Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We knew it might happen, and it's not unheard of. Heck, in 2008 we had snow on April 20th! Didn't get much, as it was so wet from the 3/4" of rain during the day yesterday, usually mixed with snow and little slushy ice balls that stung like mad when they hit you in the face, plus it was about 35 degrees, but by morning we had a light dusting that literally ended about halfway down the hills in the north pasture, and nothing below us from Reese Creek east had even a trace. Pretty sharply defined snowline, that. The morning packwalk saw biting, wind-driven snow that was sort of sticking here and there, and we were all pretty well soaked by the time we got back home. Thankfully, none of the 5 remaining ewes decided to pop during the night as the Judas door to the lambing pen had blown open during the night (wouldn't be because **I** forgot to latch it securely) and everyone was out enjoying the fresh snow.

Looks like the rest of the week should be pretty exciting, weather-wise, plenty of wet in the form of both rain and snow. But, the dogs are all warm and dry and cozy, Ho Dog in front of the pellet stove as usual, Hoke on our bed, burrowed into the covers, and the girls up here in my cold office with me, all crashed. I do hear a hot cuppa calling me from down below in the kitchen; best I go answer the call.

0630 - you can see the dark snow squall headed our way over the old red barn

Green Peak after the squall passed

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bathroom Remodel, Part II

Now that the pink cave was gone and replaced with a beautiful, spacious and well-lit tub/shower enclosure, it was time to demolish the vanity. The plan was to do all the demo work, repaint the entire room, repair what needed repair, have Jessee get the two stand alone cabinets started, get the new lino down, install the moulding, replace the two cabinets, install the new vanity and two new mirrors that will take the place of the medicine cabinet we never used, and finally the new toliet. Thus far, all has gone well. The ugly vanity came out in pieces, but because the tile backsplash was installed without tileboard (directly onto the drywall, a huge no-no), we ended up having to cut out the drywall and tile. So we got to learn drywall repair. Not the best job ever (our learning curve was kinda steep), but light years beyond the previous job. Dale fixed all the poorly done drywall along with the three big holes we put in ourselves, we patched, sanded, textured, primed and painted and now we just wait for the vanity and mirrors to come in and Jesse to finish the cabinets. The new toliet is in the garage; we installed its twin in the upstair guest bathroom, finally getting rid of the noisy, old, stained unit up there.

The old vanity was a cheap oak and partical board monstrosity in mauve and blue, in dire need of refinishing the wood or just making the whole thing go away. That would be the option we chose

All painted. Still needs another coat and yes, it's a bit wavy in spots, but compared to what it was - you'd have to have seen the original bathroom to appreciate even where it's at now, not even finished, it's that much better already

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aprille Had a Little Lamb...

...his hair was whiter than snow. Young Aprille must have read the calendar, right where it said 'lambing starts 26 Feb' because early this morning, my only first timer this year presented us with a very fine ram lamb all by herself. I had looked her over yesterday and decided that she was the closest of all this year's lambers. And figuring that it was bone-chilling cold and snowing off and on last night, she picked the lambing pen as her spot - what a smart young ewe she is! Donny is a fine, strong, big boned ram lamb, and first time momma Aprille is a good momma, plenty of milk and very protective of her baby boy.

One down, 5 to go, all old hands, hopefully all carrying twins. Let the lamb races begin!

Donny, about 5 hours old

Look at the bone on that boy!

'Go on, son. It's okay. It's just your aunties out there, waiting for you to see your new outside world for the first time'

Face to face with the outside world

A really nice ram lamb, that Donny. Aprille is a North Country Cheviot ewe X Dorpedo ram (Dorper X Barbado) and Donny is sired by Ricky Bobby, our Katahadadorpadoviot ram (Katahdin/Dorper/Barbado/North Country Cheviot)

Donny meets Twyla, my best ewe. Aprille sire Tommy was Twyla's twin. Twyla is due any day now

Out in the world for the first time. At least while it was very cold and somewhat rainy/snowy, the wind wasn't howling like it was a few days ago

A spot of sun. That's my oldest ewe, Flossie, also due any day now, in the background

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Coldest Packwalk Ever

Yes, it's hard to read, but the bottom number says '1.6'. As in degrees Farenheit. As in the coldest by 7 degrees I've ever been in. And technically, it wasn't really a packwalk as it was just me and Cody in the wilds of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. But he didn't seem to mind the howling winds that drove the actual temperature to -23 degrees. MINUS 23 degrees. As in 'below zero'. We didn't get too far, as my legs thru my jeans went numb within a mile in spite of the brisk pace, and I decided to turn back rather than risk it. Sure was nice to get back to mid 30's degree weather and rain, I'll tell ya that!

