Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Animal behavior

Is this hen broody, or bonkers? She acts broody, except that she never sits on eggs. She's not laying, of course, but a few of the other girls are. If she's truly broody, wouldn't she choose a nest box in which other hens have made deposits?

Blake, outstanding in his "field" on a foggy morning. He's lost interest in his girls; hopefully they are both bred. I will leave the breeding group together until the end of November just in case, then do another sheep shuffle. I will not put this guy in with Blake, though:
That's Barbados, taken later the same day I took the foggy photo of Blake. They spend much of their standing at their respective fence lines staring at each other, the flock sire and the young wannabe. No, they can live with separate groups of fiber wethers, and the girls will be put back together. (Inserting a plug here: fine-fleeced Barbados is for sale as a flock sire, and I could put together a nice pair or trio of wethers for someone interested in their own fine-fleeced fiber flock.)

Annabelle is getting special treatment. Recently I caught Benny hassling his old dam, mounting her and pushing her around. Hmm; that may have been what got her cast the other day. So when the ladies and lambs are in the fold, Annabelle gets the corner lambing pen with her own hay and water, plus a handful of Lamb Chow laced with MSM and kelp meal once a day. Everyone else is jealous, of course; it can be a job wading through the woollies to give Annabelle her goodies. That's why I don't feed treats or grain as a general rule; it makes most sheep too pushy!

Jackson, jealous of my computer time
Last night our dogs started acting strangely. Dozer, sitting in the recliner with Rick, starting shivering,  then jumped down and hid behind my chair. Jackson started panting nervously and tried to become one with my legs everywhere I went. They had been outside shortly before so Rick and I wondered aloud if something had scared them, but when we mentioned "outside," they rushed to the door. Nope; obviously no boogy men out there!

Their nervousness went on until bedtime, to our consternation. All I could think of was, "Do they sense seismic activity?" Blame my recent focus on preparedness, but animals DO sense these things when humans cannot. Thankfully everything stayed quiet – until an impressive rumbling of thunder awoke me this morning. I'll take that. ;-)

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, October 27, 2014


Fall is the best time of year for sky-watching. What a start to the day!

Yesterday I put up another seven quarts of applesauce, then we unloaded the two cords of oak Rick and Brian cut and brought home recently. Our woodshed is full, so Rick built a pallet platform to keep it all together and off the ground. We don't need it for this winter, but it is as good as money in the bank for later.

Some poor squirrel lost the "money in the bank" s/he stashed, though. Look at all the acorns in the wood!

A couple weeks ago, representatives from the American Red Cross gave a presentation on disaster preparedness at our church. I'm glad I attended; my knowledge was reinforced, refreshed, revamped, and amped up. We are more prepared than most for disasters by virtue of our lifestyle, but I need to put together what we have in a "go pack."

Although house fires are by far the most common "disaster," when someone says that word around here they are usually talking about  The Big One, a massive earthquake from a shifting of the Cascadia subduction zone. (I encourage you to follow the link; the Cascadia fault, and its history, are fairly recent discoveries.) Personally, I'm not sure it's possible to be prepared for a disaster of that magnitude, but neither do I think we should stick our heads in the sand and our fingers in our ears. My biggest concern is having enough water on hand for all the critters that depend on us in the event of an extended power outage/infrastructure failure. I've long dreamed of having a man-powered system – like a stationary bicycle device under a simple shed roof – to run our well pump. We do have a generator, but that would help us only as long as we had fuel. Things to think about, but not to stress over.

Thankful for my Father at . . .

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fresh on Friday!

This tree on the way to my MIL's is FAR more glorious IRL!

It's full-on fall here, which means we are getting the kind of weather some people think we have year-round. (That's fine; they can just keep thinking that. Keeps the riffraff out. ;-)

Today I headed into the garden to pick rhubarb. Its time is limited; might as well use it up for a crisp for potluck. While there, I looked around. The garden looks pretty sad right now, with weeds burgeoning and vegetables languishing. I noticed some nice tomatoes (Rick picked them "all" last Sunday, so I don't know where these came from), so I went exploring to see what else I could find. My hands were soon full, and I had to go to the house for a big bowl! Besides tomatoes, there were a couple jalapeƱos and several small bell peppers, a couple summer squash, a wee winter squash, and a bunch of Japanese eggplant that have turned golden instead of purple. No matter; they will make good filler in the dinner cobbler I'm also making for potluck.
That's a lot of "fresh" for this Friday; what a blessing!

This girl is still broody. She kept her "broody 'do" even when I picked her up and put her outside to get some of the alfalfa leaves I scattered this morning.

When I looked in on the sheep in the fold this morning, I thought I'd lost Annabelle. She was stretched out on her side, not moving. I froze – then saw her side moving and dashed in to see what was wrong and what I could do to help. She had gotten cast between some odd humps that have developed in the (desperately needing to be stripped) bedding. At first she was only able to stand with my support and sounded pretty gurgly; but by the time I dashed up to get Rick and came back, she had managed to get up on her own, and soon started nibbling hay. These Shetlands; they're tough!

I've finished the first repeat on my Artesian. I've still amazed by the perfection of the yarn's color, even though knitting with a superwash single is a new and interesting experience.

That's it for today from . . .