Monday, June 30, 2008

A chance to work on the garden

I finally had a day off (after working all weekend) to work on the horribly overgrown and neglected garden.  With our prolonged cool and wet spring the weeds had totally overtaken the struggling corn and bean plants.  The cucumbers and sunflowers never made it, and the squash are barely hanging on.  The tomatoes are doing OK- have been keeping them in plastic bells- but did lose two.  The carrots, parsnips, peas, onion and potatoes are having a heyday growing like mad.  So I raked and hoed all the weeds out of the overgrown bean and corn beds finding a few scraggly plants in each which I tried to save.  I had gone to the feed store and bought the few remaining seeds they had and replanted the beans and corn.  Then I put in a row of swiss chard.  I dug up circles from the grass and planted cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins. I set up some bean poles- many are from bamboo harvested from the orchard.  Then I weed-eated the perimeter, knocking down huge stands of tall grass while I ran a sprinkler on the garden.  Finally I set up chairs and an umbrella and took a break, drinking cool lemonade.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Black Sheep Gathering

So we took off Thursday after work to go to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene.  I took this picture of the trumpeter swan who has been hanging out with the silage bales across the street for the last 2 weeks when we left.  We had a gourmet meal from Taco Time in Marysville on the way down and made it to Salem by 11PM.  We got up early Friday morning and made it to the Gathering just in time for the Shetland show.  Below is a photo of the Shetland rams all lined up and being judged.

Here's the rams again with an HS (no T) ram in front.
Here are all the ram lambs lined up- quite a few!
And the ewe lambs!
Then pair of ewe lambs- you can see on the left some of the lambs weren't very cooperative with the idea.
Three gatmoget butts!
Then Saturday morning I arrived before 9:00 for the Shetland fleece judging.  Here John (and Tina) Parks won the first place ribbon for yearling and lamb Shetland fleeces with the gorgeous fleece from Luna.
Here's the mature Shetland fleeces being judged.
After the fleece judging and wool sale I checked out the fiber arts results.  Shetland wool figured prominently.  There's this intricate Fair Isle sweater...
This fine Shetland shawl....
And this lovely felted lamb coat!

I tried to be good with our money.  I bought this lovely West African made basket to hold my knitting...
And this gorgeous fine Shetland fleece with which I hope to make my own Shetland shawl.
We left Sunday morning to head home.  When we arrived we found a dead lamb- Bam Bam (our most promising ram lamb) had apparently escaped under the gate into the next field with the donkeys.  We found him lying there.  I feel like the worst shepherdess in the world, leaving for 2 days when if I had been home I may have found him in the field and moved him back to his pasture or heard his or his mother's cries.
I think our grey mini donkey Marty killed him.  He used to be a good donkey but recently he has chased our smaller goats and very recently he had grabbed a small buckling by the neck and was swinging him violently.  Since then we kept him separate from the other small animals, but our escape artist lamb managed to find him.  Now Marty will be for sale.  I hate to see him go, but we cannot have a killer donkey on the property.  He is fine with our other donkey and great with people, including children, so I hope we can find him a nice home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yet another wet dreary day...

Today was dark and rainy all day.  I had to put out the tomatoes and squash since I won't have another time to do it, and it's June!  I put plastic over them and the poor corn sprigs that are barely hanging on- I hope I don't lose all my work.
I decided to stay in some today and take all the felted wool out of the wool that I skirted from all of this year's fleeces.  Some of the wool is still damp so I spread it out and put a heater in the room.  I'm hoping to package it up and bring it to Gretchen's Mill to have quilt batts made from it.
These are the animals that are out in the rain- all the other goats were hiding in the barn all day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Weaning kids and freeing lambs

First of all look at the photo below compared to the one on the prior blog.  This is what a healthy goat looks like.  Hannah, our older Pygora goat, is doing much better.  I am definitely thinking it was pneumonia given our recent weather, her symptoms, and how quickly she recovered.  In my experience if you do not treat pneumonia right away, they die fast.  So I am so glad things worked out this time!

Today it was past due to wean the three remaining goat kids.  They are 2.5 to 3 months old and plenty well nourished.  They, of course, would tend to disagree.  
I let the lambs out of their lambing pens today.  It is plenty wet and somewhat muddy out, but it's better than being cooped up.  It's a nervous experience for them being out for the first time- but they settled down quickly and are copying their mothers' behaviors.  It's quite cute!
Finally, I finally got invited (after 2 days of waiting) to Ravelry.  So I spent a good portion of the day taking photos of my fiber stash as well as previous and current knitting projects and posting them on this site.  I still haven't explored much on the site, but at the very least it should be a way I can organize my previous and future fiber projects and a nice way to share information.  The link to my progress so far (for those in Ravelry) is:
For those not in Ravelry you can check out my Flickr photos at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sick goat and lamb decisions

This is what a sick goat (or sheep for that matter) looks like.  This is Hannah, our Pygora goat. I found her like this this morning when I went to do the animal chores.  She's isolating herself from the other animals, has her head held low, and her ears are drooping.  Her temperature was 106.1, and she likely has pneumonia.  I treated her with antibiotics and probiotics.  She was due for copper and worming so I did those as well.  She ate some treats for me and seems well hydrated.  So we'll see how she does.
This is Barney and Bambam being cute.  Today I am supposed to band the ram lambs destined to be wethers and keep intact those destined to be rams.  It's so hard to decide this early.  I thought I had it all worked out- I would keep Bambam and Dewey intact because I think they'll have mioget wool and band Barney and Huey.  But Barney has only one testicle down so I want to give him some more time.  And Dewey is way too friendly to be a ram- he'd be much better as a wether.  But Huey's color isn't as pretty.  So what to do.  I am waiting for Tom to get home because I need his help banding anyway.  The other options are to keep everyone intact for now and do surgical castration (which costs a bit of money at the vet) or Burdizzo (which I have never done before and sounds scary).  So I may stick with my original plan (or maybe band Dewey and not Huey).  Decisions, decisions....

Sorry about the post below.  I just found out how to do the "Pay Now" thing with Paypal, and my usual web site ( won't let me use Html (with a Mac) so the only place I could try it out was here.  

Shetland roving for sale

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"