Fun in the Barn

In this post  Katie and Meryl cleaned out the barn. You get used to how cluttered things are and the forget what the space looks like when its cleaned out. Now while Katie was continuing to work the barn made a great place to watch the kids–especially since that week it was so hot.IMG_7657-2         There was plenty of room to run.IMG_7662            Plenty of room to chase bubbles.IMG_7666

IMG_7676           Plenty of room for drawing with chalk. Notice who is just outside the barn door painting. The kids didn’t know that and I kept them distracted inside. IMG_7664              Someone else needed entertaining too. IMG_7681                     I taught Kirby about hopscotch.IMG_7686



IMG_7691              Aunt Meryl came to the barn to play. While all the names of all the other aunts are are pronounced “aunt” like the 6-legged ant, Kirby says Aunt Meryl with the “au” part as in Australia. We have no idea why because no one else says it that way.IMG_7701                  I hid balls under the rubber tubs and then Kasen just started pushing them around the barn.

IMG_7699              Naptime.


Kids in the Barn

The grandkids went home earlier in the week but I still want to share photos from their time here. Katie’s visit was for almost three weeks and she agreed to spend some of the time painting the barn if she got help with the kids (that’s me).IMG_7592                     I had planned to have the prep work done ahead of time, but I didn’t to that so Katie spent the first day  power-washing. IMG_7597           Uncle Chris gives the best shoulder rides. IMG_7600                     The kids got plenty of exercise outside and definitely needed naps each day.IMG_7602               Before I got into the routine of putting Kasen down for his nap the carseat seemed to  be an easy way to get him to sleep. One lap with the carseat in the wagon and he was out.IMG_7606              Then it was time to go to the house with Kirby to work on a project. IMG_7607             She helped to warp the rigid heddle loom with a project in her favorite color.IMG_7615           Back to the barn after nap time.IMG_7614          Katie admitted that she got carried away with the power washer on the inside of the barn. It looked great because she and Meryl (DIL) moved all the clutter out of the alleyway. (I still have to figure out where to put all that stuff that was moved.)IMG_7618             The puddles were irresistible for Kasen.IMG_7627



IMG_7631                  I asked for this green wagon for Christmas because I knew that I could use it during lambing season. It sure came in handy during this time with the kids here.  I found that I could even drag the wheelbarrow and the wagon at the same time. IMG_7637


Cutest Grandkids Ever

The Texas family has gone home. I need to get back to my regular work. But I also want to share some of these Cute Grandkid photos. After all, this blog is really mostly a scrapbook for myself as well as being partly about my business of weaving and raising sheep. When there are so many photos and I get behind then it’s harder to start. Too many photos. This one or that one? Delete? Edit? Share?

I made the hard decision and chose some of my favorites from one of the first days the kids were here. Kirby had gone on an overnight trip with the other grandma and I went with Katie and 17-month-old Kasen to San Francisco for an informal brunch following Katie’s friend’s wedding the previous day. We stayed about as long as Kasen could last and then took him to the beach.



DSC_1358                  I love the expressions on this kid’s face.





Later that day…


IMG_7575             The hay feeders are a little high for Kirby to reach without the hay falling all over her.


IMG_7584                 Kirby told me she was making a nest for the other chickens.


Evaluating Lambs

We had 81 lambs this year. I’d like to keep…well I’d like to keep a lot but realistically I should keep only about five. In fact since the JSBA AGM is here in August I should allow myself enough space to buy/trade from other people. So I have to narrow down my choices. I also have to figure out which lambs will be sold to other breeders and which may go to market. It would be nice to wait until they are all six months old or more to evaluate them but that is not realistic either. I am weaning the oldest lambs now and buyers want to take them home. (And I need to get them away from here because they are getting bigger and eating more.)

I take lots of photos of lambs as they grow to put on the Sheep for Sale part of the website, but sometimes I need to gather the whole batch to be able to make real comparisons. I did this about a month ago.2-horn ram lambs           First I sort and start narrowing down choices. This is two-horn rams.2-horn ram lambs-2           More two-horn rams. 4-horn ram lambs          Four-horn rams (except for the one I liked best who broke his horn this morning and I put him out so he would hopefully not keep knocking it on others). I bred to two two-horn rams and one four-horn ram last year. There are more two horn lambs than four. Some ram lambs are missing from these groups because I had already castrated those that I knew right away would not be candidates for registration (too much or too little color or horns that were too close). Time to narrow these into groups.4-horn ram lambs-3         These are rams who will be on the cull list. It doesn’t take much for a ram to be moved to that list. In this case two of these lambs (on the right) have wide spacing between the upper and lower horns. That seems like it would be a good thing, but usually those upper horns tip forward and sometimes there are other issues with them. I’ll report back with more photos as they keep growing. The lamb facing the photo on the left doesn’t have enough spacing between horns. His right side horns are already touching at the base leaving no room for growth. The other two both have a lot of freckling, although it’s hard to see without parting the fleece and one is scrawny.

