Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Overwhelming!

I am simply overwhelmed right now! The events of these past few days have brought me to the depths of sorrow and to height of gratefulness and thanks. Just two days after the fire at our land, my mother-in-law quit breathing and was rushed to the hospital where she died the next day. Even though she had suffered with Parkinson's disease for 10 years, her sudden passing was quite unexpected. Poor Stan has had a lot to cope with...
The outpouring of support and concern from my fellow Shetland sheep breeders has been absolutely amazing. I am so fortunate to have such a great group of people offer to help us out at this time. Thank you all so much! Mary Ellen, Rebecca and Kim for getting the wheels in motion and organizing the Fire Benefit Auction at the MSSBO blog. I really couldn't have stopped you all if I tried! And thanks to Nancy K. for all your support and spreading the news through your blog and your generous donation of a beautiful framed photo of your sheep. And Bill's blog had me crying as I read it, Bill you have such a way with words!
I haven't been able to stay online long with all the insurance and family calls we've been expecting. So I'm sorry that I haven't responded to everyone personally. But I hope you all know how grateful Stan and I are that there is such a great group of sheep people out there willing to help out. We're going to be just fine.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Devastated



Today was a pretty good day, I did well and had a lot of fun at the Pine City Arts Fest, despite the near 100 degrees temps. I got home around until around 4:30 p.m. which is the time the sheriff said the fire call came in.
Stan and I were hot and tired after the Arts Fest, but peacefully oblivious to the fact that our pasture and hayfields were burning as well as our pole barn and entire 2006 hay crop.
We didn't find out until around 7:10 p.m. when our hay man called and told us. We raced over to find fire trucks all over and our less-than two year old pole barn burned out. We may be able to salvage some metal, but it's not useable anymore.
Thankfully the firefighters pulled out the tilt-trailer and 4 wheeler in time to save them, except for some severely melted areas.
Witnesses said the fire was amazingly fast and hot. As I mentioned earlier, the temps were extremely hot today, and the winds were strong from the south. That, along with our lack of rain for so many days, was enough to bring on red flag warnings for fire outbreaks in this area. We don't know how the fire started, just that once it did, they had very little time to stop it.
We heard they used helicopters and closed off the road. We have no electricity or water out there, so I'm sure it was difficult as well as exhausting for those poor fire fighters in this heat. I know I was wobbly when I finally got into my air conditioned van after the arts fest.
I'm not sure what this means as far as my flock goes. We'll have to see what the insurance covers. But with absolutely no hay for the winter this year, I'm going to have to drastically reduce my flock numbers, that's for sure...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Haying and Horns


Well, I finally got a chance to get back here and post! The Garden Tour demo went well last Saturday. It got me determined to gear up for next week's solo booth at the Pine City Art Festival. So much to do before then!

Tonight we stacked the first load of our 2006 hay crop in the pole barn over at the land. Our portion was 115 bales from the front field. We will get lots more from the back field which has more grasses that the sheep prefer.
It was hot and humid today, but apparently the worst is yet to come. They say we could be in the triple digits this weekend. Oh I hate to think of the sheep in the heat! Especially when I'll be away doing a booth at the Pine City Arts Festival. It's my first time there and I was hoping for a good turnout. If the weather is that hot, I'm sure the crowd will be smaller.
And imagine trying to sell wool yarn, hats, mittens, etc. in that kind of heat. Oh well, at least I'll get to advertise my sheep for sale that day.

I took a few photos of the sheep on Sunday. Poor Ace has broken off both his horns now. He just has two 1/2" cores left now. I'm not sure if this means he carries at least one polled gene or not. He's such a great looking ram lamb in every other way...HST, moorit single coat...I'll have to keep an eye on those horns.

Also, our Bluefaced Leicesters finally have names! I am proud to introduce Beechtree Dougal, our ram (in front in the photo) and Beechtree Lanora, our ewe (in back). They are such wonderful sheep, with fantastic fleece. And did I mention that BFLs wag their tails when petted too?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'm Jumping in Too!


Well, I guess I will jump in the water with the rest of you and start my own blog! After reading the posts and seeing the photos posted by my friends, I'm thinking this might indeed be an easier way to share events in my life and on my little farm rather than updating my website all the time.
I have lots of nice shetland sheep to show off (see photo of River Oaks Ace, what a sweetie he is!) and some nice poultry too. My most recent additions to the farm are two bluefaced leicesters, names are still being determined. They are the most docile sheep I've met so far. And their fleece is exquisite! The only problem is they will get quite BIG in adulthood, we'll have to wait and see how that goes... this fall I plan to cross some of my shetland ewes with my Bluefaced Leicester ram for some hardy lambs with great fleece next spring.
I'm in the process of getting ready to do the Art in the Garden Tour on Saturday, July 8th here in Mora, MN. The event is put on by the Kanabec History Center and is basically a tour of 5-6 local gardens in their mid-summer glory. A few years ago, the History Center decided that having local artists in the gardens would add interest to the tour. This is my first year participating as an artist. I plan to have my wax resist eggs, fiber, handknit, and felted items on display while I spin in the garden, doesn't that sound wonderful? I'm hoping we have good weather that day.