Monday, February 20, 2012

Little Power Outage & Tagging Lambs

I came home from work last Monday night to no power in our house. Sigh. I called the neighbors, but they had power. So I called the power company. While I waited for the power company technicians to come out, I stared at Hazel over the kerosene lamp we lit on the kitchen counter.
Side note: If you move to the country, buy kerosene lamps for this occasion! There is a reason they are so effective and widely used. They actually give off a bit of heat and a surprising amount of light! Flashlights are fine, but somehow the lamp is actually friendlier. 
Anyway, as we sat there and she colored with markers, I told myself, "If pioneer women could make dinner without electricity, why the heck can't I?" Duh. So I lit my gas stove with the matches I had literally purchased at the grocery store 2 hours before (how is that for irony?) and made egg rolls by lamplight.
Hazel took it all fairly well, although understandably was a little jumpy. 
Here is what my kitchen looked like when I turned the flash off on my camera:
We got the power back on at 8 pm, it turns out the transformer on our street they replaced a month ago threw the neutral connector. So it was sending surges of power through our lines and it blew every surge protector in the house (boy did they do their job!!). It also blew our furnace until it could be fixed the next day, our garage door opener, my iron, and my clock radio. Ryan's clock radio was just fine, go figure. But all is well again, and the power company will help pay for the stuff that was destroyed. It's just stuff, after all!

On farm-related subjects, we tagged lambs this weekend. I don't have any pictures of this process because both of us had our hands full of wriggling lambs!
After 3 years of raising sheep, we finally decided we should be a "real farm" and ear tag our lambs. And keep records! It's amazing! And pretty sad it took us this long, but this is a perfect example of the sort of thing that native farm kids would just do and know how to do. Instead, this farm has us! So it took two of us about two hours to tag about a dozen lambs. We'll get better at it in the future!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lambing Season and Kindle Cover

Tonight is the coldest night of the year so far (and probably will be the coldest), so of course we have new lambs. We're up to a few now (6? 8? I'm not sure) and this year we've had better luck with female lambs. Of course, all of the girls are still black while the boys get decent coloring. 
This is a little ram lamb born a couple of weeks ago, with some girls around him. I think the black ewe gene must be a sex-linked trait that is carried by our black ram, Hades. 
So here is our newest mother ewe and her twins, who were fairly weak and small. Ryan bottle-fed them a little as a supplement because it's so cold out and so they would be strong enough to nurse on their own.
Newborn lambs are cute, but they're much cuter a week or two old when they're running around and messing with the chickens in the building.
It's a little hard to see in this fuzzy, cropped, dark (I lightened it, I swear!) picture; but this lamb is nose-to-nose with one of the laying hens. I hadn't ever seen that before, but three of the lambs were chasing the chickens around while the chickens got all flustered and fled to higher ground. It was hilarious! Lambs and puppies have more in common than I would think. 
Hazel looked on with fascination and delight while Ryan fed the lambs. She's extremely empathetic toward our sheep, and gets really really upset when Ryan has to move a ewe around (like by shoving her or picking her up to get her out of his way to feed lambs). Even though he's not hurting the ewe and she's not making any noise, Hazel freaks out every time he manhandles one. It's been that way since even since 6-month-old Hazel was in a baby carrier on my back for doing chores and Ryan was loading sheep into the truck for processing. Born farm girl, that one.

My latest sewing/craft project was something I saw on Pinterest (Ryan calls Pinterest "Lady Crack"). A gal made a cover for her Kindle out of a book. Love it! So, of course, I had to have one.
This book is one of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books (Book 3 to be precise), and it fits a Kindle perfectly. I read these as a teenager, and this book suffered some water damage to the pages a couple of years ago when we had a leak in our sunroom roof. So no, I did not destroy a perfectly lovely book. I admit, that would break my heart a little bit. But back to my project! 
I made it with a combination of sewing and hot glue, using some scrap fabric I had lying around. It's really pink, but I like it. This pink fabric was what I had on hand that matched the bright pink and orange plaid of the book cover. 
I gave my cover a pocket, but I'm not sure why. I can only put flat things in there and I couldn't make it big enough for the Kindle, but I felt like it belongs. 
My truly favorite addition to this cover comes from Ryan's stash of stuff for his hobbies. He had some rare earth magnets that I employed to keep my cover closed.
And yes, I did do my homework; the magnets won't hurt the Kindle. Amazon uses magnets to keep their cover closed too. I maintain the faint hope that the cover will slow my toddler down the tiniest bit as she absconds with my Kindle hollering, "Mine!!!"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snow & Fire

We had our second real snow of the year today. I know, the date is February 4th. It's crazy, but that's just the way the world works sometimes. We have something around 2 inches on the ground.
So do you know what these tracks in the snow are?
If not, then before I tell you I have to mention how a friend of mine refers to her cat. She calls him a "dirty little dirt cat." As soon as I heard that, I loved it. It applies fully to Nermal. He is a dirty little dirt cat, who believes he is a dog. 

But back to the tracks in the snow. Ryan and I went out to visit a lamb whose mother can't decide if she wants it and also toured the building. It's nice and warm in there! I'm so proud of Ryan for that one, he really did a great job picking the site, orientation, and construction method to make a great chicken building. He's concerned it will be too warm in the summer, but we will have to see. On the way back from the tour, we made those tracks. They are from the bottom and body of a snowman.
So maybe you can see why I was talking about a dirty little dirt cat. Apparently, Ryan and I made one!
Several years ago we made a bunny,
let's just say that this time Ryan stuck ears on our snowman and they were not big enough to be bunny ears. Hence our friendly neighbor guardian snow cat.
Guard us, o dirtiest snow cat I ever did see.

This week Ryan's been burning piles of brush near the house. It's been clear and impossibly warm with very little wind.

Here is a picture of the 6 or so ash piles he left behind. Each spot of gray used to be a pile of brush taller than I am.

And I took this picture this morning of the kidlet and her daddy. That's his oatmeal. Not hers, his.
It shows true love that Ryan is willing to share his food.