Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Grand Old Lady ... Moves On to the Eternal Pasture

June 16, 1993 - January 30, 2007
Dailley Kate ... S1920

This evening, while I was feeding my sheep, Kate ... passed on.

Kate had a stroke last winter, but managed to give birth to, and raise a lamb in 2006. She had problems with vision, and dragged one hind leg slightly. She was moved to her own pasture in the orchard beside the house ... with a new 'purple house' ... and a couple of ewe lambs for company.
She was not bred this Fall. She got a LOT of attention in that pasture ... :-)

Kate's line makes up a large portion of my flock ... and for good reason. She was a very square and correct ewe ... and ... her 13th fleece microned at 29 (last rib, mid side sample). She had very few white fibres in her fleece, even as an 'old girl'.

Her arthritis had been a problem this winter, but with my Vet we came up with medications to keep her comfortable. She continued to enjoy cookies, carrot slices and chin scratches right until the end. Gene was out in mid-afternoon to give, what turned out to be, her last batch of treats.

She waited until I was with her in her 'house' tonight, before she gave her last breath. I thank her for the gift of allowing me to be with her at her passing.

Kate will be sadly missed.

Athena ... Crossing off Burkina Faso

I'm not the least bit surprised to be on Bill's sale list. I've been on it before ... a few times! He actually even sold me once, shipped me, with my lamb ... to New Brunswick. Then he bought me BACK ... and shipped me across eastern Canada again ... and NOW he wants to sell me YET AGAIN! I am feeling just a little bit unsettled here!

My name is SheltrgPines Athena. I was one of the original group of sheep that Bill brought in from Michigan. I WAS his only white ewe ... until he bought TWO others ... and then he used that rotten white Whistle Stop Lerwick as a breeding ram and got LOTS of white lambs. So now, he figures that he doesn't need a nicely conformed, uniform fleeced American girl!

Two of my lambs have been dark brown ... that modified colour that Bill just raves about. And right now ... I am bred to Dailley Ray Charles, who is emsket coloured ... and a real HUNK!! Our babies will be BEAUTIFUL!

Oh wow ... and THIS one hurts. Bill just told me that I am available NOW bred to Ray ... if anyone WANTS me. Well ... somebody had better buy me fast. I want OUT OF HERE!

Anyway ... I do get to do something nice while I am here. Today is Stephen Rouse's mother's 94th birthday. Instead of sending her flowers ... Bill made a $75 donation to his Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention project in her name.

That is the fifth baby saved since Bill started this project.

If someone buys me ... then Bill ... and his two Saint Carols ... will each donate $25 to this project ... and another baby will have life. Anyway ... for each baby saved ... one of us gets to tell you about the country that we are crossing off of the list.

Burkina Faso ... life expectancy at birth - 48.85 years ... people living with HIV/AIDS - 300,000 ... deaths due to HIV/AIDS - 29,000 (2003 stats)

A New Saint ... :-)

This is our Real Estate agent ... and our dear friend ... Carol Brough. Carol is responsible for us living here in 'The County'. Without her support, hard word, and friendship ... I'd never have found my job ... and we'd never have found our first property ... Willow Garden Bed and Breakfast.

Carol and her husband, Bob are here for every event that we have ... and supply the Porta-potti for our Open House. They are and have been 100% supportive! Always.

Today though, I nominate Carol for sainthood. Carol has offered to match my contribution to the Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention project.

Since Saint Carol Arthur is doing the same thing ... this means that for every sheep that I sell ... I will donate $25 to this program to save a baby ... but ... so will my two Saint Carols. Sooooo for every sheep that I sell ... that is $75 ... and that is a baby's life!


Oh ... and here is how to contact Carol ... with all of your real estate needs ... or just to thank her ... ;-)

Toll Free 1-866-294-2100

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Okra Tells Her Story!

Well, I am thankful that my new owner, Nat, is letting me have my say ... in an attempt to clear my name! I am WillowGarden Okra. I am NOT for sale, as Bill already SOLD me!

I am NOT a bad animal ... as was implied on this blog in a previous post! I am just a free spirit and an independent thinker!

When I was born, I very naturally looked around at the world and thought ... 'Now SHE'D be a cool Mom!' ... I looked at my own mother ... and my twin BROTHER ... and I crawled in with Cleome. Cleome was a great Mom, and I didn't have to share her attention with anyone else, as she had no lambs of her own ... yet. How was I supposed to know at ten minutes of age, that she had no milk for me either?!

