Friday, December 20, 2013

They have a barn right?

Hmmm, one would wonder right? When the temps are warm enough the sheep are more comfy outside than in the warm barn. This year they have twice the wool they normally would this time of year. I think we're in for a cold winter. When they sleep outside, it just makes ME cold in my bones. They call me a sissy farmer-I say they needs socks!

Time for some salad for breakfast. see the lunch line on the hill? 

Oopsie! Looks like Jolly sheep just rolled out of his nice dry bed in the barn? 
Good sheep! 

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season and stay safe as you travel! 
The Ryans and the Sheeps

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A horse is a horse of course of course.....

That is unless you are a llama? Named Sinbad?
Apparently he doesn't want me to tell his story? Oopsie! Sinbad doesn't know he is a llama. He thinks he is a horse. He grew up with several horses so that's the only life he's ever known. Apparently it can do weird things to a llama's perception of himself. 

And here is the rest of the story... Several years ago we adopted a beautiful, gigantic Shire horse named Bull. 

Bull's family had to re-home Bull and the rest of their animals. I was so excited to even THINK of owning a draft horse we scooped him right up. He settled in with our other two horses and promptly made friend with our little donkey Cassper, who bosses Bull around terribly. That big old 19 hands tall horse is last on the totem pole here? And his boss is little old crooked back Cassper? Bull is a typical draft horse- gentle and kind. 

A few weeks later we got a call from the gal who adopted Sinbad. We never met Sinbad, he had gone to his new home before we picked Bull up. She asked if we could take Sinbad too. Apparently her alpacas AND llamas were beating the tar out of Sinbad and she could NOT figure out why? Of course we said yes, we had heard how close he was to Bull. 

When Sinbad arrived I went into the barn and brought Bull out to the fence. They snuffled noses almost like they were saying, I am SO glad to find you-now we are home. It made me cry to see them greet each other that way. As if their hearts had been broken during their time apart. Sigh. Never try to tell ME animals don't grieve or remember each other!

As we've gotten to know Sinbad, we think we have the answer to why he did not fit into an alpaca farm. He truly thinks he is a horse. He is never far from Bull even though we have 7 of our other llamas out with the horses. Sinbad guards Bull AND the other horses, even Cassper. He really doesn't seem to worry much if the LLAMAS are worried though. He gets very upset if any of his horses are upset and will pace the fence with his ears back letting us know he does not appreciate OUR behavior. (we are usually just brushing them).

We were not expecting a llama/horse but he and Bull will be forever friends. I'm glad we can give that to them here. Watching Sinbad the confused (or maybe not?) llama go about his daily life is always a hoot. Specially if I am not handing out the treats fast enough! I adore that silly, mixed up fellow!

Smooches til next time!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Three little trees & what a view!

So say the llamas, horses and donkey! This tippy top of the hill is where you will most often find them all having "meetings" (also known as NAPS). They tell me it is the best place to see our entire  farm and valley. To keep everyone safe they said. They named it Ryan Farm Look Out Pointe. 

Now let's decode the llama-speak a little bit. Safety can mean a number of things to a llama. Numero uno top priority is sheep safety. Closely followed by llama safety. You know, safe from the bad guys. Like people who want to visit with them or (gasp) catch them? 

Look out of course means seeing me coming up the hill. Decode a little more look out, warning warning, here she comes. Even though they do tend to think immediate evasive action is appropriate, I beg to differ. 

They must not fully realize just how safe it truly is up there. The highest spot on the farm is at the top of that hill in the pasture. The kind of hill you walk up diagonally, zig zag style. If  you walk straight up the hill, it is so steep you end up crawling because the hillside comes up to meet you. Vertically. Did I say steeply?? 

Good advice I've learned from experience. If you lose your step, tuck and roll. And roll. When you finally end up at the bottom of said hill, be sure you stick the landing proudly. Jump to your feet with your hands high up in the air. You won't get a medal for your impressive performance, but you will shock the sheep and llamas into silence long enough to gather up your dignity. 

After that, you will be at the critter's mercy. The butt of their jokes, hoof pointing and snickers behind your back every time they see you.  Guffaws of laughter when they think you won't hear them. Most often they forgo the formality of being kind by just laughing til they can't stand up- right in front of your face. 

