Shearing Day

We sheared on February 3, almost exactly a year from shearing in 2017. This is such a fun day. Farm Club members are there to get their fleeces from the year, but they also do all the work!

Shearing-GB-198-3                                                  Our fabulous shearer is John Sanchez. We started with the rams. This is Peyton, the new BFL. His fleece sold right away.15078 Catalyst-4                 Next was the 2 year old lilac ram, Catalyst.15078 Catalyst                   Here he is afterwards and…Catalyst fleece-1                …here is his fleece.Catalyst fleece-2                   A staple of Catalyst’s fleece.DSC_7513            Catalyst’s son, Cayenne, after shearing. You can see what he looked like before shearing near the end of this post.

Shearing-DS-198-5                    One of the shearing day jobs is weighing and recording fleeces. Kathleen and Lisa did that job.

Shearing-DS-198-4                 We had two skirting tables set up this year. Farm Club members skirted their fleeces and helped others skirt and sort.

Shearing-DS-198-2                                                                   I set up the GoPro for some shearing video. That will be coming later.IMG_4602              Roy and Gina worked in the sheep pen.IMG_4604                   So did Deborah and Shelby. They all made sure that John never ran out of sheep.IMG_4637                Kathleen, Lisa, and Dona. Dona is our “official” Farm Club photographer because I’m always too busy to take photos on our Farm Days. She took some of the photos here.17054-Jolene-Fleece-1                  This is what a fleece looks like when you take the coat off the sheep.

IMG_4683                  Here is that same fleece after shearing.IMG_4687                  Locks from Jolene’s fleece.17050-Jillian-fleece                Another beautiful fleece on the table.IMG_4665                 Doris made Jacob sheep cookies for us.IMG_4688

These sheep won’t be around long enough to need shearing.



Sheep — Pre-Shearing

In the post I wrote before this one I talked about getting the barn ready for shearing and I showed some fleece photos here. Here are some pre-shearing sheep photos.1056 Hot Lips             Hot Lips.

14014 Janis2                Janis

15031 Honey2               Some of the sheep are coated. This is Honey.16011 Sylvia-2                  Sylvia.

16042 Stacy               Stacy

Shelby-17046-Lavendar             Shelby and her daughter, Lavendar.

17025 Cayenne-2                                                         Almost 1-year old rams, Cayenne and…

.17029 Serrano                                                   …Serrano.

And these fleeces didn’t disappoint.

Shearing Day Prep

Shearing Day was a week ago and I’ve been so busy that there has been no time to sort through my photos or do anything fun on my computer (like writing blog posts). Now I’m going to try and catch up.

Shearing Day at our place is an Open House event so it’s a good time to get the place cleaned up and ready for visitors. It took me several hours to finally deal with the mess in the “milking stall” of the barn. That’s where we used to milk the goats but it is now kind of my barn office. I don’t have photos of before and after but I did take a photo of one solution I found for organizing some of the vet supplies.

IMG_4547                  I not only found a plastic tub to keep the dust and cobwebs and rats away but I wrote the names on the tops of the bottles so that I don’t have to pull each of them out every time I’m looking for something. This is so simple, but it makes me inordinately pleased–why didn’t I think of it before? IMG_4548             While I was cleaning inside the barn Dan was working outside. We had finally had some rain so felt more comfortable burning the brush pile.IMG_4541               By the way we burned this on Thursday. This doesn’t look like much but it was a pretty not fire. Even though it looked like it was out on Monday there were still hot spots and smoke.

IMG_4544                    That burn pile is right next to the ram pen. Here are the five of them. The 4-horned rams are Serrano and his dad, Buster. The lilac 2-horns are Cayenne and his sire, Catalyst. That’s Gotham in front. IMG_4546                  In the meantime, Dan is working on the west side of the barn. This has been a multi-year project but I think it may get finished this year.

I was trying to get ready for shearing but was also dealing with taxes, the clutter I still haven’t taken care of in the house after painting my office, weaving deadlines, etc. I found another way to procrastinate.IMG_4553              Let’s put the GoPro on a sheep. Jade is the obvious choice, being the best pet sheep.IMG_4549              The first thing she did was run into the barn. When one sheep runs, they all do.IMG_4553           Then she shook her head and it was obvious that I didn’t have the camera secured well enough.

IMG_4554                 At that point I needed a scoop of grain to entice her.            IMG_4561                  I had used the headgear that is meant for wearing the camera, but it was meant for a human head and didn’t wrap around the horns very well. I found the brace I use for my elbow and that seemed to secure it better.IMG_4566              I’ve looked at the footage. It’s not as exciting as we might hope for. Maybe if she wore the GoPro all day (and there was enough battery life to do that…and then we condense it all into a minute) it would be interesting. But it’s not like she’s going to be skydiving or snorkeling. For this trial run she pretty much just looked at the barn, the pasture, and me.

