Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of Another Round Bale

These happy folks are lounging on what remains of a 700+ pound round bale. This picture was taken shortly before we hauled two more bales into their pasture. We remain grateful for the rain as there is still some pasture. Many of the sheep were down the hill grazing while the cows & larger goats staked a claim on the remaining hay.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What a Handfull

The pups are probably close to 25 pounds each now so Amy is definitely admiring Katy's work as she lugs them up out of the woods. Of course, since they are still babies they tire out & don't want to follow after a while. Katy gave up on waiting for them so decided to just carry them herself. Eric & Katy had been taking Gwen & Allez for a little stroll through the bottom pasture & woods for a few days in a row. Yesterday I came out of the chicken house & something caught my eye. It was Allez slipping under a gate to join Gwen. They both gave Regina, another of the Anatolians, a quick sniff & proceeded towards the woods. I caught them as they were heading down the hill. It took me a good fifteen minutes between lugging them back to the top of the hill, keeping them on the proper side of the fence & keeping the cows out of our faces. Puppies!

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Dog Issues

Last Saturday when we got Ravi, the beautiful Anatolian Shepherd on the left, we had to make the rounds and let him meet the other pasture dogs. Regina, our Anatolian in the cattle pasture and woods, was not nearly as aggressive as we feared she would be. Ravi was obviously not at all threatened. Of course, having Al & Katy manage the introductions made all the difference rather than an unattended stray dog wandering up to the fence. Now that a week has passed, Ravi is getting along beautifully with all of the dogs. He is enamored with the pups and his only misbehavior has been when he shoved himself through a gate to follow the pups as Eric and Katy were taking them for a walk down to the woods.

Dot in a Pot

Dot, our adopted-from-a-rescue-group cat, is reminding me that I haven't dyed any fiber this week. Or at least that is how I'll interpret her visit to my empty kettle. I am in the process of inventorying my handful of unsold yarns. Fortunately, there were not many that didn't get snatched up these last few weeks. The fiber helps pay the hay bills. The hay feeds the sheep & goats. The sheep & goats produce more fiber. Wonderful cycle - and I have lots of fun playing with all of them!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wet but content

No pictures today - still just overcast & sort of murky. But we only got about an inch of very cold rain with no ice, snow or other challenging weather. I don't mind a good snow or even an occasional ice storm but I don't like it when the electric fencing is down in the pastures and the hoses are frozen. Anything that makes caring for the animals more challenging is not fun.

The puppies are doing fabulously. Gwen and Allez are now spending time between the barnyard and Amy's pasture. We are hoping to give the pups to Amy, our nine year old Anatolian, to train them with the livestock. She is content to spend time with them so far.

Although we'd already arranged to acquire the pups from Iowa, I came across an 18 month old Anatolian Shepherd on Craigs list just a few days before the pups' flight. His owner was looking to downsize on the dog population a bit and he was young and feisty so was the fellow to go. We checked him out and discovered that he had a pleasant (but adolescent) temperament, was already living with goats and also had puppies on the property with him. We decided to take a chance and brought him home. His name was Robbie which we were not terribly fond of so we changed it to Ravi, a handsome name that makes us smile.

Right now Ravi is working out beautifully. He calmly met our other dogs, is thrilled to have two puppies to wrestle with, has not rankled the livestock and is fairly obedient. He has visited our vet and weighed in at only 94 pounds so he still has a bit of growing to do. We feel like he has been a special gift to our farm and a wonderful accompaniment to the new gals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Scarf

I finished this scarf without help from the puppies! I would have usually done it out in the stable but they have the space right now & I didn't want to take any chances. In another day the pups should go out into the pasture with Amy so that I can have my space back & then it will be back to work.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Newest Babies - stories to follow....

