Friday, August 6, 2010

Sheep Shots

Before my chip ran out of room last night, I took some early evening shots of the sheep.

The lambs are growing, growing, growing. They have turned out to be: 1 musket, 2 moorit w/silver (fawn-like), and 1 moorit. All of the ram lambs have retained beautiful body structure from their sire, Conway.

The musket boy has ended up as my top pic for a herd sire; he has Brownie's fabulous lock structure (soft and curly), Conway's wool length (approx. 4 - 5 inches), and a beatiful and wide horn spread. The moorit would make a lovely sire as well, with his long, primitive coat and dark coloring. Both of them are respectful, even standoffish -- which is very helpful in a ram.

The two fawn-like boys are to be wethered at the vet's very soon. Both of them are super friendly and have gorgeous wool, but their horns are too close together on their heads for my liking. Not to mention, their friendly personalities will make them excellent fiber pets. Except for one wether, they are still for sale.

Please let me know if you're interested in taking home one of these handsome fellows! I can send more photos of wool close-ups, etc. Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Summer of Revelations

Alright, so I absolutely survived my first summer semester back to college. I've missed blogging, but I just haven't had the time between the usual "goings on" here with the kids and the farm and the classes. I took Composition I online and Psychology I on campus. I loved both of my classes, especially once I took a "chill pill."

First, I decided to go back to school last spring. After thinking very hard about a career in nursing, I decided that what I really want is to counsel other people, especially children. In the state of Kansas, this means I will need a Masters. I have time to decide whether I will obtain my bachelor's in Psychology or Social Work, and then a master's to follow. Imagine the levels needed to fulfill this goal; out of about 100 squares I'm on number 2. Lots of grins, though. I just don't mind.

That "chill pill" I was referring to happened about a month into schooling. I was soooo stressing about writing "perfect" papers, taking "perfect" tests, that I just about imploded! When I stood back and evaluated the priorities in my life, specifically, what I wanted to be my personal best at, I realized that getting a high "A" in every class was not at the top of my list. Do I think I have the ability to get all A's in my classes? Yes. However, is it worth it to grump at my husband and kids, stress out, and lose sleep over it? NO! When I realized it wasn't even within the top 3 on my list of important stuff, well, I just relaxed and enjoyed. Of course, the house duties fell behind, the spring-sheared wool was neglected, and the house dogs got stinky; however, I started smiling more and laughing with my daughters. Although hubby NEVER complained -- God Bless the man! -- I'm sure he was a bit relieved as well. Isn't it funny how a simple shift in focus can make the days brighter and the pack on one's back lighter?

During this summer of evaluating, prioritizing and revelations, Troy and I have decided to homeschool our children. Our oldest is four years, so it will be a gradual process, nothing stressful for either of us. At her young age, I'd be fine if she just wanted to play all of the time, but she seems to be inheriting my love for books -- YAHOO! -- and is anxious to learn to read. Who am I to slow that thirst for knowledge?! Troy and I are very excited about the possibilities and advantages they will gain from homeschooling.

Of course, with homeschooling and my own personal choice to "not stress out", my own schooling will simmer on the back burner. As time allows I will continue to plug away at my own courses, and I'm very happy with that decision. If I'm not able to fully pursue my degree(s) until they are off to college, that will simply serve to help me fill the lonely gap their leaving home will undoubtedly create.

Pscyhology was a blast, but I enjoyed my Composition class more than I suspected I would. I have posted my two favorite class essays onto my "Artsy Stuff" blog; one was about a memorable event, and the other was about a memorable person -- both directly pertaining to my own life.

Now that school is out, I can catch up on the housework, the sheep that need deworming, the chicken coops that need cleaning, and the wool that needs skirting & washing. I can start sewing a new quilt and practice making yarn with my drop spindle, at least for a little while. I can even resume taking pics and blogging about sheep, guineas, and all of the other numerous critters that live here (or just stop by for a visit).   :)


I would like to thank my lovely teacher, Ms. Patty McDonald, for all of her help. I wish you could proof everything I write! Your words of encouragement were bolstering to my confidence and very much appreciated.

Thank you Troy, for all of your loving support.

Thank you Ashyln & Scarlett, for loving your Mommy even when she was a tired "grumpy bear."

Thank you Steph, Dani, Mom, Grandma & Grandpa for your listening ears and loving words.

Thank you Dad for discussing Psychology with me; I've enjoyed our talks since I was a little girl.

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for giving me much needed diversions from my schoolwork and stress, especially when I was up late trying to stretch my brain cells for another test.

Thank you God for your ever-patient, loving guidance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guinea Babies!

June has always been the most popular month for birthdays in my family. It seems the Guineas on our farm have followed tradition! Yesterday, while chatting with my sister on the phone, I glanced out the window and saw this...
Of course, this is a shot from our side of the screen window. Go outside, and one gets a clearer view...

Well, by golly! Imagine my surprise, and delight, to see these little ones hopping around in the grass. If you've been following the Guinea saga, you know that this Guinea hen has been disappearing frequently for a few weeks now. I assumed there might be a nest, but I never suspected she'd succeed in hatching her own little brood. Way to go girl!

