Sunday, December 14, 2014

New Ram

This is a new purebred Shetland ram. His name is Blue 1A. Blue being his right ear tag colour, 1 meaning he was first born, and A indicating he was born in 2013.

Blue 1A is a pretty boring name compared to the existing rams Willow Garden Seasonal and Harmony Marsh DaVinci.

I'm looking for an actual name to call him, something a little nicer than the former but not as sheeshy as the latter. I dunno... Bill, Bob, Ralph...

Whoever he is, he will be breeding all the Shetland ewes on the farm this year as he is unrelated to any of them. This will provide a suitable genetic enrichment.

The other two Shetland rams are with the Khatadin flock this year.

The rams went in Nov 25 and 26, so lambing should begin around April 20th.

This is quite early - I usually prefer lambing on pasture beginning around May 10, but the coyote (and wolf) populations continue to grow so I've decided to lamb in the barnyard and barn this season and keep them off the pasture til the lambs are mothered up. The ewes and their babies are most vulnerable to predation during the actual birthing process.

Friday, December 12, 2014


This is the Shouldice Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. It is a private hospital founded in 1944 that does only one thing - hernia repair.

I had the, um, pleasure of spending 4 nights there in November.

The 'typical' hospital repair involves pushing the hernia back in, stitching the muscle where it broke through and placing a piece of 'mesh' over the stitching (but under the skin) to act as a reinforcement against future breaching. This is usually done as an out patient procedure that takes under an hour. So IN and OUT. However, for the next 5 weeks or so you are not supposed to lift more than 5 lbs or risk damaging the repair.

You can imagine - not lifting 5 lbs for 5 weeks on a farm is just not on.

I had heard that the Shouldice was the best place to go and that they had the highest success rate (less than half of 1% failure). Somehow in my mind I took that to mean it was the least invasive procedure. Um. Wrong.

I was gutted like a catfish (small exaggeration). But what they do is slice the entire muscle area open, push the hernia back inside, and then split the muscle on each side into layers. Layer one on the left is overlapped onto layer one on the right and then sutured. Then layer two from the right is overlapped onto layer two from the left and sutured. And so on. Then stapling the outer skin together in a fold with many many staples.

The day after the surgery they remove half the staples. And the day after than they remove the rest. Then the following morning they double check the healing of the incision and boot you out the door (and into the accounting office door ;) )

But here's the thing - no restrictions. The only thing the surgeon said was that lifting more than 25 lbs during the first week would be uncomfortable because of post operative swelling, but even so would not jeopardize the surgery.

Basically, they have rebuilt the muscle instead of blanket stitch two sides together.

People come from all over the world to have their hernias dealt with here. Prime Ministers, princes, high falootin rootin tootin personalities. And farmers.

If you ever find yourself if need of hernia repair I highly recommend you consider this vs the standard cut and paste procedures done by local hospitals.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lorna's Laces Northbrook

This week I've been working on beaded socks.

Here's a size Medium started with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in colour Northbrook, and 5 mm green wood pony beads.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Here's something new for me to try.

This is 100% Yak, handspun by Eva. 2 ply, 103 g, 412 m.

Yak is very very soft, leaning to the Qiviut side of the spectrum. It is low in elasticity and this is quite a fine yarn so not one that would ordinarily be a candidate for a pair of socks. Of course that wouldn't stop me from trying ;o)

Here's what I came up with:

I knit a strand of fine lycra concurrently through the entire knit. (That's the cone sitting on the floor and if you squint you may be able to see the fine strand going up and through the right eyelet and feeding along with the yarn. The feed while unwinding of yarn and lycra cause a plying of the two to occur as they are drawn along.

Feeding on the left, you can see a small spool of Wooly Nylon. Initially I was going to run this through the entire sock, but at the last moment changed my mind and used it only on the heels and toes. This picture was taken while knitting the heel.

 Here's another look, this time with the ribber removed (which I do just before knitting the toe).

Naturally I knit these for me.

Oops...ran short on toe of second sock. Finished off with a bit of Koigu.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Koigu KPPPM P811

Here's a 'new to me' colourway from my last foray to Koigu: KPPPM P811

Purple is always a winner so I was pleased to find several variations to add to my stash.

Shown here in size Small +, with a 1x1 ribbed top and 5x1 leg and instep.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thank you

Thank you for the comments and personal emails of condolence on the passing of my best bud Jesse. I had him cremated and returned to me. After I visit for a spell, and when the time feels right, I've picked out one of his favourite spots by the shade of a spruce tree - where he could watch to see if I came out the door and at the same time surveil his kingdom.

One of my brothers was a Buddhist. Years ago he told me he liked to think my dad was reincarnated as a blue heron.

His choice of the heron made sense to me, in the context of my father's life. (photo: wikipedia)

I don't see blue herons often on the farm. I have a pond up near the house, and another pond about half way back of the farm. Three or four times a year I see a heron at the back pond and I always smile and say, "hi Dad!" Its rare to see one at the front pond.

Two weeks ago, the week Jesse died, there was a blue heron in the front pond. Jesse and I walked past that pond 6 times or more a day doing our regular farm chores. Each and every time that entire week the heron was there. Each and every time I smiled and said "hi Dad!". Jesse passed on the Friday night and I haven't seen the heron since.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Jan 2 2004 - Sep 27 2014

I am devastated to say that my true and faithful companion Jesse passed away in the wee hours of the morning.

I was just getting ready for bed, and Jesse didn't jump up to go outside for his evening business. When I called him he staggered a bit. I think maybe he had a stroke. His hind end more or less gave out.

I lay on the floor and held his paw and gently petted him and he just slipped away.

Jesse has been my constant companion. My most serious dread, as a senior, was that I would pre decease him and he wouldn't know or understand why I left him. My heart, while heavy, is relieved that he was loved, fussed over, played with, spoiled and heaped with attention from the beginning to the end of his years. I thank God for the blessing of Jesse's devoted company.

Rest in peace my friend. I'll see you on the other side.