Thursday, February 26, 2015

New grandbaby girl!

Lyla May is waving hello to all of us.
Today is her birthday.
She was born early this morning at 2:26.
She is 7 lb. 10 oz. and is 19" long.
Mom and Dad are well and happy.
Lyla will join her sisters Bee and Rootie Tootie.
We're all so excited and blessed.




Monday, February 23, 2015

Lamb hospital....


Jody's Lamb Hospital was open for business today with three invalids in for starvation, dehydration, and hypothermia, and all three were dumped on the doorstep by negligent mothers.  One lambie was a twin and her brother was loved and she was not.  She needed good, sheep colostrum which I happened to have in the freezer.  That perked her up in a jiffy.  Then she needed to learn to stand and  walk before she could go back to the barn to the bum pen.  Another of the lambs was chilled down and starving.  Some warm milk, a heat pad, and a good rub-down fixed him up.  The other was in fairly good shape so he was fed some milk and went back to his mama.  Needless to say, those bad mothers all have a big, red, paint mark on their heads and backs and will leave the ranch in the summer.  Two of these lambies will join one other bum lamb who has been in the bum pen at the barn for several days.  Their names are:  Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.  Of course, you know these as rabbit names from Beatrix Potter, but lambs look cute like bunnies and so they should get cute names too, don't you think? 


The ewes are lambing right along with 15 of them in the barn who lambed in the last 24 hours.  It is supposed to be very nice tomorrow so all of the new moms and babies will get to go outside to pasture for some sunshine and frisking about.

On a sad note, Sam the Speckled Sussex, who was our rooster, died.  I'm not sure why, but he was acting very strange this past week or so, not wanting to go into the coop at night and wandering about aimlessly away from the hens which was very unusual.  I'll have to add on a cockeral chick to the baby chicks order at the feed store.  So it goes.

I hope you are staying warm wherever you are.  I have had an all-day roaring fire for two days straight;  it has been so cold here, but no snow so I can still wear my cowgirl boots to the barn.  Today was better -- up to 38* -- but it was cloudy and the WIND was crazy-wild and made our so-called warm day very chilly. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A cool find...



In our trade-town we have a monthly market downtown called Saturdays On State.  (State is the name of the main downtown street).  It's a vintage style market with lots of repurposed furniture, antiques, old west things, Pyrex and even some handmade knitted and crocheted things.  It's a lot of fun and we ranchgirls try to take that one day a month and treat ourselves to a day out shopping and eating lunch out.  This time I scored a really cool 1950s vintage floor lamp.  I spotted it immediately amongst all the other very wonderful stuff, and I just knew I would be taking it home.  The lampshade alone is worth around $60 to $75 on Ebay, but I got the entire lamp for $58.  I felt it was very fair.  It's heavy duty and the fiberglass shade imprinted with feathers looks so fitting in my ranch home.  At least I think so.  

  

The bug-a-boo in the lamp was the fact that it had this ginormous light bulb in it that I was sure could not be found nowadays.  I asked the seller about it and she said she thought I could replace the entire guts of the lamp.  I knew that could be an option, but I thought I'd try to hunt down the bulbs.  Nope.  Nothing.  When I got home I figured I'd order a kit for the lamp, but then FirstBornSon had a better idea.  He said I should try to find an adapter for it to screw into the socket base where the bulb was screwed in.  I found that my lamp had a "mogul sized base" and I needed a "medium sized base" so I checked on Amazon and sure enough, they had an adapter from mogul to medium for about $5.  Easy fix!  I was thrilled.  I share this with you so that if you ever come across a really wonderful, old lamp that has a huge light socket, buy it, and get yourself a $5 adapter.  Easy to fix!
 

 Here's my own little quiet corner where I read and drink my coffee each morning, and sit and reflect each evening.  I set the lamp right next to me to provide a little extra light when I need it.  The log is my side table.  Usually my favorite coffee mug sits there.

It has turned cold here again.  We're just 2* tonight.  Pretty cold for little lambies to be born.  Thankfully we have a good barn that is bedded with a heavy layer of straw that insulates against some of the cold.  But tomorrow is a new day, and it sounds like it will warm up and the sun will shine.  We will take as many ewes and lambs out as we can tomorrow.  It's all going pretty well.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Birthday...