IMG_4563                  I will still do something with the video but it probably won’t be winning any film festivals.


Father and Son

Whenever I am doing something with the ewes in the back the rams get fired up.

Buster-Serrano-2               This is Serrano and his dad, Buster.Buster-Serrano-1                  One of these days, Serrano may come out the boss.Buster-Serrano-4                    But not yet.Buster-Serrano-3Buster-Serrano-5Buster-Serrano-6Buster-Serrano-7Buster-Serrano-8           Buster is still boss.

This is not a dead sheep.DSC_7126                  This is Gotham sleeping on a foggy morning. When the rams lie with their heads propped up by their horns they do look dead.

Shearing Prep

In my last post I talked about the project of fixing up my office and all the prep involved. The prep isn’t usually the most fun part of a project, but is necessary. My prep for shearing has been spent mostly doing major clean-up in the barn, but a few weeks ago Farm Club came for part of the prep.

DSC_7105              It’s hard to imagine now with unseasonably low-70’s daytime highs for the last few days and predicted for the next week, but during most of January we had fog and drizzle. On he morning of our Farm Day this was what the brush pile looked like–a wool flower forest.

DSC_7133                  I don’t really like to see this because it means the sheep are rubbing on these branches.16062 Cindy-2                 We are shearing tomorrow. This is Cindy in full fleece. 15078 Catalyst               The lilac ram, Catalyst.15567 Shelby                  I love Shelby’s blue eyes.IMG_4293                   We caught each sheep and inspected their fleeces. Farm Club members get first dibs on fleeces on Shearing Day and they can pre-select them on our Farm Day.IMG_4304

IMG_4308                  We also clean the ear tags so that they will be easy to read on Shearing Day. That’s Carole with the towel working on the tag.

IMG_4309                                               Mary makes sure that fleece reservations are recorded on cards and that the ear tags match the ID on the card.IMG_4314                    Another great day with Farm Club.IMG_4321                      I noticed that white line in the fleece of Terri, a 2017 lamb. I don’t have an explanation for that.

IMG_E4317                  I love the ability to write on the photos on my phone.





Are you as excited about Shearing Day as we are?

DIWF Make-over

You’ve hear of DIY, Do-It-Yourself. DIWH is Do-It-With-Friends. Without friends offering to help and setting a date this Make-over wouldn’t have happened. I was going to wait until it was everything was finished before I wrote a blog post, but that may be awhile.

At the January Spinners Day Out we were discussing de-cluttering. I said that I really needed to deal with the mess in my office and then I wanted to paint it. Carole offered to paint. Dona said she’d help. Really? I’d better take advantage of those offers.

We set a date. IMG_4283                  I bought sample cans of paint. How to choose? I was tempted by all the sheepy choices, but I wasn’t going for gray. I thought I’d start with Pure Wool and a couple of the yellows.

I am embarrassed to show the photo below, but I didn’t take a “before” photo of the office and this will have to do. Believe me, my office wasn’t this bad. I had started the de-cluttering by very methodically sorting and boxing things and even finding a few things to give away or (gasp!) throw away. But by the time I had only a day or two left before our chosen work day I had to give up the organized de-clutter and just move it all with no thought to order. Get it out of the room!

IMG_4335              This is our unused “guest room” which really has never become a guest room because there isn’t a bed right now and it has been full of overflow from everything else–extra looms, boxes, kids’ stuff, etc. Now it is a real disaster area.IMG_4327           Back to the now un-cluttered room. The prep is always the worst part (besides moving all the Stuff.) Dona and Carole didn’t come just for the painting part. They helped with all the prep work.

When my son was younger we painted the walls in different colors–red, blue, and green, and the closet was bright orange. When he got older his girlfriend (now wife) thought that he should have more a more grown-up room and they painted gray, blue, and black. My plan was to paint over those colors with white and yellow.IMG_4329           Ready to try out the paint. Carole is a remodeling pro and has the right tools for the job. She brought the Merino wool roller (and I found that you do get what you pay for). IMG_4331               We started with samples. Soft Wool was the obvious choice for the white. I thought that I was going to like You Are My Sunshine, but decided to go with the lighter Float Like a Butterfly.

IMG_4334                  I had taken metal shelf brackets off the wall and in doing so started peeling off old wall paper that was covered by layers of paint. It made quite a mess but Carol knew how to fix it. This was step one. Notice the bright orange closet. Also, my husband said that he’d add electrical outlets since this room had outlets on only one wall. Therefore, we took a section of the lower paneling off two walls.

