Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Famous!

My name is Rascal. I was named after a cat my human-bean likes named Rascal. He has even blogged about me today! My human-bean mom said I acted alot like Rascal, so that's why I have this name. I was living with my mom and brothers and sisters in a very small place underneath a front deck. I don't remember much about that. My mom always told us all to be very quiet when she was hunting 'cause something called a coyote would get us. Or an "owl", whatever that is. We were very small and it was cold. We would huddle together for warmth. Mom moved us there when she found human-beans who liked cats lived in the house. They were very big and had noisy animals in another thing that looked like a house. The animals made baaing noises and clucking sounds came from there too.

Then one day, we heard Mama meowing for us to be quiet! She was caught in a trap! Very soon, someone was trying to take our house apart! Then something big grabbed us, one by one. The human-bean called "Dad" gave us to another human-bean called "Mom" and she put us in a big box with warm towels in it. They made sure all my brothers and sisters were with me! All six of us!

The next thing we knew, our Mama was there with us! We were all together! Yay! The box-thing was closed up. It had a wire front so we could see out, but we couldn't get out. We stayed there very quietly. The human-bean called "Mom" gave us food and water. Our Mama was so hungry, she ate it all up! The next day we saw someone called a V-E-T. He said our Mama was "negative" for FeLV and FIP, whatever they were. Then the human-beans moved us into the house into a room of our own! They kept bringing food and water and milk to Mama. We were glad 'cause she was so tired and thin. And she was sniffling in her nose. Then we went to another V-E-T and he said we were all OK. Well, we knew we were all OK...we were together!

So, we've been here for a couple of weeks now. We are getting bigger and Mama doesn't want to feed us much anymore. We like the food the human-bean brings us and we never go hungry anymore. The "Mom" Human-bean said she is going to find us all homes with other human-beans who will love and care for us all our lives! And our Mama won't ever have to worry about being alone or hungry again! We are so happy now!

We do have to share though. There are five older cats here. Two are very grumpy to us, but the others are trying to take care of us and watch us. They try to play with us too. But sometimes Mama attacks them because she is still trying to protect us even though she knows we're safe now.

Above is a picture of me and my brother, Moose, and sister, Pippi. We are sleeping in something called a cat-tree. I never saw a tree made out of cats before. We like the nest at the top.

And here's a picture of my other brothers and sisters playing. I wish we could stay here together furrever, but "Mom" says there are other peepul who may want nice cats in their lives. She said she would promise to be very picky about where we go. We don't want to leave each other. But, somehow we have learned to trust Mom and Dad. They have never hurt us. They like to pet us to make us purr and they even play with us!
I sure hope I can live up to the other Rascal's name. He must be a great cat to have me named after him!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

30 Years Ago Today... life changed completely. And for the better. Thirty years ago today my daughter was born!

I don't think anyone really knows or understands parents until you become a parent yourself. I never knew what it meant to have the instinct to love, protect and nurture another individual until I became a mother. Oh, I don't mean to discount being a wife or having a wonderful relationship with a husband at all. There's just something about being a parent that makes you reach a bit further into yourself.
And today, my Darling Daughter is 30! Happy Birthday, Kelly! Both Dad and I sure wish we could be there with you to celebrate this event in your life. We'll just have to celebrate when we are there in December. (Boy, we'll have a lot to celebrate then, won't we?)

I am so very glad to have you in my life. It wouldn't have been as happy, trying, exciting, educational, and blessed without you! Happy Birthday, Sweetie! I love you more than you will ever know.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Only Constant in Life Is Change

We were supposed to be headed for Oregon this week to attend Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene. But, with gas prices high and the nagging feelings I had about leaving our wonderful petsitter with way too many animals, both sheep and cats, plus my needing a dental crown next month to the tune of $850.00/copay, we started thinking about cancelling the trip.
There is another reason we've been wanting to save our traveling money. We HAVE to be in New Zealand in December this year!!! "HAVE to be???", my dear friend Tina asked me. Why, yes...HAVE to be. And the reason for having to be in New Zealand is a really good one. We've known about it for about two months but I haven't been allowed to say anything until now...

You see, in December, our daughter, Kelly is expecting her first baby! :) It hasn't sunken in yet, but I shall be a grandmother! Last night we were informaed that she is now 12 weeks along and has told her coworkers so it was OK to write about it in my blog. Thanks, DD...I thought I was going to burst if I had to hold it in much longer! :)

Hmm...I wonder if Shepherd's crooks come in child size?
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Friday, June 13, 2008

More Kittens & a Lamb for Good Measure...

"What? I'm just helping Mom look for her latest issue of Sheep! magazine!"

"A bug in a rug? What's a bug in a rug? Why is she always smiling at us when we're trying to sleep?"

"Move over, Ma! We can't see what she's doing!"

