Monday, January 28, 2013

Helping with Sheep Shearing

 In November, Beth, Emily, and Janet were invited to Ewe Bet Ranch to watch lambing.  We spent a couple of hours there, helping with moving six several day old lambs and their mothers to new places, holding the lambs while they got their ear tags, inoculations, and tail bands.  We also got to see one lamb born, the second of twins.  We missed the first birth while we were doing the other tasks.

We asked if we could come back for shearing day.  By now, we have figured out that you don't go there just to watch.  You go to help, learn, and watch.  Friday, January 25, was shearing day.  Beth had to work until 3 p.m., so she couldn't come until about 3:20.  Rowen took the day off so he could help, but at bedtime the night before, we discovered our hot water heater had sprung a leak.  So he spent the day removing the old and getting a new water heater himself...but that's another story!

Emily and Janet went at 9:30 a.m.  We got there about the time the shearer, Jason Foley, showed up.  This is the only picture we have of Jason.  He was moving pretty fast, so we're lucky to have this picture.  He uses his legs to control the sheep, keeping a leg or a head between his legs.  He has hold of an ear in this picture.  As I watched ~70 sheep get sheared in seven hours, I kept thinking of the verse in Isaiah 53:7:  "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:  he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

Truly, the sheep are very noisy, as they wait in the pens outside the barn.  Some of them are feisty, and don't want to be put down (Jason knew how to do it; it was amazing).  But while they are being sheared, they are silent, except for one that made a purring rumbling type noise.  It was so incredible to me to see that silence and have the verse go over and over in my mind.  I know that verse is talking about Jesus, and how He willingly went to the cross, to suffer and die for my sins, and I was so thankful for the object lesson before me that was a blessing to me.
 Jason started with the under side of the sheep and that part and the legs' wool was tossed over to where I was standing.  It is called "tags" and is put in a separate bag.  The scrappy looking pieces in the picture are also "tag" and I would sweep that up to put in the bag.  Each animal had an ear tag with a number.  I wrote the number down, and kept track of which ones got their hooves trimmed, any deworming medicine or other treatment on a notebook. 
 This is the rest of the fleece sheared off one sheep.  These are two homeschool friends who worked with us part of the day, Evan and Brooke.  The big gunny sack is where most of the white fleeces were put.  We filled two of these gunny sacks in seven hours, and many other bags where other colors, black or speckled, were put.  The owners, the Beemers, wanted to keep some wool to card and spin for themselves, rather than sell it all.  They also sheared several of their neighbor's sheep, and those fleeces were kept separate.
 There was a skinny ladder on the framework of this gunny sack, which Emily is standing on.  The fleece had to be lifted up and dropped down into the sack.
 After the fleece was in the sack, someone had to climb down in the sack and stomp it down to make it fit tightly.  This is when Evan was in there.  You can see that there are several feet of fleeces already in there, and yet the opening is above his head!  He did most of the 'way down deep' stomping for the girls.  Before the next fleece was ready to come, he had to climb out.  He and the girls used the framework to get high enough to be able to use their arms on the top to pull their bodies up and out. 
 Emily in the bag.  I think the kids had a good time, but Emily was sure sore the next day!

 After the bag was full enough to be safe for "old" people, I bravely got in the sack.  I was a little concerned if I would be able to get out again, but the Lord helped!  :)  It is kind of freaky to get in and out of, because of the confined space and the way your upper body has to go above the rafters to get in!
 In this picture, you can see the other bags in the background of the specially saved fleeces.  One very amazing thing to me was that so called black sheep, even though they look brown from being bleached by the sun, have very black wool!  I thought it was so much prettier than the white.  I had to be very careful to get all the black wool cleaned off the shearing floor before a white sheep was brought in.  There could be NO black wool get into the big gunny sack, or it would lower the value/price the wool would fetch.
 Here are the three kids taking a photo op break on the corral fence outside the barn.
 This is the first sack full of white wool.
 By the end of the day, there were two bags full.  Beth got to help Emily sew the top of the second bag shut.  She also helped Emily with putting the fleeces in the bag because the other kids had gone home after 2 p.m.
 There were others who helped throughout the day, besides the owners and the homeschoolers.  A group of female vet students from Colorado State University came.  There were six there from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. and two more came at 3:30 p.m. Mostly, they were learning how to handle the sheep, (to make them lay down), trimming hooves, giving shots or deworming medicines, checking their eyes for anemia, all under the direction and supervision of the Beemers.  Jason told the Beemers that their time with the vet students was likely more valuable than most of the class time they get, which is all theory.
 Pictures of the sheared sheep after the day was done.  I think there were about seventy who were sheared. 
 One of the vet students asked the kids why they were there; how did they know about it?  The reply was, "We are homeschooled.  We like to have interesting experiences as part of our schooling to broaden our lives."  She said, "I was homeschooled one year, and I was bored.  I wish I could have done something like this, or even known about the possibility.  Maybe I would have homeschooled longer."

