Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thank You Stephen!

My friend Stephen, took this picture of me when I was at his place for US Thanksgiving. I like this picture a lot.

First of all because it shows me actually DOING something, which is rare ... hehehe.

Secondly, with the black over-alls and the angle of the shot ... you can't tell how fat I really am ... LOL


Monday, December 18, 2006

I Love This Ewe!

Who would NOT love this face! This ewe is WillowGarden Kay Star. She is a gulmoget, my favourite pattern. She is also black ... Shetland black actually, which indicates that she may be carrying the modifier (actually I am pretty sure that she is ... :-). She is also out of one of my favourite ewe lines.

AND ... there is a good chance that she might be homozygous gulmoget ... meaning that every lamb that she produces will be gulmoget! She is AI'd to Hornblower, the wonderful black AI ram from Scotland ... I PRAY ... :-)

Do I sound excited about the first weekend in April 2007? You bet that I am ... hehehe

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More Christmas

Many years ago, my Aunt placed me in charge of the UGLIEST plant in the world! It is some sort of a cactus that my grandmother got as a young girl ... over 100 years ago. My Grandmother always claimed that it only flowered at night, and that the flowers only lasted for one night. I believed her ... I mean ... who DOESN'T believe their GRANDMOTHER! It also explained why I never saw a flower on this plant ... I was IN BED ... hehehe

Anyway ... in the many years that I have cared for this plant ... it has never flowered. 'Parts' of this plant have been passed on to anyone in the family who even expressed the remotest interest in owning one. To the best of my knowledge ... no plant from this parent plant has EVER flowered. That allows me, at the least, to not take this personally ... LOL

This year ... I decided that this huge ugly plant that sits on our water cooler ... needed a Christmas 'lift'. I'm SURE that with all this attention ... the warmth ... and the love ... it will bloom before the winter is over ... ;-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kiss My ...

I have met SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many people over the years who I would LOVE to tell to ... 'KISS MY ... donkey'.

Gene isn't one of those people ... well ... most of the time anyway ... ;-)

And yet ... he kisses my ... donkey ... daily ... hehehe

GREAT shot, isn't it? ... :-)

Christmas is Coming ... :-)

Well ... Christmas MUST be coming ... as we put our tree up today. As you may recall, we cut it last weekend at the back of the farm. It is about as non-conventional a christmas tree as you might expect from us.

We ended up cutting an Eastern Red Cedar ... known in other parts of the country as ... a juniper. After some careful pruning ... that took most of the morning ... it started to look like a Christmas tree.

We brought it in ... put on 400 clear twinkle lights and a LOT of decorations ... and low and behold ... It really DOES look like a Christmas tree ... :-)

Unfortunately ... and those of you who have pruned Junipers will know what I am about to say.

Our BEAUTIFUL, brilliant, perfectly pruned to fit the room, magnificent tree ... smells like ... CAT PEE!! Thank gawd for those little plug in pine scented air fresheners ... hehehe.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wild Dye Jobs ... ;-)

There are some WILD dye jobs on some of the ewes here at Willow Garden!

Kismet, my clean-up ram, has a marking harness on ... mostly so I can see who will lamb later than the others.

I used orange as I thought it would show up well. It did! I also bought a 'Cold Weather Crayon', since he would be wearing it from December 9th until Jan 13th ... and THAT is winter here. At least it is every other year! Since the weather got warm, the crayon is less bright, and I really have to look in order to see the colour placed on moorit ewes on very mild days!

So far, he has bred 12 ewes ... in six days. Looks like a busy first of May coming ... following a busy first of April!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Smart Ass!

Well ... if I ever wondered before where the expression 'Smart Ass' comes from ... I now know.

Today, Donkey Oatey, was unuasually bored, or so it seems. Sooooo he figured out how to undo the BOLT on the feed room door! He didn't make nearly the mess that he could have ... and he didn't gorge on grain. What he did do though, was take every bucket and scoop out of the room and toss them all over the barnyard. There must have been SOME logic to his thinking, but it sure escapes me.

He was sooooo very proud of himself.

And now, there is a very complicated double bolt on the door. We'll see how long it takes him ... hehehe

The Tree ... it's here ... ;-)

Yesterday, when it was so lovely and mild ... Gene, Nora, and I went to the back of the farm to cut a tree. We found the 'perfect' tree while on our way back to the house thinking that we'd have to BUY a tree!

The tree is one of the scrub cedars that spring up in our area, anytime land is left idle for a period of time.

It is NOT a traditional tree ... or a pretty tree ... yet ... ;-) BUT ... once the decorations are on it ... including the 400 white lights ... it will be BEAUTIFUL!

Life is, as always, grand ... ;-)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brotherly Love

I'm going to have to stop posting pictures and stories about Barny ... as I'd HATE for anyone to think that I am becoming a 'Cat Person'! I am NOT ... I don't think ... ;-)

Above we have Barny, the Wonder Cat (his NEW name) ... kissing with Wind Water Asparagus (aka Gus).

