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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hard, No Brainer Decisions

That sounds like an oxymoron right? In this case, it is true.

Another fiber friend, who is also an animal fanatic, was interested in some of our alpacas. So, yesterday before the weather turned to rain and the snow to slush, we trailered six alpacas to Beth's farm. Star, Luna, Fiona, Ladybelle, Creme, and Cassidy are all living with Beth in her cozy barn with a litter of potbellied pigs, geese, ducks, bunnies and chickens. She has a nice barn setup and everyone has their own portion of the barn and the alpacas have access to outside.

No Brainer because she obviously will provide them a good home (she was calling them her babies before we left), but hard because I have a great attachment to them. No Brainer because it eases the barn space and leaves that much more food to go around; hard because I will miss Creme's big eyes, Ladybelle's elegant self, Star's bumbling blindness, Luna watching out for her mother Star, Fiona'a inquisitiveness, and Cassidy's funny face. Cassidy was separated from her 18 month cria Poppy which was also hard to do but better for Cassidy because Poppy was still demanding to nurse. A no Brainer because if it doesn't work out at her place for any reason they will come back here.

So what woolies are we left with you ask? A mere 13 alpacas, 2 llamas, 2 Babydoll sheep, and 25 Shetland Sheep. So we are not lacking for fiber here at all! I still feel a but sad though. :(

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter is Coming.....Knit Faster!

Forty four rounds and fourteen days left to complete Dickson... I'm going to make it I think!

I've discovered I'm a cable knitting fanatic!

Twelvish inches of snow on the ground at the farm. I worked last weekend at the Mackinac Bridge deer check station and while there it snowed twenty inches! And it is only November....(whimper whimper). Many people have much much more so I will try not to whine too much (or will at least keep it to myself).

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's B-aaa-c-k.....

 

When Caol Ila and I had our picture taken last week, it was a cool but gloriously sunny day....

Now we have five or so inches of this crusty, crunchy white stuff. We lost power around seven last night but it came on around five this morning which was pleasant. This years lambs seem a bit confused and dismayed by the snow but are quickly adapting, because what else are they going to do? I, on the other hand, feel like rebelling already and it just started....not a good sign.

So while the weather isn't overly pleasant, spending time indoors will be pleasantly productive. Spinning;

And knitting my first skirt. A saucy little cabled number called "Dickson".

I'm in love with it already! She is being knit up in Shepherd's Wool worsted weight merino on the color way Granite. Completion goal is my birthday. 70 rows to go! I think I can do it because it is complicated enough to make it fun but not so complicated to make it frustrating. :)

 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Missing Mojo

No, Mojo is not another animal on the farm....no new animal deaths in the past few weeks....the psyche can't take any more! The missing Mojo is mine. I haven't felt overly inspired to do any blogging as of late....not because stuff isn't happening but rather just a busy time both at home and work that has left me rather exhausted.

So playing catch up: I finished my Allegro cardigan in Shepherd's Wool dark plum. I learned a lot whilst making the many mistakes knitting this piece. One is not to assume that knitting instructions are all inclusive. For example, one should not assume when a pattern says to "bind off" that you can bind of any old way you'd like too. My cardigan needed a stretchy bind off....but the instructions did not tell me this and I did not have the knitting experience to know this intuitively. I knit the shawl collar twice before asking for some help from an experienced knitter. I found this frustrating and put the bloody thing away for a month out of disgust and moved on to a new project; a knit along on Yarns at Yinhoo.

I knit a shawl called "Moon Oh Moon" in a little over a month. The yarn I bought from Halcyon Yarn when we were in Maine for Josie's memorial service. It is a fingering merino and hand dyed with Indigo on Swan's Island Maine. The contrasting trim was yarn from Josie's stash. Modeled by my favorite girl!

This was my first lace knitting project and I'm pleased the way it turned out. Finishing this did give me the confidence to finish that bloody sweater! I then moved on to knitting a chevron lace and cable hat in that same plum color to use up the leftover yarn. I learned about lace knitting lifelines in this project and what a pain in the bum it is to un-knit lace and cable patterns. I found out I really like knitting cables, so now I'm working on a pair of cabled mittens in the same yarn. Meantime....I'm working on spinning some yarn I owe to folks for their CSA shares. I'm fitting the knitting into the spare moments and taking that to work for something to do at lunch. I'd love to take some sunny out door photos but...alas, sadly no sun.

The animals are all well. We brought the alpacas home a couple of weeks ago so everyone is all in one spot again which make doing chores much easier. We will be moving the fat Wethers to the front paddock so they don't hog all the food this winter. They were repulsively overweight at shearing this year! The new chicks are just about the size of bantams now so I'm hoping we can get them moved into the coop with the rest of the fowl before the snow flies. I will take some updates pics of them this afternoon. Highs in the mid 30's....whoopee.

We did get some cider pressed this year, just last weekend at Dougette's. It turned out to be quite the party!

The guests of honor
There were some beers consumed along with the cider.
Doug, Gail and Rachel
Filtering the cider (my job).

 

Recognize the table base? Yooper construction.
Lila spent some time carving a sling shot.
.

