Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Lucky in 2011

Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year's Eve & Day!


TJ & Tex are hoping to get lucky in 2011 because they had to sit 2010 out!

 I'd say dance like you never have before in 2011 but don't break a leg......
 HOWEVER, seeing how 2010 ended here, I'll just say
Here's to having a Great Year in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not on the Agenda: A Broken Sheep Leg

Well, my morning chores did not pan out as a usual routine.  I went to the garden barn to get the grain buckets ready about 8:15.  I feed the "boys" first to avoid them getting over excited and pushy.  Ripton, my small Shetland horned ram has been pushy lately and taking his head to the gate and barn. He got the heel of my boot square in the head the other day when he decided to challenage me. Anyways, when I went to the gate Rutland was sitting in front of the gate. When I opened the gate he did not move.  I poured grain and came over to him, picked him up and set him down slowly to see if he was hurt.  Front legs were fine but the back right was not looking good.  I gathered him up and brought him outside of the fenced area. When I set him down to see to check it, I could tell it was definitely broke.  I got him comfortable, finished feeding, and called the vet.  If there is one thing I did right in my life was working part-time for 7 years at a vet clinic that specializes in farm animals.  The vet is literally 5 minutes from my house, though the vets will tell you, I never made it to work on time.  Having good vets are a blessing when one has animals and they really help me out so much especially in emergencies.

My first concern of course was how bad it was.  Bad but because he is small, only 56 #, there is a relative good chance it can be casted and healed up the vet said.  The vet and I are thinking that he might have gotten hit and got his leg caught in the gate based on the way the break is. I know it was Ripton who hit him. 
I guess this is one of those times were true sheep breeders for a profit and some hobby farmers draw lines on practicality.  My sheep are here because I enjoy them.  The huge profit idea long left me and since I don't eat lamb and don't sell my sheep for meat, sending Rutland off to the butcher was not an option for me.  If I can afford to have it casted, I am willing to try and give him a chance.  He is a little sweetie with great fleece and I just couldn't see putting him down.

So he is now getting use to a fiberglass cast.  He keeps wanting to extend it straight out behind him but he is adjusting to it.  He is eating fine and getting use to his new accomodations.  I have him in with 2 little wethers who are very laid back.  Rutland is a newly wethered boy also and overall, he is doing ok so far.

My little Rutland has 6 weeks of the cast.  I need to monitor swelling and rubbing around the top of the cast and keep it was dry as possible.  The ground is frozen solid and as long as the rain doesn't go crazy this weekend, I will hope for the best.  The area he is in is safe with no obstacles, the barn/lean-to is well padded with straw and no one to hurt him. 
About 3 years ago, my 2 big horned Shetlands got into a fight resulting in one with a back broken leg to the point where the bone was sticking out of the skin. The leg was totally gone and he was euthanized.  Recently the other big horned Shetland ram was put down when he became too aggressive and destructive. Ripton is small, probably no more than 65 -70 #s.  He is in with Jed and TJ my big Cotswold ram. If he starts showing more aggressive behavior, he is going to go.  I am just not going to put up with it. Horned Shetlands is not my objective and I kept Ripton intact because of his genetics BUT...........
Long day, too much stress.
I am suppose to be on vacation and relaxing! And right now my LaMancha buck who jumped the fence twice today, is out trying to figure out how he is going to get in with the girls. He is going to stay out cuz I am in no mood for his stupid antics. The door for his barn is open so if it rains/snows he can go in.....not that he will realize that or be smart enough to jump back over the fence.  Maybe the cold snow will do his male parts some good.  I am not going to loose sleep over it. He's not going anywhere.
Fingers and hoofs are crossed for Rutland and hopefully all will work out for the best and maybe with a little luck New Year's Eve will be stress free............

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Refresh the Snow

Snow has been on the ground now for a good 3 weeks now and temps have not moved much above 30 degrees either.  The snow has started to look a bit old and dirty the last few days. Yesterday it snowed for the majority of the day, nothing major but it was quite blustery and the snow was extremely powdery.  It was just enough to "refresh" the existing snow on the ground.

It was perfect for Danby to get a sheepy snow nose......seriously, how much cuter can he get??