Barny has won over the ram lambs, Donkey Oatey, the big dogs (Nick and Kayla), and the two house dogs that are allowed in with the sheep (Jessie the Wonder Dog and Norah).

Strangely enough, Barny is slowly winning me over as well. In the past month, I have seen just one rat ... and within 2 seconds of seeing that rat ... it was in Barny's mouth.

That's my boy ... ;-)

Friday, December 08, 2006

So ... Here's What I am Going to Do

I have found an organization, sanctioned by Stephen Lewis, that helps children at the time they are born ... and even before ... to give them an opportunity at life that they would never have had without my help. I can become a 'Child's Hero' ... and give that child a chance at life ... for just $75!

Unfortunately, I am not a wealthy man. I am having to be creative here. I cannot sit back and do something as insignificant as raising sheep while children are being born ... to die. Sooooo ... use this link to buy me Christmas, birthday, or even just 'thinking of you' gifts ... ;-).

And ... for every lamb/adult sheep sold as breeding stock in 2007 ... I will donate $25 toward my 'Be a Child's Hero' Project. Last year, I sold 64 sheep ... so the potential is there to be a hero to over 20 children! I know that this might not sound like much ... but ... it is something that I CAN do ... and it will make a tiny difference ... at least in the lives of the children that I get to help directly.
Besides donating the cash ... I intend to use African rivers, lakes, regions, towns, and countries as my theme for naming lambs in 2007. There will be names like ... Tanganyika ... Uganda ... and Bela-Bela. And every time someone asks what my naming theme is ... and why ... they will hear of my campaign. I'm hoping that my project will grow ... that at least one of you who read this will be as moved.

But ... even if this remains just my project ... be brave enough to live a little more by your heart. It feels so very good ... ;-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Unable to Sleep ... Need a Solution!

While driving last Monday to deliver sheep, I got to listen to an interview with Stephen Lewis, the UN special ambassador for aids in Africa. The interview was life-altering for me. I have met Stephen twice ... and have followed his work over many years ... especially in this role.
This interview has changed my life ... beyond anything else that has ever happened to me. I cried while listening to the interview ... 'cause my heart just ached beyond belief for the children. I have been a teacher for as long as I can remember. Children are the focus of my life ... and of our existance. What AIDS and HIV are doing to the lives of children in Africa, is what keeps me awake at night.

Here is a link to the interview that has changed my life. The interview is 47 minutes long ... BUT WELL WORTH THE TIME!

In the next post ... I will tell you what I am going to do so that I CAN sleep at night ... :-) For now though ... just know that the children of a continent are crying in my ears each night ... and I WILL do what I can to make that crying stop!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Arrives at Willow Garden

What a beautiful day it was today! I got home from work at about 2 PM ... and the sun was shining! It was cold, but when the sun shines ... I can do anything ... ;-)

I decided that today was the day to put up my sheep's Christmas lights. They seem so much happier once they are up ... hehehe

This year, I switched to LED lights. I explained that we save the cost of THREE big boxes of Animal Crackers by using these lights ... but ... still ... a couple of my more 'traditional' girls were overheard calling me a 'Cheap B*st/\?/'.

They'll adjust ... hehehe

The lights are hard to photograph, but ... they make the sheep very happy ... and the shepherd as well ... ;-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

I am Loved ... :-)

This is Nora. I have posted her pictures before ... but ... I am getting old ... and along with my aging (like fine wine of course ... hehehe) is coming an increased sentimentality. Those who know me well will find THAT hard to imagine ... Bill, even MORE sentimental!?!! ... hehehe

Norah is a Newfoundland in the Landseer pattern. She is my constant companion no matter where I go on the farm. In my lifetime, I have known love to be sure ... ;-). But I have never been more loved than I am by this dog.

Through Nora's love for me ... I am reminded of how important it is for me to become an even more loving person. To have love demonstrated feels WONDERFUL! The more lives I can find a way to touch in my quest to become as good a person as Nora already thinks I am ... the better it will be ... for me ... and for my heart ... :-) ... *sigh*

Thank you for reminding me of this, as we spent the day together, Nora.

So ... I'll use my email signature as I sign off tonight ...

Bill Stearman

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

More Rams In the US ... Waiting to Come Home to Canada

This ram is an 'older gentleman', much like myself ... although he has 'been around', he still has a few good years left ... hehehe.

He is Lughart Starry Champion and he is an F1 Greyling.

Here, we see the scars of battle on the head of Under the Son Connaught. Conn is a big, square, white ram ... F1 Skeld and F4 Timothy.
This is Underhill Thelonius Monk. He has just finished his second breeding season at Sheltering Pines. I can hardly wait to get him home! Thelonius is F2 Minder, F3 Holly and F3 Timothy.

These three boys ... along with Bramble Nick ... and some of the sons from Stephen's Justian that might be born to my ewes spending the winter there ... should add some really interesting diversity to my flock in the Spring of 2008 ... :-)