New Supervisor

Goofy Sybil, in training from her great-uncle Ho Dog to be the new construction supervisor of the ranch

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Goodbye to the Cave

It was time to say goodbye to the cave in the master bathroom. We'd redone the upstairs guest bathroom 4 years ago, now it was our turn. Being old and fat made it doubly difficult to get in and out of that tiny bath/shower combo, and with no light to speak of able to get into the cave, any shower after dark was an exercise in showering by Braille. Plus, the huge, pink cave literally appeared to eat all the space in the already tight quarters. So at the home show a few weeks ago, I saw and fell in love with a shower system by Bath Planet, and signed up for a free estimate. Sherry came out a week later, we talked over options, picked it all out, and a few weeks later, Adam and his crew arrived and started the project. Three days later, and just as Sherry had predicted, we were wondering why the heck we waited so long! Next, the ugly vanity/pink sink and the gawd-awful pink toliet are headed for the chopping block, along with the fronts of the two storage cabinets, about to get a make-over by local cabinet-making legend Jesse. The flooring will come first after the toliet and vanity are gone and the walls painted, and we've already found the perfect vanity/granite top/undermount sink combo along with matching mirror from Jerry's of course. And finally, the master bath will be done, almost 6 years after we first saw it and said, 'THAT'S gotta go'.

Can't say enough good about the whole Bath Planet team. From Sherry the salesgal to Adam the installer and including the plumber and electrician, everyone was friendly, professional and absolutely determined to make sure we were happy with the entire job from start to finish. Adam and his team were working with a 133 year old house with multiple updates, shoddy wiring and worse plumbing, walls, ceiling and floors out of plumb, and yet they never complained once, just made it all work. If you're in the market for a bathroom make-over, these are your guys. It may cost more than the one-day guys, but you'll get a bath that will last a lifetime and look as good the day you sell your home as the day it went in.

The cave, when we moved in

The cave, cut out and ready for the recycle heap

More cave pieces on the way out the door

With it all removed, it's already feeling like a breath of fresh air

New Pex piping, courtesy of Andrew, master plumber for Bath Planet

Old, crappy plumbing

And we said, 'let there be light', and there was - finally

New tub portion in place, with new walls properly installed and plumb

First acrylic panel goes up

Second panel up and Adam done for the day

On the home stretch. All panels up and hardware in

So much brighter, lighter and roomier!

Finished! Well, that part of it, anyway. Obviously, the flooring and trim and such is still to be done along with everything else

Spiffy trim and new Delta fixtures

Caddy and trim

Just wonderful!

Cody the Chick Magnet

The only way I was going to get any shots of Cody (Hoke X Cricket 2010) was to fly all the way to Wisconsin and take 'em myself - so I did. Really, I went to visit my little bro Jim and my mom, but since Cody lives with Jim, it just worked out. I was quite taken with how nicely he's matured (Cody, not my brother); around 19"-20" and 50 pounds of muscle and goofiness, just about perfect. With his striking good looks, he stops traffic and attracts chicks like mad. Loves everyone, rarely barks (except at the neighbour dog, and then only when his running mate Ozzie the black Lab starts it) and is fantastic with the kids. Posing for the camera (with bro Stan running the camera) was a bit of a challenge, as to be expected from a dog who has never been taught to stand, but it only took a few minutes for him to get the idea. Took longer for Stan to figure out how to work the camera correctly! Enjoy the show!

With his running mate, Ozzie the black Lab

On the run

Jim is obviously the one who feeds them, while Stan watches the show

Ozzie is just a step-stool for Cody it appears. Gotta love the expression on her face

Such a great, masculine head - like a red merle Ho Dog, his great-uncle. Classic, old, original style Aussie

Remember, he's never had to stand for pictures before, so it's a bit new to him, and I'm totally NOT someone who can stack like a pro either (and then there was the whole Stan running the camera thing, but we've already made fun of him for that)

His topline is gorgeous, unlike what it looks like in this shot

Love that head!

With Christopher, doing the 'Aussie Lean'

And giving Jim a little love (and a lotta tongue)