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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sheep Crackers

It had been awhile since the last visit to the sheep pen with "sweeties". They remembered how much they enjoyed thm and I was greeted, er thronged, by appreciative sheep. It was very hard getting photos. Nine of twelve sheep are visible in this photo. Miss Elle is peeking over the top. This photo shows off the brown yearlings well. Fancy, in the background, is wondering why I am so far away with the cookies.
Three of the brown girls! Liz in the front, Zanzi in the middle and Gaia browsing for leftover bits in the back.

Winter Sky Deja Vu. She is such a sweetheart. I'm hoping her entire fleece modifies to look like the ruff around her neck. It is a nice emsket. Currently she looks more Iset than Shaela, but either way her fleece is lovely. You have to love all those Norse names eh? are Chunk and Amey. The sheep are starting to blow the end of February so bits of fleece are starting to come loose and they look a bit bedraggled. Amey's eye is starting to get cloudy again so I will be back out with the eye ointment. She just doesn't look the picture of health. I did a fecal egg count on her and didn't come up with much so I'm not sure what the issue is. I'll try to get another one today just in case I messed it up and get some miracle sheep vitamins into her (I forget what the liquid elixer is actually called but it smells yummy)...she is such a sweetie. Yesterday she was pulling loose wool off the other sheep and eating it- supposedly a sign of stress but I'm just not sure what she is stressed about.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Carnival

There was much fun to be had at the Curtis Winter Carnival this past Saturday. The kids at Three Lakes Academy had prepped the iceskating rink for the crowds on the South Manistique Lake. Neither of the boys wanted to skate, but there was a fair bit of butt sliding going on. Lila spent a good hour on her skates and did quite well. Another fun event was the "Fish Coop". A small area of the lake was fenced off below the ice (using MSP divers to anchor it in place- evidently they could use the experience as a training session) and a bunch of rainbow trout dumped in. The fish weren't biting though....Lila caught a 12 inch fish, but as hard as Sam and his fishing assistant tried, no luck.
The most exciting event of the day was a dog sled ride! Natures Kennel's in McMillan had two teams of dogs there and for a fee, up to three people could ride in a sled. All three kids wanted to try this out! See the smiling man below? His name was also Sam.
Notice the huge smiles on the kids faces...they wore them the entire trip and were laughing when they got back from their fifteen minute adventure on the ice.
Here they are....coming back into the home stretch!
Dogs needed to be patted afterwards of course. They were a friendly group of lean Alaskan huskies.
They were actually quite sweet.

Sam really liked the lead dog.

Friday, February 12, 2010


This is Ginger again. Does this photo remind you of anyone? Remember Doonsbury? (did I spell that right?) Bill the Cat ring a bell? AAaack!!! This is the picture just prior to the furball. Ginger is quite amused by himself and thinks that everything in the household is his toy...objects, humans and other animals alike. Grace in particular is a target and she generally sticks around to play a bit...even when Ginger batts her in the face, bites her lip and grabs her ears...
But, enough is enough! I'm outta here kitty cat! Find someone else to chew on!
This photo is not related at all, but Duncan asked to use the camera a couple of days ago and I downloaded the photos this morning. This one is titled "A perspective on eggs taken at eye height". They were freshly washed and sitting out to dry.

New Toys to make yarn

I had been looking for an umbella swift of somesort to make using the ballwinder more efficient and to free up Will's arms. Then I started wondering, is there any REAL difference between a skein winder and a swift? Well, you can't wind a skein from your spinning wheel onto a swift (or not very easily anyway), but you CAN wind a ball from your skeiner! Hmm. This seems to save a piece of equipment! And, now I only have to use my niddy noddy when I really want to (and sometimes I do). Warning: the following is a shameless plug for Ashford. WELL! I gleefully browsed the woolery website (okay, another shameless plug. But it is such a candy store for fiberholics), and decided that I like the looks of the Ashford Kiwi Skeiner. It comes unfinished and you need to do some minimal sanding and apply some sort of finish to it. I also purchased a can of the Ashford wax polish as Josie (the wheel above) also could use a bit of clean up and polish. It smells good! I was able to do the light sanding of edges and apply the polish in the space of a lunch hour.
It works great and looks pretty. The drawback is that the kids all want to "do it" too. Or just spin it around because it is fast and smooth.

