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!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breakfast - Lincoln style

All sheep are excited about their meals.  Having raised both Lincolns and Romneys, I can tell you that Lincolns are particularly enthusiastic eaters.  It is not a wise shepherd who gets between a Lincoln ewe and her dinner - the result could be the flattening of the shepherd!  Here we have our old girl, Ingrid, enjoying her breakfast of oat and alfalfa hay.  Ingrid is 12 going on 13 years old and she lives with the ewe lambs we are holding over the winter.  Because the ewe lambs are still growing, they get richer feed than the adult ewes who are due to lamb in February.  And the reason that Ingrid lives with the ewe lambs is because she is an older girl, with worn teeth, who has trouble maintaining a healthy weight on the normal adult sheep fall rations.  Ingrid is currently our only retired granny sheep on the farm.  She was taken out of the breeding line up after 10 years of outstanding results.  I'm guessing that 15 to 20% of my ewe flock is related to Ingrid.  She was one heck of ewe in her day, producing champions in the show ring almost every year.  And more importantly her offspring were able to produce equally impressive lambs.  So it's good to see the old girl enjoying her golden years.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Out and About on my Horse

I went on a ride down the Rail Road Grade at the eastern edge of our property today.  My Dad came with me just to make sure that my horse, Coriander, was ready for the task at hand.  She is a 15 year old Arabian that came to us as a rescue just under 4 years ago.  At the time I got her, she wasn't even halter broke, let alone under saddle.  And on top of that, I had taken a 23 year hiatus from riding - what a great combination!  As luck should have it, we stumbled upon a wonderful local riding instructor and trainer, Bethany Jernigan. With a great deal of skill and patience, Bethany has brought this odd couple a very long way indeed.  After about 5 minutes of walking down the gravel road, Dad unclipped Coriander and we were on our own.  She did great - here is the view from the top of my horse.