Letting the Sunshine In

This weekend was exactly what I needed to get out of the dark frame of mind I’ve been in the last two weeks.

It was beautiful and sunny, and I was due to give the sheep hooves a trim. And with the loss of Chone still fresh on my mind, I was kind of expecting the worst -figured they’d be a mess.

But I was relieved to be wrong. They were better than last month.
I’m not sure, but it might have to do with a new supplement I’m trying.

They love alfalfa pellets, so it’s easy to get them to eat the stuff- which is nice, because they don’t seem to find their regular mineral very palatable (?)

Anyway, getting that out of the way Saturday morning got me off to a good start.

By the afternoon, I was ready to embark on a baking challenge that I’d been thinking about for a long time.
The Swedish Princess Cake has been on my mind ever since I saw it on the Great British Baking Show.
But it was kind of daunting. Lots of elements that I’d never done before- Genoese sponge cake, pastry cream, marzipan.

It took me probably close to 6 hours (including chilling time) but I finally got it baked, assembled and covered in marzipan!

And here is the layered interior

It’s pretty tasty- but so sweet and rich! I think it’s the marzipan that puts it over the top for me.

The other sweet I worked on this weekend was fleece from my dear departed little buddy

Quality time with Chone’s lovely wool was very therapeutic.

In Loving Memory of Chone

I lost my little black sheep today. He was almost 9 years old.

Though I hadn’t mentioned anything here, Chone had been having a bit of a hard time for the last month or so.
I first noticed that he had lost a tooth back in mid-November.

By early December when I last did hoof trims, he seemed to be too skinny, and his hooves were a mess.
I’d started supplementing his normal diet (just pasture and grass hay) with alfalfa pellets and some oats and a bit of other grain, and also giving him some B-complex and probiotic oral gel.
He ate just a bit of that each morning and evening. And had actually seemed to have perked up over the last couple of weeks, and was even up to snacking on the Christmas tree yesterday. But today I could tell that he was uncomfortable, though he was still on his feet and hanging with the gang.

I made an appointment to take him in to see the vet today at 1pm, and was getting ready to get him haltered for the trip when I found him in the pasture- apparently having just passed. My poor little guy.

So it’s been a hard day.
And I enter 2019 with a heavy heart and a diminished flock.
He was a special sheep- both sweet and feisty- and a good friend.

The Eating of the Tree

Today I took our little tree out to the pasture to share with the sheeps, as is our tradition.

Esther found it lip-smackin’ good-

But man, she really needs a trim on those bangs!
Poor messy, soggy girl.

Everything here is pretty soggy- but at least it’s not frozen.

Another year-end tradition of mine is to do sweater (and other knitwear) maintenance.

I’ve gotten a start with mending a worn-through elbow on an old (pre-blog) sweater that has seen a lot of use over the years

and washing and de-pilling The Man’s favorite hat-

My go-to tool for de-pilling is something I got from my mom a few years back. One of those things I never would have thought to buy for myself, but as it turns out, is really handy- the Gleener

So tomorrow I’ll see what all else in the cedar chest requires some upkeep.
Washing, de-pilling, mending- or maybe just a quick steaming, to keep the knits looking their best!