Friday, February 29, 2008

Photos as Promised

Heeeere's VILLA!

She had a very exciting day. After coming home and resting with me a little, she met Dad. She figured his beard and ears needed washing - or maybe pulling.
She met Lonie first of the resident dogs. Lonie was a little intimidating but very intriguing.

Her first supper was a big hit!

What a look! And yes, she has a demanding bark, which she uses infrequently - thank you, Villa!
Here's Brotha Thomas, looking very haughty in his "Hound Hat". There's a pretty solid family resemblence, as they have the same dam. Their sires are pretty much unrelated, though.
Thomas in his hat.

Here's what I wrote to her breeder about "Villa's first day":

"... Well, Villa's had an exciting first day here. She met Acclaim, the alpaca, Morata and Amy, the llamas (all from the safely of my arms) and many of the sheep, on actual sheep level, through the fences."

"She met Grizabelle, our "senior" cat, Lonie the 12 y.o. GSD, Clifford the Welsh Springer and, of course, Thomas, the Wildman. She also met Squeeker, the ex-feral barn cat. Of all the critters, he was the least happy about meeting Villa - and of course, she wanted most to pounce on him."

"Villa wants to play with Thomas. I figure she sees him as familiar looking, but he's just too over the top for her to be comfortable. Clifford wants to play, and is the closest to her size, so they'll probably be the first to really play. She's still a bit intimidated by Lonie (the size?), but really, really wants to cuddle up in all that fur. Lonie's not so sure she wants to be laid on, but tries to play, with big paws and bigger nose."

"She is much less bold than Thomas, first deciding to exit stage left when meeting the other residents, then quickly letting her curiosity get the better of her, coming back and checking them out."

"She slept through to about 5:00 (I didn't look - it was still dark) which was a blessing! She's been very good in her crate, with only small bursts of barking, then settling down."

"She met the chickens and ducks - is fascinated with the ducks! She rode in the wheelbarrow to go out and feed the birds - sometimes the turkeys can get aggressive - even Thomas gives them a wide berth!"

"She waded in the pond while Thomas made wild dashes back and forth and tail tucked around in big circles. The level's gone down enough that it isn't swimming water, even to her, though that also meant it wasn't very cold."

"She's followed me around the farm, feeding sheep a couple times, expressing her unhappiness (briefly) when I go inside the pen where she can't go. I'm quick (she's not accompanied me on the longer tasks), so she's not alone long, and can always hear me and mostly see me."

"She's baby gated into the kitchen, which means I am, too, when she's up. She *almost* is asking to go outside, and so far hasn't had an accident. (I'm of the opinion that they need to make at least one mistake and get caught, to know not only is it "good" to go potty outside, it isn't good to go inside.)"

"We're playing games with food. I keep a small handfull of kibble out while her food is soaking and feed them to her but only if she's not trying to get them from my hand. Good choices. She's letting me set the bowl down and waiting a split second to be released to eat... well, not quite yet on the first try. ;-)I'm attaching a few photos. It's not easy getting photos when she's mostly underfoot, especially when I'm looking at her. ;-)"


So there you have it - Promised photos and even a play by play of her first 24 hours here at EverRanch. :-)

- Franna

Thursday, February 28, 2008

She's Here!

At 2:45 Villa arrived at the Alaska Air Freight counter. She let everyone know she'd much rather get OUT than sit on the counter in the crate. She kept her tail wagging and wrapped herself around my feet multiple times before getting down to 'business', then we could drive home.

At the feed store (well, yes, I had to make a stop for puppy "litter" and a few more toys) *everyone* had to make a fuss over her. She ate that up with a spoon. Finally at home, she's been played with and fussed over and fell asleep on my lap (out of reach of the camera). I'm getting a few things done while she rests in her crate for a bit. What an adorable little girl. I'm not sure "Villainess" fits her, but a Villainess with Virtue, or a playing a Villainess online... now that fits. (Remember Mom's name is "Online" and Dad's is "Conundrum". ;-)

Photos later - I promise!
- Franna

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Scream, I Scream...

This afternoon, I had a craving for ice cream. I didn't want to go to the grocery store for some overpriced (but delicious!) ice cream in limited flavors. Limited because I don't eat soy products and the great majority of ice cream has soy something in it.

