Finished Project: Minoru Jacket

Huzzah! I finished my Minoru rain jacket in time for my trip to Europe!

I used regular ol’ cotton twill in grey for the outer portion and a fun Llama print by Michael Miller for the lining.

This was the first time I’ve ever made something so complex, and though I had a few hangups, it’s not as remedial as I was afraid it would be.

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The collar has a handy zipper pocket in the back to store the hood away if you don’t want to use it or leave it hanging off your back. The collar itself is very tall, which I really like.

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It’ll keep the rain off, for sure. I’ll also be spraying it down with a good water repellent treatment.

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I also think that next time (oh yes, I’ll make more – it was super fun!) I will make the next size down. It’s just a tad big, and I think I’d like it a bit more fitted.

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Check out the llamas!

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You’ll notice I am also wearing my Sew Lisette Portfolio dress from a few years back.

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The back has a wide elastic band to cinch in a bit and create a more flattering silhouette.

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The twill and the lining make it a bit bulky and heavy for just a raincoat, but I wanted a little bit extra warmth, just in case.  We’ll be in Edinburgh in the first bit of June and I’m not sure how warm the temps will be.

I’m thrilled with it. and I’m feeling well prepared for rainy weather!

Shear Bliss

Too corny?

Ah, well.  Yesterday the flock finally was freed from their heavy fleeces (just in time for temps to plummet and rain to fall all day today). But yesterday. Yesterday was glorious.  Later in the evening there was much more frolicking than I have seen since…..well, last spring.

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I love watching Emily work, and I love seeing the wool coming off to reveal the little bodies underneath.

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Wembley’s fleece came off in a solid, felted clump, not unlike a rug.  Poor thing. When a sheep has been as sick as she was, it’s no surprise.  I’m sure the three or four baths I gave her didn’t help. But, now she’s well and free of the old fleece and can start a new, healthy coat.

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Now, this. This is what I love to see. The colored flock. The sun-bleached outer layer, the darker layer at the skin, and all the variation in between.

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The pure Border Leicesters were mostly silver underneath; the Border Leicester/ Cormo crosses were more black underneath.

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Our friend Amy came and helped out with hooves, while Emily’s dog watched (and snatched hoof clipping to chew on).. Seriously, she was a HUGE help. And unsurprisingly, Emily can easily manage a sheep one-handed while Amy and I struggled tag-teaming them.

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The goats were surprisingly well-behaved for her.

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Neve helped out, too, of course!

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Cassie.

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Lyra

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Ursa – who is seriously the tiniest thing once you get her out of her coat!

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Wembley the Wonder Lamb.

I know everyone is sad we were unable to have a party for shearing this spring, but trust me, we had a great reason (BABYBABYBABY) that Susan will update y’all with soon enough.

In the meantime, I hope all of your steps are as light and carefree as the flock!

Yesterday In Pictures

We are SO reveling in the spring weather!!!

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Yes, hello. My name is Adelaide. You show me a fence and I’ll show you a stuck goat!

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She does this every. day.

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It’s been warm enough the last few days that the dogs have started their summer ritual of hanging out in the stream.

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The peas are growing well!

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The peonies are going to bloom any second.

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The lilacs are blooming now and busy attracting bees and butterflies with their heavenly scent.

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The strawberries are flowering.

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The broccoli is sprouting.

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The Monarda is shooting up fast.

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The raspberry bush is taking over!

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The azaleas are about to pop.

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The dogwoods are showing off.

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And Ursa is looking mighty tired of that fleece!

Finished: Alabama Chanin Top

Every day after school this week, Neve and I have been cutting and sewing.  I have such a backlog of projects, and I’m trying to work through all of them while also keeping in mind I want to make a Minoru for my trip to Europe.

I did cut out the fabric for the yesterday; hopefully I’ll get to sewing it a bit tomorrow. Today was a no-sew day, since farm chores were pressing (but I DID get watermelons, green beans, zucchini, Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, and White Pumpkins planted today!)

