Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Braceface, Metal Mouth, Tin Grin.......

Went to the Orthodontist yesterday. My dentist felt I would have trouble with my lower teeth eventually because they are not in alignment.....(wondering all this time why they didn't want to fix them when I was younger when my PARENTS had to pay for them.....). Of course, once they straighten out the bottoms then they need to straighten out the tops so they line up.

To ease what they took for my embarrassment for having to wear braces as an adult they said they had some that were clear with just a little metal hook that they glue on to the individual teeth. Then you have an almost clear wire that goes thru them. I said "heck no! I want some of those dayglo color ones like the kids have." I figure if I have to pay almost $4,000.00 out of pocket I better be showing them off with pride! :)

I will be having them "installed" in Sept and I'll try to take a before and after pic.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Peacock Roundup

, well, this actually happened a few days back but thought it belonged in my blog.

Received a call from my neighbor while I was at work that my peacock was out on our road (gravel road, not a main road) and what did I want to do about it? As I work 45 miles from home (and I also van pool) I said he would have to find his way back or wait until I got home from work.

The neighbor, Michol, offered to try and herd it back in my gate, which I thanked her for but when I returned home there was an e-mail from another neighbor the next road up. Seems there was a female peacock in with her goats and did whomever she belonged to want to come up and catch her. I called and she said the peacock had flown up into a tree. I knew at that point there would be no catching the peacock for that day. I told her I would come up tomorrow if the peacock didn't find his way home and collect "her" ( it's actually a him.....he just doesn't have any long tail feathers.....came that way, don't know if he just hasn't grown any yet or moulted them off).

Next day he was still up at the neighbors goat pen. I stopped on the way home at a sporting good store. Walked in and was asked if I needed some help. "Yes" I said, "I need the biggest net you have to catch a peacock with". Got a chuckle and a raised eyebrow and I was directed to the aisle that had the nets. I chose a lovely one, could be useful to net just about anything....definitely big enough for a peacock, turkeys, ducks, maybe even a sheep!

OK, now to enlist some help......cellphone....."Hello, Michol? Are you busy right now?" One thing I have learned is not to tell the person the whole story until they commit.....:) "I need some help catching that loose peacock". She agrees and says to pick her up in front of her house. Michol, in turn, enlists her son, Paul, to help. Great! This should make it eeeeassssyy.

Up to the neighbors, yes, there is that escapist peacock, strolling around the goat corral.

We spread out and try to herd him into one of the goat shelters. That doesn't seem to go so well so I crept around one of the goat shelters while Michol and Paul worked him back my way.....then I POUNCED and netted myself a peacock!

Felt pretty proud of myself too, the peacock got the last laugh though as I felt something warm and looked down to see he had covered part of my shirt and jeans with "peacock poo". I must say it's pretty amazing for such a small lightweight bird that it seemed to have emptied about as much as a sheep least if it had been a sheep the nuggets would have just rolled down my leg.

Placed the peacock in a dog crate and returned home with my prize. Released him back with his girlfriend and he acted like he had never left.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu!

Yesterday I think I was able to help create another enthusiast to join the Jacob Sheep ranks, (although she did admire Bella, the Shetland, too) :)

Debbie Payton is the proud new owner of Showphar Lana, Green Water Ingrid, Green Water Agnes, and Shadow Mountain "?" (out of 4 Horn Farm Dream and Green Water Ingrid). She has some acreage and was looking into different sheep to occupy it. She was also going to look at Katahdins and go to the Enumclaw auction but she came by my place first. :) I actually got choked up looking at my girls, and thinking of them leaving, but I know they are going to a home where they will be loved and well cared for.

This brings my Jacob headcount down to 6 ewes (including Mud Ranch's Constance who will be arriving from CA in Aug), 1 ram lamb and a wether. And temporarily I have one Shetland, soon to be 6 ewes and a ram.

Here I feel I should thank everyone that has help me acquire some lovely Jacobs, and started me well on my way to my sheep addiction. :)

Mary Tonkin, who first got me "hooked". I got Showphar Lana, Green Water Ingrid, 4 Horn Farms Dream, and the wether Carl from her in the beginning and recently Painted Rock Janelle and Shadow Mountain Sasha (one of her 2008 ewe lambs). She answered all my questions, spent time showing me her sheep and encouraged me to contact Shannon Phifer of Kenleigh Acres when I was looking for other lambs within driving distance.

