Sunday, December 31, 2006

Party Like It's 2007!

Here is Europa the Cat after partying on the Little Pink Sock all evening! Her cat-atonic state reminds me to remind all of you to have a very Happy, and Safe, New Year!

And she adds to "Party like it's 2007!" :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Handspinners' Reminder

This is a reminder to all my handspinner-friends of Scottish or Viking descent to be sure to have empty bobbins and drop the drive-band off the spinning wheels on New Year's Eve.
For my non-handspinning friends I offer this explanation:
There is a Scottish/Norse fairy witch in charge of aiding handspinners with ability and skill in these matters. Her name is Gyre Carline. However, if she visits your home on New Year's Eve and finds unfinished work on you wheel(s) she will be kind enough to finish it for you, but she will curse you for the coming year for being lazy.
So, this is intended for those of us who eat black-eyed peas, herring, pork, light bayberry candles (burned to the socket will bring wealth, health and money to the pocket), etc., and do whatever we can to improve our chances and luck in the coming year.
While I am not really a superstitious sort, I believe I will not tempt I will be leaving my wheels and bobbins empty this year...while I light my bayberry candles, if you please. ;)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Tis The Season...

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!
I hope each and every one of you are blessed with family and friends, good food, fond memories, and most of all, Peace. Sometimes "Peace" need not be a world-wide thing, but the peace within our own hearts and souls.

And remember, when God sent an angel to announce the birth of His Son, it was the SHEPHERDS the angel told first! Angels have a very good sense of priority, don't they? :-)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Sad Note...

Today, Ralph left for California to attend the funeral of his step-mother, Hideko. She passed quietly and peacefully on Monday. While Hideko had been very sick for a very long time, it still came as a shock when I received the call from my father-in-law.
Although we didn't communicate much by way of the mails or even phone, Hideko and I came to have great respect and fondness for each other. I will always remember her astonishment at my slinging a 25 lb. bag of rice on my shoulder as we were shopping in Little Tokyo in LA. I tried to explain that (at that time) it really was nothing as I had been known to sling hay bales and feed bags when I was younger and not to worry, just where did she want it? She stood there, almost dumbfounded at a woman doing that sort of thing. I never mentioned that one of my cousins on The Island called me "Powerful Katrinka" because I would be out in the hayfields with everyone else. This was nothing.
Hediko taught me to stop and see the loveliness of cherry to enjoy a cup of REAL tea...and what French pastries were. She introduced me to her Japanese culture explaining its subtleties with patience and grace. She also introduced some of the wonderful foods of Japan always taking the time to explain things to me if I asked questions. I will never eat sushi without thinking of her. She would laugh at my refusal to eat the little freeze dried fish she ate as snacks as I explained that I never ate anything that was staring at me and that they looked too similar to the treats I gave the cats.
And what impressed me most is that Hideko was so wise about how hard a woman truely works in life. She always worked outside the home but also knew that a woman's job wasn't over after punching the time clock...just moving into all that it took to keep a family going with cooking, cleaning, and caring for everyone else.
Whenever we would visit, money would somehow find its way into my pocket or wallet and she would make me promise that I would spend it on myself only explaining that it was not to be used for anyone else or for necessities. Once $300.00 was put into my pocket and a whisper in the ear, "Play this in the slot machines when you go to Vegas. Not the five-cent machines either. Play the dollar machines. Have some fun."
I will miss her. She leaves a hole in all the lives she touched. As I sit here trying to condense a life into a few words I find it impossible to acknowledge the complexity of her life. She encouraged everyone she knew and mentored many people of all races and colors. Later in life she took up piano lessons stating there were always new things to learn - something I have believed in all my life. Common ground with the two of us. Mutual respect. I always teased her about using her dog's wagging tail as a metronome. Yes, I will miss her.

I never had the courage to play the dollar slots in Las Vegas. But the next time I go, I memory of Hideko. I only hope she's there to see it and bring me luck.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Who Would Have Thought?

You Belong in New Zealand

Good on ya, mate

You're the best looking one of the bunch

Though you're often forgotten...

You're quite proud of who you are

I did this test on a whim...and couldn't believe the answer! Is this fate or what?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Miffle Mik Mok"