 And this is THE perfect time to remind them all who holds the keys to every Fruit Loop in the stash! ;0)

Next post I am going to dish some dirt on THEM. We'll start with a llama who thinks he is a horse. Stay tuned!  

Smooches from us all!
...where sheep may safely graze.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sing me soft kitty....

This is our barn cat Big Kitty. He has been with us all of his 15 years, watching over the sheep, the barn- oh, and not eating mice. That's right,      not    eating     mice. 

BK has no desire for the company of other cats either? Well, unless he wanders down to visit the neighbor cats. I guess he likes his space? We've tried to bring in a cat or two to keep him company but he was so naughty to them we had to take the new kittens back to their former homes. We did not want them to be chased away for the coyotes to find. Eek! 

He loves to be with us though. He follows us everywhere, even on long long walks in the pastures. 
If he is too tired to continue. He'll stop, lay down and nap til we come back again. Know what happens when a mouse gets trapped in a garbage can full of grain? That makes me screech like a little girl when I've already reached my hand in before seeing said mouse? The logical thought would be to set BK in the grain to catch the mouse right? Nope. Not even a swipe of the paw. BK just sat there looking up at me with his cute self- while the mouse ran round and round him. Sigh. Removed cat, scooped up mouse in a bucket and released back into the wild. He has a big dog house decorated with warm blankets and a special place for his food. 
He is the sweetest boy who loves to be snuggled up, loves our Great Pyrenees dogs and the sheep. He's very much king of his castle. He even takes over the remote to watch Big Bang Theory on Thursdays. That is where he learned his favorite song to which he has made some changes to suit his highness. 

Soft Big Kitty,
Warm Big Kitty, 
Great big ball of fur. 
Happy Big Kitty,
Sleepy Big Kitty,
Purr purr purr. 

Works every time!! Be sure you stop by the website to meet BK's sheep and friends. Each has a bio and lots of photos. There is always a lot of fun fiber, handspun yarn and gifties they've created too. All proceeds of sales from the website to toward the critter's feed and veterinarian bills. Oh, and lots and lots of Fruit Loops! 

Happy October everyone- smooches from BK (when he wakes up again that is).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Oh no you didn't!

Know what happens when a llama looks at you like THIS? (when Dalai Llama looks at ME like this it means no pictures- and I mean it!!). For others he needs a sign that says, 'if you can read this- you are too close' to him or his sheep- RUN!
This is what happened when Bobbi didn't listen! Silly girl! She works together with Dalai watching over the big group of sheep but sometimes they both want to soak their toes in the kiddie pool- and are not good at sharing or taking turns!
She was pretty happy with herself though. I swear Pyrs are happiest when they get as dirty (spit on) as possible. It is amazing how white they are a few hours later? Must be some magic coat they have. :0) 

Lots and lots going on around here. Not in the way of grass growing though- or hay. Second drought in a row? Really? Phooey. Otherwise, lots of fibering and wool work going on, new update will be ready late tomorrow or early Tuesday. Stay tuned! Sunday night smooches to all of you!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

We get by.....

.....with a little help from our friends....

It's been a little humid this summer! When it is a little uncomfy for the sheep this is their favorite spot to stay cool. They lean up against the stone/cement foundation of our old dairy barn- now the sheep barn. We keep fans on 24 hours a day for them and all the windows open to catch any breezes. Aren't they cute?
It's been cooler almost fall like weather lately so the sheep are out hiking a good portion of the day. They are starting to grow their wool so thinking winter (gasp) can't be too far away? Hard to know how to plan any more based on seasons. Also means it will be time to put the sheep's coats on soon! Squeee! Clean wool for EVERYone!
The sheep will be adding some new items to the website Monday, hope you can stop on by! They've been washing lots of naturally colored wool for you to dye too. Yesterday's fleece was Lily's Shetland cross fleece. Silky and soft, 4 inch locks and she wore her coat 6 months of the year so very free of debris. Don't miss out!
Hope summer is treating you well- the sheep send smooches!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tushie Thursday!

Cute lambie tushies that is! :0)
Well phooey! Moon Pie, Sheldon and Puzzle are growing up. It is indeed a proud moment to catch them lounging and roaming with our little group of special needs sheep. Except if you are 'mom' (me) and missing their once clingy selves! Sigh. 

