Sort Of Snow Days

We have had a “sort of” snow day.  We had a dusting overnight and we’ve been enjoying watching the fluffy, light flurries we have been seeing off and on all day.  Though the snow has long since melted into the mud, we’ve been slow to start today, and slow to accomplish much. That’s what “sort of” snow days are about; things like enjoying that the Paperwhites finally bloomed.

 

01.27.15a

And that Mr. Cini is snoozing happily by my feet.

01.27.15d

I’ve also been enjoying my new little llama ornament I got for Christmas.  I have a fierce ache where Jerry belongs, and I love having this little guy as a reminder of him.  One day we will bring home another llama, I promise. Until then my task is keeping this one safe from the kitten, who likes to climb onto the fireplace mantle where he lives and secret him away to chew on him.

01.27.15c

Lastly, days like today are perfect for getting some serious knitting done.

01.27.15b

My Shepherd sweater. Still stuck on the sleeves. Or as my friend Tanya says, “stuck on sleeve island”. I feel like I’ve been working on this one sleeve forever and ever and ever. It’s killing me.  I want to be done so I can wear it. And start THIS year’s Shepherd Sweater!

 

Random Wednesday Ravings

I’m not going to lie. Right now, getting any school done during the day has been a real effort. I have very little desire to keep everyone on task, and they have even less desire to do so.  The weather has been weird, there’s a lot of chores that need to be done (and furry friends needing to be snuggled) that I’d rather take care of, there’s other things that everyone would rather be doing.

Yet we slog through it as best as we can anyway, and hope it sticks. Today I cut Neve off before math because she couldn’t sit still and I sent her into the kitchen to make these:

01.21.15d

This book is full of wonderful recipes for baking that are perfect for Neve’s current abilities.

01.21.15e

It calmed her down, avoided the usual math tantrum, and kept her from distracting Emily. And bonus! She has to measure stuff, so…..math!

Ugh. Actually, no. It’s nice when you see homeschool people and blogs talk about using fun activities that incorporate learning math and science, and that’s great when your kids are like 7. But Neve really needs to be working on more complicated geometry and elementary algebra that she isn’t going to learn from whipping out a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sorry, unschoolers. I’ve seen what happens when a kid isn’t well prepared for the SAT’s and college. You pay for two years of “Math for Dummies” and the like at the local community college before your kid can even start working on their degree requirements.  As much as we don’t love math, it is far easier for them to learn it young and keep building on it than trying from nearly scratch at 18.  And that whole argument about how kids will naturally learn what they need based on their interests? Also no. Not every kid is born motivated to work on improving their brains. It’s a discipline that for many has to be taught, along with time management skills.  And when at 16 your kid suddenly has to cram an entire school  lifetime’s worth of math into a year to prepare for college…it isn’t pretty.   Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of our public school systems. But there is a level of base knowledge everyone needs, no matter how they are educated.

This is where my brain is these days. It’s mired in the many things that have to happen each day and it certainly feels many days that we are just getting further and further behind. So we keep at it, knowing that this time is finite, and we will never get it back.

 

 

Chore Day!

I don’t usually sing the praises of warm weather in January; mostly because it’s enough of a tease that it makes those bone-chilling February days seem cruel after the fact.  Today, though, we were lucky enough that it was both a holiday AND the weather was nice enough that we could tackle some more important farm work with Paul home. And BONUS: I had my phone with me so you can see some sweet sheepy noses!

01.19.15a

One of our lambs, Finchley, has been scouring (he has diarrhea), and since they can get super dehydrated, super fast, I’ve been giving him a supplemental bottle of lamb milk.  The dogs absolutely LOVE it.  Here’s Orzo having a bit after Finchley’s evening dose.

01.19.15b

I’ve also discovered that I can’t mix this stuff up in the kitchen if the kitten is around or she will tear me to bits trying to get at it.

01.19.15c

Lamb congregation. They were expecting me to produce their evening food.

01.19.15d

Yeardley and Wimbledon seem to be having a conversation.

01.19.15e

Mabel got moved to the back coop.

01.19.15f

Fairfax is looking sassy.

01.19.15g

Get my good side.

01.19.15h

Fresh bale, delivered into the new shelter……

01.19.15i

….which hopefully can withstand Caramel.

01.19.15k

Check out Perivale’s spotted ears!!!!

01.19.15l

Staunton.

01.19.15m

01.19.15n

Perivale.

01.19.15p

Wembley still likes to get all up in your business.

