Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Did You Notice Our Redesign?

If you look at this blog regularly, it's probably pretty obvious: I gave the blog a bit of a redesign today.

Since we finally sold our last horse, I exchanged the horse photo at the top of the page for a sheep photo, and removed a couple of references to "raising horses" from the site.

I also updated our list of websites (on the right side of the page) to include our Etsy store, our CafePress store, and our brand-new Facebook page, which will be featuring some promos and giveaways in the coming weeks.

I've introduced several new products to the farm in the past year. Now it's time to figure out how to market them!

The Magnetic Attraction of Hay

This is the time of year when my sheep are mostly eating hay, but I let them have access to our big pasture anyway. There's not much to eat out there right now, but they seem to enjoy having a choice, and I enjoy watching them "commute" from the hay feeders to the pasture and back several times a day.

Sheep, of course, are always hungry. And when they're hungry, they're pushy. So it's always a bit of a challenge trying to fill the hay feeders when there are 50 hungry sheep crowded around trying to eat everything in sight.

So imagine my delight when, yesterday at feeding time, I went out to fill the hay feeders and discovered there was not a single sheep in sight. Every sheep was at the other end of the farm, out in the big pasture.

"Wow," I thought. "Feeding time's going to be quick and easy today. I'll have these feeders filled before the sheep even know I'm here." Since the hay feeders are currently located only a few yards from the hay storage, I thought that was a reasonable assumption.

Quietly, quietly, so as not to attract any attention, I wheeled my garden cart down to the hay barn. Pushed open the sliding door. Turned around. And there at the top of the driveway was the entire flock of sheep, coming at a gallop!

I don't know how they could possibly have known I was there, but I didn't even manage to get a single bale loaded into the cart before they were swarming everywhere, "helping" with the hay distribution.

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Needle Felting

I spent the long weekend doing more experiments with needle-felting. Like the previous ones, these are all made in natural colored wool from my own flock.

Acorn and Oak Leaf Necklace (needle felted wool with wooden beads and hemp cord):

Sweet Hearts Necklace (needle felted wool with wooden beads and hemp cord):

Triple Moon Necklace (needle felted wool with metal beads and leather cord):

Silver Balls Necklace (needle felted wool with metal beads and leather cord):

Book Lover's Bolo Necklace (two little needle-felted wool books---one open, one closed---with wooden beads and a leather thong):

Needle felted wool rose:

Needle felted wool fortune cookies (You can put wishes or affirmations inside!):

I'm posting these here first, but later today, most of them will also go up for sale on my Etsy site.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Needle Felted Necklaces

Today I tried my hand at needle felted wool beads for the first time, using natural-colored Icelandic wool from my own flock.

Aren't these fun?

This one has a pendant of hand-polished sheep bone, two needle felted beads, and smaller wooden accent beads.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A New Home for Senter Stage

Congratulations to Heather Bolding of Noble Farms in Clinton, IN. She is the new owner of our beautiful Oldenburg stallion, Senter Stage.

As most of you know, I am going out of the horse business, and have spent the past couple of years selling off all of my horses. Senter was the last one to go, so our farm is now horse-free.

Senter left here yesterday to go to his new home. I know he's going to be happy there, and will be able to continue his training and be much more active on the show circuit.

He will also be standing at stud to outside mares again this season, so if you want to breed your mare to get one of Senter's wonderful foals, be sure to contact Heather for more information.

Goodbye Senter! We wish you a lifetime of success at your new home!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Sheep

It started snowing here last night at about 4:00 pm. Twenty-one hours later, and it's still coming down. The snow is about knee deep now, with is a huge amount for Virginia.

One of our sheep shelters collapsed from the snow, but fortunately, it was the one in the paddock the sheep aren't in right now, so we can wait to fix it at a more convenient time.

Since it doesn't snow here very often, I rarely get the opportunity to take pictures of my sheep in the snow. So, even though it was still dark and snowy out, I took some today.

Small, medium, or large? Wotan, Ukraine, and Nicholai follow me through the snow.

Ken helps carry hay through the snow to the ram paddock.

Nicholai, always photogenic.

Nothing bothers Ultra.

Pretty Tsarina.

Where do Icelandic sheep come from? They hatch from snow drifts, of course!

Snowy flock.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Venus of Willendorf and the Sacred Cow

Now that the farm's outside chores have quieted down a bit, I've finally had a chance to start working on some of my long-postponed indoor projects.

Over the weekend, I washed a couple of fleeces and did some needle felting. First up: my version of the famous prehistoric Venus of Willendorf sculpture. She is for sale in my Etsy shop:

Next, I made my needle-felted version of one of the sacred Brahman cows of India. I've always thought Brahman cows were beautiful. This one is also for sale in my Etsy shop: