Thursday, February 12, 2015

Short Folks and Plow Trucks

Some things just make you smile without doing much of anything.  Landon is one of those little folks that makes me smile just because he "is".  After a really rough start in life, which included open heart surgery at 3 months old, there is not a trace of him slowing down now.  Landon is bright, busy, very-very busy and full of more energy than you can shake a stick at.  His grandpa, Hollis, comes out to where I work to get some of my happy chicken eggs and brings Landon, he only does this because he knows how much joy it brings me to see Landon, even for a few moments.   So this is a big thank you to Hollis for knowing how much I enjoy those visits and a way to show off this amazing little guy sitting in a plow truck that we are fixing in our shop. 

He lights up the room with his smiles.

Landon "driving" the plow truck today............

Landon 2 years ago at Christmas time

And Landon in Jan.....2 years ago......what a difference 2 years can make in a child's life.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kidnapping fat people and love notes

I felt this little minion-im was appropriate for my "winter weight" justification.  Kidnapping generally is inspired by some form of payment or reward after the return of the kidnappee, so I'm not sure I was every really in any danger of being kidnapped. o man is it ever a relief to be ubber protected.

And just as proof that I have the world's best's one of the many sweet notes he leaves me.  This one was left as he went off to drive milk truck for the day, one of his many jobs he does after he's done working 40 hours at his main job.    I am blessed and he is a good man.  (and yes, I tell him all the time)

That's all I have for's a slow week.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 12 & 13

After boarding the train for Bristol, finally sorting out how we were going to Lesley's place, spending a perfectly delightful evening with Lesley and seeing her lovely, lovely flock...we were once again loading our luggage into a vehicle to spend the last few days of our UK trip with Maurice and Gilly Wakeling.  Maurice and Gilly had generously offered their home for the final 3 days of our stay so that they could drive us around to several UK breeders in the Somerset area and South of England.
Of coarse it rained quite a bit during our stay in the south, but we had enough breaks to get our hands on a couple hundred sheep!   I could not get over how green it was there in mid to late October, I could get used to 11 months of grazing for my critters.
Maurice had chosen a delightful cider maker/store where they still press the apples and store the hard cider in wooden casks.  The retail portion of the establishment had several kegs behind the counter for varying types of hard cider that included sweet, semi-sweet, dry, champagne style etc., there was no reason not to try all of them.  I am a big fan of the cider in the UK.

One of our stops was Heather Chapman and her lovely flock of Gulmogets (and some Katmogets).  Heather was a great sport about letting us paw through her sheep despite the rainy weather.  
Some of Heather Chapman's gulmoget ewes

A lovely fawn katmoget ram

Some of Heather's ewe lambs
The lane leading to Heather's was so beautiful........

Right to left: Maurice, Gilly and Heather
Mature Chapman ewes

 Another eye popping flock we got to visit and drool over belongs to Jean Curtis.  Jean is one of the sweetest ladies, sharp, funny and a very successful Shetland sheep breeder.  And a fine baker of cakes as we were to find out a bit later.  Another generous soul that too time out of her busy day to entertain us, show us her flock and then give us our fill of tea and cakes.  
One of our favorite katmoget ewes belonging to Jean Curtis.  (amazing flock of Shetland sheep at Jean's)
Jean Curtis' ewe

Some of Jean's girls on pasture

Jean with her ewe flock.  She has rubber mats under that straw, so her gals have some comfy digs

Another stunning Katmoget of Jean's.

A closer look at the wonderful badger face on one of Jean's ewes

A sampling of Jean's awards

Mike (my hubby) Garrett in the back Me and Jean in the front.  More of her many, many awards behind us.

Friday, January 09, 2015

From Carlisle to Bristol train station.....then

Jenny loaded us all up and we headed to the Carlisle train station.  The train took us to Bristol and there we had a bit on confusion concerning which of the 2 train stations we were to meet Lesley Beazer and ended up there for about 3 hours before it got all hashed out.  Sue Watson generously volunteered Tim's services and he picked us up and whisked us off to Lesley's house for an amazing meal with Maurice & Gilly Wakeling, Sue Watson, our hero, Tim and Lesley.  
Carlisle train station-lovely place.

