…and they’re awful cute!

(I’m having a hard time getting my good camera out to the barn, as I’m usually juggling 8 or 9 bottles, so if you want to see some sweet lamb pics, you’ll have to check out Instagram @ironwoodfleece. But I’ll be back here soon – what else is March Break for, if not catching up on the blog?…oh, and feeding bottle lambs.)

sheep love

sheep love

traffic jam

There is always a fair amount of traffic around the barnyard,

even if we don’t always see the passers-by…

The pheasants are often hard to miss as they make their way across the white blankets…and they have more than enough cover in which to nest and hide.

Sometimes the critters travel in tandem…

cat and dog together

… sometimes their paths overlap.

kitty print in boot

The commuters range in size …

mouse on the grain bin

…and in shape

starling beside the sheep pen

hazel’s nemesis, the pigeon

Some make it obvious where the travellers are headed…

coyote tracks

coyote crossing the field

sheep crossing the driveway

hazel on her rounds

…and some are a mystery, like this trail that just came to an abrupt stop.

disappearing track

cat takes flight?

Wherever you’re headed in 2016, may you have safe travels. ~hj

Taz holiday greetings

flower collage

Although the grey days haven’t encouraged much growth in the gardens other than weeds (and blight), everything looks relatively lush and green, and the flowers are continuing to bloom (albeit on short stems that signify the late start to the summer).

The bees seem pretty happy.

Lupin and BeeI hope there are some splashes of colour wherever you are.


BeBe stretching

When Rupert moved to Ironwood over ten years ago, there were a number of cats occupying the farm house with the elderly farmer who was still alive. BeBe, however, was kept out of the house by Willy, the cat who ruled the roost. So, Rupert made friends with her first in the greenhouse, and then slowly introduced her to the house when the other cats were redistributed around Summerville. She had already seen a lot of years by that point, and was very striking, with her serious expression, notched ear, and peculiar eyes – a “handsome” cat, as Rupert would say. She, and her son Pedro, had a lot of love to give, and certainly brought a lot of character to the farm house and nearby gardens.

BeBe close up

A few years ago, BeBe spent a few months recovering from a stoke (and/or possibly a broken tail?) that threw her off balance, but didn’t dampen her spirit. The summer that Pedro died, BeBe lost her hearing, but not her interest in wandering the driveway, investigating the stream and culvert, and sleeping under my car (she delayed my departure for school many mornings). She survived countless crossings of the highway to visit the fields, tussles with some of the neighbourhood strays, and several disruptions to her home and routine through our various renovations over the years.

BeBe sign

BeBe was a creature of habit, spending winter nights upstairs in my fleece stores or perched on Rupert’s shoulder, and summer nights on the bathroom windowsill. She drank out of our glasses and insisted on being served a certain food and the occasional “tuna water”. She loved napping with Rupert and dozing on his papers in front of the computer screen (or on the keyboard, if possible). She had a curious habit of twitching in her deep sleep, sometimes to the point that we would hear the crash of her falling to the floor from her dozing spot – often still asleep when she hit the ground (she could make quite a noise for a cat that only weighed a few pounds). She snored loudly and exhaled through the side of her mouth. The past few weeks she spent most of her time sleeping under the magnolia tree, and taking short walks around the farm yard, being more sociable than usual with strangers. She was even quite tolerant of Hazel, with not enough energy to make a fuss or an exit.

BeBe and Hazel

Rupert buried BeBe under the oak tree in the side yard on Sunday. I expect we will be listening for her snoring and her thuds, clearing off the printer for her naps, and checking our water glasses for some time to come. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

bebe indoors

still here…

ironwood hop

Yes, it’s been a while. We’re still here – the sheep are across the gully, the first round of hay is in the barn, the greenhouse is full of towering tomato plants, the blueberries are ripening (and anxiously awaiting irrigation), and the Ironwood tree in the driveway is showing off its “hops”.

And, I’ve been putting my camera to use, so there are more posts on the way, too.

I promise.

spring snow collage


Well, it’s the second full day of Spring.

Although the signs of the season may not be immediately obvious, a trip to the barn reminds us that Easter weekend is around the corner.

ella's lamb collage

It is hard to see the scale in the photos, but Ella’s new little girl (just 12 hours old) is pretty wee – particularly compared to the porkers (lambs, not pigs) we’re still bottle feeding 3 times a day. Those 5 will knock you over if you aren’t careful! I haven’t been able to get a good shot of them, as they are always throwing themselves at you – full force – to see if you might, by chance, have a bottle in your hand, or pocket, or sleeve.

sun catchers collage

 Everybody takes advantage of any sun beams that make their way through the windows (which isn’t all that often, lately, given the amount of snow piled up. Millie’s twins (on the left) seem to be the only ones that don’t come over to investigate at bottle time. We’re feeding 5, but there are often at least 7 poking their nose in and making things difficult.

panda collage

Lastly, my apologies…I thought I had introduced you all to this little sweetie, but as I looked back through the (very infrequent) posts, I see that I’ve just thought about it.

Sylvia (who is a good mom, but has been battling pneumonia this winter) had two little ewe lambs – one white and one black/spotty, as is usual for her. This little girl is definitely not as precocious as her slightly older sister, but she’s starting to get the hang of things, and pushes her way through the crowd to take her place at the bottle line-up.

Lambing 2015, Round 2, has begun.

fresh carrots

Well, technically, this photo was taken on the last day of winter.

(And, yes, that’s snow piled up on the outside of the greenhouse, in the background of the picture.)

I hope you are staying warm, and dry, wherever you are (and, if you’re really lucky, have access to some fresh, local veggies to welcome in the season. Or, at the very least, some nice wine.)

Happy Spring!

luke new year