Archive for 2007

Cold! And The Gift…


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It’s been very cold lately…too cold to go out and play with the wonderful present I received from my DH. My Other-Half gave me a wonderful camera! I have been drooling over a Nikon D40x for the longest time…even checking out multiple places online for any “deals” I could find that would fit into my budget. No such luck. Skunked every time. Bah, Humbug!

Then, on Christmas Day, said Wonderful Husband gave me presents such as a really nice camera bag that could be placed on a belt, keeping both hands free for using a camera…a second larger bag for keeping the camera, lens, filters, etc. I should have seen it coming, shouldn’t I?

Then, there it was…the last box. By the time he placed the last present in my lap, I was heady with the scent of a favorite and very expensive perfume he had also given me…this last item was a bit heavier than the others. When I opened it, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There was the camera…for one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. Dumbfounded. I can now take all sorts of photos including ones of the sheep in action as this camera has a very rapid recovery between shots. Being raised on 35mm cameras with a father who had a darkroom in many of the places we lived in spoiled me to digital cameras who took their own sweet time to recover after taking a shot, letting good shots get away while I was waiting for it to be ready to go again.

So, now I just need a day where I can get outside without dangerous wind chills to start using this Marvelous Toy.

Thank you, Honey…for believing in me as well as encouraging me. If I didn’t say “Thank you” when I opened the box, it was because I had to wait for the tears to clear from my eyes and my voice to come back. You’re wonderful!


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Fleece Navidad!

We hope each and every one of you have a Wonderful Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Peace, Health,Prosperity, Joy, and Friendship!!!

May this next year of 2008 bring you nothing but happiness!

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A few days ago I received this version of “The Night Before Christmas” from our family in New Zealand. I always have to remind myself that, while we are very cold and have snow, the branch of the Family Tree in New Zealand is running around with their shorts on, having barbeque, and enjoying the first part of their spring/summer.
I’ve been to NZ in the early part of December. I always had to remind myself that the Christmas decorations adorning stores and shops was not out-of-place…rather it was me who was backwards on my seasons.

Today my family celebrates Christmas Eve…at least the part in New Zealand. Actually, it’s rather nice to have it last two days!

Enjoy a Down Under take on Christmas Eve:

The Night Before Christmas – Kiwi-Style:

‘Twas the night before Christmas,and all round the bach
Not a possum was stirring, not one could we catch.
We’d left on the table a meat pie and beer,
In hopes that Santa Claus soon would be here.

We children were snuggled up in our bunk beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced in our heads;
And Mum in her nightie and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports

When outside the bach such a hoo-ha arose,
I woke up at once from my wonderful doze.
I ran straight to the sliding door, looking about,
Jumped out on the deck and let out a shout!

The fairy lights Dad had strung up around the door
Let me see everything down to the shore.
And what did I see, when I took a peep?
But a miniature tractor and eight tiny sheep,

With a little old driver and his dog on his knee.
I knew at once who this joker might be.
He patted his dog and in a voice not unkind,
Cried “Good on ya, boy! Now GIT IN BEHIND!

“Now Flossy! Now Fluffy! Now Shaun and Shane!
On, Bossy! On Buffy! On Jason and Wayne!
Up that red tree, to the top of the bach!
But mind you don’t trample the vegetable patch”.

So up on the roof those sheep quickly flew,
With the tractor of toys, Santa and his dog too.
As my sister awoke and I turned around,
In through the window he came with a bound.

He wore a black singlet and little white shorts,
And stuck on his feet were gumboots of course;
A sackful of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a postie just opening his pack.

His eyes-bright as paua shell-oh,how they twinkled!
Like an old tuatara, his skin was all wrinkled!
He had a wide face and a round, fat tummy,
That looked like he’d eaten lots that was yummy.

He spoke not a word, but got down on one knee,
And placed a cricket set under the tree,
A present for Sis, one for Dad, one for Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and held up his thumb.

He jumped on his tractor, to his dog gave a whistle,
And away they all flew as fast as a missile.
I called out “Thanks” as he flew past the gate.
He called back: “Kia ora to all … and good on ya mate”

I think Santa has a great idea! He must be using Shetland sheep…our little sheep who can do it all!

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How It Was At Our House Before…

One of our relatives in New Zealand sent this little video to me. I had not seen it, but understand that it’s been out on “The Web” for a while. This is exactly how it was in our bedroom, each morning, before we installed a gate to keep the cats out of the bedroom.
Although we had no baseball bats at hand for the wee creatures who allow us to share this house with them, it reminds me of just how it used to be each and every morning.

I hope you enjoy this…

And thank you, Val…for sharing!

