Friday, May 22, 2015

The Kitchen Portal (And More Good Sheep Books)

Yes, there's a kitchen portal, too, not just at the barn...although my kitchen looks mostly like a barn usually right now...  I spied this as I passed by the kitchen door yesterday.  Every morning I pull all the kitchen towels out on the porch to sort through which need to be washed and then sweep out the hay I bring in every night for Liddy to eat sleep on.  

Speaking of eating, we had a blueberry pancake cook off and maple syrup tasting last night.  I made some yummy Weisenberger Mill Whole Wheat Pancakes (great mix!) and Auntie Reg made yummy Krusteaz NOT whole wheat pancakes.  Guess which ones little miss corn chip eater preferred...

I've had a couple comments and emails asking about other good sheep books like The Shepherd's Life.  Let's start a list!  A few (because I may have forgotten some) of my favorites are:

The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks
Shepherds at Coyote Rocks by Cat Urbigkit
Adventures in Yarn Farming by Barbara Parry

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

Any of the Nancy Shaw books - ACK!!!  Look at the new one!!!  Sheep Go to Sleep  Added to cart!

I haven't read this, but just found it while looking up sheep books on Amazon.  Shepherd:  A Memoir by Richard Gilbert.  Sounds like a good possibility, added to cart.  I'll let you know.

What's missing?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Somewhat Comprehensive List Of Things Liddy Will Eat

Tortilla chips
Soft taco shells
Fried okra
Ice cube chips
Corn Flakes
Saltine crackers
Vanilla Wafers
Four leaf clovers*
Three leaf clovers*
Dandelion leaves*
Redbud leaves**

  *Only if you hand feed them to her while she sits on your lap.
**She eats those, and all special treats, standing on my feet.  Ridiculously cute!

Liddy is one of the smartest lambs we've had.  She does amazing things like negotiating how to get around a gate (we've had dogs that couldn't figure that out!), when we are going somewhere, she goes and stands by the truck door and is now even putting her feet up on the running boards, she almost always goes into her kennel crate to pee and once I had to wait for her to get in the truck because she wanted to pee first.  Uncannily smart!

One thing she's had trouble with from the start though is eating.  Go back and look at the list.  Do you see sheep food, grass, hay on that list?  Yeah...  And sure, you can say she's just spoiled (see note about hand feeding) but all of my lambs are spoiled.   And they all quickly figure out how to eat. Most will sleep through the night by one week old.  Liddy is still waking me up anywhere from 2:30 to 4:00 a.m. because she's hungry...and has a bowl of food and hay right next to her.

I've tried a couple different types of hay and yesterday I broke down and bought a bale of fancy alfalfa/grass mix hay from TSC.  Designer hay brought in from out west.  $17.49 a bale.  She had great fun eating the plastic wrap.  Guess I should add that to the list. I'd normally insert one of my (probably annoying smiley faces here, but after almost five weeks of not getting a full night's's really not that smiley ;-).

Note: it's (obviously) really not a good idea to feed sheep all these weird sorts of things. Mostly we know she eats these because she's stolen them right off our a dog.  The other stuff...well, see note about her standing on my shoes.  She's smart I tells ya' ;-).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yarn Along...Without The Actual Yarn, Just The Book

I don't have any knitting or spinning to talk about this week, but I've been dying (do any other fiber people have trouble spelling that word? Dying/dyeing...) to share my new favorite book, so I'm going to count yarn being grown for an upcoming Yarn Along - next year ;-).

I've been following Herdwick Shepherd on Twitter for a couple years now.  Twitter is fun and easy. Really!  If you haven't given it a try, Herwick Shepherd and Zwartbles Ireland alone are good enough reasons to do so.  I have learned so many interesting things and seen so many beautiful places with just a picture and 140 characters.

My own Twitter feed is like a miniature blog.  I post pictures of Liddy and sometimes other stuff like beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the cats working hard, the sheep out grazing and I'll also re-tweet anything I think someone else would be interested in, like beautiful sunrises and sunsets, cats actually working hard and sheep out other countries. Sometimes it's just something that made me laugh, which is just as important :-D. 

Earlier this year...or maybe it was the end of last year...we started hearing about a book coming out by Herdwick Shepherd.  I've so enjoyed his gorgeous photographs of his sheep, dogs, countryside, lambs, rams, sheep shows...that I couldn't wait!  It was released over there (he's in northern England) months before it was to be released here.  Argh!  

