Monday, November 30, 2009

In recovery

After a long holiday weekend, I think all of us here at sheep dreams are still in recovery mode. The last of the turkey was made into turkey hash over the weekend and the cranberry relish dish is finally empty. I'm not sad to see it all go. I feel as though I should go on some kind of cleansing fast for a week or two!

Holly and Hannah have been working hard at night lately and they spend their days sleeping on the mulch pile or out in the fields with the sheep. It's deer hunting season here in Kentucky and though we do not give permission for anyone to hunt our land, we have evidence that poachers come onto the back of the farm. The sound of gunshot upsets both of the dogs, so it is even more of a nuisance when hunters trespass. This time of year, I just hope and pray that all of our animals will get through another hunting season without being mistaken for a deer.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Yesterday was such a blur.....a happy blur of being surrounded by the ones I love. I spent many hours preparing for the day and then, before I knew it, it was over. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, I am feeling especially grateful for the abundance in my life. My sons, daughters-in-law, step-son and his significant other, grandchildren and mother-in-law were all gathered here at our home yesterday......two tables filled with adults and children. It's always a lively, noisy occasion when we are all together. (Although I'm noticing that as the grandchildren get a little older the noise level decreases somewhat!) I know that I am blessed to live this life and I am so thankful.

Reading Anne Hanson's blog this morning, I felt that giving to someone else might be the best way to show gratitude for all that I have, so I followed the link to p/hop (pennies per hour of pleasure---a wonderful, imaginative way of raising funds for Doctors Without Borders), downloaded the pattern for the Stripey Beanie and donated toward the cause. Doctors Without Borders is such a worthy cause and I am happy to support them in some small way. If you can spare a little something today might be an especially meaningful time to contribute.

(Of course, this also means that I have a great excuse to cast-on yet another project!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Understudly

Here at the farm, the understudy (or as we call it, the understudly) job is a pretty thankless one, unless the leading man can't perform. Fortunately for us (but not so much for Mr. Lucky) it is looking as though the leading man has lived up to his billing and is doing a great job. Ollie, the new CVM ram has been in with the ewes for a little less than a month now and has bred all of them, with the exception of one of the CVM ewe lambs. (I don't usually breed ewe lambs, but the CVM girls were born in December and January of last winter and about a week ago I decided they are mature enough now and moved them in with the breeding group. As soon as I'm sure they are both bred, they will go back in with the group of ewe lambs, so they can continue to be fed through the whole five months of gestation.)

In the meantime, poor Mr. Lucky spends his days gazing longingly through the fences and gates at the group of ewes that are pastured with Ollie. Mr. Lucky got his name because at the last minute we decided to keep him as a back-up ram. He's got a gorgeous fleece and a calm personality, so it's not a chore to have him around. Right now he is keeping company with the moorit ram lamb and the alpaca boys and he's wondering how someone named Mr. Lucky could be so unlucky!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Big Show

Earlier this week, Sara and I, took a little field trip to the North American International Livestock Exposition, which is held in Louisville, Kentucky every year at this time. It's funny because most people around here don't even know about it, but there are competitors from all over the United States. There are animals from as far away as Washington state and lots of places in between. It is the "Big Show" and quite an accomplishment to do well in the shows. The day was a little nostalgic for me because years ago, when I was younger and had much more energy, I took my sheep every year. It was hard work, but also fun because it gave me the chance to hang out with fellow Romney breeders from all over the U.S. It is a great opportunity to see a lot of different breeds of sheep all in the same place. The show had been underway for several days and a lot of the sheep were obviously tired.

There was a lot of napping going on................................

Plenty of mooching for snacks.......................

A few who looked as though they might have called a meeting to discuss a plan for escaping....

I had to laugh when we saw these sheep. Sara said, "I guess these must be the Princess Leia sheep breed". Pretty impressive, don't you think?
(By way of explanation-the coats and hoods are keeping them clean until they go into the show ring.)

It was a great little respite from the kind of schedules Sara and I usually keep on a normal (whatever that might be!) day on our farms. It served to remind me how glad I am to not still be out there hauling my sheep around to various shows. Life on the farm feels really good!

Sorry for such a picture heavy post, but here's one more of a sweet, smiling Romney girl. I would have loved to have brought her home with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ADD knitting

That's Attention Deficient (not deficit) Disorder knitting and that would be me in a nutshell right now (and, possibly all the time......just sayin). Since my blog banner does include the word knitting, I thought it might be nice to at least mention a few of the things I'm knitting on right now. No, I'm not finished with my Christmas knitting and, yes, I realize it's less than two weeks til Thanksgiving. I'm edging up to the panic line, but I'm not there yet.

