Sunday, November 27, 2011


The Sheep adorns the landscape rural
And is both singular and plural—
It gives grammarians the creeps
To hear one say, “A flock of sheeps.”

The Sheep is gentle, meek and mild,
And led in herds by man or child—
Being less savage than the rabbit,
Sheep are gregarious by habit.

The Sheep grows wool and thus promotes
The making of vests, pants and coats—
Vests, pants and coats and woolen cloths
Provide good food for hungry moths.

Thus, with our debt to them so deep,
All men should cry “Praise be for Sheep!”—
And, if we happen to be shepherds,
“Praise be they’re not as fierce as leopards!”

 by Ellis Parker Butler

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Featured Artist: L.A. Shepard, The Dog Lover

In my effort to help support a small family owned business I am featuring an artist occasionally on my blog.   These are non-solicited reviews.  I have purchased and paid full price for each item prior to reviewing their work.

Last week I stumbled across the work of The Dog Lover, L.A. Shepard on Etsy

Featured Artist:  Lee Ann Shepard, The Dog Lover

About (In her own words) 

I have been a full time artist, specializing in animal portraiture, since my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2006. Since he could no longer work, we had to close our wholesale business. At 54 , I needed to find a way to support our family and take care of him 24/7. Luckily, I had my art ability to fall back on, and I have been painting diligently ever since. I feel blessed to have been able to work at home and look after my husband at the same time. I count my blessings daily, as I could not have gotten through this without the support of my family, friends and all the new friends I have made through selling my work. I have learned so much, but especially - not to waste a moment!

Gary Shepard, my incredible husband, passed away in the early morning hours on Sept 26,2010 surrounded by his family. His battle with brain cancer was a long one, yet it seemed far too short for those that loved him so dearly. We have a huge hole in our lives as he was a man who never stopped giving , even when he became so physically impaired that he could barely move.

Throughout his illness he had an idea to start a movement of giving. He wanted people to celebrate their birthday by giving a gift to someone in need. He felt that if each of us could be charitable each year on the day that they were born, then the world would be a kinder place. As a family that suffered through a devastating illness, we were always so moved when an act of kindness was done for us as our world fell apart. So, we ask of you, to take a moment, as you celebrate your date of birth, to share an act of kindness. Whether it be a gift of money to a family in need, or shoveling the driveway of an elderly neighbor, or buying a mosquito net for a child in a land far way- no matter what the gift- we ask that it become a yearly habit. And then share the idea with those that you know. Then perhaps the movement will bloom and the world will become a kinder, gentler place. This was Gary’s dream for our future, and I promised him that we would do our best to spread the word to fulfill his dream.

If you would like to share what you plan to give on your birthday, or just read about the movement- please join our face book group
“Giving for Gary” started by his children in memory of their Dad. And remember, no gift is ever too small, especially if you are blessed to celebrate yet another year of life.

Lee Ann's story inspired me, her beautiful work implored me to whip out my debit card and shop.  Her ability to capture the essence & personality of each dog is brilliant.  Of course I had to purchase two border collie prints.  

Each print comes on a high quality flat canvas sheet, which looks like the original painting.  Each can be framed easily in a standard frame with a backing, with or without glass.  

  I framed my prints in 16x20 frames under 11x14 mats with glass. 

L.A. Shepard has every dog breed imaginable, in various print sizes.  

Here are a few of my favorites.  

Take a few moments and check out L.A. Shepards shop on Etsy.   
Tell her Ranger sent you.

For guaranteed Christmas delivery, order prior to Dec 4th. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bedroom Re-Do

The past two weeks my mother has been staying with us.  I love it when she comes to visit because she whips my house into shape.  This time she set her sights on sewing projects bedroom.

I was told our bedroom was a mess and I was grounded until it was cleaned up. 

Okay, so it was pretty bad - I confess I am a slob.  The disaster started in the closet, then it spread like a bad rash to the bathroom.  Finally the bedroom was overcome.  I gave up even trying to find  clothes in my closet - and kept the clothes I would wash regularly in my bedroom on top of the dog crates.  Whenever I would look at my room I would just sigh and close the door.  Being completely overwhelmed I gave up.  Really, how can you make a bedroom with a king size bed and 5 dog crates look nice? 