Some copies started trickling in over here early and Auntie Reg grabbed one for me.  I was surprised to find it was a "written" book.  I was expecting more of a coffee table book full of pictures.  Still, his written Twitter posts are quite entertaining as well as informative, so I eagerly opened it up.  I was hooked on the first page.

I like my bottle lambs to have as normal a life as possible.  They stay with me throughout the day and we try spend a lot of time outside "grazing".  Some, like Liddy, love to curl up next to me and take long naps just like they would if they were with their real mom.  I grab a good book and go find a shady tree and let them be lambs.  

"Come on, Liddy.  Let's go read about raising sheep in a part of the world where sheep have been raised for thousands of years!"  The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.

Here we're reading it for the first time.  Liddy (two weeks old) slept through most of it, but we're used to that by now ;-).

I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I finished it, I started it back over to catch what I'd missed the first time.  Liddy gave it another try, too, but once again...

Three weeks old.

If I hadn't loaned my copy to a friend, we could get a five week old picture, too :-D.  I could totally read it a third time.  

This is just a sweet picture I found while I was looking back from the book pictures.  I don't have many pictures of Liddy because other than a moment here and there when she's gone off to investigate something, she's always right by my side.  Such a sweet lambie.  A perfect reading companion.  I'm guessing she'd be good at knitting, too.  Now that the festival is over, maybe we'll find out for next week!

Joining in with Ginny...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fiber Festival Guest Post By Hershey

"Yeah, well, it was kind of a long weekend.  We had to go and be in some sort of hugging booth.  Mom said there'd be some cookies, but we got hosed on that because they figured out Baaxter was going to be too rowdy.  I could have told them that before it ever got started.

It poured rain all day on Saturday and about every hour the tent roof would overflow and it was like someone poured a bucket of water on our heads.  Our wool got so wet that wherever we touched the red gates, we got red stripes. Luckily a nice guy came by and fixed it so that would stop happening, but we were all pretty wet by that point and just wanted to go home.

Luckily the next day was nice and sunny.  It was kind of hot, but not too bad in the shade. Baaxter said he was done hugging people if they weren't going to give him cookies.  Murphy and Spud eventually joined him in the hugging boycott, so for the rest of the day, I got all the hugs. That was fine by me.

Mom's booth looked nice and she sold a bunch of wool, tshirts and coffee mugs.  I know she was happy about that because she's made some sort of goal about paying for all of our expenses this year, not just our feed bills.  She said none of us can get sick this year, but I don't know how she expects that when she takes us out in a monsoon.  Good thing we are all tough!

20 didn't get to come out on Saturday, but he was there on Sunday. He helped with the drop spindle instruction.  Auntie Reg was there both days and our friend Miss B was there on Saturday and then Grandma and Grandpa helped tear down the booth Sunday afternoon.  It takes a lot of help to do these shows and I know Mom is really appreciative.

Liddy did a great job all weekend.  We'd all heard the story of how rotten Maisie was two years ago when she had to "work".  Baaxter said he was good last year, but I overheard Reg telling some people that he was pretty naughty, jumping out of the pen and knocking chairs over and such.  I tend to believe Reg on that count.  

I know everyone was really excited about winning some ribbons at the wool show.  I didn't get to enter my fleece because someone had already come down to pick it up earlier in the spring.  I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen next year because I think I can give Murphy a run for his money.

The really exciting win was our friend Karen's win at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival earlier in the month.  She had taken Beanie Baby's fleece last year and spun it into yarn, designed a shawl to showcase all his different colors and won first place in the Spinner's Yarn Basket.  This year she took the finished shawl, you remember the one, from the Hug A Sheep party, and won first place, best in show, most innovative design and best hand spun.  Dad made a nice poster to tell people about that.

The new Lamb Camp cards.

I think Mom was a little worried about hanging up Maisie's sweater.  Something about how the tent might fall down or something.  I can totally see that happening.  That is one crazy sheep.

I don't think people were convinced.

Nobody bought Chocula's huge fleece so I think Mom is talking to Sheepmom about dyeing it.  I'll believe that when I see it.

We all really love Auntie Reg.

Especially Baaxter.

And Liddy :-).

By the end I was pretty tired, but I still loved visiting with all the nice people, especially this young lady.  It was actually a pretty fun weekend, now that I look back on it."

