Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meet Coco Chanel

Today is our wedding anniversary.   I got the greatest ever, so far, anniversary present.  She is a standard donkey.   She will guard my sheep.  I haven't had a predator problem, but it is better to be safe than sorry.   She is called Coco Chanel or Nell or Nelly for short.   She stands about shoulder height to me.   So far she is a docile young lady.   She lets me go into her enclosure and brush her, and we only met this morning.  She is five years old and has worked with sheep and cattle already.  She comes over to the fence when I approach.   She needs some training, but I think that is a good job for me.  I have so much to learn about donkeys because at this point.........I know nothing.    Let the learning begin!!
Nelly just after she got out of the trailer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Colors of Kendall Petting Zoo

Four of the girl sheep, two ewes and their lambs, went out to do a little showcasing of their Shetland heritage.  They were part of a small petting zoo at the Colors of Kendall celebration in a small town near where we live.   It was a perfect October day, lots of sun, no wind, and mild temperatures.  They were excellent examples of their breed.  They were also forced to eat many animal crackers and subjected to much petting.   Such well behaved petting zoo sheep!  It was the first time I have done anything like that, and I would do it again.  The children enjoyed the sheep, and the adults asked many intelligent questions.   I also took a whole bunch of wool in various stages from a raw fleece to spun yarn and my spinning wheel.    A good time was had by all.

I took four of the girls who I think are the most friendly, but any of the nine girls could have qualified.  They also display four of the colors that I have, black, grey, shaela, and moorit plus two patterns, katmoget and spotted since Calla has four white feet, a white tip on her tail and white face.  I guess it is unusual to be proud of sheep, but I am proud of them.   They show off their breed very well.  This is my contribution to Shetland Wool Week in the UK.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Seven Years Later

It took seven years after devastating illness, but Todd is a Physician's Assistant again.   He battled a idiopathic malady called cervical dystonia and later a heart attack and a stroke and, of course, disabling depression due to the aforementioned problems, but after six months of study and one failure ( by eleven points), he PASSED the exam.   Now he can go on with his life!!!!!  I am so proud that he could finally defeat the depression and all the drugs for his constant pain and go on to achieve this monumental victory.

May you all have good things happen in your lives today and in the future!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Morty Learns a Trick

This is Morty. He will be two weeks old tomorrow.   He learned a trick today.  He learned to drink out of a bucket.  This is a life or death type of trick.  Morty's mom is a first timer.  She did not even clean Morty up after he was born.  Then she decided that another calf was her calf.  After a few days kept in the barn together,  Morty was trying to nurse on her.  We thought all was good; we were wrong.  She acted like she did not know him when we let them out.  SO..........we gave Morty another ride in the calf hauler and put him in a pen right outside the back door.  But, Morty did not want to drink from the calf bottle we were used to using.   SO..........Morty got real smart yesterday and drank from the bucket I decided to try as a last resort.  Today Morty has continued to improve on his new trick, and his prospects in this world have risen.  (No, I did not Photoshop the cat's head on his back.  That is old Mom kitty.)

Yes, we have calves.   Ten of them after the one that was born during the night.  Seven girls and three boys.  It is not the time for calving (circumstances beyond our control), but Mother Nature was sooo kind to us by sending this cool summer.  We couldn't have asked for better weather for calving.  We are in a "wait and see" mode on wether there will be any more young red and white babies bouncing around in our pastures.  They are all adorable and healthy as far as we know.

Summer is proceeding quickly.  Jake is working on second crop hay and cutting oats for bedding and feed for the winter.  I am still mowing the lawn much more that I should be by this time in the season.
The pumpkins squash and tomatoes are growing, and we should have a good crop.

It is great having Jake being just a farmer, again.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cows and sunflowers

Well, I guess you really can't see Jake pulling two wagons of hay back to the barn, but he is just starting up the driveway taking some grass hay from the neighbor's field up to the barn.  Needed to know how to use the zoom.
This is all of our cows, but it is too far away.    Maybe now I will learn to use the zoom on my phone camera.   There is only one calf in the picture, and he looks like a white spot.  So far we have six calves this year.   They were born my favorite go out to the field and there they are.
Girls   -    5,   boys   -    1.     It is the first time we have had a ratio like that.   They are all cute, red and white Hereford babies.
This is one of the volunteer, bird feeder sunflowers.    The big leaves are courtesy of the cows.   They lent their manure to growing that beauty.   As you can see, the flower in the background doesn't have leaves like the one in the foreground, nor is the flower as big.   Ahhhhhh.......the benefits of some good fertilizer.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beautiful days of July

July is being nice to us right now.    I love these warm summer days when you can have the windows open and hear the birds singing and feel a gentle breeze and hear an occasional hum of an airplane or helicopter and the continual hum of the tractor out in the field making hay.  The best thing about it is that I can work outside without getting wringing wet from the heat and humidity.

This year's cherry crop was much smaller than last year's.   I am happy as long as the tree doesn't die or stop producing.

This is my rose garden before I replaced the old fencing that was primarily intended to keep the dogs out of the luscious (to them) soil.   The soil comes straight from the cow pasture.   Go figure!

