Saturday, August 27, 2011


Here they are, at daybreak, the first morning on our farm.

Our starter Soay flock consists of 5 sheep, all from Carla at Rhyant Rock Farms.
*ahem-later edit* SIX sheep.  There are SIX sheep. 

It was really nice to meet Carla (and Larry, too!) after the last few months of correspondence.  She was tremendously generous with her information and infectiously enthusiastic about the sheep - and sheep in general.  Not that we needed inspiration for enthusiasm! The boys have helped through each stage of the process of researching and getting ready for flock's arrival.  
 All 4 of us have been so excited about becoming Shepherds!
The oldest of our little mob is Winniandy, and she is the undisputed leader of the group right now.  She's two years old and has come to us with her ewe lamb.

The sheep are very small, even as adults, and are supposed to be good 'starter sheep': they don't need their tails docked, or to be sheared.

 They seem to have settled in okay, and are busily munching down our back pasture area, the area that will eventually be more for the rams.

I think our learning curve is entering it's steep phase...there is certainly a lot to know.

And, for the fellow fibre lovers in the audience, I have already spun up a teeny tiny sample of fleece (Winniandy is still shedding) into's a short fibre, so I'll probably end up blending it with other fibres until I get better at spinning it.  I've been reading about Soay-specific spinning and fibre preparation techniques, and am chomping at the bit to play some more.

We've taken about eleventy-seven-hundred photos of them all already, and are still getting to know who is who a little.  Three of them are very distinct looking, even to our untrained eyes, but I keep getting two of the ewes confused.  As long as they don't expect me know each of their names to call them to dinner, I think we'll be okay.


 The ram lamb's name is Yorick, which I absolutely love.  He's very cute, with lovely markings and colouring.

So, in among all the other changes we have in our lives right now, we are now a farm (as Max said, "We're a REAL farm now, because we have farm animals").

For those who have been in closer contact lately...yes, we did sell the van, but it won't change hands until later next week.

Randy leaves tomorrow to go to the coast in preparation for his knee surgery, which will take place in the middle of next week.  Our thoughts are all about his speedy recovery and increased mobility. His pending surgery would completely occupy my head if I let it.

The course that I've been writing with my colleagues launches on Sept 12, at Selkirk College.  I'm still working on aspects website which will be the portal for the course, both in this iteration as a pilot, but also in the iterations to come. More pieces of the site are there, but not visible until we go live. We're currently putting the finishing touches on everything, and getting ready to work with some real live students.  It's so exciting, I can hardly stand it when I think about it sometimes.

So, yeah, lots going on right now.

Change can be really good, not baaaaad.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011


 It's official, I'm obsessed.

I think the rocks have gotten into my brain (would that make me a 'rock head'? Haha) and I'm now dreaming about rocks fitting together....when I close my eyes I see interlocking shapes...much like back in the days when I played too much Tetris!

The scale of the project is pretty big.  I wanted to be sure that the area would be big enough to be useful ( at least to fit a cafe table and a couple of chairs, and maybe our fire pit).  As it turns out it's plenty big for that. And more, I think.

I can't wait to get that little flower bed part finished and planted up...maybe a little ornamental shade tree in there?  A star magnolia, or a dogwood?  Some day lilies around the base?

 And the grass is all coming in beautifully.

These photos were taken at about 7:30am, when this side of the house is still cool and shady.  Later in the day it gets pretty hot over here...I'm hoping that the stone will warm up in the sun and radiate the heat back to us if we sit out there into the late evening.  There's almost a ton of rock there...many of the individual stones are 3" or more in thickness...that's a lot of thermal mass!

DH got an email last night from the lady we are getting our sheep from, and she thinks she can deliver them at the end of the month. (!)

Exciting, to be sure - and there is still a lot to do to prepare for the little wooly gaffers.  That and DH's knee surgery is scheduled for the 31st of this month...

This fall is going to be verrrry busy.

So, I've been placing rocks, as fast and furiously as possible.  There's still a long way to go across the front of the house, and I'm starting to wonder if I'll have enough, or will need to make another trip out to the quarry.  We'll see.  Stone by stone.