It was hard work, but it was fun to work together with others.  We feel like we know the Beemers so much better because of working together with them and their sheep.  Before, we just knew them as the people who sell us peaches and apples in the fall.  Now we know them as friends who delight in teaching not only vet students, but also young homeschoolers.

Rowen's 55th birthday January 21

 For Rowen's birthday, Emily finished and framed a drawing she had been working on this month.  It is of Charissa, (our granddaughter), how she looked on December 24, 2012 when we were in Joplin.

 Rowen is wearing his new birthday sweater.  These pictures were taken on Sunday, the day before his birthday.  We are so thankful for the husband and daddy that the Lord has given our family.  Rowen is a tremendous blessing to us, an example of a true Believer, loving, kind, helpful, and thoughtful, as well as being talented to do so many things around our home.

 Here is the drawing up close, and the picture Emily was using as an example.  The Lord has blessed Emily with amazing talent.
 On January 21st, the moon and Jupiter were close together in the night sky.  Emily took this picture from our deck.  We thought it was a special event for Rowen's birthday night.

Short Visit from Richard and Judy Grout

 On January 8, Richard and Judy Grout, missionaries to Russia, came through Colorado as part of their deputation travels.  We were privileged to have them in our home for the evening and overnight.  We have been blessed to be a regular stop-over place for them many times through the years when they have been headed west. They wanted to update our family on their activities.  We also invited Bob and Catherine Desmond over so they could see and hear the Grouts. 

Richard hooked our computer monitor up to his laptop so we could see slide shows about the work in Russia.
Richard was explaining how they had passed out the London 12 books at the Olympics.
Bob and Catherine have been dear friends and supporters of the Grouts for the 20 years they have been in Russia.  They have "adopted" some of the orphans and written letters and sent gifts to them through the years.
I'm sorry the picture does not show that Beth was there too.  She must have been hidden by Bob.  Rowen took the pictures, so he isn't in them.
Bob and Catherine are very special to us.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our New Temporary Yard Art

Last September (2012) we had to replace our 40-year-old hot water boiler furnace.  Of the many choices available, we chose a Triangle Tube Prestige, mainly because of it being 96% efficient. So far it seems like it was a good choice, as it has kept our house warm through several weeks with the temperatures staying under 15'F.

This new furnace, like many modern furnaces, has PVC pipes for incoming and exhausting air. We never really noticed the occasional drips from the exhaust port, until the near-zero temperatures for several days.

An icicle stalagmite began to form where the condensation drips landed in the mulch area beside our garage. It got to be nearly 3-feet tall and less than 3-inches across before it melted in just a couple of sunny days.  Another one formed after that, got to be about 8-inches tall, but the temperature is expected to be in the 40's for the next several days, so it will disappear soon. These make interesting yard art!

Another one of these formed subsequent to this post, then melted in an interesting way, shown below. Click on it to enlarge and see the individual frozen drips as they melt.  These pictures were taken January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

For our faithful readers' information:

I blogged so many catching up posts today, that if you want to see them all, you need to click on "Older Posts" when you reach the bottom of the first page.  We wouldn't want you to miss anything!  Thank you!

Catching Up: Jason and Emily played for the Senior Luncheon

On December 19, Jason and Emily played their strings for the seniors at their luncheon.  Jason also played the piano for them.  They played all Christmas songs.  The seniors really enjoyed them and want them to do it every year.  

