Sheepless!

Aug. 3rd, 2012 09:31 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)
I've mentioned before the fact that we decided to rehome our flock of sheep. A friend of a friend expressed interest last week and an arrangement was reached. Yesterday afternoon our neighbors came over with their "sheep taxi" (think miniature horse trailer) and we loaded the critters up and hauled them away.

Well, it wasn't quite that simple. But Gary had planned well, and we got nine of the ten sheep into the trailer on the first pass. He stood on the rear to keep them in with a panel while we rounded up the one runaway: a wether who decided to go back to the pen in the barn rather than enter a strange trailer. Of course, once he was in the empty pen, he wasn't happy there either and wanted to be with the other sheep. On his second run down the chute he jumped right into the trailer, and we latched the door.

Hauled them 20 miles up to Capron, and they were all lying around in there, calmly chewing their cud, when we tried to unload them. They peered out the door into their new pen. It was bigger than the old one. Nothing doing. They stayed in the trailer. We put hay and sheep chow out. Still no response. Finally we started hauling them off the trailer one by one. After the fourth one was in the new pen looking around, the others decided to join them. Flock animals. Sheesh.

After eleven years, we're definitely ready for a break from sheep. They ended up in a place at least as good as where they were, and we get to 1) save money on hay this year, and 2) enjoy a baah-less autumn. Their new owners get to 1) train their border collie, and 2) learn about wool shearing and washing, and probably spinning. Good deal for everyone I think.
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
But in separate rooms, honest. Notably, a Raspberry Pi, even running fully loaded, doesn't generate enough heat to cook with. This is definitely in contrast to some Intel processors I've used.

Made ratatouille in the slow cooker today. Smelled great for six hours while it cooked. Here's a photo of how it looked at the beginning:

Slow cooker ratatouille

Eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper, onion, seasoned with garlic and hot paprika, a little olive oil and wine added.

Meanwhile, I finally got the Raspberry Pi (now running Raspbian, the Linux OS customized for its specific hardware features, including hardware floating point processor) going with the HDMI to VGA conversion box that arrived on Saturday. That converts the HDMI video and sound output from the Pi to separate VGA (analog) video and audio signals. Hooked up an old VGA CRT monitor and was surprised to find that it was capable of 1280 x 740 resolution without straining. That aspect ratio was wrong though and everything was distorted to tall and skinny proportions. Some quick changes to config.txt and the screen opened at 1024 x 768, which is more appropriate and also needs less memory to process for Xwindows.

Here is the screen, with keyboard and cheap (freebie) speaker at left:

Raspberry Pi screen

The speaker is in the top of the Pringles can to the left of the keyboard. These are given away as a promotional prize and seemed appropriately cheap for use with a $35 computer.

Actually there's more than $35 invested in the project now. The HDMI to VGA converter box was $33. Assorted cables, about $10 total. 8 MB SDHC was about $8, and serves as the system disk. Surge protector with two USB charging ports to power the Pi was about $9. The keyboard, mouse, and monitor were supplied by spares that I had lying around. Total cost, a bit over $100. The resulting system performs as well as any small home computer in the $300 or so price range today. However, it is infinitely smaller than one of those "minitower" desktop units. The Raspberry Pi fits in a plastic enclosure of about 2 x 3 x 4 inches. The processor is a 700 MHz ARMv6, with two USB ports, ethernet, HDMI and composite video outputs. There is a serial port and other interfacing available through an expansion header, but you have to provide a ribbon cable and connector, and break those out for yourself.

Oh, and it looks like we have a recipient for our sheep. Friend of a friend came by to see them, asked questions, went home to talk to his wife, and called to say they will take them. They have horses and cows, so are used to dealing with hay buying. He has a border collie that he wants to train for sheep herding, and I think it sounds like a suitable home for our little flock.

Sheared

Jun. 25th, 2012 09:14 pm
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
But I wasn't there to help. Our shearer, Tom, was available on Monday afternoon. I much prefer to be there to help, but I had to work. Gary has done it once by himself before, but it's a really hard job for one. Fortunately our friend [personal profile] casey382 was able to come and assist him with managing the flock and moving them from place to place. We are extremely grateful for the help.

Shearing completed, all is well. Now we must find a new home for the sheep.