Well, they don't hold still so this is the best I could do on a photograph.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Bit of Sunshine

The temperatures are still barely above freezing but the sun has peeked through. The oxen took a break from a new bale of hay to groom one another. I am amazed at the amount of time they spend just licking at each others' shoulders. I can understand the warning we were given when seeking out a team - they are bonded for life and one will pine away without the other. They are not related but have been together for so long that I cannot imagine them apart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Babies

Things have been pleasantly busy here. One of the things that has taken a bit of time is the search for a new Anatolian Shepherd pup. We lost Lila, our oldest dog, in the summer. We have Rudy, a way-too-old & very deaf Great Pyrennes, but he is simply a sweet old man who is in retirement. Our remaining working dogs are two great Anatolians, Amy & Regina. Amy is the dog that we would like to break in a new pup so we figured we'd better get that process going as Amy is now 9 years old.

We began a web search for pups and after many e-mails & phone calls came up with a gentleman in Iowa who had two pups left from a litter of 13. These are working dogs who have been raised with livestock & poultry - definitely a plus. After some discussion, we've decided to take both sisters.

Although we'd contemplated the 14 hours drive each way to retrieve them ourselves, we concluded that shipping might make more sense. The gals should arrive at the airport Saturday afternoon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Work to Do

This white wool yarn is ready for dyeing. Now I just have to beat the rain forecast for the day. I had done a little dyeing before a quick Ohio trip & now I am playing catch up as I have two different sales to attend this weekend. In just a moment I am going to mix up some nice green dye and some nice brown dye - I've already got lots of bright colors dyed so thought that with the rain coming it seems like more subdued shades might be appropriate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Hay is a Blessing

Every time it rains, I think of how grateful we are to be able to get hay now. These last few years of drought have been a challenge, one that even included bringing hay in from Kansas a few years back. We got another hay delivery last week from a fellow south of town. He also had more hay to bale. Although we don't want to feel overconfident, it sure is nice not to be scurrying around and praying to find an odd bale or two.


Rudy is such a happy old guy. He is stone deaf and loves to nap but is still a pleasure to us. He comes alive at supper time - I caught him gently holding a sheep by the head just yesterday. The little ram had the nerve to try to snag some dog food and Rudy was just warning him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drier Days

I ran across this picture of Oliver & Amber that was taken on a warmer summer day. Amber is our oldest Tunis ewe. She spends plenty of time napping but is also busy for a fair bit of the day. When she puts her mind to something she can accomplish it. Just yesterday she shoved on a gate long enough until it finally shifted open far enough for her to squeeze through. Next time I'll just have to be sure the chain is a bit tighter on the latch.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wet Ducks

The ducks had an absolute field day! With almost 4 inches of rain in two days, there were small ponds even on the higher end of the pastures. I would see what looked like fountains shooting out of the grass only to realize it was a duck flapping its wings and glorying in the latest puddle it had found. We had no water damage and only one tree fell but it is obvious we'll be needing our mucking boots for the next few days.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Still alive & kicking

Tip is our old goat who tried so hard to die a few weeks ago. She had apparently been battered by a buck in the night and we found her unable to move one morning. She could barely draw a full breath. After lots of tender care she managed to recover and is up to her usual tricks which include being one of the first goats to try to shove her way into my pockets in case I have a treat.

Fuzzy Photos

The photos look fuzzy because they are! It is carded wool carefully teased out to the consistency of spiderwebs and layered to be wet felted into a scarf.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two old ladies napping...

Mollie is our German Shorthair Pointer who we acquired a good twelve or so years ago. She was not a pup but a gun-shy young lady who'd been overlooked in her litter. Although she's never hunted, she's quite the bird dog & a threat to our chickens. When they come into Mollie's large yard, she will "worry" them until I come along to rescue them or it dawns on them to fly over the fence. I've even seen her crouch and crawl up behind the pine trees in her yard to sneak up on a bird. Luckily, Mollie has a soft mouth so usually the result is a few ruffled feathers and lots of squawking.

Little girl is at least thirteen years old and is a Manx cat that resembles a Siamese in the face. She comes in the house each evening and heads right for the back bathroom where she can eat with the door shut and no competition. Although she loves to be in the house, she is seizure-prone and has rolled down the stairs before so can only be inside under supervision. She has several cozy places where she loves to nap outside. We go looking for her when she isn't at the door for dinner but she's a headstrong old lady who is usually right on schedule.

