Thursday, July 31, 2008

ALICE

Meet the backbone of my Shetland flock. The strength of the Shepherdess. The heart of the Bluff Country.

"Highland Hollow Alice"
chose me to be her shepherdess in 2001.

Since then, she has taught me many things.

She has given me many beautiful lambs.

She has made me laugh.

And she has stood by me when I cried.

She is my friend.

I love her strength and beauty.

I love her many faces.

I love her wisdom.

I am eternally grateful to Jane Eager and to God for bringing this wonderful animal into my life.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hot & MUGGY...

That's a Midwest term for MISERABLE!

The ewes are busy just trying to stay cool. They seek out shade and relief from the insects where ever they can find it. I did move the girls to the side pasture this morning because they have the benefit of lots of trees for shade.

Not a lot of action photo opportunities!
;-)

My Dreamer sure is looking good, for a 2 year old ewe that just raised triplets!

Mystery (for sale!) and Prima Dona want to go in with the BIG girls...

CHANCE says...

..."If you want CUTE you're going to have to come back into MY paddock, Mom!"

I'll be there soon, Sweetie ~ HALTER LESSONS begin, in earnest, this weekend!

Monday, July 28, 2008

la lanterne rouge...

*As always, click on any image to enlarge*


For those not familiar with the cycling world, the term "lanterne rouge" (="red lantern", in reference to the lamps on the last car of a train) is used to refer to the cyclist who, well, comes in last in the race.

And it has a kind of mythology all its own -- while normally you wouldn't think to celebrate coming in last, tour riders and fans do, for a very simple reason. If you're coming in last, it means you're still on the Tour. It means you've actually finished the Tour, which is rather an accomplishment all on its own.

The Race is over. I give you evidence of why I feel that I deserve the red jersey:

This is what happens when I attempt to ply my over spun singles from a center pull ball!

I actually started out with one strand of yarn from the center of the ball and the second one from around the outside of the ball. As I ply, the center of the ball comes globbing out (technical spinning term for those of you not "in the know") and the strand from the outside of the ball tangles with it's self and from the mess from the center of the ball.

Not a particularly effective technique for me. At least I tried. Now to see if I can untangle this mess and salvage any usable yarn from it!

On a more POSITIVE note:

I've started flick carding some of the white Shetland and white mohair that I'm going to spin for one of the colors in my "Modern Quilt Wrap".

With any luck at all, I may just be knitting on this by NEXT year's Tour De Fleece...

Coming tomorrow...

...DREAM returns!

;-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cautiously Optomistic....

I was given some disconcerting news a couple of weeks ago. When I had the vet out to do health papers on some lambs that I sold, he noticed my Silkie hens wandering in the paddock and mentioned that he didn't know that I had chickens. I explained that I just had two hens and a rooster. It turns out, my vet raises Silkie chickens. He said he was surprised that I didn't have any little chicks running around as Silkies are known to be so "Broody" (like to sit on and hatch out their eggs).

I explained to the vet that my girls hardly ever even lay eggs any more. I'm lucky if I get two a week! At this, he informed me that my hens are OLD. My precious, little Madonna ~ my pet, who runs to me to pick her up and pet her, is OLD. This made me very sad. Suddenly, I am filled with the desire to have Baby Madonnas...

I even thought about picking up an incubator and letting my Grandsons hatch out a couple of eggs for me!

However, Dear Madonna has taken things into her own "hands"/wings(?) Look what she has done!!!

I put a dish of food and a pan of water right outside the door to her nest box (a covered cat litter box), so she doesn't have to go far for nourishment. She stays on the eggs all most all of the time!

She's been sitting for a couple of weeks now. Although there were only three eggs, most of that time. I don't even know how long it takes to incubate eggs! And I'm worried about keeping the chicks safe! Do I need to build a pen for Madonna and her babies? The chickens have always had free-range of the barn/paddock/pasture & yard!

Oh my! So much to do to get ready.....

BELLA says...

..."Woof"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mom's Been Very, VERY Busy....

Yes I have, my beautiful "Cassy"! In addition to finally getting all of the lambs away from their moms (I JUST caught Angel and put her in with the ewe lambs this morning!), and fencing in a new pasture for the ewes...

I figured since the deer had eaten the bottom 5 feet of my pine trees last winter, I may as well let the sheep in by them. Now I don't have to mow around the pines and the sheep have fun browse, back scratchers and plenty of shade!


When the heat's too much for me to bear, I've been SPINNING. I got back on track for the Tour De Fleece and finished up the red roving that I need to finish a shawl that I'm knitting at work.

