Friday, August 31, 2007


Actually it is dry here. Very dry. The hundred degree temps have broken, and there has been rain to the south of us. But valleys being strange weather warps....nope....we didn't get any. The nice grass that sprouted with the inch and 1/2 half we got the last 6 weeks has dried up and disappeared. I have more ewes and lambs waiting around the barn in the morning for me to open a bale of hay. I have to bring hay for the front 7 rams....and now the show pen and dumping spot for my ram lambs is out of grazing too. So they get hay. As everyone knows, you can't just feed hay to one sheep....they all want it. I did throw a clovery flake of hay right on top of one of my show sheep this morning....back to the hose. I'll brush and pick as much as I can off the lamb...and then wet her down. Yes, really wet....but not her head. Then the sheep get to graze on a halter in the back yard until they mostly drip off well. That is so they don't lay down right in the dust and get mud all over them. It would be nice to have a month for the sheep to get their fluffy look back after being wet....but I only have a week to work with.
Speaking of sheep...we lost another one to whatever cat we have out back. Yesterday morning, I put on my gun belt about 7 am and walked out with a bucket of water to count the rams. short. Shepherds don't worry about predators....I just penned the rams...a couple may weight as much as I I don't trust them. And I walked out in their pasture. I checked the spot where two of the last rams were killed and cleaned. Nothing there, so I wandered around for a few minutes, calling sheep....sheeeeep!....and listening for a stray ram to answer back. After a while of walking around, my husband came out to see who was missing. He went to get his gun too....looked like we had a problem. As he went to the house, I found the new kill site. I looked around for a path where the carcass was dragged. I did find some weeds tall enough to catch brown wool....I was half way across the pasture watching for my trail when my husband got back. Finally we found a patch of skin and a three inch splinter of bone. Yup....seems our cat was headed up to the same spot in the woods, where two of the last sheep had been eaten. I started up the hill to the fence. Head down to watch for brown wool on the twigs. Puurrr....grrrrrrr.....owl. It was a soft strange sound....I stopped walking and stood up. What was that sound? Was it a tree rubbing?
Again I heard a dawned on me that a cat with food in it's mouth would sound like that...."go away I'm eating!" Purrrrrowl...grooorowl....grrr. That second noise was a sure signal. The cat could see me....and it didn't want me taking it's food away. I convinced my husband that he shouldn't stay out in the woods alone either.....hard to do with an armed husband. And I left for the house and the phone. The conservation fellow was right out....and armed with a couple of shotguns, the two men started out into the woods again. I stayed in the yard near the house. OK, I was walking sheep...but it was a pretty good excuse to keep me out of the woods.
We are going to have a night hunt with a deer stand and bait. I need to train the bait to stay on a rope. I won't be out in the woods looking for a trail of wool or bones...or horns...or pussy cat. I figure that cat said my presence was not appreciated....and I believe it. I'll be home in the house....thank you very much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

full fall fleece

Good day all,
It may just cool down here in Missouri this week. Hurray!
It has been a seige, and I know there are lots of breeders out there with worse heat and flooding this month. Fall will be a good thing.
Have you handled your lambs lately? That is, if you have any left to hold. I was pulling a few for pick-up and was surprised at their wool growth and pretty curls. No, I didn't say crimp....did I? I actually like my crimp in ringlets. Some lambs have a "stand-up" crimpy fleece.....some have crimpy fleece that falls into rignlets....especially after a rain. Since it hasn't done much of that here, I have been hosing down my show stock. I can't believe how unpleasant a dusty fleece can feel. Thank goodness, water is OK for show sheep. Pretend it just rained here.
Really, I looked at the weather this morning and we have a 20 % chance of rain today....With an 80% chance of rain, we can still miss it. Something about valleys and air movement over them.
I wanted to mention how nice it was to hear our Alaskan shepherdess got some shetland ribbons and had the best of show goat too at the state fair. Way to go! You can find a note about her efforts to promote shetlands on her Alaskan blog ...the link is on the side of my blog.
I promise I will get back to talking about my young life in the third grade soon. Do you remember third grade? Was it a pleasant experience? Does your entire school life blurr into snatches of recess?
Well, off the point.
What I did want to say, was after you notice the older types of fleece on your lambs and maybe on your yearlings....if you have any sitting around....does it start you thinking about changes to your breeding groups? It did mine. I found two yearling rams out there who were relegated to eating grass and growing horns. I really liked their fleeces tho. So now I am thinking about girls who have fleeces that are similar. Wow, wouldn't it be fun to get a bunch of lambs with really nice fleeces too? OK, maybe that was your intent all along, but here, my focus is on spots. So breeding a bunch of greys just for their fleeces is something different.
Hope it rains lightly for you and your sheep.
And good morning to my traveling son. hope you have a great day today.
Love, mom