I knew this needed to be done in stages and there was no way I was going to conquer this alone.  So, four generations attacked my mess.  My mother, daughter Amy and granddaughter Alyssa

First we laid siege to the huge walk-in closet (12 ft x 12 ft), sorted and bagged clothes I didn't wear.  Everything I owned was clean & nothing needed to be washed - so we folded, hung and organized. I am not a hoarder, so there was not a lot of garbage, it was just disorganized and cluttered.

For some reason I had three large dresser drawers in my closet.  Who needs to have that many dressers?  One of them was empty.  We moved it out and put it next to the bed as a night stand where I can store miscellaneous items.  When the closet was clean we admired our handiwork and it occurred to me that the dog crates would fit perfectly into the empty space.  Viola!  That solved my ugly bedroom dilemma.

Here you can see my bedroom on the left and the closet on the right.  Finally the dog crates are out of my bedroom.  They used to be divided up on either side of the bed - huge ugly eyesores.  

There are only four crates.  Brynn does not sleep in a crate, she is my 'bed-dog' and sleeps with me (she wakes me up when I quit breathing).

I covered the crates with a large sheet which gives me a new surface to fold & sort clothes.

With the crates out of my room it gave me the chance to finally decorate it the way I wanted.  I know the 'country' style has gone out but I love it and do not care what anyone thinks of my teddy bears and other odd things.  It makes me smile to look at all the things I have loved for years, so I embraced it and decided to plaster my room with quilts, bears, sheep, stars and dogs. 

The wall under the windows used to be filled with crates. In that space I put the deacon's bench that was at the foot of my bed.  One of my favorite quilts tops my bed.  It seemed to go with the holiday season.

The other side of the room was also dominated by crates, now the space is empty and tonight I moved a rocking chair (not pictured) into the corner under the sheep pictures I framed this weekend.  

Looking into the room you can see the doorway to the bathroom which leads to the closet (aka dog room).  The red cabinet holds a television and stores many of my antique quilts on top and inside the bottom level.  

A favorite painting of sheep and other things that make me smile are displayed.

The far side of the red cabinet are two new prints I received last week and framed.  One of our local craft stores had a sale on frames 60% off last week and was able to frame them for under $20.00.  The square picture is one of my favorites of Beth I shot years ago. 

Here is a close up of my new border collie prints.  I am absolutely in love with these.  They are canvas prints by L.A. Shepherd.  You can find her work on Etsy at
Giclee Canvas Prints of LAShepard TheDogLover

Now I have a nice clean room, happy secure dogs, and my favorite stuff all together where I can relax, sleep and dream.  Thanks to my mom and daughter...I love you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Goodbye Little Lamb

Today little Miss Lamb died, sometime before I arrived to feed them this morning.

She passed peacefully, laying next to her twin.  The bedding around her was not disturbed.  I believe she died in her sleep.

She is not going to be the last of our livestock that will move on to 'greener pastures' either through death from illness, slaughter  or other reasons.  It is only to be expected in farming.  What upsets me is the circumstances for this senseless death.  I remain frustrated about how she was wounded & ultimately died - it was truly a waste - in so many ways.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Little Fighter

Little Miss Ewe Lamb is still alive!  (Injured ewe is on the right, the lamb to the left is her twin)

Every morning I have expected to find a limp little lump of fleece curled up in the corner.

Someone said that sheep born looking for ways to die.  This little lamb is proving that wrong.  

She is eating and drinking, even though it must be causing considerable pain. 

Today, when Monique checked on her she let her out of the enclosure for a bit, she walked, she trotted, she pee'd, pooped and acted like a sheep. 

Below you can see her drinking, she is eating slowly, and lapping up the nutri-drench.  She is especially fond of molasses dribbled over alfalfa. 

After her jaunt with the rest of the flock she and her twin were enclosed again.  Keep sending positive wishes and prayers her way. 

If she survives Monique has decided we are going to call her Millie. I think it fits. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Neighbor Dog from Hell

NOTE:  This post contains graphic pictures of injuries the result of a vicious dog attack on sheep.  If you are at all squeamish, do not scroll down.  If you can handle it and have dogs you think are cute when they chase other people's and see what happens when stupid people own dogs.  

The past few days have been difficult.  Last weekend the neighbor's Shiba Inu/German Shepherd mix dog breached the fence and attacked our sheep. 

The first night (Thursday) the sheep were chased around.  The land owner called me late in the evening to come out and check on one of my clun's that was down.  When I arrived she was up and moving about, thankfully.

At this time I had no idea what caused the ruckus, fearing it was coyote's I prayed the llama would be able to protect them.