4-horn ram lambs-2         Three of the potential 4-horn breeding rams. Nice horn spacing and shape so far. No sign of freckling. Color % OK. Nice looking fleeces. Britch wool not too high on back leg. IMG_7068             Out of two pens of ram lambs I pulled these four out as potential at this point. That is mostly due to the wide horn growth. There may be others in the pens but I won’t guarantee the horn spread yet. Of course, they all have to meet the other criteria mentioned above as well.IMG_7067           Here they are from the rear.IMG_7071           Another from the front showing the ram with the best horn spread so far.

On to the ewe lambs.4-horn ewe lambs            These are the 4-horn ewes. I will be less picky about the ewe lambs than the rams. The breed standard isn’t so stringent and each ewe doesn’t play as large a part in the flock as the ram. Keeping a variety of ewe lambs is a good way to maintain some genetic diversity (although that is a good reason to buy some lambs from other people in August).2-horn ewe lambs             The 2-horn ewe lambs.2-horn ewe lambs-4       Another view of the pen on the right. Notice the two lambs (sisters) in the upper left corner. Compare their horn growth to the others. All these lambs are about the same age. Those two are showing minimal horn growth compared to the rest. I don’t know if that is temporary and their horns will be just fine when they are mature or if those are scurs. This is another reason to look at the lambs in a group. All of the rest of these lambs look fine to me so it will be hard to narrow this down to only a few to keep.4-horn ewe lambs-2            These are some of my 4-horn choices. Preliminary selection is based on wool and lack of freckling in the lamb and the dam.4-horn ewe lambs-3              The same group from the rear.  I don’t fault the sheep for their rear leg position, but from this photo it would be the lamb on the left that I’d take to a show.2-horn ewe lambs-3            Two horn lambs that I like.2-horn ewe lambs-2          From the rear.

Uh oh.  I have selected a few more than my original five or fewer. There will be more selection work ahead.

Grandkids Are Here

Kirby is almost 4 and she says that her favorite things are unicorns, fairies, and rainbows.

Kasen is 17 months.

Jade is still the favorite sheep.


IMG_7450                                                 The kids will be in California for about 2-1/2 weeks.

Maryland 2018 – Day 5, The End

I have ended up with a third post to finish out this day (and the Maryland trip).  After visiting the beautiful old houses in Cumberland (this post) I went in search of more of the C & O Canal and planned to do some hiking before getting back to the motel in Frederick.DSC_0788 I shared photos of other parts of the canal in this post and the first post about this Maryland trip. This is the lockhouse at Lock 75, the westernmost lock on the C & O Canal.DSC_0796

DSC_0799      Turtles sunning themselves in the canal near Lock 75.

IMG_7053 I drove along some of the roads in this area looking for more places to explore and found Locks 73 and 74.IMG_7051Notice the railroad over the canal in the previous two photos. The railroad and the canal were competitors for business during the era of the canal. Repeated flooding and competition from the railroad were the reasons for the demise of the canal system in 1924. DSC_0809 I saw a flash of this animal as he ran under the bridge. This is the first groundhog that I’ve seen.

I drove on and came to a sign for the Pawpaw Tunnel. From Wikipedia: “The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot-long canal tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland. Located near Paw Paw, West Virginia, it was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac Rier containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. The town, the bends, and the tunnel take their name from the pawpaw trees that grow prolifically along nearby ridges…Built using more than sixteen million bricks, the tunnel has been described as the greatest engineering marvel along he C & O Canal national Historical Park.” DSC_0816  I had read on line that the tunnel was closed but thought that I’d be able to see the canal and walk along the towpath. This photo seems typical of much of the length of the towpath–a beautiful hardwood forest and a broad path to walk. One thing that I noticed everywhere was the number of birds. I didn’t see all of them–but there was quite a chorus in the woods. DSC_0819 So I got to this sign and decided to take the detour.DSC_0821       Wooden planks crossed the canal.DSC_0823 The trail wound up into the woods.DSC_0826 This overlooks the town of Paw Paw, West Virginia.DSC_0837Viola pedata, Birdsfoot Violet.DSC_0841After hiking what seemed quite far into the woods I came back down to the canal and the towpath and saw this sign. From the looks of the terrain I assumed that is where the tunnel is even though the first sign had said it was open.DSC_0844I walked the other direction,  and saw this lock. The path continued around a bend.DSC_0846This was confusing. I assumed that there was a reason to make a detour and wasn’t sure if I continued to walk along here (towards where the detour sign had been) that I wouldn’t come to an impassable spot. Why else would there have been that sign? Or was I completely turned around? It was getting late in the day and my mind started to play tricks. Are there bears in these woods? I’m all by myself and no one knows where I am or will know if I don’t return. My phone battery is almost dead. There was no cell service, but I wouldn’t even have a flashlight.DSC_0851     So I decided to turn around and go back the way I had come. DSC_0854


DSC_0865No bears, but there were a lot of squirrels.DSC_0860 Crossing the canal.

I was disappointed to not find the tunnel, but this was a beautiful place to hike and a good end to the day. I drove the beautiful Country Roads of West Virginia (I want to break into song here) back to the freeway. DSC_0872 I hit this point at dusk.DSC_0869  It was dark by the time I got to the freeway and I got back to Frederick at about 9:30 after a long day. That was it. I flew home the next day.