Thursday, January 18, 2018

My World

This is what I woke up to this morning...

absolute breathtaking winter beauty!

Freshly fallen snow...

about 5 inches.

Makes the world look magical.

Sunlight streams through snow tinged branches...

sparkling, silent.
Once the sun hits those branches, the snow will drop to the ground.

It was great to be out early and see the magic at its best!

Everyone was out to greet us... eager for their breakfast and their morning treats.

The sheep were encrusted with snow,
but with their thick fleeces don't even feel it.

The garden is asleep beneath it's wintry blanket...

Everyone, except for the chickens, turkeys, and guineas seems to enjoy the fresh snow.
The birds prefer to remain inside where it is warm and dry.

After chores, I spent a few hours working on a weaving project.

I finished warping the loom.

And evened out the warp. 
All I needed now was to fill my shuttles with the yarn that I would use for the weft.

I filled the shuttles with the yarn as I unwound a skein of alpaca fiber.

The shuttle is used to work the weft between the layers of warp.
The weft is the yarn that is perpendicular to the warp.
The warp is passed through the rigid heddle reed which is placed in one of two
different positions, depending upon which way you are feeding the shuttle.
Changing the position of the reed changes the positions of the top and bottom warp,
so that you are able to weave the shuttle between the two.

The reed is then used to push down the yarn that you have just woven so that it rests tightly 
next to the previously woven yarn.  In the above photo...the red yarn is waste yarn, that is just used to even out the warp.

I am using a combination of silk and alpaca for this project.

Of course, I had company...

who was less than impressed... especially because I wouldn't let her play with my yarn.
Note the scowling face.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Back To The Barn

After spending two days in the house,
I felt the need to get out and visit my friends.

It was close-up time yesterday afternoon...
time for feeding and watering and the last clean-up of the day.

It had snowed for most of the day,
and was absolutely breathtaking outside.

I had so needed to feel the peace that the farm brings to my soul,
and my trip out to the barn did just that.

A fresh covering of snow makes the world practically silent.
Silence... except for a distant "who-whoooo" of a great horned owl in the woods. heart felt like it had just come home again.

Amanda and I finished the chores and headed home in the gator...
marveling at how beautiful snow makes the farm look.

I am just itching to get onto my cross country skis...
but that will have to wait for now.
For now I will have to be satisfied to just get back out to the barn.
Life is good!

Once back in the house, I headed upstairs to my sewing room in the loft...

 to start a new project.
I am warping my loom to begin a new weaving project.

I am going to weave a warm wool wrap... a little something to throw
around my shoulders when sitting in front of the fire on snowy days such as this.

Outside the window,
birds were busily flitting from branch to bird feeders.
Snowy days make for the best bird watching!

Oh, how I love snowy days!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

And The Winner Is...

Weeks ago, we swabbed Chester's mouth...
scraping a few cheek cells...
and sent the specimen off to Cornell for DNA testing.

And then we waited...
taking bets on what the final results would show.

By looks, we figured he had Australian cattle dog in him...
and most likely some sort of terrier, we thought.

The results arrived this weeks and we have learned much about our
amazing little Chester!

First of all... and we were glad to hear this...
he has no genetic markers for any genetic diseases.
They estimated that his lifespan should be about 15 years,
and that he should get no bigger than 50 pounds.
(Right now he weighs about 28 pounds at 7 months of age.)

Apparently he has a moderate amount of "wolf-iness" in his genes...
and I am not sure how exactly or even "if" that translates in his personality.  

His pedigree breakdown is as follows:

50.0% Australian Cattle Dog
27.4% Jack Russel Terrier
5.7% German Shepherd
5.1% Golden Retriever
5.0% Collie

His new name is Chester the Supermutt!
He definitely lives up to the name!
He is one super mutt!

So... I was a good girl yesterday and stayed in the house.
And yes, there is always plenty to keep me occupied!
(I finished the hat I started last week.)

I will be resting my knee again today and then I think I will be ready to start taking
on the world...carefully, and with ice cleats!
My pain has resolved.
Unlike ACL tears in young people, in those my age (past their pro-sports careers)
the injury does not need to be repaired.
Strong leg muscles will compensate for the lack of knee stability resulting from the injury.
I am strong, so it should be just a brief blip on my radar screen.

As far as I can tell, this may be the only thing that Bad Sammy and I have in common...
although I am sure I will be over mine in a nano-second compared to him!
And he's back boxing with Annie on his two hind legs again!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Flying By The Seats Of Our Pants

After spending a fun-filled weekend with our friends,
we had planned to go  see the Lion King on Broadway today.
(our Christmas present from our kids).
(Emphasis on "planned".)

But, back to the weekend.
Hubbs and I spent all of Friday baking and cooking in preparation for our weekend guests...
cooking ahead made the weekend easy!

We made two loaves of rosemary-olive oil bread, one loaf of brioche,
cranberry-orange scones, a blueberry-gooseberry pie,
lasagne soup, chicken salad, and broccoli salad.
(cooking and baking are ten times easier when you have a sous chef cleaning
up after you as you go... because, let me tell you... when I cook it looks as if
a bomb went off in the kitchen!)

All tolled, there were 8 of us for the weekend and 6 dogs.
Another four joined us for Sunday Farm Breakfast.

Each day we bundled up and took a three mile hike with the dogs...

and visited the animals along the way.

When the sun went down, the games came out.
We played Pictionary, Balderdash and Charades...
and the laughter flowed freely!

The weekend ended with a wild donkey escape,
a fall on the ice (me)
and barn doors that wouldn't open... making feeding time a bit of a free-for-all...
culminating in two donkeys running out of their yard and up towards the
upper pastures.
Calm eventually ensued and everyone ended up in their proper place.
Unfortunately, I ended up with a torn ACL ligament in my knee and a bone bruise.
I am now on crutches and not walking much.

Luckily, Amanda was going to care for the farm in our absence...
and she will be helping us out this coming week while I heal
and eventually start to rehab my injury.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Who-Dunnit

This week brings yet another farm mystery!
Another "whodunit".
This time, however, the suspect list is quite short.

Is it darling Daphne, the daring desperado?

Or is it cool Chloe, the crafty con-artist?

Let's examine the crime scene for clues...

You see, months ago, when Hubbs and I installed this gate that leads from the pig yard
into the front pasture...

we removed only the lowest two boards of the fence.
This left a space that was just tall enough for two pigs and two sheep to
walk through.

We did this to prevent any wandering equine from ending up in the pigs' or sheep's yards.

There is a hay feeder in the sheep yard that would serve as a rather large smorgasbord
for an ever-hungry equine.

So, imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon as I was tending to the sheep,
when I saw this in front of their feeder!

It didn't take much investigating to know who was responsible
for leaving behind this piece of evidence.
(It's too large to be pig or sheep!)

The horses had been in the upper pastures on this particular day.
The donkeys had had full run of the front pasture.
The gate had been opened so that the pigs and sheep could join the donkeys there.

It looks like the donkeys had their own idea...
ducking under the fence and exploring new territory.

Unfortunately, for them, they were wearing grazing muzzles...
kind of like standing in front of a smorgasbord with your jaws wired shut!

It always seems that when the weather warms up just a little,
everyone has a tendency to get into a little mischief!
After today's rain, the cold returns.
Everyone will stay very close to home when that happens.

Another Friday has come around again.
We are having weekend guests and have much fun planned.
We'll be back on Monday with tales from the weekend.
Hope yours is perfect!


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