Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Bedtime Story

Once upon a time there was a beautiful golden sheep named Sophia. She and her three best friends, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose, lived on a farm. They spent their days eating green grass in the summer and nibbling on crunchy hay in the winter. Their shelter was small but nice and filled with comfortable straw to rest on. In the morning the shepherd would pour out a small amount of corn for them as a treat. At bedtime they would follow the shepherd into the barn where they would each receive an animal cracker. It was a good life.

Then one cold and blustery day Sophia grew tired of the animal crackers. She thought they were bland and tasteless. She would rather have more corn. That night, when the other sheep followed the shepherd into the barn, she stayed outside and refused to go in. The shepherd asked "What's wrong, Sophia?"

"I don't like animal crackers, I would rather have corn" she said.

"But I don't have any corn, Sophia."

"Yes you do. It's in that little barn over there."

"No Sophia, it's time for bed. Come get your animal cracker."

"But there is corn in this building right here. Just behind the door. I know it's in there."

Sophia wouldn't give up. No matter how hard the shepherd tried to reason with her, Sophia wouldn't budge. "I'm not going to bed until you pour out some corn and that's all there is to it" she said.

"If you don't do what she says, we could be out here all night" whispered her friend Rose.

Finally the shepherd agreed, deciding a little corn wouldn't hurt anything. The news made Blanche jump straight up into the air. "It worked, it worked! We're getting corn" she shouted!

"Oh my goodness, I'm so excited! I can't believe it worked" said Dorothy as she kicked up her heels.

"Give us the corn, give us the corn, give us the corn" they all cheered as they danced around the shepherd.

"Yes, yes, I will but you must get ready for bed like good little sheep."

"Oh we will, we will" they said as they raced into the barn.

They enjoyed their bedtime snack and settled down for the night, bellies full, thinking about how wonderful the day had been. Sophia quietly chewed her cud, beaming with pride over what she had accomplished. She had heard of a breed of sheep called Leadersheep, part of the primitive flocks in Iceland. They were said to be the smartest of all sheep.

"Well, maybe not all sheep" she thought with a grin.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Lonely Here All by Myself

Blogging. It's a lonely sport. I mean, I'm sitting here putting my pantaloons on display for the whole world to see, but it's not very interactive. I feel like all of you have become my dear friends but I'm just talking at you versus with you. Sure, there's the comment section, which I still say is the funniest part of this whole blog. But I want more. I want to see the pictures of the Nanny bread Deb made. I want you all to share your links with Karen Anne so she can get some chicken diapers. I want to see the quilt your working on or the sweater you're knitting. I want to share more things like Death Metal Rooster or odd photos from around here that didn't make the post of the day. I need you to share your favorite egg recipes with me because I've got eggs out the wazoo. And I want to be able to have a conversation that doesn't get lost in the comment sections. So, you know what I did? I created a fan page on Facebook.

Yep, there I'm told you can upload your photos for us all to see, start discussions where we can easily keep track of them and let you in on some of the hilarity that goes on around here that never quite makes it to the blog. And trust me, there's a lot of that. So sally forth my friends, become a Facebook fan and show me your pantaloons. Seriously, I need someone to go upload a picture to make sure this thing works. Oh and feel free to invite your friends, especially if they have good egg recipes...

(Links weren't working so I added a widget to the left side of the page. Let me know if it works.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Worlds Most Annoying Rooster

Normally, I try to fill the ol' blog here with only original content. But every once in a blue moon I come across something that is just so stinkin' bizarre it has to be shared. My brother sent the following YouTube video to me. Well, actually there are several versions out there, this is the original. As much as I thought having multiple roosters can get annoying, my boys can't hold a candle to this guy. I suspect it wouldn't take long to have no problem inviting him to Sunday dinner. Yeesh!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Evolution - It's a Good Thing

Can you pat your head and rub your tummy while swinging on a porch swing? I'm finding that's pretty much what it takes to get a good, even yarn. I've been having my own little fiber fest as of late.

I started with some gorgeous, soft Shetland I purchased at Sheep Street. It was a joy to spin but I'm still getting too much twist. I may need to invest in a bigger whirl.

But the leftovers combined with some Romney beautifully.

Then I moved on to painted Romney. Difficult to spin but the colors are yummy.

Now my bobbins are all full again with more Shetland. I am evolving, maybe I'll get the hang of this yet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Ugh, Cave Woman Make Yarn"

I'll bet the first woman to spin yarn was quite pleased with herself when she was finished. I certainly feel like beating my chest and holding it up in the air for all to see. Er wait, cave women probably didn't beat their chests... oh, I know, they stomped their feet. Yeah, I feel like stomping my feet, one hand on my hip the other grasping my masterpiece and waving it about for all to witness. I made my very first yarn. I spun something useful out of a big ball of fluff. Little ol' me. Can you believe it?

