Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summertime and the livin' is easy......

Especially if you are a sheep and if you live on Tanglewood Farm. (It's a great job, if you can get it.) Talk about taking it sheep have got it down to an art form. Today when I went out to give Olive her afternoon bottle, I took my new camera along to play with. (Okay, Sara. I'm finally getting around to it!) When Olive completed her 30 second guzzle, I sat down in the grass and just started snapping photos. After a few minutes, I was ready for a nap myself. It had an almost hypnotic effect on me to be sitting there watching them doze away the afternoon. If I could package up that feeling and sell it, it would be a fabulous blood pressure medication.

All the lambs were down napping, except Clarabelle. She was quite busy investigating tree bark. Once I trained the camera on her, she watched me suspiciously for a while, and then gave up and settled down herself.

Once again, most were gathered in their family groups. This ewe has her triplets where she can keep an eye on all of them. I love the fact that she had one black lamb, one white lamb and one silver lamb. Best of all, she's raising them completely on her own (no supplemental bottles from me). This is the same ewe who has had triplets three years in a row. She's Super Ewe!

Blissed out!

And even little Miss Olive is taking time out for a siesta.

Hope you're getting some time for a little rest and relaxation this holiday weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer time food

Tomorrow, like plenty of other folks around the country, we'll be going to a family get-together and are supposed to bring a salad of some sort. Salads are hard, I think. Well, not for us here at home because we like almost all salads, but it seems difficult to think of something that will please everyone involved when you are fixing for a group. I always think of cole slaw as the ultimate in summer food and this recipe is perfect because you can prepare it the day before and it lasts much longer than traditional, mayonnaise based slaw. I've been fixing this recipe since a long ago family vacation to Hilton Head Island. There's a seafood restaurant there called Hudson's and this is their famous "Hudson's 7-day slaw". I'm not kidding about the famous part. You can google it and find the recipe in plenty of places. It's a good recipe to have in your file and everyone seems to like it.

Here's the recipe that came out of my old copy of Hudson's own cookbook-

1 head of cabbage --- 2 Tbs. sugar
1 red onion --- 1/2 Tbs dry mustard
1/3 cup sugar --- 1/4 Tbs salt
1 cup canola oil --- 1/4 Tbs pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Slice or shred cabbage and onion, thinly. Toss with 1/3 cup sugar. Mix remaining ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over cabbage and let set for 5 minutes. Mix well, then refrigerate until chilled.

I don't think it has ever needed to last for 7 days at my house, only because it was all gone before then!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend everyone. Summer is really here now!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My fan club

Here they biggest fans! There are actually three members of the club, but one of them wandered off before I could take the picture. They are deliriously happy when I walk out to see them, though I know that is almost entirely because I have their bottles. Olive is in the process of cutting back to three a day and the other two are getting bottles morning and evening. Last week I started easing Olive into the flock so she can learn to be a sheep. She's doing quite well, I think. She tries to keep up when the bigger lambs are running their races. If she falls behind, she just stops and waits for them to make their next loop and joins in again! Such a smart little girl!

If you are thinking about joining us for the Gale Zucker photography workshop, you might want to get your registration in soon. The class will be limited in size in order to give each of us the attention we need (or, at least, I need!). That being said we need to have enough people sign up to make it worthwhile for Gale to travel all the way from Connecticut to teach us. This is such a great opportunity to learn from a professional (who really gets the whole knitting/spinning/fiber thing) in a non-intimidating setting. And we are going to have a lot of fun while we're doing it!

Check out Gale's blog and here to learn more about her workshops and then sign yourself up!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lucky me

The last time thecrazysheeplady came to visit, we were out in the field taking pictures and visiting with the lambs and I challenged her to just look down and find a four-leaf clover. It is ridiculous how many she finds on her own farm and I was sure there weren't any here. I look all the time and never seem to find any. Sure enough, she looked down and found several! I decided right then that she has some kind of mystical gift. One day last week, I walked out into the field to give Olive her mid-day bottle and after she guzzled it, I sat down in the grass to enjoy listening to the bells the ewes wear and watch the lambs playing. Sitting there, I looked down and, lo and behold, there was not one or two, but four four-leaf clovers and a couple with five leaves! (If five leaves are unlucky, please just don't tell me!) I took pictures because I thought no one would believe me. I could hardly believe it myself. I don't know if I landed in a patch of lucky clover or if it was just that I had slowed down enough to actually see what was right in front of me.

One of the best parts of raising sheep is observing them. Nowadays, the lambs are getting more and more adventuresome and often wander away from their moms to play with the other lambs. When it's nap time or in the evening, when everyone is bedded down for the night, they gather in their little family groups and settle down close to mom and siblings. I caught this sweet picture of the CVM ewe, Fiona, with her little ewe lamb at rest. This ewe lamb has been dubbed Clarabell, because of her funny little clown face and her endearing mannerisms. She is very curious and always comes up to watch Olive taking her bottle. She's most often the lamb who buddies up with Olive, too, which makes me feel better knowing that Olive has a friend. And then, of course, there's always one or two who won't settle down at nap time and spend their time and energy trying to start trouble.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Notes from the weekend

(Teeny adorned herself for the Festival)

Well, I do believe a good time was had by all. We've been getting a lot of positive feedback from attendees and vendors and people are already talking about next year! That's a pretty good sign, don't you think? We'll be having a wrap up meeting soon and planning for next year will start immediately after, so any suggestions you have for making us bigger and better will be gladly received.

