Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Work

Clancy cut down several dead, dying, ugly, and inconveniently placed trees this past Saturday.  There are still so many more to deal with, but we wanted to make sure the mess got cleaned up before the grass started growing so we only cut a few at a time.  
Thanks to a chainsaw and use of my dad's Bobcat, we got all the firewood carried to the stove area and all the branches carried to a clear area near the pasture where a bonfire this fall will do no harm.  It is quite a mountain of brush, and I'm sure more will be added to it in the weekends to come.

A few of the trees that we took out were over-mature birch along the lake shore.  They have been there for as long as I can remember.  We will miss their shade and creamy white trunks...but not the enormous dead limbs they would randomly drop.  Thankfully, several young birch trees are already established in the vicinity.  The tradition continues...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Latest Projects-Photo Heavy!

It has been nearly 10 months since the last time I posted here!  Sorry about the lapse, folks.  Life has been busy.  Rather than play catch-up, I'm simply going to start from the now.
Here are a few projects I've been working on lately...

I recently started making all of my own lip balm and lotions.  My skin loves it and my complexion is finally improving.  Plus I LOVE the process of concocting new formulas!

I also made 21 little gift/candy boxes for my church's craft sale last week.  
Paper crafting is one of my first loves!

Then I decided to needle felt a small rabbit.
But it started to look like a dog's head.
So then I made a dog...
Because I wasn't using a wire armature with this sculpture, I decided to wet felt it before I added finishing touches to make sure it was strong and solid.
The soft toy I pulled out of the dryer looked more like a kitten than a dog.
So I began crafting a kitten.  This was truly an exercise in letting the wool become what it wanted to be.
After much work, I finally had the child's soft toy I was hoping for:
a cute, playful kitten.

In family news I have to relate a special event from November: my siblings and I joined forces with some childhood friends to throw our  fathers (who have been best friends since birth) a joint 70th birthday party.
It was truly a joyful day of visiting and celebration!
My dad, Don Wille (right), and his good friend, Ervin B.
My parents.
My sister, brother, and me.

And my own little family is managing to survive this bitter winter...
The boys are all doing well at their respective schools.  
I miss my college boys and I love it when they come home and we can all be together.  
To curb my empty nest symptoms, I've been spending extra time with my precious Lleulu.  What a gem she is!  Thank goodness for her unconditional love.  :)

Thinking SPRING!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 Graduation

Our sons, Clarence Asa and Donald Isaac, graduated from high school on June 1.  We are so very proud of them!
Here they are with Clancy and me.  Graduation ceremony day was cold and raining, so we didn't get many photos taken.  (It was too crowded inside the building to try to take pics.)
My brother's son, Michael, also graduated from Bemidji.  I just love this picture of the three guys together!
We had the grad open house for the boys this past Saturday at our church.  The weather was perfect and we had a lot of fun.  But I was so busy visiting folks that I only had time to snap one 'posed' picture of the boys with the special cake our friend Linda made just for them...
A separate cake that they didn't have to share with anyone else on their special day was their one request for the grad party.  :)
Congratulations Isaac and Asa!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Megan's New Family

Megan's new family was gracious enough to pose for a quick snapshot on the day she went to live with them.  I hope everyone can see how happy Meg looks.  She barely had time for the camera because she was so busy investigating the barn and pasture...and lovin' on the grandkids.
Thank you so much to the "C" family.  I liked you all the minute we met and I know deep in my heart that you will be wonderful for Meg.
Good Luck and God Bless!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Difficult Decisions

About a month ago a local shepherd contacted me to ask if I was willing to sell 5-10 breeding ewes.  The conversation came out of the blue but I couldn't deny that I had been thinking of selling my flock for a while.  After several discussions I agreed to sell my flock as a whole. 
This past Sunday my entire flock of 11 Shetland ewes left to live on a farm in Solway, MN.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have my flock sell as a unit.  I know it will be less stressful on them to have their flock-mates by their side as they get used to new surroundings.  And beyond making the decision to part with them, selling to a single person was so much easier than advertising and dealing with multiple buyers over the course of many months.
I retained my entire wool clip and will be sending it off for processing soon.  That should give me a great deal of wool to needle felt and spin.  And I always know some excellent farms to buy extra Shetland colors from if I need them.
I also am keeping all of my electronet, energizers, and sheep coats.  Clancy and I both agree that our farm is very well situated to sheep farming.  I know my Shetlands were happy here.  And we plan to reinvest in another flock someday.
But in the meantime, I am grateful to have this extra space in my life to adjust to my family's busy schedule.  I will be able to focus on finishing our house and investing in our grounds.  I can do more artwork.  And I can travel with Clancy and the boys.
I never did fence in the girls this spring.  I would lock them into electronet at 9pm every evening...letting them out at 6am every morning.  But they were free ranging up until the new owner took them away.  I managed to snap these photos on their last morning here.
I admit my eye is constantly looking for them out the window.  Since they were never locked up I had to keep tabs on them to make sure they didn't wander too far from home.  I still listen for them.  I still expect to see them across the pasture or in the murky depths of the forest surrounding our home. 
I do miss them.
But I am also deeply content and I know I made the right decision for my family by giving up shepherding for a while.
Another family member that left Boston Lake this past Sunday was Megan. 
Because of work and travel, she had to spend most of her days in her kennel and crate.  For the past several months I just felt so guilty about her reduced lifestyle and I sought a new home for her.
After many interviews with nice folks, we met a lovely couple with a large farm that asked to be her new family.  Meg fell in love with them and their pastured pigs, flock of free-ranging chickens, spacious barn complete with resident cats, and several grandchildren of all ages.
During our second visit to this lovely farm, Meg would not leave the side of the little grandkids that were petting her when she saw me climb into my van to leave.  It was like she said, "You go.  I have work to do here."  She was giving her full attention to her new family as I drove out of their yard.
I do miss Meg, too.
But I couldn't be more happy for her and her new family.
And so I feel grateful to have such a deep contentment about Megan, too.
Through all of these huge changes, I prayed.  As my aunt reminded me the other day, God promises to care about everything that concerns us.  Finding happy, safe homes for my sheep and Megan was something I was so worried about.  God answered my prayers in ways even more wonderful than I could have hoped.
I wish my dear sheep and my precious Meg long happy lives with their new families.
And I wish for myself the stamina and self-confidence to make wise use of the open space in this new chapter of my life. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shearing 2013

The ice just left Boston Lake last evening.
It was freezing cold. 
New snow on the ground this morning.
But shearing is Finished. 
And I am so grateful!
All the ewes looked good...even the timid young girls and my 'narrow Nhu.'
The girls have had their CD & T shots, their hooves trimmed, and been sheared now.
Here are a few 'after' photos...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Late Spring Pasture

There is not much green about yet...
but the ewes love nothing better than roaming far and wide in search of nibbles.
Finally got the girls out on pasture Monday (5/6/13).  That is really LATE!  But we had snow covering everything right up till then.  We still have ice on the lake and Opener is tomorrow.  Good luck to the fisherman trying to find open water.
Here are a couple of pictures of the sheep enjoying their freedom...