Monday, January 29, 2007

Our thoughts go out to Barbaro's owners...

(first off, this pic is of our Diamonte--not Barbaro!) I am not sure why I feel such a connection to the owners of the beautiful Barbaro--who was tragically 'lost' due to a fatal racing injury. The owners were courageous facing his injury, as was this beautiful horse--but it was not to be. He was humanely euthanized today because he could not face the rest of his life with out pain.

Our Monte is 28 now and we lost my lifelong friend Crissy several years ago now. I am so impressed with Barbaro's owners- who did not care if he would recover to race or put out with the mares for the rest of his life. They loved him (that was obvious over these past months) and wanted him with them. I am so sad that they could not find some magic for such a great horse. I believe he is in good company 'up there' and I am sure there is also a place there for those special people someday too. The heartbreak of this type of decision is one we are all familiar with in some way and words cannot describe or help. Still we think good thoughts for them all and wish them the best as they recover from their loss....

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sock it to me???? ha!

Life has been 'socking it to us' a bit lately here at the Ryans but strangely enough, I am socking back! haha! I am almost done with a handspun/hand knit sock (I am too scared to turn heels very often)--the famous no heeled-sock kind! Will post pics when I have them done, got tired of buying socks in the store that drove me insane and did not keep my feet warm either! SO, what are you all passing the winter knitting?

The sheep are happy and healthy, Chessa continues to improve getting over her pneumonia. Been working on adding more time to my day (???) so I can enjoy some carding again. Love our batt carder, just have the priorities set to my day to be 1-sheep; 2- spinning; 3 website and of course getting boxes packed and on their way in a timely fashion. Doesn't always leave much time to carve out for carding but I truly miss it so am trying--keep an eye on the site for our 'famous' Crazy Quilt batts and Bump in the Night batts!

Hug your loved ones EVERY day!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Do 'ewe' see what I see????

Yep, snow! We were SO happy to see some snow when we looked out our window today! The sheep love it too and as you can see, it is really coming down! I think we are in for only about 4 inches but it is such pretty, huge mongo flakes!

I think Bobbi (our Great Pyrenees) is in the picture wishing the sheep would stay inside--she and Andrew are very dedicated to their sheep, no matter how silly they behave. Those sheep just love to gallop about in the snow--from the looks of them, they have been out carousing in the pasture for some time in their warm wooly coats!

Looks like a fun day of watching sheep 'streak'--they start out the barn door at a full run, tear down to the end of their pasture kicking and jumping--turn around and back to 'bed' to warm their feet again! They do not like cold legs/feet! They do however love to run about in the snow and even the oldest of our sheep act like lambs on a day like today!

Lambs that have never seen snow are just a riot--first the snow might 'bite' them, then they find out what all the hoopla is all about and run themselves into a gasping oblivion! Too too fun, another great day here at the homestead, hope you are having a great day too-happy snowy sheep!

(we are obviously very easily amused! ha!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Shearing Time Begins- Woolie Paradise!!

And off we go--shearing begins! We are off to pick up some great Cotswold and cross fleeces tomorrow so keep an eye on the website! I am also trying to get to our OWN sheep fleeces too, as I have been stingy and held on to way too many! ha! Never never have enough wool--or sheep!! (Just don't tell on me)

Looking forward to hearing from all of you with pictures of your projects--we have a newly re-created fiber art page and need to get it filled up. Sorry for those of you whose pictures were lost during our computer melt downs last year but we hope we will hear from you to get the artwork re-posted! It is TOO fun to see what everyone is busy creating with fiber and yarn! You are all very talented artistes!

On the homefront, we are finally having some even temps that have the sheep all nice and cozy with their incredible fleeces. We won't be shearing again til the end of March (hopefully the weather will be good to us til then!) but some of our friends will begin in Feb. Sheep sheared early like this are always kept inside --all nice and warm til the weather warms up. The low number of great shearers often dictate shearing schedules--have to get on those schedules as they are available or in our area... Looking forward to seeing our friends for shearing, often like a never ending fun fest when we go help out and gather up the wool! Happy weekend!!

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

It DOES snow in Wisconsin!!!! Sometimes....

The piglets Peanut & Pal are VERY unhappy to have snow on the ground, the most we see out of them right now is a cute little snout peeking out to see if they HAVE to venture out into the powdery 4 inches of snow we got the other night! Nice switch from our usual rain/ice that seems to take over our winters here now--where are our old fashioned winters??? The warmer weather is very tough on the sheep but so far they are faring well, only one case of Pneumonia for our hospital suite and that is Chessa--who is improving now and will be spending the rest of the cold weather in her roomy, warm suite in the old draft horse part of our dairy barn. Old Vincent Van Goat and his girl Bella La Goatie (she loves scary movies!) are rooming in the suite next door so they can stay warm--they don't get the nice curlies to keep them warm since they are regular old goaties!

The neighbor's kids did not waste a second the other day, saw snow and out came the sleds--complete with a re-built old snow mobile that only goes slow to pull them back up the hills! Looked like they were having a riot all day down there, lots of giggling and squealing floating down our way through the valley.... too too fun!

Lots of new stuff on the website this week, yarn, fiber and new hand dyed roving --check it out when you have a few and happy Thursday!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Oh my gosh, I am SO freaking out!!!!

We got a WONDERFUL email from Jenn of Indie Fixx this morning- what a way to start our day!! The sheep are just doing back flips out there at this news! hahaha!

We've been reviewed on Indie Fixx as a site that people can feel safe buying wool from--thank you so much for the wonderful words Jenn and be sure to check the others out on the site to support your independent artists!!! Woohoo!

We are happy that people are discovering that there IS such a thing as animal friendly wool. Our philosophy may not work for every farmer but any fiber we sell comes from our own pampered flock, or flocks we are personally familiar with. We have visited each farm to insure that the sheep are happy, well treated and that we would be comfortable purchasing from them to help support their efforts.

While we do rescue sheep from some sad situations, many are just 'victims' of family and financial situations that the families really do worry about where the sheep live the rest of their lives out. We have a little network of families in our area that have also been in on a few rescues too. Thank you all, and thank you Indie Fixx for posting such kind words about our sheep!!!! Oh happy days!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Some very cool people & their critters...

Meet our new friend Checkers! He lives with a wonderful rescue group in WI called . They are a non-profit group that takes in horses that are often just in the middle of a sad family situation that need a place to stay til their new forever home comes along. They also do wonderful rehabilitation work for horses that need TLC.

Their work is outstanding and we have been watching their site wishing we had more horse room at the Homestead! We are donating a little money each month to help support Checkers, a dude with a tude that needs a new home. We are considering him in the future (if he waits for us) as a companion to Casper if anything should happen to Monte--who is now a bit 28 years old but still going strong!

From the info we have on Checkers, he seems like a perfect match for Casper--both of them are sassy! We will see what the future brings....

If you are considering a place to make donations to in the future, please stop in at Checkers' website and have a visit with the horses that are in rehab at this wonderful farm! Thank you to all who keep tabs on us, we appreciate you all!