Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Musings

The Shetland girls awaiting their morning grain.
Front L-R is Tabitha & Blackberry, Second row is Rouen to the far left, then Luna, Rosemary & Persia, behind them is Lark and Willow with little Eve in the very back. This is my Shetland ewe flock minus three (Duckie was waiting outside the catch pen to make sure I wasn't up to something, Rosetta was at the hay feeder not paying attention, and I'm not sure where Chickie was, probably right up next to me.)

It's another grey gloomy day in the Ozarks. The temperature is about 46 but it feels colder because of the dampness. A good day to stay in and do inside projects. I keep hoping for a nice warmish sunny day on the weekend so that I can catch up with a few things outside. I would really like to sort through some bags of dorset/merino wool to find the nicest fleeces to have processed into roving and send the rest off for quilt batting. The damp misty weather isn't really conducive to doing that though!
Here's the big girls, chowing down in the main barn. L-R Hope---yes, she likes to eat her breakfast from the high ledge..., Nancy, Annalea and Gracie. Gracie is the mother of the other three and gets extra portions because of her age. There is a salt block between her side of the feeder and the others, and the other girls are trained to not invade Gracie's space.

Later today I will pack up my last three Shetland fleeces from 2008 /09 to send off to be processed into roving. It's been a great year for fleece and roving sales and my inventory is gone. I have two large batts of Merino/Dorset cross wool (great for felters!) but otherwise I'm sold out of roving. It's a great feeling.

Yesterday I had my taxes done, and the outcome was nice. I had my doubts with the tax change rates this year, but it worked out well. During the process of getting the paperwork ready to take in, I had to figure up all my income versus expenses. Combining fiber sales and sheep sales, for the first year ever I've actually made a profit from the little farm. A tiny profit, but none the less, a profit!

Looks like it's time to take the ring off the hay bale, so the girls can finish it up

I also got my hair cut yesterday. Probably not a big event for many of you, but...well, with one thing and the other I had managed to put off getting it done for at least a year. It was long, and becoming very annoying. I do trim my bangs myself, but my shearer, uh, hairdresser was as shocked as I at how long it'd been since I had come in for a cut. Five inches off, some layers and reshaping (to clean up all that bangs trimming) and it looks pretty nice and feels good. Lest you think I now have short hair, it's still about three inches below my shoulders.

The sheep love it when the ring goes off, they can land right in the middle of the hay and finish it up. That is Rouen and her daughter Duckie on the left (Rouen's fleece has felted badly from the rise), with Hope behind them and Gracie in the front. Little Rosetta on the right. That is bony old Blue way in the back. He is on special rations to try and get some weight on him.

Since the little trailer is not going to be a kitty condo after all, my thoughts are filled with how I want to re-do it. Plans are to convert it to a tiny wool storage area, and perhaps also a crafts room. Maybe a bedroom, since it's obvious I'm just in the way, according to the pet population. (just kidding...I think) I would also like to preserve the seating and table so that I can work on crafty things out there without having to put every thing away. The stove, refrig and at least one set of cabinets could be removed. I don't think I can get the stove out, so I will probably end up just boxing it in. I also plan to remove part of a built in bench seat around the table so that I can maybe put a nice comfy chair out there. The walls need to be painted or paneling replaced too. It will be so nice to reclaim my pantry area where I keep all the wool related things, but it will be awhile, I think.

Boone is pretty sure it's his new house. Not sure how he came by this idea, but every time I go in there, he is right behind me. Getting in and out for a big dogue is not an easy feat either, since there is only half a concrete block for a step. Once inside he pokes around and then goes over and climbs up on the bench seat at the end. He usually sits down and looks out the windows. You can see he is very proud of himself too. Funny boy.

Time to rise and shine chickens!

Inside the kitty population still continues to adjust. There was a casualty the other night, of an old tiny kerosene lantern I've had forever. Surprisingly it wasn't the kittens either, but Sage, who decided to jump way up on the curio cabinet and evidently miscalculated and brought down himself, an old electric fan and the little lantern. He used to jump up there all the time, but it's been awhile and I guess he was out of practice. I've put everything that I can behind glass or in a safe place, but there are just some things that I have no place to keep hidden away. In a year or so the kittens will settle down some, and I can go back to 'normal'. I'll probably get a new couch then as well. My old one is, well, old. Very old and the upholstery has begun to tear in a few areas, not helped any by rambunctious kittens. I had decided to start looking for new one anyway, but with the sudden addition of the kittens, I will wait until they are older and well trained to their scratching posts.