Little Girl was napping on the couch when I let Mollie in to visit. Mollie wanted on that couch so badly but could not figure out what to do about the cat. She finally crept up onto the couch and curled tightly into one corner. Little Girl instinctively snuggled up against her and they both napped the afternoon away.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wet Hen

Yes, this is a chicken. And she hopped into a water pan intentionally. I had started putting a shallow pan out for the smaller birds after Pavl tried to drown himself in the pond. Ever since, this little Frizzled Cochin has been the first to enjoy the water when I refill the pan. Her whole body is not wet - her feathers look all disheveled like that because of her peculiar breed. But she will hop out each day with a wet tummy.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've found it quite interesting through the years to observe how the animals interact with each other. It is especially intriguing that family groups love to snuggle up and rest together. The big black buck on the right is Kermit, the father of that little guy curled up with his mother.

Amy, one of our Anatolian Shepherds, is content to snuggle up with any of the sheep or goats. In fact, they are so much a part of her family that it is next to impossible to get her out of their pasture. She is one of them - obviously the dominant one - and is anxious if we do need to move her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This feathered little fellow is Pavl, the White Crested Black Polish chicken who tried so hard to drown himself several weeks ago. He has become a special pet in the chicken yard, even getting first choice of the scraps from the Hyatt's kitchen. These last few days have been rainy so Pavl's lovely white crest is mostly soggy and hanging down over his eyes. I guess God really does have a sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Bale

The sun was out a bit yesterday - enough that some of the mud dried out and Al could use the tractor to drop new round bales into the pastures. There is just something about tearing up a new round bale that Micah, our old Dexter bull, cannot resist. Wouldn't you feel important if you'd just shredded into 800 pounds of hay?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We All Have Days Like This...

It has been so gloomy and dark that I haven't taken any pictures lately. But I was going back through some from the last few weeks and came across this picture of Abe with a bucket on his head. We get our kitchen prep scraps from the Hyatt in a big red garbage can and then tote it back for the birds in smaller buckets. Abe, one of our friendliest old sheep, thought it would be a good idea to clean the bucket out for us. Vincent is looking on while one of the smaller Shetland sheep strolls away, not at all concerned about Abe's predicament. As soon as I got a good picture, I removed the bucket from Abe's head. Then I removed the bucket from Abe's pasture as he insisted on sticking his head right back into it once he was freed....

Monday, September 21, 2009

On a Drier Day

This is Freckles curled up with a hen. The animals all just seem to exist together with very few real issues. We did get word from a poultry vet that turkeys cannot exist with ducks as there is some sort of parasite that ducks carry which gets into the drinking water and is fatal to turkeys. No one, however, told that to our turkey who lived seven years along with the ducks. He lived to a nice old turkey age and then just woke up dead one day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saturday Market

Saturday Market was actually rained out yesterday! We all stood around waiting to see what would happen. The city had a hard call to make but after we were all thoroughly soaked it seemed like a good idea to just let it go. It has been a few years since Market was canceled due to weather so we hope our customers will forgive us. I did get home & dry off, only to stumble into a bit of an adventure that will be next week's farm story.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It Is Raining!

Lyle is a wet little llama. He has plenty of places to go for shelter but preferred to hang out in the rain and tackle a new round bale of hay with his companion, Ginger. I imagine the fact that it is still in the low 80's and the llamas have nice thick coats keeps them from being too concerned about the weather. The goats, on the other hand, are all huddled in shelters and are peeking out from the eaves of the stable looking at me as if I am to blame for the weather. I am just so grateful for rain that I'm not too worried about what the goats think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pretty Little Gal

This is one of our new light brahma hens. They've graduated from the stall to the real world and are thrilled to be exploring. The two dozen prefer to stay together but occasionally someone wanders off for their own adventure. This little gal was soon scratching through the dirt looking for bugs. I helped her out by rolling over an old log.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A New Week

I have been so busy getting ready for the gallery show at Art & Light that I didn't blog. The show went beautifully & I was ready to get back into blogging again when one of our cats accidentally tore up my hand & arm. So that took another week out of things. But I am doing much better now & am about to walk out to the stable for a fleece to wash.

