Do What You Love

Currently I’m working on trying to make more time to enjoy the things I love. I’ve been spending so much time shuttling the kids to their various appointments, schools, and activities, and I haven’t had much energy left over for much else. Slowly, though, I’ve been adding back in time in my schedule to work on my knitting and spinning, to cook and bake, and to be more present in the moment when I’m checking on the flock. And you know what? I feel more energized now, and I’m even more convinced of the magical qualities of pursuing what you’re passionate about.

09.28.17a

I’m still struggling a bit trying to find my rhythm with the spinning wheel and getting the twist right, but I am very much enjoying the learning process.

09.28.17b

I’m still working through the roving I bought at Rhinebeck last year, and I’m hoping to have it used up by Rhinebeck this year (because you know I’m going to bring home more!).

09.28.17c

09.28.17d

Oona and I moved the flock up to the front pen this evening. I love seeing them out there when I look out the front window.

09.28.17e

09.28.17g

09.28.17h

I’ve decided that I’ll be looking into finding a Blue-Faced Leicester ram for breeding again this fall. The kids were sad to miss out on lambing this year, and I’d really love to add some new life to the flock.

09.28.17f

As for the garden….we suddenly have watermelons growing again in Oona’s garden.  I doubt they will get very big, but the late-season heatwave has seriously confused the plants that haven’t died off. It’ll be interesting to see how these little guys turn out!

Advertisements

I’m Still Here!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July!

It’s been a challenging year. I was disappointed our mating season was a failure and we had no lambs, but insult was added to injury when I lost my beautiful ewe, Perivale, to a snake bite. Having sheep and goats is kind of a crazy thing to do, because once you finally work out that perfect formula of good grass, good parasite control, and a nice, healthy weight, you lose them to snakes. Or sheer stupidity (our goat, Basil, tragically got himself wedged under a large woodpile and his injuries and dehydration were too much to overcome).

The garden this year was also not the best I’ve had, but I did manage to get a decent amount of tomatoes and basil, along with volunteer pumpkins that grew in spots where the pigs had “deposited”seeds after eating pumpkins last year. The asparagus is looking great as well, and I can actually start harvesting it a bit next spring.

Sabine is officially retired as a guard dog. She was spooked by the fireworks on July 4 and ended up 3 miles away. I brought her inside  to recover from her adventure and she decided she was done with the great outdoors. Considering she’s 11, with the beginnings of arthritis in her hips, I decided she deserved a life of spoiling and luxury from here  on out. It does mean that currently I have no guardian for the flock, however, and I’m going to have to get that taken care of at some point, especially if I decide to breed and have lambs around. Given the choice, I’d get another llama. An Akbash would be nice, too!

However, now that fall is upon us, things are looking up. Neve is studying cosmetology at the local vocational school in addition to her regular studies. Emily is enrolled at the community college. And with that, I feel way older than I’d like! I’ve also been spending a crazy amount of time in the car, driving them to their various classes and appointments. Emily is working on her license, and that will be a relief.

Everyone has been knitting the last few weeks. I’ve finished a project that will be a Christmas gift and am mostly done with a second. The girls are working on scarves. I’ve made pesto ravioli and next week I’ll make pumpkin ravioli. Hopefully I’ll be better about making time for this space again from here on out; I’ve missed the writing!

09.20.17b

09.20.17c

09.20.17d

09.20.17e

09.20.17f

09.20.17g

09.20.17h

09.20.17i

09.20.17j

09.20.17k

09.20.17l

 

Happy 4th!

07.04.17a

07.04.17b

07.04.17c

07.04.17d

07.04.17e

07.04.17f

07.04.17g

07.04.17h

07.04.17i

07.04.17j

It’s a pretty relaxed day of lounging around, swimming, and petting sheep today. I’ve spent some time watching the hummingbird moths all over the butterfly bush by the pool. They move so fast they’re hard to catch an image of!

