Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Case of the Missing Maraca

It was a cool morning as I arrived in the Living Room for Daywatch. Even before my first cuppa joe I noticed something was odd, wrong...out of place. Little did I know. I had walked right into the middle of a crime scene.
My partner was no where near as I arrived on the scene. I can only assume he was still in bed after a late night of film noir movies, popcorn, and a date with a hot bimbo. But that was his problem. My problem was staring me right in the face. No time for that cup of much needed fortitude. A crowd had gathered at the crime scene. It was time to go to work.
I knew that the owner of the item before me had reported it missing after getting back to New Zealand. She wasn't sure if it had been lost or stolen, only knowing it was missing. Little did she know of the high population of dreaded cat burglars in this area. As the crowd gathered, I wondered if the thief was hiding from me in its safety, trying to blend in and go unnoticed. I could feel eyes watching me approach the item in question. They had made a mistake. The culprit had left the item in plain sight or didn't have time to hide it again.
Donning gloves so as not to contaminate any evidence I picked up the precious item. Damn. No prints. Not even a tooth-mark anywhere to be had. This case was going to be hard.
I canvassed the area locals. No one was talking. If they knew who had pinched the goods, they weren't giving up the information. I looked into the faces surrounding "it". Eyes darted back and forth as if looking whom to pin the blame on. Paws pointed in all directions with looks of "He did it!" or "She was the one!".
This was going to be a hard case to solve. Below is a photo of the crime scene before all the triangulations were made and evidence bagged.

The maraca did not have one bit of evidence on it. No prints. No teeth marks. No DNA samples to be had. It was as if someone had taken it, hid it away, and now thought it safe to bring out into the open again. We'll have to hold "it" in the evidence drawer until the owner requests we send it on, or they come to pick it up. But for me, this case is not closed by any means.

It's just a matter of time. One day, whomever took the maraca from the child is going to make a mistake and lead me to them. Then an apprehension can be made...the case can be closed.
...all I have to do is wait.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Did She Say What I Think She Said?

Sven: "What did she say, Ole? Did she say we have to go?"
Ole: "Yup. That's what she said. She said that because I've been 'feisty' with the other wethers, I have to go. Well, OK...I guess I did try to take over when Skittles left, but Colin didn't push back, so I just took over. I think that was a mistake, Sven."
Sven: "Well, duh! Ya think? Geez, thanks for nothin', Bro! I sure hope I go to a fiber flock. I have the most wonderful black fleece."

Yes, it's been a hard decision, but the time has come for both Sven and Ole to find new homes. While Sven has stayed sweet and does have incredible fleece (may have to re-think him), Ole has become a little devil at times for unknown reasons. I should have tossed him in the trailer with Skit when he left to keep him company to Colorado, but I didn't think of it then. Naturally.
For some reason, Ole became very pushy for attention which slowly turned into bashing other sheep out of the way to get attention, to finally throwing his head into the Shepherdess when she didn't move fast enough to suit him during feeding. Mistake. Lethal mistake. He's got to go - one way or another. As my friend, Lois, states, "Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers." She's right. Ole has to go.
Sven may be another matter, but he may go also. I got to thinking after advertising the boys on Craig's List that if I do sell both these boys, I won't have any black fleeces left in the flock. Both Colin and his sister, Loretta, are iset with more of a frosted black to their fleeces. Sven's is almost totally black. Ole, on the other hand, is turning iset as well, so why keep him?
Wethers usually have just one job on a sheep farm - to make fleece. Or to make meat. Since they aren't capable of breeding their lives tend to be shorter than those of breeding quality animals. If their fleeces go coarse for some reason, or they develop bad attitudes, they need to go elsewhere. Sometimes that "elsewhere" is the freezer. So, with limited space hard decisions must be made at times. One leaves that a better one might take his place.
Ole was wethered for being an "assertive" lamb. He would have made a very dangerous ram with that attitude. No matter what we did discipline-wise to him as a lamb, Ole insisted on being in the middle of everything. And if you had cookies in your pocket you better come forth with them or get butted. Wethering (the removal of testes in male sheep to render them sterile, for the non-shepherd readers) usually changes the personality to where that sheep can become a sedate, friendly, productive member of the flock. Wethers usually make great pets. And it has worked for these past years, but for some unknown reason, Ole started developing more aggressive behavior - way more aggressive behavior. He went over to the Dark Side.
This change might be due to different things, but I'm hoping that a change in location (i.e. different flcok or becoming a fiber pet) might be just what he needs. It's that or the freezer. "Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers." And all manner of discipline has not been effective. (sigh)
So, if anyone reading this wants a wether...just contact me. ;)

