Thursday, July 31, 2014


We went to the State Fair the other day. 

The 13-year-old was glued to the riding events, but I headed straight to the sheep pavilion. 

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this fella in the Lincoln section.

Johnny Blue, what are you doing here? 


Yes, I know to everyone else, all Lincolns must look pretty much the same.

But this one really was the spitting image of Johnny Blue. 

And, had the same friendly-pushy personality. 

And, the same exact fleece. 

Johnny Blue

Johnny's fleece

The resemblance was so strong, I had to ask his owner. 

Turns out he was Johnny Blue's brother. 

And his pen mate was Clementine's brother. 

The owners got both at the same sale where we got Johnny and Clem. 

It's a small, but pretty cool, world. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

50 shades of cochddu

Cochddu - The Welsh term for the color that Black Welsh sheep turn in the sun. 

I'm embarrassed to report that though the sheep are well, I have a very, very, very, VERY difficult time telling them apart. I think that the one in front is Jezebel, mother of Jethro. And the little ram in the middle is Billy. Maybe. The ewe in the back might be Bo. Or not. Generally, I have to be close enough to see their numbers to know for sure. 

Sigh. It will come. It will come. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zeus goes to boot camp

Pony news.

Zeus has gone for training.

Like many of our ponies, Zeus came to us as the last man standing from a rescue situation. We took him in last fall, pretty much sight unseen. We think he's around 3-to 4-years-old. He's maybe 13 hands tall with a good solid build, but his breeding is anybody's guess. People who've seen him have speculated some mix of quarter horse, draft horse, and/or mustang. In any case, he's cute and he moves with grace.

As far as we can tell, he has zero training, except for the simple handling he gets here on the ground. He's sweet-tempered, but, well, just a weeeeee bit high strung. When agitated, he goes up on his back legs. Sometimes he tries to go over walls and that is his big vice.

We have an arrangement with a trainer across the street who instructs the 13-year-old in riding, but also has agreed to do basic training with any pony I might bring her. It's an informal arrangement, but steady, and it works well for us. Two rescues I brought her are now the regular mounts of riders who use them for jumping and dressage. Another (Annie, the 20-year-old Amish cart horse) is retired and lives with us. A fourth (Josie, the leopard appaloosa ex-broodmare) got some training, but turned out to be 'ill-suited' for it. That's equestrian-speak for she dumped anybody who tried to get her to go faster than a walk. So she's living at home too. I like Josie and we get along on the ground, so it's ok.

I can't afford to board Zeus long-term myself, so we've been waiting for a moment when a stall stands empty anyway, in between real boarders. We want to do some short-term basic evaluation, just to see if he's got any potential as a riding pony.

Yesterday was that day. A boarder left abruptly over the weekend and we got the call on Wednesday. Bring Zeus now.

Because he is very attached to Josie, and can be a bit of a handful when upset, several people came with me to walk him across the street. He handled it alright though and spent the rest of the day cooling his heels in his new stall. I can tell he's upset, but not overly so. I think it helps that he knows he's only a short walk from home - he can see it from his dutch door. On the other hand, he's used to living in a herd where he can come and go in and out of his stall at will and see everything that's going on in the barn. Across the street is more traditional. He's now inside in a separate stall with high walls and bars across the front. He can see the 13-year-old's pony across the aisle and maybe one or two other horses, but that's it.

He did try to go over his dutch door yesterday afternoon, sigh.

The 13-year-old and I went over this morning to check on him. He seemed happy enough to see us. We took him for a peek at the indoor arena. He was cautious, but not too much so. I think once he gets the routine, he'll be fine. Eventually, he'll get to go outside during the day with a couple of the other ponies. And once the trainer starts handling him he'll be even better.

For my part, I'm really looking forward to watching him develop.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The littlest ram

We have some new names at Tyche’s Run.

When I went to pick up the Black Welsh sheep the other day, I got to meet the husband- the guy who’d been taking care of the flock for three years. The sheep were ready to go -- neatly corralled into a small pen by the driveway. First thing the guy said?

“You’ll probably want to cull those two,” pointing to the two littlest lambs, a dainty ewe and minuscule ram. I remembered the lamb stuck in the fence all alone the day I came to visit. His tiny black horns were now visible on the top of his pretty head.  Not a ewe afterall. Regardless, I was happy to see him well.

I must have looked confused though.

Of course, as the owner, you can do whatever you like, but…well, they were a surprise.”

He paused.

“Dad got in with his daughters. So, anyways, you can cull them.”


I didn’t cull them.

I just brought them home and named them Jethro and Ellie Mae. 

Apart from dad, the herdsire, (renamed Jed) and a gray-muzzled older ewe, Jethro and Ellie Mae are the only two I can reliably recognize.  Maybe because they’re the smallest, or maybe because they have the biggest personalities.

To prove my point, I offer this video of Jethro calling his flock in for the night. He’s all of 4 weeks old. The video’s a little long (2 minutes), but there’s some awfully cute bouncing at the end. And I’m telling you, this is just a hint of what’s to come with this little guy, I can feel it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Murphy's law and goats

This morning:

Riversong's bedhead
Up close

Lessons learned:

1) If a fancy fiber goat can find a way to destroy its fleece, it will.
2) Clearly God did not intend there to be such a thing as fancy goats.
3) Never feed hay with chaff again. Ever. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Baa baa black sheep

Seems I didn't need that much encouragement. They arrived yesterday. Eighteen Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. The whooooooooole flock. More to come.