The scarf on this snowman got caught up on piece of old plant and made for the perfect snowman pose.

And my winter garden........yes, I am already looking forward to receiving some seed catalogs and thinking ahead to spring.  But for now I have to settle for my stack of magazines and books as I seem to be sprouting couch potato roots this week.  My motivational level for anything this week is quite minimal.
Now about the New Year's Resolution list..................

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Christmas Entertainment

Today I spent time sorting through my new goodies and putting away my mess of wrapping paper, bows, & tags. Of course, this provided ample entertainment for 2 of my cats who really are spending way too much time indoors! 

Alvin was actually the total instigator in this whole thing.  He just knew that something was inside this bag.......

........Moo was just innocently hiding in there until Alvin rained on his parade.  The two of them have this love-hate relationship and being inside toooooo long does bring out the worst in them.

Poor Moo kitty just wanted to have some fun!

So Moo moved on to finding comfort in a piece of Styrofoam.......works just like a bed.

Then he took his frustrations out on some Styrofoam in a large box........honestly he does not have any personal issues.  Well, he does have one little issue.  If you piss him off for some unknown reason, he might bite you.  My sister and niece really dislike him for this reason.  Not that that has happened to them, sort of.........BUT Moo will never be their BFF's.

But other than that he enjoys entertaining himself on cold winter days and its much better if Alvin is not there to annoy him.  So I just let him play........
 and I wait for the temps to warm up a bit cuz 26 degrees and a wind chill reading of 14 does kinda suck for me and the cats. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Simplicity of Christmas

A simple set of snow covered Christmas wreathes adorn my barn doors...............


..........a snow covered sheep named Abby that warms my heart on a winter day.


May the true meaning of Christmas find its way into you home this holiday season and remind us all that it is the simpliest things that make the greatest gifts of all!

Wishing Everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dixie & I Build a Tree

Nineteen years ago I planted this little 2 foot evergreen tree that I bought.  Nineteen years later it has grown into what I think is the perfect Christmas tree.  Unfortunately, due to my lack of height, having not cleared five feet in 43 years, and even with the help of a ladder, I can not successfully decorate the tree without breaking one of my limbs. 

However, with the help of Dixie and photoshop technology.....................

..............a little magic is always possible!  Now if I spend a little extra money a month, photoshop will let me put lights on my tree;)  

So with 3 days 'till Christmas Eve, I baked 2 big batches of cookies including a triple batch of chocolate thumb prints cuz my sister Jen over at My Brown Newfies always makes a mess of hers and mooches off of mine.  I am a bit behind in baking because I ended up with some nasty stomach virus that put me out of commision for 2 days. Tomorrow is some last night shopping and maybe 2 more batches of cookies.
I refuse to enter a panic mode.....if it doesn't get done...it doesn't get done:)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Caught being Naughty!

One would think that the week before Christmas everyone would behave like good lil' animals.  Not my Squirt dog.  I was dropping hay down out of the loft today and I spotted this...................

..............yep, caught in action of trying to get frozen treats out of the wheelbarrow! I told him Santa's checking the list twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice..........let me know how that works for you Squirt!!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cats on Christmas

Continuing with the Christmas card memories are the cards that portray the humorous side of cats at the holidays. One of my all-time favorite cards that I sent out..................


................seriously, it still cracks me up! 

And of course keeping with the teacher theme was this card because anyone who is owned by a cat knows the fights that can occur with the Christmas tree and curious cats. 
My sister Jen is very concerned that one day she is going to see me on the local news as the crazy cat lady but I have NOT added a cat to my collection in years!  Let's see, there is Linus at 17 yrs old this coming April, Maddie is 13, Tabby is 13 this year, Simon is going to be 12, Casper is going on 10, Moo is 9, Jingles and Jangles (outdoor cats that were dumped off) are around 9 yrs old, Prancer, psycho cat extraordinaire is going to be 9, Sealy and Spooky are litter mates and are pushing 6 yrs, and baby Alvin is going to be 7 next year.  I haven't had a kitten in the house in almost 7 years!! 
I wonder if Santa has room on his sleigh for a Maine Coon kitty...................

