Monday, August 31, 2009

Join the Crowd

Queen Esther was folded into the flock today. I checked her feet one last time, found them hard and healed, and turned her out with the rest of the sheep. She hadn't limped for a several days, and she was in obvious distress anytime the flock wandered out of her line of sight, so I decided the time had come. Anticipating some getting-to-know-you headbutts between the Queen and the other sheep, I had the camera running. It turned out to be a non-event. (Good thing, too, because just a few seconds into my video, the memory card filled up and the camera shut down.)

I guess because all the sheep had touched noses through the fence panels for a while, they didn't feel like a total stranger was moving in. They sniffed a bit and went about their business. I think with time, she'll be one of the group as much as any of the other sheep. She is still shy around them and is off a little by herself. Once, I caught her looking through the north fence at all the green grass in the next lot, perhaps pondering how to resume her vagabond life on the open road. I hope not. I hope she has plenty of reason to plant stakes and happily become one of the spoiled rotten fiberbearers of Jacob's Reward Farm.

Inside the house, it was another productive day. Tidied up dishes, laundry, vacuuming, scoured the bathroom, animal chores, published a really fun podcast, washed Jacob wool and a big skein of handspun yarn. At one point, I heard Shadrach bellowing out in the pasture. This isn't, of itself, something I usually drop everything for, but then the dog started barking. I decided to look outside to see if there really was anything to be squawking about, and I noticed Shadrach with his head stuck in the creekside fence. Again. He hasn't done that since he was a baby. So I grabbed my gloves and went to pry him out of the fence. I'm glad he's such a crybaby. It has saved his life more than once. I am definitely going to have to replace that wire with fencing with smaller holes. If there's a way for a sheep to get hurt out in that pasture, Shad will figure it out. It's one of his gifts.

Making a little progress on my mosaic knitting hat pattern. I rewarded myself today with jobs done in the house by knitting a round or two on this really fun hat. It's so cool, my daughter says she might like to have it when I'm finished! How about that?

Also found a really fun knitting podcast: Here's to Ewe, with a couple of neat young gals who live in Las Vegas. This link is to their blog, which will take you to their podcast. This podcast thing is addicting. My iPod is becoming one with my ears... But I can quit anytime. Or not.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

We're Going Adventuring

A new week, a new chance to conquer the world. Or at least knock some things off the to-do list.

The weather has taken a definite downward turn - temps in the mid 80's and lows --get this-- in the mid 60's. Uh huh. And my immediate reaction is to get productive. It's getting easier to send my family off to their respective destinations and then turn around and attack something. The living room, the kitchen, the laundry, the piles of flotsam that have solidified into solid clutter landscapes around the house. Not fun, exactly, but the resulting clear head and energy boost it gives me to see clean surfaces in my house is exhilarating.

Then I have the super power necessary to move the farm adventure forward. It's high time to apply some planning power to the upcoming fall activities: Farm Crawl, Storytelling Day, various craft fairs, Kid N Ewe, etc. And Christmas. I really like to have a lot of my Christmas gift-making under way by now.

How about you? Does cool weather get you moving? Are you more inspired to pull the wool yarn out and knit? What colors do you reach for in this weather?

You knew this was coming - today I cast on for the "Crosspatch" hat that has been in my queue for a long time. I want to learn this mosaic knitting, and this seems like a wonderful practice project. Got the first 6 rows done and have immediately messed up the first pattern row. It's because I tried to talk and knit at the same time. And I didn't have my stitch markers handy to mark off the pattern repeats, so this first pattern row will get tinked back. No matter, I'm loving how easy it really is, chart and all.

I'll keep you updated on the harvest fiber as it inches its way closer and closer to the post office.

You, have a wicked fun Monday. The critters send their love.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Woke Up in Heaven this Morning

Not only did I get to sleep an extra hour this morning (no school!) but when I did get up, I found that The Engineer had fed the animals for me. Wasn't that sweet? And when I went outside to finish up the chores of which he isn't fond, namely, raking poo, it was a brisk 75 degrees out. Where's my sweater?? It took several hours for the mercury to hit 80. This is what I've been waiting for. And in the coming weeks, it will only get better... ahhh.

