Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...

...from all of us at Sheep Thrills Farm. Pharaoh Ziggy commands it and we must obey!

"Look into my eyes. You are all getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy. What's that, Mom? Oh, OK. Ahem...You're getting very sheepy...sheepy..."
"Now can I get out of this hat, Mom?"
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy 60th Birthday to my Hubby!

I would like to wish my dear husband and "Other Half" a very, very Happy Birthday! Today, he turns 60.
Partying is very limited, however, as he is really having to take things slow after his recent surgery to repair a 10-inch incisional hernia where his spleen was removed earlier this year. He got to have the 32 staples (stitches) removed yesterday. WooHoo! We had planned on trying to take a trip during this recovery period but I don't think that may happen. It seems like appointments and schedules keep interfering. Traveling may have to wait until he's sleeping a bit better and not so sore.
I know that these blogs, or at least mine, tend to center around the author's life and viewpoints. But in reality, my husband is always there to lend a hand with the operation of my farming/livestock endeavors. Whether he agrees with what I do or not, he's still there to support me and my dreams - not an easy task in itself as I tend to be very independent and stubborn. (Who, me?) Ralph's the unsung hero here at Oleo Acres.

Here's to you, Hon...may the next 60 years be even better. A very Happy Birthday to you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Goodbye, Ole...

...be a good boy and remember, you're a Sheep Thrills Farm sheep. Do your job and represent us, and the Shetland breed, well!
Ole as a yearling

Yes, Ole has found a new, wonderful home with Mayleen. Mayleen is a grad student at Northern Arizona University doing work in sustainable agriculture. She is researching local, small-scale agricultural producers to learn more about the challenges and rewards of their pursuits and has a particular interest in livestock issues as well as a love of Shetland sheep!
Mayleen moved to Flagstaff from Maine where, among other animals, she had a pet Shetland ram. She had come over to interview me about the sheep. As we stood at the barn, the sheep introducing themselves graciously, she spotted the pen where two black wethers paced the fence line looking longingly for some of the attention the others were receiving. I explained to Mayleen that Ole was up for sale but his brother was in the pen to keep him company. As she started giving Ole scratches and the beloved brisket-rubs, I could see Ole looking into her eyes. He had become a puddle of wool as she hit all those spots he couldn't reach to scratch. He was putty in her hands.
That evening I received an email thanking me for my time with the interview and...was Ole available still? She wanted to buy him. She really missed having a Shetland. It was fate. :)
Yes, I replied with another email. He's yours. So, last Friday, Mayleen and her daughter, Maia, came to pick him up. Mayleen doesn't have any other sheep (yet) but does have two horses sharing Ole's area. He's inside a pen, but the horses live right next to him and have their heads hanging over to visit with him all day long. She'll keep an eye on him to see if he develops any signs of depression, but so far he's been fine and settled right in. I suspect he's loving all the attention he's getting now...much more than I could have given him.
I drove over today to get a nice picture of Mayleen and Maia with Ole, but the wind was blowing so badly (as it does on the east side of Flagstaff) that the two of them got blasted in the face with cinder dust and dirt.
All dust aside, here are a couple of pictures of Mayleen and her new Sheep-BFF:



Looks like True Love to me. May you both have a very long, loving and wonder-filled relationsheep!
... Make us proud, Ole! We know you can do it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Pay The Ransom...