Still no rain, and none in the forecast. The last cold front lowered the temperature, but it won't last. By Thursday the daytime temperature is supposed to hit 100F.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
It's Wednesday, and Midsummer's Eve, and (ugh) Summer Reading Club. Today's door count: 1420. Average for when it isn't Summer Reading? About 500. Screaming hyperactive kids, mothers shouting into their cell phones, compounded by hot, humid weather. Yay, lovely. Not.

Sonic screwdriver search ended early when I found a hand drink mixer/cappuccino frother on eBay for $5 and change, with free shipping. Runs on 2 AA batteries, looks to me very much like Tom Baker's version of the screwdriver. Comes with several different mixing attachments too. Hope it makes a suitable buzzing noise.

And that's the news for today. Oh, the new lamb appears to be doing well. I'll try to get some photos soon, perhaps tomorrow if the weather is decent so there's light.
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Shortly after I got to work this morning, Gary called me. He was calling to tell me we now have ten sheep. It took a moment for that to sink in. Last night we had nine. A completely unexpected lamb was born this morning, a tiny black ewe with huge ears. She seems to be doing fine, eating and exploring on shaky legs.

Anyway, we had already been talking about getting rid of the entire flock if we can find someone to take them. We'll give them for free to anyone who can pick them up here, and who wants them for wool, or to use in sheep dog training or testing. A potential 4H project perhaps? Anyway, if there are no takers then in another month or so we'll be taking them to an auction. We've gotten a lot of amusement out of the sheep, as well as considerable frustration. It has been eleven years since the first one (the only one we paid for, BTW.) That was our foundation ram, Shaun. He's been gone for a couple of years now, but his offspring live on after him. We have ten sheep ranging in age from a few hours to more than eleven years.

Since I've registered to attend Indy Fur Con in August, and their theme is "Furs in Space," I've been debating how to add that theme to Argos, my white wolf suit. Gary had the winning suggestion, I think. Dr Who, Tom Baker era. I have the scarf around here somewhere that I knitted. All I have to do is find a suitable floppy hat. And maybe a sonic screwdriver?

No rain

Jun. 12th, 2012 09:19 pm
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Once again the predicted rain misses us. Things are getting seriously dry now. Those fires out west look even more frightening in that context.

The summer reading tide may be starting to ease off. It will take three weeks or so for it to calm down, though. I meant to check yesterday's door count, but forgot to look at it. Maybe I can remember tomorrow.

Started setup of the last new Userful station. This one will have a full complement of six stations and is to replace our six year old five seater. I'm still not sure that all those wide screen monitors are going to fit comfortably into the allotted space, though.

Aside from worrying about drought, the weather has been beautiful. Blue skies, cool breezes. The temperatures are running a bit low, and that is probably also a contributor to keeping the normal thunderstorms off the horizon.

Keeping Tess's hooves pliable is a major concern in this dry weather. We don't have much dew to wet her feet when she goes out to the pasture, so we're painting her front feet with Rainmaker almost every day. She's good about it, since we give her a treat afterward, but the stuff is smelly and clings to you if you even get the tiniest fleck on your clothing or skin. I have to say, though, it works. Her feet are looking really good compared to what they often do at this time of year.

Now to get the sheep sheared. Bah! Not fun, but necessary so they don't die of heat exhaustion when it does finally get hot.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Writing time this afternoon aborted by the discovery that the sheep had knocked down part of their fence and were wandering about in the arena and outside the doors. It took me nearly 45 minutes to round the silly critters up and get them into a pen.

Did get 1025 words written after supper, but the next installment is not yet complete. I can't keep my eyes open, so perhaps I'll be able to finish it tomorrow morning as I did with yesterday's piece earlier today. Hint: Westvale's semi-weekly tabloid newspaper gets onto the train incident of Friday, forcing Roth into damage control mode.

Now for some beauty sleep. Well, sleep, anyway.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
First there was a lot of stupidity on FA because of a page banner that makes a rather backhanded joke about FA and the "My Little Pony" craze. Site users who dislike the ponies and their fans (self-styled "bronies") are furious that MLP art should be displayed in the banner for a week. This is the ultimate in absurdity, because MLP fandom is by its very definition a form of furry fandom. It is no weirder than any of the other furry obsessions, and a lot less kinky than some. While I have no interest in "My Little Pony" or any other commercial television programming, I find it far less offensive than a good percentage of the stuff that appears on FA without question. Grow up, furries, and get over yourselves if you want to be respected as real people.