IMG_4339            This is how we left the room after the first day. I did a second coat of primer that evening, but we had to let the mud (joint compound) dry before painting that part of the wall.

IMG_4341                  I don’t know why Sunny thought this was a good spot. Maybe because the printer is under the tarp and he loves to stalk the  printer when it is printing.IMG_4343             The next day Carole textured the wall to try and disguise the joints and set up lights so that it would dry more quickly.IMG_4344                In the meantime we started with the yellow. It doesn’t show well in this photo…IMG_4351             …but Float Like a Butterfly (on the left wall) was a bit more intense than I had anticipated. It seemed like it might be overwhelming when painted on all the walls but I was going to just go for it, even with reservations. I didn’t want to go back to the store. Carole convinced me that we had other options. IMG_4349              We mixed the white (Soft Wool) with the Butterfly in a 1:1 ratio. That mixture is on the wall to the right in the upper photo. Just right.IMG_E4353               So we took the gallon of Soft Wool and blended it with the gallon of Float Like a Butterfly to come up with Woolly Butterfly. Since we mixed two gallons I have a lot of this left over–I think I’ll need to paint another room with it. IMG_4387                  I love how it looks. Note that there will be a trim board between the yellow and the white. That is another one of those things that is never as easy as it should be. That’s a long story, but I need trim that is wider than the standard to cover up the mess left from peeling old wallpaper and layers of paint. Next week maybe.

So now there was the floor. I realized that if I was ever going to fix the floor now would be the time when all the furniture was out of the room. The existing floor is not hardwood. It is a subfloor with nothing underneath and is in rough enough shape that I get splinters in my feet. We had bought a vinyl flooring for the rest of the house and hadn’t installed it yet. So I decided that this would be our test room for that flooring.IMG_4389                  It  took me awhile to figure out how to connect these boards properly. It helps when you read the instructions and watch the video and then DO WHAT THEY SAY.IMG_4392             Once I figured out the method I won’t say that it went quickly, but I knew how to install it properly so that the joins would be tight and it would lay flat…

IMG_4391           …like the importance of removing foreign objects from the floor before installation.IMG_4396             The biggest hurdle was that the paneling on the walls was not firm. You use spacers to leave a 1/4″ gap between the flooring and the wall but need a solid wall when you’re tapping the lengths of flooring together. I looked around the barn and the garage for something that would work and finally found an old rasp and some pieces of metal. The rasp was solid enough to be firm and the other metal pieces made up the 1/4″ necessary.

IMG_4444                 Here is the room after putting the flooring in. I put my desk and a table back in so I could get back to work, but I haven’t dealt with all that stuff in the other room yet. I hadn’t even put the desk drawers back yet. I have high hopes for how this will look when I have it all back together and have de-cluttered the rest of the house.

Thanks to my friends for making this happen.



Tree Climbing

Should I have a post of the New Year’s resolutions or revelations or “rememberings”? It may be all of those in that I’m going through photos that I took during the last year and didn’t get around to sorting. Many were saved for future blog posts which never made it here. So this is one of those.

My brother had a tree that needed to be removed. It was a beautiful oak tree that he hadn’t planted but had sprouted near his driveway. Now, many years later it was lifting the driveway and the sidewalk. My son does this kind of work when he’s not at his regular Forest Service job. This is a link to the Lakewood Tree Service Facebook page.

DSC_8466                Work was already underway when I got there.

DSC_8478                                                            When a tree is this close to a house you don’t just make a cut at the bottom and fell the tree. You start at the top. You also don’t just let the branches drop any which way.

DSC_8477                                                             There ares a lot of ropes and gear involved.

DSC_8511                                                     Ground crew is important.

DSC_8602                                                         Some of the ropes keep the tree climber safe and others are for controlling the parts of the tree as they are cut.


DSC_8626                                                            This tree was taken down in many separate pieces.



DSC_8666               Each cut is carefully planned and ropes are placed so that the branches fall safely.

DSC_8684                                                           That red rope is tied so that the chunk of wood will be caught on the pulley…

DSC_8687                                                            …and lowered to the ground slowly.DSC_8694


DSC_8711                  Cutting the next piece of wood.

DSC_8735                    Spikes on the boots.

DSC_8742                                                            Like I said before, there is a lot of gear.

DSC_8745                   At this point Matt decided that he could take the rest of the tree down from a cut at the bottom.



DSC_8762                     It was sad to lose that big tree, but fascinating to watch the process.