Solstice!

Well, it’s raining. Again. Still.

My vegetables and flowers are so waterlogged from all the rain that I’m tempted to scrap the garden completely and start over. We had to cancel our plans to pick peaches and roast marshmallows for Solstice. It’s too wet, and there’s flash flood warnings for town. Last time (a mere few weeks ago) this happened, people died locally from swift-moving and swollen creeks. Instead we are watching movies and hoping no one lambs in the deluge.

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We managed to get out for cherry picking not so long ago, and the orchards aren’t faring much better with the weather. The cherries were splitting and then molding on th vine faster than they could be picked.  It was a small harvest.

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We did have enough to make a small batch of Brandied Cherry Jam, though.

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Granola has gotten used me to being out to check on the Ladies (we are in the lambing window now!) , and though he still won’t let me handle him much, he does like to check my pockets for treats.

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While we wait for the rain to end and the lambs to arrive, we are going to eat our weight in blueberry gateau.

Hopefully your solstice is more summery than ours!

 

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The Still Before The Storm

The weather began to hint at an impending storm, so I ditched my garden tools and grabbed my camera. There’s a certain stillness that overtakes everything right before a good storm, and I wanted to enjoy it. It’s not easy to find still moments here just now; between work (and the Escape Room moving locations downtown), school, and the mountain of outdoor work that must be done this time of year, those small moments of calm are fleeting, and I do my best to catch them and linger there.

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In the meantime, Oona has made far too much progress growing up. Her sisters are excelling in their respective programs of study and are headed full-steam into adulthood while I try to hold on to my last baby a little longer.

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I’m loving these azaleas I planted this year!

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The Americauna chicks are out free-ranging now, and seem so much bigger every day. I can’t wait for blue eggs!

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Today I saw the water snake for the first time this year. I’m cool with him as long as he stays in the stream, as in previous years. I’m not thrilled he’s eating the frogs, but he’s part of the ecosystem, so it is what it is.  I think I’ll call him Herb.

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Wild irises along the stream.

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My Spirea looks amazing right now!

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Inside, things are a bit different. The newly-shorn dogs are cowering at the sound of the thunder. I’m still cracking up over how different they look. Thankfully they’ll be cooler this way, and I can access Scout’s hot spots better with the spray the vet gave me. They feel like velvet, shaved so close.  Pretty soon, the sheep will be getting the same treatment, and then hopefully I’ll have a better idea as to their bred/not bred status.

 

Scenes From An Early Spring

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One of the chickens has taken to laying eggs inside the haybale, where the sheep have made indentations from snacking. When done with her daily task, she’s been known to pause for a nap on Darby’s back for a bit.

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I’ve always seen sweet pictures on the internet of sheep with other little animals on their backs; usually cats. I’ve never had it happen here before, and I seriously doubt Samson cat will ever get up the nerve to nap on a woolly back. It’s a happy circumstance for me, then, to catch this hen hanging out with her ovine companions.

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Most of our hens now are laying darker brown eggs; a fact I realized today when getting ready to boil eggs to dye with the kids. Nothing worse than having four dozen eggs in your fridge and having to buy more so your kids can play with pastel colors.

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My Shepherd Sweater is flying off my needles with much more speed than any of my previous projects. I’m guessing this is due to the huge amount of time I’ve spent this year waiting. Waiting for Neve to get out of school. Waiting for doctor’s appointments. Waiting for the garden to wake up. I’ve got the main portion of the body done, and am about to finish the second sleeve.

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I still have to do the pockets as well. They are done as steeks, and I haven’t ever worked one before, so I’m a bit nervous.

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Handsome Granola. I hope he’s done his job!

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The Bradford Pears and Forsythia are finally blooming, and the Cherry Blossoms are on the verge.

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The peonies have only just started poking up, and I’m seeing the very beginnings of the radishes I planted starting up, as well as one lone asparagus that has broken up through the earth. I’m really hoping the rest will show themselves soon!

Buns of Fiber!

After years of waiting and wanting, I’ve got bunnies!

I brought home a brother and sister pair of French Angora rabbits in a color called “Chestnut Agouti” (that’s what their papers say anyway. They’re like a grey and tan).

They are the friendliest, snuggliest little buns, and the kids have named them “Gene and Louise”.

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Miss Louise. They very much like kale and carrots.

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I’m excited to plant a garden full of greens and herbs for them in the spring.

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Gene. He is super chill.  Right now I have them in a large dog crate (separated so they don’t breed!) while I await their more permanent hutch that is coming.

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I’m looking forward to having an adorable source of soft fiber. The kids are thrilled to have bunnies that love being cuddled and played with. Either way, they are a welcome farm addition, and I so hope they are happy here!

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.

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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!

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