It was a painful process. This batch of Shetland roving did not want to spin at all, hence why it was on the spindles for so long, but the next batch is spinning like hot butter.

A monster is born. Mwah, ha, ha, ha...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Barn Quilt

It wants to belong to me. It told me so last night. Each year members of my quilt guild join together in making a quilt to raffle as a fundraiser. The quilt will be taken to various events and tickets will be sold.

I could not even begin to capture its unbelievable detail well in a photograph. Please click on the pictures to enlarge. Each barn block is appliqued and most have embroidery and other embellishments that bring them to life. Several even have chickens.

I didn't help make the quilt. I knew when it was being discussed it was way over my head. But I sure as heck will help with the fund raising. I'm going to buy about 800 tickets myself, because this quilt just belongs in my entryway. It would be happy here.

As much as I would like to keep all the tickets to myself, I guess I'll be nice and let everyone know that the quilt will be on display at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, March 4-6 where you can see it up close and personal and buy 800 tickets of your own. It's worth it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why, Oh Why?

Can't I like green leafy food as much as they do? I'd finally be able to lose those last ten pounds.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Teenagers Behave Badly

I'm finding out it doesn't really matter what species. Teenagers left to their own devises make bad choices. Willa has not only reached that phase but is embracing it and making it her own. For instance, enticing Sophia and Dorothy to engage in a duel was a bad idea. They know how to defend themselves and are willing to butt heads with anybody.

Chasing down Blanche though was an even worse idea. Not that Blanche would defend herself. Because she won't. In fact I think she actually enjoys the chase. But, sadly, when Willa caught Blanche she nabbed a chunk of wool from her behind. After that, I was the one she need worry about head butting her this time. That wool is for me and Blanche is not a squeak toy.

So Willa is grounded again. Grounding teenagers rarely works. It's often worse for the parents than the child. Grounded teenagers are bored and lonely teenagers. Willa has taken up trying to "talk" to the neighbors dogs all night long for entertainment. Which, as you can imagine, isn't getting us nominated for any neighbor of the year awards.

In an effort to give her one last chance, Bandit has volunteered to stay with her during the day to keep her company. He said he needed the exercise, anyway. But I don't think he realized what he was getting himself into. Babysitting a teenager is hard work. He'll sleep good tonight even if she doesn't. Poor fella.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Colors, Markings and Patterns. Oh My.

So I had the opportunity to attend the Indiana Shetland Sheep Breeders meeting held at Under the Son Farm yesterday. It was nice to get out and meet fellow shepherds crazy about the colorful little breed. After the business end of the meeting, Theresa Gygi presented on the topic of genetics. One of the the things about Shetlands I had yet to comprehend fully.

Shetlands come in so many colors and patterns it tends to be more than a little complicated but Theresa did a fantastic job of explaining it. People, much smarter then me, have figured out if you breed certain colors and patterns to other colors and patterns you will get a certain result. If you follow all of this when choosing your breeding pairs you could predict what the lambs will look like. About the time I started to really understand I started smelling smoke. And it wasn't coming from the wood burning stove. I think I fried my brain. I decided that if and when I decide to breed Sophia I'll be breeding for cute. Much easier result to predict!

Visiting Theresa's basement is a fiber lovers dream. I emerged after the meeting with a burning desire to felt some wool, a bag of raw fleece from the mule lamb I purchased from her this fall and a large bag full of Shetland roving. Just what I needed to break Mildred out and take her for a spin today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rose "The Nose" Nylund

From the very beginning I've suspected there is more to The Golden Girls than meets the eye. At first glance they play their roles very well. Their personalities stay true to their characters. But sometimes they lose track of who they are. I'm not sure if they get caught up in all the Hollywood hubbub or what.

Take Rose here for instance. She usually comes across as mild-mannered and naive. However, don't let her fool you. "The Nose" knows. In fact she's sharp as a tack.

"You have a cookie in your pocket. I know you do. It's right there. I'll eat through your coat unless you give it to me now." she says.

Clearly Rose thinks she's a beagle. It might be time for a Hollywood intervention.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Sheep Ate My Homework

The charms on her bracelet shook while she wrote the assignments on the blackboard. Mrs. McNeal taught eleventh grade English. The punks in the class used to tease her relentlessly. The more they teased the more her hand shook. She was a timid woman, which made her an easy target. They thought it was funny. I thought it was cruel. Mrs. McNeal was a small, soft spoken woman who cared deeply for her students. I remember I once wrote a gritty essay pouring out my teenage angst on the page . The next day in class she asked me to stay after; she was deeply concerned about my well being. I suspect she’d been worried about me all night. Prior to that day I'd never met a middle or high school teacher that seemed to care. She quickly became my favorite teacher.

