Posted in Ranchin' it up, Things To Contemplate

Spinnin’ and Weavin’ and Sheep Cuddlin’

What an addiction this fiber thing has become. I can hardly keep from thinking in color and fiber and weft and warp and spin and twist…. We are doing a unit on Sheep in our home school so I thought, ok, ” Ima’ go wit it”. So my plan over the next three weeks is to study breeds of sheep, shearing, cleaning and carding, spinning,dyeing, weaving, felting and overall sheep cuddling.

may 2014 001 Paul, Ringo and Lilly

Shearing the sheep was interesting… but by the time we got to sheep number 8, Cowboy was pretty good at it and the kids were pretty good at it and I was just grossed out. But I still could not wait to get my hands on that dirty nasty fleece.

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I sent my fleece off about a month ago and just heard back from them. I am just happy they didn’t open the package and start laughing hysterically. As I said and is mentioned in the title, this is an experiment, so I am still working on my methodology and skill set.  They did say that they would be delayed about 6 weeks getting it back to us. Fair season.  I think they had to call in some  specialist to clean that stuff.  Yikes. We thought in the beginning we would just process it ourselves.  By Hand.  What was I thinking. I  Figured if the Navajo Indians could do it, I could do it…. BUT…. I am not a  Cool Navajo woman with a giant spindle, I am a dorky white woman with a credit card.. So I sent my wool to Kansas to be processed with some alpaca and this marvelous Rambouillet fleece I got from Cassandra*****

Side note……..

Should this ever evolve into a sheepish business or reality tv show… I will be calling it ” Ninja Wool and Yarn Farm”… We have ninja sheep that can fly and kick like ninjas when we try to cuddle them. They  launch into the air as high as my head and do this elegant sideways kick thing and if you have not honed your matrix skills you could end up face down in a pile of fertilizer….. little tiny round prepackaged fertilizer.

OK On ward.

Carding this stuff is not fun… hence why I sent it off. However, Carding for color is delicious.

I decided to play with these beautiful roving samples, some metallic fibers and some silk waste…..

July 2014 017   July 2014 023   July 2014 022   July 2014 024   July 2014 018 July 2014 025  July 2014 026  Cant wait  to spin it!

Spinning is like this meditative forget about the world, don’t talk to me for the next two hours while I whip up this beautiful fiber, thing.  This is my Babe spinning wheel. It works great. Someday I hope to get a more traditional wheel, but for now this is fantastic.

july2014 005 july2014 015 july2014 017 july2014 018 Spinning in my jammies

 

July 2014 030 July 2014 029 July 2014 028

Some of these I spun, some my oldest daughter spun….

Dyeing is another super fun and addictive part of the mix. But I am saving that for another post…..

Weaving is like painting with yarn and fabric. I am really into  free form weaving but I also love my rigid heddle and I am working on a Navajo/white lady rug on my floor loom that Cowboy built for me.

July 2014 033  July 2014 034 July 2014 035

Felting is my newest endeavor. I am especially  ready to get in there and devour nuno felting. That is my very next project.  But for now.. I am going to go eat a chef -boy-ardee pizza and grade research papers….

This has nothing to do with this post… This is our church directory photo… I look like a Vulcan… its ridiculous.

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Posted in Chronicles of The Country Girl Experiment, Ranchin' it up, Things To Contemplate

Filtered

I remember when I first started this blog.  I was not really happy about the whole country girl thing. I was blogging to cope with what I felt might be the death of me.  Now I realize that this move to the cactus fields of  New Mexico  was just God knocking me down a few notches from my entitled, whiney high horse.

high_horse

I was quite a….. what is the word I am looking for? It’s several words…. Selfish, angry, gotta-have-it my way, it’s all about me, you owe me, I can’t possibly live like that, how could you, scarlet O’Hara, spoiled brat, pretend to be a Churchy girl while I judge you,  entitled ….. me . I admit it.  I once read that whining was just anger squeezed through a tiny little space.  Well, I’ve done my share of whining.   In fact I have done my share of a lot of things. To all of you who ever had to endure my wrath or listen to my rediculous rants or rolled your eyes because I complained about my living conditions, I am truly sorry. I have shoveled a lot of poo since then, been thrown violently from a horse  and eaten a lot of well seasoned crow. I hope that helps you forgive me.

