Friday, February 19, 2010

Name the Lambs!

Belle is the first of the ewes to lamb this year, and she was not even one of the gals with obvious baby bumps! Doesn't she look as though she is wearing a really big, so-proud-of-myself grin? She should be: the lambs are both girls and she is taking excellent care of them!

Belle is a rambouillet/merino cross with very fine, nearly-blue-gray fleece. She was a twin, but her sister Blue (get it? Blue & Belle?) is no longer with us. No wonder - Belle will be nine years old next week!

The lambs' father is Max, our white Wensleydale ram, so who knows what sort of fleece they will have. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be beautiful. Now we need some names!

Max and friend

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Signs of Spring

The birds are back, for one thing. A pair of golden eagles that stitched the skies over our hill all winter now have to share with returning red-tail hawks. Kestrels are once again courting and nesting in the barn eaves, doves sit in pairs on the fence in the evening, and a pair of blue birds have taken up their old nest hole in a dead avocado tree.

A sudden hot spell follows weeks of rain and now things that hadn't planned on doing anything for another month or two are in the mood to grow and bloom. Cecil Brunner blooms and shoots out new growth as he crowds out the forsythia in his struggle to reach the power lines:

Rhubarb and strawberries venture forth tentatively:

And some things that I can't even identify thrive quite happily anyway.

The shearer comes down for a day and we see lots of "baby bumps" on the ewes!

I take advantage of the warm, dry winds to wash and dry some of our freshly sheared fleeces before the next wet weather hits.

Evil Kitty catches small creatures and puts them in the bath tub where she can torment them at her leisure. At least the remains are easy to clean up.

She is particularly hard on the lizard and skink population, though I have managed to save several still-alive, albeit tail-less, skinks. Poor things; apparently they can reach an age of about 5 or 10 years, but I fear our population may not be so lucky. We continue to have words on the subject of predation and conservation. She does not appear to care.

Moths have hit my woolens. I wanted hubby to take a home-grown, spun and knit cashmere scarf with him on his trip to Chicago; alas, it was chewed to bits.

I was sad because I couldn't remember when I had made it or if I had worn it or if I had a good time doing either. I told him to throw it in the trash because it made me feel so awful.
Then I went out and retrieved it. At first Evil Kitty wanted it for her bed,

but I dissuaded her and patiently frogged it, tying the shorter bits together and winding them up until there was just a ball left. I think I will leave it like that for a while.

And then there is always this:

Coming up for Air

I can NOT believe that it is February 2010 and I am another year older ALREADY!! The last time I looked it was fall, we were looking forward to a Thanksgiving road trip to Texas for a family fest. (men working, below)

An amazing time was had by all, and then we came home and then....what happened?

Perhaps it was more than a premonition that hit me as we drove west with the night through Arizona and then on into California. Beautiful, clear starry skies had taken over from the snow storms of the previous days.

We had rested a day near Tucson, and picked up a goat, which dozed happily in in a dog kennel in the back of the motor home (another story).

All was warm and well with the world and I was musing about things that I hadn't done and hadn't become and would never see when I was suddenly hit with the distinct sensation that my body was shooting down a steep slide, or tube. Time and space pressed up against me, stars passing by in a blur, like when one of the sci-fi space ships hits warp speed in the movies.

"It's not you," the spirits chided. "Nobody cares what you do; you're not important. It is what comes through you to your children, and their children, and theirs to come that matters."

Fortunately, I wasn't driving, so I had some time to try to tuck myself back inside my head before we hit the ground running and then ran all the way into 2010.