That was a fabulous way to start off the day. Next, I did a little internet housekeeping, beginning with posting our new Jacob's Reward Farm pattern at the JRFF Ravelry group: Rachel's Mantle, designed by shareholder Joanne T. It is a really beautiful pattern and easy to knit. I love patterns that look like lots of work, but aren't! I hope to have it up on the website soon, but in the meantime, you can contact me at ctelisak at juno dot com if you'd like a PDF of the pattern e-mailed to you. (Sells for $6 via PayPal, unless you're a JRFF shareholder, and then it's FREE!) Once our yarn comes back from the processor, we'll also make up kits, but that's down the road.

Speaking of selling stuff, I've decided to let my Strauch drum carder go. I really need one with a finer cloth since I'll be using it on alpaca fiber, and mine has the medium cloth. This carder has a story: I bought it sight-unseen on eBay; the listing had no photo, but I was in my early fiber obsession stage and had no ability to delay gratification. When it arrived, it looked like crap. Aaauuggh! "What have I done?" I did the research, found out it was an old Fricke, and their carder division was now owned by Otto Strauch. Mr. Strauch had mercy on me - I mailed the carder to him, and he completely refurbished it so that it came back looking Spanking New. I've made a point of finding him at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival every year and thanking him for saving me from my own dumb impulsiveness.

New, my carder goes for $530, but for this meticulously maintained, lightly-used machine, I'm asking $400. It comes with all the normal accessories, and a custom made storage or mailing box. More detailed photos are on my Flickr set, if you're interested. She's a workhorse who won't let you down.

Anyway, the day today continued to inspire fiber work (heh, that sounds silly, doesn't it? Fiber work?). I got the last of the alpaca fiber picked outside on the skirting table in the lovely shade, and then lumped it in with the stuff for blending. I'm down to needing to just wash a little bit of Jacob wool, and then we'll be ready to package all the fiber up and mail it to Spinderellas. Then we're popping the cork.

Working in the Red Barn sorting fiber and tidying up the piles put me back in touch with all the cool stuff that lives there. Almost all of it came in with a purpose, an inspiration, a plan. But it gets put on a shelf and has to wait its turn behind the new fuzzy, sparkly stuff that came in behind it--stuff that got lucky and attracted my attention first. I'm very, very bad about that. This issue causes a lot of my cast-on-itis. I go in there and spy a yarn for which I originally had a really good idea. I pick it up, fondle it, refresh all those awesome inspirations, and grab a needle to cast on. Then, 4 rows into it, I set it down, distracted by yet another intriguing material on the shelf that has captured my imagination. I asked my doctor once if I had ADHD. She said, "No, you're just creative." I'm going with that. She's a doctor, after all.

But getting all that fiber ready to process loosened a log jam. I had room in my brain now to actually engage with a project. In fact, I had the overwhelming need to MAKE SOMETHING. I couldn't even think of a knitting project that would give me the immediate gratification I was craving. My eyes fell on a sack of felted sweaters a friend gave me at spinning this week. Aha!! I would finally cover a tomato can with a little felt sweater to hold flowers or pencils or something. I knew it would take me 30 minutes, tops. I have a stash of tin cans waiting for this very purpose. And this is what I made.
It's a tomato can covered on the sides and bottom with pieces cut from a felted sweater and blanket stitched together. I embellished it with some metal gecko thingies just because they were laying on the table - why not? It's not art, but it was fun. And functional. I love functional fiber thingies. In fact, I have more cans, and if I can come up with a more interesting execution, this project might be part of my inventory to take to Boerne in November.

For most of the day I had my trusty iPod and listened to knitting podcasts. I am really addicted to those, thanks to my enabling friend, Liz. Today I listened to about 5 episodes of "Kiping it Real" hosted by Jackie (PinkTiburon on Ravelry). She lives in St. Louis, and her fiance is a entrepreneurial/marketing/consulting guy of some celebrity - Scott Ginsburg of They have to be a totally interesting couple. Anyway, when you listen to podcast after podcast, you get to feel like you know people. Which reminds me, I'm way overdue for a new podcast episode myself. Any suggestions? I really wanted to sit outside on the bench by the sheep pen and podcast with my trusty MacBook, the weather was so beautiful, but it just wasn't to be, today. Let's see what kind of weather we get tomorrow. I know the sheep will have some opinions to share....

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Necessary Evil

That's right, I'm talking about housework.

I put off fibery pursuits today to drop back and deal with some tasks I've been neglecting for, oh, months. First, I cleared off the many geologic layers of papers and books and bits on the kitchen table, which we have been trying to ignore during meal times, but which, alas, finally had to be excavated and removed. Ah, we're back down to woodgrain.