Saturday was just perfect. Glorious weather, big crowds and everyone in good spirits. Sunday was not so great weather-wise, but still we had decent crowds and good sales. Of course, I have almost no pictures. A few of Miss Olive and company and some of my vendor space (after I had sold so much stuff, it looks a little bare). There will be pictures and competition results on the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival website very soon though. Thanks to all who came by to see me (I was not fooled. I know each and every one of you really came to see Olive, but that's okay).

(before the bottle)

(after the bottle)

Meanwhile, the wreckage here at home does not seem to be straightening itself out. The yard..oh my! It's a jungle out there! We are finally having a day without rain and I've made the first pass with the ZTR and will need to do the whole thing all over again in a day or two (if it's not raining) to make it look decent. Meanwhile, my vendor space tent is half-way open in the garage, drying out, and there are boxes and bags piled everywhere. Mike and I were reminding each other this morning that this is the month we always start thinking we are crazy to be out here in the boonies with all these animals. The grass grows so fast and the weeds in the garden are growing even faster. And.....It.Won't.Stop.Raining. Next thing we know, it will stop raining and seem as though it's never going to rain again. Kentucky weather!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Exciting News

Not long ago, I saw that Gale Zucker, who took all the fabulous photographs for the book "Shear Spirit" was giving a workshop at Juniper Moon Farm in Virginia, for people who want to improve their photography skills and especially those of us who are bloggers and are often taking photos of our fiber and knitting. I could hardly wait to sign myself up because I really want to become a better photographer. When I began blogging, I started carrying my camera everywhere and sometimes I'm lucky enough to get a good picture, but often not. In fact, I have a brand new camera that is supposed to be terrific. Right now I'm mostly too intimidated to take it out of the camera bag. Then I discovered that the workshop was this past weekend. Well, obviously I was already very busy during the weekend. I was so disappointed, but decided to contact Gale to see if she was doing another workshop anywhere close. Then, I had a better idea! Why not host a workshop here? So, now it's all planned and all you have to do is sign up and show up! Questions? Just email me or Gale.

Gale covers a lot of information in two days and, from the reviews I've read of past workshops, we will have a great time while we're learning. As an added bonus, on Saturday evening after class, we will be taking a short Llama Trek on beautiful Seldom Scene Farm, which is not far from here and belongs to my friend, Lindy Huber. We'll be served wine and cheese and have a chance to see Lindy's studio while we are there. There will be plenty of photo opportunities both here on my farm and on Lindy's farm.

Please consider joining us for this terrific opportunity to have fun and learn a lot, all at the same time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In case you wondered.....

Are you thinking I may have fallen in a hole somewhere? Well, you would be partially right. I've been in a cave of wool and it's conveniently located in my dining room. (because I'm still waiting for my studio to be finished--don't get me started on that!) This weekend is IT! Our very first Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. I've been dyeing yarn and fiber, weighing and packaging fiber and just generally running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I am so excited that it is finally about to happen.

I'm taking my first year's clip of 70%alpaca/30%wool blend roving and, if I do say so myself, it is scrumptious. I seriously want to keep it and spin it all for myself. I'm also taking some beautiful mohair/Coopworth lamb/silk blend roving that my friend, Mary Beth Jewell, has put together. Be sure to come by the livestock pavilion and give it all a squeeze or two. (I know how fiber people are---we just can't help ourselves---we have to touch it!) I'll also have Olive ("the mouth") along with me. You'll probably be able to hear her if you are in the area!

It sounds as though the weather may give us a break, at least on Saturday and maybe part of Sunday, so come on out to Masterson Station and enjoy watching the Bluegrass Classic Stock Dog Trials, some good food and great fiber shopping opportunities. Honestly, there will be something for everyone at this event. Stop in and visit with Olive and her friends while you are there.
ps-Be sure to check back here in the next day or so. I have a really, really, really exciting event happening here at the farm in the month of July!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Time out

While some of you may be thinking that this is now the all Olive, all the time blog, it's really not. It's just that she occupies way too much of my time during the day. In fact, I've pawned her off onto Ivy for part of the day, just so I could walk around without tripping over her. I've been calling this the time-out pen because it gives me just a little time off from being the substitute mom. Besides being pretty cute, Olive has a mouth you wouldn't believe. I expect she can be heard in the next county when she decides she's had enough of time out or is thinking it's meal time!

I've been trying to get myself ready for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. I can hardly believe it is nearly here. Way back in the fall when we first started meeting to plan the event, it seemed we had ages to get it all together. Now we are just days away and I'm working myself into panic mode! I think it's going to be a great weekend. We have over 60 vendors coming and I think that's a great turnout for our very first year. I'm hoping for beautiful weather and a big crowd. Are you coming?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Olive goes to town

This past week, Olive went to Wednesday knitting with me. I knew I couldn't leave her home alone for such a long time without a bottle or something unforeseen happening ( She's gotten very good at jumping out of her box. I've come back from the barn several times to find her standing in the kitchen communing with Ivy, our corgi!) So, I fixed her a nice little place in the floor of the truck, packed a bottle and some diapers and away we went. As soon as I placed her on the floor of the truck, she hopped up in the passenger seat and settled in as if she had been riding in trucks all of her short life. While we were at knitting, she laid on the couch beside me (no furniture or floors were harmed because she was wearing her diaper--which she hates).
I took the picture at a stoplight by aiming the camera in her general direction and hoping for the best. In other words, I "Kinneared" her. Remember that whole Yarn Harlot episode? When we were having dinner with friends this past week, I mentioned that I had "Kinneared" Olive in the truck and Audrey in the back of my car. The two husbands had a hard time grasping the whole "Kinneared" concept. Not only did it take a lot of explaining, but even after they knew the meaning of it they didn't think it was all that funny. (Of course, I also had to google Greg Kinnear on my I-Phone so they could see who he was!) Men really are from Mars.

(partners in crime)