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Might the Secret Be?



I confess to be one of those that believe in the Magic of the Christmas Season especially when it comes to the animals.  This is a favorite Christmas card I sent out a few years ago because it reminded me of my miniature black appy horse Monique. 

So in the Magic of the Christmas Season, what might the secret be? 

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Snow Day Off for a Teacher!

So I wore my pajamas inside out last night and prayed for a snow day............

 
...............and at approximately 5:00am this morning, the scroll came across the news channel that our district was closed!!  How pathetic of me.....a teacher excited to have no school, especially since this is our last week before Christmas Break.  I have no shame, I was quite excited!  Though when I went out to feed at 6:30 am that Lake Erie Wind was a force to be reckoned with.  The gusts were definitely in the 25-30 mph gust range and it was hard to tell how much snow was falling because it was just blowing all over.  I fed extra to keep everyone occupied and put extra bird seed and suet out for the birds.  I am getting a lot of cardinals at the feeders so I had picked up some safflower for them. 

Everyone was content to hang around the barn today...........

........and I am sure Savannah is ready to join her girlfriends again.  She is in with Jed along with Sally Ann and Betsy.  Actually they are all content with each other but this weekend I will put everyone back and keep my fingers acrossed.

Today was like a bonus day for me so I decided to do something crafty.......well at least attempt to.  I pulled out my bags of roving and decided to make some needle felted Christmas ornaments using my collection of cookie cutters.  I am thinking these would be fun to give as little gifts to some of my friends. 

It is always important to be fashionable in the mist of a snow storm and Dixie was sporting the latest in winter wear for dogs today.  I put these sweaters on her in self-defense because when it gets blustery outside she blends into the snow and its hard to see her. 
So all in all it was a good day being home. Shall I be greedy and try for another snow day?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On Farm Help

When trying to accomplish any type of farm chores it is always a good idea to brief the animals on what is going to take place.  The animals are always compelled to lend a helping hand; however, some of their help is not always helpful.

The last few storms wrecked havoc on a few rows of shingles on the barn so I had to call in reinforcements to help repair them before this big winter storm blows in.  FWB, aka ex-husband, came over as he knew that if I attempted the reshingling I would make more of a mess and then when I would have to call him to fix my mess plus the original mess, well he knows me well enough that its just easier to come over the first time I call.  Twenty-five years of knowing each other does have some benefits:)  He also knows the animals well enough that he has to brief them before repair work starts as the thieving antics of the goats has gotten the best of him more than once.  I think his words probably included, "this is my ladder and my tools so lets leave it that way."

Of course, when one is on the job it is important to make sure there is someone there to watch the ladder.....Daisy was right there for FWB.

Miniature horse help is always there to offer opinion on how the job is going but if they don't get any "feedback" well they move on after a while. 
Todays temps reached the low 40's so it was nice to get a lot of barn chores done and I picked up an extra 35 bales of hay this morning. The weathermen are hyping this storm up pretty good so I plan on being holed up in the house tomorrow.  I can only pray for a snow day on Monday or Tuesday.............

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Christmas Snow Angels

I have been owned and loved by so many wonderful four legged children, each one holding a special place in my heart.  Of course, the Holidays always bring out that sentimental time to reflect.  On the mantel of my fireplace I always place favorite pictures of my children, each decorated in a Christmas frame. I find comfort in seeing each of them, knowing the joy and love that they brought to the house. I like to think of them as my Christmas Snow Angels.

Pictured above is precious little Attie.  Years ago when I was working at the vet. clinic a lady brought in a litter of 6 week old Pembroke Welsh Corgis for a health check and first shots.  One of the female puppies was diagonsed with a heart murmur.  The lady was concerned with placing this little girl in a home and offered her to anyone of us at the vet, knowing that this little puppy would receive the proper care for her heart murmur.  I had never owned a little dog and at the time I had a Newfie at home and 2 beagles.  But boy she sure was cute.......and she ended up being the most wonderful addition to the house!  Attie showed me the world through little legs, how to sleep comfortablely on one's back, the need to herd and nip everyone's heels, she was the best shot-gun passenger, and best of all I could just pick her up and carry her and dress her up! Gosh, I love that little girl! In the 5 short years that I had her with me she taught me that everyday is a new day and the best way to live life is by being happy each and every moment your feet touch the ground in the morning.  She is my Christmas Snow Angel because she holds the majic of the season in my heart every time I see this Santa Paws picture of her!

