Tuesday, March 28, 2017

All In A Day

Spring weather arrived yesterday and we all had something to crow about!


There is something rejuvenating about blue skies and sunshine, isn't there?


We are still in the midst of mud season...
but with a little time, things will dry up and become beautiful.
I can hardly wait!


Growing season is here!

The sheep are scheduled for their yearly shearing in two weeks.


They will be so happy to shed their thick wooly fleeces...
and I will be so happy to have more homegrown wool to work with!

Hubbs and I cleaned the winter's muck from inside the sheep houses yesterday afternoon.
That has got to be the stinkiest job on the entire farm.
Sheep really are filthy.
They have a bad habit of pooping where they sleep.


During the summer, it's no problem as they sleep outdoors...
but in the winter....
yuck.... in their houses!


Just wait until you see the difference in these girls after shearing!


I had a pretty creative day yesterday, both in the kitchen and in my craft room.
I baked peanut butter (chunky) cupcakes and frosted half with butter cream
frosting and bacon
(you have not lived until you have had bacon on buttercream...
the perfect blend of sweet and savory....
seriously!)
And half were frosted with dark chocolate frosting and chopped peanuts.


YUM!

I also have a bit of a confession to share.
I am a knitaholic.
Yes, it's official... I have a very severe addiction to fiber...
and not just any fiber, but good fiber.
Right now I have three projects on needles...

This cowl... which I have finally begun section #3...
is knit from a blend of merino, baby alpaca and silk...


This scarf... which I am knitting in 100% silk... it will be very long and drapey for summer wear...


And this shawl....
knit from cashmere with sequined silk sections in it...


I know... crazy!
I joined a knitting club called the Loops Club.
Each month they send you the yarn and pattern to make a project.
The blue shawl above is March's project.
Goodness... it's like Christmas every month!

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Letter From Camp

(Fat Camp, that is.)

"Dear Friends,
Please, oh, please send food.
We've been at this Fat Camp now for three weeks and we're not impressed.


Every morning we have the same low-cal breakfast.
(Hay that has been soaked overnight to remove the soluble carbohydrates.)


Then we head out for morning calisthenics.
And just to make sure that we don't grab any illegal snacks, we have to wear
this ridiculous headgear.

(This photo was taken weeks ago...while Daphne was still quite stout!)
Mid afternoon, we have a small snack.
It sure seems that our snack might be made of the same stuff 
of which our breakfast was made.


We do get a delicious treat of vitamins and minerals each day,
and we look forward to that.
It smells and tastes delicious... like dessert.
But we're pretty sure it's diet dessert, cause there's never enough of it to fill us up.


After snack time, we get lots of hugs and kisses, ear scratches, and tummy tickles....
which we really like.
But, if we were given a choice, we would rather have something more to eat.


Finally, before bedtime we get another big meal and more hugs and kisses.
It sure seems a lot like the same stuff we had for breakfast and snack, but
we don't care.
This meal is big like breakfast, but we have to eat it through a bag with little holes, 
so it takes us hours to finish.


By the time we finish eating, we're hungry again.


Please come and take us away from this awful fat camp...
we're pretty sure we're wasting away to nothing!

Love always, 
your friends, 
Daphne and Chloe."


All kidding aside, I do think that soaking the girls' hay and limiting their grazing with grazing muzzles is starting to make a difference.
I have noticed that their neck fat is slightly smaller.
Daphne will always have a round belly... her Mama had the same thing,
but her hips are much more visible now.
We are on the right track... a slow one at that...
but headed in the right direction.


Friday, March 24, 2017

A Story's End

I am afraid I owe you the ending to a story.
It's a story that I have avoided telling.
I hate to tell stories of the brutal side of nature...
but it's important to be honest.


You might remember that about a year ago our two farm friends Maggie and Macy
brought us four young white chickens.... sex unknown.


It wasn't long until we realized that we had 4 roosters.
And the fun began.


All was peaceful amongst the boys until the day that that awful testosterone got the best of them.
Wars ensued.
Then floggings became a way of life for us lowly farm workers.

The peace of the farm was gone.
Roosters had to be locked up when visitors came for fear of floggings.
It got uglier and uglier.
And I stopped writing about it.

Well.... months have passed and in the interim, we had to say goodbye to two of the boys.
Of the four, there were two who just refused to get along with anyone...
not chicken, nor man, nor beast.

Long story short... two of the boys are now crowing their hearts out in that big henhouse in the sky.

Peace once again prevails on the farm,
and we no longer live in fear of the "stomp, stomp, stomp" sound
that had once signaled the approach of a flogging rooster.


The two boys that remain each have their own henhouse and a bevy of ladies to care for.


They take their jobs seriously and spend their days looking after their hens.


They seem very happy and (unlike the other two...God rest their souls)
are never looking for a fight.


Peace is good.

Roosters are handsome... but, oh my, they can be trouble!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Serendipity

It seems of late that I have been quite fortunate to be at the right place at the right time...
with respect to nature.
It's so wonderful that after all these years Mother Earth still has the ability 
to surprise and delight me.
Yesterday as I was driving to town alongside our beautiful local river,
I was treated to sight I had never before had.


A flock of swans had settled on our river.
It seemed there were hundreds of them.
Sadly I did not have my camera, though.
Luck was on my side, however, because when I returned home, grabbed my camera,
and drove back to the river...


they were still there.
Morning photos would have been far superior... but sometime you have to take what you get!


On the way home from the river I drove alongside our local creek
and saw a couple pairs of common mergansers...


also something I had never seen before.
This large, shy member of the duck family is apparently quite common...
so why have I never seen one before?
The male...


and female...


are quite dissimilar in appearance.
Isn't nature amazing?


Meanwhile back at the farm...


it was a beautiful, but cold and windy, day.
The wind is good... it will help to dry up all of the moisture from the melting snow.


While I was out cleaning the dry lot,
I happened to catch Ollie and Annie doing their usual "thing".

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Snowlong, Snow!

One week later and our snow is all but gone.


In its place is a quagmire of muck and mud...
the kind of mud that tries its best to suck the boots right off your feet.


There are little rivers running all over the farm...


and puddles standing everywhere.


The ground is completely saturated.
Given a little time, sunshine, and spring breezes, the ground will once again
dry and Spring will burst forth in all her verdant glory.
And I can hardly wait!
Oh, I am so eager to get my fingers into the earth once again.
I am still waiting for the completion of the garden boxes so that I can amend the soil
and begin planting.
Normally I would have sugar peas planted by now!


I've been spending these (once again) warmer days doing some clean-up chores.
Yesterday afternoon I worked on the pig yard.


There is still a good deal of snow in this one area of the farm as it is on a northern slope.


Can you tell where the treat corner is?


There is a little piggy highway leading right to the treat mailbox.
No matter the weather, these girls still find their way out to the corner
for their beloved Ritz crackers!


While I was cleaning up pig manure, somebody was trying to get my attention through
the bushes...


The poor equines are stuck in the dry (muddy) lot to preserve the integrity of the soggy front pasture.
I feel sorry for them each year at this time... having to stay in for days at a time.
Luckily the dry lot is fairly large and there's plenty of room for them to romp and play.

Since I cannot yet be in the garden, my spare time is spent working on this cowl....


I cannot tell you how many hours I have logged on this project...
and I am only almost half way done.
Luckily this is a fun pattern!

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