Thursday, August 16, 2007

too hot

I'm sorry, I left you in the middle of a second to third grade crisis....but it has been too hot. Too hot to write....too hot to move. The sheep have been taking it really well....that menas I haven't figured out who is going to collapse from heat related stress yet. Last year we lost two from the heat. It was 105 rain for 6 weeks. You have to imagine what the ground looks like. The trees near the dirt road are heat stressed. Leaves turning yellow. Interesting that the leaves are also covered with a layer of old dust. Not just new dust that lands from the dust kicked up from a passing car....but dust that has been on the leaves for a kind of thick in areas with little spots, from maybe dew?
The sheep broke out yesterday, I don't blame them. They got out in the woods and ate leaves and stood around. If it had been cooler they would have gone out to the hay ground....but it was too hot for them to move out of the local woods.
Have a great weekend...and I hope lots of breeders get nice ribbons at the MFF....Have a good time up there in the north.

Monday, August 13, 2007

need a new home?

Well, it was cooler today....109 on the shade.....only in the 90's today....Which was good as we spent a lot of time climbing the hills behind the ram pasture on the south side. Yes, the cat got another one. Actually, we did finally find enough that the conservation guy took it home. Conservation was here in maybe an hour....pretty excited to have another kill.
That was good....but I was just a little disappointed to lose a spotted ram lamb this time. Poor boy.
So we have another two days of over 100 degrees to get thru. And it was only 8 days between kills. Which may mean we have a female feeding kittens....
So, I am wearing a gun again.....and looking up a lot. It is pretty easy to be brave during the's my ranch, I know the fences....I know the trees....I know some of the hills. I have to feed and bring water during the day.
But in the's harder. I'm as worried about the dog being outside as the sheep. I'm not putting the puppy out over night yet....too hot during the day...likely too dangerous at night. No use killing her by letting her run.
I did just get a note from someone looking for spotted sheep. I may have to sell some. I kept a few spotted ewe lambs just for myself this I usually do....and now, I think I should conside selling a few....I would rather sell them than have them eaten. I don't mind losing a few rams....but if this animal starts to look closer to the house for it's prey....that will be a problem.
If you hear of anyone in my area of Missouri...who can come out and look at sheep. Looks like I should sell some.

Friday, August 10, 2007

colored chalk

I told you this one was coming. By second grade...did I mention this was a catholic school? My brother was already graduated. I was in the school without someone to check up on me. These were the days before uniforms. So I can remember a green plaid wool skirt, and maybe a navy colored skirt. I'm sure these were paired with white blouses, and maybe with sweaters. The reason I bring this that I was not only quirky, and clumsy....I dressed funny. This was likely not my mother's fault. It was my own stubborn choice. My first problem was that I wore skirts and lots of the other girls in my class wore slacks. Slacks were not I couldn't own or wear slacks to school.
But we lived in the north I did own a green snowsuit. My snowsuit had an ugly zippered jacket with a hood. Maybe there was fuzzy stuff inside the hood. But I sure didn't have any fuzzy fur on it. But my snow pants I liked. They looked like riding pants...they were green and had a tight leg at the bottom and built in suspenders. I am guessing they were also wool. Well, dumb little girl that I was, I wanted to wear pants to school. So I remember standing in the coat room before class. Do you remember coatrooms?....They were little hallways off the side of the classrooms. Just made to keep coats and mittens and boots in during the day. It kept all that smelly wet wool that dripped water after a recess playing in the snow....kept it all in one place...away from the learning stuff. I would stand in the coatroom after the bell had rung and all the other students were going to their seats....and I would tuck whatever lovely skirt I was wearing into my snowpants. Now, I thought to myself...I look like I am wearing pants. Of course to my student friends....I looked like a goofus who couldn't dress herself. Why would I want to go around sitting all day with layers of wool buttoned into my snowpants?....Quirky comes to mind.
Mentally impaired? Maybe.

