Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Woot! I see a light and don't think it's a train!

Sunday I rooed Blake and Butler; today I sheared and skirted Bing. That makes 11 down and four to go, but since Bing's was the last reserved fleece, the outside pressure is off. (The inside pressure remains; I want to have everyone done before June.) Once Vienna, Bogie, Bridget, and Bernadette are sheared, I will advertise on Ravelry again and expect that the ready fleeces will fly out the door.

My gentleman ram Blake has many excellent qualities, which is why he is still here eight years after Brava gave birth to him (and then left him an orphan at five weeks of age). But his roo-able fleece has a heavy grease line at the rise and smells very rammy, so I decided to have his 2017 and 2018 fleeces processed. A fleece client asked me to ship her purchases to Columbia Custom Carding, which she praised highly, so I put Blake's fleeces in the box, too. In a few months I will have some pin-drafted roving available for sale.

Here are the three sheep before and after shearing:

Blake's greasy fleece

Lotsa wool left after rooing!

Rooing little man Butler
Lotsa wool left here, too (I scissor-sheared his neck and rump)

Wonderful waves of crimpy wool
And here are three of my FIVE musket girls thanks to Blake (two daughters and a granddaughter):

On Sunday, Rick finally started prepping our garden space and mowed the half of the middle pasture containing the most foxtail. Now the sheep can safely graze again; the girls approved:

That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sitting duck

This afternoon after we finally got home from church, potluck, and a concert, I let Red out, led the horses to the upper pasture, and loved on some sheep. Then we played a family game of Frisbee "monkey in the middle," with Brian as the monkey on the trampoline. An hour later, when it was time to unplug the hay steamer, I decided to leave Red out because she was enjoying basking in the sun by the barn. After another hour it was time to take the horses back to the barn. As we walked down the driveway, I saw bits of white on the gravel in the distance – and immediately feared the worst. Sure enough, they turned out to be feathers. I put the horses in their stalls and followed the trail of feathers across the driveway, around the manure pile, and through the weeds, hoping against hope I might find Red just frightened or injured. But the sweet and friendly hen that had survived a mink attack at my friend's place would not be so lucky here; my lapse was her demise. I was gutted over letting her down. She's been my shearing buddy, my one pet chicken; this week I've even been hand-feeding her a daily antibiotic tablet mixed with treats in hopes of reversing her painful foot condition.
If I had any doubts about who dined on Red, they were erased when I went back to the barn to give the horses their concentrates.
See the small galvanized pail on the left edge of the photo? That's the cat food bin. It was on its side at the base of the stairs just visible on the right edge of the photo, although the raccoon that dragged it around hadn't been able to open the lid. That's because I had pulled the bail up to secure it after finding it on its side and open this morning. If only I had secured my chicken....

That's the sad ending to an otherwise good day at . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Teenage drama

No, not that one. (Well, okay, yes, that one, too....)

Today it was Bette's turn to be sheared, and oh, the drama. I guess she takes after her namesake, Bette Davis. (They're both blond and beautiful, too.)

Unfortunately, I never got Bette cleaned up and coated. I told the lady who reserved her fleece that she would be trashy; she wanted the fleece anyway. But there's trashy and then there's TRASH....

It's a shame, too, because under the trash is a beautiful fleece, just like her mama's.

Bette YELLED the whole time I sheared her, periodically fighting the head restraint and succeeding once in hanging herself and peeing on part of the fleece I had already sheared. 😳 The only saving grace is that she was really easy to shear, so she didn't take as long as the others have.
Tonight when I did chores, I had to work at distinguishing Bree (she has an ear tag that gives her away) from Babette from Bette (who has her aunt's earset) from Bacall – once Bridget is sheared, I'll have quintuplets!

In other news, someone had a tough labor and delivery today:
This opened in the iris bed:

And the nearby fields of crimson clover appear to have kissed one of my Japanese maples:

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Baa baa (almost) black sheep...

...has lost most all her wool.

I got Blaise sheared today. It took me over four hours  😳  through no fault of hers; she was perfect on the stand and her belly and upper legs rooed easily so I could pre-skirt her fleece (sorry for the sheep lingo if you come here for other things). Oh well, it's done and I'm very happy with her fleece and her condition. Now it's on to her half-brother Bing (on her dam's side) and her half-sister Bette (on her sire's side).

That's it for today from . . .