altivo: (rocking horse)
OK, we added another gig for the ThingamaJig at local fiberfest. Have to get business cards and website up and running.

I finished up a design for the card yesterday, we printed some and they look good enough. Here's the front side of the card.



Back side has personnel and additional contact info on it, summed up on the temporary page I put up here.

[Late addition: Gary has now added a link on the website page above to our actual calendar of events, which has started to fill up nicely enough.]

In other news, late winter seems to be fading into full-fledged summer, with one day in the 80s already this week. No more snow, but rain and fog are intermingled with warm and sunny.

Neighbors' chickens are scratching up my garden beds and generally making a mess. Their German shepherd was over here this morning digging a hole under the corner of the arena. Same people who in the past have visited two very large hogs on us (two different occasions) and a horse once, and a rabbit that kept escaping and coming over to hide in my barn. Their geese used to hang around here squawking and following Gary about, too. They seem to feel no sense of responsibility for any of this.

In spite of all of this, I feel I'm finally getting the hang of being "retired" and not having to do stuff. Except of course for all the stuff I have to do. ;p
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Or so it seems. Just the usual work plus animal chores, but for some reason it took everything out of me.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Gary went out to feed horses and sheep this evening while I started making supper and he came back in to say "We've got a lamb!" I think my jaw hit the kitchen countertop before I recovered. I was sure that we weren't having any more lambs. After all, our old ram died over two years ago, and all the remaining males were neutered ("wethered" in shepherd's jargon) and couldn't sire lambs. I thought.

Do it yourself neutering is the rule with lambs, and I thought I'd gotten it right, but this winter I kept thinking one or two of the ewes looked just too fat and if I didn't know better I'd say they were pregnant. Seems I didn't know better.

The nuzzle


Here is our newborn, a little black ram, who couldn't have been more than 20 minutes old when Gary found him. He was still wet, hadn't tried to stand up yet, and was panting from the exertions of birth. Mom was alternately licking him dry and gobbling hay as if nothing had happened at all. The afterbirth wasn't delivered until I had arrived on the scene with the camera and the little guy had managed to stand up and start walking.

Standing up for the first time


Here he is wobbling to his feet. He stood like this for half a minute or more before trying to walk on those spindly little legs. Mom was keeping an eye on him, but letting him figure it out.

Baby's first steps


And here are baby's first steps. He didn't fall down, and even managed to step into and out of that rubber feed tub. All this when he was not yet an hour old.

Moving mom and baby into private quarters for a few days wasn't hard in terms of getting them to cooperate, but there was no room at the inn until we evicted Gary's last remaining duck from the lambing jug. He's been living in there for protection from the neighborhood fox ever since she killed his mate back in February. Now he had to go back to his duck house and be confined. Tomorrow I guess we'll be putting up a fox-proof fence for him. Meantime, mom and baby are doing fine, and will be safe because the lambing jug has a welded wire cover tied down with bungee cords.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Well, theoretically. Left work late, nearly 1 pm. Drove to Marengo to deposit my paycheck from last week that I've been carrying around since Monday with no opportunity to get rid of it. Once again the gas station next to the bank had the lowest price I've seen anywhere in more than a week or two: $3.99. Harvard stations are at $4.19. This time, however, I remembered to go on to the bank after filling the tank. Remembered to transfer money to the farm account too so that the cost of a month's worth of Simon's arthritis medicine will be covered. $81 for 60 pills. Gah! But if it makes him feel better, I can pay it.

It was sunny today. A tiny miracle. The sun lasted from sunrise to almost sunset before the clouds moved in. Tess got to go out for an hour while I cleaned stalls. Gary got to take Red for a long walk in the pastures, complete with distractions from the piles of apples Tess just left out there. ;P

A month ago I ordered some compact blueberry bushes that are supposed to do well in containers. It so happens that we have three large, fairly nice terra cotta colored containers that our neighbor gave us before she moved out (to be replaced by the uncouth Brits.) Gary planted the three bushes in the containers, and we can give one to his mom for her birthday. To my surprise, these dwarf bushes may even produce a few berries the first year. They have flower buds just starting to open.

Gary had to sing in church tonight of course, so dinner was delayed but everyone survived the wait. I tend to think of holy week as hellish week now, what with all the church services he has to do. Every day now through Monday, though Saturday is the really long one.

Possible rain tonight, more rain tomorrow, about ten minutes of sunshine on Saturday then more rain, with thunderstorms (possibly severe) on Saturday night and Sunday. Great entertainment if you can just stay indoors. Not so nice when there are animals needing care and garden chores piling up. Bah, humbug, I say.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
I did nothing that really counted as work other than helping to feed critters. Played around on the computers, just fiddling. Rode with Gary into Chicago to take his mom shopping and out to lunch. We went to The Olive Garden, which is kinda over-priced but good stuff, since Gary still had a gift card from Christmas that was usable there. The gift card bought lunch for the three of us, so it was all gravy. Or should I say pasta? I had eggplant parmesan, one of my very favorite dishes. We also like their (all you can eat) salad, with the bruschetta appetizer (thin slices of toasted bread sprinkled with some garlic and Romano cheese, served with diced tomato and basil leaves.)

Came home and did more nothing. There are plenty of things that I could and should be doing, but I didn't feel like it. Helped a bit with evening chores, nearly put Tess out in the pasture for the first time this spring but Gary was out there working with Red and we aren't ready for an "off-lead" meeting of horse and dog. Helped him bring his agility jumps and some plastic hoops and cones from the arena to the dog yard so he can use them there with Red.