Then on this evening's news there's an item about talk show host Mehmet Oz, who has announced to the world in general that his "research" found "too much" arsenic in packaged apple juice sold in the US. This is pure drama of the worst kind, similar to the false "research" that has caused parents to stop vaccinating their children against childhood diseases in the false belief that the vaccines cause autism. Oz's "research" results do not distinguish between organic and inorganic arsenicals. Organic arsenic is present in trace amounts in many fruits and vegetables because it is present in the soil on which they grow, and they incorporate it into their tissue. Exposure to such traces of arsenic, selenium, cyanide, and other toxics has been part of human life for millions of years. Obviously, we're adapted to it or we wouldn't be able to eat food. Inorganic arsenic compounds were used in pesticides at one time, but are now banned in the US. The inorganic forms are certainly more dangerous, but again, if they are present the levels are tiny. Now there are politicians demanding an "investigation" into the presence of arsenic in apple juice, and no doubt parents who are going to mistakenly deny apple juice to their children.

Guess what, folks. Ordinary table salt is toxic too. So are a lot of the cooking ingredients found in your kitchen cabinets. No one in their right mind would eat the contents of two or three containers of nutmeg at one sitting, for instance. (I guarantee they'd get a very upset tummy.) However, nutmeg is "toxic" in the sense that enough of it has negative effects on your health and neural function. So likewise with salt, which causes hypertension, dehydration, and other dangerous effects. Not only that, but it usually contains iodine, a known poison, which is deliberately added to the product.

I swear, ignorance makes people so absurdly silly and panic-prone that it's just plain funny. Let's just ban all forms of "food" to keep anyone from accidentally ingesting anything poisonous. Jeez.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
But before you say "Aww, the poor sheep" I'll add that they are always much happier once it's over. It only takes Tom, our shearer, about four minutes per sheep to clip them down and trim their hooves. Most of the time spent on the process goes to setting up his equipment, dragging the sheep to him one by one, and breaking down afterward. At least this year the day we'd arranged turned out to be cool instead of 90F, which made it all much easier. And in spite of that, I feel exhausted, but that's probably lingering effects if this nasty virus, too.

Gary is off to a performance up in Wisconsin and won't be back until late. I'm here alone with only the dogs for company in the house. Horses and sheep are all bedded down and shut in since more severe thunderstorms seem likely later tonight. Now I need to go put my clothes in the washer, because they're all covered with sheep grease. Really. Our sheep have a significant percentage of Merino bloodlines, and Merinos may make fine wool but they are slippery as a proverbial greased swine.

Oh, yeah. I saw a huge rabbit outside the library windows this morning. It was about 8:40, just after I got there, and I was pulling interlibrary loan requests when I noticed the movement out in the park. I thought it looked like a rabbit and of course he froze when I looked directly at him, but I spotted him under a bush about 100 feet from the window. After a minute or two he took off again and headed right toward me. Big bunny, not a wild cottontail. About the size of a New Zealand, and solid chocolate brown, so surely an escaped pet from somewhere. He seemed right at home out there in the park, though, and is certainly big enough to stand up to most stray dogs and cats. I'll have to watch for him now.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
And I did try to photograph the sunset, but it didn't turn out. Sorry. It was pretty.

Today's weather was otherwise mostly unpleasant, from dense fog in the morning through high humidity, still air, and brief downpours. The sun was out only for a few short minutes.

Gary has caught a cold, so we've canceled social engagements for tomorrow, and I actually got to do some weaving this afternoon.

New lamb is doing fine and appears to be alert and happy. I think he's going to be called "Bandit" which is a reminder to do what needs to be done to keep him from also becoming a father one day.
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: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Red Admiral hatch 1Summer hit all at once today, with high temperatures in the upper 80s(F) and humidity to match. Insects came awake with a vengeance, and the pasture was full of mosquitoes. As we were sitting in the dining room starting our dinner, I noticed what looked like a large number of butterflies swirling madly around the edge of the woods. I took the camera out to investigate, and indeed they were butterflies, the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) to be specific. These are pretty common here in summer, though the guide book says they don't usually overwinter here. In any case, an entire brood must have hatched from the chrysalis today in the heat, and they were madly chasing one another around. There are a couple more photos if you click through the thumbnail here. Unfortunately, even the fastest speed of my little camera was insufficient to stop the movement. What you see in the photos is much like what I saw myself. When they flew into a sunbeam, they looked like bits of burning paper whirling in the breeze. When they moved into shadow, they nearly disappeared, in spite of the brilliant red arcs on their wings. It appears that they favor nettles as a larval food source, and there are some pretty substantial stands in that area. I've been thinking of cutting some to try them as a fiber source, though recently I've been hearing that they make good soup as well (the nettles, not the butterflies.)