Lacey was my fourth Newfie.  Because she was a Landseer, a black & white Newfie, I knew I was going to have a bit of a challenge with her.  Newfie people often say the Landseers are higher strung than black and brown Newfs.  Oh, my Lacey always had something to say to me.  She was a magnet for any pond, creek, mud puddle, or even a big bucket of water that she could put her front paws in and stand.  Of course, she always did this at the most opportune times.  She was truly my big girl, she loved her quilt, loved a big bone, loved to be filthy, loved to hang out in the snow for hours, tolerated the insanity of the beagles, and made me feel safe in my home with her alert bark and keen sense of presence.  I have not had another Newfoundland since Lacey passed away.......maybe one day I will, however she is and always will be a Snow Angel that watches over me.

Wishing Everyone the Magic of the Season through a Christmas Snow Angel!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Windows

I just love peeking through windows to see a little Christmas cheer especially when the window panes have collected some fresh snow..........
My little wooden stake reindeer looks cheerful tucked inside even if I forgot some Fall decorations..........

The little illuminated reindeer I bought fit perfectly inside the window house and looks too cute lit up at night.  I put my Santa sign in there just to remind Santa to stop for me.  I have been very good this year........can't say much about those pathetic chickens out there and the only reason I swore a couple of times was because of them so Santa should overlook that minor infraction.

Outdoor cat Jingles just so happened to be sitting on the porch railing the other day while I was hanging the wreathes on all the windows so I couldn't resist a quick photo of him. 
Nine more school days left 'till Christmas Break starts..........YIPPEE!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Sheep and Snow

Yesterday was a beautiful morning......blue skies and bright sun rising in the east reflecting off of the first accumulation of snow thus far this year.  I enjoy feeding on mornings like this, watching the animals munching on their hay, going from pile to pile because obviously someone elses pile is better than their pile.

Everyone was content and even the horses were being polite and sharing the hay.

Danby stopped to give me a photo opportunity as he was sporting his share of the morning hay......maybe saving it for later in the day.

Of course living about 45 minutes south of Lake Erie allows me the experience of the Lake Effect Snow machine.  Today the bands of snow decided to grace my area.  Notice only sheep are hanging out, the goats high-tailed it for the comfort of the barn.


I guess if you have a nice wool coat on then standing in the blowing snow isn't all that bad.  Even little Pawlet on the left has a nice thick Shetland coat on, though she is probably thinking that big ole' Hamilton and Ethan could probably shield her from some of the blowing snow.  There is just something about sheep and snow that makes me smile regardless if the snow is blowing or not:)

How's the snow picture looking at your place?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Say 34, They Say 43

Well, they are just not like when you were 5.  No fun cake.  No fun parties. No fun presents.
Lets see.......today I went to work, then I went to the feed store, then I fed the animals in the rain which is totally the most annoying thing in the world to me and then the highlight of my b-day was taking my beagle Squirt to the vet to have his anal glands expressed.  Of course, all the girls at the vet laughed at me and tried to give me a birthday biscuit......what would I do without my best friends?
Interestingly, I got a variety of emails and text messages.....how times are a changing.  I got this fun email card from a friend which made me smile.


I almost had my students convinced that I was 34 until the math teacher ratted me out and pointed out the fact that I teach social studies because I am terrible at math and therefore transposed the 3 and the 4 and it should be 43.......so many haters in the world!  But I did stop at Paneras on the way home from work and bought my favorite chocolate chip bagels for a birthday snack though the dogs insisted that I shared it with them.......I didn't even get a card from them!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

An Almost Christmas Tragedy

Last Christmas you gave it a good fight, but only one side would light.

After the season I put you away, a little pray I did say.

Out of the basement you came this year to be another Christmas hit.

But when I plugged you in, all I could say was, "Oh shit."

You died right before my eyes, there will be no Christmas surprise.

