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Archive for the ‘Gwen’ Category

…’cause when you get older, you need a break now and then. 🙂

Yes, I’m still here. It has been three whirlwind, crazy, busy, beautiful, weeks around Oleo Acres. Our daughter and granddaughter were here to spend three weeks with us! WooHoo! While the original intent was to see Miss Julie before she passed, Kelly still came over to go with us to a neighborhood get-together in her memory. While she was here, we made use of her wondrous abilities to: have her help me get my new (on my lap as I write this) laptop computer up, running and connected up; set up a server for all the computers in the house (which backs up all the computers’ files every night so we’ll not lose anything again), clean out the office with a fine-tooth comb (something Hizzoner hates to do because he can not throw anything away); eat lots of Mexican food with us; and share her daughter gracefully with two beaming grandparents. I don’t think Gwen’s feet hit the ground while she was here. We loved it!
Truthfully, we did come to realize that having a baby around illustrated just how much older we’ve become. We’re not ancient by any means, but I know I could tell that bending, carrying, car-seating, buckling anything Gwen was in to actually keep her in, and going-going-going all the time did take me down a notch or two. I loved it!
Here’s just a few of the pictures I took:

Best Friends. Grandpa and Me

OK, Pixel…You’re In For It Now!

“Who? Me?”

Ninja Warrior Baby? -or- Up-and-Coming Pool Shark?

Along with everything else going on, I have been finalizing something for Sheep Thrills Farm. I haven’t really wanting to say anything yet, thinking it would jinx everything, but I am working out an exchange of sorts. It looks like Skittles will be heading for Colorado. A fellow Shetland breeder and someone appreciative of quality rams, Mr. Jared Llyod of Jehovah-jireh Sheep and Cattle LLC. , was very interested in Skittles. Would I be willing to exchange Skit for one of his rams? Jared knew I needed some new genetics and had a number of candidates for me to choose from.
While logic dictates this is a no-brainer, I have to admit that I will really miss my buddy, Skit. With the exception of breeding season when he takes on the appearance and personality of a shark in a feeding frenzy (I swear, those eyes of his would roll back in his head if a ewe in season was anywhere near), Skit has always been a big teddy-bear.
I hesitate to make friends with any ram, espousing a more “ToughLove” approach as my friend Lois, of Stonehaven Farm, calls it. Skit and I respect each other, but that never stopped him from asking for his tail to be scratched or that spot between his shoulders rubbed a bit when I let him out to pasture. He always gives me a look to say, “Thank you.”, then goes on his way. Apparently, he believes this is a duty that every shepherdess must provide when asked nicely.
It was only when Jared promised that Skittles would be used for breeding, then when he’s older, he’d be retired to a pasture with another of Jared’s beloved rams to live out his days. Skit will have more ewes, plus have a larger place to roam. He deserves that and it’s something that I cannot provide on our small place. So, I said yes. Soon Jared will arrive to pick up Skittles and deliver two ram lambs, one of them sired by a ram from Shetland. Yesterday the veterinarian came out to examine Skit and fill out his Health Certificate for travel. He’s ready to go and fit for this year’s breeding season. And I will miss him.

I don’t know if he realizes it or not, but I will have to explain to Jared how important having a “Tire Toy” will be for Skittles.
…I so hope there’s room for one in that new pasture.

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Yes, Folks…it finally happened! We made it to New Zealand to visit our family and meet our new granddaughter, Gwen! Ralph had received clearance from his surgeon that he could make the trip, so tickets and itineraries were hastily planned and off we went. It was wonderful!

The first part of our journey saw us riding our local shuttle down to the Phoenix Airport to catch a flight into LA. Luckily, all our bags could be check through to Auckland so we just had to shuffle ourselves around after checking them in. We took the shuttle as I don’t like really small planes (which is what they use to fly from Flagstaff to Phoenix). I blame my brother for this as he was the pilot for the first plane I ever rode in – a Cherokee Piper. Now, you have to know my brother…who saw this as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of me, again, and did exactly that. But I digress…where was I? Oh, yeah…
We caught a flight to LA getting there in time to have a bit of a meal as our overseas flight didn’t leave until very late. After eating, we walked or sat and read until we we told we could board. On we went into the Air New Zealand flight of a 777-400! Although it was packed full like a sardine tin, it was a really nice, smooth flight. Both of us managed to dose off once and a while. I don’t think I made it completely through even one of the movies.
Early on the Auckland morning two days later (you lose two days going over due to the International Dateline being crossed but it was actually a 12-hour flight) our son-in-law, Ross, picked us up after we went through Customs.
When ever we arrive in Auckland, I always enjoy the sight of two huge Norfolk Island pines as we step out of the front of the terminal. They’re probably 60 ft. tall or better, but they are both a sign of “Welcome” to me, as is the moisture in the air and the smell of the ocean not far away.
After a fairly short trip we arrived at Ross & Kelly’s house where Kelly and Gwen were waiting for us.


And here she is! Miss Gwen herself!


“So…You’re my Grandpa, huh?”

“Why is Grandma calling me a “Gloucester Fisherman” because of my hat?”

Yes, I do have a few photos of me holding Gwen, but right now I’m taking the pictures…


Snuggles with Daddy

“Mom says Grandpa is trying to rot my brain with TV, but she doesn’t understand that we’re really watching a Cricket Match.”

We had a lovely time visiting family. We really did not intend to do much travel or exploration. We took walks with Kelly and Gwen while Ross was at work, went out for some great meals, had a family barbecue to catch up with the whole clan, and did some short trips into town on the bus or train. Ralph was still recovering from his surgery and I was just plain enjoying myself. It was nice to be able to help out as well. I never thought I’d actually enjoy helping with the dishes or laundry, but I did.
We even went with Val and Hugo, Ross’ parents, on a small train-trip through the New Zealand bush to a reservoir (more on this in another post).


All the grandparents & Gwen

At first the summer weather there was hot and more humid than we’re used to in Arizona, but storms moved through cooling the nights off to where you could definitely tell fall was in the air. This last photo is of something I love, but don’t see very often at my place. Rain. I loved it! 🙂
The other person’s grass is always greener, isn’t it? Well…you should see all the lovely green grass there is in New Zealand! 🙂

More to come…


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Introducing…

Gwendolyn Sophia Atkinson
Born 22 December 2008
Auckland, New Zealand


Mother and Daughter


Father and Daughter enjoying a moment to themselves

We are so delighted to become grandparents! Our only wish is that we could have been there, but as soon as my Hired Hand With Benefits gets clearance from his doctor after his upcoming surgery, we’ll be over in a shot! For now, little boxes sent from the States will have to suffice.
Congratulations to you both, Kelly & Ross! One never knows or understands the love of the Parent until one becomes a parent themselves. Bless you all…

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