In other news, aside from the usual Sunday chores, I prepared a small warp for the loom today. This is for the guild challenge for the year, to "Weave a Green Bag." They left it up to the individual to decide what "green" means. I am using some leftover green perle cotton as warp, and will use handspun cotton as weft, some from recycled denim, some from organic colored cotton plants (green and brown.) I'm weaving the fabric in a tube with a 24 inch circumference, so no side seam will be needed. It will form a small drawstring bag in which a drop spindle and a supply of fiber can easily be carried. Recycling fiber and using leftover yarn is "green" in one sense, and the preponderantly green color of the finished item will be "green" in another sense.

Sheep shearer is coming next Saturday (May 29,) says he'll be here at 8 am. Presumably this is to avoid working in the heat of the day. A couple of you have expressed interest in helping to wrangle sheep for shearing. If you can make it, I'll promise you a nice lunch and a cool place to rest afterward (indoors in the air conditioning or outdoors in the shade, depending on conditions.) Let us know if you can be here. Shearing usually moves quickly, and with only eight sheep it should be done in an hour or so.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
And that's good, really. After this week I need it. Gary's gone to some music thing or other, the second one today. He left at one and passed through for about ten minutes at around six, probably won't be back until midnight or so I think.

I got chores done, and though I should be working on weaving this weekend I picked up Kyell Gold's Shadow of the Father instead. It's off to a good start, and I have some notions about where it's going but only vague ones. This volume picks up something like 15 years or so after Pendant of Fortune, and though Volle and Streak both appear in the opening scenes, it's not their story. Instead it's about Yilon, Volle's second son, whom Lord Dewanne promised to designate as his heir in the last book. The story opens with the arrival of the steward of Dewanne, who has come bearing the news of old Lord Dewanne's death and to escort Yilon to his new lands to be confirmed as Lord, after which he will have to return and swear fealty to the king. Yilon is not eager to go, as we soon learn, but has no choice. Kyell is headed into new territory too, as this one promises to be an action adventure tale, where Pendant of Fortune was a mystery-suspense story and Volle was largely a period romance.

I've found the workaround to allow my new camera to talk to Linux. It turns out that the camera is accessible as it should be, using the proper tools, but only to the root user. Obviously this is an issue with file and device permissions, and something isn't going right in HAL or udev. It may take a while to find how to tweak the configuration for those, since the "documentation," if you can call it that, is very, very spotty and deficient. Both have also been in rapid development for the last three years, so what you can actually find is often obsolete. What it seems to come down to, though, is that the device files created when the camera is plugged into USB have "0760" permission bits and need "0766" in order for the camera to be accessible to an ordinary user. That or the group for the files needs to be changed to one to which the target user has access. It's a nuisance, but I can change those permissions after connecting the camera. Then the correct utilities will work with it. All this is resolved and works correctly in the latest Debian, as I found out when I tried it at work. I hate to give up Wolvix, but it may be time. The distribution is lagging behind and doesn't seem to be getting upgrades. Supposedly a new version based on a newer kernel is in the works, but it has already been two years...

Possible rain, maybe even some freezing, is predicted for after midnight tonight. STill too cloudy to see the moon, though the sun did come out for a brief time this afternoon.

Oh, and this morning, as I was getting ready to turn the sheep out, one of the Brit neighbors' dogs ran into the sheep yard with an object in his mouth and proceeded to bury it. I pointed it out to Gary, and he looked to see what it was. It was a chunk of mineral block about 1-1/2 inches across, from the gated sheepfold in the barn. Gary replaced their block with a new one earlier this week, and tossed the fragments of the old one outside. The block is made of salt and molasses, with various minerals added. I suspect the sweet taste combined with the strong smell of sheep (they rub their faces and necks on it sometimes) made it attractive enough to bury for later.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Oh well, no Trail of History this year either looks like. Gary is wrapped up in a school assignment that has grown rather large and unwieldy. He did barn chores this morning but has been busy with this project ever since and shows no sign of nearing completion. I hope he doesn't stay up all night with it because that never works out well. Tomorrow afternoon some of the folks who are supplying data for him and who will inherit the finished maps and brochure are coming here for dinner to look at his draft version.

