Monday, September 28, 2009

Summer Into Fall

I am not a good summer person. I like the idea of summer - blue skies, green grass, long, sunny days - iced tea, lemonade, baseball games - but the reality includes heat, humidity and bugs, which I don't do well. I like fall - cooler, less humid weather, the bugs start disappearing. But fall always seems like the end of something to me, in spite of the fact that football season has begun again, breeding groups will go together soon and with that, looking forward to new lambs in the spring. So there is always that touch of melancholy that comes with the last home Brewer game (last night), the first cold, windy day (today), the change of the woods from shades of green to autumn tones -

I think the late A. Bartlett Giamatti, former commissioner of baseball, summed it up pretty well, when he wrote this about baseball:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Monday

Yes, I am still here - if there is anyone left who is still reading my blog, I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I have taken pictures and have had many things to post about over the last few days, weeks, months, but just haven't gotten around to it.

We did go to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival again - exhibiting Shetlands, Polypays and Coopworths in the Hall of Breeds. We talked to lots of people, sold some sheep (thank you to Kathryn Hammond, Lori Behnke, the Randy Taylor family and the Fulks), caught up with old friends, made some new friends, saw many different breeds of sheep and made a few purchases in the vendor barns - on the left, from River's Edge Weaving Studio, Bluefaced Leicester roving, and on the right, Calypso yarn from Creatively Dyed. I also got my annual t-shirt and some really cute sheep napkins from Ewesful Gifts.

In talking to the many people at the Festival, we found out that the Grand Champion Shetland Ram was the son of one of our rams! You can see him on his farm's blog,

In other news, it finally rained last night, after 22 days without rain. The pastures were all brown and stubbly and we are nowhere near the date when we should start feeding hay. But maybe the pastures will green up a bit now and the hay fields can put on a little new growth before the snow flies. I don't know how people live in dry climates - it has been driving me nuts, watching everything green shrivel up before my eyes. But before this drought hit, we had pastures that looked like this:

This is the ewe flock after we turned them out into new pasture awhile ago. Our plan was to flush them on this, but with the lack of rain, this field is now mostly brown. In their attempt at greener pastures, a few of the sheep have braved the electric fence and gone through to the hay field adjacent. The other morning, one of the ewes was on the wrong side of the fence, so I set up some temporary fencing to block her from my parents' backyard, closed off the catch pen so it was empty, propped open the gate back into the pasture and herded her back in. Throughout all this time, the rest of the flock was very interested in what I was doing and being quite vocal about it. As I was closing the gate behind me, having successfully reunited her with her flock, I saw one of our adult Shetland rams come flying across the lane. He went through the electric fence (I don't think he ever saw it!) and began courting the Big Whites! I then had to round up most of the ewe flock into the catch pen, grab Eddie (the ram) and drag him back to his pen (now on the opposite side of the barn, so he can't see the girls!) I don't know if he bred anyone, but he had about 15 minutes while I was grabbing the bucket of corn and the halter. If he did breed anyone, I hope it was one of the few Rambouillets we have left, as I have been curious about the fleece from that cross!

One thing I meant to put in the blog earlier this summer, were the before and after pictures of our barn deck. The barn has been there for a few years - this is the end that faces the house and our back yard:

Larry decided, sometime during lambing this spring, that he would build a deck there. It came out very nicely and is a nice shady spot to sit in the afternoon, when the sun is on the other side of the barn.

The trellis planter had both sweet peas and morning glories, but the morning glories won out. Next year, though, I have to remember to plant a darker color, as the white with faint blue stripes blends into the barn too much:

Well, Blogger has been giving me headaches this morning, so I think I will wrap this up. My parting shot today is of a nest I found out in the Shetland pasture a few weeks ago. If you look closely, you will see that much of it is wool - you know how most nests are really quite heavy for their size, packed densely often with mud? This nest is as light as a feather :) - being about half wool! I'm sure those baby birds were quite toasty in their wool house!