Saturday, September 29, 2007

Twisted friends and obese cats

Farmer's market is winding down for the season and there are only a few market dates left. I was just thinking this morning that when it is over on October 27th, we will have been there nearly every Saturday for 6 months (with the exception of "playing hookie" for the sheep show....Hmmm...where did the expression "playing hookie" come from? And is it "playing hookie", or "playing hooky"? I know for sure that it isn't "playing hockey", because that is a sport and I don't like sports, so I know that I wouldn't skip work to play hockey, plus I still have all of my teeth, so I know it wasn't that. Sorry.........I digress). It just seems really strange that the market has been going for that amount of time. Speaking of strange, we had a scarecrow contest at the market yesterday. I was not aware of the the upcoming competition since it had been planned and discussed while I was at the a fore mentioned sheep show, otherwise I would have concocted some sort of bizarre straw stuffed man creature.

There were only a few vendors that had notable entries.

This guy was created by the "corn people" that have a booth across from me. I call them the corn people because, yes, you guessed it, they sell corn. It would seem that they sell the world's best corn ever because they have a line waiting to buy their sweet corn before they even set up every Saturday morning and are sold out before the market starts at 8 a.m.. Anyway, this was their scarecrow, a nice stereotypical all-American scarecrow.

This little beauty was lovingly crafted by my friends Melsie and Jeanie (now it is all making sense isn't it? My friends are just as twisted as I am). Their scarecrowette has a shapely silver mannequin body, and if you will notice, claw hands and a fashionable burlap toga style dress with a stylish fringy flowered hemline (all the rage on the runways right now). Jeanie chose a stunning shade of green to make a devastatingly gorgeous gourd head sporting polymer clay eyes and lips handcrafted by Melsie. I believe that Jeanie laced together the marigold lei. The votes have not yet been tallied, but I am guessing that Scarecrow Chick is a shoe in to win this one.
Don't you love artsy people that think outside of the box and keep life interesting?

Here are my very artsy friends, Melsie, Scarecrow chick and Jeanie.

The market has become, for reasons that I do not comprehend, a dog show extravaganza every Saturday. Every breed imaginable is represented, sometimes donning the latest doggie fashions. But Saturday a lady was walking around carrying this huge cat. I commented to Jeanie that I thought that that cat was extremely fat, after which Jeanie laughed and was kind enough to remind me that I also have an obese cat. Which, sadly is true. I must emphasise though that it is not my fault that our cat is fat (contrary to what my children say) and I certainly don't carry him around on shopping trips.

Mr. Marshall is 14 years old. He has always been height challenged for his weight. I do not feed this cat any table scraps or treats of any kind, he is only allowed the same dry cat food as our other house cats...plain old indoor cat food, reduced calories etc. our other cats are of a relatively normal weight.......stop laughing...I probably should not have said "relatively" because obviously when compared to Mr. Marshall relativity takes on a whole new meaning, he does, after all, weigh 25+ pounds.

I don't know why I chose to share this disturbing information with you, I suppose it is because there is not much happening with the sheep right now.......but breeding season is fast approaching!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Changing leaves

I spent last weekend in Des Moines at a craft show selling my polymer clay figurines. I do some of the same shows every year so it is always fun to see some of the "regular" crafters and customers again, but it is also completely exhausting. We (My dear darling sister Marie and I) started out early on Friday, we made a stop in Iowa City to visit with a lady who may purchase some of my fiber boys, left Iowa city and drove 2 more hours to Des Moines, got checked in to our hotel, set up my booth at the show on Friday afternoon and the show started at 5 p.m. continuing until 9. Then it was back to the hotel, I tried to sleep while my dear darling sister was snoring in the next bed LIKE IT WAS HER JOB! Thankfully the hotel has a new policy, instead of supplying two standard size pillows they give you 4-5 small ones, not what I needed for sleeping, but they were GREAT ammo for throwing at my sister to jar her from her snorry slumber. Saturday the show started at 9 a.m. and ended at 5 ( same hotel, more pillow tossing). Sunday started at 10 a.m. and finished at 4 p.m., followed by a frenzied packing of all of my figurines and display tables trying to load the truck and get out of the parking lot before the other 199 crafters, then the grand finale of driving 2 1/2 hours back home ( it actually took me two hours, really, I wasn't driving fast or anything, really).

We did have time to walk around the fairgrounds Sunday morning before the show started. The APHA futurity show was going on, so I had to see all the pretty Paint babies all fancied up. Talk about some gorgeous horses! I was also lusting after this horse trailer......not that I would NEED anything like this, but LOOK at it! As much as I love my "average Joe" horses, I think that they would look a bit out of place coming out of a trailer like this LOL.

Even though it was 90 degrees on Sunday and didn't FEEL much like fall, the subtle signs of fall provided some enjoyable scenery along the drive home.

I noticed a lot of changes around our property too when I returned home....
My fall asters are in full bloom, they are pretty, but they kind of say "hey, summer is over".

The Black eyed Susans are dying back and looking a little anemic.

These are the last few blooms of my variegated False Sunflowers.
And I noticed how the leaves are changing............................................................................