It's OK, though. The weather is pretty chilly and I certainly have plenty to keep busy with here myself.

While getting hay for Tess this morning, I walked across a folded tarp in the arena and a big orange cat came squirting out from under it. We've seen him around out there for a while now, and he seems to be considering taking over Ricky Too's place as chief mouse arrestor for the hay storage. Gary calls him Ricky Three because their coloration is so similar, but this one is younger and less battle scarred. He's also not as fat but definitely healthy looking.

This afternoon I saw a slate colored junco (also called a "snowbird") outside the dining room window. These little birds usually show up here only in winter and disappear shortly after the spring thaw. Many people swear that they fly in with the first snow, hence the nickname. So far I've only seen one, but often they will outnumber any other bird species here when the snow is on the ground.

Originally the forecast called for a low of 24F overnight (brrr!) but no snow. Now they've revised it upward to 30F. We're really well above 40F still, so I'm resisting the temptation to fire up the woodstove for purely psychological reasons. ;p

About 5:30 Gary looked out the window and said "There's a sheep in the horse paddock." I looked and said "No, there isn't." I was right, at least when I looked, but it turned out that the sheep were standing between their own fence and the paddock fence. Fortunately it was supper time anyway so they came running right into their pen in the barn when Gary rattled the sheep chow container. It was clear that they had pushed down one whole side of their fence and walked over it. My fault, I forgot to turn the zapper on this morning. The youngest ewe, Jeannie, is apparently coming into season, and one of the wethers who still thinks he's a ram (Dodge) was aggressively chasing her around. That's probably what started the fence collapse.

And that's the news from Fuzzy Bear Farm, where the sheep are noisy and the horses are nosy and the cats are all above average, each and every one...
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
To paraphrase Arthur Dent, "I just can't seem to get the hang of Wednesdays."

This one was no different. Too much to do, not enough time or energy to get it done. Work late, which I really, really hate. (I'd rather come in at 5 AM than work past 5:30 PM or so.)

Did finish the woven scarf, didn't get photos yet, but I will. Did barn chores and took Tess out for a while because Gary has classes all day on Weds. now. Dropped off a fleece at Toni's, around the corner, for pick-up by someone who wanted to buy it, since I was going to be at work. The buyer did show, paid, and took the fleece, which is good.

Went to work, dealt with various things, and as always when I have to work late, the day just seemed to drag on forever.

Explaining a bit about NaNoWriMo to an online friend who is thinking of trying it. Just one month more, folks. Sharpen up your word processor or whatever, it's almost upon us.

Got home, thought the kitchen smelled good but a bit odd. As if Gary had made sauerbraten or something, which is rather beyond the range of his usual culinary efforts. Turned out he had picked a recipe from my files for pork chops. He read it hurriedly, and used apple cider vinegar to steam the rice and the chops, rather than the sweet apple cider that was called for. The result was just fine though, and we're making a note to try it again with slight modification.
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
This is getting really frustrating, not to mention risky.

It's bad enough that our regular supplier quit making hay without telling us or responding to a half dozen phone calls about it back in June. But now we can't find anyone to sell us hay at any price. One nearby place offered it at double the price we'd been paying, plus delivery charge, and we agreed to try a hundred bales. He was supposed to bring them today, didn't show up.

Called him, he "forgot." Now it's raining, so no delivery today. We have enough left for about a week at most.

Calls to two or three other places that have advertisements just get answering machines and no return calls. One of them says in their message that they "return all calls within 24 hours." No, they don't. We've been trying them for two weeks now.

Anyone want some sheep? I have eight smallish ones, decent wool producers. Mixed breed, Southdown-Finn-Merino mostly. If you can house and feed them, I'll give them to you. If things get bad enough, I'll have to send them to slaughter and we'd much rather avoid that if possible.

My three horses are a different story. Somehow I have to keep them. We'd consider selling the two geldings to a good home, but in the present economy that's not likely to happen. Tess is mine and I'm keeping her.

I'd actually consider buying a semi load of hay from farther away, except that I know the truck couldn't get in and out of our drive. I don't know what to try next.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Only a hundred bales, but hopefully it will arrive tomorrow. The cost is astronomical compared with what we have been paying for ten years, and if this is the new solid price level, the sheep will have to go. I can't afford to feed them at this rate.

