December 2008


Earlier in the fall, my girls were supposed to have a wild romantic adventure with a ram who lives nearby. But the ram doesn’t know how to drive, and his person and I were just too stupid-busy this past season to organize sheep-swaps, so it never happened. Then, just before Christmas, along comes The Little Ram That Nobody Wanted. His sisters and cousins had all gone, and his mommy had weaned him ages ago, and so all he had for company were some smelly pigs. He didn’t much like the pigs; he missed his sheep.

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He is not a black sheep. He is a white sheep who has been living too close to smelly pigs. His name is Vellum. He’s never seen a chicken before, and in fact he’d never seen Outside before, let alone snow. But having new Sheep Friends makes the whole thing a wonderful adventure.

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Chloe warmed up to him almost immediately – she’s only a few months older than he is, and she was glad to have someone new to play with.

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The older ewes took a bit longer, but eventually Blackie’s maternal instinct got the better of her, and she adopted him. Now even Freyja is warming up to him, and between the fact that he is sweet and smallish, and the fact that he is A Boy, there is a lot of cute cuddling going on in my yard this week.

It has been agreed that he can eat hay from the trough with the other sheep. (Lambs like hay. BigSheep said they didn’t, but BigSheep are always playing jokes like that. Hay is good.) In fact, (since Vellum was pretty much unsocialized) they have noticed a definite upturn in the amount of Sheep Treats on offer since he has arrived. There is nearly always something for them in my pocket now. I’m sure this helped his being accepted.

It’s taken him a bit longer to warm up to me, in no small part because he had a sore foot I’ve been treating, hooves that desperately needed trimming, and I had to take a close look at his eyes, which had been troubled by the smelly-pig ammonia. But all those problems are improving, and he has discovered that pets and scritchies don’t always mean “being turned upside down”, sometimes they mean “lamb snacks”. Just yesterday I received a very thorough sniffing, and he’s also got brave enough to try and stick his nose in the aformentioned pocket. I’m pretty sure he’ll always like Sheep better than People, but that’s fine and as it should be, Blackie’s attitude notwithstanding.

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Yes, brace yourselves – after months of gabble about geese and sheep and chickens, I am making a foray into the “craft” side of this blog with a display of (gasp!) Finished Objects!

Finished Object the first, and a long time coming it has been too, is my brother’s aran:

kilsweater

No criticism on the quality of the picture, please – I haven’t got a better because it was finished and delivered on time, on Christmas Eve. And he was probably afraid to model it because I told him if it didn’t fit I never wanted to know and he had to keep it as an heirloom forever. It should be in his will. But there, I finished it. Something like a million miles of handspun worsted, from Freyja, started and re-started at least four times, took me about a year and a half all told. Gasp.

What else we got? A pair of fingerless gloves for my MIL – suspiciously like ‘fetching’ except I haven’t actually consulted that pattern since it was published and I did something weird around the thumb to give it some more ease. But for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s “Fetching”.

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And yes, I wove in the ends on everything before I gave it away. That is worth mentioning, because stuff I make for me often has ends dangling all over the place which I really mean to get to someday, honest.

Then I made a collage for my sister in law, which probably only confirmed her opinion that I’m ‘not quite right’, but it was fun. Next year I’d maybe better give her the sweater, though.

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AND I finished two masks and a… fabric thing. With the material and the fire and the fun-fun-fun.

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sunmask

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I also made clogs for Raven’s sister, who wore out the ones I made last year, and a hat for a gift exchange.  I can’t seem to find a picture of the hat, even though I know perfectly well that I took one.  It was just a hat, you know, but still.  It was evidence!   Oh well.  I baked a pie:

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It is “Katt pie” from a Traditional Welsh Cookbook that CK gave me for Christmas.  It’s OK if you think that’s funny.  I think this pie is indescribably  weird – no wait, I can describe it:  Lamb, brown sugar and raisins.  (Should be currants, I didn’t have those.  I don’t think that would make it any less odd.)  Raven thinks it’s great, and has eaten two big pieces.  I think it’s great that he likes it, because I have to be in town tomorrow and that means he can eat the rest.  It was quite easy to prepare, I wonder how long I can get away with feeding it to him when I’m gone before he figures out I don’t want any?

Phil has moved on.

We thought maybe she was feeling “urges” – she kept standing on one leg on the berm, gazing south. Raven kept making narrative jokes like “gosh, I almost feel as if I should lift up my other leg, but that would be silly, I’d fall! Blackie stands on the berm gazing too, but she’s just hoping a tractor will go by. She likes tractors. Phil, I suspect, was looking at South.

Day before yesterday I went out and there was no goose. I looked everywhere. Finally, I did find her:

philfar

She had flown about 100-110 yards south. And she didn’t know what all the fuss was about, it wasn’t any nicer there at all – in fact it was if possible even more windy! But she was kind of mad at us, because we had tried to shelter her from the wind and geese don’t like that, apparently. So she stayed South all morning.

In the afternoon she came back and hung around the house, watching the sheep. Eventually Raven managed to get her to have some water and corn, and he apologized for the misunderstanding, so she came back in the yard. I apologized too, and everyone made up and had some corn.

But yesterday morning she was gone. The first flight must have been a test flight as much as a pout, because she has completely flown away.

I hope she found other geese.  There are still lots around, she should have.  I hope she’s all right, and I’m really glad that she can fly so well after her wing problems, and that she’s confident enough to strike out on her own.  (Even if it is in December!)

It’s weird, not having a goose to help me do chores, or banging on the door and demanding corn in the evenings.  I miss her.

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3wks

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Good luck, Phil.  Drop by and visit sometime.