OK...I'll admit it...I am a "Mutts" comic strip fan! This year, I noticed on their website ( there was a "Little Pink Sock" just like the one that the strip's hero, Mooch, loves more than anything else in the world. It's Mooch's security blanket much like the one Linus has in the Peanuts strip. Well, upon visiting the "Little Pink Sock Shop" there it was...THE Little Pink Sock.
Now, we have six cats sharing our abode with us and I'll admit that they have indeed trained me very well. My first thought was that this sock couldn't be anything any better than any other "sock" toy for a cat. Boy, was I ever wrong.
No sooner had the package arrived with it's catnip-luxury-toy-that-I-can't-believe-I-ordered-and-fell-for-it contents than I had five cats climbing all over the box and dancing around it, hopping from leg to leg and jumping up and down. The only reason Zuzu wasn't with the others was that, since going blind, while she could definitely smell it, she couldn't really zero-in on where I was in time to join the rest of the Mob.
I could not move fast enough to please them. They were about to attack me when the scissors finally worked allowing me to extract the contents with a flourish. I had cats on the box, cats in the box and cats trying to climb up my leg to get to the package containing this wonderful, intoxicating, cat-joy thing!
Luckily the package contained two of the pink socks. I had been planning on saving one for Christmas but since I relish peaceful sleep and living the rest of my life at MY leisure I decided that for my own health, I had to give up the entire contents of the package - both Little Pink Socks.
What followed was a cacophony of cat sounds that reminded me of some back alley in a city rather than my living room floor. The din was punctuated by sounds of drooling and slobbering the likes of which I have never heard before. Luckily, attentions were directed towards the "Marvelous Toy(s)" and not in my direction. I made my escape and ran out to the barn for some peace and quiet with the sheep.
Upon my return I was treated to the sight of six cats on the living room floor, totally stoned. Cats that normally would not be caught dead next to each other lay blissfully unaware of who was next to them. Purring was rampant and loud. I, gingerly, took my seat in my recliner hoping I wouldn't be noticed. Then I realized that it wouldn't have mattered if the whole house had caved in. They were in Cat-Heaven and all was right with the world.
Proof is in the picture as here is Shadow with THE Little Pink Sock. What you can't see are all the others all laid out on the floor...
So, check out the Mutts site. Maybe your "Mooch" needs his own "Little Pink Sock" and you can even view the original strip about Mooch and his "Miffle Mik Mok".
But be warned...I think I heard one of them say something about "munchies"! ;-)

And be very afraid...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To Ram, Or Not To Ram?

My friend and Bluff Country Skittles former owner, Nancy K., has just had a sobering incident with regards to her "boys" at her place. Nancy came home to find a couple of the boys battling it out over their respective harems with a "Winner takes all!" gusto adding fuel to the fire. Her fences were broken and heads were bloodied by the time she was able to separate the combatants to their respective pens. I'm sure Nancy had pictures of roast mutton with mint sauce whilst mending her fences in freezing weather. :)
To those who are not especially "Sheep Savvy", male sheep that are usually docile during the rest of the year can become very temperamental, to say the least, during the breeding season.
I remember back to when we first moved here - there was a young man driving a VW Bug out to the "wilds" to watch elk during the middle of the rutting season. One bull elk found the Bug to his total dislike and proceeded to absolutely destroy the bug. It was totalled and the young man barely got out before being crunched himself. That type of behavior illustrates how those raging male hormones can take over an animal's way of thinking. It's the same with sheep. You never turn your back on a ram...never.
Skittles, while still a gentleman, has also exhibited aggressive behavior during this breeding season. And I've noticed that his attention has now turned from the girls to his ball and post. It could be that the girls have settled and are now "with lambs", or are not in season this week. Since they have grown tired of Skittles attempts to court them, Skittles has been seen grunting at and licking his post and ball. Frustration, I'm sure. Most rams have a nice number of ladies to address. This year, Skit has just the two. It must be maddening for him. All those hormones and nothing to do with them but bat that stupid ball around!
You don't HAVE to have a ram for sheep breeding. Modern technology has come to the aid of the small farmer and, for a sum, you can have a technician come to your place and choose the sire of your lambs from a catalog. The tech will then surgically deposit said ram's donation to your cause in your chosen ewe and there you have it...Bob's your Uncle! No need for watching those tirades and rants. No need of super-fencing or big sticks and buckets of water. Hmmm...
And in breeding animals we must always keep in mind why we are breeding them in the first place. It is my belief that, when breeding sheep, a ram must exhibit something really special to be kept as a breeding animal. I am a believer that 90+% of all male lambs need to be wethered unless they are near-to-perfect of that particular breeds' ideal animal or have some other outstanding quality. And no amount of beauty will make up for a bad temperment. The trick is to know WHEN to wether the ram lambs. Do it right after they are born and you risk losing great genetics. IF that's your goal. If fleece is your goal, wethering allows all the lamb's energies to go into wool production. And wethers make good pets as well as no problems with temperment during the "Season of Raging Hormones". Of course, if you're breeding animals, you need to see what you've got before decisions are made.
The key is you really have to think about what you want. I know Nancy has developed some really great bloodlines. And I know that she now needs to consider other things in her life. I applaud her for making great decisions both in her breeding programs and now, with selling her great rams. It was a decision that took a great deal of soul searching and courage to make. And I can sure understand her not wanting to deal with rams.
As for Sheep Thrills Farm...we'll see what kind of lambs Mr. Skit throws this next spring. I'm sure we'll have nice ones and I will have decisions to make about whom to keep and who needs to be sold. And I will watch Skit during the year to make sure he's still a gentleman. I'm sure he has nothing to worry about.
In fact, I think I heard him ask me to take him for a walk since the girls were no longer receptive to his masculine charms. Or was that just the wind I heard? ;-) In either case I think I'll wait until I'm sure his hormone level is back to a normal tolerance. But I still will not turn my back on him...ever.