of lambs.  They are coming along quite nicely.  Next is halter training.  That is always fun to watch - (not for The Shepherd, however)  Most of the time they will do the "flop" until they get used to having that weird thing around their nose.  He is taking them to Fiber Fusion in the fall and needs to have them halter ready to show. 

Here's Mr. Jefferson, looking Oh so Regal, and proud.  His fleece won blue ribbons at the NW Washington Fair in Lynden this past week.   
It is hard to believe that he is not even a year and a half old.  He's probably one of the nicest rams we've had, temperament wise - his mom Jennie did a good job when he was a baby. 
This is "Number One Son"  (what can I say, that's what he calls him)  He's looking for a new home where he can have his own flock of girls, since his dad has the job here all sewed up...
Some of the older girls, looking as brown as their pasture.  You can see the haze in the air - these pictures were taken during the time of the BC fires. 

Sorry for the long absence.  I have been more active on Instagram - you can find me there as "menolly44" - hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

But Wait, there's More!

See that purple ribbon?  That is the Reserve Grand Champion Colored Fleece that he's got there in that bag!!!  The judge REALLY liked that fleece - :-) 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

First place fleece!!

All his hard work came to fruition.  First and fourth place fleeces out of nineteen.  Yahoo!!

Fleece judging at Black Sheep Gathering

We are at The Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene Oregon this weekend.  The Shepherd has three fleeces out of 19, entered for judging in this class , lamb fleeces.  Judith McKenzie is the judge this year.  Judging starts in a few minutes! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

In Memory - Neelix, Sinda, Bella & George

 I have wanted to do a post in memory of the furry friends we've lost here over the past years. 

I'll start with Neelix - we got this sweet boy from the Humane Society and he was very tiny and very sick - in fact our vet said they shouldn't have released him to us - but we were so in love with him - we "fixed him up" and he was the best farm cat ever. And he grew and he grew - at one point he weighed 17 pounds!   He used to find The Shepherd when he got home from work, demand a piggy back ride on his shoulders and help him do the chores every evening.

He loved lambing time and could always be found checking out what was happening in the barn. 
 He was also very laid back and could often be found sleeping on his back in the middle of the living room - so secure in his position. 

He went to the rainbow bridge in August 2008 -
He's still at the top in number of posts - only "from the garden"  and "Shetland Sheep" out do him. 

This is my Sinda - affectionately known as Sissy -   I got her from some friends when she was 8 or 10 weeks old in the Spring of 1990

A little bit quirky and a lot-a-bit fun - 

On February 5, 2011, at the age of 21, she succumbed to kidney failure, leaving me "catless" for the first time since 1975.  
 This Handsome Boy is George - We got him and his little sister Gracie in July 2011.

They were just the sweetest pair -  you can read more about them if you click on the label - "The Mrreows"

 And then came Bella - who I laughing have called our "transgender" cat - Bella "migrated" here from a neighboring farm - well we fed her, and they didn't... "Her" I say - she seemed so feminine - but when I took "Her" to the vet for something, She was pronounced to be a "He" - so what can I say - we left the name Bella - as he was quite a beautiful cat, and you know, Bela Lugosi -
Bella disappeared the spring of 2015 - I kind of think he might have gotten trapped in The Shepherd's work trailer and then jumped out along the way, as we heard that a cat looking very similar appeared at the Water District office a couple miles away.  Didn't go check though - he had already made a new home there.

George disappeared last August - not a good month for us and kitties - 8 years almost to the day that we lost Neelix to the Bridge.

I keep hoping that George just got waylaid and will come home some day, but he was pretty much a momma's boy and never stayed out more than a day.  Gracie and I miss him a lot - she's pretty lonely since both of us are gone all day long and she's here by herself.  Thinking about adopting someone new, but we'll see. 
You can read more about our furry friends by clicking on their names in the "Labels" on the sidebar.  Thanks for indulging me on my memories. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

At the corner of Noisy and Loud - just a bit of a Rant

When we moved into this house approximately 23 years ago, it was a nice quiet neighborhood - you could have called it bucolic.

Slowly that has changed - just a little bit at a time As the crow flies, we are about half to 3/4 of a mile from the train tracks.  They have been adding another train here and there (where it used to be one or two trains a day, now it is one every couple of hours! - and most of them are coal or oil transport trains - long, loud and heavy) Add to that the three crossing gates that are in our area and the trains seem to blow their whistle about 5 times for each crossing.  I've come to decide that train engineers are sadists.  I mean, come on, it's the middle of the night, there is a drop down crossing gate that's got flashing red lights and bells  - do they really need to blow their whistle 5 times? 

And then there is the airport.  The crow has to fly about 2.5 miles to get to the airport from our house with our close proximity to Vancouver BC, and the horrible traffic to get to Sea-Tac airport, Bellingham International Airport has really taken a step up in the past 20 years with many planes coming and going every day.  And, dare I mention Interstate 5?. 

This map is a snip from a map put out by the US Bureau of Transportation that was printed in the Bellingham Herald a few weeks ago.  Do you see the dark red "ground zero" spot that I've circled - yup, that's just about where we live - at the corner of Noisy and Loud.