These pictures are from one day last week when I was trying to get out to gather eggs. My arm was throbbing so I sat down briefly on a fallen log to rest. The moment I stopped, most everyone in that pasture felt obliged to come check on mama. This is my "face-level" view. It was a comforting five or so minutes & I went back about my chores. It made me smile.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Day

This is Eve, our little Ossabaw Island donkey. I took her picture to send on to the child of a friend. It seems taking the picture was about all I accomplished yesterday and I've yet to send it on. I got up, gathered eggs, went to the feed store, stopped by my son's home in Pendleton to pick up something, ran up to Seneca to pick up a pig that had been processed, went to the grocery store, gathered more eggs, began to dye a single ball of yarn, spun half a bobbin of white yarn to dye, washed out four skeins of natural grey yarn that I'd spun over the weekend, made a few necessary phone calls, paid a bill, balanced the checkbook, gathered the rest of the eggs and washed, dried and sorted them but did next to nothing that I have to get done by the end of the week. Now that I've had my morning coffee I'll gather eggs and hope to do something today!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying Busy

I am so busy dyeing, spinning and felting that I've not kept up with the blog. So here is a picture of a handsome rooster who was born here. He is not an identifiable breed but a hybrid whose mother and father are unknown. I'm sure some little hen hatched him out after hiding her nest for a few weeks. He's a gentle fellow and follows me around as I gather eggs several times a day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Teeny Weeny

Teeny Weeny still doesn't have a real name. But he survived his latest brush with death. After a good week of being force fed, medicated and fussed over while he lived in my dye stall he has turned into a spoiled little baby who appears to be in good health. His fiber, however, shows what he has been through. He now has a stress break so is shedding out his lovely curls. Under his white curls he has a pretty reddish tan coat. He has also decided that he must follow me everywhere I go and that he deserves to be let into the stable at his whim.

This is the face of an angry llama

For some reason Ginger was not happy with me. She pinned her ears back and stared intently but I managed to soothe her before she started making that funny little noise in her throat indicating that she was ready to spit. I'm thinking her distress was due to the fact that I had been paying attention to Lyle and Ginger is a little jealous.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Giant Yarn Ball

This is not a camera trick but a three pound ball of German felted yarn. I only let the cats around it long enough to take a picture as I certainly didn't trust them with it. It took me too long to wind it and I didn't want to start again!

Time for Pickles

The dill is about to flower, the garlic is ready & son Glen delivered a basket of cucumbers yesterday. I called my mother for my father's old dill pickle recipe. I had a hard time finding my 3 gallon crock until I recalled that it was sitting in my fiber room filled with knitting needles, mill quills and spindles. So shortly I'll quarter the cukes, boil my brine and start the pickling process. Obviously, step one will be to wash the pickle crock!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Settling In

Lyle and Ginger have established their own little routine after almost two weeks here. They are doing beautifully with halter training. They also no longer look absolutely stunned when a chicken flies around the corner at them. They are learning to cush - laying down on command - with Ginger obviously much less stubborn about the lessons than Lyle.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pretty Curls

This little Angora goat was enjoying a shady spot next to the old barn. Her curls are growing back in so beautifully after her spring shearing. I'd dyed some mohair curls earlier in the week and am already looking at hers and making new plans.

This is where my time goes...

Apparently Vincent, the white & black goat on the right, snapped a connection to the electric fence when jumping into a portion of the chicken yard that is off limits to goats. Then Kermit & Harriet slid through the used-to-be-electric fence to the neighbor's back yard. Which wouldn't be the end of the world except that the neighbor has no fencing & the goats could shortly be in the highway. So I grabbed a bucket of grain to encourage them to come back. Once the whole production was almost over Abe, a huge old man of a sheep, decided to see if there was any more grain left in that bucket.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Bit of a Scare

I came through the old barn from the chicken yard to find Ginger on her side with her legs sticking straight out and her head twisted in an odd fashion on the ground. Toots, the little black dog was sniffing her. Closer inspection revealed she was merely napping after having rolled to dust herself in the dirt. Thanks goodness.

Lyle as a mother hen?