But what happened next was not really my own fault. My second grade teacher had been told I could draw....So she would let me draw....again the colored chalk and the blackboard. To cover a big blackboard with colored chalk could take days. I'm sure I had to do other school work during those days too. But the result of dark wool navy sweaters and colored chalk dust made my mother un-nerved. How could her little daughter get so dirty in one day at school. I'm sure I never gave my mother any reason to explain my important and dirty blackboard work. But she maybe called the school to see if I was sitting too close to the black board or being beaten with blackboard erasers after school. Finding that her only daughter was really doing art work....My mother went to town and bought me a smock.
Have you ever owned a smock? Not many students wore smocks to school. In fact I don't even remember a teacher wearing a smock to school. But I....that quirky, clumsy child who couldn't jump rope and dressed funny was supposed to be the only student in that room. The only one wearing a navy blue smock...carefully starched and ironed with red polka dotted pockets shaped like an artists pallet and a big red polka dot bow....bigger than any clown would wear. I was horrified. I already had a problem not fitting in with those other kids....this smock would be the end of me...they would laugh me out of the classroom. Imagined problems are always worse than the real ones...unless you were mary ellen. I could too make it worse....First I would take the darned smock off and stick it into my coat pocket....finding from my chalk filled clothing that I was not wearing the precious cute girly smock...My patient mother would scold me...and wash and starch it again and iron it with it's great big bow for the collar. Then I was sent to school with no blouse under my smock....just an undershirt. Ok....I couldn't sit in class with an undershirt...but, I still remembered I could tuck this terrible sign of how different I really was....right under my clothes. Now I not only looked like I couldn't dress my self...I looked fat too. The ishy scarf that my mother lovingly ironed so it was wide and showy in it's red and white polka dots...was stuffed into my pocket or boots or somewhere I didn't have to wear it. Argh! No wonder I couldn't jump rope...I was fat and dressed funny, and I think I wore pigtails too.
Yes, I can remember these things really good Karen, and I'm writing these stories right here....It should make everyone feel sorry for such a dumb little girl....but you know it could just show you how stubborn and bull- headed I can really be. Sorry.

Weather today 103 in the shade....colors on the ground are yellow and brown....The sheep insist on putting their noses down there anyway trying to figure out what happened to their food.
I wish you all cool breezes and misty steady rain with tall green grass and fluffy hay in the barn.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dick and Jane

My schooling was really all about Dick and Jane. That was how we learned. First we had a big book on an easel in the front of the schoolroom. The book opened from the bottom so that pages turned over the top of the easel. We learned great "Oh oh" and "Look, look, look!" The use of those words over and over helped us to recognize the words the next time we saw them....yup....Even the worst reader could read some of those words, sometimes.
May I quote directly from the "New Look and See Basic Reader." This was actually later than the edition I learned is from 1956. Page two... look three...oh oh four...oh oh oh five.... Jane.
I suppose page five actually indicates a new chapter. And would require a day of teaching the word Jane to the class. Whoopee....Just imagine the boredom in those classrooms. As I remember there was a lot of staring out the windows....even if there was nothing to be seen. Clocks were definitely in...they were on the top of the black boards in every classroom....We could see the little minute hands jerk with every minute ticked off of our day.
All of the class work involved these readers. We sat in reading groups. We wrote words like look...over and over on graph paper...that paper made it possible for the teacher to correct the smallest mistakes...."your "o" doesn't touch the line here...that's wrong...go do that word ten more times. How many is ten more times?...Don't know haven't gotten to counting yet. We cut out little words from a sheet of paper and pasted them on another piece of paper....hey, I don't remember why we did that...but I'll imagine there was that goopy library paste involved. Again we could get corrected....You cut into that letter....don't cut so crooked next pasted it on the wrong line...maybe you need summer school....Argh! That dreaded during the summer. Lots more boredom there. And remember these schools didn't have air-conditioning.
Some of the time was also spent drawing pictures of Dick and Jane. That was where I came in.
I liked to draw. My grandfather had a drawer in the library table where a coloring book and a box of 8 fat crayons were kept. I still have several drawings I made of my grandfather sitting in his easy chair, with his legs crossed, and wearing glasses. you think....would I still have drawings I made from my preschool days?
Easy answer, my family never threw anything away.
All bills were kept in all envelopes....sometimes there would be notes on those envelopes...had to keep them....all adding machine tapes were carefully kept inside the banking envelopes....just in case we needed to check the figures again....which, of course, meant doing a new tape to check the old one.