This is the plied yarn from the singles I posted earlier. It is a four ounce skein and 450 yards long. I use the Ashford Jumbo Flyer that Will bought me for Christmas two years ago to ply on to get a nice big skein.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Taming of the Shrew

Two years ago Petrucio came to live with us on our farm. He and three other sheep had been living together at a spinning friends farm as a group. They all still stick together pretty tightly, even though a group of four is now a group of thirteen. Petrucio is an unregistered, though purebred, Shetland wether. Evidently his mum died not long after he was born and he was a bottlefed lamb. Weeeell....I was warned he took liberties with kids- yup sure does. The kids can't go into the sheep pen by themselves and have to stay closeby an adult when in there supervised otherwise Petrucio will try to knock them down.

This fall, when the ewes were cycling, Petrucio was taking quite an interest in some of the ladies and his behavior towards ME became increasingly antagonistic....he loves to have chin and brisket scratches and would butt any other sheep that was getting them so he could have some and then would change his mind and offer to butt me instead of getting the pats. He had a few buckets in the face and my boot to butt instead of my body.

But YESTERDAY, Petrucio decided I was a shrew that needed to be tamed once and for all. (Frankly, I had wondered about his naming and now I have a much clearer understanding of the Shakespearian character he was named for). I was medicating Amey's eye and he came up and rammed her in the side. I hollered at him and he decided my time was up...I was next. I did the sideways dance for a bit and of course was no where near the bloody gate... Finally he came at me and I stupidly put my foot up so he would get my boot in the face. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I had on my winter clunky boots, the ground is hard and slick in spots and I'm not the worlds most graceful person (shocked??). So, as you have already determined in your active imagination, I ended up on the ground with a pissed off sheep looking for round two. Crap. I got up, slipped, back on my butt. Dodge and roll. Where are the other sheep??? Won't somebody come and assist me?? Even the llamas where standing by watching! A little intervention please?? Somehow I managed to get back on my feet, but couldn't fend off a blow to the shin. ouch. So at this point I've managed to slither my way closer to the fence but now I'm trapped between the hay feeders and the fence. The next blow I grabbed his horns but the rascal managed to twist away....Okay I'm outta here! I climbed up on the hay feeder to jump over the fence and he actually tried to get me even though I'm ABOVE his head at this point. Couldn't let him have the satisfaction so he did see the underside of my boot- phase him? Not a bit.

After I escaped the pen, I went back to the gate to make sure it was latched...he came over for a piece of that too. Cripes.

Even though I love his dreamy fleece, and the sweet boy he is when he chooses, he will have to go.
It definately gives one fodder to ponder about the power of a name.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Aaaargh!!!! We be gettin' hats in the mail Matey!

Two days ago a package came in the mail addressed to Miss included the lovely knitted hat above and a pair of matching mittens from Grammy Jo. It appears to be Lila's new favorite.

And then TODAY...a mystery package from New Zealand....apparently Pirate Uncle Johnny procured these beauties from some mysterious pirate port....Duncan is currently wearing his with his pajamas in bed. Good on ya Uncle Johnny and Grammy Jo!

Yarn for Diane

Fallon on the wheel....
Yes, it has been busy at our household... The least of which has been preparing fiber and spinning for one of our CSA shareholders. The fiber is a blend of Shetland wool from our ewe Fallon and some lovely alpaca from a small fiber farm in Escanaba.
It is a lovely dark taupe shade with lighter cream accents from the alpaca blended into it.

These are singles on the bobbins which will be plied into a light worsted weight yarn. I have a few more bobbins to spin up before I'm done! Diane will be turning it into a cardigan using a rediscovered pattern that some of the knitting crowd are quite excited about.