Sunday, December 28, 2008

Being Unique

We like being unique here on the Guitner Road. We say things like "I'll bet there's not another family (or person) on the Guitner Road that......." You can fill in the blank with whatever is appropriate at the time, such as "....has parents married to each other for 55 years and they're still fixing Christmas Dinner for their kids."
Aren't we so lucky? That Mom and Dad are healthy and want to do it is a source of pride for me. Just in case you think we make them cook, you need to know this: they know that when they don't want to anymore that one of us will carry on in their stead.
It was disappointing to me that I had to work Christmas Day. Someone had to, and this year was my turn :( I'm not five, I've gotten over it. I sent a letter to all that my son read in my absence. I went there as soon as I got off work. I missed seeing my son and daughter-in-law but got to catch a glimpse of everyone else. Brad took photos for me.
Above are two of Santa's best helpers.

I received a neat Christmas gift. It's one of those unique things that I'm willing to bet no one else on the Guitner Road got for Christmas. I got an umbrella swift and ball winder. I finally got to play with it Saturday morning. I promptly turned all my yarn skeins into center pull cakes. Big Fun, Big Fun. Then of course, I have to take many photos of it.
Now I'm ready to get back to knitting.

Brad's Christmas Gift

Brad's been talking about a kitten for about a year. I have not wanted one. I said that Merlin would eat it, etc. The truth is I hate litter boxes. We haven't had a cat or litter box for eight years and I haven't missed having a litter box at all in that time.
Three kitties were playing in traffic at Mom and Dad's on Christmas. Before I went home from there, I grabbed the yellow one and took him with me.
Merlin hasn't eaten him yet. Kitty's so grateful for a warm, dry home. He lays on the back of the sofa purring his little heart out. He doesn't have a name yet. I would call him Sunshine like our long gone old yellow cat was named but I think Brad should give him a name. Keep posted.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Evening Snow

I had to get a shot of Brad's lovely Colorado Blue Spruce in the snow the other evening. He works late on Tuesdays and I wanted him to see it. The flash picked up the falling snow and makes it difficult to see how pretty the lights are that he takes care to get placed just right. As it grows, it's more challenging to place the lights. Maybe a taller ladder will soon be in order.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Favorite Christmas Decorations or Why Everyone Needs an Aunt Joyceee

My Aunt Joyceee is a lovely soul. She is a precious one. Who could help but love her? Over my life she has gifted me with her gentleness and kindness and her love. She joins us for our family gatherings and I am always glad to see her. When we take road trips together we have great fun. Everyone needs an Aunt Joyceee to love them like mine has loved me.
Joyceee has given me some of my favorite Christmas decorations. As I'm decorating this week, I think it's time to document some of her contributions to our Christmas stash.
In 1994, she made and gave me these lovely old time cross stitched Santas. Aren't they dear? They are stitched on paper and inserted in a wooden base with a tiny pine tree between them. Each Santa is 1 1/2 inches at his base and 5 inches tall.In 2000, Joyceee cross stitched another tiny treasure for me, a Christmas sheep with a wreath on her neck and a tiny brass bell. The frame is 5 inches square. A couple years ago she gave me a lovely glass tree ornament. I love hanging it on the tree and worry that the dog will bother it. It is teardrop shaped, 6 inches long with a 4 inch diameter. Mary and Joseph are in the stable as sheep graze on the hillside under the night sky. Thank you, Joyceee, for these treasured Christmas decorations but most of all for your love and for being the special aunt you are to me.

lookin' out my backdoor

lookin' out my backdoor, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

This is the moon, Venus and Jupiter (L to R) in close proximity on Monday, Dec 1. Brad called me out to get an eyeful of the sight last evening. It was cloudy, rainy and ugly earlier in the day, so quite a treat that we were able to see this spectacle. It was just after sunset and you can catch a glimpse of a tree in the bottom right of the photo. I have a smart camera. It took this shot on "auto" mode. Nothing that I took manually looks as good as this shot.
Shortly after we came inside to get warm the phone rang. It was Lane proudly announcing that he'd gotten an 8 point buck in the afternoon. Now it's not everyday that a boy gets his first buck, so we drove up to check it out. There were grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles there to see Lane's deer. He was really tickled and tired. I bet he slept good last night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I know it's November but today was like October

