Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hug A Sheep Day and
My walk with God (true story)...

Dream asked me to remind everyone that there are only THREE MORE DAYS until the very first, annual Hug A Sheep day! 

She also says that if you can't make it to an Open House / Fiber Festival this Saturday, you are certainly welcome to Hug A  Sheep, vicariously, through one of the many sheep blogs available.  She definitely thinks that you should VOTE for which sheep you'd most love to hug on the sidebar of this blog.  Just so you know, fondling wool  yarn or wool  garments counts, as does hugging the closest thing that you may have to a sheep ~ such as a dog or cat ~ use your imagination!  Just be sure to give a moment's thought to all of the wonderful products, not to mention the joy, that our woolly friends provide for us.

Now, about my walk (and talk) with God...
Last weekend, I was in Russell, Pennsylvania, visiting my very Dear Friends, Linda and Pete Westover, of Foxglove Farm Shetlands.  On Monday, we went to a wine tasting at a wonderful vineyard in nearby New York.  After the wine tasting, Linda had planned a picnic on Barcelona Beach for the three of us.  It was delightful!  While Linda and Pete strolled the shoreline of Lake Erie, looking for Sea Glass, I decided that I wanted to hunt for something different ~ something I've been wanting to start a collection of for a long time.  I was going to hunt for heart shaped rocks

Aren't they cool?
I've been wanting to start a heart shaped rock collection for some time and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I mean, you'd think that out of the kazillions of rocks washed up along the shoreline, surely some of them  would have to be heart shaped!  Sometimes, I had to use a bit of imagination to see the heart.

Sometimes, the heart was broken.
There were a LOT of broken hearts on that beach.

As I was walking along, searching for heart-shaped rocks, I began 'talking' to God.  I often do that.  I'm not a classically religious person.  I haven't been to church in years.  But I definitely believe there is a kind and wonderful God and that for some reason, he seems to love me.

So, as I was walking and searching, I mentioned to God that hearts often symbolize love.  Like the imperfect rocks that I was finding, love was not perfect either.  Sometimes, Love is difficult to recognize...

Sometimes you really have to use your imagination to see it.
I didn't mind the imperfect rocks/imperfect love.

But my neck was getting sore and I was looking through hundreds, if not thousands, of rocks.  I asked God if maybe I could find one that really did look like a heart.

Not that I wasn't happy with the 'sort of' heart shaped rocks that I was finding.

The ones that I had to use a little imagination to really see the heart,

I could still see the love  heart ~ even if nobody else could.  And I was satisfied with that.

But I explained to God that I would really like to find a TRUE heart shaped rock.  I'd be happy with just one.  It didn't have to be perfect...

Just close enough to obviously be heart shaped.

One that I didn't have to use my imagination to see ...

because it was clearly, unquestionably a heart.
Guess what happened...

Not instantly.  It took a little while.  But when I saw this rock (above), I knew that God was listening.  Like he always does.  Not that I always get what I want, but at least I know that he hears me.

Something interesting happened when I was putting this post together today.  As I was going through my wonderful, heart shaped rock collection, it occurred to me that most of them look MUCH more like hearts than I thought they did at the time I found them.

I suspect there's a message there... 

DREAM says...

"You can see Mom's heart shaped rock collection (although, I can't for the LIFE of me, figure out why anyone would want to)  and ME,  if you come to our "Hug A Sheep" day, Open House and Fiber Festival.  And DON'T  FORGET  TO  VOTE  FOR  ME ~  er, of course I mean:  for the sheep you would most like to hug...  Which would of course, be ME!!!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hug A Sheep...
Dream's a Star!

Yesterday, Dream paid a visit to a local television station where she was the star of the noon news program:  "Save The Date".   Dream enjoyed her visit and politely greeted one of the station's weathermen, Josh Blumenfeld. 

She also appeared to be very interested in the noon news:

I swear Dream giggled when Martha Kowalski applied lipstick during a commercial break.

I just viewed a video from the segment with our interview and have copied and pasted the 'embed code' here, but I don't think it's working!  If not, I'll see if I can figure out what's wrong and post it later.  (in spite of how fat and dumb I look!)  Dream looks pretty cute and that's the important thing.

"I really DO look good!
What they say about the camera adding  twenty  er, ten extra pounds is clearly true.  You'll have to see me ~ and maybe even HUG me ~ to see just how lovely I really am..."

Don't forget the Bluff Country Shetlands Open House and Fall Fiber Festival at our place (11512 Hwy 4,  Houston, MN) on Saturday, Oct 30.
1 to 4 pm.

Scroll down to yesterday's post for more information!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You're Invited to...

Hug A Sheep!

The first, annual Hug A Sheep (HAS) Day will be on Saturday, October 30, 2010.  There will be an Open House and Fiber Festival (complete with vendors, demonstrations and a needle felting class!) at Bluff Country Shetlands in Houston, MN.  from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.   "The Crazy Sheep Lady" of Punkin's Patch will also be hosting a HAS Day Open House in Cynthiana, KY.  We hope that others will jump on the bandwagon and share the joys of sheep and shepherding with others by hosting Open Houses or other events to promote our wonderful, woolly friends!