01.19.15q

Suspicious Wimbledon is suspicious.

01.19.15r

We also finally got our Christmas tree out to them, and they dove right in.

01.19.15s

Hannah loooooooves the taste of pine!

01.19.15t

We also got some fresh bedding into the prison coop and discovered an egg had been laid.  Fingers crossed this means we will start seeing some production out of these girls at last! (We’ve been threatening them with the stewpot but they’ve been unphased.)

Now that we’ve had this lovely mid-50’s weather I wonder how long before I’ll be posting super snow pictures!

Winter Work

Now that we’ve finally started seeing some winter-appropriate temperatures we finally ventured out for the weekend motivated to achieve some important farm progress.

It was apparent after last winter that having our water lines partially buried out to the back field was not a great idea; the above ground portions would thaw out in the sun and allow water to flow in the warmest portions of the day, whereas underground saw no benefit whatever from those warm rays. Not wanting a repeat of that this year we dug up the buried hoses and moved them into a different field along with the water troughs. After a long year of wet weather the troughs had begun to sink into the mud, which never seemed to dry or freeze completely. I was sick of the mess, the sheep were sick of the mess, and we were hoping by moving the water we could keep them out of the muddy areas altogether.

After that we decided it was time to install a better shelter against the possibility of freezing rain AND take back the chicken coop that we’d been using as a makeshift lamb shelter.

01.13.15a

There’s plenty of room under there for everyone when they want to get out of the weather – it’s about the same size inside as the run in shelter on Susie’s old barn.  I even put their feed troughs in there. Not that it made any difference at all in yesterday’s monsoon; they would have zero to do with it.  I will probably put their next bale of hay inside both to encourage them to go in and also to help pad the ground a bit with the waste hay.

01.13.15b

We started putting hens from the coop out front into the back one now that it isn’t overrun with goats (there is fencing in front now to keep said goats out!).

01.13.15c

Look at all the room for chicken-related activities! (One of which better be laying eggs, because I’m tired of this egg drought we’ve been having).

01.13.15e

Obviously we will still have to knock off any heavy snow that might come our way, but the pitch of the roof on this shelter will make that far easier than the flat-topped ghetto shelter of years past. Our biggest concern was simply a wind/sun/rain break for them, and I think this will accomplish it marvelously.

All That’s Fit To Spin

Happy New Year!  It’s been a quiet one for us so far.

The day after Christmas Paul packed up the kids and went to see his parents in New York for 5 glorious, peaceful days. They saw the tree at Rockefeller Center, went ice skating, went to the American Girl store, and saw the holiday show at Radio City Music Hall.

I spent the entire time getting to know my new spinning wheel and catching up on my favorite shows and podcasts.  I watched Broadchurch TWICE.  I’m just that excited for the new season to start in March!

I spent a lot of time watching Top Gear and Doctor Who reruns as well.  Just me, my wheel, plenty of wool and British television.  Bliss!

New Year’s Eve we had our annual tradition of game night with friends, and we’ve enjoyed all of us being home and lazy for awhile.

We are officially back to school this week and it’s not been the easiest transition after such a wonderful holiday season.

As for my spinning, I’d say it’s going better than great!  I enrolled in a Craftsy class for beginners  (“Foundations of Spinning”) and it really made it click for me. I even plied my single spun into yarn! Real, actual yarn!

01.08.15a

This is a mohair blend. It made sense to start with something I have an abundance of!

01.08.15b

With this, I am officially hooked. It’s fortunate I have a supply of fresh wool growing outside!!!

Shale

Just in time for Christmas (though a bit late for baby’s arrival) I finished the baby blanket I was working on! I had intended to finish it before my cousin Libby’s baby was born, but alas, I missed that mark by about a month or so.  I packaged it up and sent it off as soon as it was blocked and dried, so now that her sweet daughter is warmly wrapped in it, I can show you.

The pattern is Jared Flood’s Shale.  It was a fun, easy, knit; and for people who aren’t constantly distracted like me, quick.

12.22.14a

I used Juniper Moon Farm Sabine in a natural colorway.  The cotton content in the yarn makes it a bit more forgiving of washings, which, with an infant is usually necessary.

12.22.14b

12.22.14c

I am thrilled with how it came out, and as much fun as it was to knit, I can see myself returning to this as a go-to for baby gifts.

Now I am back to working on my Shepherd Sweater, which has been sadly languishing for far too long.  Perhaps I will make progress during our quiet holidays this year?