Next, the grunge on the kitchen floor that has been mocking me and calling me all kinds of names got a good scrubbing with an orange oil cleaner that kicked its butt and left a fresh, Florida-like scent. Take that. Same treatment on the cabinet doors and handles. En garde!

I turned to the living room floor that I just vacuumed two days ago, but which already looks like the shearers used it for a staging area. I vacuumed aGAIN. And now, four hours later, the dog has left large fuzzy deposits on my nice clean carpet. I'm talking Handfuls of Fur-gobs. Maybe HE needs to be sheared.

All that, plus a couple of errands, while the lamb simmered in the crock pot. Remember Linda's bean soup? I combined slow cooked lamb with the rich, multi-flavored soup, and it smelled like I had been slaving over the stove all day. That's the effect I like to go for. Thanks again, Linda!

I guess I could have cleaned out the freezer and refrigerator, but why hurt myself? Best to pace the work, I always say. Tomorrow I'll take care of the last of the fiber picking, and bring that process to a close. I just can't wait to see our fiber turned into roving and yarn. The weather, as I predicted, is beginning to come down into the reasonable range for outdoor activity, so I will try to take advantage of that. The skirting table is set up and waiting.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Just got an e-mail tonight from Grady Ingle at Kid-N-Ewe: Jacob's Reward Farm will have a booth this year in Boerne! If you have plans to come, please stop by and see us! It's been several years since I got to attend KNE, and I'm really excited!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In the Company of Women

Today I experienced a bunch of BFF love here on the farm and beyond. Early this morning my friend and our shareholder, Linda, showed up on my doorstep with a big bowl of home made bean soup. She had made extra, and thought of me and my culinary challenges, and brought over a big batch to save me some time and worry about what to feed the family. Is that awesome, or what? What a generous act of kindness! Thank you, Linda - we'll enjoy it in very good health!

Then, after giving a farm tour to some folks who are interested in someday having sheep and fiber in their lives, I went down the road to Paca D'Lites Alpaca Ranch to spin with a wonderful group of fiber friends. Paca D'Lites is the home of Cyndi Daugherty, a machine knitter and wonderful alpaca pal of mine. She hosts this cool bevy of women on Thursdays for some fiber time and a fantastic everybody-pitches-in chicken taco salad lunch. (Secret ingredients: coconut, raisins, and pecans.) Oh yeah. We talked and ate, and spun and knitted. I made some headway on filling up the bobbin of the Indian Head Spinner. That thing holds a couple pounds of yarn, I bet.

I got home in time to do a round of animal feeding and tidying. I found these three Buff Orpingtons trying to lay their egg in the same nest box. One gal was forced into the neighboring nest box, but wasn't happy about it. These girls travel around the farm together in a buff-colored knot, hunting bugs and squawking together. They are the very definition of "old biddies." What would they do without each other?

Sometimes they exasperate us, but mostly, we couldn't live without our girlfriends. Thank YOU, friend, for being part of my life and contributing to the joy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall Fauna

Not much new around the farm today. I do hope it's the last really hot day for a while. We are supposed to get some rain tomorrow afternoon which will drive the temps down all next week. That will rock.

I am seeing signs of the seasons changing: hummingbirds are beginning their migration south, to follow the warm weather. We have had hummers all spring and summer, but they are particularly thick in the Autumn Sage, Flame Acanthus and Turk's Cap right now. Wish I could be in the right place at the right time to get a photo. Harumph.
It's also time for the Monarch butterflies to begin moving through in big bunches. They are visiting our Blue Mist Flower in greater numbers, and will be thick through September.

And today I noticed this long-legged insect visitor to the garden:This Praying Mantis was enjoying a good hunt through the pink petaled Pavonia. I hope he found what he was looking for.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Whole New Rhythm

DD started public school this week, for the first time ever. As I expected, she's taking to it like a duck to water. I really expect her to do very, very well. This change means that instead of three half-days of school per week, with manage-your-own-time-and-assignments on the off days, she now has five full days of class. For her, this means less free time here at the farm, but more time interacting with her new friends. This, she loves. Preliminary reports are favorable regarding teachers and classes, too.

For me, it means three times the amount of hours I previously had to myself to get stuff done around the farm. So far this week I've cleaned the front porch, the living room, done several loads of laundry, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, run errands, got a haircut, all the regular twice-per-day animal chores, and about twelve hundred little jobs that didn't even make it onto the "to do" list.