When I was in the fourth grade at South Elementary in Bedford, PA, Mrs. Shaffer gave us a tiny book of poetry. We memorized verses of poetry each week. It was a chore but some of those poems are with me yet, as is the little booklet. That was over 40 years ago. Wow! That was a long time ago! Below is one of my favorites. This time of year always calls it to mind. Hope you enjoy it, too. Mrs Shaffer would explain all the lines to us the week before we had to recite it.

October's Bright Blue Weather
By Helen Hunt Jackson

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Merlin Takes Pause

sweet pup, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

This guy is as loyal as a dog can be.

Just After Sundown

after sundown, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

I love to watch the sky changing at this time of day. The hour after sunset has the most amazing skies.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Want To See More?

Whether the sun was in or out, the La Sal Mountains north of Monticello, Utah, had a dusting of snow on them throughout our stay. Monticello is the county seat for San Juan County, Utah's largest geographic county. The town has 2,000 residents; the county has 11,000:
The San Juan Mountains to the east in Colorado, made a beautiful backdrop for Monticello. Famous Telluride, Colorado is about 100 miles due east of here:

Sheep on the Navajo Reservation with a lovely view for their grazing pleasure:
Some antelope stopped their grazing to look at us before they ran off: A copper mine east of Phoenix was quite impressive. There was some heavy equipment that looked tiny on that hill:

More Arizona/Utah Trip Photos

I've almost gotten caught up since returning home 2 weeks ago. Waa Waa Waa!
Here are a few more photos from our trip.
This is leaving Harrisburg. The Susquehanna River and the green fields. The moisture in the air:

Between Tuba City and Kayenta on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona are these stone "elephant legs." That's my description of them. I don't know if the locals have a name for them. The size of them is astounding. There they stand along the highway. Nothing else around them looks like they do. Notice the shiny silver pick-up truck parked at the base of them for a size comparison. That's it there, so tiny you can barely see it:We stopped at a convenience store on the Navajo Reservation. There were nine dogs in the parking lot. Brad and Barb went into the store and I waited in the car. I fed a potato chip to this fella and thought I was going to lose my fingers. I guess that's how he earns a living. We saw pastured sheep near there with dogs running about. They weren't herding dogs, believe me. It made me nervous. I don't trust dogs near the sheep:In the Monument Valley area again. The landscape is so dramatic there:Trees growing in a wash add soothing green to the harsh dryness of the Colorado Plateau:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Sheep on Yonder Hill Doth Graze?

They are my ewes with their favorite ram, Blue. The ewes have been with Blue since last Sunday. Brad woke me to see the pockets of fog in the low lying areas this morning. The fall colors, the fog and the early morning light make a great surround of the green hillside. It is a peaceable scene.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We Made it Back to Pennsylvania

We're home from our grand adventure. What a great time we had. I still haven't settled down and today looks no more promising. Brad is back to work today. I go back tomorrow. Here are a few photos until I can tell you more about our trip

The saguaros along I-17 north of Phoenix. They quickly dissappear from the landscape when the altitude reaches 4000 feet:A photo from Monument Valley. I think I saw John Wayne out here:Doc McNeal and Elta Begay examining an old Navajo rug brought to the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association's Annual General Meeting in Monticello, Utah:Brad took this photo of Barbara and me at Canyon de Chelly. Brad spent his week watching over 2 chattering women. He was most attentive and accomodating. I think he was ready to get home: Salt River Canyon area on our way back to Phoenix. This trip through Apache lands was new territory for us. The roadway drops 2000 feet in 5 miles through a scenic series of switchbacks:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Next on the Agenda

Shearing begins Wednesday evening.
Then sheep to auction.
Then our trip to Utah.
Then lambs to the butcher.
And then finally just for poor old Blue - breeding season. It's been a tough wait for him. These cooler nights and shorter days make a ram...ah... frisky, yes that's the word, frisky. I just hope the fences can withstand his friskiness. They've taken quite a beating in the past week. It's not all his fault if the fences come down. I've seen what those girls do to him. They're tormentors.