Some good things can come from keeping me....I can go back a year and find every email written to me....used to keep them for longer...but it tends to mess up the computer memory. Back to drawing. I liked to draw. I had a black board....yes in those days they were the color black. And this may have been a hand-me-down from my brother...or someone else. I don't think my parents would have bought me anything with operating parts.
My mother used to tell me she couldn't understand how my brother could play with toys for years....and those toys would still be perfect....and I would take a toy apart and break it in minutes. I'm likely still like does this work?...maybe I should look inside. Anyway, my blackboard had a scrolling bunch of pictures on paper at the top. You may have seen one in an antiques store....I'm mostly antique now....whatever I had as a child is way past collectible.
The scroll of paper started with letters and numbers and then went to simple shapes and then actual pictures that you could copy in chalk on your board. Over and over. I like doing things over and over. I'm not into doing things differently much....If I bake bread, I like the same recipe....If I clean house....that's "if"....I do it in a certain direction. Top to bottom...front to back. Dang, I'm predictable! I like drawing or painting the same thing. But drawing was easy for me....I couldn't jump rope to save my life....I don't think I could shoot marbles well, or jacks either....I definitely couldn't play ball.
Some of my problems come from being left handed....I could never figure out how to hold a bat....from looking at someone else....and I must have been born with two left feet...because jumping rope was a life-changing event. Think about recess in a school. Games of ball are started by the my day, games of jump-rope were started by the girls. My eye hand coordination was always off....and my feet just couldn't be taught. I would volunteer as perpetual twirler...or some such thing....anything to keep from tripping over that darn rope over and over again. You just have to imagine the temper tantrums at home as one after another of my family members tried to teach me to jump a rope...I remember even my daddy could do it.....ARGH!!! How to get picked last for every game on the playground....oh we don't want her...she can't even jump rope.
But I could draw pictures. You tell me what you want, and I'll draw it....I was pretty good at making perople move around...on paper...not in person. And the first grade teacher liked to see what odd way I would take in telling a story in pictures. She sent a roll of my art work to her teachers in the big was the story of Peter Rabbit. And my mother was very upset that she couldn't get her hands on that roll of paper to save it....remember we HAD to save everything....So during the evenings, I had to do another story of Peter Rabbit for my mother to save on the back of a calendar. (still got it) I'm guessing we didn't have shelf paper in our house. I remember having a terrible time coming up with a piece of oil cloth for school. My parents must not have liked the we didn't have any. And I couldn't walk to the store...because we lived in the country. And we didn't have a car...we had to use my daddy't truck....the one he used for his get to any stores. I must have gotten bad stars for weeks because I couldn't get a piece of 12 inch oil cloth for the top of my desk.
Did you know about stars?....I'm sure we got stars on our foreheads too. You've been a good little girl teacher licks a paper star and glues it to your forhead. The stars came in shiny red and green mostly. I had to take piano...and the teacher there didn't take up your forehead with the stars...but she had cute little pictures of kittys and frogs and birds all with a musical theme...and if you practiced good...never did got a star thing on the back of your hand. If you didn't practice got a whack on the back of your hand with a pointer....smack....that will teach you not to practice. Lord knows why I had to take piano...but those teachers never spent much time giving me stars.
I did have two major events in school. Because I could draw good....I got to do the christmas nativity scene on the blackboard. In colored chalk! More about that later. I also was sent to different classrooms because I had memorized a poem during class....and I apparently didn't forget it under pressure. Just imagine a little first grader being taken into rooms with desks as high as a giant would use....and you've got to say the poem...complete with gestures. Good grief....I suppose that doomed me to teacher's pet too.
You know those early school days were so traumatic...that anything after that should be taken with a grain of salt. Kids are kids....and adults should be adults....
Speaking of adults. We are hovering in the nineties....all eatable life forms are yellow....sheep are hanging around the water buckets...which last about an hour without refilling. Maybe 6 sheep at a time are out in the field....and they run for cover with their heads down. I'm not sure if that is to get in the shade fast...or to avoid the b-17 horse flies that seem to like this heat. I warned a neighbor after flagging him down about a cat in the area....and I moved one of my pet rams from the south meadow to the front ram pasture....we didn't go out to light up the night sky last night...because the vet is really worried about our dumb behaviour.....he tells me I'm not the safari type.
Hope it's cool and raining like crazy where ever you are.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