This is not a very good picture so I'll fill in with the words.... I came around the corner of the stable to find Lyle, the white llama, resting. Ginger was standing next to him. Both moved just a bit as I'd startled them. And when Lyle moved chicks came scurrying out from under his tail. You can look closely to see about three of them at his hips. Their mother was just around the corner but the must have figured snuggled up under a fuzzy llama tail was as good as under the downy feathers of their mother - and there is certainly more room for six growing chicks under Lyle than under the little hen.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Such pretty fiber

This little gal is an angora rabbit that had belonged to a lady with lots of rabbits. She did a beautiful job with all of her shorthaired rabbits but felt she didn't have time to keep up with the angora that needs lots of extra grooming. We bought the rabbit a few weeks ago and she really is in wonderful condition. Katy was just giving her a nice trim to get rid of a few small matts and now her fiber is growing back in so uniformly. She'll need a good brushing for spinning fiber this week. She is such a friendly and sweet rabbit and we were glad to add her to the family.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Just checking out the new scenery...

The llamas are adapting quite nicely! At first they wanted to head to the donkeys as they had lots of donkey companions at their original home. Lyle, the white llama, even jumped a fence his first day in the pasture to get closer to our donkeys. Now they've settled in and seem to be getting used to the goats that skirt cautiously around them. They stare at the sheep in the next pasture and only occasionally startle now when a chicken flies by. Looks like they are settling in well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


After a hot morning working outside, it seemed like a good idea to work on some felt inside. This is part of a Shetland fleece that was shorn after "the rise". The Shetland is a primitive breed that begins to shed its old fleece as the new one grows in. The old fleece tends to create its own felted blanket so that shearing is not easy. It comes off in a single piece & cannot be separated to spin. But it also makes an interesting effect once it is thoroughly washed. Since I'm not worried about felting the fibers together further, it is easiest to wash by stomping in a hot tub with lots of shampoo. It takes four or five good washes before the rinse water runs clean. Right now it is drying in the sun.

Hanging out

Mrs. Seabright, our little old lady, was just hanging out in the corner of the chicken yard. We leave tomato cages & other bits of wire around so that the birds can run for cover when a hawk circles overhead. She seemed to think it was a nice spot to hang out for the afternoon - at least until bedtime which, in her case, is getting earlier & earlier each day. I've found her in on the roost by six o'clock which is a good two or three hours before the others start to retire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teeny Weeny

This little fellow is still just going by the name Teeny Weeny. He was born as one of the tiniest little goats we've ever seen and has been rather fragile since his birth even though he has had a very loving mother. Just a week ago he began to stumble and look pitiful. Since he's already weaned we took him into the stable and have been hand feeding him and fussing over him. A little shot of selenium got him up again but he is less than 100%. He isn't giving up, though, so we aren't either. For now he's enjoying keeping me company when I groom the rabbits or do a little dyeing or fleece sorting. He's become quite the nosy little man. But we've debated whether or not to give him a "real" name for fear that may just be the end of him.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Ginger was a little reluctant to unload when we got home. Katy lifted and dragged her out of the trailer but all was well by the end of the day. She and the white fellow, who the children have tentatively named Bert, were bedded down in their stall after a few walks on lead as well as some free time in the barnyard. The best thing was that they didn't need to be caught. Katy just walked up to them, picked up their leads and led them to the stable. There was a little shoving to get them to step onto the concrete stable floor and then to pass through a door but for their first day it really went well.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Babies

This has been a busy few days but I did want to post a picture of the birthday babies. These are weanling llamas that we happened to bring home on my birthday. The white one is a nice male and the brown is the female. Both are sweet as can be and are already adjusting well. The little gal was even humming to Katy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I'll be teaching again in another week at the Anderson Arts Center so decided I'd best begin prepping materials for my students. This is Bart's wool dyed a variety of colors for felting projects. I guess I'd better get busy warping a few looms too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is why I've neglected the blog...

Or at least part of the reason. We received our first chick shipment of the summer. I'd ordered 75 new laying hens to grow out for the coming year. They all arrived strong and healthy and are off to a great start. I'll pick up the next 50 at the post office on Tuesday. Unfortunately the little stinkers would not hold still for a nice picture - but at least they are good & active.