Living out here in the country away from my small town hippy-girl roots has had quite an effect on me.hippy It was the quiet of the country that drove me to deal with my ” stuff”. It was the smell of manure mixed with hay that made me remember being a little girl.  (I wish Scentsy made that, it just makes me happy.)  It was the sight of those wranglers on my man that made me stay. But It was the quiet time with my Lord that made me love it.  The slower pace, the less intense. The quiet stillness of His spirit as it moves here. I love how He filters pain through the quietness of the morning sun or the crashing of a thunderstorm.  It’s intoxicating, like a tonic.  Being Nose to Nose with a gentle horse, the softness of the lambs wool, the alarming sound of the peacocks and the crow of the roosters were things I never dreamed would change my perspective.  The magic of creating from your existence: fresh eggs, homemade cheese, soap, raising your own beef, creating threads and yarns from sheep you raised yourself, summer squash and new life in the spring is revitalizing. It’s in the smile that sweeps across my face as the donkeys’ bray in song for their morning feed. It’s in the building of fences, the sweat on your brow and the teamwork of shearing the sheep. It’s the quiet, meditative,rhythm of the spinning wheel as the wool is spun into yarn.  Simplicity. Laughter.  Peace.

God knew I would heal here in spite of my protests.  And I am. And I am glad He didn’t give in to my childish temper tantrums or my silly make-me- feel-better demands.

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Here things get filtered. Everything gets recycled into new life.  Even the poo  (metaphoric and actual) gets recycled into grass or summer vegetables.

And spiritually things get filtered and recycled too. All the awful childhood stuff , when filtered through Jesus, becomes tools and gifts to give others. All the pain becomes determination, the shame becomes humility, and the sadness becomes creative energy.  When Jesus steps in, the intense anger gives way to compassion and forgiveness.  Bad marriages become good ones. I can never becomes I will try.  God just had to get me still enough and quiet enough to hear  His voice and to see Him move. And for me, He did it in the most unlikely place.

april 2014 002

From my back porch

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Chronicles of The Country Girl Experiment, Ranchin' it up

Sheep Wrestling

Today was sheep wrestling day.  I don’t know if I can  express this story in words but I am going to try.

Before I go any further, let me say that to those of you who live with sheep, you may not find this as pinteresting    interesting as those of us who are new to the sheep wrestling game, unless of course you read this and think to your self ” Her particular sheep has some sort of emotional disorder that needs to be addressed”. Please say so because I don’t know what is appropriate behavior for a sheep.

I do know that Buttercup hates Cowboy.  She becomes alarmed at his very presence. I have no doubt that it has something to do with him cramming her in the bed of a pickup and taking her away from her lambs who were still nursing. Of course in all fairness, they were like teenagers in sheep time and  needed to cut the apron strings . But again, I don’t know  what is appropriate sheep behavior.

I have taken special care to make friends with this sheep, feeding her apples and carrots and special sheep feed each day. But I just could not get the idea out of my head that I had to touch that wool. I had to feel it in my hands so that I could further nurture my sick obsession with this fiber/fabric/ creation.  She likes me. This sheep and I have developed a relationship. We are friends.

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I decided that it could not be that hard.  I told Cowboy I was going in there, in that pen, to wrestle that sheep to the ground. I watched all the you tube videos and read the book and If I could get that sheep to sit on her butt… she’d let me pet her and she would submit to anything I wanted to do to her.   I had to touch that wool.

He laughed at me in that way that a parent laughs at a  small child who says they are going to be an astronaut or a Pole dancer when they grow up.  He grinned as if I just told him that I was going to work in the white house as the commander-in-chief.

