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Archive for June, 2007

Reunited and it feels so…

…Wait a minute…do I know you?

Today I brought Ohren and Barron down to the pasture.  This was their first time back since they were quite small, and their first time seeing mom and dad since weaning a short month ago.  I wasn’t sure how they’d react; Darling’s ewe, Licorice, always remembers her lambs and even allows them to attempt nursing.  That, I must tell you, is a sight to see, as her lambs at that point are nearly as big as she is and they toss that ewe’s back end right up off the ground in an attempt to get a lick smacking taste of mamma’s milk.  Unfortunately, the milk wagon is always dry, but it takes them a good couple of weeks to finally figure it out.

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There’s something familiar about you that I can’t quite put my nose on…

I needn’t have worried about Taffy and the boys, though.  After the initial excitement of seeing other sheep, there was a very brief, “How do you do?  Have we met before?” exchange, and that was it.  Taffy and Bessie wandered off with Phantom, and the twins spent the rest of the day hanging with the guys; Carrot, their dad, and Uncle Pokey.

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Barron says hello to his dad, Carrot.

This is the second day that Bessie and Phantom have joined the flock in the pasture.  Phantom is still so small that I don’t let them spend the night.  At least, I didn’t last night.  Darling and I went down late this evening and I decided that I had just enough fencing there that I could make a small corral up near the front of the pasture, right beneath the neighbor’s window.  I wouldn’t let them wander in the back with the risk of coyotes (probably shouldn’t even during the day), but I’m pretty comfortable with them right now.  Besides, it was raining (surprise!) when Darling and I walked down there, it was getting dark, and we really didn’t want to try to lead a reluctant ewe and her lamb the half mile home.  Our pants were wet all the way up to our thighs from walking through the tall grass in an attempt to find the girls as it was. 

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Phantom beneath the trees.

Taffy was so happy to see Bessie that she refused to be separated from her.  She’s spent the last two weeks with the rams, and she was ready for a little girl talk!  So it’s a bit of a slumber party in that little corral, with Bessie, Taffy and Phantom all snuggled up for the night, while the four guys are roughing it on the outside.  Even in the sheep world, it would seem, guys have something to prove!

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A bit of sad news reached us here this week via the Farmer’s Market Newsletter.  There was a sweet little tent serving breakfast burritos and wonderfully yummy Jamaican pulled pork burritos called Dad and Lads down there.  The boys were learning how to do customer service and run a little business…they were so sweet!  We learned the other day that Dad passed away this week.  I’m not sure why, details weren’t available at the time. 

And so it will be with a heavy heart that the market operates this weekend…

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The Screamer

 

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The Screamer was so tiny and, well, ugly, when Darling and I brought her home.  I mean, really ugly.  That’s saying something for me, because I like pigs and think they’re beautiful.  But The Screamer was ugly.  Ugly and loud.

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We brought her home, City Boy built a little pen, and Rocket shared his crate with her.  Rocket and The Screamer have a lot in common.  They share a similar snout.  Niether of them has much of a neck (collars don’t work on either one of them.)  And they both grunt.  Rocket has never really learned to bark like a dog, but he can squeal like a pig.  He’s pretty sure that The Screamer is a long lost litter mate.

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The pen that City Boy made is light weight and easy to move.  It’s just 8 x 8 and even I can drag it around while The Screamer walks along inside.  Pigs make good rototillers, so The Screamer spent a great deal of time in my garden when she came home this spring.  I told City Boy we’d have to move her every couple of days, and he scoffed.  Two hours later he came into the house and said we could sell the rototiller, as The Screamer was nearly half done with her little space. 

Indeed, it didn’t take long for The Screamer to till up my entire garden, and she worked it three or four inches deep.  We didn’t sell the rototiller, though.  When she was finished, we ran the tiller over the top to even things out.  This is the best looking soil I’ve had in that garden yet! 

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The Screamer is getting big!  It’s hard to beleive it’s only been two months since she came home a scrawny, ugly piglet.  She’s beautiful now.  She digs even faster than she did when she was little.  City Boy has moved her pen into the woods, where it’s nice and cool.  She’s busy rooting up wild berry plants and roots.  She gets moved every day before things get too muddy. 

You may have heard that pigs like mud, and it’s true.  But only to a point.  Pigs haven’t got sweat glands.  Most mamals sweat through their skin.  Cats and dogs sweat through the pads of their feet.  Pigs don’t sweat.  So to cool down, they like a nice mud bath. 

