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Showing posts from January, 2009

Ozzie the Wonder Dog?!

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Wow, I swear that Ozzie understands a lot of words!

Yes, we've already established that he thinks "Quiet!" means "bark louder!", but I've noticed that he really seems to understand certain words. When I say, "let's get the mail", he runs to the mail box and waits for me. When we mention "going to the land" he gets all excited wanting to come along. He knows where to go when I say we're going to feed "the boys" and where the "girls" and the "chickens" are. He also knows that Stan is supposed to come upstairs when I call, "supper is ready". He'll stand at the top of stairs looking down, waiting for Stan, getting nervous if he doesn't appear. :-)

Well, I just got home from dropping off some items for the new arts and crafts shop in town. Stan was outside getting wood and I asked if he had gotten the mail. He said yes, it was in the house on the counter. I went in and looked for i…

Flock Goals for 2009

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Garrett, Sabrina, and Carol got me thinking about what my flock goals are for the coming year. Since I'm in the midst of writing up a grant proposal for this summer, my thoughts are definitely in the planning mode today.

1.) First and foremost for my flock, I hope to have my Bluefaced Leicester ewes lamb out twins without too much trouble. If they can do that, I will likely reduce my purebred Shetland numbers further. I really love the BFLs, their personalities, their fleece and their overall conformation. But last year lambing out the BFLs was so stressful I decided to wait and see if raising purebred BFLs was something that would be compatible with me and my management style.
We have actually been quite lucky with our BFLs, unlike friends who've bought BFLs, we haven't lost a single one - knocking on wood here. The BFL ewe lambs born here last spring were raised exactly like our Shetland lambs, on pasture and hay. They were wormed in the fall with the rest of the ewe fl…

Healthy Flock / Sheep Minerals/ On the Radio Too!

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It's easy to take it for granted -- the joy and ease of a healthy flock of sheep. I've been feeling very blessed each morning when I go out and see all the sheep up and eager to be fed. No limping, no coughing, no loss of appetite, no runny poops, and no bloody heads in the ram pen. Yes, life is good. And hopefully plenty of little lambs are on the way for spring. So for now, life is easy.

Oh sure, we'll get more snow and there's a bitter cold front on the way. But the sheep don't mind the cold temps as long as they have shelter from the wind and bedding to keep them warm. The cold snap is not supposed to last very long.

I've decided to bring soon-to-be 10 year old Bramble Cordelia a handful of alfalfa pellets every day. She looks to be in good shape, but she may need a little extra to make it through another year and another pregnancy. I'm also using the pellets to tame Lana, our little black gulmoget ewe lamb. She's at the bottom of the pecki…

Felted Hat - Take 2

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Just what I needed, a little help from my friends! How did you know that's my favorite color Michelle?
Does it have to special hat lace or will regular lace do the trick?

I got a whole bag of lace odds and ends for 25 cents a couple months ago. I keep my dyes on hand and only had Copenhagen blue already mixed. I thought it might bleed out so my first attempt at dyeing the lace was too dark, but the second try looks just right. I just dipped it in the dye and sprayed it with vinegar and water, then microwaved it for 20 seconds. The color set very quickly and is not bleeding out.

Now I'd better hop in the shower before my husband comes home for lunch. Notice all the stuff on the table, hopefully he won't be hungry. LOL

Rayna, you would look so cute in a hat like this. I may have to go into production. :-)

A Felted Hat!

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Well, the weather has warmed up considerably and the boys are getting along. They only spent about 9 hours locked up in the catch pen. And then three days locked inside the 8 x 16' lean-to with actual temps outside falling to -35F. But now all is back to normal, even better than normal with only TWO pens to feed and water and only 20 sheep. BTW, if anyone is need of a cute little Shetland ram, Bo is for sale. And so is Granite, check our website for more details, www.riveroakssheep.com

I have signed up to participate in a new shop called "Made of Mora", which will be opening Feb. 1st here in Mora. That and I am hoping to teach some spinning and felting classes up in Isle, MN at my friend's booth in "Someday Isle". Oh and we can't forget the Vasaloppet Art Show that will be taking place Feb. 6 to 8 -- I'll need four pieces for that too. So I am under the gun to produce more work.

