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Moving again

This blog has now moved!

The blog (only) is now at http://sheepthrillsfarm.blogspot.com.

The farm’s website (including information on fleece, yarns, and the flock) will remain at http://www.sheepthrillsfarm.com.

 

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Yes folks…I am still around. It’s been a year like everyone has – with its ups and downs, excitements and doldrums, thrills and duds. I have been meaning to write more blog entries but have found myself wanting to be outside, or spinning (hand spinning), or knitting, reading…or even checking my eyelids for holes while “listening” to a tv program my DH is watching.

What I have put off doing is becoming more enlightened on this WordPress blog as I had frustrating problems uploading photos. Some of that is resolved, but it still isn’t as easy as blogspot was – or I should really be honest and say I haven’t wanted to devote the time to re-teach myself and become more efficient at it.

The sheep are fine…the cats are mostly good except for Shadow showing his age and Pixel is battling lymphoma. The HHWB and I are getting older, getting much closer to retirement and thoughts of moving from Arizona to a place that has more moderate temperatures and weather. I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis but just wanted everyone to know that, yes, I am still upright and above ground. 😉

 

Cheers!

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For A Friend

Tonight, my friend Tina is hurting. Earlier today, Tina said a sad goodbye to a long-time cherished friend, her cat, Sinda.

Tina and Sinda shared over 20 years together. Sinda was there before Tina met her husband, John, and was her constant companion over the years. I know too well what she feels this evening. It’s more than just the loss of a cherished pet, but more of the loss of a friend and companion who shared the ups and downs of life with grace and love.

My heart goes out to my friend tonight. I know that with time, the hurt of this time will be replaced by warm memories of the beautiful times they shared together. And if you wish to leave Tina your support, here’s the way to her blog:

http://ablipontheradar.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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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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So, you take your Vitamin D3 geltab each day, but do you know where that vitamin might come from? Guess. Go on…just take a guess. Fish liver oil? Well, maybe. But read the label on the bottle. Does it actually state “fish liver oil”? No?
If it states “cholecalciferol”, you may just have a sheep to thank for your health.

“There are two commercial sources of natural vitamin D3: fish liver oil and an oil extracted from wool. “If a label lists ‘vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)’ then it is from wool oil. This is considered a vegetarian source (the animal is not harmed, just sheared), but not vegan. Fish liver oil will be in parentheses if it is the source.” (6) Animals can obtain vitamin D from licking their fur, and in humans, rickets can be successfully treated by rubbing cod liver oil into the skin.”

(from: http://www.doctoryourself.com/dvitamin.htm)

Recently, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. One of the markers used in determining a thyroid problem is the level of vitamin D in the patient. Even though I work outside, in the high-altitude sun we have here at Oleo Acres, I was way below the bottom of the range of this essential vitamin in my system. Most folks in this area can work outside for about 15 minutes in the sun and get more than their daily need of this vitamin. It is essential for a number of reasons. I guess I just have to be different, don’t I?
As I did more and more research on the need for vitamin D, especially in the D3 form, one item kept popping up in the sites I searched. Much of the D3 supplements are made from wool fat in the fleece of sheep.

It seems we shepherds have been on the healthy track and not known it. 😉 Just another reason to thank those four-footed creatures we have come to enjoy, love, and respect, eh?

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He’s Back Again!

Yes, indeed-y do! I had someone show up at the barn this morning who has been missing this summer. You guessed it – Bran (pronounced “brawn”) is back!
No sooner had I finished feeding the sheep and headed for the water hose to water the flower beds when I heard a very familiar squawking at the barn. There he was.
He was chatting away in what I can only assume was an account of his summer travels – I’ve been here, here, and here and ate this, this and that. And while I was there I saw this, this and that other thing. He honestly rattled on and on much the same as a second-grader returning from a summer away and making sure all his friends knew every-little-thing he did that summer. It was the same for Bran.
The only thing was, after telling him it did my heart good to see him again, was he switched to the “Where’s my egg?” mode towards the end of his conversation with me.
So, like a friend, I did what anyone would have done…

…I went and got him an egg! Welcome back, dear friend!

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Soon, I Promise

It’s been an uber-busy month here with family visiting from New Zealand, going to Oregon to attend the NASSA (Shetland breeders) annual meeting at Black Sheep Gathering, as well as day trips and shopping and eating and…
Well, you get it.
But today, if you have a moment, please stop in at Rascal’s World (http://welcometorascalsworld.blogspot.com) and give Leigh a hug. Rascal crossed the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon, leaving a hole in many people’s hearts, especially Leigh’s.
There is a new star in the heavens this evening…

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Status Quo

I thought I would share a few photos from around the place, taken in the past two months. They’ll give you an idea as to the amount of snow we I had to deal with this winter. Oh, my DH was help, but he had to be very limited due to the surgery he had in the Fall. He was the one who called the guys to get the driveway plowed out after the Big Snows.

