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.

30CACE00-4F0E-4445-A636-9D156BDAAC47

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.

132CBEB9-AF51-4FDC-909F-DBDDAB0B2481

1B29C381-BE97-4081-9350-966E46A93B1D

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

41D5DDC2-F595-4150-B7F0-577C7A1BC9EC

F60FE9CE-215C-41E4-9771-7CF57D8B8CA9

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.

D4573A17-3449-4312-BBC9-1D63B4D1A069

9B96427F-2BD9-490F-8769-9A74EAD05DC7

F235329C-BC7A-4BD1-A854-343C8B896F8F

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!

 

Advertisements

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.

05.14.18a

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.

05.14.18b

I’m loving these azaleas I planted this year!

05.14.18c

05.14.18d

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

05.14.18e

05.14.18f

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.

05.14.18g

Wild irises along the stream.

05.14.18h

05.14.18i

05.14.18j

My Spirea looks amazing right now!

05.14.18k

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.

 

Welcome Spring 2018!

03.21.18b

It almost looked like spring out there, with all of the buds about to open on the trees, and all of the daffodils blooming.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  I love a good snow, and a good day off! Besides, here in Central Virginia in March, this will be gone tomorrow, and we’ll be back to business as usual. In the meantime, we are enjoying a day of relaxing and knitting inside.

03.21.18c

I tried getting some good pictures of the flock, but they were convinced I must have cookies in my pockets for them, and wouldn’t let me step back far enough.

03.21.18d

03.21.18e

Darby unbelievably turned 5 a few days ago. 5!

03.21.18f

03.21.18g

Scout has taken her usual spot for the day……

03.21.18a

…..and so have the cats. What’s funny about this situation on the cat tree is not that it is unusual – they do this every day. What’s funny is these two hate each other, and only on the tree do they reach any semblance of coexistence.

03.21.18h

Of course, a snow day would be incomplete without a baked good of some sort. This is our current favorite – the Whole Orange Bundt Cake  from Joy the Baker. The recipe can be found HERE, and I highly, highly recommend it.

I’ll be rounding out the day by knitting and listening to podcasts ( current favorite is My Favorite Murder ) in front of the fireplace. Maybe a nice wee dram of scotch later  – current favorite for that is Ardbeg.

How are you spending this spring day?

Finding Some Hygge

Once in awhile you get a perfect day. One where the weather gives you a little bit of the magic you were looking for (in the form of snow), and you don’t have to be anywhere but right where you want to be.

01.19.18a

We finally got a respectable snow fall this week. The schools closed down, the driveway became impassable, and we were treated to a quiet and cozy winter day at home filled with baking, cuddling with pets, and knitting.

01.19.18b

This rooster ( aptly named Snowball) stood at the backdoor just like this all day, alternating with leg he’d tuck up into his feathers. We tried moving him to dry, non-snowy spots, but it seemed like he was enjoying spying on us too much and kept coming back.

01.19.18c

01.19.18d

I love seeing sheep in the snow.

01.19.18e

01.19.18f

01.19.18g

01.19.18h

After morning chores I made a loaf of cinnamon bread.  Oona hung out by the fire to wait for it to be ready and to snuggle.

01.19.18l.jpg

01.19.18i

I also started working on my next big knitting project: The Shepherd Sweater by the amazing Pam Wynne.

01.19.18j

Spending the day watching the snow by the fire, with cinnamon bread in the oven, knitting, with a small glass of lovely scotch: exactly what I needed. Any chance I can get one of these every week until spring?

01.19.18k

Granola!

I’m beyond thrilled to introduce the newest addition to my little flock. He is a Rambouillet/BFL/Finn cross, and his name is Granola (he came with the name, and it’s adorable, so hes keeping it). He was born last spring, and he is an intact male. Meaning, of course, that once he’s feeling it, he can breed my ewes. And let me tell you, I for one assumed he’d be a bit young still to attempt any romance, but within an hour of being here, he was already making sexy faces and advances on Willoughby. She is super not interested, but Lyra and Carina won’t leave him alone.

01.14.18a

01.14.18b

01.14.18c

01.14.18d

This post is Lyra approved!

In The Bleak Midwinter

This seems appropriate for today’s grey, overcast stillness. It’s, as John Mayer once put it, “the kind of morning that lasts all afternoon”, where the sky remains the same dreary hue from dawn to dusk.

It is, however, above freezing today. The polar temps we’ve been experiencing have relented and given way to some balmy 40 degree days. Honestly, I’d rather keep the polar cold. It’s helpful in killing off harmful parasites and bugs that plague us all through the warmer months. On the plus side, it’s nicer when the water troughs and bottles don’t freeze immediately after they’ve been filled. The sheep have a heated bucket that keeps water liquid, but it’s rather small and requires me hauling buckets of water out rather frequently. The rabbits, unfortunately, do not have heated water bottles, and we’ve spent a great deal of time thawing them out so they always have something to drink. They are otherwise doing very well and producing an impressive amount of compost for the gardens.

01.10.18a

The ducks and chickens are hard-up for water, too. Mostly they drink from the stream, but as it is solid right now, they too are depending on us putting out water.

01.10.18b

Despite the relative quiet and lack of activity here right now, there are a couple of new faces.

01.10.18c

This is Scout. She is a Great Pyrenees who belongs to friends of ours who are transitioning from one home to another, and she is lodging with us while they find their new place and get settled. Though she’s used to guarding livestock and being outside, she followed me in one day and claimed the couch as her own. Most days that’s where you’ll find her.

01.10.18d

She does get overheated fairly easily in the house, though, and will tap on the back door in order to go lay out in the cold for awhile.

01.10.18f

The second new face around here is a permanent one. Meet our new farm cat, Samson.

01.10.18g

Samson is what you’d call “aggressively friendly”.   He’s the friendliest rodent control you’ll ever meet.

01.10.18h

He’s an outdoor cat, but he has a bed in the garage, as well as a sun room on the back deck ( basically, a big box with a cat door with a glass panel that faces out and gets a ton of sun. He loves it).  He is a much better solution to keeping rats away from the livestock feed than any kind of poison or trap!

01.10.18e

Samson accompanies me on my walks around the farm to check on things and enjoy the sites. I love the bare shapes of nature in the winter.

01.10.18i

Even the little waterfall in the stream is frozen solid. There were little birds skittering over the surface, but on my approach with the cat, they flew off.

01.10.18j

It’s an interesting state everything is in; not quite asleep (there are buds on some of my fruit trees!), but not quite ready for spring, either. We haven’t had any real snow yet, though I am still hoping for at least one good storm. Maybe we are all holding our breath a bit, waiting to see how much winter is left.

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”.

11.03.17a

Miss Louise. They very much like kale and carrots.

11.03.17b

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

11.03.17c

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.

11.03.17d

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!