The hay is in the barn

Oh, what a relief it is!, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Oh, what a relief it is! There's hay in the barn. It's filled to the rafters. I've held my breath all summer waiting for this. It looks nice and it smells wonderful. Ewe girls are going to eat good this winter.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The dog I live with...

The dog I live with..., originally uploaded by lamb lady. not the same dog that you see when you visit. As you see in the photo, the dog I live with can be calm and relaxed on occasion. This is his chair in the computer room. He often sleeps and snores while I'm on the computer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fine Son

Fine Son, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Nathan is 34 today. Wow!

All Hands on Deck

All Hands on Deck, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Brad and I have scrubbed the deck and are now staining it. This is a pain in the butt. Didn't feel we should spray the stain onto the wood, painting will get us better coverage. All those posts have a lot of surface area. It feels like it'll be along time before we're done.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

full moon in the fog

full moon in the fog, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Just before I left for work Saturday morning, the moon bid me take this photo. I propped the camera on the deck railing to keep it steady. It seemed the shutter would never close. There was just enough light to catch the fog and eerie landscape.

Guitner Road Sunrise

Guitner Road Sunrise, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

When you don't have to be at work and you can't sleep, it's best to let your partner sleep while you make some tea, feed the dog and quietly read your favorite blogs. If you're lucky, when the dog is ready to go outside you can catch a sight like this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hot Heads in the Cool Morning

Wow! It's a surprisingly cool August morning. After the heat of the past month, the welcome coolness makes the sheep frisky. Apparently some power struggle had ensued. I got to the barnyard in time to see two ewes, Cassiopeia and Zenith, butting heads. Maybe Cassie (the black sheep) called Zenie (the badgerface) a cruel name. I can only guess what the root of the problem was, but after seeing what happened next, I'm thinking it was some "to do" over the new ram, Blue. Here's a photo of the two ewes butting each other:
Ewes butting at each other isn't too alarming. Rams fighting can be fierce or deadly, never funny. The rams act just like the big horn sheep you've seen on TV.
See what the winner does: she steps to the fence to visit Blue.
I called this photo "I Like Ewe":

Progressive Meal

It's been more than 35 years since I participated in a progessive meal, but that was what we did last evening. It's difficult to find a common time for being together with family and friends. When we get together there's much to see and share and discuss.
One of the things we needed to see was the ancient refrigerator that Pat and Andy gave to Joel and Susie. Joel fixed it up to working condition and Susie gave it a place of honor in their new home. Both couples appreciate useful old items and both couples lovingly place those items in their homes. So we had drinks at Joel's and Susie's, drinks chilled by the old refrigerator. We toured their nice home. It's an expression of them, filled with neat old pieces and new ideas. Joel thought they weren't "progressive" enough people to join us so the rest of us went on to a fun evening. I think they would have fit quite well. We moved on to Mom's and Dad's for a salad. Mom prepared a salad bar with fresh greens and loads of options to make our salads just right. We ate in the shade with the fine August weather surrounding us. Afterward, we scouted out some of their treasures. They have wonderful family pieces that have stories to tell. Some old pieces they find at sales and bring home to clean and display. Their home is peaceful and refreshing. I always enjoy visiting them. I have lived numerous places throughout my life and these are the people who taught me that a house is a structure and a home is where you hang your heart.

