Sunday, January 22, 2017

Okay, So It's Been A Crazy Couple Of Days


I was going to start this post with a let's walk up to the barn and see what's there...and realized it was quickly going to get really confusing.  So, let's back up, what, 36 hours, no 48 hours ago and start there.


Friday night 20 loaded up the truck and prepared to head out well before dawn Saturday morning. He's ambitious like that and isn't "afraid of fog" ;-).  


Obligatory fog shot for Auntie Reg...who is actually more afraid of having to get up too early ;-D.

And yes, those are mountains.  20 took us all the way to West Virginia, to Painted Rock Farm.  For long time followers, that name should sound familiar.  That's the farm Heidi, Henri and Ford came from, turns out many more years ago than I'd like to remember.

For anyone who's seen Ford out in Del Boca Vista and wondered why he was so old and feeble looking...turns out he's 15 years old!  How the heck did that happen?  And Annabelly?  She's 14.  So is Allie and Billy Belly and Baby Belly.  Heidi and Henri are 13.  And of course Jester, clocking in at 17.

I could go off on a tangent about how old Saint Tim and I are and how many more years we can reasonably expect to be able to maintain a farm and flock, but it's getting late and I'm going to cut that portion short so I can finish this post, go make a final barn check and go to bed.  

Suffice to say that if we were going to add any new Jacob sheep, this would be a good time to do it. Getting an odd mid-January "break" in the weather enabled a safe run out there and Mike and Cheryl had exactly what we were looking for.



20 made sure everyone was securely tucked in and reassured that everything was going to be okay and we headed home.  Five or so long hours later we pulled in our driveway to find the lights on out front, the gate open and some friendly faces waiting for us.  

And now we've come to the point in this story where things get a little weird getting new sheep is completely overshadowed by other awesomeness.


Yes, that is a giant metal chicken.  A 7' tall metal chicken to be exact.  He was waiting in the dark behind the closed barn doors for me :-D.  I was startled, but not scared.  I was more excited that it was finally my turn to get surprised (he's been making the rounds of the neighborhood since Thanksgiving) and his sign completely made my day :-).  

Everyone quickly settled in for the night, the next morning came too quickly and before I knew it I was walking up to the barn in the fog and we are back to where we started with the first picture. Except now you won't be thinking "What the heck?  Is that a giant metal chicken???" 


He stood guard all night :-).


Yes, those are Christmas lights and yes, he's exceptionally awesome when he's plugged in and all the lights come on...which they don't do so well anymore, but I'm guessing we can should get some new ones on winter clearance.


His sign :-).


Welcome, new sheeps!


"When do we get to meet them?"

You won't get to meet them for a little while, Petunia, but I'll better introduce them all to everyone else tomorrow.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn Along - Three For Three!

Joining the Yarn Along group is not only fun, but it's also a great way for me to account for my goal to Make Yarn/Use Yarn.  I'm three for three (weeks) so far!  Can I keep it up?


The Jester hat...going slowly, but not going as poorly as I've been worrying about the last few days. I thought my floats were too loose and I was going to have to rip it all out and start over.  Most (normal) people get their floats too tight.  Me?  Abby-normal....shut up!  I slipped half the stitches to a second needle to check and everything looks fine.  


Liddy.  Spun on the CPW and plied on the miniSpinner.  I really like the yarn (very soft and smooshy)...except it's thinner than I like to knit.  I also had some plying inconsistencies...that may have been due to plying it during the Packers/Cowboys game :-o.  This picture doesn't look too bad, but boy, it's inconsistent (some good, some over plied, some underplied). 

I can't think of any way to easily fix that without going through it yard by yard and adjusting according, which I've done before...but it's yarn that I'm probably going to just look at and never use, so I'm not sure I want to invest that kind of time.  Probably more useful as a reminder of how NOT to ply yarn...


And this is what I get if I try to take pictures on the steps of the Wool House.  No, Hickory, it's not dinner time yet.  Levi and Bullwinkle are hopeful as well.  It's just 3:30.  On a Wednesday!  I'm not a day late :-).

My book this week is Brave and Loyal: An Illustrated Celebration of Livestock Guardian Dogs, by Cat Urbigkit.  Perfect timing with the pictures and video yesterday, eh?  I love sharing stories about Hank and love reading about other amazing guardian dogs.  I'm parceling it out a couple chapters at a time.  It's excellent!

I've recommended her Shepherds of Coyote Rocks book before.  It's one of my all time favorites. I looked back to see if I'd recommended that with a Yarn Along post and found this.  Sweet little Liddy, now all grown up (and out - no, that's not all wool, thanks for asking :-o) and making yarn :-).

Joining in with Ginny...


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Howling At The...

