Friday, February 27, 2009

Jackie O

And now we wish Jackie happy birthday!

We bought her in 2002 with our original starter flock and she was 4 months old. She had traveled all the way from the west coast and by the time she reached us she was so skittish. As with all the newcomer sheep we keep them in a safe environment where we can watch them and visit with them and get them used to us, our voice and handling.

Jackie was so timid it was impossible to get near her unless we confined her. She has a crooked lower jaw and so her teeth are offset. Not sure if it was an injury early on or she was born that way. But now it is endearing characteristic for sure. Below is a photo early after her arrival. Perfect conformation.

She came to be known as 'Jackie O' for Jackie Onassis, both beautiful and mysterious. It took 6 months for me to be able to touch her at all. And the day she decided I was alright it was over in an instant. Jackie walked up to me, I got down at eye level with her and she folded into my arms. It was such a special moment. And now we are buds for life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WIP Wednesday

It's an old WIP, but a good WIP!
I have made peace with a pair of thrummed mitts I started but got set aside for awhile. I just unearthed them and will now wrap them up. They are knit with the yarn from my ever so soft Ashley, shown here.

She gives the softest Romeldale fleece I have ever felt, as soft as butter, really. And for a few years now I save her fleece for my personal stash only! She only yields about 5 pounds a year and by the time it is gone to the mill and back I get 3 pounds of yarn.

The wool is a soft brown so I jazzed it up with a strand of a hot limey colored yarn made of 70% kid mohair and 30% silk...yummy combo! For the thrums (fleece in roving form) I used Ashley's roving in very small pieces and knit a bit of fleece into every 3rd stitch in every 4th row. I am on a size 2 needle. I wanted mitts that were fitted and a bit more elegant.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On the move

We had a herd of deer cross through our back field yesterday.

This is a pretty healthy looking doe.

There has been enough snow loss that they are able to get out and about and find new food sources. They circled our hill and headed up to Cass Hill where there is a lot more feed for them. Living through the winter is a challenge for deer if the snow is deep. They depend on browse from small bushes and saplings, prefering maple and oak buds and acorns and if times get tough they will eat the bark from Hemlock trees.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More about the little bird

Below is yet another note from the Deb at Winchester WildLife Rehabilitation Center about the little bird....
For those lucky enough to live near us in the Monadnock Region make note of this wildlife rehab center: Deb Gode can be reached at and Irene Ruth can be reached at One thing they do make clear is that they take on NO baby birds.

Check your bird book for the microbird, the ruby crowned kinglet. They look like finches only the beak is black and slender, like the bird you brought me and the beak of a finch is thicker and rounded because it is a seed eater. The black poll looks similar to a finch only smaller. Your bird was a kinglet. They are here year round unlike the black poll who is here early spring and summer and they like pine trees. Very active birds.

Little bird update

Here is the note I received last night from Deb at Wildlife Rehab about the little bird.

Hi Nancy,
Sorry I was unable to pop out and say hi to you when you dropped the bird off. The little bird was a warbler (black poll). Basically starving to death, very emaciated and too weak to fly. I was rehydrating him and when I looked in on him that night he had his head tucked under his wing and was sleeping but in the the morning when I checked on him he had passed. Thank you for trying!

Adult wild birds and animals instinctually hide their problems. An animal who is not in peak condition, attracts predators. By the time we get sick or injured adult animals they are in very poor shape. Birds have a very small window to get the help they need because their metabolism is so fast. With mammals, we have a larger window to help them and get them back into the wild. We save the ones we can and hope we can make a difference. It is frustrating to lose these wild souls and a joy to see them get back into a healthy state where they can be free again. That is why doing something is always worth it. So do not feel guilty, because next time we may be luckier. Keep my number and feel free to call me at the vets if I am not at home for ANY wildlife problems.
thanks, Deb

Friday, February 20, 2009

For the birds

We have had a little bird here for a week or so that has been different than the others. It flits around under the feeder and comes and goes but yesterday I noticed it wasn't leaving at all. I went up to it and could pick it up. And we know that's not normal. It would huddle under the snowbank eaves to stay out of the view of other birds and then eat some seed and then rest. After an hour of watching that I thought "no, this little one needs help".

So I called the local wildlife rescue center, Winchester Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and they were willing to take it and see if it could be saved. So I put some shavings in a box, a handful of seed and put the bird in the box. They said close the cover and let it be dark and peaceful. That little bird was sooo quiet. I dropped it off yesterday AM and asked that they tell me how it fares. I will let you know.
I was doing the chores in the barn yesterday and a hen flew up into the window basket and peered in at us. The sight of her landing made the sheep jump in unison!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A sweetheart of a sheep

This is Maisy. Maisy is a Montadale and a trained therapy sheep. Maisy and her handler spend time with the sick and terminally ill to give them peace and healing support. We had a chance to speak with Maisy's handler today when we visited our local humane society. She told us of one story where a hospital called and asked her to hurry down with Maisy. They had a child who needed to undergo surgery and was terrified. Maisy arrived and the handler says she just knows what to do. Maisy walked over to the child's bedside and laid her head right on the bed and just stood with the child. He was able to touch her head and face and it completely calmed him down. Incredible!

Maisy came from a farm in MA where she was born but not going to live though her first day. The farmer didn't care and she wound up in the handler's hands where she works in a veterinarian's office and by a stroke of fate is now living a life most sheep never envision. Check out the diaper! The handler flipped up her little cover for this photo, otherwise is discretely covered.

Maisy travels in a car, in the back seat and rides to and from NH regularly to help where she is needed. When she is not working, she lives on a small farm in a barn with her fellow sheep. Her handler says Maisy prefers her life outside the sheep she is! She is now 1 year old.

Is she not the cutest? This is a sweetheart photo for sweetheart's day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I would be fun to delve into some juicy personal story but, rather, I have to steer you to one of the best novels I have read in many moons.

Not too long ago I read a review from Beverly's blog for January 26th, 2009 about a book which peeked my interest, Disgrace by J.M Coetzee. After reading Beverly's review I ordered the book. The story begins in Cape Town, Africa, where David Lurie is a professor at the local university. He becomes enmeshed in circumstances that are within his control but choses not to address. The story leads him north to stay with his daughter, Lucy, for awhile on her small farm. While David and Lucy spend their days living the difficult existence of rural Africa they endure a horrific incident that further stresses their already strained relationship. I can't give up the story, and I will warn it is explicit and not for the faint of heart. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you should read this novel. It's short, compelling and not so sweet.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday's FO

Thanks to Sam and Anne for helping me just knit rather than stress over complexities and for spurring me into the world of self-photography, I present my FO!

This is a great scarf an easy pattern from The Knitting Experience: Book 1 by Sally Melville. I needed something simple with some panache and this suited the bill. For those not able to view the link, the scarf is knit so to be wider in the neck area where I like coverage and thinner at the ends so there is less bulk. If you need a simple project with elegant style this is it!