Feel free to vote for the sheep that you'd most like to hug at the Open House in the Bluff Country  ~ see the poll added to the side bar on this blog.  I will be offering photos taken at the Open House and Fiber Festival for those who chose to Hug A Sheep.  I will also be teaching a beginning needle felting class, at two o'clock and will have needle felting kits available for those who want to take one home and make their own fluffy sheep or soap in a blanket.  There will also be wool carding, spinning, knitting, felting and weaving demonstrations as well as a variety of wool items to show some of the wonderful things that can be made with the fleece from a sheep. Learn about how a sheep is sheared (it's just like getting a haircut!) and how to process the wool into usable items of clothing or works of art.

There will also be vendors on site, offering wool related articles ~ from raw fleece to roving to homespun yarns or knitted or felted items.  Be the first to purchase my homemade,  goat milk soap or add a colorful lamb or even a beautiful chicken to your existing flock ~ or start your very own flock!

You'll have the opportunity to sign up for beginning spinning, knitting, felting or soap making classes.  Enjoy the process of turning wool into  family heirlooms  or treasured gifts.  Those in attendance at the Open House will also have the chance to win a sheep figurine by voting for or suggesting a name for the new, home-based Fiber and Goat Milk Soap business that the Shepherdess will be operating from Bluff Country Shetlands.

Meet the  dogs, cats, mille fleur bantam cochin chickens, blue laced red Wyandotte chickens, and of course the delightful Shetland Sheep that make Bluff Country Shetlands (and Backyard Chickens!) a wonderful place to live ~ to learn ~  and to visit. 

DREAM says...

"I sure hope you can make it to our HAS (Hug A Sheep) Open House and Fall Fiber Festival!  Just might even get your picture taken with ME! 
Donations of (uncarved) pumpkins and animal crackers are welcome and appreciated"...

Please forgive her. 
 She gets a bit carried away...

For more information on the Hug A Sheep Day Open House and Fall Fiber Festival  email me at  or call me at:  (507) 896-2487

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And the Winners are...

I want to thank everyone who took the time to offer an opinion regarding the name of my new business adventure.  I appreciate all the suggestions and input.  I still have not decided, for sure, which name I am going to use ~ I think I will discuss it at my Business Development class next week.

I can tell you that the most popular name in this contest was "Bluff Country Dreams", with a close second place going to "Bluff Country Treasures".

Without further ado, DREAM would like to announce the winners of the two Give Away Contests:

"The winner of the sheep figurine is:  *Bea*"
"The only problem with this is that Bea's entry does not have a link with it that enables Mom to contact her, so we're going to have to hope that she contacts Mom to claim her prize!"

"Believe it or not, the same thing happened with the winner of a bar of Mom's Homemade Goat milk Soap!  *Betty*  is the person selected in the random drawing, but she also doesn't have a link!  We hope you'll get in touch with Mom, Betty, so she can send you a bar of whatever soap you would like!"  The most popular scent voted for in the contest was clearly Lavender.  Guess Mom will have to make some more of that!

Thank you all for voting.
I think Mom may just have another contest coming up soon..."

A word from the shepherdess:

I had a wonderful visit with my Dear Friends, Linda a Pete, in Pennsylvania and had the chance to have a (very emotional) last snuggle with two of my all-time favorite ewes.  Bluff Country Zest (moorit) and Bluff Country Zodiak (black/iset) now make their home with Linda and Pete.  I have no doubt that they will be loved and well cared for, for the rest of their lives.  But it was so very painful for me to see them and pet them and cry onto Zest's shoulder, one last time.  I feel overwhelmed with guilt for having 'betrayed' them and sent them away from the only home they have ever known.  Even now, as I write this, the tears are flowing.

Thank you, Linda and Pete for giving these two lovely ladies (and all of the other sheep you have purchased from me over the years!) a loving home.  And for putting up with this tearful shepherdess. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to do a post about the wonderful day that Pete and Linda and I had exploring the wine country of New York and Barcelona Beach! 
I've started a new "collection"!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm Leavin' ...
On a Jet Plane...
and two give-aways!

I won't be back until next Tuesday evening!
My "girls" will be in charge of things around here while I'm gone..
Starting right NOW:

"While Mom's away, we've got our work cut out for us and  we need your help!   We know Mom told you about the new 'business' that she's going to be starting  ~ well, she's been working really hard.  Washing fleeces, felting, knitting and making soap.  LOTS   of soap!
But Mom's got a problem:

She can't decide on a NAME for her business and she needs to have a name in order to make a logo and business cards and flyers and all that stuff.

So we've been thinking it over and we decided that Mom should ask YOU guys to help her pick a name. 
 So far, Mom is considering: 
Bluff Country Blessings
Bluff Country Treasures
Bluff Country Treasures from the Heart
Bluff Country Gift Basket
but she's open to suggestions!

We decided that if you leave a comment on here, while Mom's gone and give us a suggestion or a vote for your favorite name for Mom's business, you could win a prize!