These are just a few of the many, many, many projects I have on the needles. Some are for gifts, some have no designated receiver and some I will keep for myself. They are scattered between the house, my room in the barn and the car, which minimizes the impact of the total number (somewhat). No matter where I am, at any given moment I can gaze upon several. My problem seems to be lack of focus and being too easily motivated to start new projects as soon as I think of them.

Pictured here, almost a pair of Maine Morning Mitts, (from the "The Knitter's Book of Yarn" Clara Parkes) knitted in some handspun of mine. Love this pattern. I could make these over and over again (actually, I have). The other lump of knitting will be scarf, from a kit I bought at Rhinebeck from Orchard House Knits. I loved their display. It was soothing just to walk into the space.

Next, a real conglomeration of things. Back left, a hat that is so near finished, I'm ashamed to have you see the needles still stuck in the top of it (I think I couldn't find a tapestry needle at the moment I needed to get it off the needles. Why is it, no matter how many tapestry needles you have, you can't find one when you need it?) The hat is knit from some bulky, hand-dyed and handspun yarn of mine. That pumpkin orange thing is the body of a "Box-the-Compass Sweater", an Elizabeth Zimmerman-Meg Swansen pattern, (the sleeves are somewhere around here). It is a Christmas present and I need to get on it, pronto! In the front, a sock in some self-striping yarn, that I swore I was not going to buy any more was the colors.......I couldn't help myself. That green and purple blob will be a simple shawl in some Noro sock yarn. I'm loving the look of it.

Next, half a pair of Cabled Thumb Mitts (free pattern on the Misti Alpaca website). These are fun and the yarn looks and feels amazing. Unfortunately, I can't find the label. I'm thinking it might be Mountain Colors, but I'm not sure. Lastly, a scarf that I started yesterday afternoon (I know, I know). It's the Meandering Stripes from "Knitting New Scarves". I'm having so much fun knitting this and already I'm thinking how great it would look in some Noro Silk Garden (and I wouldn't have to keep switching yarns).

So, there you have it. I hope this makes you feel better! If not, just let me know and I'll add another installment of "Things on the Needles"!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Unlike my friend, Sara, I hardly ever find a four-leaf clover. Some people just seem to have a gift for seeing them. Instead of four-leaf clovers, I find feathers, feathers and more feathers. Do you suppose that could be considered lucky?

Friday, November 6, 2009


That's a one word description of the weather lately. This has been the one perfect week of fall weather and I have enjoyed it sooooo much! In fact, I'd go so far as to claim that all the inhabitants of Tanglewood Farm have had a pretty good week. Ollie has marked three ewes, Strawberry and Pippi are doing okay and everyone else is just doing their thing.

We've had the most amazing sunsets and moonrisings (if there is such a word). There are beautiful colors all around at this time of year and I wish the season could be stretched out just a little longer. (I'm feeling the "holidays" breathing down my neck.)

Tomorrow I'm taking my spinning wheel and going to Sara's new Wool House event and just generally planning on having a good, relaxing time all weekend. I hope you can do the same, whatever your plans.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mother daughter reunion

This morning I decided to bring Strawberry out of the field, where she has been with the alpaca boys all summer, and into the field where Pippi and the lambs are currently grazing. Strawberry needs to be fed a little better now that she is getting so far along in the pregnancy. It was not the happy reunion I was anticipating.

Pippi - "Oh Mommy, I'm so happy to see you. I've missed you so much!"

Strawberry - "Oh, hi kid. Uh......sorta nice to see you."

Pippi - "Look Ma, here are some of my friends. They're happy to see you, too!"

Strawberry - "Likewise, I'm sure......................not!"

Pippi - "Oh, Mommy, I'm so happy. We can spend all our time together now."

Strawberry - "Look kid, I hate to break it to you, but I'm busy carrying your little brother or sister around right now and I'm kinda I'm just going over here to take a little nap."

Pippi - "???????"

Needless to say, we are going through a little transition period right now. Pippi tries to get too close and Strawberry gives her the evil eye that basically says "I need my space". Pippi is confused and has her feelings hurt (though I may be reading more into it than I should). I'll give them a few days to work things out. I'm hoping Pippi will learn to back off and not invade her mother's personal space and Strawberry will lose a little of that attitude (which, in her defense, she has had to use on the alpaca boys all summer, just to keep them in line!)