Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy hour on the farm

(Mr. Bates loves his dinner!)
Well, it's not that kind of happy hour.  There are no festive drinks involved, but rather the "happy" refers to how the sheep react to feeding time.  It's a once or twice a day (depending on time of year and weather) highlight of the day for the creatures who live here.  When the sun is getting low in the sky, the sheep start keeping a sharp eye out for me.  As soon as I leave the house or studio and start toward the barn, they come running.  We've had a spell of dry weather and they've been out on pasture, instead of being brought into the barn in the evenings.  That means I load the hay bales on my trusty cart and deliver dinner to them.

A few days ago,  as I was spreading the hay flakes out, Mrs Patmore (yes, she's one of those Downton Abbey girls and got that name because of her less than svelte figure!), surprised me by jumping up into the hay cart.  In all my years of keeping sheep, I've never had one who would willing get up on anything with wheels.  She was quite nonchalant about it and it took considerable effort on my part to get her to jump out.  Luckily the front of the cart comes off because there's no way she could have turned around.  As it was, I had to finally push her out.  Just one more occasion of nearly daily surprises around here.

(Lady Edith-on the right) thought maybe she was missing something good)
 Christmas is less than a week away and though I am not quite ready, I am nearly there. We have simplified our holiday season so much these last few years.  I no longer decorate every room in the house and it seems I'm leaving more and more decorations packed away each year, but the decorations that are out are ones that have special meaning.

(Check out those snazzy red heels!)

I know I've been absent a lot around here lately but a new year is coming and I've got PLANS!  There will be a blog anniversary, a sweet little book giveaway (with maybe some bonus yarn thrown in), some knitting projects to show and several other things I've been thinking about for awhile.  So, don't give up on me.  I'm planning to be here on a much more regular basis in the very near future.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Headed this way

(Quite a different picture than the earlier snow scene and the one we'll have tomorrow morning.)
"They" are saying it's coming our way.  Right now it's raining buckets and it's supposed to turn to sleet, ice and eventually snow.  I can handle all of that except the ice.  Please, please don't give us an ice storm!  It's been so warm here the last few days (mid 60's) that I was actually thinking about mowing the grass in the area in front of the studio one last time!  Needless to say, that won't be happening now.

I was reading Heather's blog this morning and have been thinking about her plan to do Christmas knitting in July.  I need to adopt that plan because I'm in failure mode right now.  It's looking pretty bleak for there being completed items inside the boxes by Christmas.  Why, when we know Christmas comes at the same time every year, is it so hard to judge how much actual knitting time is needed to finish gift knitting?  I'm almost always too optimistic about what I can accomplish in a given amount of time.  I'm thinking I'll put a reminder to myself on my 2014 calendar.....big red letters on the first of July Start Christmas Knitting Now!  We'll see how that goes.

Earlier than usual this evening, I put down more fresh bedding and brought everyone back into the barn for the night.  I'd made them all go out for a little while earlier in the day and now they are all walking around like big wet sponges.  Of course, now is when they want to get all up close with me!  I needed dry jeans by the time everyone was tucked into their pens and happily eating hay.  I'll admit that one of my favorite parts of shepherding is having everyone cozied up inside and peacefully munching on sweet smelling hay.  I love to sit down in the pen with them and give face scratches to the ones who will come over for a little one on one attention from me.  I love that.

(Good eaters, every one!)
(Rowdy and his girls-he doesn't know it yet, but tonight is his last chance to get the job done.)
Three of those girls with Rowdy have been bred by him (that's the red crayon marks on their rumps) and I'm hoping the rest were bred by the Wensleydale (who was not wearing a marking harness).  We are now up to a May 1st lambing date and I don't want to go any further into warm weather,  so tomorrow Rowdy goes back in with Buddy.  Neither of them will be thrilled about that!

I'm planning on bringing in the Christmas tree this weekend and maybe a little baking is in order.  It seems like we're a little short on Christmas spirit around here and I want to change that!!  I'm hoping for a snowy (not icy) weekend.  And, I want to know if everyone else has finished their Christmas knitting already.  Tell me, please!