Anyway ... when the next ewe, Lucy Locket, lambed, Bill rolled me in some disgusting stuff with her two lambs and tried to make her think that she had three lambs, instead of two. It worked. Lucy sure wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier. BUT, I got a great belly full of first milk. And Lucy was ok as a Mom ... but she had too many rules for this free spirit ... so ... I moved on.

I became a master milk thief and became a 'child of the street' ... no rules ... no curfew ... no-one to tell me to do this or that ... no-one to make me stay clean! ALL of the lambs liked me and I had lots of friends. But ... their Mom's HATED to see their lambs playing with me. They thought I was a bad influence.

It became harder and harder to find an udder to drain as all of the other lambs grew bigger. Eventually, Bill decided that I was starving to death and he locked me in a pen until I would stand and drink from a bottle. Now this stuff was not the greatest let me tell you ... but ... I figured it out pretty quick ... drink the bottle and you can hit 'the streets' again.

I got to visit schools and was a real hit at shearing and the Open House. With what I learned from living in 'the streets' ... I knew how to work a crowd. I think that I was a real asset to the farm. Bill sold me anyway ... but ... I get to run my own show here at Nat's ... so that's OK.

Anyway ... I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know that I am NOT as described by that Mae West, who has the NERVE to call herself my mother! My mother was 'the street'!


Monday, January 15, 2007

Carmen Miranda ... Crossing Off Botswana

Well ... this IS a suprise for me! I thought my life here at Willow Garden was pretty secure ... but ... I guess I was wrong. I am Matt's (the kid across the road who makes it possible for Bill to do all of this) favourite ewe. You'd think THAT would count for something! OBVIOUSLY NOT!

No big deal ... I am SOOOOOOOOOO exceptional that I will be latched up right away! I am a black katmoget, and I have a pretty darned nice, even fleece. My katmoget is from both Enfield Greyling lines, and from Bitterroot lines. I also have a bit of Flett blood in my veins ... and some Skerryvore/Cherrington lines as well. I am also square and a solidly conformed ewe.

I told you that I'd have buyers lined up for me! Look at what they'd be getting!

Like the other ewes listed, I won't be available until AFTER I wean my lambs.

I was NOT selected for Bill's beloved AI project! Apparently he had enough 'like' me in that group. Yah RIGHT! Instead ... I got put in with a very attractive and YOUNG black katmoget ram lamb. I thought that I'd be in for a good time ... but ... what do the young know about romance. No flowers. No dinner. Not even an exchange of niceties. And it was all over before I even knew that it had started!

I wanna tell any of you reading this who might want to BUY me ... buy Ray as well. From what I hear ... that looker knows how to treat a lady ... and boy, would we have nice babies ... ;-)

OK ... OK ... Bill says that I have ranted long enough. Like HE should talk about MY rants!

Let me tell you about the country that I am crossing off the map of Africa. This country is being crossed off the map because of gifts that Bill recieved from friends and family over Christmas. Remember ... Bill's goal is to save 55 babies this year through the Mother-to-Child HIV/AIDS Prevention Program.

For every sheep that Bill sells for breeding this year ... he will donate $25 to this program ... and Carol Arthur will do the same. If five more people would each pledge $5 for each sheep that he sells ... we'd have a donation of $75 for each sheep ... and $75 is all that it takes to save a baby. Think of the possibilities! It will make being sold and having to move away from my beloved Matt ... seen more OK.

Anyway ... Botswana. Life expectancy at birth ... 33.74 years. People living with HIV/AIDS ... 350,000. Deaths due to HIV/AIDS in 2003 ... 33,000. 37.3% of the population living with HIV/AIDS.

51 countries ... and 51 babies ... yet to go ... and it is only the middle of January ... :-)

Mae West ... Crossing Off Benin

Well ... I'M not surprised to be on this list of sheep for sale! Ever since that thing with OKRA last Spring ... geesh! Like it was MY fault that the little b*tch crawled out of my jug and got licked dry by that meddling Cleome! And it sure wasn't my fault that she wanted NOTHING to do with me, her MOTHER, after that! That little trollup was just no darned good ... right from the start ... just a trouble maker! BUT ... everyone just LOVED her! CUTE ... is so VERY over-rated!