That ticked me off.

But Cowboy knows me. And he knows that I will do it. Even if it’s stupid.  So he agreed to help me. I went into the pen first with a can of feed and fed her from my hand. But then it happened. Cowboy came into the pen.

I dont really know how to explain what happened next, but I will start by saying that I never saw one video that said sheep could fly. But they do.

She began to dash around that pen at incredible speeds and I swear I could hear the music from the wizard of oz when the witch was riding her broom. She began to circle the pen and as Cowboy turned his back to close the gate,  that sheep made an 8 foot leap into my 6 foot tall husband and I could not get the words out of my mouth in time.

“Watch OUT!”

Then it was as if the gates of hell opened up in that pen and i was in the middle of it, holding a can of feed, praying to my savior to intervene as the two of them proceeded to engage in a contest that could rival Blue and Paul Bunyan. Hay, dirt, poop and plant matter filled the air as if  tornadoes and hurricanes had entered into it. She went one way and I went the other. He went the other way and I hurdled a fence as it rained sweet feed and carrots. I tried to grab for her as she made another pass but she flew again up and this time so did he and they landed in a pile on the ground with cowboy on top.  He cussed. I forgave him.

Heavy breathing, swear words, snot and breath flying….. My handsome husband  wrestled that angry beast to the ground.

And I did the only thing I could do.  I walked over, squatted down and

Felt up that sheep. It was glorious.

Posted in Chronicles of The Country Girl Experiment, Ranchin' it up, Things To Contemplate

Baa Ram Ewe

I got a sheep. No. I have no idea what I am doing. I only know what I want to do and why I want to do it.  That is why I am going to get more sheep. sheep  And goats with long flowing locks.

I want to produce my own yarn so that I can spin it, dye it, sell it, weave it and share it. april 2014 002 I want to learn Navajo weaving. I already crochet, my daughter knits( she’s like olympic) .

I already have a  cuddle/wrestle kissy face relationship with my goats. We understand each other. We both like to cause a fair amount of trouble and we both have some degree of personality= loud.  I tried the horses and I really love these creatures, but they are violent. I have been fenced, thrown, knocked out, kicked and stepped on. It’s hard to have a relationship like that.  So I am drawn to creatures that don’t want to kill me, # goats, #sheep.

Here is what I know so far…… Sheep have wool. Wool makes roving. Roving makes me happy. My sister-in-law owns a dog grooming business and  when I asked her to help out with shearing she said ” I’m down”.  I have a husband who indulges my craziness.  I have children who are teenagers and our motto out here is ” you talk it, you shovel it”.  So that solves one issue for me, because they are at this point in their lives  habitual smart *&^(&^.  I live in the country where sheep and the like already frolic. I have the most delightful women at church volunteering their husbands for sheeply duties. You know who you are and there is tons of free roving for you sisters. We gotta stick together.

At the end of the day, all you can do is chase your dreams, trust God for your provisions and shamelessly learn from the knowledge of others. Mine just happens to be a little hobby sheep farm.  april 2014 003

What?

I can do this. I raise kids, this can’t be harder than that.  And it will cost less.

Posted in Chronicles of The Country Girl Experiment, Ranchin' it up

The ? that goes on around here…..

 

BEFORE

There is a reason this blog is called the country girl experiment.  It is one gigantic joke   experiment every day. It’s a perfectly woven tapestry of opposites that is fused together through marriage to create this thing we call us.

I was tricked into moving into the desert. If Cowboy had not been so good-looking and his wrangler wrapped behind was not so purty, I’d have never agreed to it.  Id have stayed close to the pavement and coffee shops and art stores where normal people live. I’d have never agreed to this insanity. The amount of  poo generated alone is enough to send me screaming into the streets… if there were any streets.

But…..