I love the color of this roving/yarn and it's wonderfully soft ~ but the silk blended in with the merino gives the fiber a "bite" when I'm spinning it and I'm glad to be done. I've got a sore index finger (almost like a paper cut!) from spinning the stuff! I'll be happy to be back to Shetland....


Speaking of Shetland:


I have to admit: I'm a bit disappointed in myself. The colored yarn in this skein is from bits of wool that I've rooed off the necks of my girls, over the years. I've been spinning it "in the grease" and "from the lock". I have to admit, I hate spinning from the lock and in the grease. Give me roving ANY day!! I WAS going to ply this yarn back on it's self (some day) but Really needed an extra bobbin to ply my red yarn....so I just plied my multi-colored Shetlnad with a single strand of "Alice" that I had sitting around (using another bobbin) and that gave me two more bobbins! It also completely ruined the effect of the multi colored locks of Shetland....

at least it's soft


Another BIG project I've been working on is this:

I am going to build a retaining wall!
Out. Of. ROCKS.
I've been gathering big rocks from rock slides along the side of the road for several weeks now. I stop on my way home from work, or to work, or when I'm running into town for something.

This WILL be a long ~ drawn out project. It will probably take me years.

But I think it will be neat. I need the retaining wall to keep the gravel from washing away from around the new barn.

Now, I'd better hop in the shower and get ready for work! This was supposed to be my 3 day weekend off, but we're so busy that they've offered overtime PLUS $5.00 GAS CARDS for every 2 hours of overtime we pick up! I'll be buying hay soon, so figure I better work while the money's good!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Prima Dona & Chance....
...and "My Chain Fell Off!!"

Do you remember this little Doll??? She is "BLUFF COUNTRY PRIMA DONA".

I fell in love with her on the morning that she was born! You can relive that morning here.. Prima Dona has grown into a very beautiful ewe lamb! I'll be showing her at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival this fall.

You may or may not have recognized her in the picture with Daisy in my last post.

Joining Prima Dona in the "Pair of Ewe Lambs" class will be "BLUFF COUNTRY CHANCE"

This little beauty is fast becoming the moorit version of DREAM!!! She is my snuggle bug and loves to be held and hugged and cuddled.

Both Prima Dona and Chance are twins and have full-siblings who are for sale. You can see THORN and CASSY on my Breeding Stock For Sale blog...

What's that about "My Chain Falling Off", you ask??? You may remember, I am participating in the "Tour De Fleece". And I was doing really great! Spinning every day and/or night. One night I even stayed up 'till midnight because I didn't have time to spin before leaving for work in the afternoon and I didn't want to miss a day. So I spun when I got home from work at 11 o'clock at night! Yesterday, I didn't spin. I put two more strands of electric fence on a new pasture that I'm preparing for the ewes, now that I've pulled the lambs from their moms. I've been working my butt off, trying to get this pasture ready for them. Having finally got six strands of electric up, I finally decided that it is safe to put them in there now. I'll add two more strands this weekend, when I'm off work.

It's HOT. Super hot and horribly MUGGY. The worst kind of weather for me. I'd rather have blizzards!! I swear ~ that's the truth. I'm too old for this kind of heat and humidity. So, I got the fence done enough to let the girls out into their new pasture, but didn't have time to do any spinning. The first time I missed a day since the Tour began. By the time I got home from work last night, I was in pain. And feeling nauseaus. It's been an exhausting week. What, with separating all the lambs from the moms and moving groups around so that every one has good pasture and shelter. And trying to get the fencing done all by myself. And my stupid JOB... I tell you: I am too old for this! Especially the latest insult: I got my period! I'm 55 years old and haven't had one in a year and a half! I thought I was done with this crap!!!!!!!! Can you tell that I'm not particularly thrilled with this little turn of events?

Oh yeah, and my camera batteries (rechargeable) died.

Frickin heat....

ALICE says......"TELL me about it!!!"


Friday, July 11, 2008

DA BOYS.....

Remember those adorable little ram lambs????

This is "OUTLAW" on April 20, 08

Here he is today!

"BLING" on April 22

and today!

"MOON SHADOW" was a knock out from day one!

And he just keeps getting better!!

I still remember coming home from work and finding Flash's beautiful surprises...This is "White Night" on the day he was born.

He's going to be one, stunning ram!

Tomorrow, I'll add "Renegade" and "Thorn" to the group. Then all of my boys will be together!

"SHELTERING PINES CRESCENT MOON"
and
"KIMBERWOOD HUNTER"

"We did GOOD, Mom!"

That you did, my boys...that you did!

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