Last Federal Heights post

Any of you who have followed our blog know that we have gone to Federal Heights on Sunday afternoons for over 3.5 years.  We decided after much prayer to end our ministry there and December 30 was the last service.  We will miss the dear children and keep them in our prayers.  This is the group of children and the helpers who were there that night.

Catching Up: Christmas in Joplin, Part 2

 These first few pictures are of Charissa.  On Christmas Eve morning, Tim, Brenda, and Charissa left to go to Brenda's family in Virginia, so we had a shorter time with them.  We enjoyed getting to stay at their house.  We took a bag of clothes and shoes from our friends here for Charissa.  She fell in love with the boots, as a toy, not as footwear.  :)  She carried the boot around and pretended to be taking something imaginary in and out of it!

Of course, her Grandpa got into that kind of play with her.  He has something clasped in his hand that he just got out of the boot!
Apparently, there was still some more "somethings" in there!

"You know I'm just pretending, right?"
Charissa and her daddy
I think she was going to get her hair done.  That's generally what the spray bottle is for.
Yes, now she has a "fountain" on her head.  This dress is one Janet made for her for Christmas.
 The following pictures are of Christmas Day at the Scoles house.  Even without Tim, Brenda, Charissa, and Beth, there were a bunch of people there.  If you were lucky, you got a chair to sit on.  Otherwise, sit on the floor if you're young enough or share a chair.  :)  There were 34 people there.
Austin, on the floor, behind him, Janet, Sharen, Charles, Leah, Ashley, Lyndell, (second oldest Scoles sibling)
Three lovely cousins:  Blaire, Rebekah, and Amanda
Marlene and Erin, Cody's girlfriend
More beautiful cousins:  Leah and Ashley
Wesley, Tim W., Amanda, Blaire, Rebekah, Andrew, Janet, Zane
In kitchen: Cody, Caleb, Tasha, Sherry
Scott, Micah, and Rowen
Rowen was explaining who everybody was to Micah.
Janet teaching Quil how to play carom.
Janet, Joy, Quil, and Charles
Blaire, Andrew, Cody, Caleb (standing), Tasha, Janet

Blaire (legs) Janet, Joy, Micah, Quil, Sherry, Ashley, Wesley, Marlene, Erin
Janet's oldest sister, Brenda
Sharen (married to Lyndell), Sherry, Ashley
Youngest Scoles sibling, Wesley
Next to youngest Marlene
Daddy Rex Scoles explaining how we were going to get all of us fed!  There was a certain procedure to follow or it wasn't going to work!
The chaos of gifts and Elephant Gift game
Lyndell, Ashley, Scott, Mother Wanda Scoles, Cody, Erin, Wesley, Marlene, Janet, Rowen, Charles, Brenda, Leah
Some more of the chaos:  Charles, Brenda, Rebekah, Blaire (on floor), Andrew, Randy, Tim W., Zane, Sharen, Amanda, Austin, Tasha (on floor), Sherry

Mother opening a gift
Wanda, Cody, Erin, Lisa, Wesley
Mother happy to receive a picture of Cody in uniform
Ashley, Scott, Mother, Cody, Erin, Lisa
Wesley and Lisa read several books to Quil and later, Micah
Brenda, and her daughter, Leah
Austin opening a White Elephant gift.  Amanda, Sharen
Lisa holding Jonathan; Jason, Lyndell
Wes and Lisa with Micah and Quil
Uncle Wesley was trying his best to break Micah of putting his fingers in his mouth.  When he caught him doing it, then Wes would put Micah's fingers in HIS mouth!  Micah didn't like that!  I hope it worked!
Marlene collected tissue paper to use in packing to move.

 Wes, Marlene, and Lyndell's families had to leave by late afternoon, so just our family, Sherry's and Brenda's were left.  There was plenty of room to sit and just relax.
Sherry resting her eyes
Mother and Daddy, tired, and happy for the time with everybody, but sad it was over so quickly.
We had put the living room back together.  Earlier the piano had been moved into the hallway to make more seating room.  
Brenda catching up on Facebook
We were playing Pit with plastic spoons.  Later we played Mexican Train.
Jason, Andrew, Emily, Tasha, Griffin (Tasha's friend), Leah, and Jeffrey