I do still go out to visit the sheep, contrary to all the photos of kittens lately. The lambs are growing by leaps and bounds and fast becoming as big as their mothers - even at just three months old for the oldest ones. Below is a snapshot I took of Sheep Thrills Trooper Thorn. Trooper was the last lamb born here this year. He's only two months old, but is almost as big as his three-month old siblings! And I noticed this week that his horns are coming in very small (called scurs)...then one has been bumped off leaving just a "bump" on one side of his head. I highly suspect Trooper carries some of the genetics for being polled! I will submit a few photos to a Shetland sheep breeder who is very knowledgeable in breeding polled sheep to see what she thinks, but if he is polled Trooper may find a home with someone breeding for polled Shetland sheep. Isn't that cool? :)
I promise to take some updated photos of the lambs and sheep. When I let them out of the barn in the mornings, it looks like a sea of brown fleece running out to pasture. And they are all starting to look about the same size! Hang in there, Mama Ewes! Weaning may come sooner than I thought this year...
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Monday, June 09, 2008

What Else? More Kittens Per Your Requests...

I am sorry for not posting sooner. Between recovering from the Wool Festival, having the Momma Cat and her Kittens here and shifting everyone around to make room for our Son-In_law, it's been pretty busy around Oleo Acres!
Nancy (K.), here are just a few of many of the photos we've been taking of the kittens, aka The Kitten Terror Squad. When I am down in the laundry room, I can hear what sounds like a herd of baby elephants running in the office above me. No elephants. Just the little pitter-patter of those tiny, sweet kitten feet - going full-bore all over the place!
They do occasionally take a break with their mother. Momma Cat has learned to jump over the gate we have across the door to keep the kittens in the office. Hang on, Mom! Just a couple more weeks until weaning! Then the search for homes for this little Squad will begin in earnest. We have really started putting out the word now and some friends are interested. I want to make sure they at least are weaned and have their first shots. If we keep them all until they are 12 weeks old, we'd be able to commence with spaying and neutering. I'm just not sure my allergies to cats will let me do that though.
Our other grown cats are really being so good about this mob of strange, noisy kittens being in THEIR house. The only problem is that Momma will try to attack the older residents here. I have clipped her nails, but hope the older ones will give her a lesson in manners. We all know she's just protecting her kittens. Little does she know that when they are weaned, she'll be taking a trip to the vet for some surgery. Yup...the wild and crazy days will be over for you, Momma. That's the price to live here. Just ask any of the other cats you've been chasing. :)
I love this last picture. I was walking by on my way to the bedroom when I spied these tired souls in my DH's chair. There are five kittens in that chair. (Click on picture to "Biggy-fy" it) He thought they wouldn't be able to jump that high yet. Ha, ha, ha! It took them about two minutes to figure it out.

As I write this blog, our SIL is on his way here to the Flagstaff Airport. He's been flying all day. Even though he was "bumped up" to Premiere Business Class from London to Denver, I know he'll be, hopefully, all these little ones playing with my feet and climbing up my pants-legs will be so tuckered out they won't make a peep until morning. Hang in there, Momma...there really is a light at the end of the tunnel!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Woolly Business

I know, I've been wondering what I have been up to. Well, in the midst of kittens up to my eyeballs, a sick momma cat (from her shots) and an assortment of other daily life occurrences, I found out that our local wool festival was going to be held this past weekend. That started a flurry of activity around here - checking fleeces over to make sure they were ready for sale, gathering balls of roving, weighing them out, tagging them with pricing, and all other manner of things to prepare for the show. My DH loaded his truck with a pen for some sheep, tables, umbrellas and other accoutrement to accompany us as we merrily went from south of Flagstaff to north of Flagstaff for the Wool Festival.
We've had this festival for 14 years, but it never really has become very big. Advertising hasn't been great, so usually there are only a few people there demonstrating and selling wool goods. There is now a new director and from hearing what he has had to say, I'm jazzed that this could grow into something much bigger.
To the right here is one of the Navajo-Churro rams that was attending the Festival on Sunday. He came with wool and left naked (and a bit nicked much to the dismay of many festival-goers. Note to self: tell them about Penny, our wonderful shearer!)
The first day we took Shaun the Sheep and Ole who were brats the whole day. My DH was the "Sheep Sitter". With him taking care of the sheep and answering questions there, I was open to field the hundreds of questions we got about Shetland sheep, their wonderful wool, and what to do with that wonderful wool! I also conscripted, er....uh...asked my friend Melanie to come enjoy the Festival with me. After all...Misery does indeed love company! :) When she saw how much I sold the first day, Mel hectically gathered her own "woolly shit" to sell on Sunday.
For a small festival I was very surprised! I sold ALL of my fleeces and rovings of Shetland wool for the year!!!!! As well as that, we made a few contacts with regards to selling some of the critters too.
By Sunday, I was almost sold out. People even bought some of the yarn I had spun up to weave a blanket for us. The price I got was top-dollar for the work. I couldn't say no.
And then, close to the end of the Festival, Joe Meehan (who owns the above Churro ram and his buddies) serenaded my little Scottish sheep with Fireside Bagpipes! I was wonderful! Lacey and her lambs, Elvis and Jerry Lee, took to piping like ducks to water! Do they know they're Scottish? I really wondered as I watch their reaction to Joe's melodies played just for them. And I have to thank him for the beautiful gesture towards my sheep.
All in all, we had a very tiring, but great, time. And we didn't do too badly for a first try at this event.

So today I took some of the money I made from the sales of the fleeces to the feed store to buy more feed to feed the sheep to grow the wool to be shorn to sell to feed the sheep...and so it goes. :)
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