The back story - I saw several sheep grazing out by the ponds the other morning.  Not many sheep out these days between the several days of snow and many days of rain.  Sheep out in the "wilds" was a treat!  I grabbed the camera.

As I was snapping some grazing pictures, a heron flew in just to the right and landed at the small pond, near the sheep.  I'm actually further away than it looks due to zooming in.  The sheep all startled as it landed, but immediately went back to eating.  Hank lost his mind though and called them all in.


"What?"


"We're coming!"



Just call Hershey Fabio ;-D


They were gettin' it!  Wish I'd thought to video it.




Liddy's not that fast.  She was just closer to the front ;-).


But Bullwinkle is!


And so is Levi the Squirrel aka Captain America (someone please remind me to tell that story!)


Look at those luscious locks, flowing in the wind :-D


"As long as we can still beat a Jacob sheep, we're doing okay."

Turns out it might not be so hard to outrun a Jacob sheep around here anymore.  More about that later as well.


Murphy crossing the bridge.  Baaxter and Hershey holding up.  I'll share a couple more of them later this week.  Those boys...

It was a fun series of pictures and I just laugh out loud every time I see them running like that.  Too bad Maisie wasn't out there, but Bullwinkle and Woody are almost as funny.  And Hershey and his big 'do.  But really, was a heron that big of a threat?

Nope.

Long before I could hear anything...


Notice that he's run down the hill to put himself in between his sheep and the "coyotes".  Guard dogs are just amazing.  I might wonder what he's thinking, but I never second guess him.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Morning Procrastination

I have a series of photos to divide out and share with a story to go with them and I think (hope it turned out) a funny and sweet Hank video to go with them, but I need to hustle this morning.  For anyone not hustling this morning, here is a little procrastination for you :-).

I'm not giving any clues with these.  You'll have to work the puzzles to see the pictures.  Both are pretty.  There are lots of varied components to each one (meaning not a big hunk of white sky or green grass) so aren't going to be as hard as you might think.



Don't forget you can change the number of pieces if you want.  You'll need to do that through the Jigsaw Planet link (click the puzzle piece icon on the bottom right of each puzzle).



"Don't you have some work to be doing?!?"

Don't listen to Woody ;-).  Enjoy!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hiding Out



After a summer/fall drought, you sure don't ever want to wish away rain...but a couple days off would be nice.  What a slop fest!  


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yarn Along - Make Yarn Use Yarn - Week Two

So far, so good...even if the Yarn Along post (that I am GOING to do every week this year!) is a day late.  I even doubled up posts for Tuesday so there wouldn't be a conflict for Wednesday. Sigh...

I've now spun two bobbins of Liddy and a small skein of Emily/Annabelly on the CPW.  At the house I clocked 310 yards of Hershey on the Joy.  I also found (another) hat pattern I just can't live without, so Miss B and I dyed some stashed Jester yarn for that.  We also dyed some roving for her and half of a 2013 Elizabeth fleece that I found when I cleaned up the barn last year.


We started with a skein of medium gray and a skein of dark gray.  I also had a skein of dark green and medium green Jester already dyed from a project from several years ago...unfinished, like so many others, languishing in my stash.  


I was happy with the dark green, so left that as-is/as-was.  The light green (far right) got over dyed to make the dark navy and dark brown.  The dark blue was done with one of the three blues I have that I didn't think to make a note of.  I'm pretty sure we added some black to darken it as well, but again, no note.  Make Yarn. Use Yarn. LABEL Yarn :-o.

The brown was done in stages.  First we used red over the green and then over-dyed that with yellow. We still weren't happy, so over-dyed that with brown.  Jacob is a great yarn for beginning dyers because it takes a ton of abuse.

The white is a small skein of Annabelly I had left from what I'd had to spin to finish off the collar of the Jester sweater several years ago.  I love that she is going to be part of this Jester project as well :-).  She was the first of the Belly lambs he adopted all those years ago.


I should have been ready to cast on, but I decided to take down of the Christmas decorations yesterday...which then gave me too much time to stew on everything...and this morning I decided I wasn't absolutely happy with the dark green, so we over-dyed it a couple more times again.

The small squiggle of yarn next to the light green is where we started.  The brownish green next to it is the original dark green over-dyed with orange and the skein next to that was the same original dark green over-dyed with brown.  I think I'm leaning towards the orange green at this point.  Now I just need to "git knittin".


Here is the hat.  It's Gone To The Mountains by fellow Yarn Along-er Andee Fagan.  Here is the story behind the pattern.  Not only is it really pretty, but the pattern is for a good cause as well ;-).


Here is the Hershey skein.  New followers are probably wondering what I used to dye this chocolate color. Actually, you are probably wondering why a grey sheep is named Hershey in the first place, now that I think about it ;-).  Here is why.  Isn't he cute?  And wow, look how young everyone looks! And the "big white lamb"?  That ended up being Rocket - Andy and Levi's dad :-).