It was Honey Hubby's 53rd birthday today.  Some of our kids and grandkids came for a pancake supper with bacon and side pork.  It's a family tradition to request your favorite meal for birthday supper.  It was sure good.  The big Ta-da was the Pineapple Upside-down Cake.  I didn't have the proper pineapple rings called for in the recipe, but I did have pineapple tidbits and marchino cherries.  It worked just fine.

The lambing has been in a slump these past three days, but I know it won't last for long.  We're expecting a change in the weather, and that usually means the babies come in a wave when that happens.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's a coincidence, or maybe it is the weather.  Today we had a good number of babies born, and we have one bum lamb.  She was a twin.  The mama ewe loved one, but not the other, so I'm her mama now.  She's a good lamb and took to the bottle right away.  There's a chance we might find her a new mama yet.  We'll see.

OnlyDaughter is waiting on her baby which is due March 5th.  She's feeling very heavy-with-child just now.  We're waiting for the phone call that tells us it's time to pick up the children when Mama goes into labor.  There's a family contest, guessing what sex the baby will be and on what day he/she will be born.  I guessed February 28th, boy.  Hubby thought it would be ok if the baby was born on his birthday, but we're running out of time for that at 10:00 pm just now.  It would have to come fast!

Hoping all is well with you.  Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birth....

(First lamb born, getting licked off)





Now she gives birth to her second lamb. Do you see the first little lamb in the foreground?  I put the ewe and her lambs in the barn, and guess what? She had a third! Triplets! Things are getting busy!

First lambs....


The first lambs were born yesterday!  So far, two singles and one set of twins.  All are thriving.  Today they will get their numbers, applied with special, scourable spray paint, to identify which lambs go with which ewes, and then they will be turned out of the barn to a small pasture where there is also shelter in case of cold weather.   Lucky lambs will be able to frisk in the sunshine today!

Yesterday was a gloomy day, although fairly warm, and today started out cold -- just 15*-- but the temp is climbing and we're expecting a balmy 55* by the time the fog and frost burns away!  I hope there are lots of lambs born on a day like today.

The Littles are so excited about the new babies being born.  The nice thing about lambs is that they are small enough that the children can hold them and fiddle with them, and we don't have to worry about them getting hurt, although it hurts to get run over by a big, fat ewe, and that does happen occasionally.  I love lambing for the same reasons -- they are smaller animals to handle, and I can do the work by myself for the most part.  Calving is harder if you have to get a cow/calf pair in or if a heifer needs assistance birthing.  But if a ewe needs some assistance, I can do it without having to go get help.

We're in the honeymoon part of lambing right now, but soon the night checking and the long days of work will accumulate and it'll become what it is -- good, honest work.  There are 336 head of ewes to lamb -- about 75 head more than we had last year.  Busy days ahead!

My fingernails (Jamberries) are holding up STILL!  Of course, you can tell I have working hands, but I would think just nail polish would have been badly chipped and peeling by now.  The Jamberry nails have a few dings and I've had to trim them a little, but they don't look half bad right now.  I'm pretty impressed.

Here are all of the girls (some you can't see) that are waiting their turns to have their own baby lambs. Lots of fun ahead!  I hope you have a bright, bright sunshiney day!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Pat the dog...

While I pat the dog, I'll show you my pretty fingernails!  I haven't actually *done* my nails in quite some time.  Probably, it was for someone's wedding a year or so ago, but I can't be sure, and even then, it wasn't an all-out manicure kind of thing.  No.  Just a swoosh over my nails with a coat of something soft and shimmery and nothing more.  But this time, because of my daughter's urging, I tried something that's all the rage in nail art -- Jamberry Nails.  These are laminated nails that stick on by heat application; they are not nail polish.  It's a do-it-yourself manicure that, for me, took over an hour to do.  But.....I am not the fussiest, most careful, nor the most patient person with this sort of thing.  It was a challenge for me especially since this set is clear on the bottom.  Perhaps if they had been a color or pattern, it might have been easier for my 52 year old eyes to see better while applying them.  Nonetheless, I did it, and honestly, I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.  Imperfect, but good enough for this ranchwife.  My hands look rather feminine and fancy!  The Jamberries make my nails look longer than they really are.  They barely peek past the top of my fingertips, but the way this French-tip manicure is designed, it makes my short nails look longer.  I like that.