I couldn't have said it better myself, Hershey :-).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

2015 KentuckySheep And Fiber Festival

This is me and Liddy on our way home from the festival yesterday.  Yes, she rides in the front seat of the truck with me.  She knows the drill.  Walks around to the driver's side door, waits to be hoisted up into the front seat, I get in, start the truck and about a minute down the road she lays down next to me and within a few minutes is asleep, with her head on my lap.  Cutest. Lamb. Ever.

We got poured on off and on all day yesterday, but the crowds were pretty good and lots of fun folks stopped by to meet the sheep.  Quite a few even braved hugging on the boys and that's saying a lot.  If you've ever felt a lanolin-y wet sheep, you know what I mean ;-).  Liddy was tucked in the back of the booth and did just the best job all day.  Thanks Auntie Reg for your always awesome babysitting!

The fleeces did very well!  Blues for Murphy, Woody and Chocula.  Spud got a red (I'm guessing behind Murphy).  Murphy earned a Champion ribbon as well and Woody was Reserve in his division :-D.  It looked like quite a few entries, so I am hugely flattered!

Liddy and I are getting ready to head back over this morning.  It looks like the weather is going to be better today - the sun is shining right now :-).  There are still a few fleeces left, including Chocula's ,which they let me bring back to the booth yesterday afternoon.

Come see us :-).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tee Peek

The t-shirts turned out really cute!  I decided to go with the plain white shirt because I wasn't sure how light blue the light blue shirts were going to be.  That ended up being fortuitous because the festival's t-shirts this year are light blue.  Whew!  

The artwork...since the thoughts were pretty mixed with that as well, I decided to go with everyone actually standing out in a field ;-).  Besides, the blue and green is kind of my signature non-Christmas card look and heaven forbid I try to stretch myself a bit ;-).  Speaking of Christmas cards, there is a tag in each shirt bag with a diagram of all the characters, just like the Christmas cards.  

The shirts will be $16.50 for sizes S through XL.  2X are $18.50.  I will have them at the festival this weekend and then available on the website after that.  

Hope you like them!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fleece Peeks

Spud - I normally don't like sunbleached tips, but I think his are stunning.


The longwools (Woolliam, Keebler, B. Willard, Buddy, Rebecca Boone, Hershey) have nine months growth instead of six this year, so the staple length is really nice.  Long, but not too long and no one had a heatstroke last summer :-).



Baby Belly - I still can't get over how clean the fleeces are this year.  Thanks, Kate!

Lila.  This is my sleeper favorite this year.  Lila just cruises along under the radar...

Buddy...the best curls...and the "best" lanolin producer ;-).  It really does wash out.  Just be prepared with super hot water!

Keebler - another grease ball, but we know how he cleans up :-).

Chocula on the left, Ford on the right.  Guess how much Chocula weighed!  Well, you'll never guess because the picture just doesn't really capture it.  13.5 pounds :-o.  Daniel weighed just over 13! That's a lotta sweaters!  I'd be willing to divide those two fleeces into two 6.5 pound fleeces...which is still a lotta sweaters :-D.

Liddy, working hard growing her first fleece :-).  Kate resting up for VM (vegetable matter/hay) patrol next winter :-D.

The forecast is looking a bit damp for this just dress appropriately and come have some fun anyway :-D.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Different Kind Of Camp

If you are only here for the cute lambie pics, scroll quickly to the bottom. If you'd like to see something really cool, read on.

We finally got some rain yesterday afternoon.  Yes, after months of too much rain, we were now starting to get too dry and the temps have been more like July than May :-(.  Liddy, Kate, Tilly, the cats and I rode out the storm on the back porch.  When it was over, we headed back out to "play".  I went to the lavender garden to pull weeds while the dirt was soft.

As I picked around, checking each plant for signs of growth after a winter that was too cold and too wet for most lavender, I was happy to find only 10 plants needed to be replaced.  I noticed one of the dead ones had a strange seed head or something stuck in it.  I looked closer.

Tiny tiny tiny seeds of something...  Wait, I know what this is!  I ran to the house to grab my camera.

After years of carefully watching these egg sacks, I was finally getting to see one hatch out!  I've been dying to see this!

Little baby writing spiders !!!

Hundreds, maybe a thousand.  So tiny, less than the head of a pin.

"Salutations!" *

A Liddle something to bring your heart rate back down ;-).

* Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White


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