Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Monsoons

Yay! The monsoons have come. Wonderful rain.

Last Thursday, however, the torrential rain, hail, and wind was a bit much. Part of the barn roof came off. Luckily, the sheep are fine, and there's still plenty of covered space for them to stay out of the weather. The fourth picture shows a dead tree that the wind blew over. I'd been thinking about cutting it down, so it saved me some work.






And today, a week later, lovely green grass, not a lot yet, but a good start. I let the sheep out for a few minutes to graze this evening. When sheep get the first lush grass of the season, they can be allowed to eat only a very little to give their rumens time to adjust. My dog, Logan, did a decent job herding them back into the sheep enclosure where they had alfalfa hay waiting for them.





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sheep Thrills

Apparently the sheep have been entertaining the neighbors. The kids next door have even set up chairs to watch them.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hot

Many people think of Arizona as all desert, with cacti and not much else. In fact, only about a third of the state is low desert. The elevation of Phoenix is about 1,200 ft and that of Tucson about 2,400 ft.

Central Arizona is a high desert transition zone. It's mountainous, with trees such as scrub oak, boxelder, hackberry, juniper, cypress, cottonwood, ash, maple, elm, oak, and pine. We have our share of cacti, agave, and yucca, but the elevation is much greater. My house in Wilhoit is at about 4,925 ft. Prescott is at about 5,200 ft.

Northern Arizona is even higher and cooler, with Flagstaff in the pines at about 7,000 ft. The highest point in Arizona is Humphreys Peak at 12,633 ft.

So when I say it was 102 degrees today in Wilhoit, it was unusually hot. I don't want to even think about the insane 118 degrees it reached in Phoenix.

Logan, my very long-haired dog, has been following me around all day, I think in hopes of finding cooler places to sleep. He's been pretty lethargic. Then again, so have I. Although I grew up in Tucson, I've lived in Wilhoit almost 13 years. I'm not used to this heat anymore.

Other than making sure the sheep have shade and water, there isn't much I can do for them. They seem all right, but they've certainly shown no interest in leaving the relatively cooler barn. Although I usually feed them outside, I tossed the hay in the barn today to, again, keep them shaded. I imagine they'll lay outside tonight once it cools off.

That's a distinct advantage of this area. The low is forecast to be about 64 degrees. The low in Phoenix is supposed to be 88 degrees. Yuck.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Umm, No Eggs

My hen, Miss Kitty, has turned broody, which means she wants chicks. However, she's currently sitting on the two wooden eggs I placed in the laying box to encourage the hens to lay eggs there. And even if she had real eggs, it wouldn't do her any good. I don't have a rooster. Sigh. I can't convince her of the futility of her endeavor.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Handwoven Cotton Towels

Below is a picture of one of four towels I wove for my aunt. I used 8/2 unmercerized cotton for both the warp and the weft. The pattern is Linen Weave.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lambs Really Do Bounce

No pictures, but the lamb is one week old today. While the grown-ups munched their hay, the lamb bounced to the gate and then back to her mother. Then back to the gate to sniff noses with Logan, who wagged his tail at the exchange. Then back to the flock again she went. The young have such incredible joy in everything they do.

Monday, April 4, 2016

An Unexpected Lamb

Last week I had to go out of town for a couple days because of a family crisis. When I asked a friend to feed my sheep while I was away, I told her no one was due to lamb. Oops, my mistake. She called me the second day to say I might want to come back a bit early because a lamb was born that morning.

It was dark when I got home, so checking on mother and baby was a bit challenging. This was the ewe's first lambing, and she was pretty skittish of me, but I finally caught her. I wrestled her to the ground and checked that she had milk flowing from both teats. I hadn't sheared the udder area yet, and there was a lot of wool to confuse the lamb while she looked for a meal.

Balancing a flashlight on one thigh, I held the unhappy ewe down with my forearm and swept wool aside with that hand to expose a teat. With my other hand, I grabbed the wriggling baby and guided her to nurse. She had clearly eaten earlier, but I didn't know how often she had succeeded in finding milk.  Afterwards, I bottle fed the lamb milk replacer to ensure she had enough food.

The next morning, when it was light enough to see what I was doing, I caught the ewe again and sheared the udder area to give the baby a clear path to the milk. I bottle fed the lamb again to supplement her feed. I put mother and baby in the lambing pen to encourage bonding and kept them in there until the next day. It allowed me to give the ewe extra feed away from the other sheep, as well. Being overly cautious, I went ahead and gave the lamb milk replacer again.

I think I may have overdone it with the bottle feeding, though. Now, in addition to nursing, the lamb runs to me every time I go out to feed the sheep, wanting her bottle!


I can hardly walk without tripping over her.

After I fed the sheep this morning, I turned around and saw Logan, my dog, had somehow got in with sheep. The lamb approached him, and he backed away. She came closer, and he trotted off. I was surprised, relieved, and amused. He wouldn't hurt her on purpose, but he is much bigger than she is, so I was glad he didn't want to play.

I went back into the sheep area to get Logan. He didn't want to leave and kept walking away from me. I followed the dog, and the lamb followed me, practically stepping on my heels, wanting more milk replacer. It was all pretty darn cute. I finally caught Logan and managed to get him out the gate while keeping the lamb inside. Sometimes the simple task of feeding the sheep can be a lot more exciting than expected!



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Springtime Baby Wrap

I wove the baby wrap in an 8-harness plaited twill pattern. I used 8/2 unmercerized cotton for both the warp and weft. The warp yarns are misty lilac and peacock blue. The weft yarn is variegated and includes rosebud, dusty lavender, storm blue, mineral green, and water lily.

It's approx. 160" (4.4 yd; 4.06 m) by 24.5" (62.23 cm), somewhere between a size 4 and size 5.

The wider peacock blue stripe wasn't part of my original design, but I ran out of lilac and improvised!





Saturday, March 12, 2016

Echo Weave

My first echo weave. It's a polychrome doubleweave with an echo threading. I'm very pleased with it. I used 8/2 unmercerized cotton, four colors in the warp and two colors in the weft. It's based off an article in Handwoven, Jan/Feb 2015, although I made a few changes.