So far, I've only been wearing the Jamberries two days, and I admit that I have not been particularly careful with them.  I should be.  I've washed cast iron skillets with a Curly Kate, I've scraped sticky glue adhesive off a bottle with my nails (mistake), I've been working up at the shed too, so I've not treated my nails with much care.  Therefore, I have had to trim the ends a wee bit on some of my most-used-nails.  I found that if I warmed up the bottom of a tweezer over a candle and pressed my Jamberry wrap down it worked to re-adhere a little edge that was coming up.

It is said that the nail wraps should last about two weeks.  We'll see.  Have any of you tried Jamberry Nail Wraps?  If you are going to, be sure to watch a few YouTube videos first.  I started in without doing it and messed up a couple of my wraps.  Oh well, now I know better.  If you have tried Jamberry Nails, will you use them again?  Did they hold up well for you?

Now.... back to patting the dog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sheep shearing day...

The sheep come through the alley from inside the barn and walk up the ramp and into the shearing trailer where four strong, high-endurance men sheared each ewe.  We were so lucky to get a perfect day for shearing.  It was about 60 degrees and sunny which is very unusual for us for an end-of-January-day.

 The shorn wool goes out the right side of the trailer to the skirters who take off all the dirty parts and bag them separately from the good fleece, and the shorn ewes go out the left side of the trailer through a trap door that leads them out to pasture.  The sheep look very pinky-white and are so clean.


 Here the skirters throw fleeces onto a rotating table where they take off all the dirty pieces.  Then the fleece is folded up and put into this sacker contraption that pushes all the wool into sacks that will be taken to town and sold at the local wool warehouse.  We had five sacks of fleeces and two sacks of what are called "bellies" which are the underparts and the short bits of wool.  Generally, the skirters can get about 50 fleeces into each sack, depending on the weight of each.  In the past, we've had fleeces that weighed approximately 10 pounds each.

 This ewe has a black speckled nose and black speckled eyes and ear tips.  She's pretty, isn't she?

Fresh-shorn sheep grazing .  You may not believe it, but there is actually a little green grass coming up amidst that old, brown grass.  Sheep have perfect mouths for getting at that low-growing grass.

After the shearing, everyone came up to our house for a late lunch.  I think we served about 14-15 people today.  It seemed all my mom and I did was wash and dry dishes.  We had beef brisket sandwiches with homemade barbeque sauce, coleslaw, fresh fruit salad, oven roasted potatoes and chips.  There was warm coconut-oatmeal cake and ice cream for dessert.

Tally:  258 ewes sheared
             14 bucks sheared


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forever in blue jeans....

I've decided it's time.....



 ...to cut up blue jeans.  My mother-in-law used to say she "turned jeans out to pasture" when they were worn out enough to start cutting them up. You cannot imagine how many, many pair of jeans I have stashed for use in mending and for jean quilts.  I've made all of my kids blue jean quilts from our family castaways, and now I feel it's time to get cutting again and start making more quilts.  My main goal is to get squares cut in various sizes.  That task alone takes lots of time when you consider that you must take off all the seams and hems before you can even begin to measure and cut.  I figure if that part is done, the sewing will come easy. So far I've cut 6" and 7" squares and 8x5" rectangles, all with hopes of sewing them together into quilts.  While I've got the bug, I'm just doing it!  I
think picnic sized quilts would be the best since denim quilts are SO heavy and hard to handle on a sewing machine when they get very big.

(I couldn't resist adding this label from the pocket of a pair of old Levis)

Do you remember the days of the Shrink-to-fit, button-fly, 501 Levis?  I think they still make them, but those were the very best jeans back in the day.  If you had a pair that made it to nearly faded-white, you really had something.  Those jeans wore like iron.  Nowadays we are lucky if we can get a pair of jeans to last 6 months with hard wear.  And what's with the pockets in women's jeans?  You can't even fit a tube of chapstick in them let alone a pocket knife!  Now take a look at this Levis pocket label -- it's big enough to write a whole paragraph on it and add some swanky emblems and such.  Those were some real pockets.  And who doesn't love the Levis back pocket with the little red tab peeking out?