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Coming back from the barn this morning, I heard what sounded like one of the Mallard ducks with a bad head cold. The voice was deeper and more of a “honk” than a “quack”. It was such a different sound that it made me stop and look up and around at the field behind our place. There, in a small patch of open water, were Canadian Geese! What a treat! (Click on photos to enlarge)
We do get the odd delta formation of these geese through here in the fall. Nothing like the massive migrations we used to see living in Kansas, or up in the Great Lakes when I was a kid. This was a real treat! Poor things must be saying something like, “Gee, Martha, I thought Arizona was going to be warmer than this. I’m all for heading farther south. How does Mexico sound to you?”
I had walked out into the snow in our pasture to try to get a better photo of our visitors. It was still pretty cold but the sun had come up, starting to warm up the earth again. I stood there watching the birds to see if they would stand up for a better picture. It was then I noticed the other beauty in the morning light…the sound of water still running in the stream, the sunlight bouncing off the snow, turning it into a field of glistening diamonds before my feet. As cold as it was, the stream was still running under the snow and ice. It hadn’t frozen up solid.
On my way back towards the house I heard a shuffle from the direction of the barn, then silence. There were the small band of sheep I had just put out for their morning meal. They had all stopped eating and were looking at me. In the hush of the morning I thought I heard our wether Colin saying to the others, “Hey, guys! Guys! Mom’s got a camera with her…everybody look her way and say, ‘Grass’!”

There’s another storm coming tonight, Guys…better get a move on down towards the south.

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I’ve been meaning to get this post out for the past two days. Friends who belong to NW Shetland Sheep have been auctioning off all sorts of neat fiber-things to raise money for the Gregory Family in Washington State. The Gregory’s run Black Sheep Creamery but were virtually wiped out when the Chehalis River flooded a couple of weeks ago. I can not imagine what these people have gone through. They lost most of there sheep: ewes pregnant for their summer milking, every ram or ram lamb was drowned…well, I could go on. They managed to find 23 ewes post-flood, one under a pile of dead sheep.
Shetland sheep people, and sheep people in general, are a very giving, generous lot. I count myself blessed to be one of them. And I applaud these people for helping others in great need. What they are doing is one of the most unselfish things a person can do…they are giving from their hearts to help others in need without thought of getting anything in return. Bless them all! So if you are in the market for something for a Fiberholic for the up-coming holidays, please peruse the auction. Some of us are giving money directly to the Gregory’s and there’s information about that to at this site: Black Sheep Creamery Benefit Auction

And as I was in our local health foods store, I noticed the above cheeses! Yes, Kelly, there really is a Wallace and Gromit Wenslydale! There is the picture to prove it. 🙂 Actually, they had some really nice sheep’s milk cheeses in stock. If you get the chance to try some, do. Sheep’s milk cheeses are wonderful!

Do you hear that, girls? Mom’s gonna fire up the milker this next spring…fair warning!

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Just Too Worn Out…

Last night was a night I rarely have to endure. I was cold and could not get warm. It probably was because I have spent the past five days or so in and out, wet and dry…and not even from doing any Christmas shopping! I could not get warm…no matter what I tried. I finally had enough layers for my top parts to warm back into the living, but my legs stayed stiff and cold, and achy. I spied many cat bodies in front of the woodburner. Aha! Thinking that they were almost rendered completely into piles of cat-goo, the same would work for me, I stood by the woodburning stove until I thought my jeans were going to self-ignite, it was so hot. I now know what an ironing board feels like. And that didn’t even work! I was afraid to stand there any longer lest I become a pale impression of a human torch.

Now, even though they work hard and have kept on going, in truth my barn jeans are just shadows of their former selves. Oh, there’s enough material there to cover pieces-parts admirably, but in reality – they are a wisp of their former selves. The sad thing is they are just now getting that lived-in-more-comfortable-than-your-favorite-shoes feel to them. There are times, however, I wonder if it’s just sheep suint (from Websters Dictionary: suint: dried perspiration of sheep deposited in the wool and rich in potassium salts) and chicken poo that are holding them together…along with the odd splotch of paint adorning them from our last painting attempt. They have served me well…until now.

This morning I remembered my favorite winter undergarments. I had ordered a set of Merino wool, lace-weight, beautiful cream-colored, winter under-garments! They are as soft as Sea Island cotton but can keep you warm even if they get wet, which can be a problem if you are carrying buckets of warm water out to sheep each morning. They have been the best investment I have made with regards to clothing. If I slosh water down my leg I still stay warm. They are lightweight but oh-so warm…truly a godsend for anyone having to be outside with our temperatures.

Not to sound bizarre…I mean who really goes around extolling the virtues of knitted under-things? But these will make a difference between still enjoying my sheep, or hurrying through morning chores because I’m freezing. I can keep warm enough to take some time to still enjoy myself. Yes, I still do enjoy being outside with the sheep and around the barn, even in the middle of winter.

It’s either the additional layer of clothing, or boarding an Air New Zealand jet with a Shetland sheep under each arm, the rest following behind. I don’t think they’d like me bringing these friends along…come to think of it…Do Shetland sheep wear Merino under all that wool in Wintertime? 😉

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