A Quick Trip, And Back to Spring

Last week I took a quick trip up to the Hudson Valley to attend the funeral of my uncle Joe. Although it was a sad reason for gathering, it was fantastic to see cousins I haven’t seen in a long time and be able to give and receive much-needed hugs in person. I was glad for the first time this year to not be worried about lambing this season; otherwise I might not have been able to go.

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Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very spring-like (indeed, it snowed the day I left), which is too bad, because my father and stepmom live in a really lovely spot overlooking the Rondout Canal.  I’ll definitely be going back when the weather’s nicer.  At the very least, I plan to stay there in October, as I will be there for Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool this year.

Back home in Virginia the daffodils are blooming, my hyacinth are growing, and I’m seeing the dark pink shoots that mean my peonies are on their way.

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The peas we planted not long ago are sprouting, and we’ve got radishes, beets, various lettuces, arugula, kale and chard seeds in the ground.

The sheep are playing and kicking up their feet as they run, the bees are happily foraging for pollen and nectar. The songbirds are chirping. It’s a great time of year!

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Washi Shirt

Can I just say how much I love the Washi pattern from Made by Rae? LOVE. I’ve made several things with this pattern, both in woven cotton and in Jersey knits and I’ve had no misfires (knock on wood!!).

Today I’ll show you the shirt I made with some Amy Butler Lark fabric I’ve had waiting around for just such a project.

With the Washi pattern there is an option for the keyhole neck design or the scoop neck, and I prefer the scoop.

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The front is pleated just under the empire waist.

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Let me say this: I love empire waistlines. But, as a woman who is not shaped like a beanpole, it can be a challenge to wear them and not look pregnant. In fact, the last time I wore a high waisted blouse an older gentleman asked me how far along I was.

Yeah.

But with this pattern, this fabric, this comfort level, I don’t even care.

The back is gathered with elastic thread.

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Unlike all of the other woven-cotton blouses I’ve made, this one sits comfortably. It doesn’t feel “off” in any way. I cut it out in the medium size and didn’t have to make a single sizing adjustment.

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Neve was my photographer.  When she takes your picture, she bounces around a lot and you never quite know where to look or when she’s going to snap away. Also, I have a bad habit of looking pissed off in pictures even though I’m not.

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…….And then we were feeling a little silly.

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You cant see it in the pictures, but the destination sign for the bus reads “Walt Disney World”. I was kind of hoping that would come through here, but not so much.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Sunday Progress

It was so sunny and warm out today that we opened the windows early and had vegetable omelets and coffee in the fresh air before getting to work outside.

Oona and I mulched a raised garden bed for her use and she planted peas.  When it’s warmer she will plant sunflowers and mini pumpkins as well.  She is beyond excited!

After we took care of that we finished mulching the back garden and Oona helped plant peas back there as well.  We got tomato and pepper seeds started inside, and I tied the long, spindly rose branches down to the trellis after some pruning.

I checked on the bees and they were happily buzzing about and working hard to bring nectar and pollen back to the hive.

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There were tiny little blue wildflowers blooming all over the lawn, and I found two little crocuses in the front.

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It was great to have the kids all outside all day for once!  Oona conned Paul into playing on the swingset for a little while before dinner.

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Our house lamb is getting used to life outside once again, and is walking and eating on her own.  Her head is unfortunately still turned a bit back, but very slowly that seems to be improving as well.

In the coming weeks we will be putting in the cooler weather crops: lettuces, beets, carrots, radishes, etc.  I can’t wait for them to be ready.  I’ve been craving crunchy salads like nobody’s business!!!!

The sheep have been running and playing and kicking up their feet, and the dogs have been rolling happily in the grass.  Everyone’s got spring fever!

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I think Lucy is the most photogenic dog!

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Though Orzo doesn’t want to be counted out.

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I know spring doesn’t officially start for a few more days, but we are enjoying life as though it is here already!

