Happy February!

How can it possibly be February?   The time has gone so fast but I’m certainly not complaining.  The weather here lately has been more like northwest Florida rather than southwest Ohio. It’s been a gift. There’s nothing worse than ice and snow for days and weeks on end out here (for example, hauling the big green trash can almost a quarter mile down and back the lane, if it’s even possible) and when you add livestock to the equation, well…. and speaking of (the) well, the water is another obstacle in winter when you have barn animals. But it’s all doable. Heated buckets and a well water heater keep hydration in check.  The biggest challenge really, is walking on the ice from the well to the barn with the buckets of water (actually I didn’t fall once until the temps rose above 60 last week and I slipped and fell in the mud). But a few months back, when we had an Arctic blast which was one of the worst weather episodes I can remember in my 19 years on Gingerbread Farm, my balancing act on ice was nothing compared to the snow and ice and the horses. At one point, the temperatures fluctuated to such an extreme that large ice balls resembling high heels formed on inside and outside of their hooves which obviously made walking almost impossible for our 19 year old mare, Flynn, who had it the worst. The only thing I could do was dunk each hoof in buckets of warm water and try and pick the ice out without damaging the tender areas inside. Needless to say, she had to stay in the barn for the remainder of the cold snap which she didn’t like and she didn’t like me much either, especially when she saw me coming with a bucket.  But she got over it. Flynn also had to have her 5 year dental appointment in December which is known as teeth floating in horses.  It’s actually the grinding down of problem areas that arise because horse’s teeth never stop growing! As you can see from the photo, she had to be sedated and her head put in traction…it was quite an ordeal. She was also diagnosed with Cushing’s disease around Christmas.  December was definitely not her month, poor girl.

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Dr. King and Flynn

As for the rest of the troop, everyone’s doing pretty well and loving the unseasonably warm weather.
Unfortunately, we heard another Arctic blast will be arriving in the very near future.
But I’m prepared! A cozy stall is ready, just in case.  But I think we can all agree…spring just can’t get here soon enough!

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Spring on Aullwood Farm…

I volunteer at a local working, teaching farm called Aullwood.  It’s spring and that means many of the animals are  soon to give birth for the annual Baby Fest in May.  The farm is home to sheep, cattle, goats, horses, chickens, pigs, barn cats and bunnies.  I captured a moment with the mom to be cows and sheep who are due to give birth very soon….. and my conversation with a pig. Image

Sheep at Aullwood Farm Talking to a pig at Aullwood Farm

The needle felted animals at Gingerbread Farm

Needle felted sculpture is an art using sheep’s wool and an array of single barbed felting needles.  The process begins with handfuls of raw wool that are wrapped and folded with a gentle hand and then locked into shape by poking the wool hundreds and hundreds of times with a barbed needle until the desired shape is finished.  My animal creations come from my own ideas, animals, photos, even dreams.  I don’t work from patterns or instructions, although in the beginning I did use a kit to learn the craft.  Every creature develops its special personality and physique as the process progresses.  I never really know who they are until near the finish.  Then they get the finishing touches of expression and detail: glass eyes, noses, mouths and of course a name and sometimes even a new owner if someone takes a liking to one!  Here are some of my works in progress!

Unfinished projects Core wool, shapes and needles Wools for felting needles in core wool Swine Lake Paximus

Breakfast

Frosty good morning! On today’s menu: hay, 4 horse treats, 4 peppermints and one large carrot, each. Later, pasture for a few hours and then back in for a nap.
What a wonderful life this little couple lead. Little do they know that #77 is about to rock their world! #77 is a sheep at the children’s farm where I volunteer. She is an older mom unable to nurse anymore. So, the options are simple, if you get my drift and I am opting to give her a forever home and hope that Flynn and Sugar take it well… or even a little bit well. 🙂 Any name suggestions for #77 would be appreciated. Have a peaceful day!