This desire to plop down in the mud is no doubt what has people referring to their kids’ messy rooms as a pig pen.  Most folks assume that since pigs like mud, they like messes, and nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, if you come across a pig pen that’s totally trashed, it’s more a refection on the pig’s owner than the animal it’s self.  Pigs are very, very clean animals.  They have a certain area of their pen which they use as a toilet.  They like a dry area to root about in, and they like a good mud bath when it’s hot.  The larger the area you’ve got for your pig, the happier it is. 

The Screamer is working towards a larger pen.  As we move her through the woods, she’s actually clearing out an area for a fenceline.  Then we’ll be able to turn her loose for the rest of the summer where she can wallow in her mud bath, root up more brush and munch on salmon berries, and rest in the shade of the cedar trees.  To The Screamer, that’s better than winning the Nigerian National Lottery!

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Life is Good!

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Yes, it’s the center of a poppy!

Most of you recognized it, congratulations!  Your names were tossed into a basket, and I have just pulled out the winner.  Congratulations Karymn R!  I’ll need your addy, luv  🙂

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Isn’t it good to be loved?  When friends and family shower you with adoration?  Yeah, it is.  And of late, I’ve been getting a lot of love, only from complete strangers!  People just seem to be flocking to me, telling me how much they appreciate me and want to help me out, which is nice, as I need help.

Why, only yesterday I received three different emails from people who love me.  One is a dying woman that I’ve never met who wants to give me 18 million dollars that her late husband left to her.  She never realized it was in a trust account until now, and they had no children in 20 years of marriage, so who should she leave the money to?  And she chose me.  Me!!!  I still just can’t believe it.  Of course, she wants it distributed to good, worthy, charitible organizations, and she’s trusting that, being a good Christian, I’ll see to it that her last and dying wish is granted…

Oh, and John Luke emailed that he’s got a client who shares the same last name with me, and since there are no other known living relatives, I must claim the inheritance.  Wow!  First the dying Mrs. Kurtz, now John Luke’s client (who’s name wasn’t revealed, but doesn’t need to be because of course it’s the same last name as mine.)

The news just keeps getting better!  Dr. Kerry Ben has transferred money to my account in London.  Felicia Clatus needs my help claiming 19 million US dollars.  Her poor husband was killed in their war torn country; I’m to contact her son Justin in assylum in Europe to assist them (as a good Christian, of course, I simply must help these poor people!)  Peter Wong has a 24 million dollar business proposal for me, and since I just won both the UK and Nigerian lotteries, I’ve got plenty of money to invest!

Dang, life is good…

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Here on the farm, Tait is learning to herd.  I should say on Janet’s farm, really, as that’s where we went to practice. 

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For a pup, Tait is really good at getting around to the outside and moving the sheep in a circle.

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This little lambie thought it would turn and go the other way.  Tait said she didn’t think so…

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Janet’s dog, Babe, really gets into her work!  Do you recall the movie Babe, with the pig?  And how the sheep called the dogs Wolf?  Border Collies have a very intense stare; you can see it here with Babe.

Looks like it’ll be yet another rainy day here at Carpenter Creek.  Bummer.  I need to finish getting the fence up at Donna’s place; Brigget said she’d come over and help.  I don’t think either one of us wants to do it in the rain.  Then again, if we leave it long enough, and I win the Blog for a Year, perhaps you could come put it up for me?

Have a great Thursday, and don’t forget to vote!

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Is it Wednesday?

So…is it Wednesday? 

Just checking, because you know, I was wrong last week!

We’re going to play the game a little differently here today.  I don’t really need a caption (although, feel free to provide one if you’re inspired!)  No, what I’m wanting is for you to answer me, What Is This?  And please…be specific!  All of the correct answers will be placed into a basket and a winner will be drawn.  What will the winner win?  Well, if I told you that, you may not play!  Ha!

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Can you tell me what this is?

Needless to say, I’ve been having some fun with Photoshop again.  I’ll show you the original tomorrow when I announce the winner.

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My friend Candace is moving. 

I met Candace while working for a soap supply company; she was one of our wonderful customers.  I say wonderful not because all our customers were wonderful (some truly were not), nor because she was a frequent customer (which she was), but because Candace is truly a wonderful woman.  There are some people in this world who just bring a smile to your face when you see them walk through the door, and Candace always put a smile on  mine,  no matter how many horrible customers or failed batches of soap had come before her.

Candace also has been selling at the same market that I have.  She parks her soap at one end of the market, I park mine at the other.  Thankfully, Darling is there to help me and I’m able to steal away to go visit Candace during the day.

