Fanny and Lulu Get Their Hooves Trimmed


Lulu and Fanny in the barn with their bridles on waiting for Matt

I held out the alfalfa treat and Lulu lifted her nose from the grass to smell it.  “Matt’s coming to trim your hooves,” I said to her. Then I called to Fanny who was just a few feet away, “Come on Fanny, Matts on his way.  You know you love to get your nails done.”

The donkeys love Matt.  They stand patiently for him when he trims their hooves and Fanny especially nuzzles him when ever she gets the chance.

As difficult as Lulu can be, this time it was Fanny who didn’t cooperate.

I was counting on Fanny to  follow Lulu which is what usually happens.  But she took her time and when she got to the barn she didn’t want to come in.  The sheep didn’t help.  They all clustered around the gate trying go through the gate.

It’s another of those times when a Border Collie who can heard sheep would have come in handy.  A dog who herds could have  kept the sheep away so I could get Fanny to follow me into the barn.

But that didn’t happen.

So I got a brush and went into the barn to brush Lulu.  The donkeys don’t like to be separated even if they can still see each other and I knew eventually Fanny would want to be with Lulu.

But Fanny wasn’t budging and I was running out of time.   So I got Fanny’s bridle and went to get her.   The only time the donkeys wear a bridle is when the Farrier or Vet comes.   As Fanny nibbled on some grass, I lowered the bridle over her head.

Then I held on it with one hand and held out an alfalfa treat in the other.  With a little tug, she walked with  me into the barn.

And she was happy to be there, happy to get a treat, get brushed and be with Lulu.

When Matt trimmed her hooves Lulu rested her head on Fanny’s back and Fanny  was a good as every.  When it was Lulu’s turn Fanny stood next to Matt and got as close as she could.

The donkeys get their hooves trimmed about four times a year  with every season.  The  hair on their chest is growing back, now a soft fuzz under their neck  where it had fallen out.  They’re shedding their long winter coat and I make sure to brush them at least once a day to help it along.

The donkeys do fine in the cold, but they love the hot summer days that are ahead.

Lulu and Fanny’s newly trimmed hooves.  You can see Fate at the fence, looking in.  She stayed there the whole time watching.

The Hens And The Dahlia Garden

The hens have not given up on the Dahlia Garden.

They spent the winter and spring pecking at the bare earth covered in donkey manure, loaded with insects.  They had more than one dust bath, a hollowed out earthen nest they wallowed in to clean their feathers.

But I took it all away when I planted my dahlia bulbs and put up the small fence around them.

The hens immediately made a new dust bath right up against the fence.  And they spend some time every day walking the stone wall and sticking their long necks through the little fence to eat the bugs in the rich soil.

In The Back Pasture

Snake skin under the clover

I was in the back pasture bringing the sheep to graze when I bent down to pick a purple clover flower  for Jon’s bouquet and saw the snake skin on the ground.

It’s wasn’t too thick or too long, the shedded skin of a small snake.

Turtle in the ferns

And not too far from it, just down the hill closer to the marsh, a turtle that I first mistook for a rock, in the ferns.

The yarrow is blooming along with purple and white clover.  Bedstraw is growing among the Blue Flag Iris which are fading.  There are only a few daisies, and five different kinds of yellow flowers whose names I don’t know. And I couldn’t even begin to guess all the different types of grasses growing.  The beebalm and wild oregano are getting ready to bloom.   And that’s a Rosa Multiflora  blooming white behind the sheep.

Skirting My Wool

The underside of Kim’s fleece.

“I’m only going to do one fleece,” I told Jon, “then we’ll have lunch.”

It rained all morning and it looked like there was more coming, but I wanted to get started on skirting my wool.   I’m bringing the sheep’s fleeces to  Nobletown Fiber Works on the 24th of June and need to get it done before then.

I had a few of the sheep shorn in the fall and still hadn’t skirted their wool even though I’ve been meaning to do it before the spring shearing.

It was really perfect weather for skirting, overcast and cool.  So I got out the screen and an empty garbage pail to put it on, then started with Kim’s fleece.

When Ian sheered the sheep a few weeks ago, he tossed aside the wool from under the belly and top of the head.  It’s short and dirty and can’t be used.  When I skirt the rest of the fleece I pull out any sticks, seeds hay, or whatever might be stuck in it.  I also get rid of the wool that is a lot shorter than the rest and  wool caked in manure.

The center of Kims fleece was matted down to about an inch thick.  The rest of her wool was about five inches long.  I kept the best of it, put it in a plastic bag and wrote her name on it.

I did mean to stop after that, but I thought just one more and pulled out Merricat’s fleece from the spring shearing.  Turns out,  Jon and I didn’t have lunch till 3:00.  He was busy blogging and I just kept skirting.

Constances wool is a lovely color and has a nice crimpI got most of it done before I needed a break.  I just have Asher, Issachar, and Lori’s wool left to skirt.  Asher and Issachar are always the toughest because their wool is so thick and holds onto debris more than the Romneys.

My hands are soft from the lanolin and I can still smell the wool on them as I write this. There’s no edge to the smell of wool.  It’s soft, a mix of sweet hay and spring mud.   If it were a bottled scent I’d wear it.

I still have a tuft of Liam’s wool on my desk.  Sometimes I pick it up and smell it.  It’s the smell of my good life, with Jon, on the farm.

That’s Robins wool on the frame.  The sheep came to the gate when it was time for them to eat.  The hung around sniffing the air, maybe wondering who the sheep on the other side of the fence was. Fate sat between me and the gate the whole time.

Night Rooster Potholders For Sale


Night Rooster Potholder with Fruit.  My Night Rooster Potholders are for sale here.

Sometimes I have a longing for the night.  To sleep outside with the moon, the stars and planets for my dazzling roof.

I don’t know why when I saw the small rooster hand-embroidered, so many years ago, on the small piece of cotton they made me think of desire.  But that lone rooster seemed to crave the night.  As if he wanted to put all his Rooster responsibilities behind him for a just a little while and peacefully gaze at the stars, spot the planets and follow the arc moon.

So I gave the lone roosters the night, in each of these potholders.  What was to become of them otherwise.  They could sit in the box in my studio longing.   But they’ve already spent too much time hidden away.

I have seven Night Rooster Potholders.  They are $25 each  $5 shipping for one or more.  You can see them all and buy them in my Etsy Shop, just click here. 


The little Vintage hand-embroidered roosters are about an inch and a half tall


Night Rooster Potholder with Eggs


Bud And Zinnia Keeping Company

Zinnia and Bud in my studio doorway

I didn’t get to work on my Crow today, but I did finish sewing my Night Rooster Potholders.  And while I worked,  the dogs found their place inside and outside of my studio.

Fate usually curls up in her little bed but  Zinnia and Bud are often together in the doorway.  Bud waiting for an Amish horse and carriage to go by so he can bark at them and Zinnia keeping him company.

The Barn Swallows And Their Babies

Kim, Robin and barn swallows

I saw the triangle beaks peeking out of the nest, but the barn swallows are being elusive this year.   The babies retreat as soon as I show up.  And the adults fly in a frenzy round and round till I leave.

Maybe they’re responding to Zip being here.  There are two nests in the barn and one in the woodshed.

I’ve been trying to get pictures or a video of them for weeks, but it didn’t happen until I caught them by chance in this picture I took of Kim and Robin.

I’m just glad they’re back.  I think they can fight off Zip no matter how good a hunter he is.

He did scare the pigeons away.  There are two who roost on the top of the barn, but not one nest in the barn.

Full Moon Fiber Art