Shannon has also been a great source of information for me, and I purchased two ewe lambs from her 2008 lamb crop, Kenleigh's Symphony and Kenleigh's Pacifica, both two horn black and whites. When she found out I was looking for a lilac ewe lamb she put me in touch with Joan Gross who had just what I was looking for....and I sent a deposit for Mud Ranch's Constance, a 4 horn lilac.

From there I started lusting for more lilacs and decided to look for a lilac ram. I offered 4 Horn Farms Dream to Mark and Cathie Williams of Swallow Lane Farm, and off to his new home he went. Mary Tonkin sent me a link for Oregon Wool dot com and said there was a nice lilac ram lamb on there. A few e-mails later and I had an agreement with Sandy Van Liew of Windy Acres to purchase her ram lamb, Windy Acres Lawrence, A 4 horn lilac.

From here it goes to my beginning blog entry for the Black Sheep Gathering where I picked up Lawrence, Pacifica and Symphony, and fell in love with Meridian Gypsy and met her owner, Robin Lynde from CA. not to mention my "start" in Shetland sheep, Bella. That's it for now....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lazy Saturday at Wrensong Farm

Had the day off today and just thought I would randomly take some pics as I wandered around the farm.

My friend, Niki, of JNK Llamas, who has worked SO hard to find me a llama that would be a good guard as well as be easy to handle and preferably friendly (I've already mentioned how much of a sucker I am for friendly animals). My current llama, Lady Rena, is an awesome guard, chases anything that doesn't belong and even things that do if they mess with "her sheep" much to my Border Collie, Finns dismay.

Rena isn't really fond of being handled though (most llamas as Niki says are like being touched when they WANT to be touched). I do need to handle her to trim her toenails, worm, give shots, brush and shear so things have got to change. So today Niki came over with some knowledgeable llama friends and they worked with Rena a bit. Gave me lots of pointers and I'm going to work with her over the next couple of weeks to see if it gets better.

After they left, I went to feed the Call ducks and see how they were doing. I added three BEI (Black East Indies) Call ducks to my 3 Snowys. The BEIs are obviously not quite as good of quality as they are quite a bit larger and are just babies. At first the Snowy Calls wanted nothing to do with the BEIs but they seem to be getting along fine now. My Snowys, from Shannon of Kenleigh Acres, are actually magic ducks. One minute you will see them sitting by the pond and the next you can't find them anywhere. Then literally a couple minutes later there they are sitting under a Japanese Maple. Shannon said if she had known they were magical she would have charged me extra. :)

When Fall arrives I go around to different places like Coast-to-Coast that has a little area of lily pads and buy what they have left at usually 45% to 50% off and toss them in my pond. Figuring it won't be too painful financially if they don't make it. This year two of them are blooming, here are some pics:

Down over the hill to see how the sheep and poultry were doing. The grass is dying off, been awhile since we had rain. I'll probably pull everyone off the pasture this week and start feeding hay again until the rains start.

Then I just wandered around my yard looking for plants in bloom. I am a very random and eclectic kind of gardener.....if I see something I like I'll buy one of them and just plant it "somewhere" in the yard. This makes for an enjoyable tour around the yard for me as there is always some "surprise" that I have forgotten about. I may not win any awards with my yard but it definitely gives me pleasure. Although I DO have a doggy landscaper crew that has been going around re-landscaping which doesn't make me very happy....more on that on a later post.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turkeys on Parade

I recently released my two 1/2 Wild, 1/2 Narraganssett tom turkeys. I kept them penned for over a month, crossed my fingers they wouldn't fly away and opened the pen door. They followed me out to where the chickens were and while the chickens were eating the turkeys tried their best to impress them.
Lots of gobbling, spreading their feathers, dragging their wings, but the chickens were not impressed. Maybe there wasn't enough gobbling, or the tone wasn't right......

