Archive for the ‘moving on’ Category

In Memoriam

Bluff Country Skittles Bluff Country Skittles – May 7, 2003 to Summer, 2010

It is with deep regret that I inform long-time readers of this blog about the passing of one of the great Shetland rams. Bluff Country Skittles passed away in the high pastures of Colorado this past summer. Skit was a young ram, just 7 when he died, but he left a large impact, as big as he was, on many hearts during his life.

Skittles had gone up to Jared Lloyd’s ranch the summer about this time last fall. I needed new bloodlines for my small operation and Jared was very keen on adding Skittles genetics to his flock as well as “collecting” him for posterity and keeping his genetics available to future generations. Sadly, that was not to be.

One morning this summer, Jared said he walked into the sheep shed to find Skit lying down, front legs crossed and his chin resting on them the way he slept many times. But he didn’t move. When Jared went over to rouse him from his sleep, he discovered that Skit had passed on. There was no sign of trauma or markings in the dirt of a struggle or thrashing. Just Skit, asleep.

I know I will miss him. He was one of my first Shetland loves and a truly majestic ram in so very many ways. He had almost perfect conformation, was large but well-built and had personality to spare. I couldn’t have asked for a better ram to begin earnest breeding with. He had it all.

I will miss our walks around the place, Skit…and how you would gently sway me towards the apple tree for a snack of leaves if you could get away with it. You left some mighty big hooves to fill, Buddy…

…and I will miss you.

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As you have noticed, I have been spending time doing all sorts of things this Summer – things other than sitting at a computer writing.
We have had family visits from New Zealand, growing lambs, book reading, learning to knit socks, gardening, shepherdess-ing, and trying to keep cool in our hotter-than-usual summer, and fighting the reoccurring sinus-infection-from-hell.
One of the problems I have been having is accessing my photos to be able to post to this blog or even to access lamb photos to place on my sales list. I have been using Picasa, which I loved until I updated it and now can’t find anything…or I have multiple files showing up.
It’s frustrating and, in short, I hate it. Photos I have downloaded from my camera disappear. I’m not sure this is Picasa’s fault, or someone tinkering in my photos when they shouldn’t be. All our home computers share a home server unit and I suspect things are going on I have no inkling of.
Yup. Frustrating. Period. I had just taken lamb-for-sale photos, downloaded them into Picasa with the intent of getting them online as a few of you have expressed wanting lambs from me this year. I cannot find them anywhere at all. I will have to really give thought to a replacement program and educate myself as to how to remove Picasa while retaining the photographs I do have on that program to a safe place. It’s just been very aggravating.
Other than the “Photo Conundrum”, the summer is going by quickly here. We had Val & Hugo, our son-in-law’s parents, visit us and included them in a trip to Oregon and Black Sheep Gathering. Other than car problems, it was a nice trip. (I did get sick on the way home…) Oregon was beautiful! We managed to stop at Crater Lake before heading cross-country to Eugene.
Black Sheep Gathering was wonderful! I got to visit with friends as well as see more Shetland sheep from other breeders, look at vendors’ wares in the vendor tents, and I even got to help show my friend, Lois’, sheep in the show ring. I had a ball! That said, I found out I don’t get up and down in a show ring that well any longer, but it was a ball nonetheless. 🙂
It’s finally time to get some lambs moved into others’ flocks. Every one of them is a keeper, but that is a luxury a person on a small farm can’t afford, due to space availability. I have picked out three or four to keep in my ewe flock as replacements for their mums. Hard decisions, but decisions nonetheless.
I promise…I will try to write more as we start into Fall. And I do hope to have some photos to go with the entries as soon as I can find them….

wherever it is they are hiding…

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Goodbye, Ole…

…be a good boy and remember, you’re a Sheep Thrills Farm sheep. Do your job and represent us, and the Shetland breed, well!

Ole as a yearling

Yes, Ole has found a new, wonderful home with Mayleen. Mayleen is a grad student at Northern Arizona University doing work in sustainable agriculture. She is researching local, small-scale agricultural producers to learn more about the challenges and rewards of their pursuits and has a particular interest in livestock issues as well as a love of Shetland sheep!
Mayleen moved to Flagstaff from Maine where, among other animals, she had a pet Shetland ram. She had come over to interview me about the sheep. As we stood at the barn, the sheep introducing themselves graciously, she spotted the pen where two black wethers paced the fence line looking longingly for some of the attention the others were receiving. I explained to Mayleen that Ole was up for sale but his brother was in the pen to keep him company. As she started giving Ole scratches and the beloved brisket-rubs, I could see Ole looking into her eyes. He had become a puddle of wool as she hit all those spots he couldn’t reach to scratch. He was putty in her hands.
That evening I received an email thanking me for my time with the interview and…was Ole available still? She wanted to buy him. She really missed having a Shetland. It was fate. 🙂
Yes, I replied with another email. He’s yours. So, last Friday, Mayleen and her daughter, Maia, came to pick him up. Mayleen doesn’t have any other sheep (yet) but does have two horses sharing Ole’s area. He’s inside a pen, but the horses live right next to him and have their heads hanging over to visit with him all day long. She’ll keep an eye on him to see if he develops any signs of depression, but so far he’s been fine and settled right in. I suspect he’s loving all the attention he’s getting now…much more than I could have given him.
I drove over today to get a nice picture of Mayleen and Maia with Ole, but the wind was blowing so badly (as it does on the east side of Flagstaff) that the two of them got blasted in the face with cinder dust and dirt.
All dust aside, here are a couple of pictures of Mayleen and her new Sheep-BFF:

Looks like True Love to me. May you both have a very long, loving and wonder-filled relationsheep!
Make us proud, Ole! We know you can do it!

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