Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dogs and Sheep--A Pictorial

Over the past week or so, I have taken a number of pictures of the critters, just playing around. Here are some that I liked the best. First, the dogs.

I love this photo of Farleigh partly in shadow.

And here's a series of Pip sitting in Jimmy's recliner trying to telepathically tell me to stop taking pictures and finish fixing his breakfast. Maybe I should call these "a face only a mother could love."

At some point, Raven joined Pip on the chair.

Another of Raven in a different chair (if you're getting the idea that we don't stop the dogs from getting on the furniture, you're right!).

And Pip looking a bit forlorn on the day bed because I told him to lie down as I was trying to take his picture (since he wanted to hop off and come over to me). Notice in Phoebe's silhouette that you can see the tip of her tongue hanging out of her mouth. That's Lark snoozing in the background. His expression here is a carbon copy of his grandsire Bud.

I love a smooth-coated, prick-eared border collie. So what happened here? How could Phoebe have been my pick of Twist's litter? And, yes, she's on my bed in this photo. You're probably wondering if the dogs' feet ever touch the floor? (They do. I promise.)

This picture is special because Phoebe is wearing her best "I am most brilliant" look. That look is, of course, enhanced by letting one's tongue stick out of one's mouth--for greater intelligent effect.

Ah ha! A smooth-coated, prick-eared dog (man what ears!) has been spotted. Too bad she thinks the long lens on the camera is something to be avoided on pain of death.

Scooting to the top of the bed to perhaps hide one's head under the pillow won't help.

And now for some sheep. I took these with a point-and-shoot digital, so the quality isn't as great. My neighbor the alpaca farmer had come by and dropped off some alfalfa hay, which I had thrown over the fence to the flock before taking these photos. Why was my neighbor giving away alfalfa hay? Well it seems that the protein in alfalfa makes alpacas grown thicker strands of fleece (what do you call alpaca fiber while it's still on the hoof?). Anyway, the fineness of an animal fiber is directly related to its softness, so the last thing an alpaca raiser wants to do is make his alpacas grow fatter (and hence less soft) fibers. My sheep, on the other hand--at least the karakuls--already possess what is known as a "carpet wool," meaning that its coarseness is suited not for wearing against the skin (unless felted) but is great for making rugs and carpets. So if the alfalfa makes them grow a coarser fiber, no one cares!

Peppercorn (front) and Cinnamon (back) are the two yearling ewes that Mary and I showed at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this spring. Their fleeces look about a million times better here than they did at the show. I'm surprised that Pepper is still as black as she is. Usually the only true black fleece you'll get from a karakul is it's lamb fleece, but it looks like Pepper might give me a second black fleece, since I don't yet see any signs of silvering.

Karakul ewes and lambs. Here you can see the typical silvering of the older sheep and how they start out black. That's Maia in the foreground.

Karakuls and a tunis. Note the typical fat tail on the sheep on the left. Note the lushness of my pasture. Not! Darn drought.

Here's a shot with mostly tunis, although I do recognize Lolita's (a karakul) backside on the far right.

A tunis ewe. This is Rosie, Old Girl's daughter. Despite the sad state of my pasture, she doesn't appear to be starving.

Butt shot. It makes me think of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." Gee, did I just date myself or what?

A trio of karakuls. Remember the "skeletor" lambs? Here's one of them. The lighter colored ewe lamb is one I hope to show at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival) in Asheville in October. They don't have a karakul show, so we'll be showing in the natural-colored, long wool category.

And of course no photo series of the flock would be complete without Maia, their guardian. Her splendid grey coloring is the result of lying in the ash pile left over after we burned a bunch of brush and tree limbs. Both Maia and the sheep like to lie on the ash pile. I wonder if there's not something in the ashes that keeps flying insect pests at bay? (Um, she's also matted, but I'm working on that, when she lets me.)


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I love looking at sheep :)
Nice pictures!

Samantha said...

Great photo's. I really like that even though you have lots of dogs that they are allowed on your sofa, your beds etc.
I don't know how you actually fit in your bed mind with them all on it. hehe
Mine take up so much room expecially Holly, she likes to spread herself out and as you can see she is no tiny BC. lol

Your sheep pic's are nice to see too.

Samantha said...

oops sorry, it should say Mine take up so much room on my bed especially Holly.

You can't edit after with these commments on here. :-/

Renee said...

Why is Farleigh in the shadows? Because he can sense that he is a very rare breed of dog. In fact, he is the ONLY representative of his breed on the face of this old earth. Alas, the Lavender Liberty Dog will pass into the history books when Farleigh goes to chase the big cloud sheep in the sky. So he lurks in the shadows, ever elusive, kind of like the ivory billed woodpecker or the sasquatch. Okay, maybe not.

Renee said...

Note to Julie on the condition of her pasture:

No,no, no! You are going about this all wrong! You don't have poor pasture, you have simply recreated the original environment in which your breeds of sheep were developed. Now doesn't that better? Yer welcome.