No luck. The show was drawing some interest however, not from the two legged but the four legged variety.
Lawrence, the ram lamb, was the MOST interested. He felt they were definitely worth checking out......not only did they not LOOK like any sheep he had seen, but boy, they didn't smell like one either!

Yesterday, we had a Union rally for a Strike Sanction vote. This vote just gives the Union negotiators the backing to ask for a strike if the contract is unacceptable. The last couple of contracts we have taken some cut-backs as Boeing wasn't doing well and lay-offs were imminent. We haven't had a general wage increase in over 6 years and we hope because the company has been doing extremely well they will share in their profits by giving us a GWI, not take away any medical benefits and increase the dollar/years worked ratio for retirees. The Strike Sanction vote is also to show the company that the Union does have our backing as it is a stop-work and empties out the factories.

Calling a strike is really a lose-lose situation. Both for the company who will not have planes built or delivered and for the employee that will have to pay his bills either with his savings or by getting a job on the side. Not to mention the medical insurance coverage only goes for so long into the strike and you have to stand by a burn barrel and wave a sign for hours at a time, usually in the pouring rain.

Anyway, I couldn't help notice the similarities between some of the speakers on the podium and my tom turkeys at some of the speakers were definitely on parade as well!

The meeting was held at the Seattle Center in the Key Arena. Lots of interesting stuff to see but WAY too many people for my tastes! The membership voted 99% approval to back the Union if they call for a strike.....we'll know the beginning of Sept.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Confessions of a Sheep-a-holic

Let me introduce you to the lovely girl that started it all.....yes Michelle is very nice, but I'm speaking of Bella, the beautiful. :) This is the girl that made me question my undying devotion to the Jacob breed of sheep. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Jacobs, but I seem to have found room to love the Shetlands as well. And SO much variety of makes you want one of each, which is hard to do when you only have 5 acres of land!

After settling Bella in with the new and old Jacobs, I made the mistake of e-mailing Michelle to let her know how well Bella had settled in and how much I was enjoying her. I receive an e-mail from Michelle and I quote "And just in case I can tempt you, attached is a photo of my one remaining ewe lamb. Bevin may stay dark but could turn fawn (a silvery taupe) like her mom, who is my friendliest ewe with the champion fleece that I bought from Lois". Ok, now she knows I lust after friendly sheep....and what a beautiful color!! What's one more Shetland? Besides, Bella needs company of her "own kind". And so, I commit to Shetland #2.
Ok, two Shetlands, added to my Jacob flock that's not TOO bad is it? Exactly six days later I receive another e-mail.....and I quote "Is there any chance you would consider adding a ewe to your August sheep-buying trip? I just heard of a flock dispersal, and I happen to know that the flock contains some polled genetics that I might be very interested in. However, I can't add any new ewes to my flock, I would have to make room by selling some. I have Bella's dam, WSR Rechel, who is also a grey with crimpier wool and very friendly; she is my "supermom" and always twins. Let me know if you might be interested in her." How can I possibly let such a wonderful, helpful person down.....and she does have crimpier wool AND is very friendly.....not to mention a "supermom".....this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!! Introducing Shetland # 3 (standing next to her daughter Bella)
Three Shetland sheep, and they know each other.....I am a GOOD person.....they will be SO happy.... did I mention the first real Shetland that I fell in love with was a Gulmoget? Three days after I commit to Rechel, Bellas mother, I get another e-mail from Michelle (do you all see how evil she really is?) it is entitled "Your Gulmoget!" and she sends me a link for a to die for gulmoget lamb face AND she tells me how nice Briana is as well as her sheep AND she lives in OR. A phone call, a few e-mails and sweet little Ellen is spoken for....... cute, huh?

Briana tells me how special and sweet this little girl is and even sends me a pic of Ellen in her lap....
Now I'm thinking to're definitely getting yourself a nice sized little flock of Shetlands......but no ram......not to worry.....I receive another e-mail from Michelle telling me, and I quote...." I really think you should buy Duncan from Lois. That way you would have your katmoget AND your proven ram in one great package. Here's her blog post with a photo (look for Duncan): He's even brown-based, which would be nice given what you already have, and that black gulmoget ewe lamb you're going to get. :-)"

Yes, I do keep every e-mail I receive from case I have to defend myself in court on an insanity charge......