This is my rose garden today after the new fence.   I hope it was worth the money.   I sure do like the looks of it.  It is not as tall as the former fence, and I sure hope that that "jumping dog", Lady, does not decide she needs to jump into the roses.

This is "New Day" a beautiful yellow rose and a few weeds on the left side that will be gone by evening and one orange moss rose.   I love moss roses, too.  My grandma always had them by her back door.

This is the well known "Peace" rose.   It is yellow with a pink tinge around the outside with the vinca vine hanging down behind it.   Mom always had those in her window boxes.

I know--- nostalgia city.    Oh, well, it makes me happy.   Hope you are enjoying your day as much as I am enjoying mine.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Meet Lolly and Lily

                              This is Lolly.   She was born late Saturday or early Sunday.  

                                This is Lily.   She was born late Monday or early Tuesday.  

Yes, I know it is late to be having calves.    We are just having to "deal with it".    So far, all is going well.   These two were born my favorite way.    We did not know it was happening.    We weren't even sure which cow was Lily's mom.   We found that out yesterday in the late afternoon.   We moved the calf up by all the cows, and her mom came to claim her.    When we had found her earlier in the day, she was outside of the fence, and none of the cows were nearby.    Both calves seem to be doing well.

The calf names this year will all be starting with the letter "L".    In another of my senior moments, I thought that the year "14" brought to mind Louis the fourteenth.    Hence the letter "L".  I know, dopey, but I think it will work for me.

I don't know if you can notice, but there is a low spot that runs through the cow pasture.    It is washed out in several places, and the hills around it are steep.    The calves love to sleep in the bottom when they are young.    Both of these girls were found sleeping curled up in the grass.   We had to wake them up to take their pictures.    They are even cuter when they get up with their spindly little legs.   They will be hard to tell apart except that Lily has just a little brown around each of her eyes.

Now if we can just get through this whole calving process with no unpleasant events.  My fingers are crossed!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shake and Bake and "Ah" Helped!

The old "Shake and Bake" commercial is a joke around here.   The little girl stands there and says, "Shake and Bake, and I helped" in her lovely southern accent.
It came to mind when Jake needed help with a strip in the new planting of oats and alfalfa.   It was bare right down the middle of a strip where the planter must of had a "senior moment".   So WE replanted it.    Can't believe that I helped.  I had to ride on the back and make sure the small amount of seed was going out through the holes to be planted.    It will take about a week to see how we did.

If you want to be a Badger, just come along with me.       The other night when Jake and I were driving to Sparta, I saw a badger alongside the road.    It seemed unusual that he was so close to the road.   Jake backed up the car, and the badger played "hard to photograph".   In the picture, if you can enlarge it enough, you can just see the stripe on his face and his eyes.    When we went by in the car his whole body was out, and he turned around because he was excavating by the side of the road.

This was Jake's first live badger sighting.   I have already seen two badgers walking by the side of the road as I was driving home from a job I had.    They were just ambling up the gravel side by side on the other side of the road, and I was able to slow my car down and follow along with them until they decided to go up the embankment and disappear.    Also, Roger, the man who hunts our land, has seen a badger two years in a row.   Two years ago a young badger walked under his tree stand, and last year he caught a full grown one on a trail cam.    SO......if you want to see a badger, just come along with me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


     Today everyone was granted their freedom.    With such a small number of sheep, I can keep them close at hand when the lambs are very young.   All the better to snuggle on them.  They have had a small outside place to race around, but this morning, I let them out into my limited pasture where they will live for a while.   The major challenge for the lambs was the stumps in the middle of their area.   As you can see from the second picture, only one has conquered it, so far.    I know the others won't be far behind.    It surprised me that it wasn't Calla (white feet) that was first.   She is still by far, the leader of any kind off wild activity.   Gotta love that girl!
     The ewes paid no attention to what the lambs were doing when faced with a pasture that hadn't been grazed for several days.   They hadn't forgotten what to do.   The lambs went from one activity to another, eating, running, climbing, and exploring.   I will keep a close eye on them for several days.   They can get into so many unbelievable situations.

   Just one cow picture.   If you look closely, you will see that one young cow decided that it was not big enough to have a place at the table.   Being resourceful, it climbed up on the wagon.   I have no idea just how that was accomplished, but it sure was a surprise to us.  It is not easy to see, but if you look closely you can see the deck of the wagon is just behind the red gate and then a pile of green and then a black and white cow.    She does not belong there!
And a great big thank you to the Shetland people who contributed to my little darlings:   Kelly Bartels, Becky Uttecht, Karen Valley, Nancy Krohn, and Garrett Ramsey.   Without their wonderful animals, I would never have had these five wonderful little lambs with their very special fleeces.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Juni B's twins!!! Oh, yes, TWINS

Oh,  yes, Juni B had twins, and just what I would have wanted, except they could have both been ewes.    The babies reversed their parents' colors.   The boy, High Ridge Juniper, is black, and the girl, High Ridge Jasmine, is gray.   They are tiny compared to the other singles.    They weighed 5 1/2 and 6 pounds last night, but that was after seven hours of nursing on mother's milk.   As you can see, Jasmine even duplicated her father's spot.   Placement is a little off, but I think it is cool.  They both have beautiful curly coats.

