Saturday, October 31, 2015

Go Hug Some Sheep

Today is (Inter)National Hug a Sheep Day!

Whether they are young....

Stewart Little, enjoying a cheek massage

 ...or realllly old....

Alexandria and me

....all good sheep deserve a hug (if they want one).  Get out there and show some love to our ovine friends who provide loads of wool, lots of lambs and a steady supply of fun.  (And if you aren't near any sheep, you can hug your wool yarn or wool sweaters or wool socks because they came from some sheep somewhere!)

So, happy Hug A Sheep Day!  <<hug>>

Monday, October 26, 2015


Despite being underfoot one way or another every hour of the day the cats have gotten short shrift on the blog all summer with the exception of both Ivan's and Alexi's passing.  It's about time to rectify that with some kitty updates.

First, Kittin got clipped by a car in early August the day after Daffodil died.  A glancing blow left her laid out, unconscious, in the center of the road and relieved her of about seven of her lives.  Except for a broken tooth she miraculously had no outward injuries (or broken bones) but closed head trauma and severely bruised lungs kept her at the vet hospital for four days and  I've held her in the wool shop to recuperate ever since.   Her right side appears to have taken the force of the blow and she has loss of strength and coordination in the right front leg leaving her with a rocking, limping gait.  She can't flex the toes of that foot yet and perhaps never will.  I'm hesitant to let her out because she's so compromised and she actually doesn't try to dart out the door which surprises me but I'm sure she's realized how hampered she is.  She spends her days sleeping, eating, chasing flies if they land on the floor, washing her fur and thinking cat thoughts.  She's getting kind of fat.  She enjoys our company (me and Holly, that is) when I'm in the shop and lays under the skirting table with abandon, oblivious to the bits of cruddy fleece that drops down.

And when that gets boring she moves to the blanket I have for Holly to lay on.  

Natasha moved back to the barn after it warmed up in the spring and has been doing just fine down there although I haven't seen her do more than step out the back door to sit in the pasture on sunny days.  She does like her sun patches and now that it's getting a little colder she seeks them out as soon as morning sunbeams come in the east-facing door.

She's intimidated by Clem, but Chloe gives off different vibes and they seem congenial with each other.

When it gets seriously cold I'll take her back to the wool shop too.

"Heck, take her now, would you?  She's hogging all the sun."

Chloe's brother Clem has become the defacto king of the barn.  He's quite a regal boy although he's more silly than serious.

And boy, does he love him some sheeps!  (Includes scenes of intense cat sniffing!)

Popeye is growing like a weed. His bum eye doesn't give him any problem but he seems blind on that side for sure.  At least it doesn't look gross, just like a gray marble.

Pretty soon I'll make the appointment to get him neutered.  "Unpack his bags so he won't go travelling" as they used to say but since he's going to be an indoor cat it's a moot point. Calvin is his best play buddy, but surprisingly Dexter is the one he sleeps with!  Dexter and Calvin don't like to sleep together, but the little furball has worn him down won Dexter over in this regard.

But Calvin is a good 'buddy cat', always interested in helping even if it just means sitting on the other office chair keeping me company while I do computer stuff.

"Really?  The intertubes are full of cats?  Amazing!  Tell me more."

House, barn, shop..... cats everywhere.  ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Oops, I Did It Again

Somehow the bulk of the month has slipped past without a blog post.  Sorry about that. Until recently the weather was so fine that it was easy to do outdoor work until dark, eat supper and then box up orders or answer emails or peel apples for applesauce or other things that ate up the evening.

Several fleeces were skirted and sent to eager spinners.  Odds and ends wool was sent to the mill to become quilt batts.  Two lots of wool went to Acorn Works to be made to roving.  I'm hoping this gray fleece which was dyed lilac will come back a smoky amethyst.

Typical of "October's bright blue weather" it's been sunny with low humidity during the day and in the low 40s at night.  The sky, the trees and the field corn all say we're deep into fall and winter is coming.

The sheep (waaaaay out in the far middle pasture) have been enjoying some really fine weather although a sudden cold wet weekend pulled off most of the colorful leaves.  

They've got a pretty sweet deal right now - cool enough to be comfy, no flies, still nice pasture.....  they spend the day moseying around at their own pace and then gathering at the back of the barn to come in before night.

Drambui is still looking good at 12 years old.  She's the oldest ewe in the flock now that Daffodil's gone.

Daisy, using the old rock pillow.

The Cotswold lambs were shorn last month and this little cutie is already showing some nice tight curls growing back.

We actually had wet snow over the weekend (shudder) and two hard freezes in the upper 20s, leaving heavy frost that lay on the grass even after the sun had touched it for awhile.

We were already well aware of the need, but this kind of weather really spurs firewood activity.  First Andy cleaned up some piles of limb wood that he had left in the field from the previous year.  This partly seasoned wood will go into the cellar first.

Then we head into the woods to drop trees.  Once they are down on the ground I'm not too fearful of him working by himself but I always go with him when he's actually felling trees.  Too many bad things can happen even when one is experienced and careful.  And Holly is always ready for a good woods walk!

We're still cutting dead and dying ash from one certain area.  Dead trees are particularly unpredictable and have a bad habit of shedding limbs as they fall but this one behaved properly.

I finished a major overhaul of the 'yarn' page on our website and now have current pictures of Cotswold yarn I've recently dyed, like this:

and this:

And even that Gosh Darn Big Yarn that I pictured earlier this summer.

The page was a lot of work and I'm happy that it's done and functional.

Holly says:

"Oh, good grief.  I don't know why you spend all that time at the computer when you could pet ME!"

Right!  Time for some "pet" therapy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Enjoy Each Day While You May

A walk with Holly on a nice September day is always a treat.  She's only business-like if she thinks we're walking next door for a play date with Angel and Brandy.  Otherwise she pokes along sniffing everything, listening for the occasion mousie in the grass and leaving messages for the rest of the world that reads that sort of thing.  The other day, late afternoon, we were down on the lower farm walking along the lane where the field meets the woods.  That section of field didn't get worked this year and grew up to goldenrod, asters, milkweed, various grasses, thistles.... in other words, lots of tall weeds.  Holly was busy nosing into a multiflora rose bush on the edge of the woods, probably looking for the chipmunk who had been swearing at us as we approached.  I was happy to stand with my face to the sun and soak up some heat as all too soon it will be over for another year. The light was coming at a low angle and shining through puffy seed heads and spent foliage and I noticed something bright and pretty.  See it?

Someone else was enjoying the afternoon sun's rays, basking while he/she could.

Apparently I looked pretty non-threatening because I got very close without alarming it.  I think it's a Checkerspot but I'm not sure - maybe a Pearl Crescent.  Either would be likely given the habitat.

Whatever the case, we shared a moment in the sun and I'm glad we met.  The days are filled with little blessings if you just slow down and look.