staying out of trouble

OK, I have a lot of opinions about shetland sheep.
And perhaps my writing style, with it's "meant to make you laugh" style, is confusing. However, when my good friend starts thinking I am hinting negative things....about anything shetland....that refers to anyone in particular. Then it's time for me to stop.
Yes, I have strong opinions, they may not always be right....heck...they may be off the wall...but I write them here in my blog...and that, I thought was OK...and I like to talk about sheep a lot....there isn't anything else out in these parts lately. A lot of yellow leaves falling in the pond....some dead fish...some crazy cat that likes lamb. Some very brown dirt that the ewes keep sticking their noses in and puffing up little dust devils. We only have two more orange days on the weather calendar...that's if they could figure out how to draw clouds.
So I'm just going to talk about my childhood.

I grew up in one of those ideal fifties homes. You know, the one with both a mother and a father. I have a big brother too. He is seven years older...and spent much of his childhood baseball practice rocking my crib. By the time I was big enough to go outside and play....I would have been by myself....but I had my dear cousin living next door. Dick was almost my same age, and we played everyday. Well, he would come to get me in the morning....but I couldn't go outside to play until my mother had combed my hair into long curls....kind of those very same ringlets you see on old bopeep pictures. So we played Dick and Jane stories together....well it was really Dick and Mary one was allowed to call me anything but both my names. We played let the chickens out of the coop, and other games of tag. We made hats and umbrellas out of Rubarb plants. One time we stripped all the bark off the wheeping willow tree in their yard, that must have been fun....In the evenings we all played red light-green light. Kind of a you're it game, and caught lightening bugs in glass jars. Some summers we made rubber-binder guns....Boy, those hurt if you got hit in the face....we cut inner-tubes into binders, and used clothes pins for the triggers. Dick and I played invisible people lots. They were outer space folks that came and captured us.
I have old snapshots of us playing in a sand pile, and sitting together on my very own rocking horse. Who is still in my living room. I found a wonderful man to live my life with....and he also has his old rocking is in the kitchen.
Such is the stuff dreams are made of. What is it about little girls that makes them horse crazy? I'm sure I pestered my parents about having a rocky horse is named trigger. After my true love Roy Roger's horse. Since my parents told me I couldn't marry my cousin Dick....because he was my cousin. As if that made any sense to me? I decided the next best thing was Roy Rogers. I was going to marry Roy...and that was that. One mean person told me Roy was already married to that Dale Evans person....I have never liked her since. I remember crying and crying. I can't hear Happy-Trails-to-You without being still pissed. Oh , I am sure they had a happy life without me. I had a black holster with some silver things on the belt...and a cap gun that had white grips with a long horned cow on them. We may have gotten real caps around the fourth of july....otherwise you just said bang bang! I lived pretend. Riding my rocky horse, and swinging on my swing. Those were the days when swings were made of long ropes tied to the branches of a tree. None of this gym stuff. If the branch of the tree was perfectly straight....the swing would go back and forth. If the branch was was the ride on your swing. I could sit "side-saddle" on my swing and pretend I was going off into the sunset on my horse.
My swing was made of wood. None of this old tire stuff at my house...those things made your clothes dirty. And the sand in my sand box, that my daddy made for me....that was white sand. No ordinary dirty type sand for this little girl. Every week the ladies would have a tea party.
That was an activity at my Granma's house. She was a lovely little german lady, who smelled of face powder and hair pins....if they had a smell. And I was the only girl. Believe me in those days you had better act like a little girl too. I wore frilly dresses, and had curls in my hair...and I went to every tea party. Even tho I was too small to do the sewing and crocheting like the real ladies. Dick and I....yes, he had to come too. We had our own set of tin dishes in the china cupboard. I'm sure he would have rather been playing football with some boys. But he sat and played tea party with me....We even had a working egg beater. Little girls and boys were to be seen and not heard. But Grandma had both a front and a back we could play in the one the ladies weren't using.
When kindergarden came....I was the one that had to go to school...and my only pal in the world would sit on the bank and wait for my school bus to bring me home. Not long after that, my Dicky and his family moved to town. My mother and his were not often on speaking terms. So I only got to see my life-long friend at family doing...weddings and funerals...when our mothers were wearing white gloves and hats, and acting lady-like. Did I mention kindergarden yet?
I didn't fit in well. "Does not play well with other children"....that would be me. I only knew one other children well....and he wasn't there. We had to do icky things at school. Like glue paper together with little wooden sticks that we scooped that library paste stuff out of the jar with. The paper got wet and tore of you tried to squish the lumps out of it. The paste could be eated if you got to like the taste of it....must have been real healthy, as I remember it would grow mold over the weekends. When the paste dried on your hands, you could tear it off in sheets that looked like your skin. I remember getting scolded for being immature, I used to hide under my rug at nap time.....I would never get to the music box in time to find anything but wooden blocks to clap together. No cymbols or triangles to make beautiful music with....just wood blocks...clap clap....My school career went downhill after that.
Did you really read all the way down to here? That was silly....I have nothing to say.
I hope you have a wonderful day anyway. Do something something delicious...and I hope you find someone to play rocky horse with in your old age too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

