Friday, March 23, 2018

October 28, 2017 -- Hug a Sheep Day!


(The next image edited by moi, to obviate any confusion about when Hug a Sheep Day may occur in othe years.....)

In 2017, October 28 dawned damp in northern Kentucky. 

We weren't thinking about Hug a Sheep day when we headed south.  We did not have the clothes we would have brought to hang around outside in chilly weather, so we wore everything we had, all at once.

Moi, tastefully garbed in 3 shirts, a fleece jacket and a windbreaker.  It's a good look, no?  No.  But the good news is I was warm enough to comfortably hang out with sheeps!

Here I am with the Cheerios and Vanilla wafers we had acquired on the 27th.  Does it look like these handsome dudes know exactly what is in those boxes?  Yes, it does.  They were not born yesterday.

Woody and Murphy (Murphy is taller), waiting for the stupid monkey to quit standing around and start handing out edibles.

There are all kinds of different sheep here.  So many totally different, totally beautiful fleeces.  This is Murphy's.  Is this gorgeous or what?  (I am not prejudiced because this happens to look rather similar to what I grow myownself.....)

I did not take that many pics on October 28.

Just as I never show you the friendly dogs in my neighborhood (because I'm petting them and my hands are busy!), my hands were busy here, too.  Petting dogs and sheep.  Handing out Cheerios.

The little spotted ones are Jacob sheep.  They have horns (sometimes more than two), and spots.  You can buy one fleece, and get two or more colors.  I love wool.....

Flock-guardian dogs live with the sheep.  They make sure any other canids in the vicinity know to keep their distance.  Four dogs live here.  Two flock guardians, one border collie (who helps move sheep from here to there, or stops the sheep from moving, at the shepherd's command), and, of course, one corgi, because ... corgi.  No pics of Kate the BC or Tillie the corgi, because they were on the people side of the fence, and I was petting them..........

This is Hank.

June, the apprentice guard dog, making sure no Cheerio (or cracker or cookie) is left behind.

Beautiful Blossom.  What a pretty face............

Blossom again, with a very nice blue wool sweater.

Lots of sheeps, of different kinds, peacefully enjoying the green green grass of Kentucky. 

We ventured into the wool house, where our host makes all the things.  She makes yarn from the wool that keeps her sheep warm in winter.  She knits and weaves.  She takes lovely pictures, and makes calendars and greeting cards.  She makes wool wreaths and needle-felted sheep.

She's prepared to teach people how to spin.  That's a bunch of drop spindles at right.

Love this sentiment and the engaging way it's described.

I took a drop spindle with me on a trip one time.  I got together with a fiber friend, and taught her to spin on the spindle.  She was hooked; I gave her the spindle.  Later she told me she was definitely my "one" for spinning.  One of life's little obligations, checked off the list.  :-)

I forgot to say my Kentucky friend paints, too.

We didn't linger nearly long enough with the sheeps and the dogs and the friendly humans.  We were six hours from home, and we wanted to do most of that driving in late October's waning daylight.

I'm so glad I realized we were actually close enough to be able to do Hug A Sheep day, and that my indulgent better half thought we should totally go do that.  Thanks to everyone, two-legged and four, who welcomed us and let us have friend/fur/wool therapy.  :-)

Happy sigh.

Heading back north toward Ohio, and Michigan.

Pretty green Kentucky countryside.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

October 27, 2017


Heading south from Cincinnati on October 27, 2017, so I could hug sheep on October 28th.

Closer crop of the above.  This does not look good.  20 minutes to go 9 miles?  No.

Goodbye, Cincinnati.

Looks like they weren't kidding about 9 miles in 20 minutes.  Can you see the line of trucks, as far as the eye can see?  (Bending to the left, under the bridge.....)

There are lots of bridges from Cincinnati which go south across the mighty Ohio.  We got off the interstate, took another bridge, and rejoined the interstate in Kentucky.  In less than 20 minutes, and we weren't stuck in stop-and-go traffic!

We headed for Lexington.  Lexington was FULL of traffic.  It seemed like everywhere in northern Kentucky was full of traffic on October 27.  Something unusual was probably happening.

We looked at what there was to do in Lexington, and settled on a walk in the University of Kentucky's arboretum.  There are many pleasant paths, through manicured gardens, and through wilder areas.


Beauty berry.  I still can't get used to this.  These perfectly purple berries -- whenever I first spot them, I think they are painted styrofoam.  Then I remember they are real berries.........


I have no idea what this is, and it's rather moth-eaten, but the color!!!

Fungus on a downed tree.

