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Christmas Ewe by RonChristmas eve... 1999

This, our fifth year, has been a most difficult year for us here on the farm... for the third year in a row we've had drought conditions throughout the summer and our fresh water spring ran dry for the first time anyone here could remember. Ewes and spring lambsThe dry weather has been tough on both livestock and pastures. The flock has been feeding on winter hay since the end of July and we worry about making it through the coming winter. Fortunately, we had a short "second growing season" following some significant rainfall complements of Hurricane Dennis. We were able to get an additional cutting of hay which will get us close to spring. In the meantime the flock is getting extra grain rations. They love it, but our feed budget is groaning! The weather forecast for the new year is for more drought conditions. Above are some of our spring lambs (two sets of triplets this year) enjoying a day in the fields before the drought really set in.

Ron celebrated his big "60" this summer by banging up his left ankle! A bit of a mystery, since he had no recollection of how it happened. We thought at first it was sprained, but ten weeks later he was hobbling as bad as ever! Compounding the mystery, the doctors couldn’t find ‘anything’ wrong... x-rays showed nothing broken or out of place. Then as mysteriously as the problem appeared it cleared up overnight! Go figure. In the meantime, major chores scheduled for the summer went unattended for almost three months, and Ron's frustration level grew inversely to his lack of accomplishment!

Elizabeth and fanElizabeth and her fiber arts studio operation had a better year with several successful spinning and weaving workshops under her belt. She also did a few local "shows," such as the Lexington Home and Garden and Rockbridge Community Festival. Here she shows a young fan how to spin with a hook. Note the mascot in her pocket! We held an open house here on the farm in April and had quite a good turnout. Our good neighbor Erlene helped with the refreshments and Alex came over to help with traffic and crowd control! He also oversaw the sheep and lamb photo operation. The youngsters enjoyed climbing in with the sheep while parents snapped away! We ended up with a rather nice article in the local newspaper. In early May, Elizabeth gave up her job at the Chamber of Commerce to Celtic Connectionfocus on her studio activities and has been spinning and weaving up a storm ever since. She also has a consignment agreement for pelts and chenille scarves with a local shop downtown, so she is getting exposure there as well. In May we also managed a weekend away together for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, staying with Don and Betty MacDonald. In June, Elizabeth did a flax spinning demonstration for the Irish Culture Club, which was surprisingly well attended. She had actually grown her own flax in Massachusetts and so was able to speak with some authority about the difficulty with rending it into linen! It’s much simpler to order it right from our On-Line Catalog, where our sales continue to build slowly but surely!

Gone fishin'We had enjoyable visits from many friends again this year. Jody Harris made it down for her second visit and she and Elizabeth held an exotic cook-a-thon. Ron was the guinea pig for their culinary experimenting and managed to survive in spite of his ‘meat and potatoes’ mentality! Evelyn Brown returned for her third visit after a jaunt abroad to Turkey and the Holy Land last year. A firm believer that the "rolling stone gathers no moss," she headed south after visiting with us for a trip through the Chris Busse travelling west on Route 78Panama Canal. She is planning a trip ‘down under’ for next year. Go Evelyn! Bill and Bettie Geist dropped by for a day visit in May. Bill is retiring from Raytheon next month and they were down scouting for a place to settle in the Charlottesville area. Ron likes the idea of being closer to Bettie’s cheesecake! Also in May, Dan Busse’s son Chris peddled his way from Massachusetts to Lexington and spent a few days with us before setting off once again headed for the Pacific Northwest. He dipped his bike’s front tire into the Pacific Ocean in July. Congratulations Chris, quite an accomplishment!

Elizabeth's mother came for a three-week visit while some renovations to her house were underway and Eva, Adam and Gina came for two-weeks in August. Alex took some time off and joined the clan for a visit. Adam again enjoyed fishing and helping with the sheep. Dinner is servedBefore they arrived, we added our latest addition to the menagerie, adopting Andorra, a two year old Great Pyrenees guard dog, shown here at age six weeks. She is a great people dog, but hopefully won’t cut the coyote population any slack! We’ve had numerousLi'l Dora coyotes sighted on the farm this fall, although thus far, they haven’t bothered the flock. An intent Gina examines some of Dora’s dinner, "I could eat this... okay mom?" You can see that Dora has grown a bit since the picture at the right was taken! Bear, one of our young dogs, made an indelible impression on Eva (we won’t say anymore than that) and Adam became the master of the ‘wolf’ pack!

Alex and the grandkidsWe managed another get-a-way weekend to visit with Pat and Steve Dunlap and helped celebrate their new home on the Potomac. A most enjoyable time and the first long trip for our deaf Border Collie, Bear. He handled it quite well and their cat seemed no worse for his visit! Ron and Steve were at Virginia Tech together and are both looking forward to the January 4th Sugar Bowl 2000! Rejuvenated by that trip, Ron headed back to the shop and at long last finished the kitchen island, which we had begun to call the continent! It kept growing bigger, you see. That just about finishes up the kitchen cabinetry project. Bathroom cabinetry next!

We entered a float in the local fire department parade in early summer (big doings down this way) and won the best float prize, including $50.00 which we donated to the local 4H club. In October, Carl and Elaine Wickstrom arrived for another working vacation here on tWick and company relaxing...he farm! Carl, who retired from Raytheon this past spring, helped Ron get in the last cutting of hay for the winter and also helped with extracting this year’s honey crop. Elaine and Elizabeth handled the culinary chores, picking up where Jody and Elizabeth left off! We also held the second annual Society of Massachusetts Refugees dinner, joined by Harry and Amy Scheuer. Carl is enjoying his retirement, despite some problems with the health of their folks that keep them both well occupied. Here Wick and Company relax after a tough day! Seven dogs under foot that week, including Wick’s Molly and neighbor Erlene’s Bailey shown here with Dora and Gailen! As you can tell, this year wasn’t all bad, in fact we even had our first apple harvest since we planted the orchard six years ago and won a couple of ribbons for our delicious Alfalfa honey! Needless to say, we are surviving here on the farm and hope to see more of our friends during the coming year, so come visit a couple of sheep farmers!

The Octagon

Check our News and Ramblings page for recent news about what's happening around these parts, including a link to the News Gazette article about our first annual spring time Open House.

Have a great Holiday and a terrific New Year 2000 and come see us!


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Last modified: March 23, 2015