The safety glasses are a fashion statement.


We brought home 7 gallons of cider for the freezer and all of the pomace (spent ground apples) for the woolies who were quite pleased!

Halloween was a non-event...Lila was off at a friends house trick or treating and our usual visit to Dougette's didn't happen so we just went to the community center with the boys to the womens club party and then hit a few houses in town. The power was out when we got home, but came on shortly thereafter. Will and I shared a bottle of hard cider and I fell asleep watching the Big Bang theory after the boys went to bed. I'm such a party girl. ;)

 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Sad Day

Today was another sad day on the farm, though one that was chosen.

Pikachu with her two bad back knees had recently been only able to hobble on one leg; not a very comfortable thing coming into a long winter nor dignified for a lady of her stature.

Amey, who has always been terrifyingly thin from the moment we got her, I could no longer ask to try another winter. So, this morning some good friends came over to euthanize these two gentle and suffering creatures. They will be missed here very much.

On a happier note, Pearl (one of the white Suri alpacas), went to live with my friend Donna. I think it is safe to say this is her first ride in the cab of a truck!

We can only hope that this winter is a little kinder and gentler to us all and we will treasure the moments shared with our wooly and not so wooly friends.

 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Growing Up

Those new baby chicks are growing up and starting to look like mini chickens.

These photos were taken on Monday, which was bright and sunny and warm...summer finally.

Some of the chicks have feathered legs on the outside shanks, some have bare legs, and some have extra toes!

Based on wing growth rate and tail feathers I'd GUESS that five of the twelve are roosters.

Many of them are going to be a pretty gray like their daddy. Since these photos were taken they have gained many more feathers and are getting a little crazy.

"Chicken watching AND a massage! What could a kitty like better."

 

 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No Pictures Required

Deer mice are supposed to stay outdoors, but they don't know about that rule and regularly make a house appearance. Add five house cats to the mix and life can get a little more exciting; for all of us.
After a shower, and kitted up in my thick squishy robe and a turban like towel arrangement over my wet hair, I went into the kitchen to put on the tea water and start kid lunches. I immediately stumbled into a tableau involving three cats and a deer mouse looking slightly worse for wear. Now, I don't mind really if the cats catch and play with and ultimately kill mice but I don't enjoy watching it. Billy Bones caught him in his mouth and I decided this was my opportunity to catch the mouse in cupped hands and put it outside.
This is where things began to go askew.....Billy dropped the mouse and before I could scoop it up, it scurried underneath me as I was poised over the cat. My bathrobe was touching the floor, and the mouse decided the quickest escape route was climbing up the back of my bathrobe (on the inside)! I remember thinking this was an interesting predicament, and before I knew it the wee beastie was perched on my left shoulder. Not wanting to be bit, I calmly walked to the back deck outside and dropped the robe....the mouse hurriedly escaped my presence and I had a bit of a laugh. Fortunately we don't have neighbors on that side of the house!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Surprises on the last day of August

Two days ago, i discovered one of our cross breed hans (hatched here from our speckled sussex hen and buff orpington roo) nestled into the hillside sitting on a clutch of eggs. I assumed they wouldnt hatch because some were half buried in the sand and others on the edge were cooler than those in the center.

Chores started as usual this morning, but quickly ended up being a bit altered due to...

....finding a hen parading around with twelve chicks!

Fortunately I ended up outside before Ginger cat saw them. Will and I set up the chicken tractor and scooped them up into their new home space. Then I went out to see how many eggs were left in the nest and to clean up the nest and found....

The same hen sitting on her clutch of eggs. So....one of this hens siblings had a secret nest somewhere else, and by the looks of the chicks many other hens contributed to the clutch.

The rooster is mostly Auracana so we could have some interesting colored eggs. :). And...potentially more chicks from the other hen still sitting on eggs. We also recently traded 18 old hens (plus some cash) for 18 pullets who will start laying at the end of September. We should have plenty of eggs for farmers market next summer. It is fun to have peeps even if they are unplanned. :)

 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Purr....

I am so in love with this Cat.
I think she looks a little bit like a caterpillar in this picture from the angle! That is her squinty purr face.
Snickers the rescue cat who came to us very much pregnant and so very tiny. After being fixed she has put on a bit of weight and now is happy and healthy. She breaks out into loud rumbley purrs if you so much as look at her and loves pats and belly rubs. She isn't quite a lap cat yet, but we are working on it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I hate baling twine

Sadly, our dear beautiful Elle walked on this morning.

She was able to get under the doors in the lean to to nibble on the hay stored there and had managed to work loose some of the dreaded baling twine which she managed to catch around her neck. Will found her dead this morning with her sweet lamb Islay inconsolable by her side.

I hate baling twine. The door will be further blocked so this tragedy doesn't repeat itself, but we've lost a good friend and a wonderful breeding ewe. Elle came to us as a pregnant ewe from my friend Karen and she was the first ewe to lamb here. She gave us Gaia, Mousa, Faola, Inchgowan, and Islay. She was a wonderful mother.

We will treasure the lambs she gave us and miss her fiercely.