...I'm still here. It's just been a couple of crazy/odd/busy weeks around Oleo Acres. I have to admit that lately I haven't been on the computer much or when I have been "on", I haven't felt like being very creative.
This summer saw a couple of health problems pop up for both my Hired-Hand-With-Benefits and myself. My DH developed a HUGE incisional hernia requiring surgery which he underwent last Friday. Today he had an appointment with the surgeon to have the drain placed at the time of surgery removed. I remember thinking it was so much longer than I ever imagined as the surgeon snipped the stitches keeping it in place, then drew it out all the way. Eww! Unfortunately the stitches stay in until next week.
Now, my hubby has a GoreTex mesh patch (made here in Flagstaff) holding things together. Yes, it was that big. His original scar was about 8 inches long. Now it's about 10 inches long. Those of you who have seen the movie Total Recall might remember the character called "Quatto", a mutant being living in the stomach of a "host". We named the hernia Quatto.
Now Hizzoner has to strap on a "binder" to, in reality, hold things together and in place while his body knits tissue into this mesh. He calls it a girdle, but I've never seen any girdle look or act like this. Today the surgeon said Hizzoner could remove the binder for sleeping but if he needs to get up to go to the bathroom, to be sure to strap himself back in it. If it were me, I'd just wear it all the time. I hope he does. I don't think either one of us want to see him go through this again.

As for me, I was diagnosed in August with thyroid problems. the words "thyroid cancer" have been bantered about by a couple of doctors, but as things with the thyroid can be slow, I've had to wait and have occasional scans done to monitor the situation.
What I find strange, but logical, is that the function of the thyroid is totally different than this problem of fast growing, questionable nodule/growths'. You can have a beautifully functioning thyroid and still have masses and nodules in the tissue itself. Or, like me, you can have a thyroid that is waxing and waning, ready to give it up at the least suggestion along with other problems. At least I know why I've been having days where I have no energy what-so-ever.
I just wish my brain would stop thinking of all the things I want to do when my body just wants to make like a slug. For now I just have to wait for the next scan before decisions are made. One of the doctors said I would grow tired of waiting and just want it removed before something actually required surgery. At first I thought he was nuts for saying that. Now, I'm not so sure that he isn't spot-on.

And for those who have asked me, yes-in-deedy-do...Mr. Bran has returned! He came back about 10 days ago, with the Mrs., but no youngsters. Clearly the kids thought more of the summer place and decided to stay. But Bran is now on his regular routine, stopping by for an egg or a mouse from a trap, or the odd leftover hot dog.
Here's the proof:

I have to admit...my steps back to the house were a bit lighter after seeing my friend return. Summer just didn't seem the same without him watching over my comings and goings at the barn and in the garden. Thanks, Buddy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Shadow Update

Thanks to all of you who were concerned about my BFF (best feline friend). Shadow is slowly getting a bit better. We still don't know what has caused all the sneezing. It could be allergies or a virus. Luckily, it has not progressed and there has been no temperature or sign of a fever. I have noticed that Shadow has been sleeping more than usual as well as enjoying the warmth of the woodburning stove in the evenings. Can't say as I blame him for that. Now that the temperatures are in the 20s F at night, those of us who are chronologically challenged here at Oleo Acres are moving a wee bit slower than we do in the summer.

All things considered, I think I'll take moving slower over hot summer anyday. Move over, cats...that wood fire does feel might good.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A V-E-T Visit for a Buddy


I thought I would get a quick post in while waiting for Dr. Bill to come to check out Shadow. Yesterday, Shadow spent a good deal of the day either sleeping or sneezing. A bit listless and "gurgle-y", I decided that having a good once-over by a v-e-t would be a good thing. I just don't need a respiratory infection spreading through our 7 cat household. Having two sniffling people here is bad enough.
Shadow is indeed just that, my shadow. As a kitten 14 or so years ago, he was delivered to the house next door, only to be abandoned when the renters moved out. No one wanted him, but he and I became great pals - and have remained so since he first came into the house. He didn't even hold my making him get a "Hoo-Ha-ectomy" against me. A true friend - to give up one's HooHas so you can be near someone. He's been glued to my hip ever since.
Shad is our official "Greeter". Liking most everyone, he loves meeting everyone who comes over, always showing a cheerful nature.
And even not feeling up to snuff today, he's sitting near me, purring. Little does he know that the Prisoner Transport Unit is about to come out of the basement so I can get him to Bill's van when he arrives. It's so windy and cold out today, I don't dare carry him up to the car area.

...It's OK, Bud. You're just going to have to trust me that this will be for your own good. Let's hope you'll be on the mend soon.