Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ho ho ho

How are you doing?
Will you survive the rush of the holiday season?
I'm looking forward to having family for a few days. I found the dining room table dining room table has always been a place to work, and in a little house it gathers things that have no place of their own to live in.
So now I have a living room....if I can get the vacuum out of the box and construct it.....A dining table, that need a new table cloth. I used the red one for two years now, and it has gathered fur balls from the cats living on it. Maybe tomorrow.
I have half a kitchen....One of my occupations in December has always been redoing the house decor. It is a habit I acquired during the 14 years we gave Christmas dinner for both sides of our family. This year I decided I hated my kitchen. After looking at new cabinets I decided it wasn't that bad.....and all it needed was a coat of paint. Oh, and a lot of organizational things so I could get everything off the counter top and into the cabinets. Last week I spent everyday dismantling all the hardware, sanding, and priming the doors and drawers and all. New hardware and a coat of paint is really helpful at bringing some change into the kitchen!
One of the surprises found in taking the doors off all the cabinets, was that the bottom cabinet which was full of pantry items was open to the dog. You bet'tcha' that same little dog that flips the trash cans over and drags stuff all over the house. Unfortunately for Boots, the small dog....what she found was an open bag of chocolate chips. Now we are always careful not to let our dogs have any chocolate, but Boots has a sweet tooth. She appeared thrilled when she carried her prize into the living room. My husband took the bag, and after examining it, decided the dog had not eaten any. She did. Fortunately for Boots, in the middle of the night she vomited neat puddles of chocolate flavored goo all over the floor. Hey, it was easier to clean up than that primer she stepped in and tracked. I found enough information on-line to learn she wasn't going to die from her snack, and substituted burnt toast for the activated charcoal. Boots was however, bouncing off the walls and the furniture until the required 17 hour half-life of chocolate ended, and she crashed. Moral....keep all chocolate high in the cabinets.
I have only painted one side of the kitchen....I still have to find the counter on the other side. You know the problem with cleaning, is all the stuff that didn't fit on the newly painted sits on the unpainted side. Argh! And I still have to clean the refrigerator.
We got thru the winter storm OK. Six inches of rain, less than 1/2 inch of ice and a couple of inches of snow. You should have seen the ewes after walking out to their grazing pasture. They tried digging in the snow to see if there was still food. Poor girls.
It's been in the mid 50's the last couple of days. Everything melted, even most of the pond. Which is nice because the cats always find a way to fall in it. I found a dandelion in the grass today. I know it's December....because I have to clean the refirgerator.
Did I mention I hate to clean refrigerators? Thank goodness we only have one.
If I don't get back because I am cleaning the frig, merry Christmas. I hope your ewes are all fat and happy, and all your rams, gentlemen. I wish you good cheer with family and friends, and great traveling weather!
May 2008 be the scene of the cutest little lambs in every barn, and good clients who HAVE to have them.
If you adopted some of my sheep this year, thank you! I hope they surprise you with a wonderful lamb that turns out to be just what you always wanted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

busy, busy, busy

Will there ever be a day....
When we think of a great meal and have time to cook it? See a mess in the refrigerator and have time to clean it?
Make a cocktail, and sit down to drink it?
Hear of a place we want to visit, and get there in a month...a year...a lifetime?
Take a walk in the woods, for no reason?
Lay in the grass and watch the clouds?
Start a new book before it's time to turn out the light?
Sit across the table from someone we love and have time to look in their eyes?
Bake something hot and wonderful for a child or an elder....just to see them smile?
Hold a newborn sleeping on our lap without feeling guilty?
Have time to actually write Christmas cards AND address them?
Crawl under the tree just to watch the lights?
Put a tree up?
Have fresh flowers?
Look around the house and not think of something to change?
Walk in the pasture without needing new fencing?
Remember simple pleasures forgotten from our childhood.....and still enjoy them?
OK....what did I forget?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

what comes next?

Are you breeding ewes this year? I sure am. I'm even breeding ewes I don't plan to breed. Do your ewes boss you around? Mine do. Those old girls by the end of the day seem to make more sense than I do.
"What do you mean I'm not having lambs this year????I always have lambs for you. Baaaa. What else am I good for? Besides.....I'm ready! Can't you see that? BAAAAA! I know I'm ready and that ram isn't doing anything right now anyway." So I try to remember why I wasn't going to breed my ewe....and sometimes I can't think of a good reason.
What are good reasons not to breed a ewe:
1....she is too thin, condition poor, rooing her wool from a past problem.
2.....she has had mastitis and doesn't have milk on one or both sides.
3.....she is a pain in the butt when taking care of lambs. Too loud....loses lambs in the pasture or the barn....jumps the fence without lambs.....butts everyone within 10 feet of her lambs.....too wild, can't catch her or her lambs.
4.....notice I didn't say too old....but sometimes those old girls don't have enough milk to feed a set of prepared to help out if you let that old-lady in. have a wedding or big doings coming up in the spring next year. Get rid of your rams then, farm them out for a few will make your life easier. didn't sell enough lambs last year.
This last reason has more to do with you than your sheep. Sheep don't attract buyers by themselves....the shepherd has to be convinced that those new lambs are the best, the cutest, and the rarest lambs in north America. If you are not convinced of that fact, you need to go visit some other breeders and compare their sheep to yours.
In most cases I'll wager you can't find much of a difference between your sheep and those high-priced sheep in the next state, county, town. The difference in in your mind. You lack the confidence in your own judgement, and product.
Study the successful marketeers out there in sheep world. What do they do that you don't try? Web pages, blogs, sales pages, monthly sales notices, business cards? What kinds of words do they use to describe their sheep? Biggest, best, perfect, show winners, adorable, photographic, halter-trained, rare? You can try some of those words too. No one is conplaining about the veracity....use those "perfect" words.....Your lambs should be perfect to you. If you find fault with everything you raise, how is anyone else going to decide to take them home?
What comes next after you expose your ewes?
Start now, if you don't have a business plan, use a couple of months of gestation to develop one.
Your lambs deserve a better home than the one you can provide. Let them go now.....before they are on the ground in all their adorable bouncing glory. Plan to really try to market all but a handful. Those lambs are going to be your best! Give them and yourself credit.
They are not only the cutest friendliest lambs you have ever had....they are also healthy, and well trained, and proudly displayed in photographs for all those prospective shepherds to fall in love with. You just know I would love to buy one too. There can't be a lamb born that I couldn't love for some reason. Get ready to tell me and everyone else why we can't live without your very own new spring lambs.
I'll swear that some of my girls are getting extra wide.....good isn't even Christmas yet.