Ohhhhhh, were you expecting pretty maple leaves or something??? Did I NOT mention that we live in the middle of a bunch of corn fields?? Now, I'm not going to lie, we do have a few trees, but they aren't doing anything yet. The corn harvest is in full swing though, we are serenaded by the constant hum of combines and the neighbors corn drier day and night, and when you drive anywhere around here you have to allow a few extra minutes for "farm implement avoidance".
Happy fall!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Saturday morning we went to the Wisconsin Sheep and wool festival in Jefferson Wisconsin. It is about a 3 hour drive from here, so it is a great little day trip. Last year was my first year attending the festival and I was on sheepy overload and just couldn't absorb it all, so I didn't take full advantage of all the information that was offered. This year I spent a bit more time at some of the demonstrations, listening to, and watching the judges at the fleece judging and sheep shows. I finally got to meet some of the other Shetland breeders that I have "met" through blogs or email over the past year.

This was part of the Shetland fleece judging. The judge ( I don't remember his name) did a great job of explaining exactly what he was looking at with each fleece; staple length, crimp, spinability, luster, and demonstrated how factors like nutrition and stress affect fleece quality. you really need sheep that are big enough to eat you should they suddenly decide to become omnivorous? I don't know. I am sure that they are lovely sheep, these Hampshires, but I think prefer my sheep closer to the size of my dog than the size of my pony. It was great fun to see the endless variety of breeds represented at the show.
I was happy to get back into the Shetland show barn to the colorful sheep with waggy tails.

This little cutie is one of Mary Ellen Kelly's spotties, I do love spots!

I always love to see kids getting in the show ring and taking pride in their animals, some of these kids did an exceptional job.
There were some handsome Shetland rams entered, these were the final four.
I think that the highlight of the show, for me, was when Juliann Budde took second place with her scurred ram lamb Damascus, the look on her face was PRICELESS! Unfortunately, my camera missed her initial reaction, but I think it is evident in this picture how happy she was leaving the ring.

As for me, I behaved myself..... for the most part. I didn't buy any new sheep.....well, okay, I must confess that I did talk to some breeders about sheep that they had for sale that they didn't bring to the show...whatever.
And, I was coveting this little ewe lamb, but I showed remarkably uncharacteristic self restraint by not even ASKING if she was for sale! Hmmmmm....I do however, have their email address......don't judge me.

Friday, September 7, 2007


YEAH! Tomorrow morning we are leaving for the Wisconsin sheep and wool festival in Jefferson Wisconsin. I am really looking forward to spending the day surrounded by sheepy stuff and sheepy people.....and sheep. I am not going with the INTENTION of bringing any sheep home with me..........I am just going to look, RIGHT?????????

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cinnamon and Ande

Cinnamon is one of our barn cats, he is extremely sweet and loves everyone...almost. Yesterday he decided to get acquainted with Ande (or as we have gotten accustomed to calling him, Ande's Candies.....don't ask) and they seem to have a mutual distrust of each other for some reason.

Their little encounter did make for moderately amusing entertainment though.
Ande would cautiously approach, stretching his neck (as if he NEEDS to) to try to touch noses while maintaining a safe get away distance. Cinnamon would respond by plastering his ears against his head while uttering sounds that conjure up images of the bowels of Hell. After which, a reluctant touching of noses would occur.

The nose-touching was some kind of cue for Ande to turn and make a mad dash around the small front pasture, kicking out at invisible pasture gnomes as he ran.

Only to come trotting back to start the game over again.

Cinnamon is the friendliest of our barn cats. He usually waits at the back door every morning for me to come out and do chores and then accompanies me on each task, only stopping for the morning treat of canned cat food. This morning he was not waiting for me at the back door, our barn cats are pretty predictable and when one of them is absent from their usual routine, I always get very worried. After calling for him, filling the cat food bowl, and all of the usual enticements didn't coax him into the barn, I was deeply concerned. Then after one more check of the horse barn, I saw him resting on top of some bales of hay. Something was wrong. I tried to pick him up and he hissed at me, he seemed lethargic and in pain. I felt for injuries, there was no blood, no wounds, but as I looked more closely I noticed grease behind an ear and a little "road rash" on his hind end, he had been hit by a car. I gathered him up and rushed him over to our vet's office. The vet asked me to leave him there for evaluation and observation and said that they would call me and let me know what they found. After a couple of hours they called back and luckily there were no broken bones and no apparent internal injuries, just soft tissue damage....he is going to be okay.

I told my husband when we got barn cats, "Try not get too attached to them, things happen to barn cats". Perhaps I should follow my own advice. I really don't like the idea of outside cats for that reason, I do get attached, and things sometimes do happen to them. That is the hardest part of farm life, there are all these little lives that can bring so much joy, but they can also cause so much worry and heartache when things happen to them.Unfortunately, we need the cats outside in the barns. We do our best to take care of them, they are spayed/neutered, have all of their shots, get dewormed, flea control, fed daily, heated water in the winter. I guess, compared to a lot of pets, they have a pretty good life. I just wish they would not make me worry so much!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Why don't I ever listen?

Just a quick thought for the day. If you are making salsa and the recipe says "wear gloves when cutting up the Jalapeno peppers", a wise person might listen to that advice. Theoretically speaking, it probably would be prudent for someone, say me for a hypothetical example, to heed such a reason I mention this, not like my hands are burning or anything.

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