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Archive for June, 2006

I Can’t Complain…

about rain, rain, rain! It has been WONDERFUL to have rain for three days in a row! We actually can turn the fans off and even pull up the wool blanket (Thanks again, Kelly & Ross!) by morning. It’s great! You step outside and can smell that clean, fresh air filled with the scent of pines and aspens. I keep trying to tell my DH that, not only did he marry a farmer-type, but this “Person of Celtic Ancestry” actually likes rain and clouds and a break from the relentless sun we have here in the summer. Maybe it’s because of the altitude and that it is so intense in the summertime. It’s great for keeping our roads free of ice in the winter, but I’d much rather be in a forest or lush green pasture in the fog. 🙂
We are no longer on alert for the Brins Fire and will still keep fingers and toes crossed about fires caused by lightening strikes however. Our forests are all closed and hopefully that will cut down on the human caused fires.
Even the sheep have loved this weather. They’ve been bouncing all over the pasture during the breaks in the clouds today – chasing one another around and just having a ball. The “Moms”, Lacey and Amanda are enjoying the times the lambs are off playing with each other. I’m sure they need the break and will almost be glad when weaning time arrives.
Everyone had a great time today…but I know what will come tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day when I will give everyone their vaccinations.
We’ll see how high they jump after that! 🙂

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For the past two days we have had rain! We have started our “Monsoon” weather patterns and are very grateful for every single drop we get, even the hail that sometimes comes with the storm.
Today has been the first day I was able to really take some time down at the barn. In fact, I sat on the step into the feed room and as I slowed down enough to enjoy the day, someone came up – very silently – and put their head in my lap. I had been watching the chickens out and about and did not hear the “Stealth Attack” by…you guessed it…Mr. Trouble! The little black ram who loves to be with people! Oh, he does enjoy the romp and stomp in the pasture and the good grass like all the other sheep, but if he sees me or my DH, he will make a point of coming over to get his chin scratched.
I have had to warn my DH not to get this little guy used to being scratched between the horns as that can encourage him to become a “basher” for attention. Not good behavior in a ram. Under the chin – OK; maybe even work up to a scratch behind the ears – but absolutely no attention to the horn area!
This little guy is just so sweet. I’ve never met a sheep like him. But then, maybe he’s heard we have a freezer in the basement! 😉

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Have Pen, Will Travel


Saturday saw us cleaning up about the Homestead as we realized during a community fire prevention meeting that we had, indeed, places around the property that needed some attention. Most of all, we hauled branches lost two winters ago when we had trees snap under a tremendous snow load. We had planned on burning them when we had appropriate weather conditions but never saw them. We also trimmed up the two Ponderosa Pines we have here after we were informed that it is better for the fire fighters to have all branches up to 10 feet from the ground removed to prevent ground fire up into the crowns of the trees. It was much needed work to be done and it was time we did it.
And thanks to our friend who owns the local feed store, we obtained a rack for the back of the pick-up truck with enough room to hold about six sheep and a bale of hay in front of it in the bed of the p/u. We wanted to build a truck rack like Kim’s when she delivered the sheep, but realized that it was not feasible for us to have a rack as a permanent attachment to the truck. We just don’t haul that many sheep around…yet. 🙂 So, here’s a picture, with my Other Half in it for a size comparison and Lacey and her ram lamb “modeling” the unit with a coaxing of a handful of grain.
Our thinking is that if we’re prepared, we won’t have to go anywhere!

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The Waiting Game

Today was the first day since the Brins Fire started in Oak Creek Canyon that I did not see smoke in the sky when I went out to let the sheep out of the barn this morning. Every morning this week has seen a column of thick grey and black smoke toward the southwest. The local news is filled with pictures of dry forests literally exploding in fireballs in terrain that you would think only a Mountain Goat could climb.
It’s unnerving that it was just three weeks ago, we and our family from New Zealand were on that very road. Oak Creek Canyon is truly a gem in Arizona and a lush green spot when one grows tired of just Ponderosa pines or the white snows of winter.
Now we’re playing the waiting game. Waiting to see if the fire crosses the only road through the canyon. Waiting to hear that people and pets have all evacuated that area. Waiting to see if any homes will be lost. Waiting to see if conditions change and we must evacuate our own home. Waiting.
We’ve certianly found out whom our true friends are as we’ve had many calls to see if we’re OK, if we need any help, or to tell us we are welcome – sheep, cats and all – to find refuge at other’s homes. Just the fact these people have called is calming. I have to explain that both myself and my DH were Army-trained to handle challanges and stresses like this and we are not only fine, but have things staged and ready to go should the need arise. It’s almost like the old fire-horses hearing an alarm bell. It becomes second nature.
And when friends worry because we’re in an area that can have such devastating forest fires and why don’t we move, I respond with “Where to?” Each area of our country has it’s own dangers: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding – the list goes on.
But I have faith that we are where we are supposed to be. And we’ll deal with whatever comes our way…..as long as we can take the cats, the sheep, the chickens and maybe, just maybe..each other.

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About 12 miles from where we are located is the Brins Fire, raging into Oak Creek Canyon and headed towards us. I find myself having very mixed emotions about the chance that I may have to grab all that is valuable and unreplaceable to me. On one hand, I am not looking forward to pushing sheep into the back of the pick-up, cats into the car, and various boxes of photos, valuable papers, and any irreplaceable mementoes wherever they will fit.
When you take a good long, hard look at the accumulation of “stuff” we acquire on “The Road of Life” and have to make up your mind what to take, what to leave, you begin to realize how much “junk” we bring into our homes and lives and what is really important.
As I look around I make mental notes: leave the electronics, take the pictures of my daughter riding in “El Tour de Tucson” in her U of A Jersey. Take the picture of my late father, but leave his collection of model trains behind. I mentally recognize that memories take up no space except for that in the brain and the heart and are the most transportable possession I have. The day to day “stuff” can be replaced. And I realize that what is really important to me I carry with me already – in my heart.
But, I will still leave room for my husband, the cats and the sheep in the vehicles. 🙂

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Ralph’s Little Best Buddy

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Ralph’s Little Best Buddy, originally uploaded by Kathryn52.

This is the same ram lamb as the two previous posts. I thought I would show my DH with his “Buddy” for those unaccustomed to Shetland Sheep to see the size of this 7 week old ram. This is my DH’s favorite of the bunch.
I wonder if it is because this little guy has a mind of his own, or whether it’s that the little guy has figured out that endearing oneself to a human lessens the chance of becoming dinner or being sold.
Could it be that he’s the smartest one of all?

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I’m A Bad Boy!

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New Sheep3 008, originally uploaded by Kathryn52.

Here’s our Little Stinker..Mr. I-Don’t-Have-A-Name-Yet-But-I’m-Into-Everything! Everyone else manages to get a minimal of dust, dirt and hay on them on windy days, but not this guy! He plows through the hay, even when it’s on the ground. And I think he does this just for funnies!
This is the same ram lamb who eats anything and everything and gets a tummy ache. Yup. You guessed it! This is the culprit of the previous entry.
It’s actually funny to watch him…he thinks differently than all the other sheep. Almost “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”-ish if you please.
This is one individual who marches to adifferent drummer!

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