Sum Total



Is the sum total of my knitting for the month.

Two measly rows.

To be fair, it’s been an insanely busy month.  I am starting to realize that April seems to be THE busiest month of the farm year.  Between babies being born, shearing being done and garden work going on, it’s exhausting.

Plus, Susan is moving, and we’ve been helping her take things to the landfill and storage as needed.  It’s been a fun and hectic month, but it leaves little down time.  In the evenings, when I would normally be knitting, Oona has decided that snuggles on my lap are essential.

I can hardly complain about that.

The good news is that by next week the majority of the garden prep and planting will be done, everyone will be settled, and things will calm down a bit. Then that yarn and I are going to spend some quality time together.

Neve and The Giving Tree

No, not the book.

We have a small line of those crappy scrub pines in our front yard – the kind that we really want to take down, but we don’t have anything nice and tall to replace them with, and we like the relative privacy they afford.

One of them has a bird’s nest about 10 feet off the ground.  Neve spotted it quite a few weeks ago while playing outside, and has been keeping an eye on its inhabitants ever since.

Yesterday when she was strolling by she noticed a tiny baby bird on the ground under the nest.  Carefully, Neve picked up the little baby and climbed up the tree to the nest.  As she peered into it to find a place to deposit the tiny bird, she spotted two other babies and a dollar sticking out of the nesting materials.

Deftly she placed the baby back in the nest and swiped the dollar, stuffing it into her pocket so she could make the careful descent back to the ground.

Then she carried on with her day – telling us all excitedly how she got to hold a little baby bird.

She completely forgot about the dollar in all her excitement.

But wait…….it gets even more far-fetched!

While watching tv on the couch with us last night she was re-counting her story and suddenly remembered the dollar.  She reached into her pocket, unfolded the bill and – it was a twenty!

Can I just tell you how incredulous and skeptical we all were?  I think we grilled her for half an hour on the truthfulness of finding a twenty dollar bill in a bird’s nest.

However, in the end, no one was missing any cash, Neve’s story never wavered, and we were forced to believe the incredible tale.


I think that little Neve leads a charmed life!


Some week, huh?

Luckily I’ve had plenty to distract me and keep me busy so I wouldn’t sit around and worry about friends and relatives in Boston.

Paul did some tractoring in the area out back where the squash garden will be put in.


It will more or less double the garden space we already have, and this way the squash can spread all it likes and it won’t overtake the tomatoes and peppers like last year.

We also did tails, tags and testes this week.

We dock our lambs’ tails to avoid the potential for fly strike.  Although we can do it ourselves, we prefer to let the vet take care of it.  It’s done with the use of a very tight rubber band that disrupts blood flow to the tail.  It’s uncomfortable for them, but not super painful.  After a while the tail simply “dries up” and falls off.  We do the testicles of our boy lambs and goats the same way.  The vet gives them some pain killer at the time the banding is done, and after an hour or so they don’t seem to remember that the bands are there at all, and they are back to playing and eating normally.

Ear tags were done this week at the same time.


Darby.  Lord I love that little lamb.


Doesn’t he look spiffy with his new tag?


We also had a lovely visit from my friend Theresa who came down from  New Jersey with her little ones.



We played with lambs and the kids had a blast.

We are so fortunate to have wonderful friends and beautiful weather and adorable babies!


Trying To Craft

Some people say I have too many irons in the fire.

Other people say “jack of all trades, master of none”.

I disagree with both.

True, I have waaaaaaay too much going on for most normal, rational people.  Especially now that it is spring and I am working on getting gardens in, dealing with new lambs and kids, raising new ducks, clearing out brush, managing four homeschoolers and reorganizing much of the house.  It makes it pretty difficult to find time to knit or sew; never mind learn how to use my spinning wheel or loom.

But I think having many varied interests and projects can be a really good thing.  For one, I am never, ever bored.  Not ever.  There is always something that can be done, and always something that can be learned.  I can also generally find something to talk about with new people.

It does, however, make it challenging to find the time to do some of the things I enjoy.  Often by the time I’ve taken care of all the things that need my attention I am too tired for the things I want to do.

But it’s okay, because soon school will be done for the summer and the gardens will not need such intensive care during the day (in fact once the heat hits for real I’ll be doing outside chores early in the morning and late in the evening).  The animals will be in need of more attention, but nothing that I can’t knit in between.

So I have plenty of projects lined up waiting for this magical time of less things to worry over.


This lovely Joel Dewberry fabric is waiting to be an A-line skirt for me.  I have a bunch of projects waiting to sew, actually, but right now this one is my favorite.

And just what does one do when one’s best friend is a star in the yarn and fiber world?


You horde all the yarn she makes. (My craft room is looking better now that I’ve got this unit for all my yarn and fabric!)

Oh sure, I get plenty of free samples of her yarn.  The problem is, once you’ve held and petted the yarn it becomes imperative to get your hands on as much of it as humanly possible.  I’ve spent plenty of time trolling WEBS and buying out quantities of JMF yarn whenever I can.

SO there are plenty of yarn projects lined up.

The one I am tackling first is this lovely Honeybee Stole pattern with some luscious yellow Findley.


Such a fun, light, summery project and I CANNOT WAIT to get started on it!  I have a flowy white sundress it will look perfect with.  Also, this yellow Findley just cried out for it!

I am hoping to cast on tonight – barring a thousand distractions.  It is lace, afterall, and as I have said many a time before, lace knitting and children  JUST. DON’T. MIX.

Our First Shearing!

Today we had the luck to see both our friend Lisa and our friend Emily, Shearer Extraordinaire!

I was excited to see what kind of condition our sheep are in underneath all that wool, and to see if Alabama still looked like a planetarium once he was shorn.

He does.


Emily sheared everyone in no time flat.  She always has good advice and pointers and I got to see how my sheep are looking through the eyes of an expert.


Lisa’s littlest one came along, as did her older brother Alston to play with Oona.












Mountains of luscious wool sit in bags now, waiting to join with Susan’s and be turned into yarn and blankets.  Lisa and I got to spend a lovely day together while the kids played,  and Emily is on to her next shearing gig.





Susan came over on April 1st bearing a box – and not just any box.

I think in fact her words were “Happy April Fools! I brought you ducks!”


Six of these little cuties are residing in a makeshift brooder in one of our chicken coops.  We don’t know the breed(s) or gender(s), but they’re ducks, so does it really matter?


They have a nice heat lamp to keep them warm since it hasn’t exactly warmed up yet the way it did last year at this point.  We’re excited for them to feather out so we can let them swim!

Meanwhile the chickens are giving us sure signs of spring: they’re laying eggs again.  Lots of eggs.  I am about to be overloaded again.  I am not complaining about that, though.  I’d rather be overloaded than otherwise; I actually had to buy eggs this winter.  Free – range organic eggs are not cheap, let me tell you, and I won’t have extra money to buy expensive eggs for awhile because of this:


We got a tractor.

There was just no getting around it anymore – we need a tractor.  Our road out to the pasture is usually too muddy for hay delivery, and there’s no way to move an 800 pound bale of hay without a good sized tractor.

Not to mention that we need to FINISH the pasture.

This weekend we are going to focus on penning in a portion for the animals to stay in while we remove the rest of the tree stumps from the field (again, tractor required) and get some grass growing.


I also need to focus on getting the new squash bed tilled and ready for planting in a few weeks.  I’m actually thinking I may borrow Susan’s pigs for a few weeks to dig it up and fertilize it for me.

Things are getting exciting around here!