I'm exhausted. I wonder if I'll have any strength left by the end of the week? All the things that piled up over the summer are now clamoring for my attention, and I'd LOVE to have them off my back. But I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to pace myself. Don't want a repeat of the sore back scenario.

Important accomplishments: Yarn Storm box went out yesterday. Twenty-six pounds of yarn love are making their way to the coordinator in New York. Harvest fiber is almost ready to send to the processor. I am shooting for having that gorgeous stuff in the mail by the end of next week. Working on plans for the fall events here at the farm. I always get concerned right about now that the holidays will be coming at me like a locomotive before I know it. A good offense is the best defense, right?

But out in the pastures, the critters continue to wait out the heat. Nobody's in a hurry. They move slowly and take life pretty easily. Soon, the crisp air will bring out their latent friskiness, and the rhythm will change again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sheep Wrangling 101

Queen Esther's daily foot treatment has given DD and me plenty of opportunity to improve our sheep-catching technique. I have a ways to go. Let's just say I'm not one of those people who makes it look easy. She still has no interest in being caught, but at least with constant repetition, she's no longer leaping clear over the hay feeder or bashing her nose against the fence panels to get away. Hopefully, she's figuring out that getting caught does not automatically mean she's going to get eaten. Every day, we dip her foot briefly in the iodine and then gently let her go. I wonder if we'll ever get to the point where she just says to herself, "maybe if I just stand here quietly, these yahoos will do their thing and then leave me alone." We can only hope.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Day of School Tomorrow

All the usual farm chores went on today, but extra stuff had to wait as we prepared DD for the first day of school tomorrow. We've had a great summer and DD is going into this new school year with a fantastic attitude.

Me? I'm full of all kinds of emotions - I'm proud of her, happy for her, and at the same time, happy that I'll have lots more hours by myself to work here at home and on the farm while she's gone every day. I have big plans to get the house finally cleaned up and maybe start in on an exercise plan. Who knows what wonderful things this new season will bring?

The weather seems to have adjusted its attitude, too. Sure, the highs are still hitting the mid 90s, but the overnight lows are lower, and it takes all day for the temps to actually hit the forecasted high. It's half-hearted, in my book. We won't have sweater weather for a couple of months, but I can feel a change in the intensity of the heat. The fall is coming, just over the horizon. And then, can the holidays be far behind?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shareholder Perk: Farm Sweat

Not everyone you know can say they spent their Saturday on a farm raking sheep and alpaca poo. It's just ONE of the many perks of shareholdership here at Jacob's Reward Farm.

Today I got lots of fun help from Grandmatutu and Kate on a job that is really the opposite of sexy or glamorous: cleaning up the pens, stalls and paddocks. Until we get the fence up in the north pasture, the sheep stuff stacks up in the paddock faster than it breaks down and it has to be removed. Fortunately the weather was as pleasant as it has been in recent weeks, and both of these precious shareholders offered to help me deal with it.

These ladies are hard workers and helped me make quite a bit of progress. The work goes quickly when you have congenial conversation and plenty of cool breaks in the Red Barn. Ms. Kate even helped me catch up QE for her daily iodine pedicure, and got to feel her fleece stubble. Softness defined. Kate agrees, next year's shearing will be enhanced by the addition of her Cormo goodness.

Thank you, ladies, so much!

And speaking of the Queen, our first aid supplies arrived yesterday. Now, fortunately, we won't be needing them, but they will give me peace of mind if we ever have a need arise. (I'm happy to report that her limp is much less noticeable today. I think the healing has begun.) Cool footwear, huh? DH says it looks like an ovine ski boot. For when sheep hit the slopes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Up to Our Necks in Fiber

Wasn't it beautiful today? After a night of storm fronts blowing through with thunder and lightning and much-needed rain, the sun came out today and the air stayed cool and breezy. What better weather could we have ordered to get arm-pit deep in some gorgeous fiber?

Shareholder Laurie came out today to help us get our Yarn Storm yarn packed up and ready to mail to the YS coordinator in New York. We have our first box taped up and ready to go - it is full of treasures of every kind of luscious fiber known to yarn-kind: wool, alpaca, cotton, silk, bamboo, rayon and more. Good. Stuff. It will be winging its way up north soon, carrying our love and good wishes to as many recipients as the coordinator deems. Paying it forward, ladies. That's what you've done.