Mail was all just letters from places asking for donations of money I don't have. No messages or phone calls from work, so nothing to worry about. I do have to go in for tomorrow evening, about four hours. Then I'm done for the rest of the week.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
First load of hay for the winter arrived today. Unlike the very mixed quality stuff we got last year, this was just what I like. All grass, no alfalfa. Well cured, tightly baled, heavy bales. Lower price than what others are asking, and spot on accurate count of bales delivered.

This is just what we were used to getting from our long time supplier who retired last year. And at least partly no surprise, since this hay came from his successor in the business, who bought his equipment (and I suspect at least some of his leases on fields) last summer. It would seem that this new supplier took some lessons from our former guy, and he says he can supply our needs this year.

That's good, because the supplier we turned to last year, though he sounded good, delivered very poor quality hay, full of foreign matter such as thistles, corn cobs, and even chunks of wood large enough to use for firewood. His price was 35% higher, and worst of all, every load he delivered was overcounted. We finally demanded a refund for all the bales we'd been shorted, which apparently didn't set well with him as he didn't call back to try to get our business this year. He did, however, pay up for the shortfall, which I consider to be an admission of guilt or at least irresponsible behavior.

So we spent a good part of the day stacking hay, in addition to the usual chores. Then we took apart the sliding glass doors from the living room to the yard. They've been getting sluggish and heavy to open, so much so that the handle on the inside broke and had to be replaced.

Conclusion, after taking it all apart, was that the rollers on the bottom of the sliding part needed lubrication. I used a spray silicone on them, with excellent results. No idea how long it will last, but the door is much easier to operate now. We also cleaned the glass, which was getting pretty gross with dog noseprints and such.

The sky cleared up early in the day, and the air dried out. There has been a pleasant, cool breeze from the north much of the day, making it much easier to work in the barn with the hay. On the whole, a day to make up for much of the last week, I think. And I even remembered to wear gloves (I hate gloves) for handling the hay, which means my hands aren't sore. First time in years that I've unloaded a wagonload without getting a rash and blisters from it.

Baaah

Jan. 17th, 2009 09:53 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
No weaving done today. Went into Chicago with Gary to go shopping for his mom, shovel her snow, have Chinese takeout food for lunch with her. Then he did animal care while I went for our own groceries, and we had dinner and went for assorted cheaper items at the evil W place.

We have a sick sheep. Shaun, our original ram, is getting old and has been slowing down for a while. I've been attributing his slow movement in cold weather to arthritis and the temperature, but it seems there may be more. Today he was down and would not get up. Seems alert enough, and eats if you bring the food to him, but even if we pull him to his feet, he doesn't seem able to stand.

We got a towel under him and lifted him to make him walk to the lambing pen, where he is still able to see and hear the other sheep but they can't trample him or take all the food away from him. He shifts positions, and moves around the pen, but we still haven't seen him actually get up. Gary turned the heat lamps on at one end so he should be more comfortable for a while at least, but I've got a feeling we can't save him unless he gets up again.

I knew this was coming, and can accept it, but Gary's having a hard time with it. I had no idea he was so attached to this old sheepie, but he is, almost like with a dog.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Uh, no, the mice aren't going in the pies... yet. Wednesday I saw a mouse in the kitchen, so we got out the live traps. Thursday we had two mice, and took them out behind the barn and dumped them in a brushpile. Friday we had one in the trap, and yesterday two more plus we each saw one that got away. This morning four out of six traps had mice in them. Gary tried drowning the Thursday catch, but the mouse swam and swam and he felt so sorry for it he fished it back out. I'm beginning to think that five hundred feet away with two barns full of hay between them and the house isn't far enough. Two resident cats aren't doing much. One is too old to catch mice I think, and the other is too fat and lazy.

It's apple time again. We went down the road to the nearest orchard this morning and brought back two pecks: Cortlands and Honeycrisp. Because of the heavy rains, the apples are huge and very juicy but the flavor isn't quite as strong as it would be in a more dry year. Anyway, I'm making pie, apples mixed with black raspberries from the freezer. Cortlands are usually very good for pie and applesauce. Honeycrisp is very crunchy and they're nice for eating. Unfortunately, I guess Oprah declared them to be her favorite apple a few years ago, which means they now command a higher price than the others even though orchards have planted them everywhere as a result. Also available this week: Gala, Jonathan, Jonamac, Jonagold, and Senshu. Next week the Empire, another of my favorites, and Al says there aren't a lot of them this year so we should get there on Friday. At the end of the month, Melrose (also called Melreuge,) which is a big red apple with crisp flesh and tart flavor that I love to put in pies and apple crisp. They will also have Golden Delicious and Red Delicious, but neither of those has any appeal for us. Compared to many of the other varieties, they seem quite dull and tasteless.

I wish there was a good cider mill around here, but there really isn't. Since cider sold off premises is required to be pasteurized, we can't get really tasty apple cider here. It's something I really miss from back when I lived in Michigan.
altivo: Trojan horse image (wheelhorse)
Fleeced Again! 06May2006 Fleeced Again! 06May2006
Instant reducing diet. One minute they look fat (or is it fluffy?) and the next they are svelt. Anyway, with the rising temperatures, they are bound to appreciate the difference.
Six Bags Full 06May2006 Six Bags Full 06May2006
And here are the results, bagged and tagged, ready for sale. One gray, two black, three white.
Disapproval 06May2006 Disapproval 06May2006
The boys watch the goings on with considerable disdain. They know we aren't about to shear them, and they don't approve of sheep anyway.
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Letter and pictures behind cut )

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