Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Chilly Winter

My older son and I took a walk this weekend to enjoy the freezing fog that had settled on this part of the valley.  It was very beautiful; the ice crystals had settled on every little detail of the landscape, making even the weeds, such as the teasel below, look magnificent.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting Ready

It's that time of year - that time when we get ready for the 100 plus lambs that will be born during a 3 to 4 week period.  It's make or break time for this shepherd.  Those are the lambs that provide income to purchase the feed for next year, some will be held for replacements - the best of the genetics for future generations.  Here are some of our girls, waiting their turn to be shorn.  Shearing the ewes before lambing (1) allows the lambs to find the udder more easily (2) keeps the ewes' wool cleaner as young lambs climb on their mothers and (3) makes for more space in the barn.

Manuel Santana from Albany, OR shears for me.  He is very good at what he does and is never rough with the sheep.  I should add that he is a wrestling coach and he knows how to turn a sheep into a pretzel.  Given that some of my mature ewes weigh around 240 pounds when they are not pregnant, I find that rather impressive!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happiness is a Border Collie Chasing Snowflakes

We had our first snow this weekend.  I like snow because it creates a wonderful blanket of peace and quiet, something which we could all use after the horrific events of this past week.  I also like snow because "children go out and play in the snow" sounds much better than "children go out and play in the rain and mud."  However it was our Border Collie, Pete, who got first dibs on celebrating the snowflakes this Saturday.  He did his best to try and catch them, and here is the proof:

And for the grand finale:

He reminds me that there are many more good and happy things in this world, than there are terrible and sad.  Nothing can make the horror of the Newtown or Clakamas shootings go away, but we need to focus on the good, the "helpers" as Mr. Rogers mother once told him, so we bring light into our own lives and into the lives of those around us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Pelts for Sale!

North Valley Farm Lincoln Lamb Pelts

I just got 5 more pelts back from the tanner.  These are machine washable Lincoln lamb pelts with beautiful long wavy locks.  A wonderful accent for either a sofa, chair or bed.  If you want to purchase one for someone else, I can ship directly to them, with the pelt wrapped in tissue paper and a farm card, letting them know who it is from.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun with Friends

Every now and again, I get something right.  I am sure that my teenaged children would strongly disagree with me on this point (we are at that stage where I do very little right, according to them.)  In any case, a couple of months ago a friend - Colleen Smith -  suggested we get together so she could learn how to tail spin.  Finding a window of time where 3 of us (Loren Heath from Distracted Acres also joined us) were available was a challenge, but we pulled it off and had a great time together this past Wednesday.  Tailspinning involves using defined locks of wool to create a highly textured yarn that has the locks sticking out at all angles.  It is not a quick technique but it results in a fun yarn that can be used for accents or for an unstructured scarf.  The day had all the ingredients of time well spent: friends, food and fiber.  Of course, we got a little silly and wool turned up in all sorts of odd places.....Pete is such a good sport!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Brief Respite from the Rains

Evelyn in front of the milking shed

After an unusually dry summer, it is hard to justify complaining about too much rain.  But since we are already 4" ahead of schedule for the year, I'll go ahead.  Close to 10" of rain fell here last Monday in a 24 hour period.  Needless to say, the North Yamhill River flooded and cut off our access to town, making the morning commute into school a little longer.  The good news is that we are getting a brief respite which both the people and the animals enjoy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dog Kisses

Today during a break from the rain, my Border Collie Pete and I went out into one of the pastures.  My ram lambs were very curious and came over to investigate.  Here one of them is getting a kiss!