Friday, February 22, 2008

To brighten your day

Here's a burst of color to brighten a dull, dark winter day. Isn't he magnificent?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

spring will come again

The first spring after we bought this farm, I was thrilled to find many, many clumps of daffodils scattered all over the yard around the old farm house. I love to think about who might have planted these and when. As we began the renovation/addition to the house some of the flowers were bulldozed up and I did my best to find new homes for all of them. That was five years ago and I continue to be surprised by where these determined clusters pop up. I found these pushing their way up last week when we had that strange 70 degree weather. This morning I went out to check on them and they are surviving just fine, though they are crusted over with snow and ice. It won't be long until I can cut big bunches of them for the windowsill in the kitchen. My taste in flowers is pretty simple. I love nearly everything you find in a country yard--daffodils, lilacs, hydrangeas, sunflowers. Not for me, the exotics. Give me plain and simple every time.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Outstanding in her field.....really!

This is Pauladeen and yesterday was sort of her birthday. She was born on Super Bowl Sunday 2004 and had a really rough start to life. Her mother was one of the most expensive purebred sheep we have ever owned and, as bad luck would have it, turned out to be one of the most disasterous experiences we've had on the farm. Sometime mid-morning the ewe went into labor and then prolapsed (pushed her uterus out). It was truly a ghastly sight. We managed to get one of the lambs out alive, but not the twin. Once the lambs were out, we were able to push the uterus back into place and then stitched up the ewe in hopes that she would stop pushing and be able to retain it. Unfortunately, that did not happen and the ewe died the next day. (Yes, we did know what we were doing. I have many, many years of experience and, though vet schools don't teach much about sheep, my husband is a veterinarian who is learning hands-on!) The only bright spot in the whole event was the little ewe lamb. She was too weak to stand and I really thought we might lose her too. I brought her to the house and sat in front of the fireplace with her all afternoon, coaxing her to nurse from a bottle and keeping her warm. While we sat there, Paula Deen (from the food channel) had a marathon of programs on and I watched 3 hours straight of Paula Deen cooking shows. I told my husband if the lamb survived, she would need to be named after Paula Deen. As you can see from the picture, she not only survived, but flourished. She lived in a furniture box in the sunroom for several weeks and eventually graduated to a pen in the barn with her own heat lamp to keep her cozy. When the weather was warm enough she joined the rest of the lambs in the flock. That early bonding with me, as the only mother she has ever known, has made her a very unusual sheep. Even now, if I go outside and yell "Pauladeen", she will come at a gallop! She's a funny girl, always first in line and seems to have her own way of being part of the flock, but not quite like the rest. She's a lovely, big ewe with a fleece that is a handspinner's dream. I'm looking forward to her first lambs being born this spring.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's all about color

Brown, brown, brown and maybe a little gray thrown in for relief. That's Kentucky at this time of year. In a month we'll start seeing shades of green in the grass and flower beds and the maple trees will have fat red buds on the branches. We live in the Bluegrass area of the state, so we have gently rolling hills and many, many trees. Green is the color of spring and autumn is all about golden yellows and reds. I've been spinning autumn this week. I had just a little bit of roving left from a dyeing binge I went on more than a year ago and it is easy to see in the resulting skein that the colors of autumn are my favorites. This skein has been my companion all week. I know I'm not alone in this, so I'll go on and confess. When I spin up something I especially love, I just have to keep looking at it. So, for a time, it goes nearly everywhere with me---even in the car! I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with this skein because there's only about 150 yards. That means most likely a hat, unless I combine it with something else and use it as an accent. Now, I wear a hat every day at this time of year, but I wear it to stay warm when I am feeding the sheep or doing barn work, which means the hat ends up being trashed with bits of hay and straw. I'm torn between having a hat I really love and can wear every day, or saving it to be knit into something I'll use sparingly, but that will stay nice longer. It has the potential to end up in the permanent stash if I can't make a decision.