This past week I assembled a few of my squares into a small quilt -- baby sized.  I've decided I'll  leave it unfinished for now until I decide who to give it to.  It might be for one of my grandkids, but it might be for someone else.  I think it will be nice to have a few of these in my gift stash when a baby comes along or when someone needs a heavy lap quilt or picnic quilt, and then I can add the backing and the binding to match the person. 

Here are three of the five jeans quilts I made years ago.  Here and here and here.  My kids love them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New moon, stars, and Lovejoy...

What is it about the wintertime sky that makes it so absolutely black and the stars so absolutely bright?  Of course, the moon, being new, keeps the night sky dark, but there's a crispness, a sharpness that makes the stars so very clear this time of year.  This is a very amateur photo of the night sky just at dusk where you are seeing Venus and the New Moon.  I was reminded by MK over at Through a Glass, Darkly that there is much to see in the sky right now.  Her husband, Adam, is conducting an  Astronomy class, and they, too, were observing the New Moon and Venus.  See it here.

So after enjoying a lovely gaze at the Moon and Venus, I ventured into the Eastern Sky to look for the comet, Lovejoy.   I had tried to see it back around January 7th when was supposed to be at its peak brightness, but I could not spot her then.  We were in-and-out of cloudy weather at that time so perhaps that was my trouble.  I went back to my favorite sky-gazing website, Sky & Telescope, to find out where Lovejoy should be found since it continues to move away.  S&T said it was between Pleiades and Aries.  First I looked in the Eastern sky for Orion's 3-star belt, then up from there I spotted Pleiades.  With bare eyes, Pleiades looks like a dusty web of stars way up above Orion, but with binoculars, the star collection is very clear.  Then I found Aries to the right of Pleiades.  Now.....somewhere in the middle of the two, there should be a fuzzy green ball of light that is Lovejoy.  We usually think of comets with long, bright tails, but with just a pair of binoculars, all I would see was a fuzzy green-gray ball and no tail.  Here is the link to tonight's viewing of Lovejoy in case you want to see the sky map.  Lo and behold!  I found it.  I found it several times to my great joy!

(From Sky & Telescope by Alan Dyer)

I was so excited, I had to share the fun by calling my parents in town.  They had been looking for Lovejoy these past weeks too.  OnlyDaughter and her two children were there for supper so they all went out on the deck to see the New Moon and Venus, and to try to spot Lovejoy.  I phoned the neighbor grandkids too and told them I'd come over to show them the stars and the comet.  All of our littles have learned to spot the moon -- day or night -- and they are turning into curious little sky watchers. (Do you know how that thrills my heart?)

Outdoors I went, tramping through the little bit of pasture that is between our houses and met the grands who were in their jammies and who were pulling on their coats, hats, mitts and boots to go out to look at the sky.   Their Mama, JLo, and the oldest, Peach, are very good students, trying hard to see each thing, but Toodles and Boy Blue just enjoyed running around in the darkness screaming and playing.  We found the constellations and JLo found the comet too.  I'm not sure if Peach did, but we did see another interesting thing.  A star, I think, that was flickering red, green, white.  At first I thought it was a plane, but it stayed stationary in the sky and was very bright, easy to see with bare eyes.  It was located near Orion. I looked for it on Sky & Telescope's "This Week's Sky at a Glance," and I think it must be  R. Geminorum (from Jan. 20th's posting).  It says, "R. Geminorum is a red long-period variable star."  That certainly described it.  So many, many things to see in our vast night sky.  I hope you are able to take a few moments of your evening to enjoy it.  So much to see!  So much beauty!
Gemini shines high in the east these evenings, off to the left of Orion. In Gemini's center lies R Geminorum, a red long-period variable star sporting the rare elements zirconium and technetium. R Gem is brightening toward a February maximum - See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/weeks-sky-glance-january-16-24/#sthash.OIIyQHKO.dpuf

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