A really BIG downed tree!  We saw lots of *big* trees down in the arboretum.  We don't know what happened to them.  This end of this one was clearly cut.

Another look at the fungus.

Closer crop of the above -- someone's seed, resting on the fungus.  (Love my "slow magnifying glass"....)

Rustic throne cut into large tree stump.

Another big tree, pining for the fjords.

These two not-so-little guys were marching across the path.  I have no idea what they meant to be when they grow up.  I'd never seen two, together, on what looked like the same mission across pavement.....

Castor bean, kale, salvia. 

Another look at the castor beans and salvia.  They were really this red.

We stopped at Target in Lexington to stock up on Cheerios and Vanilla Wafers, the better to make friends with sheeps.

Then we headed into horse country.  Lots of BIG establishments, with lots of green grass and pretty ponies.

I'll finish my description of the 27th with my MacGyver moment.

The bathroom in the B&B where we stayed had a motion-sensor-activated bathroom fan.  Even in the dark, that fan went on, regardless of whether you turned the light on.  (Yes, in the middle of the night, the fan was going to go on  !!!  >:-(  )

I went looking for the sensor, and, luckily, it was right down where I could get at it.  They had thoughtfully provided us with (light stopping!) foil candy wrappers.  I sacrificed a bandaid to hold the candy wrapper over the sensor. 

This worked like a charm.  No fan.  Yay.  I love quiet.............................

It occurs to me now that there are many other ways to stop a motion sensor.  Including duct tape, which we often travel without because we fly and it's heavy.

I bet a wad of chewing gum would work, too.  I'll hold that thought for a time when I may not have other options!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

October 26, 2017: Cincinnati zoo again, part 3


I think this is my favorite picture from October 26, 2017.  No fencing.  No dirty plexiglas with glare all over it.  Pretty colors, nice plants, relatively sharp, nicely-lit Ruppell's vulture -- and, hey, wait, who's that in the upper right?  Mr. Lion, that's who!

I never saw the lion until I saw the image above on "the big screen."  The lions are not in the same enclosure with the "on the grass" animals we've been looking at.  But isn't it cool that he looks like he is?

Flamingos.  Flamingos are docile enough that they can be with keepers, and I think it's fairly common for them to go for walks through zoos, when there are several keepers (and/or volunteers) to walk with them.  These were juveniles who had been walked from their usual enclosure to a small one where we could be within 6 feet of them.

Flamingo chicks are gray.  They slowly turn pink over the next couple of years, if they eat food with the right colorants in it.  Note that these two have gray legs and the one above has pink legs.....

Person for scale.  Not a terribly big person.  Maybe they were about 4'8"?

Mr. Lion with part of his harem.

At least four lions in this enclosure.

Closer crop.

I love images like the above, where there is nothing but a bit of distance between us and the critters.

Also love to be within a foot or two of an animal, with plexiglas in between.  Even when there are reflections all over the plexi and it's harder to see the animal.

Parade of giraffes.

Ever'body thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the barrier.  I'm a bit surprised the logs are a barrier.  Maybe it's because the ground behind them is lower?


Her face was totally dark before I lightened it up.  I don't think it's really scraped (as I believe it seems to be in this image).

Speed brothers!  This enclosure was big enough that these guys could run.  There were two out there when we visited.  I believe the brothers are young.  They were chasing each other, which was pretty cool to see.  A cheetah, chasing something that runs ... as fast as a cheetah!

Ok, I want to live in a house where there are (safe and properly cared-for) cheetahs in the yard next door!

This is a crummy pic, but I want to remember that there were two of them in there, and that they were playing with each other.

A lovely day.

My better half found us a very nice pizza parlor near the zoo.  It was early, but the restaurant was crowded.  We enjoyed our pizza and a very nice salad.  We'd eat there again, if we lived nearby.

And thus endeth October 26.

Well, nearly endeth it...................

One of my blogging friends lives in Kentucky.  She has sheep and dogs and cats and chickens.  Every year she has Hug A Sheep day.  I would love to do Hug A Sheep day!  Only ... Kentucky is pretty far from Michigan.

In 2017, Hug A Sheep day was October 28th.  On the evening of October 26th, I realized that I was in *Cincinnati*, NOT in Ann Arbor!  It would be one hour to Hug A Sheep day, not six hours!

We talked about hugging sheep, and my indulgent better half suggested that we stay an extra day so I could hug sheep.

He found us a place to stay on the 27th that was very near my friend's farm.  Instead of going home on the 27th as planned, we would go a bit farther south.

The 26th actually ended with this very uncharacteristic change of plans.