Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring.....

Just in case it hasn't been wet enough this winter, a few days ago we received two and a half inches of rain and now it's at it again. If the sun ever does come out again, the grass should green up and grow like crazy, which would be a welcome relief from the brown/beige/gray landscape.

I'm obsessed with looking for hopeful signs of spring. One sure sign is that Mr. Dandy has started vocalizing again. People often talk about how noisy peafowl are, and it's true, they can be. We've found that they seem to go through cycles. When Mr. Dandy moults and loses all his tail feathers, he gets pretty quiet. (I think he's embarrassed and doesn't want to call attention to himself!) Just in the last week, he has been making noise when there's activity around the barn.....a sort of early warning security device. It seems that Mr. Dandy has romance on his mind these days and that's a sign that spring is coming, for sure!

I'm pretty sure I'm the cause of all this rain. I was finally able to schedule the shearers to come on Monday to shear the pregnant ewes, which means I have to keep the ewes penned up in the barn to keep them dry. After spending most of the winter outside and having beautifully clean fleeces, a few days stuck in the barn on bedding can add a lot of vegetable matter to their wool.

The good news today was that I picked my first daffodils and this evening I heard the peepers!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Searching for color

I would have a really hard time living someplace where there was little green and not many trees. Though I really, really dislike the heat that comes with our southern summers, I do love the lushness of the Kentucky landscape. I once knew someone who grew up in the west and she said she felt as though she was smothering here because of all the trees. She wanted long views to the horizon and the wind blowing all the time to make her feel at home. I suppose it's likely that we feel most comfortable in familiar surrounding....those we grew up knowing.

This time of year, I'm looking for the first signs of green. There's not much that isn't gray and/or brown at the moment. The warm temperatures we've been having this week have me craving some sign of new growth or at least something colorful to look at. I found these outside the garden fence there's hope!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A warm hat and Warm Hats, Not Hot Heads

Not long ago, Susan Anderson blogged about the free hat pattern that would come with a skein of Spud and Chloe "Outer" yarn. I'm always up for a quick and easy project! I sat down with the yarn and pattern on Saturday afternoon during a basketball game and, lo and behold, I finished it before the game was over. And, it's cute! I can't wait to make another one (or two). I've got too many projects in an unfinished state at the moment and it felt great to actually finish something without it languishing on the needles for a time.

Though I generally steer clear of political talk on this blog, there is an activity that I think would be a wonderful thing to take part in right now. A few posts back, India commented and asked if I would be willing to mention the Warm Hats, Not Hot Heads campaign. I've thought about it a lot because I have been so disgusted with the negative and mean-spirited tone of so much of the political discourse right now. So, I've decided to throw my hat in the ring (so to speak). I'm going to do it because I want the person who represents me in Washington to know that I am watching and listening......and that I want to hear a spirit of cooperation and compromise coming from him, instead of the constant stream of negativity that's been in the news. Do I have any right to complain about the way things are going, if my participation in the process ended on election day? What better way for a knitter to offer encouragement for a more civil and responsible way of being represented? So,I'm making the commitment today and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be received. One more good thing about this project, should my recipient choose not to wear my gift hat (and I can't imagine that they would, but I'd love to be surprised), they are asked to donate it to charity....two good deeds in one effort! So, I'm off to go shopping in my own stash for some bulky, man-appropriate yarn and will plan on getting a hat on the way to Washington in the next day or two.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Babysitter

She's just about the best baby sitter around here, though she isn't really watching after babies at this time of year. Actually, her job is even harder at the moment because she's watching after a bunch of silly teenagers. Pippi is a grown up girl now, but still as sweet as ever. She and Strawberry are in with those silly teenage ewe lambs. Strawberry just barely tolerates the nonsense that these girls act out every day. As I've said before, Strawberry has a "serious" personality. She doesn't go in for much goofing around. When we have little bitty lambs, she will let them use her back for climbing-jumping-king on the mountain games, but only for a little while. Then, it's "don't bother me". It's actually kind of amusing to watch Strawberry try to make these girls stay out of her hay feeder. I've never seen her do a full-on spit (not ever-regardless of what you might have heard about llamas), but she does do a spit-spray kind of thing....more like a sneeze, really. The ewe lambs are usually totally oblivious! They have a pretty secure sense of entitlement. If there's food out, it's theirs to share.
(That's brother Finn and Flashpoint in the background)

One of the best things about having animals, besides their interaction with me, is observing their interactions with each other. It's not exactly the Peaceable Kingdom around here.......more like a United Nations with on-going negotiations.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The color purple

I did manage to get in a little Christmas knitting this year before my carpal-tunnel issues ended in two surgeries. Not much, but enough to please the three purple loving grand-daughters in my life. The 20 year old and the 14 year old got scarves and hats. The six year old (the one who got the doll cupboard, robe and flannel pajamas) also got a purple sweater for her American Girl doll. Do all girls love purple these days? I don't remember ever being purple crazy (though I did go through a rather prolonged passion for pink as a little girl). In fact, it would seem I must be approaching that stage in my life referred to in the poem "When I am an old woman l shall wear purple", because I'm suddenly finding a few purple accessories being added to my wardrobe.

It's not purple but I do have a sweater coming off the needles. All I have to do is finish knitting the button band and block it. I hope to have a photo of that later this week. Of course, there are several more sweaters, in various stages of unfinishedness (yes, I think I made up that word), that need my attention. I've also been working on a few knitted and felted "smalls" that have been so much fun. Can't wait to show those.

(Love that little "got wool?" sheep up there! It was given to me by one of my grandsons a few years ago.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello there!!

Remember this girl?
Such a sweet picture and just look how tiny she was!

Every time I walk into the barn or am near her pasture, Olive runs to the fence and climbs up to greet me. Never fails. She's as cheerful as can be....always (that's her smiley face up there). I love that about her. She's getting to be a big girl now, but still likes her foster mom (that would be me) a lot. Olive especially loves treats, but will settle for chin rubs and behind the ear scratches if no treats are forthcoming.

Funny thing about this group of lambs. They are nearly all climbers and I think it comes from their dad, Ollie, the CVM ram. I've never had sheep who climbed like that before. Could it be a breed characteristic? Not likely, but I do find it interesting how traits are often passed on to lambs by their parents (much like our own children). The ewe lamb's hay feeders hang on the sides of the panels in the barn and no matter how high or how low they are placed, they climb up and stand on their hind legs to eat the hay.

Somehow we got lucky with the weather this time around. We are just a little south of the ice and snow that hit yesterday. We got a whole lot of rain and 50 mph winds during the night, but I'll take it, compared to feet of snow!

And....Happy Groundhog Day! I'm always confused about what it means, but according to the weatherman, there was no shadow to be seen and we are going to have an early spring. Yay for that!