Wednesday, May 30, 2012

#901 is no more ....

(Is it the dog days of summer already?)
It seems as though nearly every post I've written lately has begun with an apology for being absent and this is no exception.  Whoever suggested that summer was full of long, lazy days sure didn't live a life like mine.  We've had lots going on, including the hospitalization of my sweet mother-in-law and then a prolonged recovery period at home where she needed one of us close by 24/7.  Thankfully, she seems well on her way to being healthy again.

Well, the sheep who was just a number (formerly known as #901), has been christened Regina by my grand-daughter, Jordan.  Since she was the one who made me feel guilty enough to name the poor girl, I suggested she be the one to pick out the name.  Thanks to all of you who made such great suggestions.  There are at least two more ewes who have been living here as only a number (don't tell my grand-daughter!) and I think we'll spread the name suggestions amongst them.  Identification pictures to follow soon!  Just to make sure I keep my promise to name this year's lamb crop with Downton Abbey names, Jordan sent me a comprehensive list of all the character names. (and, I will add here, if you've just emerged from hibernating in a cave somewhere and don't know what Downton Abbey is, you NEED to get it from Netflix and catch up!  It's the best thing that has been on television in ages).

(nothing like trying to stay cool by sleeping in a crowd)
We're having a break from the hot, humid weather that plagued us last week - mid 90's most days. Ugh!  Have I ever mentioned how much I detest hot weather?  Really?  That many times? Okay, so you know where I'm coming from then.  The big barn fans were running day and night and still the sheep were panting.  If you've been watching the lamb-cam in the evening, you may have noticed that there's a lot less night time activity going on.  I've been opening the gate and letting them all go back outside during the night because it's been so miserable.  Soon I'll be weaning the lambs and then there will be lamb gymnastics in the barn all the time because I will pen them inside and move the ewes out to pasture, as far from the barn as I can get them.  Weaning is one time for you all to be especially grateful that the lamb-cam does not have sound! We go through a few days of pitiful crying before everyone settles down.  In the meantime, most days are spent like the picture above.  Seeking shade and sleeping are as strenuous as a hot summer day gets in the sheep world.  Almost makes me wish I could live like that (except for that no air conditioning thing)!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Way to go girls!

 Well, hello there.  Yes, we really are still here, even though it has been mighty quiet on the blog front.  The weeks leading up to the 2012 Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival were packed with preparations that left me unable to focus on much else.  I'm not the most organized person in the world, but I tried really hard to not procrastinate this year.  I think I may have improved on my past record, but still have a long way to go.  A couple of big accomplishments this year - the trailer was loaded and ready to roll before noon on set-up day - the bottle babies (Matthew and Marilla**) had been bathed the day before and were sparkling white and clean - Luna and Birdie got a quick spray off with the hose the day before to spiff them up just a little and best of all, I did not put my iPhone through the wash cycle in the washing machine.  Yes, that actually did happen two years ago.

Saturday at the festival was action packed.  There were good crowds of happy yarn and fiber buyers all day.  Luckily for me, my sweet grand-daughter, Jordan, came for the weekend to help me because it would not have been pretty if I'd tried to hold it together on my own.  Sunday was much, much slower, but it gave me more time to chat with people coming through.  I love the fact that so many said they read the blog and have been enjoying the lamb-cam.  (Sometimes I wonder if anyone is out there, so it's good to know.)

Wondering why the title to this post?  Because my girls did me proud in the fleece competition.  I only entered four natural colored fleeces, PeeGee, Teeny, Olive and 901.  The girls brought home two blue ribbons, two red ribbons and my special little Olive won the championship ribbon.  It was especially nice that the judge came to me afterwards to ask about Olive's breeding and tell me what a beautiful fleece she had produced.  To make it even sweeter, with the exception of 901, they are all bottle babies.  (My grand-daughter has made me feel guilty that 901 doesn't have a name, so if you've got ideas please send them this way!)

( Would it kill ya to give me a name?)
 This week it's back to real life on the farm. There's much to do to make up for slacking off on farm chores while preparing for the festival.  I only have two more fleeces to go before all the sheep and alpaca fleeces for 2012 will be washed and the garden needs attention a.s.a.p.  So, onward ......

** I know I said this was to be a "Downton Abbey" year for names, but DA didn't have any brother and sister names for me to use, so these two got "Anne of Green Gables" names.  I don't think they mind.

Monday, May 14, 2012

mother's day

I found this video in a round-about way.  I found it very touching and beautifully filmed.

