Monday, March 31, 2008

Old Barn, New Location

Well, on Friday, the barn finally got moved. The old barn is now situated to the southeast of our house, and should provide a great shelter for when the sheep are in the near pasture. In the midst of the relocation, we were quite surprised to have snow again, this time blowing sideways. Lots of it. Doug is quite certain that he heard the blackbirds on the wires asking, "What the Hell???? What the Hell???? What the Hell????" Fortunately the snow didn't start until Saturday. On Sunday, after a break, we were able to get the supplies moved in, straw bedding in place and the sheep situated.

It was funny, looking at the perplexed expression on the animals' faces as they went into the barn, discovering that the view from the back end was entirely different. I could nearly see question marks above their heads. But they caught on. . . especially when food became involved. The birds took a bit longer. They flew as a flock, circling, making figure-eights, and then finally honed in on their new location after a couple of chilly nights.

Our little ram, Bacchus, is growing up. He is, as my friend Janice would say, looking at the girls "in that special way". As soon as the new barn is done, we can start the fences. Soon, I hope.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Wrong with this Picture?

We're having a new barn built. To do this, we need to move the existing barn. Which means we need to provide shelter for the sheeple in the interim. Brilliant idea . . . a loafing shed which will be moved to a permanent location later. It took us only an hour 35 minutes to get the frame up. . . and that included revising it once we realized that the side panels had been reversed. ("When it says "right side", does that mean from the inside of the barn or looking into it?")

There is a lot of moisture in the field and yesterday, in the first hour of the project, the bobcat got stuck. It was determined that a different piece of equipment would be needed, so that ended the first day. Today, the larger piece of equipment arrived (Bobcat? Tractor? Excavator? I really don't know the difference). Anyway, things are progressing well and the diligent crew worked until sundown to get as much done as possible.

The sheep (after a World Federation of Sheep Wrestling match, in which the sheep nearly won) were placed in their new pasture, in the area of the loafing shed. Interesting, how they know, even though it had no walls, that it was to be one of their new structures. The birds are totally confused.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Just hanging with my peeps. . .

We have a wonderful assortment of baby chicks. Three Auracanas, two Black Australorps (lost one to pasty butt - it's a chicken thing that plugs up their little puckies), one Buff Orpington (which should be huge), and two Barred Rocks. It should make for an interesting flock. It's been a challenge to keep the brooder box at an even temperature. . . like *impossible*. We have had temps from 78 to 112 degrees, and I've tried my darnedest to keep on top of it.

It would probably be much easier to keep their environmental temperature constant if I could keep them in the house. However, with two resident feline beasties, I think it's a better idea to keep them away from likely capture/torture/demise. So they're in the garage.

On the knitting front, I've finished the center square of the Oregon Shawl and just picked up stitches for the border. Yippee!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Meet Shaela, Monk & Teeger

Our little family is growing again this week - and again, in threes. We were so blessed to have Shaela join our family last Sunday. She is an exceptionally well-behaved dog. She must have had plenty of love and attention in her previous homes. I thank those people, whoever they were, for their care of this girl. She's just the sweetest thing.
Just a day after we got Shaela, we brought Monk and Teeger to a friend's farm, to stay there until our fences are done. (Fences will come right after the barn. The barn is slated for the end of this month/beginning of next month.) Monk and Teeger are huacaya alpacas, both black. Monk is larger & has some reddish brown in his coat. Teeger is a blue/black. Both are totally stunning. And yes, they're named for characters in the "Monk" TV show (our favorite). Teeger already had his name, and since Monk didn't respond to his former name anyway ("Cocoa") we decided a change wouldn't disrupt his existence any more than it already was.

This is a new adventure for us. We feel like we're getting a good grip on sheepy behavior, but have cracked the books again for camelids. I am grateful beyond words to the friends who have stepped forward to make this happen for us. Nancy thought of us when she heard of the boys needing a new home, and Deborah willingly allowed us to bring them to her farm, which has ample lush pasture. And Deborah has been very helpful in explaining behavior & helping us watch over Monk, who has developed a bit of a limp since his transport. So far, we're just observing, but if needed, well, I guess I could pack him into my VW Beetle with the roof open to get him to the vet. (Thank goodness, though, our vet makes house calls.)

Needless to say, there has been no knitting time this week. With our new beasts, and a whopping cold, I'm doing all I can to keep up with the basics. It'll pass. In the meantime I'm taking my vitamins.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

They're Back

We lost another one of our pigeons today, so bring your boots. We'll supply the mayonnaise. Viking helmets are optional. See: You'll have to cut & paste, as I can't seem to get Blogger to recognize the link.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Good Dog Day

It only seemed appropriate, the day that we got a new dog, that we bury the ashes of our Maggie, who passed away in May. Maggie’s official name was “Magnolia Joy”, so we chose a yellow Butterfly Magnolia tree for our garden, and placed her ashes around it after it went into the ground. Maggie was the most joyful, happy dog I’ve ever known, and she’ll always be with us.

Our new dog, Shaela, arrived this morning. It was one of those rare serendipitous synchronicities that brought her to us. Shaela’s former family moved away, and she would have needed to be quarantined in order to move with them, which the owner was unwilling to do. They found a temporary foster family with a friend of a friend of mine. We crossed paths last week, and my friend told me of the boxer that needed a home.

Doug & I have been talking dogs for the last few months, and we had narrowed our preferences down to either boxer or sheltie. It’s true that these dogs are quite far from each other in terms of character, but these are breeds that we like and that we think will fit into our lifestyle. We don’t need a dog to shepherd. Our little flock members are practically housepets. (Although they don’t “come” when they’re called, they are pretty easy to get where we need them to be - food works best.) What we needed is more a companion dog, large enough not to be attacked by nearby eagles, hawks, or owls. I think we’ll be happy with our choice.

So far, we’ve taken Shaela to Petco for supplies. She was well-behaved, and interacted positively with adults & kids, and other dogs, too. She seems very aware & responsive to us. We’ll be taking her in for vet checkup soon, & she’ll be getting spayed (looks like she recently had puppies). Wish us luck!

Sorry no photos, folks, but blogger seems to be having issues right now.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I’ve gone to Sew Expo every year except one, for the last eleven years. Most of those years have been with sewing/knitting/spinning friend Janice. I’ve heard many times that this is one of the very best of its kind in the country. Vendors come from all over, with lots of information to share. We usually take a few classes & always come home with lots of enthusiasm & ideas, patterns, fabric & yarn. I just wish they could sell time there, too.

Janice tried out a few brands of embellishment machines. These are like sewing machines that have, instead of a single needle, multiple barbed needles that go up and down. There is no bobbin - no thread is involved. All the machine does is to puncture fabric, pushing bits of fiber (often wool or mohair - sometimes other fabric) through a base fabric, entangling the web into a single layer.

We also stopped by the Philosopher’s Wool booth, always my favorite. I have three (four?) sweater kits at home to prove it. It was Janice’s turn, this year, to bring home a kit. She has recently lost 33 lbs, and is deserving of a new sweater to keep her warm whilst she sits at her daughter’s soccer games & practices. I think the red/purple stripes are quite flattering on her.

Janice also tried on a sample from Park Bench Pattern Co. This is their Sentinal Peak Park, pattern #11, which I also think looks quite stunning. I tried on their Chesapeake Bay, pattern #25, which I bought. Now to find just the perfect fabric. . . it’s gotta be in the stash somewhere.

The Sheeple

are growing every day, and Ithought you might like to see an update. I just think these little ones are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Don (short for “Adonis”) is the white ram, and Athena is the white/brown badger face ewe. And they’re so sweet. . .