Last Saturday was Candace’s last day.  She’s moving to Arizona, where I hear they have a little global warming going on.  I’ve never been a fan of Arizona, but at the moment I’d like a little bit of global warming.  So Candace, when you get there, will you pack me up a box of sunshine and ship it to me?  I’d appreciate it.  And Candace?  I’ll miss you!  (But I’ll gladly keep your northern customers supplied with soap in your absence!)

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Candace’s beautiful soaps will also be missed!

 

Now, just for fun, I had to take this little quiz!  Of course, it came out exactly the way I thought it would…I’m a good girl, I y’am!  (Well, at least most of the time!)


You Are a Good Girl


You are 70% Good and 30% BadGenerally speaking, you’re a very good girl.

(But you don’t have us totally fooled!)

Are You a Good Girl or a Bad Girl?

Don’t forget to vote!

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I Love My Job

Okay, so I don’t leave the house and collect a paycheck.  I’m not really the best house frau, either.  Cooking and cleaning just are not my gig.  So what is my job that I love so much?

Being a mom. 

Some days my kids just do me proud, you know?  After days…weeks…months…and yes, even years, of wondering whether or not they’re worth the effort, they go and do something like this, and you know that those eleven hours of hard labor and pushing which resulted in big headed ten pound babies is definitely about to have a pay off.

Yesterday was candy expiration day at work, so Geek Boy brought it home.  And while none of us would normally touch expired milk with a ten foot pole, chocolate never really expires, does it?  Normally, one would have to wait until Halloween for a decent haul of sugary goodness; but there was enough candy in Geek Boy’s bag for a decade of Halloweens!

Does a mother proud, I tell ya.  I’m off to slip into a sugary sweet chocolate coma now.  See ya when I come to!

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If I haven’t asked before, could someone please pass a cup of that global warming I keep hearing about?  Because I’d like to experience it. 

Yesterday, had I not been feeling so puny, I’d have started building an ark.  I suppose it’s a little late, seeing as how it was already raining and God had Noah working on that big ol’ boat for quite some time before the rains began.  My boat would be much smaller, and I’d only take my immediate family (including my critters, naturally.)  But I was pretty puny feeling, and still am.  Fluid in my lungs, horrible snorky nose…certainly not well enough for ark building.  I may have to just go buy a row boat.

Darling and I sat inside like those two kids from Cat in the Hat, wondering what we could do while we watched the rain pouring down.  It’s been years since we’ve had a June so wet.  If we were in the mid-west, we’d have had gully washers.  The few peonies I have left after City Boy’s remodel have been beaten to a pulp.  By early evening, we were having lightening and thunder, and the storm was directly overhead.  The sky would light up, and the thunder would be rolling.  It was so bad that our lights were flickering and I could feel the floor rumbling beneath my feet.  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the earth move quite like that before. 

By 8 last night, it had all finally stopped.  The clouds continued to spew forth a few more rain drops, but I tossed on my coat and went outside to milk Bessie.  Of course, I had to wait my turn…

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A couple weeks back I visited Gretchen’s Wool Mill while I was down in Monroe.  I found out about her because she also raises a few East Friesian dairy sheep.  She kindly allowed me to tour her mill and take a few pics for you!

 The wool first gets washed in a big sink in water that’s 115 degrees.  From there, it gets put into this huge thing that looks like a washing machine.  It’s called an Extractor; it spins the wool and removes most of the water left from the washing.

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The wool then gets layed out on these drying racks to air dry.

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A customer can pick up their wool once it’s clean, or pay for additional services, such as picking and carding.  The particular picker shown below can be pretty dangerous to operate and one should wear a heavy apron to avoid giving oneself a masectomy!  It operates like a swing; picture one of those dragon swings from carnivals only with spikes coming out the bottom; that’s rather what this scaled down version is like.  As the spikes swing back and forth, they knock out little bits of debris and the ‘second cuts’ (shorter bits of wool that can’t be used for spinning.)

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Once picked, the wool can then be sent to the carding machine.  A person can hand card their own wool with paddle carders, or even use a drum carder that gets cranked by hand (I’ve got one like that here.)  But to really get huge lots of wool done, a mechanical drum carder is a huge benefit.  Plus, instead of small batts of wool, you end up with huge batts that can be used for things such as quilting.

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At this point, the wool is ready to go home to it’s owner, where it can either be used for quilt batting, spinning or a variety of other projects. 

Yesterday Darling and I brought our small, hand operated drum carder to the market where we demonstrated how we card our wool prior to it being spun.  We had a lovely shade of wool which I thought looked rather like a nice wig, so I dared Darling to wear it around the market for an hour.  She pretended to protest, but ended up wearing it the entire day.  I’m not really sure, but perhaps the fact that we were telling people we were a wig company had something to do with lack of sales???

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