snarky blogs

Man, you know how hard it is for a person who lives out as far as I do to start a rumor?
I don't even talk to the mailman.
It's me....Stephen is talking about me!
I misunderstood a note in May...written by Stephen to me, Peeps. It's all my fault.
I'm terribly sad Stephen, if I have caused you any trouble. I really want to make up for my faults.
I must have faults, I have a dragon hanging on my backside.
Did anyone know I have a temper? Well, I would be the first to deny it. But I do.
OK....first, Go check Stephen's blog, you will see that he does indeed have spotted sheep. ...and always will have, because he will contunue to breed for spots!
Actually he IS the main spotted sheep person in the whole continent.
I will be the first to admit....Stephen had many more spotted sheep than I ever did....we just happened to like the same things. And we are, good friends. I love Stephen's spotted sheep....I even still have one, Windsprite.
Did you know that if you put a photo of something on your comes to you?
I had a picture of Windsprite on my refrigerator all one summer, and Stephen finally decided to sell her. She has been in my flock ever since. These last few years, I haven't bought any sheep from Stephen. Not that it wouldn't be fun. Number one reason, I can't afford Stephen's sheep....anyone's sheep. I'm retired. Second reason, I already HAVE lots of sheep. AND I like the ones I have...
For many reasons, Stephen and I have diverged in the type of Shetland we like. That's a good thing.....we can all find a shetland type we love and want to own. I like my little old-crooked legged, fine boned, long fluffy fleeced spotted shetlands. Stephen likes his spotted Katmogets, I'm sure he breeds other spotted types too and everyone loves his spotted gulmogets. Stephen has made more of a statement in the genes of shetlands than anyone else ever will. Especially me! Just imagine what he has done for those "broken fleeced shetlands", those were the days....huh? Stephen, everyone wants one!....It's all because of Stephen and his dreams, he and Bill, and their wonderful personality and love for their sheep. We all do still love them. Even if they now have a concrete sheep on the lawn.
Now for the "mill" I am super glad to hear Stephen is not forsaking the spotted realm of Shetlands. I'm never ever going to out-guess the spotted numbers that will spring from his farm, again. I'm surprised that I had to read his blog to find out he thought I had said a bad thing. If anything, I was more disappointed to find he seemed to like those katmoget fleeces better, but if they are spotted I suppose it's OK. Super crimpy fleeces are the thing right now. For the can all reach me at In fact, I have heard so many bad things about me lately, it won't bother me to hear more. It can drive me to do the dishes....which in this house is good!
You can also find me dragging my tiny little crooked sheep around the shetland show at Jefferson, and the Naile show in November. I'm proud of what I breed.... You will find me smiling even if in last place, because the sheep I am showing are lovely little sheep. I'm glad to be able to have them on my ranch....even in this dry heat wave. AND I am not going to change what I breed for anyone.
So if you want a spotted lamb go to Michigan....or Minnesota....or New York ....or a number of places around the country.....I hear that Alaska will have some too.....I'll be happy to direct you to the closest breeder that has some. They are just plain darn cute.
Don't even consider coming to's hot and dry down here....I hear Michigan actually has rain.
And if you need a rumor...I'm fresh out.
If you need a friend, I'm available.

bye bye sheep

I did mention we have to find a new place to send ram lambs. Well, maybe we won't have quite as many.
I called the Conservation Department to ask about a kill we had over the weekend. Although we are missing two rams this year....this was the first kill we had found. Our main group of rams is across the creek bed....presently dry creek bed....from the rest of the sheep. I have a small ram pen up by the road that has in the past supported three rams. This year we are feeding them hay, as everything is burnt. I have one older boy in there with two yearlings. The older boy fights all the time with another his age in the back meadow. Thus the separation.
Some years we have had over twenty rams in the back meadow. All summer and winter they have been safe. This spring we missed a yearling ram. Here one night, gone the next day. Believe me, if there was a trace of him, wool or anything we would have found it. We spent three days tramping through their pasture, the woods, and down the creek looking.
Every evening we take a bucket of grain across the creek and call the rams. They come running to get a mouthful before a bigger ram pushes them aside. Easy to count, next to the fence. Eight older boys, and five big ram lambs. Whoops.
There are only twelve.
At the end of the day, we penned the rest of the rams at feeding time, and started looking. Now often, a ram will get his horns caught in the fence, or find some barbed wire or electric fencing to tangle with....we were expecting to find a ram. Nope....what we found was three areas with tuffs of black wool. As if mr ram was pulling it off in his mouth. And the intestines. Whoops again.
I am sure I don't remember biology from high school. So I am at a loss to tell you what parts there were....but, I am guessing a paunch....which looked like a water balloon, and a pile of other things that appeared to be a stomach with something else attached. No sheep bone horns....the only thing that had flies were the parts that were from inside the body.
Now it is dry....there are marks in the dust...but no clear evidence that a herd of coyotes were feasting. No marks on the other rams. No barking dog in the middle of the night.
There were a few paths through the weeds on the other side of the fencing...but no sign that a partially wool covered body had been dragged thru. So we decided to come back in the dark and light the place up with a gun. Both flashlights and gunfire. By the next day, I began to think about the remains of my ram lamb. His name was navy, OK, so he was black. Something in the back of my mind didn't seem to fit. What we had found looked similar to what our cats leave in the yard. The dogs are always prowling for those innards. Dogs will eat them....cats won't.
I called the Conservation Department folks to get some information about this unusual kill. Now we have had coyotes find a sheep carcass....we used to throw them out in the trash pit. We live out in the country....and there is no dirt. What we found was wool everywhere as body parts were dragged all over ...not to be gross but coyotes don't finish everything....I had to pick up parts from everywhere. Now, we have a big compost pile near the front of the pasture...fenced with high fencing, so that our dog doesn't explore it for a nice chewing bone. Missouri doesn't really want to admit they have cougars. But the sightings have been well documented this mr conservation didn't deny they were here. And yes, it seems that cats...cougars and bobcats do remove the innards before they make off with their prey. Dang!
Unfortunately, I didn't snap a photo that first night. I was told there are fellows at the main office that can tell what killed just by how the kill site looks. Well, by the time I went back with a camera....there was nothing but the chewed grass laying in the dirt. Something had made off with the surrounding stuff.
So now, we are still going back to light up the night by the rams....but I have mixed feelings about exploring the woods on the other side of the fencing. I keep forgetting to look up. Our vet takes a big gun when he goes in the woods these days. Of course, he has seen what cats and bears can do. He tells me a big cat can jump 40 feet. Well a bobcat could take a ram lamb down. Unfortunately, what we have seen here does not have a short tail. Something about the size of a big ram lamb , but with a long long tail....whoops. Here kitty, kitty.
Well, I am sorry to bother you with such un-nice stuff....but if anyone has had a kill that looked similar....or different. I would be interested in trying to understand what is out there in the dark....Do coyotes eat everything....or do they run around like dogs chasing down another victim? My kill experience has been limited to chickens....Fortunately.
I'm checking the paper for a sheep auction to attend....Don't want to take my sheep where it's dirty. Send some rain this way when you are done with it....the orange days in the forcast here only go up to Saturday....maybe in another month we can get another 1/8 inch of rain to fall.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why is that sheep baaing?