Garrett being a seasoned British traveler waiting for our train

Lesley Beazer.......Here we come!
I loved Lesley's home.  
We really like this oil stove.  The top has griddles where you simply remove the cover on the griddle and toast bread or place your pot for cooking, make grilled cheese........the possibilities are endless.  They don't use these in the summer as the oil stays heated continually and that would make it too warm in the home, so there's a conventional electric range to the left of this one.  Lesley had hundreds of rosettes and awards from showing her sheep hanging all around her home, you can just see some of them hanging along a beam in her kitchen. 

Lesley with a few of her ewes

A simply stunning grey kat ram lamb

More ram lambs
Moorit ram fleece shot
Grey kat fleece shot

Some of the adult ewes

Ewe lambs

Yummy grey fleece

A nice shaela fleece
Next stop............Somerset with Maurice and Gilly and visits with Jean Curitis, Mary Gibbings and Heather Chapman a day trip to the Shetland Sheep Societies JIP meeting, dining in a castle, visiting Stonehenge and more.......all done in the R.A.I.N!!!! 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

More UK trip photos

A cozy English pub
Garrett and Jenny heading back
You can see she truly loves her sheep.

Jenny thought we might enjoy a break from endless sheep viewing and took us to visit a really nice Cashmere goat operation.  Forgive me for not remembering the name of the lady that owned the goats.  She welcomed us to her beautiful farm and gave us a little tour of her barn and pastures.  Check out the horns on that buck!!! 

Here are a couple younger goats doing what goats 

Here is a really nice shot of the goats in her pasture. 

Her pasture was so beautiful, I just adore the rock formations all around her farm

Don't you just love the head and horn structure on this boy? 

Mike saying hi to one of Jenny's friendly sheep.  I'm sure he was quite sick of seeing sheep by this point in our trip.  Such a good sport about it all.

Fleece shot of one of her sheep.  Very nice.

One of her young rams

Fleece shot of the above ram

Sheep grazing on the fell
We actually did go into Ulverston and visit a trendy little tea shop, had some lunch, bought me some wool socks (I was cold, wet and freezing) and then stopped at a little pub down the road from Jenny & Chris's house to have a couple pints.  They even had the old style taps that you "pull" beer up from the basement with, a true muscle building activity for the female bartender.  Chris had a nice stew for us to eat in the evening and we sat around the fireplace and talked......about sheep of coarse. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Saying goodbye to Tess

I am left wondering how on earth I am going to stop looking for her waiting for me outside the chicken coops, waiting for me outside the shed while I do chores, waiting for me outside the bathroom, sleeping on my side of the bed so close that I can't even step on the floor because of her 95 pounds of German Shepherd being THERE!  How do I not have her greet me at the door each time I come back home?  How long will it take for this huge hole in my heart to heal?  I know there aren't any answers to these questions, each of these things will fade as they do after losing a loved one, but I am hoping that the sharp pain dulls soon.

Tess smiling.............
Tess taking Jasmine the lamb back to the house (2012)

I had 13 years with this wonderful dog, family member and friend and she's been my "one in a million" dog.  She was smart, well behaved, kind and gentle despite her size.  Even as she dealt with the pain of arthritis and as I later found out, cancer.........she never nipped or did anymore than quietly tolerate her burden.  I found out on Tuesday that what I thought was just a heart failure related cough was the least of our worries, she had cancer and it was advanced, so her decline was quick and hard to accept.  I had exactly one week from the day we found out before I saw in her eyes that she was done, she had fought enough.   I saw it coming and decided to spend every minute with her that I could before I didn't have those moments.  
In one of our last nights together Tess and I were laying on her bed with me sobbing like a baby, and her licking tears from my face as if she needed to console me.  How do you repay that kind of love?
By ending her suffering and not being selfish by keeping her because it hurt to let her go, it was time.
Thankfully our vet makes house calls and with her head in my lap and in the safety of her home, we were able to quietly say goodbye. 
Tess and I on Tuesday night (12/2/14) 2 days before she left us
Tess as I will always remember in a million
I weep when I need to, often and without shame because Tess and her love for me and life is worth it.  She loved everyone, she was loving to everything around her and my tears are a tribute to her love.

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....