Today started threatening but cleared up and was cool and sunny. We need more of that so late hay production can continue.

Plowed through a small mountain of cataloging at work, but there's always more. I have two dead PCs that need attention too.

Finally nearing the end of the nålbinding project. I always intended to stop when I ran out of yarn, and the end of the second ball is almost here. I will stop at the next place that leaves a smooth edge, rather than risk running out of yarn in the middle of a long side. This is good because I need to turn in the finished piece on Thursday.

And still pondering on just what to do for NaNoWriMo. I have too many options, and need to narrow it down and do a little planning before the end of October.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
In spite of a developing head cold, went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival as planned. My friend Susan and I had never been before. The typical two barns full of vendors' booths, of course, selling everything from felting needles to raw wool. At least it wasn't all yarn, though the preponderance of foreign made alpaca products was distinctly noticeable. The alpaca pyramid scheme in the US is collapsing now, and overpriced animals are not selling. Those who bought into the scam late are desperate to find a profitable way to get out of it. Alas, I doubt that flooding the market with alpaca yarn or socks knitted offshore somewhere is going to do the trick.

What we enjoyed most, though, was the herding dogs. They had demonstrations, instinct testing for untrained dogs, and a full sized competition going on. We also saw new born lambs (both of us have seen plenty of them before, but they're always cute) and exotic sheep breeds, including the Barbados which looks like a goat, and the Jacob which often has FOUR horns instead of just two.

Met up with other guild members at noon, exchanged pleasantries and delivered items for the show in October, and we were off, getting home a little after three in the afternoon. I let Tess out into the pasture and collapsed, the cold symptoms having become too much for me.

Now off to bed, as soon as I take some medicine that will hopefully let me breathe and sleep.
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Plied up two bobbins of cotton that have been sitting around for a while. Most of it was spun while doing one demo or another. I was surprised, though. After plying two thicknesses together, there were over 300 yards, for an ultimate yardage per pound of 3120. That's pretty fine cotton, something like 8/2 weight, suitable for dish towels or underwear though not quite the fine lace handkerchief grade. I had no idea I was down to spinning that fine a cotton on the wheel. On the charkha, maybe, but on the wheel it's surprising.

It's time to start collecting stuff in one place for the show in October, too. Now where did I put those silk singles that were so fine? (Not that I can think of anything useful to do with them, but as a show-off item, well...)

Today seemed fairly quiet at work. Though summer reading has a week to go, I think the wind has spilled from the sails now that the pool party is over with. I actually got cataloging done, a whole stack of gift CDs. (In general, the hardest items to catalog are videos and audio recordings, so this is progress.)

Sheep escaped their yard again today because someone (not me) forgot to turn on the fence charger. He got them back in easily enough, though, and turned the charger on after that. A few days with the charger working and they'll forget how to get out again.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Sheep got sheared today. The actual shearing process takes less than an hour for the eight of them, but the preparation and cleanup turn it into the better part of a day for us. For the sheep it seems to be a terrifying experience something like that of a child being taken to the dentist.

You'd think that the older ones would recognize what is going on and cooperate. It has to be a relief for them, as the temperatures creep upward into the 80F range, to get rid of that load of heavy wool. However, as our neighbor Toni says, "Sheep don't really have a lot upstairs," and I guess she's right. I imagine our shearer, who is a sheep professional himself, thinks we don't have a lot upstairs either. And Gary always gets so stressed out over it that I have to talk him down for a couple of hours afterward. Anyway, it's done for another year. I have bruises and abrasions from wrestling sheep around, and my back is sore. The sheep have already forgotten the whole thing, and there are seven good fleeces in plastic bags in the barn. The eighth I threw in the compost. Shebah, the eldest we have now, had pulled so much of her wool out this winter that it wasn't worth the bother. She still had to be sheared, but the fleece is of such poor quality that I dumped it.

I'm glad I took the day as vacation. I normally work only four hours on Thursday, so in theory I could have gone in this afternoon, but with the cleanup and my now stiff back, this is best. Gary went off to Chicago to take his mom out for lunch and shopping. I finished the chores and watched the sunset. Oh, and the mosquitoes have arrived in hordes since yesterday. Fortunately we seem to be entering a dry spell now, so this lot will have a difficult time finding water to breed in.

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