I have a couple neat books to share and I'd include one here, but it's getting late and I need to go haul all my house plants back in the house.  Yes, after several days in the single digits, it's been raining and mid to upper 60s. Everyone got out for a good shower and drink and needs to come back in in the off chance it hits freezing tonight.  Plus, I'd like to actually Cast On and Use Yarn! :-D 

Joining in with Ginny...


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Baby Daddies

Two posts in one day :-o.  Hey, I DO have a picture of the rams!  This was taken just after Christmas. I'll take some better pictures the next nice day.  This was just a quick snap.  I thought it was "cute" how they were all sleeping next to each other.  Once breeding season's over, they all go back to being friends :-).


Jared (left back), H. Mulligan (white North Country Cheviot) and Rocky (right).

Jared and Rocky came in from Nistock Farms last summer.  I'm not sure we have any Jared sheep on our farm, but if you look at Rocky, you can guess who at least one favorite son is :-).  We also have a couple Rocky grandsons, Andy and Levi.  Rocky's son Rocket was "the wool ram" at Final Frontier Farm the past two years.  Kentucky is turning into Nistock South!


Here's a (sort of) better shot of Jared, earlier in December, right after the fall breeding season ended. There will be a some more "wool" babies coming this spring and some North Country lambs as well. While the curly coloreds are "fancier", I thoroughly enjoy spinning Cheviot fleeces, too.  In fact, PPPP's medium length, medium crimp "down type" Border Cheviot fleece is one of my favorite fleeces to spin and also what I like to sell to beginning spinners.  
  
The out of season (summer) test breeding produced 11 lambs - three white, one gray and seven blacks.  We are not sure what we'll do with that first lamb shear next fall.  It's sure to be quite nice so we may offer raw fleeces...or we may do a yarn run.  Spinners and knitters stay tuned!  Which would you prefer?

And, here.  This should keep you off the streets and out of trouble ;-).  See, it pays to leave comments :-D.



Enjoy!


Meanwhile Back At Snowy Lamb Camp

A few shots from the other day.  Those lambies are growing up Too Fast!


This is that lighter "black" ewe lamb.  She's definitely turning gray (with a brown button nose!) and her fleece is already a favorite.


With her much blacker brother.  It would be hard to be much cuter, eh?


The first ewe lamb - Miss Maybelline.


The last set of twins born just before Christmas.  Both boys, but both beautiful black fleeces.  


This is not the white ewe lamb triplet that goes with the two boys.  It's teeny tiny Peter (he got a special name because he's so stinkin' cute ;-) on his first day out with the big kids.  Everyone took good care of him.


Here is the pretty white ewe lamb that goes with the two boys - the jingle bell lambs.


Tiny Peter heading out to the great outdoors with his good momma right by his side.

Not quite teefers and not quite a tongue out T-ewes-day, but don't you just want to scritch his fuzzy little cheeks?


"What is with you all wanting to see my teefers???"

It's a cute baby lamb thing, Peter, and since you are the cutest baby lamb, the paparazzi just won't leave you alone :-).

These lambs are all at The Training Center in Cynthiana, Kentucky.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Soaking Up Some Sun

It's been a little colder than I'd like (down to 4 the night before last), but I've loved the snow! Walking out to the barn late at night to check on everyone and toss out a little more hay - everything is so bright and crunchy and sparkly and quiet and...  

We've been lucky and no wind.  Everyone can handle single digits when there is no wind. Beautiful sunshine yesterday.  Clouds moving in today and we are headed back to the mid 60s and rain in a couple days.  I (and the sheep, but maybe not the chickens ;-) will take sunny cold and frozen any day!   


Annabelly, Billy Belly and Heidi


Keebler and Allie


Keebs again


Buddy.  He may never have a cool 'do but he has awesome ear fuzz :-D.


Hershey, Hank and Liddy


Ewen

Oh, and from the department of if something weird is going to happen, it's going to happen to Maisie...here's a sort of funny Maisie story.

I did remember to unhook the hose from the hydrant last week, but forgot to drain said hose...so it's been full of ice for the last four or five days.  Not really a problem as I can carry buckets of water to refill the water tanks.  Just an inconvenience...much like the pioneers faced ;-).

The other night I was carrying out a big bucket of water.  Somehow Maisie bumped into it and got thoroughly splashed.  It was heading down to five that night (!).  Five and wet would be horrible, except it was Maisie, who has at least five or six inches of wool on her, so it probably hadn't reached her skin.

Still, I didn't want her to lie down and have it soak in, so I quickly (and sort of without thinking) started madly brushing as much water off her side as I could.  For those who've met the little darling, let's just stop and think about what happened next...

 At least I lived to tell the story ;-D.


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