The lambs spent their first few weeks in their back porch apartment, then when the weather warmed up they moved across the driveway to their lamb condo. They came over to graze, drink their bottles and be by me in the back yard every day. Then back to the condo to sleep. We took many walks to get used to the bigger pasture- their next step away from me. Sniffle. 

The lambs have gotten big, bored - and naughty! Puzzle has a heart problem that we now know is a extremely bad heart murmur. He's been a quiet lamb but as he's grown his heart has repaired itself a little, but  it will only improve to a certain extent. Thus the quiet nature of that sweet boy. We named him Puzzle because we had to figure out the 'puzzle' of Puzzle's health when he arrived. He apparently wants to live UP to his name and figure out puzzles on his own? He is a master of opening gates, finding holes in fences and ditching Moon Pie and Sheldon when he does. They run around calling and calling trying to find Puzzle- and he does not pay attention. Just grazes in the front lawn like it is exactly where he should be. Ha! 

The sneaky gate behavior started after I had to put my foot down on the time they spent loose outside the back yard gate. After they were about 3 weeks old, they figured out they could outrun me too (which really doesn't take a lot). They love a good game of tag- and sheep never outgrow that happy glee of being on the loose hopping and jumping where they KNOW they are not supposed to be. So cute!

A few days ago I got to see the three lambs work together to get through the gate out of our back yard? They lined up, backed up, heads down and charged the gate- knocked it right over! Wow! Had to get a better closure on that one pronto. Stinkers! 

Last night the lambs spent their first night with the little group of sheep. They are living with the special needs group so there are not as many sheep (20) and so Puzzle doesn't get chased around or head butted. I could not face putting them over for the night. Jim is tougher than I am so he was in charge of taking them over, locking the gate behind them and coming inside. In the past our bottle lambs have been so upset that first night away from me they would fling themselves against the fences trying to get back 'home'. 

Well, the lambs did not utter one peep. All night or even this morning. Walked over to the fence and there they were, sleeping happily with a few of the other sheep under their favorite Maple tree. They didn't even get up to greet me??? Ouch! Got started with my morning chores and then Puzzle was up at a gate waiting for me. He let me hug him and scratch him for a little while, then trundled off with out a backwards glance. The twins were still sleeping at that point. Really lambies??? 

In the end they caved and came into the back yard to appease me. Well, they wanted their corn for breakfast and that is where the breakfast tray was. Their favorite place all along has been a little bit of cement pad located under the back porch stairs. It is nice and shady, cool and they think secret. Today two of the three barely fit under there. The third lamb has to sleep under the trees and watch for a chance to dash in and steal someone else's place if they move. Kind of a sheep version of duck duck goose?? 

I am very happy the lambs are adjusting so well. I however am not adjusting well. They'll go through a few weeks of keep away with me just to insert their new found independence. Then things will level out and they will love being with me again. I am very predictable about this part of raising a sheep. Part of why we do not breed our sheep. I could never ever sell, eat, trade or sell one. Ever! 

So every time it is time for me to let the lambs be 'big', my friends tell me happy 'big' lambs are the name of this game. 

Now that I am the clingy one and Moon Pie, Sheldon and Puzzle are big sheep in spite of me, I say to them:
"Job well done my babies. Job well done."

Be sure to sign up for the sheep's new monthly newsletter. It is more of my rambling about the sheep's antics around the farm. We'll still be posting here, and you can also visit the website and sign up for our email list. We send the emails out to let you know when new items have been added to the website. Usually once every 2 weeks. 

Happy summer everyone! 
From the Ryans and all the happy sheep

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Puzzle, Moon Pie & Sheldon lambies!

Never let it be said that I need much of an arm twist to take in a bottle lamb- seems like every spring! Jim is such a sweet man. Ruth McNair called and asked if we would adopt three little Wensleydale lambs. The twins are Moon Pie & Sheldon. Their mom died when they were only a few days old. 

The weather was so cold when they arrived we set them up with a special bedroom on our enclosed back porch. They stayed there for 2 weeks til it was warm enough for them to move outside into our 'nursery'. We spent lots of time snuggling of course! 

Puzzle was also a twin but he was much slower to get moving than his sister so mom would not stay with him. She was worried more about the lamb she could not keep track of than the one who would still be in the same place when she came back. We think he had a little heart murmur (?) that he is growing out of. He spent his first few days in the house with me. He is named Puzzle because we had to figure out the puzzle of what was wrong with him so we could fix him! Lounging on the couch while I spun wool. My version of heaven...