The main course was at our house - barbeque and baked macaroni. It was a meal filled with lively conversation followed by a brief demonstration of wool processing equipment. I showed off my niddy-noddy and lazy Kate. (Brad made them for me.) We spun the drum carder and had a demonstration of yarn twist. If you don't follow all that, ask me to explain, if you care or if you dare : )It was getting late and we couldn't run out of sunlight yet. We had permission to check out a new home being built in Pat's and Andy's neighborhood. Wow! What a beauty! It's big with lots of glass and covered outdoor area. We've always enjoyed looking at homes under construction. It's amazing how an initially small hole in the ground grows with each step of the building process. To those new home owners: We're happy for you. That is a lovely home you're building. We know you'll enjoy getting back to the country to live. You'll have great views from there.Then on to Pat's and Andy's for the dessert. These are two amazing people. What they have done in such a short time speaks of their like-minded dedication to each other and their home. All they've done is thoughtfully designed and executed. They have put so much of themselves into their home. Live long and prosper, you two, you are dear people. We're so glad to have you as our friends. Pat made blueberry buckle from their blueberries and the guys churned raspberry ice cream for a sweet treat and a fine way to end a fun evening.I put down the camera last night, though there would have been some great shots. Participating in the events of the evening, instead of observing through the lens, is far more fulfilling. I still think a good post needs photos so I went out this morning and took a few shots to share with you. The photos throughout this post are self-seeded "volunteers". The sunflowers took root in the garden and celosia grew around the front door from the potted plants there last year.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Frogmore Stew

Dad called us earlier this week to invite us for supper at 6:30 Saturday evening. The menu was a surprise. There would be eight of us - Mom and Dad, my brothers and their wives and Brad and me. We were not to bring anything and, if possible, we would eat outside. I love a good surprise. Brad was quite concerned about what would be on the table. As it turned out he didn't need to be, he enjoyed himself, too.
On one of Dad's hunting trips they had Frogmore Stew. Just in case you are wondering, Frogmore is a place in South Carolina, there were no frog legs in the pot. It's Southern comfort food, a seafood boil, and it works it's magic on this side of the Mason-Dixon line, too.
Dad set up the outdoor propane stove and filled the pot of boiling water with Old Bay. Then he added broken ears of sweet corn, small red potatoes, sausage links and shrimp. I saw a halved lemon and some onion in the pot, too. When it was cooked and drained, it all got dumped on the paper covered picnic table. Mom melted butter, made cocktail sauce and had all the fixin's ready when the cooking was complete.
We all filled our bellies as we emptied the table. Then there was blueberry pie and ice cream for dessert. Since it was such a pleasant evening we lingered long, catching up on the latest gossip and telling tales from the past and present.
Joel and Susie were going home to catch a quick nap and then headed out to spend the night fishing on the Meadow Grounds Lake. Now, I'd rather sleep than fish, but with the stars twinkling the way they were last evening, I'm sure they had a good night. I hope they caught some nice ones. Dave and Jane will celebrate twenty years of marriage on Tuesday.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for all the things you do. You got us off to a good start in our lives and you still bring good things to life. That's very special and we are so fortunate to have you near.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dye Day

the kool-aid yarn, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Vickie invited me to her home a couple weeks ago for a dye day with the South Cumberland Fiber Guild. What a fun day we had. I'm used to working with the great array of natural colors of the Navajo-Churro sheep we have here. Adding dye to the mix was so much fun. I hope you'll slip over to my slide show and take a look at the photos and read the captions.

Handsome New Ram

bide a wee Blue, originally uploaded by lamb lady.

Through an amazing effort on the part of Maria Amodei of North Face Farm in Mass, Brad and I were able to pick up Blue near Williamsport, PA, one evening after work in May. I love the looks of this guy and I'm pleased to have him here at Shepherd's Loft. He is from Bide a Wee Farm in Oregon. I'm hoping he'll make lots of badgerfaced babies for us next spring.
I love bagerfaced sheep and haven't had any for awhile.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our July 6 Picnic at Mom's and Dad's

Mom and Dad had a great picnic for us Sunday afternoon after July 4. All the kids and their spouses, grand-kids and spouses and great-grand kids were present and accounted for. Joycee was able to join us and the Moores did, too. The weather was great but the fellowship and food were even better. I'm not going to post any of those pictures here, you can click on the "slideshow" to the right that will allow you to see them on "flickr." Here's a lovely sunset we had one evening recently.