And below, you see just a sampling of what happens to me when I try to just relax to watch tv...that's L'il Rascal on my lap. "L'il" because he has a hero, an inspiration in his young life - "Uncle Rascal" of Rascal's World, for whom he was named. And some of you wonder why my laptop can't fit on my lap sometimes. ;-)

Just blame Rascal...and Daisy, and Pixel, and Mooch, and Shadow, and Ziggy, and Europa! (When my DH snapped this photo, three other cats had been in the chair with me just before he came in the room with the camera.) ...No wonder I can hardly move when I get up.
Maybe it's time to finally install that Ejector Button.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Guess...

...it just doesn't take much to entertain me anymore. Who would have thought I would be calling a new washing machine "sexy" and "exciting"? But, here I am, new washer freshly installed in the basement, and excited about the new technology. My poor dryer pales by comparison. I caught myself saying to Hizzoner, my DH, that I liked the washer so much I had wished we could have also gotten the dryer.
It all started about two weeks ago, just as Lois and Brook were making their way around the sites in Northern Arizona and staying at "Chez Sheep Thrills", I had one of those days. You know the ones...things happen in spades. Well, that day both the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner decided to up and die. Usually we are people who fix things rather than replace them, but I guess the deck was just stacked against us this time.
When I called the repair shop for appliances, the technician remembered our POS washer. He listened to my description knowing exactly what had happened - it was the transmission. And it would cost no less than $400.00 to replace it. No brainer. After all the problems I had with that machine, fixing it would have been throwing good money after bad. Better to put that amount towards a new one.
Then, the work really began! I checked advertisements, consumer sites, and feedback from other people as well as store after store for pricing information. I had thought of getting a new top-loading washing machine again. You know the ones...just like all the other ones I have known throughout my life starting with my mother's old washer with the wringer rollers on top. Then it hit me...why not take this opportunity to look into more efficient front loaders?
The only drawback I saw with the front loader (other than the expense) was how would I ever wash fleece again. Well, duh! Why not like I always did before I had a washer - in the sink, tub or laundry tub. Or I could send them off to be processed. Here in Arizona water is at a premium so sometimes it's actually cheaper to send the fleeces out anyway. The more I read and researched, the more it made sense.
So, front loader it was and after even more research on brands and cleaning abilities of different models, I settled on an LG Steam Washer. I had heard and read that some front loaders had a reputation of not getting clothes very clean, but this particular LG model has a great record for clean clothes and efficiency as well as ease of use and longevity. The 10-year warranty on the motor wasn't a bad thing either. :) After running some heavy loads through it today to see what it could really do with farm clothes and Hizzoner's grubby "I've-been-tinkering-with-the-'53 Merc" workclothes, I have to say I'm very impressed. Clean clothes without massive amounts of water.
Here she is:
And here's a close-up of the console. No more horrid buzzers for me. This one sings a nice melody, chiming cheerfully as the buttons are pushed.


So, maybe it IS true...old dogs can indeed learn new tricks. Or maybe at least with the aid of modern technology. I will see if this really does save on both water and energy.

Now, on to the vacuum!

Friday, September 04, 2009

What the Heck? The Shepherdess Mentioned There'd Be Girls In Here...

Hmm...that new Shepherdess said I might find another sheep in here. She said it might be a girl sheep. Is that like my mother? I miss my mother and sister.

OK...there's hay in here, but I sure don't see any other sheep!

Maybe over here? Nope. No sheep on this wall either.

I guess I'll just have to stand here and look cute. Boy, this being a flock ram isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Wait a minute! I smell something vaguely familiar. And someone is sticking their head through that little door the chickens go in and out of.

This might get interesting after all!