Sooooo, I've been hoarding several gallons of sheep milk since July, packed in 4 cup Ziplocs. Through the CSA, we've been getting quarts of frozen blueberries each week. hmmmmmm, what about blueberry ice cream!

A quick look on Google gave me a simple recipe to play with. This is what I came up with:

1 quart blueberries
just a little water
1 cup white sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
1 quart Sheep milk (8+ % butterfat!!!)

Put the blueberries, water and sugar in a saucepan and cook until soft and a little thickened, 10 minutes or so. Add the frozen milk. This cooled the hot blueberries - actually the blueberries weren't hot enough to thaw the whole quart, so it went through a couple microwave cycles to thaw it. The idea is to get it as cold as possible before putting it in the ice cream machine.

I have an old Waring Ice Cream Parlor ice cream maker. It hasn't been used in years, but worked like a charm right out of the box. (I even found it without taking the kitchen apart!)

Follow directions for the Ice Cream maker and freeze the mixture. Eat! Put the remainder in the freezer. It's easier to eat if you microwave it a little straight out of the freezer, especially if your freezer is really cold.

- Franna

Friday, February 22, 2008

Villa, Villa, Villa!

Villa arrives next Thursday, February 28th! She's learning sit and down and touching a target. She's "litter" trained to be more manageable in the winter weather, she'll have her first vaccinations and a microchip. She'll still have "puppy breath". :-)
The photo below shows Villa (most likely on the left) with a brother and a sister at 3 weeks of age.

The next photo is Villa at 6 1/2 weeks of age. She looks like like a Labrador puppy should look at that age.

We're enjoying a few days of warm-ish and sunny weather. The lunar eclipse was even visible on Wednesday! Dave moved the rams to a concrete floored pen, so they're off the spongy bedding under the trees. Dandelions and thistles are starting to grow, ewes are getting round - spring must be coming!

:-) Franna

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Virtual Villainess

Oh, my! It's been a while since I've blogged. There are plenty of things going on at EverRanch!

My son is 27 today - Wow! It seems like just "yesterday" when my water broke 4 months before we were expecting him! Yes... 4 months. As it turned out, the doc was wrong on my due date, but Bryan was still 9 weeks early. He was a healthy 2 lb, 7 oz and spent 4 weeks in the hospital, just growing. The target weight was 5 lb, but he was doing so well that he was discharged at about 4 1/2 lb. Now he's running the IT department at an international company in Albuquerque. Since birth, he lives life to its fullest.

My daughter will be 24 on Wednesday. She's married to a wonderful man from Moses Lake. They bought their first house last fall, in Moses Lake, and are working for his dad's winery and vineyards, one of the largest in Washington State.

That, and I'm flying to Florida on Thursday to judge agility in Palm Beach. Wow! Am I ever looking forward to some warmer weather. Goodie, Goodie, Goodie!!

There's lots of mundane goings on. And one that's really exciting! After waiting for 3 years, I'm getting a puppy. Woo Hooo! I picked out the dam about 5 years ago, and we got Thomas from her first litter. He ended up being Dave's graduation from college present. He's such a great Labrador, that I decided to get another pup from his dam.

The pups were born on January 1st, and ours should be arriving the last week in February!

Introducing: Winroc Virtual Villainess

"Villa" comes from some high falutin' Labrador show and performance lines. Her dam is Ch. Winroc On Line, JH, who is going for her Senior Hunter title after she gets back in shape. Dad is Ch. Waifin's Topform Conundrum, RN, WC who will also be competing in hunt tests. In her pedigree is an Amateur Field Champion, a French Dual Champion and many Specialty show winners. She has close relatives wtih MACh, UDX, OTCh and TDX titles. She's got some big paw prints to fill.

It's been a long time since I've had a pup with such potential. By this fall, she should be competing in hunt tests and rally obedience. Agility trials will have to wait until her bones are mature, but she can start learning non-jumping skills, tunnels, walking planks and lots more! And I have so much more time now that I'm retired. ;-)

Funny thing. I wasn't feeling so bad that I hadn't posted for a while. I was checking all my blog links, and they didn't have any new postings either. Well... a couple days ago, I decided to "refresh" my browser and - voila! - I got all the blog posts I'd been missing. You all have been busy! :-)

- Franna