And here we are, exploring our new house and court yard across the driveway. Still in my full sight but next to the big group of sheep's pasture. That lets our Pyrs Bobbi & Andrew get used to the new sheep before they move in. It will take a while since the lambs need to be big enough to not get hurt running with the big sheep. The big sheep would never hurt the lambs on purpose. They are just big, clumsy galoots who like to play a little rough.  

More Moon Pie & Sheldon.

Moon Pie & Sheldon pretending to be chickens? We bring the lambs over to the back yard for the day time so they can have pretty green grass, fresh water and of course, be right outside my back door. They really are quite the distraction- but a good one!

You want us to go WHERE?? But remember lambies, matter how far a lambie roams, the back porch is always home... 

Puzzle strikes a pose!

Whoa! We can really run fast! 

And why do we also love the Wensleydale fleeces you ask? This picture is Puzzle's curls when he was just a month old. 

This is what their wool will look like when they are sheared each year. The curls are very well defined, 6 to 10 inches long, soft and silky. Easy to dye, spin and felt. People use them for doll hair, needle and wet felting and lots of different yarn spinning techniques. 

My favorite use for the curls is our signature Crazy Quilt Lash Yarn. I 'tail spin' the locks onto a core yarn. Very dramatic yarn and I think this has to be my favorite yarn to spin. 

SO, for now this is the story of our cute little lambie pies. Hope the weather has been kind to you all and sending good thoughts to anyone in the path of all the weather wildness. 

We're updating the website tonight (June 1) so hope you'll have a look. New handspun yarn, roving, washed and dyed fiber. Always lots of unwashed fiber available too. Smooches from the sheep!!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sheep shearing day 2013!

Well we are finally catching up on our blog posts! Go sheep! We sheared in early April so thought I would share the story in pictures... 
Andrew the Great Pyrenees was not happy that his sheep have been locked inside over night. I told him it would make things go faster on shearing day and he was not impressed. Andrew is of the firm belief that everyone has a place and should always be IN it! (in this case- outside).
This is a picture of our neighbor's dogs. They showed up to visit the night before shearing. We sent them back home with their owner but aren't they cute?? They had an afternoon of treats and sleeping on the back porch and rabbit hutch. I think they heard there was a party going on the next day?
Remember Miss Penny? Our little bottle lamb from last spring? This was her very first shearing. She hid out and came through with the very last group of sheep. Guess the others filled her in by then. 
Trevor the Baby Doll Southdown says, wait, what??
And so it began. Ingrid is feeling sassy and svelte!
This was the scene at the end of the day. By then the sheep wanted their fleeces back. They were chasing me! Simon said 'follow me peeps. I know right where those fleeces ARE!"
Ta-da! This is a photo of half our fleeces waiting to be put away in the safety of the Fiber Palace. GiddyUP! Simon kept trying to pull the bags through the panels while we cleaned up. Stinker. 
By the end of the day Andrew's sister Bobbi was to tired to stay awake while the last group of sheep got sheared. Isn't she cute? By the end of the day we all wanted to curl up for a good nap right on the spot. She's not always a good influence on us.
Everyone found their friends again. They look different with a hair cut you know! 
Another day comes to a close. A good day's work, lots of good work done, happy sheep AND all of us happy peeps who love their fleeces are set to go! Keep an eye on the website ok? We'll be adding lots of new items every week. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter on the right side of our website pages. 

Hope you have nice, calm weather now and the sheep send many smooches!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Catching up on things around here- finally! This is what Jim and I did Easter morning. Lots of the sheep wanted to be 'lambits' like they saw in a commercial on TV this year. So of course we happily obliged! 
Bobbi (left) and Andrew (right) went first- although as you can see, Bobbi was not so sure it was in fact a good idea? Becan (Shetland sheep) was having a giggle at their expense... 
Oopsie! Then BECAN was the lambit!  
Simon the gigantic goat was happy to get in on the fun. 
Andrew not so much. 
Sara's sheep Polly was a good girl. 
She decided she wanted to model BOTH hats! 

A good time was had by all (for the most part) and it was a perfect way to spend the morning. We are all so easily amused! Hope you are having a good start to "Spring" everyone! Be sure to stop by the website, the sheep had their shearing day last week so lots of new things are heading your way. Smooches from the lambits!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sleepin' outside??