Anyway ... I'm on the Sale List ... so ... I'll tell you about me ...

My name is WillowGarden Mae West. I am a moorit katmoget with a VERY nice fleece. I have a CUTE face ... and ... I am Gene's favourite ewe. Really ... he TOLD me that! Obviously, though ... he forgot to tell BILL!

My conformation is wonderful ... so good that I was one of the ewes who was denied the chance to 'court' with a ram ... and instead ... had to put up with the straw and the scope.

I have a tendency toward being on the 'fuller figure' side of the scale. My Mom was the same way. My sire, Glanmore Kat Burgler certainly wasn't inclined to be heavy ... and boy was he a looker!

I'm not worried about being on this list. My genetic lines are pretty rare in Canada ... and I KNOW that someone will want me ... ;-).

So ... I'll just tell you about the country that I get to cross off in Bill's quest to save 55 babies in Africa this year through the Mother-to-child HIV/AIDS Prevention Program. This one was funded by family and friends of Bill's, over the Christmas season.

Benin ... life expectancy at birth for the population there ... 53.04 years (that would have Bill LONG gone!). 68,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (2003). 5,800 deaths due to HIV/AIDS (2003).

52 countries ... and thus 52 babies ... left to save ... ;-)

Ray Charles ... Crossing Off Angola

Well ... it didn't take long for MY turn to come, did it?

My name is Dailley Ray Charles. I am a magificent, emsket ram ... with wide sweeping horns ... GREAT conformation (INCLUDING my Tail, little Miss Elsie Marley!). I have a decent fleece that is quite even and evenly crimped. I think that I am a pretty good looking guy ... and I've had no complaints from the ladies ... if you know what I mean ... ;-)

So ... why am I on here, if I am so good? Bill says it is because he has used me for two seasons and that he has all of my genetics that he needs. He actually TOLD me that! Can YOU imagine!!! He must think that just because I am a GUY ... that I am not in touch with my inner self. Well ... I want you to know, Bill ... That HURT!
The REAL reason I am for sale ... at least the way I see things ... is even worse. It all started when those lady Vets came and started 'doing it' with the ewes using STRAWS and a SCOPE! That has Bill all excited about 'rams in a tube' ... FROZEN ... and then shipped across the world! If I were in a glass STRAW ... THEN he'd keep me!

Don't get me wrong. I like Bill. He is a good shepherd ... and he has assured me that he'll find me a good home with people who'll appreciate me as a breeding RAM. But, boy ... as I see it ... Bill has some VERY confused notions right now. I mean ... rams in a frozen STRAW! *phew*

AND Kismet gets to stay! He's OLD. What's up with THAT one!?!

Anyway … I want to tell you about the country that was crossed off the list of the 55 countries in Africa ... with the donation from Bill's sister, Betty Cecchetto. You will all remember Bill's pledge to save one baby for each country in Africa, through the Mother-to-child HIV Prevention program.

Angola ... life expectancy at birth for the population there ... 38.62 years. 240,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (2003). 21,000 HIV/AIDS deaths (2003)

53 countries ... which means 53 more babies ... to go.

And, hey ... if you want a REAL ram, as opposed to one of those frozen straws ... talk to Bill about buying me!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Elsie Marley ... Crossing Off Algeria

I can’t believe that he is making ME go first!

My name is WillowGarden Elsie Marley, and I was one of the FIRST lambs born at Willow Garden ... like THAT seems to matter! I am a true fawn ewe, with fine features and a VERY nice fleece. That tuft on the top of my head was a white krunet at birth ... and I have had several spotted lambs.

My conformation is good, although Bill thinks that my tail is ‘acceptable, but a little heavy'. I wanna tell those of you who have not seen Bill lately that HE should be so lucky as to have ONLY the problem that I do with my tail in terms of HIS conformation! The man has become MORE that a LITTLE heavy!

I am the dam of WillowGarden Duke Ellington, who sired many of the mioget and emsket ewes in Bill’s flock. Duke was 'best lamb's fleece on hoof' at the 2005 AGM Shetland show.

Even as we speak, I am bred via AI (and if you think THAT is fun for a ewe, read back through Bill’s blog!).