NOW

I have found that in spite of my oppositional  and defiant beginning, I am kinda loving it here.  The sky’s are enough to make you breath deep. There is something about this place that takes your breath away and makes you think about the One who created it. It’s Inspirational and peaceful and calming. It’s a great way for kids to grow up. It’s home. It’s where Cowboy is.

OK… I love it.  I said it out loud.  But don’t tell Cowboy. He gets all big-headed when he thinks he’s right.

Thought it was time for a little bit of an updated tour of the  goings on around here.

The Metcalf Ranch-a-lette in no particular order.

Sunset Storm from the little bluff
Sunset Storm from the little bluff
Sunset Storm from the little bluff
Sunset Storm from the little bluff
Sunset Storm from the little bluff
Sunset Storm from the little bluff
 Tan-Ear
Tan-Ear
 Baby chicks
Baby chicks
country cats
country cats
city cat
city cat
front yard
front yard
Trees are rare out here
Trees are rare out here
MY Laying Hens.. Love fresh eggs
MY Laying Hens.. Love fresh eggs
The roosters
The roosters
My front door... time to mow again.
My front door… time to mow again.
 Natasha- the tractor
Natasha- the tractor
guineas.... ugliest bird ever
guineas…. ugliest bird ever
Milk Shake AKA Dinner
Milk Shake AKA Dinner
Sally and Baby
Sally and Baby
Tulie and Winston
Tulie and Winston
More chicks.. I think my husband Has a bit of a problem.
More chicks.. I think my husband Has a bit of a problem.
My Ducks  that roam about freely. They are bossy.
My Ducks that roam about freely. They are bossy.
 And what would a ranch-a-lette near Roswell NM be without a Space Ship  Roof on the bird pen.
And what would a ranch-a-lette near Roswell NM be without a Space Ship Roof on the bird pen.
The  Garden
The Garden
Mocha, Lucky and My mom's house in the back ground.
Mocha, Lucky and My mom’s house in the back ground.

September 2013 048

my confidants and  out door seating
my confidants and out door seating
Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh Tomatoes
The Melon Patch
The Melon Patch
The  Garden
The Garden
 I dont know what the hell that is, but Cowboy cooks on it and its good
I dont know what the hell that is, but Cowboy cooks on it and its good
Baby turkeys and Pea cocks
Baby turkeys and Pea cocks
Posted in Chronicles of The Country Girl Experiment, Ranchin' it up

16 Things I learned at the end of a Pitchfork or Rattlesnake Shish-Ka- Bobs

If you hear a spooky scream in the distance, that sounds like an eagle swooping in just before it snags that little brown bushy-tailed squirrel thingy that keeps getting in my kiln room, it’s just us. By us I mean Julie and I.  Tonight one of God’s blessed creatures  rattled its hello as my 16-year-old stepped toward the porch.  First big ole rattle snake ( 3,1/2 feet) of the year met its maker via a pitch fork in the hands of my hero cowboy husband.  See that’s one of the many blessings of living in the country: A pitch-fork. You wouldn’t have one in the city unless your uncle the farmer willed it too you or you were a serial killer. And you certainly wouldn’t have a cowboy to joust with it in the city either.  I’m talking about the kind with a farmers tan. The Real Deal.

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There are many things you can do with a pitchfork besides make rattlesnake shish-ka-bobs. You can shovel hay to feed the horses, goats and cows. You can chase your little sister with it until your parents notice and put you into therapy. You can practice your pole vaulting skills or test the electric fence. You can clean the stalls  and use it to corner the guineas in the pen( the remarkably ugly ones i spoke of earlier).  It’s like  a little jail cell if you get them just in the right place.  And of course, if you live in the country you simply cannot take a wedding picture without it.

pitchfork     Pitch forks have come to symbolize a completely different way of life than I ever thought I would be a party to.  It reminds me that there is no Starbucks, pavement or bookstores with 15.00 magazines sporting the latest craft trends out here so you gotta entertain yourself a little differently.  It is also a symbol of  the blessings that are in my life-like clean air, room to move and of course, Cowboy. It is a prelude to the most amazing sunrises and sunsets, new spring life and the laughter of a kid sliding off a huge bale of hay. It is also the representation of the work that God has done in my life since I showed up out here an angry, spoiled, gotta-have-it my way BRAT.

