Sunday, February 27, 2011

No Laying on Hens

That's what I admonished Dierdre, our Briard, this morning. We had 7" of snow last night, and this morning is gorgeous: sunny, blue sky, and lots of fluffy snow. Dierdre is having so much fun!

As soon as she went out the door, she dipped her muzzle in the snow and tossed her head up, letting snow fly. Then she went into puppy mode, head down, rear end in the air, wanting to play. (She's about eight years old, by the way.) She ran ahead of me toward the barn, circling back to me every minute or so, to make sure I was aware of how great the morning was.

She wanted to play! But the sheep wouldn't cooperate. All they were interested in was food. While I threw flakes of hay onto the snow, she herded sheep, but none of them shared her snow-loving enthusiasm.

Next she tried the hens, chasing them around the barn and out into the snow. My Americauna hens are pretty good size, but seven inches of snow is just too much for them; they sank half way up their bodies and had no chance to escape Dierdre's enthusiasm. I reached her just as she caught a hen and laid on her. She actually positions her quarry under her chest and lays on the unfortunate small animal to control it. She's done this to small lambs, hens, and a very annoyed Chihuahua. She doesn't want to hurt them, just govern them. I grabbed her collar and pulled her off, and the hen, looking very ruffled and affronted, ran for cover in the barn.

As I headed for the house, Dierdre tried one more time to get the sheep to "play", with, not surprisingly, no success. I called her, and she raced to me, ears and fur blowing, snow flying from her paws. She frolicked all the way to the door. A joyful dog really makes my day; I can't help but feel happy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lamb High Jinks

I woke up around midnight and thought I heard a lamb baa-ing. I listened. Nothing. I laid back down and heard it again. This time the dog, Dierdre, barked; she heard it, too.

It sounded like a lamb, but something seemed wrong. Quiet. The wind blew one of the chairs on the deck with a clunking noise. Another baa--from above me? A second noise on the deck and more baa-ing.

Wait a minute; what was going on? Dierdre and I went upstairs, outside, and around onto the deck. There was Minerva's ram lamb, running around by himself on the deck, crying. I looked toward the barn; the rest of the sheep were standing quietly, comtemplating the errant lamb. I have no idea how or why he was on the deck, especially alone.

Dierdre took charge of the situation, rounded him up, and sent him running along side the house, down the steps, and back towards the barn. I returned to the deck in time to see him rush to his mother and start nursing. Minerva seemed remarkably undisturbed by the incident.

Dierdre and I went back in the house. I climbed in bed, mumbled a drowsy explanation to Mark, and went back to sleep.

The deck.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I've Read during the Last Few Months

Maureen Ash, Death of a Squire
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Annette Blair, Larceny and Lace; A Veiled Deception; My Favorite Witch; and The Kitchen Witch
Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Kate Carlisle, Homicide in Hardcover
Ariana Franklin, Mistress of the Art of Death
Roberta Gellis, A Mortal Bane; A Personal Devil, Bone of Contention; and Chains of Folly
Lauren Haney, A Vile Justice; A Curse of Silence; A Place of Darkness; A Cruel Deceit; and Flesh of the God
Charlaine Harris, Dead in the Family and A Bone to Pick
Bernard Knight, Crowner's Quest
Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Cat to the Dogs
Sharan Newman, The Shanghai Tunnel
Clare O'Donohue, The Lover's Knot
Philip Pullman, The Ruby in the Smoke
Rebecca Tingle, The Edge on the Sword

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Meaning of Craft

"...There is an inherent pleasure in making. We might call this joie de faire (like joie de vivre) to indicate that there is something important, even urgent, to be said about the sheer enjoyment of making something exist that didn't exist before, of using one's own agency, dexterity, feelings and judgment to mold, form, touch, hold and craft physical materials, apart from anticipating the fact of its eventual beauty, uniqueness or usefulness."
Ellen Dissanayake, "The Pleasure and Meaning of Making", American Craft, April/May 1995

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wild Kingdom or Domesticated Ranch?

A visitor took these photos. I think they're great.

 Dierdre on the job.

Mother ewe to the rescue.