Bill says that I am available for sale after I have weaned my lambs. I feel very much like yesterday's news, being put out to recycling. But … Bill has promised me that I will not go to just ANY farm. If you want me, you’ll have to apply for the privilege of buying me. That makes me feel a BIT better … but not much. I am doing my BEST not to mention Bill’s IMMENSE size … as that might seem to be sour grapes … but … hmmmm

Anyway … I want to tell you about the country that was crossed off the list of 55 with the donations from the wonderful Educational Assistants who work with Bill.

Algeria ... 9,100 people living with AIDS/HIV in 2003.

Just 54 more countries to go.

Anyone wanna buy ME ... :-)

Live By Your Heart

I have a lot of sheep ... and LOTS more coming. This picture was early summer, but there are STILL a lot of sheep here ... :-).

There will be some tough decisions for me to make as the year progresses. If my breeding program is working, and I think it is ... then I will want to keep a lot of the lambs. And since 75 ewes is the MAX that this farm and this aging shepherd can handle ... there will be MANY sheep for sale that I'd happily keep here FOREVER ... but ... can't do it!

I have decided to let each sheep that is for sale tell about a country in Africa as the dollars come in to save another baby through the Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention program. The 55 countries in Africa created the goal for the number of babies that I hope to offer a chance at life to. I hope that 55 sheep can tell you their stories ... and share information about a country in Africa.

Remember my pledge that for every sheep that I sell (excluding the meat guys) ... I will donate $25 to my Be a Child's Hero program? That amounts to one baby in Africa being born with a chance at LIFE for every 3 sheep that I sell!

Here is the news that I've had you all waiting for ... :-). For every sheep that I sell, I will donate $25 to the charity that has captured my passion ... BUT ... so will my friend Carol Arthur!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!

Do you all see how this could grow?

Are there others who could match this generous offer of support? ... or a smaller amount per sheep?

Are there people who could donate a portion of the sales from their OWN sheep?

My plea to you all is this ... live by your heart. Be compasionate to the needs of the MANY who have so much less than we do.

I am aware that many of you have charities of your own that you support ... with YOUR HEART! Please ... don't stop doing that in order to support my project ... but ... tolerate my passion to do my bit to ensure that as many babies in Africa as possible are born to LIVE, and not to slowly die ... ;-)

AND ... if you send me comments through this blog about YOUR charity of choice, and you include a link ... I might just post the links in that section of my blog.

Lets make this BLOG live by OUR hearts ... :-)

It is only through living by our hearts that ALL of the world can know the happiness that we live with!

Life is so very, very good ... *sigh*

Thursday, January 11, 2007

55 Countries in Africa

I have discovered that the number of countries in Africa has changed frequently ... but the most recent, and largest number I have seen listed ... is 55. For each donation of $75 CA made to the Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention program, by me, or in my name one baby in Africa will have a chance at life. And for each baby saved ... I will post a link to information about one country in Africa, until links to all 55 have been published. I will do this in alphabetical order. You will hear me giggle with the joy of accomplishment all across the world ... once I post the information on Zimbabwe!


My goal for 2007 ... is to raise enough money through donations and sheep sales ... to pay for 55 babies in Africa, to have a chance at life through the Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention program. I will NOT stop until I have. And once I get to Zimbabwe ... if their is still time ... I'll start all over. It is the least that I can do for this pandemic that is devastating the women and children of Africa.

I have some exciting and generous support to mention on the weekend. Support from my friends is growing ... :-) But I'm going to keep you in suspense over that ... ;-)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Still MORE New to Me Stuff!

There are four of these grain feeders. I am playing around with different ways to turn these into dividers as well. I'm not happy with the hog panels, so I'll talk to a friend to see it I can just weld another bar across the top.
There are five of these hay/grain feeders. They will be VERY handy when I have sheep all over the place during breeding group season ... ;-)
This is a creep panel. I doubt that I'll set it up this way, but it shows how it works.

There are four of those multi-section feeders that fasten over a 2 by 4 ... and there are three or four single section ones for salt and mineral.

This has been like a second Christmas ... hehehe

New, to Me, Sheep Handling Equipment

Here is the main set up for sheep handing that I got from Carol Arthur. The headgate has doors at the front ... and doors at the back ... for ease of access to all four corners of the sheep.
Behind the headgate, is a slide gate to keep sheep in ... or out of ... the headgate. That is Jessie, the Wonder Dog trying out the system ... :-)
Behind the slide gate is a chute with a drop down panel on one side for climbing in ... or drenching sheep caught in there. All of these sections adjust in width.