The next morning the land owner found the neighbor's dog in the small pasture, chasing the sheep.  He went after her with a log and by the time he went back for his shotgun she was back over the fence. 

Unfortunately one of Monique's katahdins was injured.  The dog got her by the leg.

Being that we just got done treating my ewe Maimie for a bite wound, we were prepared.  Monique arranged for a prescription of antibiotics to be waiting for me at our local vet and we started treatment. 

That afternoon I made a visit to the neighbor's house.  To make a long story short, she was being evicted.  She didnt think her dog would hurt sheep, since it often chases the other neighbors goats, and really enjoyed it.  I told her it was doubtful the goats found it enjoyable.  Regardless I had chased her dog away from our fence-line a few times through the summer and knew that dog had the potential to injure my sheep.  At the time I had spoken to the woman clearing the pasture and told her my concerns.  She promised me the dog would stay confined and away from the sheep. 

The lady who owned the dog was full of excuses and blame for everyone else, no accountability.  Since she was being evicted and her mother was dying of cancer she was so very sorry and felt terrible....blah blah blah. 

I explained to her that the dog had the potential to kill and stressed in no uncertain terms that she needed to keep her dog safe and restrained.  If the dog was seen on our side of the fence again, our state laws allow us to shoot the dog.  She promised me she would keep the dog tied up. 

She didn't. 

The next morning the dog got into the pasture...again.  This time her intent was to kill.   Monique found the damage when she arrived, likely just in time.  The sheep were all panting, fences were down and the llama was frantic. 

Monique found this.  The dog viciously took down one of my new ewe lambs by the neck.

We spent the day waiting for the vet to come.  We wanted to give the lamb a fighting chance.  If she could survive she deserved the opportunity to live.  She did not ask to be attacked in this manner by a dog.  The only dogs she had known in her short life were good to her.  She was still curious about them and would turn and look at them, which, I believe made her an easy target. 

After the vet arrived, he shaved her neck.  The wound was devastating.  The teeth had punctured her trachea, air was flowing through the wound in her neck.  The vet believed she had a chance and we decided to give it our best shot. 

Below you can see a picture shot the day following the attack.  Hot compresses, antibiotics and pain relievers on board. 

The days following, she was improving.  I would find her standing in front of the water drinking and attempting to eat.   We decided to enclose the both of the them to make treatments easier and reduce their activity.

Over the past 24 hours she has declined.  Today she stopped drinking.  She has not been chewing cud, only gritting her teeth.  I found green coming from the wound in her neck, I believe her esophagus was also punctured - which is not a recoverable wound. 

Today discouraged me.  I decided to turn her out with her mother and twin.  She simply went to the side of the pasture and stood alone.  We put her back into the enclosure, this time with her twin as the katahdin was well enough to be released. 

We will see what tomorrow brings.

The neighbor and her f*cking dog were evicted and have left the house next door.  Hopefully to never be seen again.  I have her forwarding address and contact information and plan on pursuing her for damages.  Although I am not sure it is even worth it, she is on disability (psychiatric), might be like getting blood from a stone. 

I have never wanted to kill a dog before, but it crossed my mind when I saw the carnage she left behind.  But the truly guilty party, was her owner. 

Alas there is not cure for stupid.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ears & Tongues

A little musical accompaniment for your listening pleasure

Does your tongue hang low?

Does it wobble to and fro?

Can you tie it in a knot?

Can you tie it in a bow?

Can you throw it over your shoulder, like a Continental Soldier?

Does your tongue hang low?

Does your tongue hang wide?

Does it flap from side to side?

Does it wave in the breeze?


From the slightest little sneeze?

Can it soar above the nation, with a feeling of elevation?
Does your tongue hang wide?

Do your ears hang high? 

Does one reach up to the sky?


Do they wrinkle when they're wet? 

Do they straighten when they're dry? 

Can you wave one at your neighbor, with an element of flavor?

Do your ears hang high?

 Do your ears fly high? 

Do they wobble all around?

Can you tie them in a knot? 

Do they bounce at every sound?

Can you stick them in your pocket, just like Davey Crockett?

Do your ears fly high?

Does your tongue flop around.....

It is worse than the "Song that Never Ends" 
It goes on and on my friend
Some people started singing it
Not knowing what it was
and they continued singing it forever 
just because...

Go ahead, play it, sing it all day long...annoy your co-workers, spouse, children.  Have fun with it.