Check on a sheep baaing, check on any sheep baaing!
In this hot weather, we shepherds need to be vigilant. Especially us.
We raise Shetland know.....the ones who can get into trouble. Yesterday was hot. Stinky hot. Dry and dusty.
I let the sheep into the meadow, where there is grass the color of green, and lots of shade. I counted them up to about 40 then went back to the barn to see where the rest were.
They were milling in the barn area waiting for me to open the gates to the sahara. The promised land where they found something that tasted like grass the day before.
So I fed out some hay in the barn to the beggars. Dropping most of a bale on the other side of the fence panels we use to control sheep flow in the barn. They look like the corral panels used for cows...but are sheep sized.
I did let the sheep out, and heard some baaing on the otherside of the creekbed in the far meadow. Thinking it was a ewe and lambs that just discovered she was alone....I went back in the house.
Yes, we do run air-conditioners in this heat. The dogs all lounge around during the day, and even the cats come back in in the heat of the day.
Molly the goose honks to come in too....but I draw the line at feathers and goose-shit.
When I went back out to draw more water for the sheep, I heard a sheep baaing. "Sheeep! Everyone's over here." the heat muddled my mind. Of course the baaing sheep could understand what I was saying....I called "sheeeeepppp".
We got a brief shower late in the day. Thank you for those prayers. Most of those pop-up showers had missed us. We got 1/10 of an inch....not enough to water the grass, but enough to get the dust out of the air. Your mouth actually feels gritty after a month without rain.
I went out during the shower and closed the gates. The sheep were sheltered in the barn....not knowing what that stuff was falling from the sky. So I ran and closed the gates to the sahara, and the south meadow. I was sure everyone was back in.
Returing when the sheep were back outside I started to get ready for nightly feeding, when I heard a ewe again. OK....maybe the shower uncorked my brain. I hopped the fence and saw her immediately. A white sheep....well a big white spot sheep....near an old hog pen. Sure enough as I approached, she made a move to get away, but the barbed wire wrapped twice around her throat only bounced her back. She was lucky, I left her out in the sun all day, but she was attached near a big bush, and had some shade to keep her alive. After she was unwrapped, we only had a few red spots for the experience....she ate fallen leaves from the winds, and seemed in good spirits.
I counted my lucky stars for the rain, and the live sheep and went to bed.
About three o'clock in the morning, my husband turned on the light and got dressed. "There's someone baaing outside, I'm going out to check." Shepherds like their sleep.
But after a few moments I slid on some shoes and followed him. Who needs to get dressed in the middle of the night?
Sure enough there was a lot of commotion....Buffy's twins were up near the barn baaing loudly at Buffy, who was off in the darkness and fog. I started down the sheep path with wet weeds brushing my legs. Buffy finally appeared, and Snowwhite's twins. But there still seemed to be some extra baaing. My husband was leaving for the house, but I called for the light. Some ewe was baaing in the barn too. You know how sheep are. If one is baaing they like to answer....Baaa.....BBAAAA....baaaa. In the back of the barn, I could see Miss Muffet....with her head stuck thru the fence panel to eat the hay I spilled on the other side. But, she was alone....and didn't take her head out when the light shown on her.
I've seen this behaviour before. She had stuffed her head thru, and couldn't get it back out. I don't know how they do it....Bunny used to get her head caught all the time. Some of the panels have gaps in them where I have pried Bunny's head out. So I jumped the fence, which was cold and wet....found a 4 by 4 in the yard and stuck it in-between the rails. Thus loosened, Muffet pulled her head out and I threw some more hay in the middle of the barn so she wouldn't put it back.
Trust me....listen to your sheep. If they are baaing on one side and everyone is on the other...go check. I was lucky this time....not so lucky once before.
Speaking of not-so-lucky, that was the name of our farm cat in Wisconsin. Another story, sometime. Well, sorry I didn't dream of another dragon yet. Maybe later.

