News From The Barnyard

That’s Rosemary, Kim and Asher, with their heads up.

It’s another snowy morning at Bedlam Farm.   The sheep gobbled down their hay. Fanny and Lulu are a little more delicate when it comes to eating at their own feeder.

Fate, undeterred by the cold and snow, made her usual rounds, circling the sheep.

 The hens found shelter in the barn…

….and Minnie and Flo cozied up on the back porch.

A Good and Frustrating Day

Tin Man and Zinnia this morning. I think Zin likes him.

The little red arrow moved around my computer screen and the voice on my phone told me to click on the different places the arrow landed.

This went on for a while, as the very helpful man on the other side of the country told me how to clear much of the junk off my computer.  Then he explained how my operation system was very old and the benefits and potential problems with updating it.

We talked about the weather, the snow in upstate NY and the cold mornings in California while we waited for the prompt to begin the update.

I am mostly helpless when it comes to figuring out problems on my computer and grateful for Apple Care and the people on the other end of my phone who always help me out, even if it takes a few tries before they get it right.

The thing that got me to call Apple in the first place was that I was having trouble getting on my blog.  I would sporadically get a very dramatic and disturbing message saying I was “Forbidden Access.”  If I kept trying, eventually the message would be replaced by my admin page.  This was the only thing that kept me from calling Apple sooner.

My photo program was still updating when Jon and I left for Glens Falls after lunch.  He was getting a an enhanced driver’s license, then we dropped off our vacuum to be fixed.

Everything took longer than I expected today. By the time we got home, it was 4pm and already starting to get dark.

This time of year, when the sun doesn’t come out and it’s dark at 4:30 I  get sleepy by 6pm and envy the hibernating bears whose scat I see on my walks in the woods the other three seasons.

After taking care of the animals and getting the woodstoves going, I stood for a while in my cold studio and knew I wasn’t going to be able to do any work.  It was too late for me to get my head into a creative space.

But while all this was going on, I did sell some potholders and now that my computer is working so well,  I can print out the shipping labels and get them in the mail.  I don’t need a creative head to do that.

And my computer really is working so much better with the updated operating system.  I’m surprised by that, it feels like my computer has taken a deep breath and been brought back to life after slowly declining for a long time.

So really, as frustrating as it was at times, it was also good in many ways. Including that Jon made a delicious pizza for dinner and right now, Fate is sleeping outside Zinnia’s crate without snarling at her.

Puppy Play

I was watching Zinnia and Bud playing outside my studio window today.  Zinnia tugs on Bud’s collar and bites on his ears. She picks up sticks and toys to try and entice him.   He goes for it all.

And Zinnia is beginning to work her magic on Fate too.  This afternoon she tried to entice Fate with a ball.  Fate showed some interest and didn’t even snarl at her.  They’ll be playing soon.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 11/18/19 Zinnia’s Debut

Zinnia has been with us for six days and she’s learning to get along with all the other animals on the farm.  Today she heard Lulu bray for the first time and yesterday Flo swatted at her, letting her know that she’s not interested in being friends just yet.

Fate seems to be accepting her mostly by ignoring her a little more each day.

Zinnia is undeterred and up for it all.

You can watch the video of Jon training Zinnia here. 

A Welcomed Disruption

Although it was 3am a soft pale blue light filled up the small kneeling window next to our bed.  I wasn’t sure if it was a full moon but it was close enough.

I don’t always wake up having to go to the bathroom at night, sometimes I sleep through till morning.  And even when I do wake up, I always get out of bed and go downstairs to the bathroom reluctantly.

But it was early Wednesday morning, the day after we brought Zinnia home and I was glad to be awake at 3am.

I pulled on the sweater and leggings that were on the chair where I left them when I undressed for bed. I  could hear Bud snoring in his crate and I opened and closed the bedroom door quietly behind me so I wouldn’t wake Jon.

First I went to the bathroom,  then I let Fate out of her crate, put on my winter coat and gloves, opened Zinnia’s crate and put her collar and leash on her.  I didn’t turn on the outside light.  Although it was overcast, the almost full moon still lit up the sky and thin layer of snow on the ground.

