Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just call him Macaroni*

Or maybe Chief Henry. He's been wearing a feather stuck on his head for the last week. It makes me laugh out loud every time I see him. I should remove it, but somehow, I think he likes it.

(It's very difficult to get good pictures of your sheep when they think you are going to feed them. They just won't get far enough away to get a decent shot.)

*After I stop laughing, the song "Yankee Doodle" keeps going through my head the rest of the day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh la la

We're being visited by a young fella with a French name! Marcel made the trip from New York to Kentucky in the back of Sara and St. Tim's car and spent, what I'm sure to him, seemed like an awfully brief amount of time at his real home, Equinox Farm. Sara and I had discussed my using him to breed a few of my ewes in order to pass on some of his moorit coloring and fabulous fleece characteristics. I saved three ewes for him and, after some overly enthusiastic moves toward the ladies, he has settled down and is taking his job seriously.

In the other breeding groups, it would appear that we are all finished. If all goes as it should, lambing will commence the first week of March and be finished about two weeks later. No slackers around here! Of course, now I'm wishing I had waited a few weeks to put the rams in, so the weather would be a little warmer when the lambs are born. Oh well, "maybe next year" (which is, by the way, my official slogan)

And speaking of French things, Frenchie is still enjoying privileged character status around here. She is still spending her nights in the big dog kennel with the new chicks and even puts herself in there sometimes, but usually waits for me to come get her off the top of the panels in the sheep pens. She has discovered that she can boss the chicks around a little and I think she is liking that a whole lot!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rhinebeck sweater

One of the many fun things about Rhinebeck is checking out all the handknits being worn by so many people. Last year I wore a crocheted scarf (that came from Garnet Hill) and by the end of the first day, I was more than a little embarrassed by all the compliments I had received. (I did speak up and confess that I bought the scarf---didn't make it myself. How humiliating for a fiber person!!) I vowed to do better this year.

My Rhinebeck sweater decision was made late in the game, but what else is new around here? About a month ago, I decided I wanted to wear a new handknit sweater to Rhinebeck and started looking through my patterns for something fast to knit. Briar Rose's Everyday Cardigan looked like the perfect thing because it was knit with big needles, using two strands of yarn and I really liked the simplicity of the style. Chris, who owns Briar Rose is just about the nicest person you will ever meet and do business with. She had my yarn in the mail to me the day after I ordered it. I got right to the knitting, finished the back and two fronts in record time, then bogged down on the sleeves. No particular reason, just got distracted by other things. Finally, the week of Rhinebeck, I finished up the sleeves, got the thing assembled and blocked and sewed on the buttons. I love the sweater. It's a plain, hardworking "everyday" kind of cardigan. One I know I will reach for again and again.

Believe it or not, there's been plenty of knitting going on, just not much in the way of finished goods to show. Something about A.D.D. knitting. I'm this close to finishing my Garter Yoke Cardigan and hope to have something to show in a few days.

Monday, October 18, 2010


It was a quick trip. Practically a drive-by. We had planned to leave on Wednesday, hang around the Hudson Valley on Thursday, take the train into the Big City on Friday, festival Saturday (with maybe a little fishing with St. Tim for Mike), more festival on Sunday and then home on Monday. Instead, several patients of Mike's went into crisis mode and we stayed home to get that under control. We finally got away from the farm on Friday morning. Saturday was festival day and the weather was beautiful (if a tad bit windy), crisp and fall-like. Apparently, I over did it on Thursday and after spending the 13 hours in the truck on Friday, my back was in a sorry state. After walking the fairgrounds for about 9 hours on Saturday, I knew I was in trouble. So, I hobbled to the truck and we struck out for home on Sunday morning. Today, I'm happy to be home and trying to rest my back.

Rhinebeck was fabulous, as always. I saw many old friends and met a few new ones, finally got to meet Gale Zucker in person and brought home my share of goodies from some of my favorite vendors. Even with all the uncertainty, changed plans, missed opportunities, I'd do it all again and am already looking forward to next year!

(These almost make me wish I lived close enough to town to have trick-o- treaters!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get ready, get set, GO!

I didn't even have to say it. (Not sure I could have said it fast enough!!) We brought the ewes in, wormed them all and trimmed their feet, if needed (which was not easy given that we've had no rain in forever). I looked at fleeces, lambing records and made my final decisions about who was getting bred to whom. We divided the ewes and put them in separate fields and brought the boys in for worming, feet check and the strapping on of the marking harnesses. By that time, the temperature was close to 85 degrees and the sun was shining brightly, so I made the boys stay in the barn, cooling their heels until the sun started going down. I haltered each one and led him to his group of girls and got out of the way. Good grief! When I checked on everyone about an hour later, both rams had already marked two ewes! Guess my 2011 lambing season will start in a big way early in March.

Henry (That Henry) is quite the gentleman and is calm and sweet with his group of ewes. Ollie is still a little too youthfully exuberant and I worried that he might just have a heat stroke for a while there, but he has calmed down and is being attentive and not so rowdy (and a little tired, I would imagine!).

So the cycle begins again. I recently read on someone's blog (wish I could remember who) that they always felt like fall was the start of a new year. I share that same feeling. Even before I began raising sheep, having three boys head off to school and a quiet house to myself, always felt as though it was time for me to start something new. These days, fall means planning for spring and the new crop of lambs that will brighten my days and it means winter is coming (I hope, I hope) and prime spinning and knitting time is ahead of me.

(sorry for no pictures today-camera issues and heat combined to defeat me!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


is all it takes. On Monday, I started feeding the ewes just a little grain in the evenings. I'll be turning the ram in next week and I like to up their nutritional level just a little before breeding. Most years, all I would need to do is put them on fresh pasture, but seeing as how we have no fresh pasture (or really any pasture left at all), this year they are getting some grain. Once is all I have to feed them and they start showing up at the gate like clockwork. They wait and they watch for any sign of me. I don't even have to be heading to the barn. Just show my face outside the house and the baa-ing starts.

(this is the "where's my dinner" look)

The Kentucky Sheep and Wool Festival was a fun weekend. It was chilly and sales of wool were better than ever. Best of all is the camaraderie with the other vendors. Some of these people are together only this one time in a year, but friendships are made and it's part of what brings us all back each year. My camera never came out of the case, but Sara got some great pictures and you can see them on her blog.

Tonight I'll be part of a group doing a sheep-to-shawl demonstration at the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky (complete with live sheep!). If you are out and about, come by and join in the fun.