For each suggestion or vote, your name will go into a drawing for a really cute Sheep Statue.
I was going to put a picture of the sheep statue on here but I don't know how!
But it's REALLY cute!

Not only that, but...
You could also win a bar of Mom's home made, goat milk soap if you leave a comment telling what your favorite 'scent' is.  We're talking  the way the soap smells, not about  the scent of a  fresh bale of hay.  MMMMmmmmm!

So, if you leave a comment  telling what kind  of scent (or unscented, if you don't like  scented soap!) you would like best, you're name will be entered into a drawing for a free bar of  Mom's  all natural, goat milk soap ~ in your favorite scent!

You only get one  chance to win, per comment, so be sure to leave a new comment for each vote, suggestion or scent!

Because we really want to surprise Mom with LOTS of votes and suggestions and favorites, we'll even give you THREE MORE chances if you post this give-away on Facebook and/or your blog! 
Mom will pick the winners next Wednesday morning.."

DREAM says...

"Thanks for helping us help Mom.   Good Luck!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Simply Soap...

Who knew that soap making could be so much FUN and such a creative outlet?
Below are a few samples of what this shepherdess has been up to:

The lighter colored bars on the bottom left of the above photo are orange/oatmeal.  The darker bars in the front two rows are unscented, the reddish bars and hearts are cinnamon/clove.

I've been practicing with ways of wrapping my soaps for sale.
I like this 'plain' style with brown paper and a raffia tie.  Of course I'll have to make up labels with my shop name (what do you think of "Bluff Country Treasures"???) and ingredient lists.  All of my soaps will be all natural and animal friendly.

This is a sample of my Orange/oatmeal bar, wrapped and ready to sell.
It smells heavenly!  Just a light hint of orange and this soap is a skin conditioning bar with ground oatmeal (that I grind with a cup and pestle!), for a gentle exfoliant.  I love it!

I had all sorts of fun playing with some silicone molds for shaping my bars!

This recipe is for Coffee/Mocha hardworking scrub bar.
It contains coarse ground coffee (gourmet!) grounds that scrub even the greasiest, dirtiest hands and even removes oders.  I've added skin conditioning oils to soften the skin after scrubbing it clean.  The chocolate, coffee and vanilla, all natural essential oils give it a mouthwatering scent of Mocha!  I swear ~ I'm going to have to put a "do not eat!" label on this soap because it smells SO delicious!

The small, rectangular bars (about 2 oz) look like fudge.
I think the little sample sized Teddy bears are adorable ~ they're just under an ounce each.

Above, I have a teddy bear sitting on a "log"  that is actually a cylinder that I cut from a mold that I made from an empty toilet paper tube!

And of course I LOVE the little sheep!
She's the first one that I made and I sprayed the mold with "Pam/olive oil" but I think it would be better if I don't spray the mold next time.  I'll find out in a few hours because I'm going to MAKE SOAP this afternoon...

This photo of a full sized bar shows the coffee grounds that give this soap it's scrubbing power:

I can either sell the bars with the uneven textured top, or trim it off for a more 'traditional' looking bar of soap.  I may just offer them both ways.  You get a little extra with the rough edge, plus I like the primitive look of it.

I'm going to have to take time off from soap making long enough to work on a web site/page that promotes my new enterprise!  I was originally going to call my business "Bluff Country Bounty" ~ thinking that the products will be the bounty of the area that I live in which is known as the Bluff Country.  But, I'm not sure that people will really know what I mean by 'Bounty'.  Someone looking for homemade soaps or wool or yarn, wouldn't automatically click on a site called BC Bounty.  But I think "Bluff Country Treasures" more accurately describes what I'll be offering and people might be more likely to check it out.
What do  you think?

I would truly appreciate your opinions!
In fact, if you have any other name suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them!

Gonna go make soap now...


DREAM says...

Apparently, Dream isn't going to say anything today!  I've been fighting with Blogger throughout this entire post.  It won't let me download photos the way that I normally do.  Now, I can't get it to let me download a picture of Dream at ALL.  

Sorry Dreamer!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sharing the spotlight...

O.K.  Maybe they're not exactly "sharing".

But they sure are having fun!

Goofy girls!

With friends like that,  who needs enemies???

The ram lambs are much less demonstrative...

I'll be using Polar Bear (white) and Echo (HST ~ formerly 'Chrome') as breeding rams this year.

Echo will be for sale after he has done his job here!

I may keep Bear (white) around for a while to make sure that I get some white lambs by him.  He's the last I have from his line (Phoebe/White Diamond) so I'll hang onto him until I know for sure I have another one that I want to keep.

I never thought I'd use a white ram but I've liked this guy a LOT since the moment he was born.

Besides which...

BELLA- KITTY likes him!

I was actually planning on this post being about all the soap I've been making, lately.  I wanted to have the sheep "sharing the spotlight" with the soap.  I guess I used up enough space with just the sheep so I'll show you my latest soaps tomorrow!

Have a wonderful week!

Happy Fall!!

Sorry Dreamer!


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