Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fall spa day

Today we brought the flock to the big barn for a few hours of love and attention.
Some needed coats changed. I like to keep the coats loose enough for them to be comfortable in them, but snug enough to keep the hay out during feedings. Sheep have a lovely characteristic of grabbing a mouthful of hay and then turning to their neighbor and eating it on their back!

All of the sheep needed a fall de-wormer as part of their internal health plan. And all needed a hoof check. We trim hooves 3 times a year on the average. Some sheep have softer hooves which tend to grow faster. Today for the most part all the hooves were in good shape. Jack has become the master of hoof trimming. He rather enjoys it. I am the counselor, holding the sheep's head and whispering sweet nothings in their ears to keep them calm and patient! Here is a hen who slipped into the barn with a couple others while we were working. We work on a small group in the front area while the rest wait to be brought forward. The hen appears to be in charge and feeling quite proud of herself!

Below is Georgia, Daisy and Daphne in the midst of coat changes. It is rewarding to see the fleeces underneath for one brief moment before a fresh coat goes on. Love those spots on Georgia!

Here is the best angle I could get of Lucy getting here first coat since she arrived in July. I thought she'd protest more but she took to it like a second skin! Della, the other white ewe that we bought with Lucy, also took to the coat instantly. Sometimes the first time they wear a coat the leg straps underneath tickle them and they hop around for while. But now perhaps Della and Lucy feel truly like the rest of the flock, visually for sure.

And moments after their dismissal from the barn they were back to the winter pasture without missing a beat. Life moves on rather simply for sheep!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Wishes

Today we wish you enough to eat

That you are surrounded by loved ones

And that you rest, relax and enjoy the day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The past few days we have been readjusting to life without Shelley. This was Webster, the cat and Sidney, the lab, the morning after Shelley passed away. They were waiting for her to come for breakfast. Webster paced the house and in and out of the shed that whole day, looking to all her regular sleeping spaces. Sidney just slept in his bed, chin in his paws, despondent. Animals know about loss, in their own way they show the distress.

This is a picture of Daisy after Jessie died a few years ago. Daisy and Jessie were best friends. I bought them from another farm and they came together as lambs. That whole summer they lived together apart from the rest of the flock until they were old enough to fend for themselves. The day Jessie died and the days that followed had Daisy looking and waiting for Jessie's return.She baaaed and paced and kept to herself. It was heart wrentching.

I mentioned to the vet that I wished I had saved Shelley's fur over the years so I could spin and knit something warm for me. Something to keep close. I learned yesterday that they trimmed Shelley and saved me the fur to pick up. I have never worked with dog hair before and would love any comments or ideas on how to work with it. Her staple length is 3" overall. I was at a fiber show a few weeks ago and a vendor was spinning and then knitting hair from her dog and had already knit a fabulous pair of glovelettes. I thought perhaps I could blend some of our fleece with Shelley's hair if there is not enough to work with. Ideas please!

Monday, November 17, 2008


My dear little Shelly just passed away minutes ago. It wasn't a good weekend for her and I knew she was losing the fight but I had hope just the same. This morning though she threw up again and then got up on her bench to rest but looked really awful. Just minutes later she passed away. I am glad I was here with her.

At least she died in the one place she loved the most doing the regular routine of her day.

But this is a small consolation for the loss of such a dear friend and companion to me these past ten years.

Travel safely, Shelley. God speed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Progress and hope

I took some time in the studio today to work on my handpainted yarn line. I am developing a number of colorways and seem to have this blend set now. I varied the mordants while using the same natural dyes on each skein to achieve two complimentary colorways.I knit up a sample swatch and decided it will be the handpainted I will use to knit myself a pair of socks and do them on one needle. I learned how to knit a pair on one circular needle a few years ago,the magic loop concept. Recently I found a pattern where the heel is added after the sock is knitted and I thought I'd throw the two concepts together this time around.

Shelley joined me in the studio, napping on the sheepskin and comfy as can be. She is doing a bit better. Tomorrow we do one more round of bloodwork regarding the liver issue. But she has been eating more often and not showing visable signs of distress. Last night Jack fed her venison (her abslooute favorite food) and she didn't let us down. It's still a prize winner in her book.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good women

There are many good women but today is dedicated to my most special Auntie Dot,
my Mom's sister, pictured here with her daughter in law, Mary. After spending the past month struggling from a difficult stroke, she slipped quietly away yesterday. I was able to get to the hospital to say goodbye yesterday. No words can describe spending those last minutes with a loved one. But I held her hand, kissed her forehead, told her I loved her and prayed for her safe journey. She was gone hours later. God speed, dear Auntie Dot.

Shelley is doing OKAY. She is not worse and next Monday she will have another round of blood tests. Meanwhile she is snacking, keeping with the daily routine as best she can and showing true loyal colors.

Last it's those hens. Two eggs a day now.....and each of the six have names. Penny, Francine, Ruby, Bianca, Eunice and Buffy! I never thought I could identify one chicken from another but these women demanded it! This is Francine pacing the fence gate to get in with the sheep. Jack penned her a "shicken".

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Shelley's trial

My beautiful Sheltie, Shelley, has been so sick these past two weeks. She started with just throwing up a few times, but I took her right to the vet and after a barrage of tests they found she has congestive heart failure and also elevated liver numbers. She wouldn't eat (who would!) and has been so listless (makes sense). This was her before I knew what was going on.

She is 10 years old and now taking pills to shrink her enlarged heart, pills to increase her appetite, pills to regulate (I pray) the elevated liver numbers and recently she finished the anti-nausea pills! She is a terrible pill taker. She holds them until I walk away and then she spits them out! This is what her days consisted of the first week, sleep, sleep, sleep.

It is touch and go but just last night she wolfed her after dinner bones (wouldn't eat dinner) and then a small piece of boiled chicken breast, and a Puperoni. She was on a roll. Here she is enjoying that Puperoni!

Shelley is my loyal and loving companion. I adore this dog. Who knows the outcome at this point, I just hope her days are still ahead of her for awhile to come. She loves her life here on the farm.