Susan Anderson posted this video of Alabama Channin not long ago and after watching it, I discovered the etsy video library about craftspeople. There are so many interesting stories there.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day and felt loved and appreciated by your children.  I know I did.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Being just above the Kentucky river, we often have mornings that look like this.  The fog rolls up from the river, sweeps over us and dissipates quickly.  I often think of the Carl Sandburg poem, "The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on".  The cat image is such a perfect metaphor for the way fog moves across our farm.  I love looking out and seeing everything softened and blurred by the mist. 

I'm not much of an early riser.  Unless I've awakened before daylight and can't get back to sleep, I rarely see the sun coming up.  I sometimes think I'd like to be a morning person.  People I know who get up early do seem to accomplish a lot more than I do.  The problem is, I'm a night person.  If I'm reading a book or knitting (or surfing the black hole known as Pinterest), I can lose several hours before I know it and then it's 1:00 am or later.  I don't know if it's even possible to change my internal clock at my age.  Even as a child, I would read under the covers with a flashlight, so that my parents wouldn't know I was still awake.  I can't take naps either,  unless I'm sick and then I can sleep all night and all day, sometimes even a whole weekend.  How I envy people who can "power nap".  My husband is one of those and my friend Teresa can do the same.  Fifteen minutes and they're good as new!  It seems impossible to me.

 My favorite flowers have been blooming in abundance this year, or at least they were before the thunderstorms we experienced early Saturday morning.  I'm glad I got this picture earlier in the week, because the rain and wind wreaked havoc on the peony beds and they're beaten down now.  I think I've mentioned before that these peonies have been transplanted so many times, it's a wonder they grow so well.  They came from Mike's grandmother's farm, so they are especially meaningful.  

This week, I may not be rising before sunrise, but I'll be up and working pretty early because there are on-going preparations for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival,  preparing eight bottles a day for the bottle babies, trying to get more of the garden planted, and mowing, mowing and more mowing. What's going on at your place?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some gratuitous lamb shots

The lambs are growing so quickly now.  Their play-times get more rambunctious and personalities begin to show.  No surprise, Gabby's two boys are very self-confident and seem to be the ring leaders for all kinds of trouble activity.  They're the first to jump on the hay bales and to try getting into the ewes feed bunks.  The famous Graham Lamb is their uncle (he and Grabby are twins), so I'm thinking there is something "special" in their genes. 

This pretty girl is one of only two single lambs we had born this spring.  We had four sets of triplets, two singles and the rest were all twins.  Out of twelve ewes, that makes for an over 200% lambing average.  That's a pretty good average since I'm not raising Finn sheep or some other breed that routinely have small litters.  One of my favorite things to do is go into the pen at night and just sit down and wait for the lambs to decide whether I'm a friend or foe.  I'm not sure how many more years I'll want (or be physically able) to keep having lambs.  It makes me sad to think of a spring-time with no bouncing lambs to watch.  The really hard part comes in a few months when I have to start deciding which lambs stay and which lambs go.

(another set of twins - boy with the tag in the left ear and girl with the tag in the right ear)

Holly always has a favorite ewe that she likes to hang out with.  I've never figured out how she chooses which one it will be, though it nearly always is one of the black sheep. One really good thing that I've observed this spring is that Aslan, who came to live here last fall, has been terrific with the lambs.  Though he's five years old, he'd never been on a farm where there were lambs being born and I wondered how he might react.  He's learned to slow down and hang back a little a feeding time, so that all the lambs come into the barn before him. 

The sheep are sleeping away most of the daylight hours because it is so dang hot!  Who ever heard of mid to upper 80's at the beginning of May?  Makes me worried about what kind of temperatures we will be having in July.  The sheep are already asking for the fans to be set up.  Those of you watching the lamb-cam might have noticed that I'm not shutting everyone in the barn at night.  I've been leaving the gate open to the outside, so they can go out where it is cooler.  They are in a very secure field and Aslan is in with them, so I'm not worried about predators.

Our last planning committee meeting for the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival is this afternoon.  It seems nearly impossible that it's just a little over two weeks away now.  I've been in the dye pots for several weeks now and have finally finished dyeing all of the yarn from our sheep/alpaca blend yarn.  If you come (and I hope you do), please stop by my booth in the Livestock Pavilion and say hello.  We have a wonderful line-up of workshops and vendors, so there will be plenty of pretty things to buy and lots of interesting things to do.  I hope to meet many of you there.