The first photo is of the barn roof during the snowstorm. All we could see was the weather-vane.

The Barn Roof in the Big Snow

Loki, complete with purple oil on his horns where he scraped them playing with the wethers.

Too much snow!

The boys before the attack. Little do they know the shearer will be here Sunday.
Things are getting back to a sort of normalcy here. The boys are healing, slowly, but making progress. The girls seem to be fine although we won’t really know until next month if the stress of the dog attack had any effect on the lambs they carry. Two of the girls, Ailee and her mother, Amanda, have porked up to where I will have to shorten their rations a bit or get them moving more. I may have been working hard during the snows, but the ewes had The Good Life in the barn – eating bon-bons and laying around all day long.
I remember seeing a sort of treadmill for farm animals on one of those antique-finding shows on TV. Boy, could those girls use one. 😉 I wonder if they have a YMCA for sheep???
And I have started getting ready for spring and summer activities. One thing is for sure…one can not wear one’s self out shoveling snow, then do all sorts of housework and cooking. Now that snows are melting fast, the creek is running full-bore, it’s time for me to start the projects I set aside during this winter.
I’m pretty sure the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits (aka the DH) will appreciate a cooked meal now and then. 😉
NOTE: Thank you all for asking about the boys’ recovery and the court proceedings. Unfortunately, as we are still going through the court proceedings I can not make a comment on them except to say everything is going well. The young man who owns the dogs has, so far, been making restitution for the veterinary expenses. We won’t know the complete outcome until sometime in May.



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I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of love and kindness shown to us with our loss of Ziggy. You will never know or imagine how much that helped me get through this week. While I read each comment or note with leaky eyes, the pain in my heart was endured knowing I was not alone.

All of us have lost furr-friends. All of us have felt the gaping hole in our heart when it was their time to pass on. I got to thinking that most of my dear friends have lost animals recently. Yet, hurt as we do at their passing, we would endure the pain all over again knowing that we get much more out of our having these wonderful creatures in our lives than we would without them. Our four-legged friends enrich our lives and make us better people for it.

I would like to share something with you…something I found my first time visiting the small town of Jerome, Arizona. It was in a little shop with many “cat things” in it. While I brought a few cat-toys home for the gang, this I got for me.

For all of us who have lost our friends:

Stray Cat

“Oh, what unhappy twist of fate

Has brought you, homeless to my gate?

The gate where once another stood

To beg for shelter, warmth and food.

For from that day I ceased to be

The master of my destiny.

While he, with purr and velvet paw

Became within my house, The Law.

He scratched the furniture and shed

And claimed the middle of my bed.

He ruled in arrogance and pride

And broke the heart the day he died.

So if you really think, oh cat,

I’d willingly relive all that

Because you come, forlorn and thin

Well…don’t just stand there…come on in!”

-Francis Witham-

To all of those we have loved, and lost…

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A Quick Ziggy Update

I am so sorry for not posting much this week. It’s been a hard week for all of us. In short, Ziggy has pneumonia and is critical.

The night before last I was up late, watching TV and I noticed Zig’s breathing was very labored. His poor rib cage was so expanded and his flanks were working hard to get oxygen. He was in distress. Yesterday morning I called and found out that Dr. Bill had space open in the afternoon to see Ziggy. Until then I would just have to make him as comfortable as I could.

Bill examined him, finding his temperature was very low. Not a good sign. Zig had decreased sounds on one lung and Bill tried tapping it to see if it was fluid. The tap was empty – a good sign that it wasn’t fluid in the lung itself, but now what? He suggested xrays and I was right there with him. Yes, please, do. The xrays showed some fluid in the pleural lining of the lungs as well as pneumonia(?) in the bronchial passages.

Right now we’re trying massive amounts of antibiotics hoping he rallies. This morning, Bill was gracious enough to bring his “Verminator Team”, Iley and Seamus the Jack Russel Terriers, to the barn to rid it of voles that had moved in when the field flooded during the previous week’s rain/snow/blizzards. We discussed Ziggy a bit while watching the dogs.  He said we are definitely not out of the woods yet. It may take a week before we see progress for Ziggy, if at all.

Yesterday, we prepared ourselves for the fact that we may not have our friend with us much longer. If the antibiotics and support don’t work, we will not let our friend suffer on our account but rather ask Bill to let him go peacefully.

And I wanted to say “Thank You” to all of you who have sent me emails or comments about Ziggy. You will never know how much that support has meant this last week.

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