Yesterday I dug out all my felting stuff, the pool cover pieces, …

Learning to Get Along

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Well, the time has finally come. I put all the boys together and all the ewes together yesterday. So I'm down to just TWO pens to feed and water and only 20 sheep. The three 3/4 cross rams went to slaughter yesterday. At least they don't have to experience this bitter cold spell we're having. It was -27F this morning.

In the photo above is Bo, our only Shetland ram lamb, Beechtree Granite, our almost two year old natural colored BFL ram, Socks a 2008 Shetland Mule wether, and Peppy, our 2008 Ile de France/Dorset ram lamb.

Of course, when I put Bo in the 8 x 16' lean-to with the polled guys, he began chasing, butting and jumping on everyone else. He and Granite were really butting heads and Granite had a little bleeding. I just can't stand to see anyone get hurt in a situation like this, least of all my sweet, docile Granite! So I put them all together in my handy-dandy catch-pen. It's just a 16' hog panel which has bent into a U shape. I tie a 4' h…

Granite's home and Bo is Happy

Kim Nikolai came to pick up Harrison yesterday and she brought our natural colored BFL ram, Granite, back home to us. I was dreading having to shovel and pick away all the snow and ice to get my fences undone and move the sheep around. But it all went surprisingly well. Thankfully the temps were in the twenties, so the weather wasn't bad at all.

Harrison calmly followed his ewe group into the pole building and was enticed into the catch pen with a little alfalfa.

When Granite was unloaded and placed in his intended pen, he promptly jumped right out. Fortunately he happy to be home, but just a little confused about where he should stay. After seeing that his old pen was now occupied by Bo and Lana, he followed me through the backyard, the garage, the driveway and over to the little red barn where he hopped into the lean-to pen with the five polled boys. He's such a nice fellow. There was a little head butting and he seems to have a thing for the Ilede France/Dorset ram lamb, b…

Making a Wool Duvet Comforter

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Here are photos from making a wool duvet comforter before Christmas. I didn't want to post them until after giving it as a Christmas gift.

Warning: this is just the way I do this and it seems to work for me. If you find yourself with lots of extra wool, you might want to make a few of these for your family too.

First, start out with a queen size comforter batt (about 4 pounds of wool, I have my coarser britch wool made into quilt batts - coarse Shetland and BFL isn't really that coarse) and two queen size flat sheets. I don't bother buying real expensive sheets for this anymore, the wool has a tendency to migrate out of the sheets regardless. I'll never forget the night poor Stan was snoring away and inhaled in a wool fiber from my first comforter in the middle of the night. Oh the coughing! It lasted for such a long time despite his getting drinks of water. It's funny now, but I didn't dare tell him at the time that I knew what had happened. After that night I …

Looking Forward to 2009

Happy New Year!!

I always love New Year's Day. I usually take it easy, recuperating from the night before - I just can't take late nights out like I used to. But this year we left before the stroke of midnight since Stan had to work at 7 a.m. New Year's Day.

We made it past the all the hub-bub of Christmas and now it's time to start clearing out the cobwebs -- reassess things and try to make them better. This time of year I always start thinking about painting the walls, cleaning the carpets, getting new window treatments, putting in ceramic tile, etc. Little by little, the days are starting to get longer and before we know it, spring will be coming. That means doing the taxes, filling out the FAFSA, shearing and lambing, a new garden - so much to look forward to.

But in the meantime we have sunny bright COLD days with a thick marshmallow blanket of snow to deal with. I love that I can feed and close up the chickens and the sheep by 4:30 in the afternoon and then…