Pre-Spring

I love this part of the year; the air smells fresh and cool and earthy.  Full of the promise of things to grow. The rains are warmer now, and the first early bulbs are just starting to send their shoots up through the surface.  Normally this also the time of year we look forward to lambs and kids, but we have taken the year off.  Though I will miss the wee lamb noses and kid bleats, I’m relieved to have more time to devote to the garden and other farm projects that are sorely in need of attention.

I have gone through all my seeds and ordered the ones I needed; i’ll be starting my seeds in the mini greenhouse this week. Peas will be going directly into the ground in the next few days.

We did lose one bee hive over the winter. Not sure if it was the Varroa mites that did it or the cold; it was the smaller of the hives and not as strong as the swarm hive I started out with.  I will be sterilizing the components of the hive and seeing if the swarm hive decides to produce another swarm this year. If it does, I’ll be ready for it. That hive is super strong.  It went into winter with a bumper crop of honey.  I decided not to harvest any because there wasn’t a large amount above what they needed for themselves, and I wanted to be cautious in my first year as a beekeeper. It seems to have paid off, because they still have a few frames of lovely honey left and I’m not really needing to feed them much extra.

The chickens are finally starting to lay with some reliability again, to my great relief.

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You cant see the color really well in the picture, but that is a blue egg!  I’m looking forward to being overloaded with eggs again; it’s it’s been far too long!

 

Little daffodils and crocuses poking up!

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I’m hoping to be able to get out and work in the gardens a bit today and clean them up a bit in prep for planting.  I am going to be trying the Deep Mulch method this year. I have so very much waste hay that we may as well put it to good use!

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One of our lovely Silver-Laced Wyandottes, Penny. She likes to hang out on the porch.

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We’ve been able to have the windows open during the day lately, and the cats are loooooooving it. I’m thinking this little one needs a perch next to the bird feeder so she can better stalk her prey.

All this springyness has got me wanting to get sewing a whole lot as well. New dresses and skirts!

I’ve been getting a bit done here and there, and I’ll reveal all soon.  But I am excited about the newest Lonsdale dress I’ve made with some lovely Moda crepe:

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This fabric reminds me so much of one of my favorite sewing bloggers – Lauren over at Lladybird.

For now I am excited to get outside and get the gardening started for real. What are you excited for this spring?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tub Lamb

Just when all was starting to return to normal around here (and all of my seed catalogs were calling to me, reminding me I need to start my seeds), we got another snowstorm.

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It was quite lovely.  Of course, the town was in no way prepared for it.  People were trying to drive home from work in it and there were abandoned cars everywhere on our road. Paul was out on the tractor clearing our neighborhood until pretty late, but thankfully neither of us had to be anywhere.

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I love when it’s just snowed and all of the trees are heavy with it; it’s very Narniaesque!

Today it’s bright and sunny and in the upper 50’s, so everything is melting off and I am back to thinking we actually see spring soon.

It also means I can let our little Wembley outside to get some sun and fresh air.

Wembley, you see, has been living in my bathtub for the past week or so.

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“I know there’s a cat there, but I am going to stare you down for more treats”.

Right before I got sick, we found her at evening feeding time laying in the hay with her head pinned back. Susan and I agreed that this looked exactly like a thiamine deficiency. But, not having any pure thiamine on hand, and out of an abundance of caution, a trip to the vet was in order.

Dr. Davis gave her an IV with thiamine and some glucose to keep her blood sugar up. She couldn’t find anything else wrong with her, so home we went, with instructions to keep her warm and keep her blood sugar levels up.

Into the tub she went, with some hay, food, and warm water mixed with molasses.

She’s been getting many, many shots of thiamine and plenty of attention. Her head is no longer pinned back to her side and her appetite is monstrous. She’s been in the tub awhile, though, and her limbs are a bit unused to holding her weight, so I’ve been taking her outside when I can and trying to get her to stand up.  She tries all the time, but in the tub she cant get any traction to stand.  Otherwise, she is the picture of health!

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“Seriously, lady. Make with the treats.”

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“Hello, cat. Do YOU have treats?”

I’m hoping her strength returns soon and she can be back out with the flock. Keeping a lamb in the tub is just as adorable – and disgusting – as you can imagine.