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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One of these things is not like the other....

I don't normally bring my work life into the blogosphere, but yesterday was a bit of a treat.
I was called to the front desk to identify a skull for a couple, so reference book in hand up I went. I didn't need the book though because the large skull was clearly from a cow. The reason I say clearly is because I have many of them in the back because they are frequently, and rightly so, mistaken for moose skulls. I tried to break the news gently.
Me: " hi! That is a really nice skull you found, it is a cow skull."
Couple: "yes!"
Me: "I mean a moo cow skull not a moose cow skull."
Couple: "No, it can't be a cow, why would there be a cow in the middle of the woods?" ( the wife has her eyes narrowed at me and the fella is very skeptical)
Me: "Well bear hunters and coyote hunters place carcasses and parts when they are hunting and those parts end up being brought to the office to be identified. I have several cow and pig skulls as references, I will go get some." (I trot to the back and bring out a cow skull and a young bull moose skull I have that only has one antler.)
Wife: "That can't be a moose, it only has one small antler!"
Me: "It is a yearling bull moose and he lost an antler in the altercation that allowed me to have his skull."
Wife: " It doesn't look any different from the skull WE brought in."
Me: "Let's look at the dentition. Cows have very flat grinding surfaces on their teeth while moose have somewhat sharper cusps. Also, the top of the skull is considerably narrower on a moose as is the back of the skull. You can see that your skull is almost identical to the cow skull that I have and different from the moose skull here in these ways."
Wife: "Well it looks the same to me!"
Me: " Erm....."
Wife: (eyes narrowed to tiny slits) "Do you know any Wiccan witches? I'll bet THEY can tell you how that skull got into the woods!"
Me: (incredulously maintaining my decorum) "Ma'am, I think I'd bet on the hunters."
The couple left muttering, utterly unconvinced of my scientific prowess. I am left one bovine skull richer and the idea that any Wiccans in the greater Luce County area (population 5,000) are about to be discovered by this couple.
p.s. the moose skull is on top and the skull they brought me on the bottom. Another cow skull is sandwiched in between. You be the judge!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

B.o.B.'s Girls

I took advantage this past lovely warm and dry weekend to spend some quality time with the sheep. 
 Some of them were quite eager to get some chest scritches.

Fancy was the first one there.  I can always depend on her for some sheep hugging. 
I Love Her.  We Understand Each Other.

Then Snowball shows up.  He is one of those silly southdown babydoll sheep.
I find him hard to give scritches to because he has so much dense wool.  Hard to find those bare spots.  It is almost time to trim the wool away from his eyes.  AND change sheep suits.
He is beginning to look like a stuffed sausage.

Elle came next.  She is going to be one of B.o.B.'s girls. 
She has a sweetly bossy personality.  When she wants pats, she walks up and pushes her face on mine or will paw at me until I give her attention.  If I am sitting down, she will walk onto my lap and stand on those sharp little hooves with her face pushed into my cheek or shoulder until she gets her chest scritches.

Slightly more stand-offish is her daughter Gaia, who is also going to be a B.o.B. girl. 
Isn't she cute?  Her cuteness is misleading...she is the girl in charge out there; the lead sheep.

Deja is also going to be a B.o.B. girl.  She has a BIG fleece.  Soft too.  I like the way she looks.

The last and final B.o.B. girl is Zanibar.  She, typically, wouldn't come anywhere near me. I'll sneak up on her to get an updated photo.  They all need their suits changed or adjusted so there will be an opportunity!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Not something I had considered.....

It has been awhile, and much has happened in our neck of the woods.  Fall is most definitely upon us and the wood furnace has been a comfort.  All of the rain that was denied us this summer has deluged us this fall, making those few sunny dry days delightful indeed.

A dear friend needed to find good homes for some of her fiber animals (I bet you can figure out which kind) and it was rather hard to say no to her given the situation.  Her business parter, at whose farm the animals lived, wanted to get out of the UP and head south after some life changes so he is selling out and wants to be gone by the end of November, hence the desperate search for homes.  I am honored to be considered a good home for those lovely ladies and they have taught me a few new things already!

Item number 1:  It is good to have friends.

Item number 2:  Having one good eye is a blessing.
(Luna, the alpaca in front, only has one accident we were told)

Number 3:  If you have two bad eyes, having friends is helpful.
(Star, the paca in front, has a cataract in one eye and very limited sight in the other.  She is Luna's mother...perhaps accidents are congentital for alpacas?)

Number 4:  Black is not ALWAYS black.  The golden brown alpaca's registered name is "Black Ice".  We call her "Soleil" because she is golden as the sun.  The wee cria next to her is a suri alpaca...also black.  (Brownish black is called Bay Black in alpaca speak.  Looks like dark brown!)  We have been calling her "dark matter" in fitting with the space themes but it is a bit clunky.  Have any suggestions???

The small white alpaca is "peggy Sue".  She came with that name and is a sweetie!  She has HUGE eyes, but wouldn't look at me when I wanted her too.

This is Lyra.  She is Soleil's daughter.  One eyed Luna looks on worried I am going to put eye medicine in her socket...she had an eye infection when we picked her up.  That sounds confusing I realize...but there is an actual eye sunk in the socket but it doesn't work.

We also have learned that it is easier to handle alpacas than llamas (they are half the size), you can pick up the leg of an alpaca to trim their feet (you have to lay on your face in the dirt to trim a llamas toes because they immediately lay down on top of their feet when you bring out the clippers), and alpacas are much more vocal than llamas with quite the range of tone from soft humm's to indignant squeals!

So, now Spinner's End Farm is home to two species of camelids (which seem to be getting along fine now after a brief altercation which put miss bossy Igraine in her place!).