After celebrating a quiet New Year’s at the farm, our January flew by. It started on New Year’s Day with the thermometer at the farm reading a frigid 14 degrees and a light dusting of snow.
And just as the full moon began to rise,
we received the sad news that Mary Jo Dodson, mother of my sister-in-law, Jefflyn Jones, had lost her battle with diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Mary Jo was a loving mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She was also my own mother’s dear friend and a cherished member of our extended family. We will miss her.
Rue and I have continued working on our sheep herding skills with Michele McGuire at Paws 4 Ewe Farm. In spite of the frosty temperatures, the ewes and their new lambs enjoyed basking in the sun.
Resident equines Marley and Buddy enjoyed the day as well.
And then it was the end of January. Just before dawn on January 31 at moonset, we witnessed the appearance of the first Super Blue Blood Moon since 1866. It’s a blue moon because it is the second full moon of the month, and a blood moon because when it enters the earth’s shadow in a lunar eclipse, it appears to turn a reddish color.
John and I were up early, and with plenty of coffee set out for a spot a couple of miles from the farm house that has a good view of the western horizon. We had clear skies, and a good view of the eclipse as the earth’s shadow obscured the moon.
The only thing we missed was the ability to photograph the reddish color. To the naked eye, as the shadow swept across the moon, there was a faint reddish cast to the dark area. It was very faint, though, and I wasn’t able to capture it on film. We waited for a bit after the moon went totally dark, but never saw it emerge from the shadows because it passed behind a cloud bank. As we finished our coffee, we had to be content with a beautiful sunrise.
And that evening, with the rising of the blue moon in the east.
I hardly had time to catch my breath when it was time to travel to San Antonio for the Western Heritage Parade. On Saturday, February 3, a group representing the Texas Hill Country Stock Dog Association again participated in the San Antonio Stock Show and Western Heritage Parade. Our goal was to honor the memory of our friend, the late JoAnne Noble, who started the tradition of using our herding dogs to take a group of sheep through downtown San Antonio as part of this event. It was a special day; the parade committee honored JoAnne's memory with a riderless horse in the parade. We could recognize which horse it was because we recognized those boots.
Ken Theus, who has stepped up to organize our participation, brought some 65 head of sheep (and 3 agreeable goats) for us to use. They were a magnet for kids and dogs while we waited for the parade to start.
And then it was time for the parade to begin.
First came the longhorns…I was told 300 of them.
Then it was our turn. Ken had the able assistance of his border collie, Mac, and several other handlers and their dogs. The rest of us, with our border collies on leash, gave moral support and held the rear flank.
The sheep proceeded down the 1.5 mile parade route with the border collies cooperating to keep them in an orderly bunch, moving forward or stopping as needed. The crowd loved their performance, and I'll bet we were the most photographed group in the parade.
It was great fun. Thanks Ken, for your hard work. JoAnne would be proud.