It's keeping me on my toes that is for sure, having four younguns in the house. I can't just turn my back and leave anything without them being right in the middle of it. I've got about five million cute pictures of them though, and lucky for my blog readers I only post about two percent of them. ha....

Have a great weekend!

Yep, it's still muddy.....

The pictures were from my morning round of chores....


kristi said...

I loved all the pictures of the sheep! Are all the big girls Merinios or a cross of some type? Your weather sounds like ours...grey, damp, cloudy, UGLY! Don't feel bad about the hair thing. I usual get mine cut once a year, maybe twice if it moves me. I trim the bangs with Dixie's grooming scissors:) My hair is the least of my worries. Did you get Boone a sign for his new hang out?

Tammy said...

Three of the big girls are half Merino and half Dorset. Their mother, Gracie, is a Dorset. Their dad is the old skinny ram in the background of one of the pictures (Blue). Blue and Gracie are nine this year, then it's eight for Annalea, seven for Nancy and then Hope as the youngster at four or so. Gracie and Blue are from the original flock I started with, then switched to Shetlands later. Good to know that hair cutting is low on others priorities too. ;-)

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

It's another grey gloomy day in the Appalachians. Mudville here. I love the Shetlands, especially like the coloring on Rouen.

Shula said...

Your shetlands are a very pretty flock, I like the top picture of them waiting for their feed. The one thing I like about the snow is the fact that when it's this cold we don't have mud. Of course it'll arrive eventually. A hair cut this weekend sounds like a good idea, might have to do that too as I can't remember the last one :)

L'Hélène said...

Please post 100% of your kitten pictures!!

Vicki Lane said...

A fun look at your family! And a profit! Wonderful in these gloomy financial times to be in the black!

Michelle said...

Sounds like we are all "enjoying" the same weather! I am THRILLED for your wool sales and small profit; that is most excellent! You really do have a lot of sheep; more than I had mentally calculated. Obviously no flock size restrictions THERE -- hee. :-)

Kathy said...

I just knew those kittens would wind their way into yours, and the other cats', hearts and be living inside with you. But I thought they should be the ones to tell you. :)

And it's nice to see a place that is muddy...I'll take muddy...I'm a bit tired of white right now. We officially got 54" of snow on top of the 24" we still had! But the sun came out today and already started melting to bare dirt where we had it plowed just yesterday.

Tammy said...

Joanna--we had about two hours of sunshine today! Woot! Rouen is 10 years old and special to me. Her color is black iset, which isn't exactly desirable, but I love the shades of her fleece.
Shula, well, it sounds like cooler temps on the way. It's so way muddy here that it's hard to get anything done.
Alright LHelene--I'll post some kitty pictures soon. Hee hee...after all I consider it by special request.
Thanks Vicki, it was a wonderful feeling to turn a tiny profit..sales were really up, but hay prices were really down as was the need for hay with all the rain, so it worked to my advantage this year.
Thanks Michelle. As for flock restrictions --there are some. The 'main' flock (those pictured) can't be more than 15. What? There are 17?? Uh oh... ;-) The Shetland flock remains a pretty consistent number around 12, and I have the five 'freeloaders' (the big whites) who are mostly fleece pets at this age. I do have four more in the ram/wether flocks (two separate ones), so my total sheep numbers are at 22. But the flock is smaller than it's been in several years.
Kathy! You should have warned me how it would play out...although I did have grave suspicions.... I would probably have ended up with all six inside if I thought the big boys could have stood it. I think the two little boys went to a good home though...which is a relief. Okay, I concede that I would rather have mud than 'foots' of snow, for sure! However, it's been years since I've seen the 'bottom fall out' like it has around here. I need to get a big bale into the sheep but that isn't going to happen til the ground freezes up again. How is your little Ziggy?