Friday, August 03, 2007

what are your dreams?

Isn't this interesting,
so many folks
wanting to talk about
What is so fascinating about dreams is that they try to solve things that you wouldn't even consider in your waking life.
Do you have re-occuring types of dreams?
Do you have little houses and little undiscovered rooms filled with colorful treasures?
I've done that too.
I did have another dream that I was awakened I remember it.
It had finally started to I wish it would.
And, the roof was leaking....again problem if we could just get rain.
There were big puddles of water on the floor, and things were getting piled on top of furniture to keep them dry.
However, there was a bamboo basket which had already fallen apart from being wet.
Now the pieces of bamboo were wiggling around and bubbling in the puddle as I swept it out the door.
So, my mind may be trying to solve a mystery for me that I am not even aware of.
What could it be?....the wriggling bamboo was brown.....more non-color....more muddy meanings.
Clear as mud.
Did you know that your mind can also solve your waking problems if you ask it?
Since spirit lives in eternity and can see without the constraints of can ask questions of yourself about the future.
I did intuitive readings about our new home in Wisconsin....since then our old home....but they were unfailingly accurate. Even to the giant windmill on the same highway, and the smell of corned-beef and cabbage from the purina plant on the river.
Now, I'm not telling you that your intuition or your dreams will be crystal clear....but
You will with practice learn the "code" you put into your dreams.
I often dream about leaky roofs.....wonder what that means?
I actually LET the sheep out into the sahara today. Half of them followed me to the meadow...but the other half refused to even consider going out there. They just stood baaing over the fence, until I relented.
Since there is no rain, the sahara won't recover anyway. May as well let them grab what is left on the ground. At least they stopped baaing to open more bales of hay. Going out to find some more sheep feed today. Looks like we'll need more protein again,
Peeps in the southland with a heat warning for the next week.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

brown dragon

Nope, not the name of a sheep.
When I woke up, I remembered a dream. I have a life-long friend who is looking for the next home and it was HER dragon. So I was going to warn her about brown....I was just the one holding it. Really!
Now she tells me it is indeed MY very own dragon. Well I'll be darned if I know where the dragon came from....I usually dream about sheep. Wonder why?
My usual dream is putting sheep into pens and counting or sorting them. Of course it is way easier physically to move sheep around in a dream, than in real life.
Back to my dream. This was a medium sized dragon, and he was cranky. So I had him by the nap of the neck like a keep him from biting me. So if anyone is missing a brown dragon, or sees one heading for the Ozarks....let me know.
Or if you know what the darn dragon wanted to bite me for....I'd like to know about that too.

Pedigree papers. How easy it is when we have some clue what a sheep may be capable of....I had some older lines once. They had island ram and island ewe in many that sure didn't give much of a clue....kind of like tracing an ancestor and coming down to place of birth...Ireland.... But the NASSA papers have lots of information on them. First....where did those sheep genes come from....? Most of the lines of shetlands here in NA came thru Canada....there are some famous flocks....flock 1 is Maple Ridge....lots of sheep originated from their breedings....there was Hoctor....those were "real" sheep they had numbers instead of names. Bramble was number 10....and still going strong....Dayspring was well know for buying anything different....Fletchers bought lots of Dayspring lines and prserved them. I used to call Shannon once a year to find out how a certain ewe was, and what kind of lambs she had...not that I could afford to get sheep from Fletchers....that was too far to travel. Now it seems that sheep are traveling all over the country. As the shetlands take more space in shows I expect that more breeders will also be known for their show shetlands....and these sheep will be going back and forth across the continent even more....Flying!
Second thing to look for is color. Now don't believe every color you see, some breeders had a different color for the names we now know....but you can trace who is a black sheep that may have a recessive brown in their line. You might find lots of modified maybe you could trace a modifier in your sheep from a couple of generations back....Now if you have a black sheep out of two black could still find a mioget that was passed down from great don't give up and just breed to black....Spots are a recessive won't know for sure until you test breed for modified and spots....
I wanted to mention our famous sheep photographer, has just pulled herself out of a difficult situation and bought her own farm. Way to go girl! Some life happenings are so personal, that we, as women tend to retreat. We are wounded....It is so nice to see a woman who can take life and even her home back, and pull it all together in such a short time. I'm pretty impressed Nancy, Good for you.