That does it for lambs for this year.   The total was four girls and two boys.   Sure am sad to have lost that first little girl.  All seem to be doing fine.   The first two have become fast friends the last couple of days, but Mulberry has a real hard time keeping up with Calla Lily who is a whirlwind.

Yesterday was a day to remember.    Todd took his PA exam.   Juni had twins.   Found out Tom (my first husband's sister's husband)  is battling a disease.   Agonized all day about the vet coming to treat a young heifer............only to find the vet was a former acquaintance and the bone was healing and the calf could return to the herd.   (Going to keep her in a pen and stuff her with good food.)   I was glad when the day was over because I don't know how many more things I could have handled.   More pictures of the bouncing baby lambs will follow in days to come.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Minnie's baby

Meet High Ridge Mulberry.   I missed his birth by about an hour, but he and his mom did just fine without me.   (Happy me!)   He is bigger than Calla Lily, and I am not quite sure what color he is since he looks gray, but has some longer wool that is brownish.   He is also an OK Acres Casey son and has little chocolate chips for horns just like his dad.    I think he is one handsome dude!  He wasn't feeling photogenic just now, and Minnie kept blocking my view of him.   I will have to get a better picture of him later.

There are just two other ewes due real soon.    They both look like they might have twins.   We will see.

Calla Lily and Coco are in the background.    Calla is quite the little jumper already.    

More good news soon, I hope.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Coco's babe

It was a dark and storm night and barely getting light this morning when Coco had her little lamb.    Coco is a first time mother, and she had a quick uneventful birth.   The baby is a throw back to Nancy Krohn's sheep.    The grandmother was bred by Nancy.    The father is OK Acres Casey.   She is a flashy little ewe lamb who will probably be named High Ridge Calla Lily.   

Our first lamb was a still born ewe out of another first time mom.    There is no explanation for that heart break.

As you can see, the heat lamp is on, and I will labor to keep them warm in this totally horrible weather.  I am just so pleased that this birth has gone so well so far.   I will be checking them constantly even though the weather makes me want to stay in the house and read a book or spin or knit. 

More lamb news to follow in a short time because the other three are getting close to lambing.    I pray that their birthing is as uneventful as Coco's was. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finally something pleasant to report...........

The good thing is that today was shearing day.   This is seven of the girls with their winter coats still keeping them warm in the six inches of snow we had on Sunday night.
 This is all of the girls in the same snow.
 And another picture of six of them.
This is a very immodest picture of Coco.    At least Brian covered up here lovely little blossoming bag.    The other good news is that all five of my girls are pregnant.   Yahoo!!!   It is very difficult to tell if a sheep is pregnant when they are in full coat.    You can only tell for sure as they start to "bag up", and it is hard to tell that when they are standing and just starting.    When Brian turned them over, it was obvious.    I have been "feeling them up" for about two weeks, and it wasn't a sure thing for any of them.
This is Brian, my new shearer.    He got all five of the pregnant ewes sheared and also the two boys today.    He will come back next Wednesday and do the other four ewes.   I am fine with that.  
He is not fast, but he is gentle with the sheep.    The not fast part is why I changed shearers.    I need someone who shows that he is making sure the fleece is in the best condition it can be when it comes off the sheep.    The fleece is all important to someone who has sheep so that their wool can be used.  My fleeces do not get thrown on a truck in a big bundle.    They stay with me until someone buys them, or I create something out of them after they have been washed and carded and spun and knitted.

I will get off my sheep soapbox and tell you---- I am one, crazy, happy, old woman tonight!!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Corgi Snowplow Tunnels

I witnessed two little corgi dogs playing snowplow this afternoon.  (Jake must have rubbed off on them.)   Here I am shoveling trails for them to run on since the snow is so deep, even deeper after the snow and wind yesterday, and I see Lady just head full speed into a huge drift.    Her drift is on the right.    Beaver, not to be left out, followed by plowing the path to the left.    I have no idea what they thought was over on that side of the house, but they sure were determined to have a look-see.
 The second picture is just a close up of the first one.    Believe me the walls of their tunnels were taller than they were.    They both just busted through that drift like it wasn't even there.   
                                                              Snow Dogs Rule!!!

We are back in our routine of one clipper system after another.    Tomorrow more snow and wind.   I just hope that it doesn't switch back to that real cold stuff we had last week.    Snow is easier on all of us than extreme cold.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Animals

These are all pictures of my animals outside in the weather which is totally different today than it was a week ago.  It is probably nearly 40 degrees warmer this Monday than it was last Monday.    They are probably even happier about this than I am.

 You have no idea how long it took me to get all these animals arranged at the fence line.   I will never bother to do that again.
 There are 6 ewes in this pasture, but they were not feeling too photogenic.
 The other three ewes are in this picture with the ram.   He is the small one.
 These are my four furry house friends.   They love the snow.  Their yard had paths for them to run in, but the wind messed that up.    Tomorrow I will have to start again because we are supposed to get more snow.
Here they are again.    As you can see, only one of them is laying fluff from El Paso.   What is wrong with that?