At the other end of the chute, there is a guillotine gate.
We attached one of the gates next, just to show people. There are two of these gates.
There are 7 panels like this one that can be configured in a variety of ways, and combined with existing fencing to get sheep into the chute. Leaning against the panel is a cradle to 'tip' ewes into.

Am I not the MOST spoiled shepherd in the world!


Lambing Jugs

Earlier this week, I went to visit my friend, and fellow Shetland shepherd, Carol Arthur. Carol has just recently moved from Alberta to the Eastern Townships in Quebec. Since she has sold most of her sheep, she had a LOT of sheep equipment that she no longer needed and she offered it to me ... :-)

Above is one of the lambing jugs. There are enough panels for me to have 21 jugs like this one ... :-)

Carol bought these panels to use when she AIed her ewe flock back in 1999. This year, they will be used for MY AI ewes ... 8 years later. Pretty cool, eh!?!

There is a LOT more equipment. I'll post pictures of it in another post. I also have some VERY exciting news from Carol to share with you all ... but ... I'm going to make you wait to hear it ... hehehe

Matt's New Hat

I am not sure that you will remember the truly UGLY hat that Matt, The Kid Across the Road Who Makes It Possible For Me to Do This, bought to wear this winter ... So I have reposted the picture above.

Below is his NEW hat that he got for Christmas. And guess what ... I have one that looks almost the same ... ;-)

Quite an improvement isn't it ... now that he is dressing like me ... hehehe

January 6th, 2007 ... SPRING??

While unpluging my outdoor Christmas lights today ... look what I found ... PANSIES BLOOMIMG!

On January 6th! Hard to imagine, eh?!

The fuzzy photo is one of the pansies blowing in the breeze. I like the look of it ... and it IS my blog ... so I posted it ... :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Gifts Didn't Stop There ... :-)

Besides the gift from my staff that will save a baby in Africa's life ... and the gift from my sister that will do the same thing ... I also got enough cash from my kids, my partner, and my friends ... to Become a Child's Hero TWO MORE TIMES!

Thank you Gene, Kate, Tim, and Jill!!

This weekend, as I take down our tree ... normally something I don't look forward to ... I will remind myself as I pack away each decoration ... that this was a wonderful Christmas. I will never forget just how amazing it feels to get gifts for the charity of my choice.

AIDS/HIV is devastating Africa. Women and children are the ones with the greatest need. I am just one person. What can I do? I was left feeling helpless. So ... instead of trying to cure the continent ... too big a task for anyone, even me ... ;-) ... I will save the lives of babies throughout the year ... and I will do it ... ONE BABY AT A TIME! So far ... four babies will have a chance at life. My goal is to give 50 babies a chance at life this year!

THANK YOU to all who have supported me ... and those who will support me
. This project is likely the most important thing I have ever done ... :-)
Happy 2007 ... the year I will spend ... saving as many babies in Africa as I can!

Monday, January 01, 2007

And Then a Gift From My Sister arrived ...

An eCard of Hope

Dear Bill Stearman,

A gift has been given in your honour by Betty Cecchetto through World Vision Canada to give hope to needy children and their families.

Personal message from sender:

May some of your dreams come true! You are already nicer than Nora thinks you are!
Love, Betty

To visit World Vision's Gift Catalogue, click here.

To learn more about World Vision Canada, click here.


True Heroes

Update on my Become a Child's Hero Campaign ...

I work with the MOST amazing Educational Assistants in the WORLD!!! I love them to bits. They truly are heroes on a day-to-day basis.

The students that we work with have extremely high needs. I deal with their educational needs and get a lot of credit for the success of our program. I do, however, take every opportunity possible to give the credit to those who really deserve it ... my EAs!

My EAs help a GREAT deal with the educational needs of our students, but more importantly, they assist the students with their physical needs. The students ALWAYS feel loved by these individuals as their needs are met with absolute dignity and respect.

We have a happy classroom ... filled with love ... thanks to these HEROES!

And ... even though these people make only a FRACTION of what they deserve ... they got together for Christmas ... and gave me enough money to save a baby through the Become a Child's Hero program!

Hugs ... and a HUGE thank you to them all ... :-)

Here are their smiles ...

Above is ... Joan. Below is ... Lisa.

Above is ... Marty. Below is ... Pat.
And this is ... Tammy.