Gone was my first illuminated dear, a little pout and I shed a tear.
The herd will never be the same,
No one to play the silly night reindeer game.
Quick! I had to think fast!
The Christmas season just began and it must last!
Oh gosh, I have to get one more!
Credit card in hand, I drove to the store!
Two boxes I found on the Walmart shelf,
with a little chuckle, I grabbed one for myself!

With quick Chinese assembly instructions, I had it made in the shade!
A hodge podge of reindeer, none homemade.

But its silly little things like this, that makes it all the more reason,
to enjoy the laughter and joy of the Christmas season!


Friday, November 26, 2010

I Caved......I Shopped!

After a restful Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's yesterday, I awoke to a very chilly morning. I was done feeding the animals by 7:30. The dogs had no desire to play outside, the sheep and goats were busy munching their hay, the horses were busy trying to find the last piece of grain leftover by the sheep, and the chickens were busy doing nothing cuz thats what they do best.....nothing. So what was I going to do? Let me think......laundry? NO. Wash the floors? NO. Grade school papers? HECK NO! I had an idea......go shopping with hundreds of my best friends!! I caved. I just couldn't resist.......I had already made my list of places to go last night......just in case. I left the house at 8:15. I got home at 2:20. It was wrong on so many levels. But I had so much fun shopping for me......okay I did buy gifts for Mom and Dad, me, sister Jen, me, brother-in-law Bob, me, FWB, me, the dogs, me..........I can't say what I bought cuz sister Jen might be reading and she is really nosy. But I really like all of the Bath-n-Body stuff esp the VIP bag and my house is going to smell so festive and my hands will smell so twisted peppermint after doing barn chores! Lots of creative stuff from JoAnn Fabrics.....denim fabrics, fleece stuff, new sewing tools.......goodness, I am going to have to start getting creative! I forgot I had to pick up 2 bales of pine shavings so when I got to the feed store which was my last stop, my friend Dave there just shook his head because I had to rearrange the mini-van to get them in there. It was quite packed in the van but I only have a few items to pick up for my niece and nephew and I am done!!! I did get 2 gifts, one for a boy and one for a girl which goes to my school. Santa comes for the pre-K to 3rd graders and the teachers donate gifts to make Christmas for them as some many have so little. I had too much fun today!

Tomorrow is decorating day....all day!

Bring on a little bit of snow and some red fleece!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finishing Up w/Pumpkins

Farmer Dad was given the task of locating "free" pumpkins to feed to the animals, I have to keep him busy doing something, gosh knows those retired people have to much free time on their hands! Just kidding Dad!!! I was impressed by his accomplishments and he said he may have more coming after the big turkey day !

It took only a day for the animals to clean up their treats. It was like a race to the finish! Hamilton's big self was not going to share with anyone.

There was the Nigerian Dwarf and LaMancha goat tag team cleaning up a pumpkin.


And silly Ethan refused to look at me for a picture cuz his face was submerged in the pumpkin!
Know I am going to prefer some of Mom's pumpkin pie with lots of whip cream on top. I will be honest and say that pie baking is not one of my better cooking items so I don't even bother. But I can make one heck of a pumpkin cheesecake!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Pre-Thanksgiving Day Poem

Its a week before the big turkey day,

and I've got something to say.

There's a problem in the coop,
and some chicks better give me the scoop.
There's gonna be some a flayin'
if they don't start a layin'!

I'm ready to throw a big fit and start to hollar,
cuz if I have to spend a dollar
and buy eggs that are fake,
pies are not the only thing I'm going to bake!!!!

Sincerely,

the hand that feeds you, Kristi



Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Sun Bathers

Eleven days before Thanksgiving and today it was in the 60's!! Actually, its been like that all week and I am not complaining one bit! I only need the white stuff for the week or so before Christmas and through January is fine but then it came pack it up.........less is best for the white stuff! Around the barn I found some November sun bathers today........

Monique and Speedy were bathing their chunky selves in the sun...........

........along with the goats who love soaking up the rays!

Miss Mooshie is going on a week long date starting tomorrow because I would like to see some little baby LaManchas from her this spring! I am sure she is going to be thrilled with my idea;)