Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Most Bestest Visit - Part 2

Sunday begins the same as all other days - morning chores.  The sheep and chickens come out and get ready to face the day.

It's still dim in the barn and Betsy, up in the rafters, has her headlights on.

Sunday includes church.  I love this place.  Small, friendly and sincere.  Sara plays the piano and has a knack for picking the exactly right hymns for the service.  No small feat with hundreds of choices in the hymnal and learning the week's message when you walk in the door.

After church we took a bit of a field trip to the farm that Rocky and Jared were delivered to last year. It was a great chance to see some of the lambs they produced and to see them, too.  First though, we stopped at yet a different farm to pick up two fleeces Sara needs to work with.  The LGDs (Livestock Guard Dogs) there were very fierce.

Then we were off to AnneMarie's place.  All the farms we went to have a perimeter fence that enclosed the yard and driveway so you never know what creatures might be wandering around besides the dogs.  In this case there were some very chatty young turkeys that came to greet us.

The head Border Collie was poised to herd them but no order was given so she just stood there .....waiting....watching......

"Wait!  Where's that one going??  They're supposed to stay together!"

We walked out into the pasture to see the flock.  You couldn't ask for a nicer place to lounge and just be a sheep.

Some of the youngsters were friendly to the shepherd but of course with us it was 'stranger danger' and they were wary and ready to beat feet.

Lovely sturdy lambs and everyone is clean and sleek.  What a great place.  The flock finally decided they'd had enough and took themselves down the hill farther into the pasture.

The LGDs here clearly sensed that Julie was ready to attack the flock so they cleverly hemmed her in so she couldn't do any damage.

And if you're a great big dog how do you get through the woven wire fence into the next pasture?

The rams were in a different pasture of course and less willing to let us approach.  Actually, I think the colored rams would have been fine but the white ram was having none of it and led them off.  There was no point chasing them so we just watched them move around the field.  They are clearly living the good life.

Returning home we were grateful to see that Betsy had been keeping a keen eye on everyone while we were away.

What a great vacation!  But fish and house guests start to smell after three days so we had one last morning cup of coffee on the porch.....

and headed back to New York.  Thanks, Crazy Sheep Lady - it was totally awesome!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Most Bestest Visit - Part 1

Taking a vacation with my friend Julie to visit Sara (thecrazysheeplady) at Equinox Farm in KY is the highlight of the summer.  Animals, wooly pursuits, food, socializing.....OK, we do that here too but it's all a fun change of pace from our own brand.

The sunrise was quite pretty which Andy points out happens a lot if I were just up at that time to see it.  Har har.

Eleven hours later (heavy rain, accidents ahead of us, road construction, gas/potty/food breaks) we made it and set about saying hello to old friends.

Count Chocula.

Miss Maisie.

Hershey and his very cool hair.

Elderly Allie in Del Boca Vista with some chicken friends.

The flock slowly drifted in from the pasture for evening chores. (Standing right to left are Popcorn Pee Pee Pants, Renny and Ewen McTeagle).

Handsome Hank came over to indulge in a cookie.

We went next door to do evening chores for vacationing neighbors.   Kate and Weaslie came along. They never miss a chance to take a ride.

There we met Traveller, who loves him some watermelon rind.

And of course the babies had to have their evening ba-bas.  Biscuit is on the right and his BFF Muffin is on the left.  (I fiddled with the video a little to get Muffin to show up. She is that black.)

The next day was sunny and perfect for RIDING!  Wheee!  I haven't been on a horse in nearly 30 years but we oiled the heck out of my saddle (it was clean and sound, just really dry) and tacked up. Hickory would be my steed for the weekend.  You can tell he's thrilled.

Sara rides T-Bone, a very handsome and tall boy.

Kate supervised while I brushed Hickory off.  I have to admit.... I kept leaning in to smell him.  Horse people will understand.

And we're off!

T-Bone:  "Haw haw - you got the one that hasn't ridden in decades!"

Kate and Weaslie were game for a good romp so they came along.  The neighbors are mostly congenial about riding on each others' property so as long as one is polite and passionate about closing gates a ride can cover hundreds of acres.  Kate did follow us all the way but Weaslie was cagey and stopped at the top of the hill by Stella's house and begged treats waited for us to come back.  We went riding Every Day.  Swoon!

"That horse-following is a lot of work for us short legged Corgi dogs."

Later in the day Sara decided we needed to retrieve the Giant Metal Chicken from his stall at the neighbor's and set him up to greet friends who were coming for dinner.  For the original story of the GMC, click here.  (Warning - some adult language)  The particular chicken we'd be dealing with is a whopping seven feet tall.  

How do you move a Giant Metal Chicken?  Standing up in the back of The Unit, of course.  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure there were watermelon mojitos involved but the plan was to move that chicken even before the melon hit the blender.

The "Welcome Home" chicken in the yard.

Then we ate a lot and had another adult beverage and after a day of that much fun we all pretty much collapsed.

Next time - part 2!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sparkling White

...and gray and brown and ......

Tuesday gave us two inches of rain.  Thankfully, it was a warm rain that came and went throughout the day with no dramatic wind, hail or lightning.  Andy has been on a barn cleaning marathon and with the weird cool spring we've had, the flock can be locked out all day and not need to come in for shade.   Keeping the barn well bedded doesn't stop wool from getting dusty and grimy so I love having the sheep cleaned off by the rain.

And of course, especially with the Cotswolds, if you are standing on food you might as well keep eating it.  Being "hungry" doesn't really enter into the equation which is why we slowly acclimate the flock after a winter of dry hay.

Peanut, standing with her feet up on the curb of the feeder in the bunk which exaggerates her full gut, but still.....  Geez, Peanut.

Stewart and Luellen came to say hi..... and beg for beet pulp pellets even though they are clearly stuffed.

 Ophelia's dark spot shows right up when the rest of her is clean and white.

And everybody has to poke around in the fresh bedding to see if there's anything good to eat even though they have just been eating. all. day.

The boys also were shut out all day and came in sparkling clean and rolling with fat good health.  In order of appearance they are Brick, Neville, Castillo, Nigel, B.B., Titan, Wee Little and old Isador who has to grab one more mouthful coming through the gate.

Neville must be carrying a bushel basket of grass in that rumen.  It's called having a lot of capacity and it's a good thing - a body built to carry a lot of feed or a lot of lamb is a plus if you're a sheep.

Both Neville and Nigel are Cotswolds and their curls are starting to show up already.

Nigel has coarser curls but they carry well down into his lower hind leg which is a hard place to get nice wool to grow.

Brick says,

"I'm not curly but I'm so clean I squeak.  I think some of my gray washed off!"

After the day's heavy rain I took Holly for a late walk and enjoyed some dramatic skies.

And the frogs in the wet spot in the lower field (which we not-so-cheerfully refer to as 'Lake Wheeler') were really happy.  It's loud but peaceful at the same time.  

All in all, everybody had a good day.