Later we’ll head out to spend the evening with friends grilling food and playing games. The recipe for the flag cobbler can be found HERE.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

June Already?

Has everyone else been crazy busy and absolutely astounded that it’s already June, or is that just me?

Every ounce of energy has been spent on schoolwork, carting kids to various appointments, gardening, and work.

I DID manage to finish my Chimney Fire Sweater, though! I haven’t taken any pictures yet because it’s a thousand degrees outside, but soon!  That’s the upside to having my kids going to lots of different meetings: lots of knitting time for me!

The garden has been incredibly frustrating and slow, but it’s coming along. I lost a lot of the pepper and tomatoes I started by moving them out too soon. There’s still plenty there, though, and keeping up with the weeds is of course a daily struggle. The worst part is the ticks. Every day I’m pulling about a dozen off of me. And trust me, I’ve tried everything. 

I’ve used every essential oil and bug spray on the market, including the crazy mostly-DEET kind, to no avail. I even went out in the garden in my damn BEE SUIT and still pulled a couple off my back and neck that night. They freaking love me. The harvest this year better be worth it!

I put up deer netting after learning from last year’s total tomato loss, and I’ve got plenty of diatomaceous earth and Neem oil. Once the plants get big enough to withstand them I’ll probably try and keep the ducks in there, at least part-time, to help with the bugs and weeds.

The honeybees are doing very well. I’ve added another box to the hive, since they have mostly filled the two they have already.

06.04.17b

Go bees!

06.04.17c

06.04.17d

06.04.17e

They seem to be happy here. We definitely have plenty of wildflowers, and I just confirmed that we have several wild American Elderberry trees! They’re all in flower right now, and I’m crazy excited to have them.

06.04.17f

What post would be complete without cats? Widget and Poppet are such fat and happy things.

06.04.17a

06.04.17g

And then there’s Pippa, who’s starting to show her age, but certainly not acting it.

Today in (Phone) Pictures

I went out this evening fully intent on taking plenty of good pictures of the flock in this glorious weather, and realized my camera battery was dead. So, I used my phone.

Everyone is doing very well on the plentiful grass, and the new honeybees are thriving. I’m hoping the temperatures stay reliably warm now, because I’ve transplanted my tomatoes and peppers into the garden.

Oona chose watermelons to grow in her garden space, and if we can keep the ducks out, I think she’ll be successful.

IMG_5778

IMG_5787

IMG_5790

IMG_5799

IMG_5807

IMG_5814

IMG_5797

IMG_5820

The Most Bee-tiful Time of The Year

A few days ago I made a honeycomb cake in anticipation of today.

04.20.17a

It didn’t last very long, but it made me happy to think about how close I was to being a beekeeper again. And today was the day!

I drove out to Scottsville this morning to pick up my package of honeybees. It had been postponed a day, which is probably okay considering it rained a bunch yesterday.

04.20.17b

The lovely folks from Scottsville Supply Co  handed me my bee package and queen cage, and off I went, the sound of thousands of buzzing honeybees filling the car. I serenaded them with a bit of Hamilton, but I don’t think they were too into it.

04.20.17c

The queen is in her own separate cage. These bees have not been “bonded” to her yet, so she’s being attached by rubber band to a frame in the hive, which is blocked by sugar.  The rest of the bees are then dumped into the hive with her, and this evening I will make sure the hive is closed securely and “lock” them in with her for now.  In the time it takes for her to eat the sugar and emerge from her cage, the bees will have fallen under the spell of her pheromones, and that will be that. A queened colony!

04.20.17d

The can contains the sugar syrup they were shipped with. There were still quite a bit in there, so I’m leaving it for them to continue to feed from while they acclimate. Since there were still a lot of bees in their plastic bus after shaking most of them out, I decided to leave that in there, as well. After a few days I’ll go out to check on them and I can remove it then, and hopefully remove the entrance reducer and allow them to go forage for pollen on their own.

04.20.17e

Go bees! Draw comb! Feed your queen! And pollinate!