Fate ran to the pasture gate and I walked Zinnia around praising her when she peed.

Then I lingered.  I looked at the trees and bushes in the yard flattened into silhouettes by the moonlight.  The moon was small and high over the hill across the now empty and quiet Route 22,  which shone white under the cast of the bluish-yellow night sky.

My world, that I know so well in the daytime,  takes on another reality at night. And each night it’s different from the last.

When I have a puppy to get up for in the night and take outside, I get to watch the moon wax and wain, track its position in the sky, notice how the dark changes and look for the constellations I’m familiar with.

As much as I love being outside early in the night, without a reason like taking a puppy out to pee, I only do it a few times a year, when something inside me insists on it.

I first did it for Fate, then Gus now Zinnia.

Having a puppy again is as much a joy as it is a disruption.  And under most circumstances, having to get up in the middle of the night would be a chore and nuisance.  But I find that I automatically wake up when we have a puppy who needs to go out to pee in the night, and it is one of the disruptions that I delight in.

Zinnia And Bud, Friends


Zinnia running through the snow in the backyard.

Zinnia and Bud are quickly becoming friends.  She and Bud are already beginning to play and he’s surprisingly gentle and tolerant of her.

When we’re outside I’m shivering in my winter coat but Zinnia doesn’t mind the cold or the snow.  She runs through it and lays down in it. We don’t stay out in it too long, but she bounds and jumps around like a little lamb

Maybe that’s what Fate thinks she is and that’s why she stalks her.  Zinnia pays attention to Fate, backing off when she should, but she hasn’t given up trying to play with her.

I have no doubt, that just like Gus and Bud, eventually, Zinnia will win Fate over.

Rest Well Izzy


Much the way Zelda was sitting in the pole barn, as if waiting for us, the morning we euthanized her, Izzy was laying down in the barn this morning.

The other sheep were with her, but I was easily able to move them out of the barn without disturbing Izzy, who stood up, but wasn’t interested in following them.

Jon had his rifle and I closed the gates leaving the two of them alone.

I put hay in the feeders and as I filled up the water buckets for both the sheep and chickens I heard the shots and in moments, Izzy was dead.

I sat with my hand on her for a few minutes as her body quietly spasmed.  I was a little surprised at how much I cried.  Maybe it was because I didn’t have as much time to prepare for her death as I did for Zelda’s.  I’m not sure why, but  Izzy’s death touched a sadness deep inside of me.

Jon had already called our neighbor Jack who said he could come by after work and take Izzy’s body to the field behind his house. The ground is already frozen so digging a grave isn’t an option.  Jack did the same thing for us when our sheep Deb died.  This time of year, especially, the coyotes will be quick to find her.

Izzy is a big sheep and even with both me and Jon dragging her from inside the pole barn to the gate, where it will be easier for Jack to get her on his truck, it was hard work.  I covered her with a canvas tarp but wasn’t ready to go back to the house.

I headed out to the back pasture, thinking I’d go for a walk in the woods, but then I heard Socks’ baa and when I turned around I saw that the sheep had left the hay they were eating and were following me.

Like a good shepherd, I guided them to the small patch of grass on the hillside where the sun had melted most of the snow.  Fate circled the sheep joyously and when I squatted down  Asher and Issachar came over to me.  Asher leaned against my back as he grazed and Issachar put his face to mine.

“Well” I said to them,  “It looks like you came at just the right time.”

Izzy with Liam in the background

Izzy was the first Romeny I adopted, when Donna, who worked at the hardware store in town, offered the four sheep to me a few years ago.  We eventually decided to take the other three because Izzy was such a friendly and easy-going sheep and she had beautiful wool.

Jon called them the “Gang of Four” back then because they always stuck together. But over the years they all just became a part of the flock and when Jon and Izzy were in the pole barn together before he euthanized her, it was my Border Leicester, Socks who stayed outside the barn till I moved her to join the other sheep at the hay feeder.

For the past six months or so, Izzy has spent more time by herself than with the other sheep.  A very unnatural way for a sheep to live.  If she were in the wild, she would have died long ago, prey to some preditor.

I am grateful we were able to give her a quick and easy death and that her body will return to nature.

Full Moon Fiber Art