I still am a conversation stealer, a big mouth and a Bossy Betty.  Sometimes I am incredibly self-centered. I still don’t do well in a crowd of people and I still don’t know how to wait my turn.   I am so used to commanding the show that I have a hard time turning it over to anyone else including God.( that comes from parenting difficult kids I think …10 of them or so).    But here are a few things that I have learned via one end of a pitchfork or the other.

1) Love matters more than manners.

2) BE Grateful .. above all else. It’s life changing.

3) Be prepared to change at any moment. Resistance if futile. Nothing stays the same forever except God.

4) Laugh your tail off. Life is funny. Oh How I wish i could post the sound of Cowboys laughter here. It’s contagious.

5) Accept love. Even when you don’t deserve it. Even when your too proud. Even when it’s not in the package you planned or from the person you planned on getting it from. All love makes a difference.

6) Love. Even when you don’t feel like it. It’s a verb.

7) Forgive. It’s therapeutic.

8) BE who God made you to be and don’t be so hard on yourself. Accept that you are not perfect and that the Creator of the Universe will not only give you the tools to create a better you, but will work on the things in your life your powerless to change if you are humble enough to accept his love and help. Feel motivated by the gifts  and strengths you have.  And Just Trust HIM to complete in you the work that He started. Relax and afford the people around you the same acceptance. Guide ; Don’t Condemn.

9) That little voice in your gut is not the green chili. It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s the voice that tells you something is not right or that it is. It’s the feeling you get when your suppose to do something or not do something . It inspires you to art, music, prayer, learning, joy and protection. Listen to it. Let it lead you. Believe in it.    I’ve never known it to be wrong and I only regret not taking it seriously.

10) Don’t focus on what other people think. Most people will draw a judgement without ever having sat across the table from you one on one or ever asking  questions.  Accept it- most people don’t give a rip what you think either.

11) Some people won’t like you. Big Whoop. Sometimes God is just weeding out the ” not-good-for- you’s”. Sometimes He is telling you to work on problem. But don’t sweat it. There are those who will just click with you and love you for who you are.

12) You can’t hide from God. It’s not really a game of Hide and go Seek if he already knows where you are.

13) Friends matter.   Fellowship matters. Mentors matter.

14) Grace is free. I can’t earn it. I can’t work hard enough to get it. I cannot purchase it. But I can certainly give it.

15) Cherish your kids, your parents, your siblings, your spouse your friends. You don’t want to look up one day and say If only.

16) Your past only gets to decide your future if you decide to live in it. Deal with it, learn from it, pack your tools and gifts from it to take on your journey and then let it go. Choose to change.

Later  Loves…

Sharon

Posted in Ranchin' it up

Ugliest bird ever invades the country girl experiment

For those of you who are new to me, let me back -track for a sentence or two and let you know that I was not born to this country life- I married into it. I moved into the deserts of New Mexico, away from Starbucks, pavement,  street lights and motor cycle cops to a 20 acre parcel that is filled with cows, horses, goats, chickens and now guineas.   Cowboy and his hobbies. I’m not knocking it, but I would like to say that my hobbies- my art- can be stored in a box. His is alive. His poops. His makes noise.

Here is the latest installment at the Metcalf Ranch-a- lette.guinea1  This is how it starts.. 14 of them. Ok kinda cute…. So I did a little supportive research.  And what I found is  more than I can  bare.. They are ugly when they are grown. Not just a little ugly. Ugly like horror film ugly.  It is like a cross between a turkey, a big chicken and a vulture.

guinea2

Pictures and Info at www.backyardchickens.com

guinea

 Maybe I can paint them. Purple.