I was an average student. Nothing spectacular because I never really applied myself. I know that due to fact the teachers never failed to mention it when the grade reports rolled out. But I always did well in English. Thanks to Mom dragging me to the library for all those summer reading programs, I actually liked to read. The rest came easy. Mrs. McNeal wasn't the first teacher to encourage me to write. Problem was, I didn't want to write. If I wrote stuff down then people would know what was going on inside my head. And let me tell ya, it's a scary place that brain of mine. I was always afraid a few men in white coats would show up and tell me we were going for a ride in the country.

Flash forward nearly a quarter of a century and here I am, sitting in another English class surrounded by students who appear to be twelve years old. Now that my two children are nearly raised it is time for me to figure out what I want to do now that I'm grown up. Until I do, I am taking general education courses at the community college with plans to transfer at some point to a larger university. Who knows, maybe I’ll major in English? I wouldn't mind seeing the countryside. I hear it's nice there.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yeti Spotted in Indiana!

Oh, wait. It's just Willa of the Great White North. Whew! Scared me there for a minute.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Excuse me, pardon me for interrupting. I'm terribly sorry. Hi, my name is Sammy. Sammy Chicken.

Yes, that is my last name. Why do you ask?

Um, anyway, I, uh, was just wondering if I could possibly, I mean if you would perhaps be so kind to, uh, entertain the idea to allow me to, uh, well since you seem to be sitting down anyway maybe I could, uh, perch in your lap and warm my toes for awhile because it's, uh, FREAKIN' COLD OUT HERE!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gangsta Sheep

Listen here, Lady. You ain't going out that gate behind us until you knit us some legwarmers. And take off those boots. You'll bring us seven more pair or else. Got that?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Grief

So I've got this sinus infection/bronchitis/pneumonia thing going on. I've been sick for a week. Finally decided I needed to go to the doctor as it doesn't seem to be going away on it's own. So in the shower I hopped this morning...I was 3/4 of the way through shaving my legs when the hot water ran out. I still needed to rinse my hair. I should have went back to bed right then. But no.

No I needed to go tend to the animals in the freezing cold. Apparently the budget crisis in Indiana is so bad they couldn't pay the heat bill any longer. It's REALLY cold. So I bundled way up so nothing but the whites of my eyes could be seen considering how I was already sick and all and had just taken an ice cold shower. Part of my morning routine is to release the Golden Girls from their sheep shack. The door on the shack is one of those dutch door things with a bottom door and a top door. I swear the top door was open when I went in to refill the hay feeder. It was NOT when I tried to leave. In fact it was closed and latched and didn't move an inch when I slammed into it with my head. I should have went back to bed right then. But no.

No the chickens still needed tending. Their waterers were frozen again. It's been getting so cold at night the heat lamps can't keep up with it. So I scattered some scratch for the little buggers and headed back towards the house to thaw the water. Have I mentioned all the other ice? The two inch layer of ice that resides under the smattering of snow that is everywhere, even in the yard? You know where this is going don't you? Yep, with both hands full I slipped on the ice and proceeded to do some sort of twisting gymnastic thing that would have probably gotten me a 10 in the Olympic trials because I'm sure it was spectacular to watch. I should have went back to bed right then. But no.

No I needed to go see the doctor. So I called. And they could get me in right away. I thought "Great my luck is changing." Until I realized I'd not yet eaten breakfast or brushed my teeth or thawed the water for the chickens. I had to prioritize. I brushed my teeth and gave the chickens as much water as I could vowing I'd be back with more later. I skipped breakfast. Then I somehow managed to get to the doctors office and through the visit without incident. Their setup is pretty slick. They don't even give you a paper prescription anymore. It gets sent electronically to the drug store of your choosing. Of course the drug store of my choosing just happened to be swamped and even after an hour or so of killing time buying groceries my prescription was still not ready. Should have went home and went back to bed right then. But no.

No I needed that medicine. So I killed more time at the drug store and when they FINALLY had it ready...there was a problem with the insurance. So there I was starving, sick as a dog with a bruise on my head and a zig where I should have zagged and I just didn't have the strength left to argue about it. I just handed the girl my credit card. I came home. Put the groceries away. Ate a bowl of leftover beef stew with a dumpling and then had a big fat brownie. I took my medicine and NOW I'm going back to bed!