We have some very postcard pretty snow for now! The sheep have been sledding, making snow angels and having snowball fights. Most of which involved me as their target too. (Good thing they are so cute right? ha!)
They must also know sleeping outside in the snow is something that makes me cold- and crazy? I know they have tons of wool so they do get too warm. They go outside to cool off. Aren't they cute when they look all sleepy- they must be asking why I am outside so early pestering them. And with the camera no less??

However, with such a nice warm barn, camping outside all night long seems a bit extreme to me. The sheep tell me it is comfy and perfect though. Stinkers! (I have a nobody gets to be cold rule around here!)

Got Fruit Loops? This is my morning 'receiving line'- waiting for hugs and smooches. Remember last year's bottle lamb Penny? That's her with the two crooked horns walking toward me on the right. She's a grown up now! Still a little smidge of a sheep though. She's being independent again, avoiding my hugs to be sure I KNOW she is grown up now. Good to know Penny- but how about a hug anyway for old times sake?

More of my sheepy line up.... deciding if they should go out for breakfast yet. This is the best way to start a morning. The sheep parade usually doesn't go further than the path from barn to hay bales now. We don't go on our walks because it has been too cold but soon soon- and oh my gosh! It is almost shearing time again?! Already? Eek!! 

Hope you are having a good winter and that the weather is treating you well! The sheep send winter smooches and hugs to you all! (be sure to check out the sheep's website- lots of new knit wear to keep you warm available!)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Serenity NOW!

We hope all of you are enjoying the first days of a new year! Hope it brings you lots of joy, happiness, and of course fiber and yarn! :0) 

This was the first day feeding the sheep hay by myself. I tell you, those sheep are lucky they are so cute. It is so hard to be mad at them when they are twirling around and jumping in glee in the front yard? I can almost be mad. Almost. They are so funny, thinking 60 sheep having a rodeo would go unnoticed by me? Too fun to watch, but not when they decide the party is on, and they are not ready to stop!

It all started when I opened the gate to pull our Gator and trailer loaded with hay into the pasture. As soon as I hopped back on the Gator to pull it inside the gate, the race was on. It never pays to step in front of them either. They all know I will step aside when they run straight at me-safety first! They will hit you like a 300 pound linebacker if you don't move- problem number one. Problem number two is when one goes, they ALL go. Thus sheep in the yard. 

Thinking one has the sheep all back in the pasture can be tricky business. I thought I had them so was going to replenish my poor chicken's corn and water. I did not think before leaving the chicken's door open for a little sun. The sheep made a beeline to the chicken house and ate all the chicken's corn and spilled their water. As I was walking over to refill the coop, woopsie, there was Tony sheep peeking at me around the back of our truck. Then there was a cute little black Shetland sheep named Bram peeking out from behind a snow drift? Really fellows? They were coming out of NOwhere? That is what took me so long to finish up- Tony refused to go in. He has the you can't catch me routine down pat. He stays a step ahead of me, looking back with out turning his head. When I almost get my hands on him he just walks a little faster. Sad when a sheep can out walk me right? 

Problem number 3 (and the most serious of all if you are one of our sheep) is the hay this year has less alfalfa in it. It is really nice grassy hay. We planned it that way because our David the Wonder Shearer was not happy with their weight last shearing day. He called my babies bubble butts??? SO, we have adjusted our plan for them BUT the sheep want alfalfa hay. Or as it is known to sheep- alfalfa candy.  I keep telling them we all need the exercise and salads we may not like. They told ME I should put my refrigerator waaay out in the pasture so I had to traipse around for my food too. Better yet they told me I could get some really great exercise if I strapped a bag of Fruit Loops on my back. Then run through the flock. I would have to be very very fast with their favorite treats on board. Smart alecs! 

Two hours later everyone is fed, watered and back where they belong. I am not going to even try to retrieve the Gator and trailer. That will have to wait til hubby Jim is home from work. I need to go sort fleeces to keep my New Year resolution, well, er, get it started. Goal is to sort four each week day. I've had my work out for today thanks to my sweet, cute sheep. Now I am going to find a cup of hot chocolate and treat myself to some marshmallow fluff in it too! 

Finding my serenity (for) NOW while the sheep nap in the sun-- resting up for the next round of 'fun'!

Smooches and good wishes to you all from the sheep!