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Neve got some pictures of me hard at work (I thought she was taking pictures of the cat). Also, that top I’m wearing is a Renfrew I made last month.

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She says she wants this to be a big bolster pillow.

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I managed to finish a top I’d been working for a few years (!!!!!).  It’s from the second Alabama Chanin book (still my favorite of all of them) and when I finished up the last bit today (the armhole. seriously, it took like 15 minutes…..why did I put it off so long?!) I could see how much my technique has improved since I began it. SO much less sloppy these days!  It’s nice when you can see progress in your work; especially since I still feel like so much I do ends up disappointing me.

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I love everything about this. The colors, the shape, the stencil.  It uses a “Relief Applique” style I really like; it gives the stencil a more interesting look.

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The back.

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The details can also help hide little flaws, like that this side piece is made up of two separate pieces.

I have a whole lot more pieces like this that are in various stages of doneness, and my goal is to get them at least mostly complete this summer. They’ve been languishing too long!

Evening In Pictures

Every day seems to be gaining ever more momentum toward summer. I took extra time this evening to appreciate the new flowers, the new bits of green popping up everywhere, and the wooly creatures who will be freed of their heavy winter fleeces in the next week or so.

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The apple trees are starting to leaf out.

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This broody hen is very unhappy that I keep taking the eggs from under her.

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Go Bees!

The other day it was so sunny and warm that it seemed like a perfect excuse to open up the beehive and see how they were doing.  I wanted to check for any indications of swarming (nothing this time) and see if i could find the queen, or, at the very least, signs that she is doing her job.

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Now, when you crack open a hive and start pulling frames to check everything, you want to be as quick and efficient as you can, so as not to disturb the bees more than necessary.  This has been a challenge for me, because I just love looking at their work, and I think I move quite a bit slower than I should. By the time I get to the last box to check, they are pretty pissed at me!

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But how can you not stop and marvel at their work!

The good news is that although I didn’t spot the queen, I did see plenty of eggs and larvae (if you look close in the pic above, you can see the blurry white in the bottom left cells – larvae!), which means she is there, and she is active.

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I also spotted many, many bees returning to the hive laden with bright pollen. With all the spring flowers in bloom, it’s a honeybee smorgasbord!  I’ll be adding a queen excluder soon as their production of honey kicks into high gear.

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In the meantime I’m keeping an eye out for possible swarm activity.  If it happens, I have a whole empty hive waiting to become a second colony.

After checking the bees and putting my gear away, a neighbor stopped by to talk about llamas 9she knows someone trying to re-home three….so very tempting!), and as she was leaving she told me how much she loves our place, and that it’s everything she wants.  It was such an amazing compliment, and all I could say was “me, too”.

Here’s to a beautiful spring and summer to come!

An Easter Lamb Miracle

Hopefully you are all having a lovely and relaxing Sunday.  The weather here is beautiful, if windy, and the kids are about due to crash from their sugar largesse left by the bunny.

I am enjoying the newly blooming flowers and the pea plants which have begun to sprout.

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But the BIG news we are happy to share is that Wembley the wonderlamb has made a full and complete recovery.

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When I found her downed several weeks back with a thiamine deficiency, we were pretty worried.  When we brought her home from the vet that evening, we were unsure how she’d do through the night.

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She lived in my tub for two weeks before I felt like I could move her out to the sheltered front porch.  But after a few days I was still pretty worried. She was still crooked, and could barely stand on her own. When the nearly three week mark hit and she was walking sideways, unable to lift her head completely, I was really worried. But then, suddenly one day, she decided she’d had enough, and walked around the gate and off the porch.  I took her down to the other lambs (lots of bleating was to be had) and worried yet again how she’d do through the night.

But now? Holding her own at the feed trough and hay bale. Walking straight, no head tilting or any indication of illness other than being a bit skinny still.

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The only difference between her pre-illness self and now is that she got used to us being her food-bearers, and consequently is very friendly and cuddly now.

I’m pretty comfortable calling this turn around nothing short of miraculous.