Mom & Dad are so proud. The keets (guinea babies) are 1 or 2 days old. There are a total of nine little balls of fluff, each small enough to fit into a tiny teacup. Too cute!!!

Both parents are involved in caring for the keets during the day. Even Daddy is sooo gentle with his babies. However, at night he returns to the barn to roost, and Momma and chicks go back to their nest. They are so well-hidden from view that I can't find them, even by flashlight at 1:30 am! I was up anyway, and I thought I might see them better by flashlight. Nope. Well, nature's doing just fine without my help so far. So, we'll just see how it goes. I'll be impressed if all babies make it to adulthood, but that is the natural course of survival. If they do all make it, it's surely going to be one noisy farm! We thought 3 adults Guineas were loud. Ha!

Does anyone out there know anything about Guinea genetics? It looks as though we have Royal Purple keets (same as parents in pic), Pearl keets (same as the first brooding hen who disappeared, permanently), and maybe one chick that could be Bronze or Chocolate (which would be rare), or just a faded Pearl. I'm wondering if two Royal Purple parents can make a Pearl? Or, is it possible the Pearl keets are actually babies from our lost Pearl hen? That would be neat, passing on her legacy.

We humans, so sentimental!

Do you know what it is?

She knows.  :)

Go on, I dare you to guess what kind of fowl's in the first pic!

All will be revealed in time...
tee hee hee, snicker snicker

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unexpected Visitor

Wednesday was our oldest daughter's fourth birthday. At 8:00 am our dogs started to bark at the patio window. I thought maybe a lamb had squeezed through the fencing, or maybe chicken had found her way over the gate. When I looked out the window, this is who I saw...

"Hello, little lady." She was covered in tics, maybe a few days worth. She looked slightly underweight, maybe just by a few days as well. She was scared. Somehow, this tiny little thing found her way past all of the other critters, into the backyard and around to our patio. Hmm.

Currently, we are looking for her owners. However, as each day goes by with no word, the outlook is not favorable. We are very rural, and we all usually know everyone else's business, err pets - uh hum. Anyhow, nobody recognizes her, and I've posted info. regarding a found dog in all of the usual channels. Chances are good she was "dumped" by heartless humans.

If no home is found soon, we will adopt her out. Ashlyn has dubbed her "Barky", although she hasn't uttered a peep yet. She takes to a dog kennel with ease. She has no idea what to do on a leash, but she is starting to get the idea. She is very calm, very quiet, timid, and she would gladly sit on our laps all day long. She is either a toy fox terrier or a miniature rat terrier, and she probably weighs about 5 or 6 pounds. She will make a lovely lap dog. It looks like she might be in heat, or at least coming/going. If I'm right, she will need to be spayed, vaccinated, etc. Her skin is dry and slightly irritated, which could be from the ticks, outside heat, malnutrition, worms, hormones, or white dog/sensitive skin. She's not shown any aggression, even in fear. She's now been exposed to the kids, dogs, cat, chickens and sheep. Her submissive nature should fit easily into an already established pet household.

If anyone is interested in fostering her or adopting her, please let me know.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Growing Lambs

Time goes by so quickly, like a snowball rolling down a hill, getting bigger and bigger and bigger...

Such is the case with our four beautiful ram lambs, born less than two months ago. I have to make decisions on whether any of them are sire quality. This is a hard thing for a new shepardess. However, decide I must! They will all be for sale soon, and it's been such a ram lamb season for most of the shepardesses out there this year. I have to ask myself, "Am I ready to house extra ram(s) for the winter if they are not sold?" Most likely not.

From what I've read, looked at, listened to and learned so far, I think our lambs this year have very nice structure. Their sire, Fairlight Conway, has awesome body structure that he's passed on to all of them. Their wool varies in crimp, length (intermediate and primitive), color (as they mature), and genetics. They are all moorit right now, but one is an Ag musket, who will turn Brownie's lovely oatmeal color. They all carry spotting genetics. Their horns look different from each other, and I'm having a hard time guessing who's horns will turn and clear appropriately. Overall, there are one or two that stand out with the most "ramly" presence.

I've put myself on a deadline to make my final decisions this weekend. Anyone checking out this blog, please feel free to give me your input. For now though, I'm just posting some recent pics to show them off. Regardless whether they are better ram or wether material, they're still lambs and still awfully cute, sweet and fun to hang out with! So without further ado, here are the twin ram lambs from Miss Fairlight Pixie and Miss Fairlight Brownie, sired by Mr. Fairlight Conway.

L to R: Pixie's lamb #1, Brownie's lambs #1 & #2 (musket), Pixie,
(in front, on knees) Pixie's lamb #2

L to R: Brownie's lambs #1 & #2 (musket), Brownie

Brownie's lamb #2 (musket)

Brownie's lamb #1


Brownie's lamb #1


Pixie's lamb #2


L to R: Pixie's lamb #2 & #1, Brownie's lambs #1 & #2 (musket)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Guinea Update

What the heck?! Our lavender female just showed up with the male yesterday. She's been missing for over a week! I've yet to hear her call her "buck-whee" sound. In fact, she hasn't uttered a peep. VERY odd for a guinea. They are not known for their quiet dispositions. However, she looks fit, and she's roosting in the barn again. What kind of adventure do you suppose she's been on?