Monday, October 24, 2011


 Today I'm starting an idea I stole got from Juniper Moon Farm to introduce you to a different member of the flock each week or so.  Actually, I didn't steal it .... I do have their permission - thanks, Caroline.  I thought I'd start with the youngest members of the flock.  These are the ones I call the little girls.  They're the ewe lambs that I've decided to keep and they will eventually join the brood ewes,  when they are mature enough to be bred.

So, without further ado,  may I present Poppy !

Though you might not suspect it at first glance,  Poppy is one of Birdie's sisters.   There is yet another sister,  whom you will meet soon.  The mother of the triplets is a purebred Bluefaced Leicester and their father was Henry ( 1/2 Wensleydale - 1/2 Cotswold ),  and the combination of those three breeds accounts for that gorgeous fleece.  I'm totally in love with the fleeces that Henry passed on to his progeny and,  especially now that he's gone,  I wish I had given him more ewes to breed last fall.  I have kept nearly all of Henry's ewe lambs and think they are going provide me with some wonderful handspinning fleeces.   Under that beautiful frosted color patterning,  Poppy has a silky, lustrous fleece that will be a dream to spin.

See what I mean ?   Luna likes to be center stage !

Poppy has been slow to make up to me.  There is a huge difference between the lambs raised strictly on their mother's milk and those that I supplement or raise entirely on a bottle.  Luna and Birdie come running to me still,  even though it has been a long,  long time since their last bottle.  In fact,  they sometimes make it difficult for me to pet on,  or take pictures of,  the other lambs because they have to be practically in my lap whenever I'm around them.  When I bring the little girls into the barn in the evening for some grain,  I've been sitting down in the pen and just letting them all have a chance to be close to me without there being any " torture " involved ( that would be their definition of de-worming medication,  foot trimming,  eartagging ).  Poppy has been very cautious,  but oh so slowly,  I'm winning her over.  So far,  I'm only allowed a chin scratch or two,  but I can see that she is starting to overcome her shyness and think of me as her friend.

These pictures were taken this morning,  and as you can see,  we have sunshine and green grass going on here.  That green grass is especially good news,  because it delays my having to feed hay twice a day.   Just one of those things that makes a shepherd happy !

Thursday, October 20, 2011



 Yes, I'm cozy and content.  I've had my first fire of the season in the little Vermont Castings woodstove in the studio and am actually enjoying the spell of cold,  rainy,  windy,  miserable weather we're having right now.  Daytime temperatures are staying in the 40's and it's supposed to go to freezing this weekend.  It's really perfect for giving me permission to stay inside ( except for barn chores )  by the woodstove and start a new knitting project.  I know,  the last thing I need to do is start another knitting project,  but I'll bet most of you know how that happens.  And when did need ever have anything to do with it?

Those crafty people at Purl Soho sent a little note to my email box from the Purl Bee earlier this week and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I had the perfect yarn leftover from this sweater,  so last night I cast on for the Bandana Cowl.  I'm thinking this might be a great little accessory for Christmas knitting.   Big needles,  fat yarn,  simple,  fun pattern ......... what more could you ask?  And,  this pattern will be great practice for anyone wanting to perfect their short row technique.   ( I got plenty of practice while knitting my  To Eyre  shawl,  so,  to me,  it's just entertaining enough to keep me interested ).

Anyone else have Christmas knitting on their mind?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the lam

Her new name is Houdini.  She's the escape artist of bunnies.  Several mornings lately,  I've opened the door to the studio and,  there in the hallway,  I'm greeted by The Bun.  She always seems pleasantly surprised to see me and hops over to be picked up.  There's absolutely no indication of guilty feelings on her part !

Obviously,  I've created in her this sense of entitlement and being confined to her cage all night is not how she thinks her life should be.  I've even tried wiring her cage door shut and she's managed to get that undone several times.  To her credit,  there have been no accidents.  She's still using her litter box all the time and there have been no new electrical wire chewing episodes ( though I have tried to rabbit proof most of the plug-ins that are within her reach ).   I do get the feeling that,   when she has freed herself during the night,  she probably sits on the couch thinking about how she has outsmarted me,  once again ! 

I fully expect that next on her list is learning to use the remote control for the television.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some flying geese with a sheep!