A lovely phone call with Lois, followed by some great e-mails (in which I also find out she has a Border Collie named Finn just like me! What a coincidence! It's a sign.....right?) and I have now commited to an awesome ram, Duncan. Who happens to be a katmoget....another "must have".
Now I'm sure this will be all the Shetlands I will least for now.....I'm still getting e-mails of available ewes.....who knows there may be a color that would compliment the rest of my Shetlands.....until next's some pics of the handsome ram, Duncan....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Birth of a Blog

Well, here goes.....

Under the encouragement of one Michelle McMillen, of Boulderneigh, a very effective representative for the Shetland breed of sheep, I am venturing off on my first attempt at blogging.

It all started really, with a trip to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. I originally went there with only the intention of picking up three Jacob sheep, two ewe lambs and a ram lamb, to my Jacob flock. OK....and maybe 3 Snowy Call Ducks as well.

The Black Sheep Gathering, if you have never been, and have any attraction to sheep, cashmere goats, lovely rugs, sweaters, felted vests, spinning, yarns of every color imaginable, is something you should see. It is a yearly event and worth the drive for me even without picking up livestock!

I keep saying I don't need another hobby but the longer I have wool breeds the more I feel drawn to learning how to spin, knit and weave.....I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Anyway, back to picking up my three sheep....while waiting for one of the breeders to return from a off-site sheep buying venture I meandered amongst the stalls of various kinds of sheep. I was standing by some Jacobs when this lady (soon to be identified as Michelle) :) came thru the aisles with a lovely little ewe on a lead. I admired the ewe and was told she was for sale. Oh, OK, says I, thinking I have Jacobs I don't NEED a Shetland, and we continued our separate ways.

Later, standing by some Shetlands where I was ogling a gorgeous little ewe lamb, some lady (Michelle) says that the lamb was a Gulmoget. I breathed a sigh of relief to see she wasn't for sale and moved on down to a conversation that the farm owner of that lamb was involved in. I mentioned that I had always admired the Shetlands, but I had Jacobs. A fellow there said, "Oh, Jacobs and Shetlands can get along great together", and there is where the slippery slope began.

I think, and at this point everything gets a little blurry (or is it foggy?) I mentioned I had even seen someone walking around with a sweet little ewe on a lead. Michelle, who was also standing with the group said "That was me!" Does everyone see a pattern here? Next thing I know I'm going over to see Michelles sheep and she made me an offer I couldn't refuse on sweet little Bella.
Little did I know it was just a teaser into getting me to take the Shetland breed, hook, line and sinker.

I still, it appears, wasn't done sheep shopping because when Shannon, from Kenleigh acres that I had bought the two Jacob ewe lambs from returned she asked me if I had seen the Meridian lambs. No, says I, hesitantly as I follow her over to the pen as if I have no control. We admired three beautiful little ewes and next thing I know I'm the proud owner of Meridian Gypsy.

Now, almost in a panic, I gather up my purchased sheep, and my three little Call ducks (also from Shannon), load them in the truck and trailer, and careen out of the parking lot (well, maybe just drive slowly in one direction, but I didn't stop or go back!).

My animal gathering wasn't complete until I made a quick stop in Dallas, OR on my way north. I had met this very knowledgeable turkey lady on a turkey list I was a member of (no, I didn't have turkeys at the time, but had been considering them). Camille took me around back of her house to her many pens of turkeys all of colors, types and ages. She was giving away young toms as she had too many and I chose two young boys of Wild/Narragansett descent. With a promise to come back to buy some turkey hens we loaded them into some empty dog kennels in the back of my truck and down the road we went.

Did I mention I also had 2 of my 4 dogs with me in the cab of my truck? My 10 year old Border Collie, Finn, and Kylie, my 1 year old Belgian Tervuren. For some reason I couldn't stop humming the Beverly Hillbillies song as we continued home, with the sheep baaing, the ducks quacking and the turkeys gobbling in harmony.

My next blog post will be on my continuing downward spiral of Shetland addiction.......