Saturday, January 26, 2008

Belt and Suspenders Enlarged Photos

So now the two "Eye Candy" photos point to larger images on our EverRanch website. Click on the photos. :-)
If one way doesn't work, sometimes there's another!
- Franna

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Sheep of a Different Color...

or Don't Count Your Fleeces Before They're Sheared. :-\

I went out one morning to feed early in the week. As the sheep dove into the feed troughs, I noticed there was a PINK SHEEP in the trough. PINK???? I thought immediately of someone rubbing up against the "barn red" shed - but they didn't have access to that shed, and this was on TOP of the fleece.
Closer examination (when she came up for air from pigging out) and with a terrible groan! I recognized Bessie under all that "pink" fleece. I'd been coveting Bessie's fleece for weeks, and now with shearing only about a month away, I was dreaming of spinning those luscious fawn locks. Bessie obviously had other ideas.
It didn't take long to realize that she'd taken advantage of the new mineral feeder. She must've been thinking that it wasn't just a mineral feeder, but a personal scratching post. I had positioned it high enough that it wouldn't catch sheep pellets, and low enough that lambs could reach it and the sheep couldn't get under it. I thought. Well, Bessie figured out how to get under it, lift it off its bracket, rock it back and forth and spill essentially all the mineral onto her back. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!! Her fleece should look like this:
Instead, it looks like this:
Well, sometimes I'm a little slow. Today, I realized that the mineral didn't just stain the outer parts of her fleece, it probably was trapped down there next to her skin, not doing her fleece or skin any good! I got out the livestock blower/dryer, haltered her and tied her up, and proceeded to blow as much of the grit out as possible. There was a lot in there! (... and a lot of VM came flying out, too! More than I expected for as clean as her fleece looks.)
Now, blowing is a great way to clean and prep Scottish Blackface for the show ring. I don't think it has the same effect on Shetlands:
...though with a little smoothing, Bessie still looks pretty good!

Maybe I'll get to spin her beautiful locks after all... maybe a little dye will make it all better.

- Franna

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eye Candy

On Monday, I drove up to ERN (EverRanch "North") to check on progress.
Monday was the most spectacularly beautiful day of the year! It was cold, clear and crisp. Everywhere I turned, scenery was eye popping. This is just one of the views I took in. This one is from the ferry dock in Clinton at not quite sunset. The moon is just rising over the Cascade range. The mountain on the right is Three Fingers, home to one of my favorite hikes - Goat Flats (if you know where to look, you can see Goat Flats in the photo!), and one of the many Cascade peaks I've climbed. The next mountain to the left, I think, is White Horse. Below them is part of the city of Everett.
My, Oh My!

I was going to stop with the one photo, but I just couldn't resist. This one is Mount Baker in her Winter Finery. Mt. Baker is a ways north of White Horse and Three Fingers and highly visible from the Clinton ferry dock. They should both "biggify" if you click on them - be prepared for a large photo! I have a whole photo panorama of peaks inbetween. Maybe that'll get posted on the website. :-)
And now, I can even go to bed "early".
Good night,
- Franna

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Auction and Washington Wool

Our fellow Shepherds, Meg and Brad Gregory, continue to dig out, repair, clean, and rebuild after the devastating floods of December, 2007. They are committed to their Black Sheep Creamery, and the NW Shetland Sheep Group is committed to help with ANOTHER BENEFIT AUCTION! There is an amazing variety of donated items in the auction, and more are being added as they're received. Please help by bidding - who knew that adding to your stash could help a fellow shepherd? :-)

We also launched Washington Wool dot Net ...maybe a little prematurely... as a way to host Part 2 of the Benefit Auction. Washington Wool will be our co-op Marketplace for small fiber farms all over Washington. A few of us have our own websites, but most have no effective way to advertise to our customers. More and more customers are internet savvy and like online shopping. Watch for us to grow!

If you are a small fiber farm in Washington, and are interested in joining Washington Wool, just let me know!

- Franna

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wow it's been busy! What with the auction, Christmas, New Years and judging agility, it seems like it's been only a few minutes since the middle of December. whew!

We have Big News! Construction has started at ERN - yeee haaaa!!! We have a driveway and some clearing around edges and in the areas for well and house. The photo below is looking down the 1000 feet of new driveway to Boon Road. This is near the site of where the "nursery" and arena will be. Oh! Exciting!!!

We're off in a few minutes to consult with the construction guys about where the house will actually be sited. We don't want to remove any more trees than necessary. These trees have a rough life in the winds from the Straits of Juan De Fuca, and have a lot of character. More photos later.

- Franna