Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This is better....

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 002The very best news has come in the house just a day or so ago - Tink is nursing well on her own and her and mama are inseparable. Yeah! I mean, as you can see from the pic, she is definitely 'changed' by the whole experience which is incredibly sad and I hope that over time her fun and cheery spirit returns. The good news is that she is very attached to us humans as well as mama so we're hoping that with gentle and kind contact every day - she'll forget all about that mean ole pig. She got her little wrap removed from her leg today, which is making the bend to nursing much easier and I even witnessed a little 'wee!' jump before the camera flashes made her run for cover under mama.

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 004Three guesses who this curious and somewhat bossy little gal belongs to? If you guessed our ever personable #2, then you're right. I couldn't get a pic of her doing this exact pose because the only way the mama will let me point the light flashing instrument at their babes is if they are busy eating. Otherwise, it just freaks them right out and they cover their babies as if I am Darth Vader delivering their lazer blast to the underworld or something. So, you'll just have to trust me when I say that, on any given day in the season of grazing outdoors, you will look over the fence and find #2 standing in this exact pose with that same, "you humans sure are messed up" expression on her face. When we first got these sheep, I contacted the old owners who breed Cotswolds to seek some wisdom and advice. My dear breeder, Janet, told me that I'd come to love these guys like my family and on that and so many other things she was very right. She also laughed and said that with no other breed had she ever seen such a distinction in face structure and expression. She assured me, even if a lamb takes its tag out rubbing on the fence, you'll be able to tell who their mama is if you just look at them for a minute or two. This little ewe is named 'winky' and, just like her mum, she winks one eye. Come on, all together now - AWWWWWh!

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 001And, now we have - THE BOYS! This is a running joke in our house as when thing 1 was about 8 she began to realize that the addition of two younger brothers would mean a lifelong struggle of jokers, teasers, big eaters that scarfed up her great efforts of making brownies, cornbread, and her many other 'special' kitchen delights, and the general chaos that came with THE BOYS. Every time I would come back in the house after being down the barn or something and find some crazy science experiment or blobs of home-made putty all over the place I would begin with the traditional mother's state of address, "What the ()&*&(" and before I could even finish she would say, "Mom, it was THE BOYS". These two little guys are no exception to the 'boys' rule. lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 005 They are rowdy, a little crazy, and are avid nursers (as you see them tackling their poor mother here). As our beloved ram 'Rufus' enters his 7th year of life, we are faced with the reality that we will need a replacement ram in a couple of years. Honestly, after last week, we all teared up just thinking about ole Rufus getting old and didn't really want to face it. Still, we have to decide which of these boys will be the ram and which one will lose more than the tip of his tail and become a whether next week. There are many reasons to do the angry deed of stealing a sweet babe's testicles from him so young. Firstly, we use a very humane method of banding them so that they have no circulation and feel very little as the 'dead' skin falls away. Secondly, there is no blood and this method has never caused any infection in our experience. Third, we will not always be growing our herd and so keeping only ewes isn't our priority. Our goal is to keep the best fleece combined with the best temperament and both of these boy's parents exceed standards in that category. Still, you sort of feel like a freakish Ice Queen walking down to the barn to study and decide who will get to breed to his heart's content and who will be a eunuch. I wish hubster would relieve my suffering and make the choice as he wears them and I don't so I feel that by default he should have to decide. But, as usual, everyone wants to go with my gut instinct because, barring the times that I am wrong and live to know it every day, it seems to be a pretty reliable guide when it comes to our animals. Go ahead, rub my belly or throw coins at me or something - maybe I can help you make similar decisions!

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 020Thanks so much for all the kind notes, emails and comments about me and Tink. It would be funny that we both hurt our front right paw on the same day if, in her case, it hadn't been so traumatic, and, in mine, I HAD BEEN ABLE TO SPIN OR KNIT OR AT LEAST GORGE ON CHOCOLATE! The arm is healing well and I know ya'll may want gorey details but I will have to disappoint you sometime so I might as well go ahead and do it. We still don't know quite what did it. Was it the fall on the snow? The home-run slide I did on the wet kitchen floor? Or was it the day before when the cookstove oven door fell open and got stuck in the open position which I solved by all manner of Roadrunner and coyote antics that ended in unhinging the pins on the door with a screwdriver and yanking upward to then complete the task with the brilliant move of slamming my arm between the heavy steel door and the heavier and very hot oven interior. Yes, there have been jokes about the family donating my brain for scientific study upon my demise. You can pick one option or all three if you'd like! I still have to wear the brace and will for some time but I quickly adapted (hell, if I could stop draggin' my knuckles on the ground - I felt certain I could figure out how to knit in the brace) and also got my custom spinning job for the week done. Three skeins of the 'Black Magic Woman' batts for some lucky ducky other than me (she pouts).

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 094Now I'm off to finish the 'low neck sweatah' so I can astound you with a completed knit later this week. I know, I know, most bloggers would build some mystery - play you up to a frothy point of excite and make you wonder what was in store. I figured the fact that I might show up as promised and also have knit something would be shock enough so I didn't want to strain you with unnecessary anticipation. My knitting has been thoroughly pathetic this week but I am comforted to know that my thing 1, a beautiful and also up and coming knitting daughter, has picked up the needles in earnest to support her ole mum. She finished these awesome socks in the 'marigold' pattern this week and is fast at work designing her own sock pattern whilst we polish off episode 3 of the Jane Austen novel adapted by none other than public television, "pride and prejudice". That Lydia - we both are very tempted to just smack her! Anyway, the sock is awesome, the kids have made me smile much this last week and I am ever grateful for that. A little self-flattery, if I may, that the sock is knit in our 'calendula' colorway. That Thing 1 is a witty girl - knitting the 'calendula' yarn in the 'marigold' pattern. I gush, I spill over with pride and admiration. Go ahead, kick me, you will not even rattle the smile on my face.

lambs, queen mermaid batts, and sock yarn 068Now before I go I will steal this opportunity to do some housecleaning. We have the 'Queen Mermaid' batts back in the shop. Some have asked about them since it has been far too long since they've been here and if I happened to miss anyone on the email list - they are here.