A barn quilt has been on my farm wish list for a long,  long time and hosting the big family wedding last weekend was just the motivation needed to finally make it happen.  I've seen and admired so many quilts on barns around our area,  but I had a little different vision for our own.  I've always loved the quilt pattern named "flying geese" and knew I wanted to incorporate that but,  somehow,  there had to be sheep in the design,  too.  I just wasn't sure how to go about it.  Fellow shepherd,  Tonya Fedders  Flat Creek Wool and Pottery,  and I have been emailing back and forth for a few months now and above is the result of our collaboration.  I love it !  I especially love how Tonya patterned the geese patches to resemble real fabric.  Tonya is so talented and is quite possibly the nicest person you would ever want to meet,  plus she displayed an abundance of patience with me during the whole process.  She deserves a medal for trying so hard to please me.   The finished barn quilt was just another perfect touch to a memorable weekend.

To make it even more special,  Crimson and Taylor decided to gift it to us as a thank you for hosting their wedding.  The only negative aspect of the whole project was watching Mike install the quilt on the barn on the day before the wedding.   I told him I thought it would be a real downer if he was in a coma and a body cast during the wedding celebration !   Mike is nothing,  if not thorough, and he had put a lot of thought into the mechanics of the installation.  So,  with the help of the groom,  the best man and a few stray painters ( who were still here a full week after their promised finish date - but,  I digress ) they managed to get it mounted on the barn.  In fact,  it is so securely mounted that the barn could probably fall down around it and it would remain !

We're having one of those lovely,  slow,  drizzly rain days and I'm going to use it as an excuse to sit on the couch and knit.  The knitting has been much neglected around here lately and I need to start catching up. 


Monday, October 10, 2011


Some of the many,  many mums,  waiting to be placed.

It was, in every sense,  perfect.  It was the most personal,  fun-filled and happy occasion.  It was all a wedding should be and much,  much more.

As many of you know,  Mike and I have spent most of the summer preparing the farm for the wedding of Mike's son, Taylor,  and Crimson.  They are two very special people and their wedding was so them.  I am certain that everyone who attended was there because of their affection for the two of them,  which only added to the spirit of celebration.

The beginnings of "tent city" ( along with the caterer's van ) 

The weather was exactly what I ordered,  all those months ago,  when we first agreed to have their wedding here on the farm.  It was bright and sunny,  not too hot,  not too cool.  We knew the ceremony would be unusual,  but even Crimson and Taylor did not know exactly how it would all transpire.  The officiant,  who is a really close friend of theirs,  had several surprises for them along the way.   It was all so personal and heartfelt,  I know that every person in attendance was touched.  It was,  for sure,  a memory Crimson and Taylor (and all of us) will keep forever.

Inexplicably,  I only have a picture of half the tent during dinner.

I am embarrassed to admit that I took practically no pictures.  I kept losing and finding my camera and never seemed to have it when I had a moment.  The official photographer,  who is also a good friend,  took 4000 pictures !  ( really and truly,  I've never seen anyone work so hard to capture so many moments )  I'm hopeful that I can get permission to use some of his pictures,  or at the very least,  post a link to his website.

The bride ( bless her heart ) , dancing with my  10 year old grandson, Preston.

The last few hardy souls went to bed ( or should I say,  to their tents and sleeping bags ) around 3 am!  Mike and I had to give up around 1 am.  These people are young and they know how to party !  The band was great and kept the dancers going for nearly 3 hours.  We had a good crowd for coffee ( lots of coffee ),  yogurt,  granola and muffins on Sunday morning and I'm guessing there were some really tired people,  trying to work in a nap yesterday afternoon !

All tidied up and waiting for the rental company to come take it away

Mike and I are wondering what project to tackle next,  though I'm voting for a break in the action.  Thanksgiving,  Christmas and New Years are just around the corner !

Monday, October 3, 2011

The score is.....

Officially, it's 1to 1,  but really,  I'm winning now.  Mr. Dandy managed to decimate the first plantings in my fall garden.  Before all those tender green things showed up,  Mr. Dandy could only be seen checking out the garden late in the evening.  He'd been serving as the clean-up crew,  picking at the fallen tomatoes and squash that I had decided were too far gone.  It didn't take long before those tender lettuce leaves,   broccoli and kale looked as though they'd been blasted by a shotgun.  It broke my heart because this is the first year I've actually done a pretty good job of getting a fall planting in the ground.

Thankfully, I have a weapon now!  Row covers are saving the day and under them,  the plants are flourishing.  In the mad rush to finish spiffing up the farm for the wedding day,  the garden has gotten little to no attention.  I'm already thinking about and making plans for next year's garden.  You have to be an optimist to raise a garden in Kentucky.  It's often too hot,  too cool,  too wet,  too dry,  or as it was this year,  all of those things in the same season.

Speaking of the wedding,  it's almost here.  Five more days and the big event will be happening.  I expect that once it's all over,  we are going to collapse,  but at least we'll be caught up on all most of the chores that needed doing.  Of course,  here's the thing about living on a farm.  The chores are never really finished.