Then we turned our attention to the JRFF fiber harvest. Laurie and I re-inventoried the different fibers, colors and amounts of stuff that we have gotten clean and tidy, and I'm delighted to say that we might just make my goal of having the stuff ready to send off by the end of the month. We're very close - only a little bit of picking left to go, and as we see the blend combinations come together, I'm getting really excited to think about the rainbow of goodness that will be coming back to us! Our boys have done a wonderful job of growing fiber we'll enjoy spinning and knitting. Closer.... closer.... butter-soft rovings in fawn, brown, white, gray, and black. That's what I'm talking about.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Clouds Parted and Miracles Rained Down

I know that sounds kind of dramatic, but I need to express my relief in finding out from the vet that Queen Esther's foot issues are not, after all, the dreaded black plague of sheep: Foot Rot.

There is a particular combination of bacteria that produces a terribly contagious, damaging and deadly foot disease that has wiped out entire herds of beautiful sheep. Our concern was that, not only could the Queen be affected, but that having her on the farm could jeopardize our entire flock. DD and I had already begun practicing safe shepherding with biosecurity measures, and it was clear that a future of that would be a huge burden, and risk.

After taking a few stabs at trying to treat her myself with knowledge gained from the internet and from experienced shepherds, I called in the services of our farm veterinarian. After securing a last-minute appointment, DD and I stuffed the poor Queen into a dog crate, hoisted it into the truck and headed for Farmersville. Without even realizing we had a Queen in the truck bed, they saw us right away.

Dr. Spangler examined her foot, and after lots of pressing of pads and parting of toes, he declared that this was not, in fact, foot rot. He said that she must have been standing on wet ground for some time, which softened her toenails and allowed an infection to get in. He gave her a shot of NuFlor and prescribed daily toe dips in iodine until the foot dried out and healed. He expects her to regain soundness, though I didn't remember to press him for a time frame. In fact, he worked so fast that I didn't get a photo of him at all, what with all the prodding and rearranging and jostling of legs in the dog crate and whatnot that I was obliged to do.

DD and I carted her home, dipped her toe in iodine before releasing her back into her quarters, and heaved a Herculean sigh of relief.

I have not broken it to her that she will not now need the beautiful blue rubber boot when it comes by Priority Mail. Maybe she'll forget and I won't have to disappoint her. I'll add it to the growing Medical Kit and it will be ready in the future, should the need arise, God forbid.

The Queen and I thank you so very much for all the outpouring of love and concern and prayers and well wishes for her healing and comfort. She has surely found a home and community full of so much love that her tragic past will soon be only a dim memory.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Esther's in Rehab

DD helped me catch up Queen Esther this morning so that we could apply the first of several suggested remedies for her sore foot. Her enforced wellness program began in earnest with a lovely iodine nail soak, and some ointment for the clipper nicks on her butt. Except for me having to bend over for an extended period of time during the soak, the operation was happily uneventful. I think she's beginning to settle down. Later I was happy to see that her appetite has improved and she's not nearly as concerned about me hanging around while she eats. That's good. Having the other piggy sheep crowd around me for their chow is also helpful.

Tomorrow we'll step up the treatment to include an iodine ointment wrapped in purple Vet-Rap (DD picked the color) and see how long she can keep it on. I understand contact with the anti-bacterial agent is part of a successful cure. I have ordered another ointment with a different active ingredient, and a blue rubber boot to keep the ointment on the foot and away from the sheep. The Queen will have the only blue rubber sheep boot in this zip code, I'll wager. If she resists the designer footwear, I will remind her that we have to suffer for beauty (and health).

And I will be sending for my on-line vet degree when treatment is complete.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ta Da! Esther Revealed!

We did it. My new friend Sarah, and her mom Brenda, came this morning and helped us dig down under lots of dirty, matted, filthy wool to find our Queen Esther, and free her from those rags.

Several challenges made the job more difficult - my sheep stand is wonky, and I haven't gotten the new head stand fixed yet, which means we sort of have to tie the sheep into it. They don't really like that and it makes them grumpy and fidgety. Add to that the fact that Esther is a nervous, jumpy girl with a sore foot, and it's like trying to lasso popcorn. Next, clippers work best on clean wool, and this was the opposite of clean wool. The staggering variety of stuff stuck in that wool was impressive. She got a couple of nicks just because there was so much garbage to cut through, that occasionally, the clippers got too much. But nothing problematic.

Next we tackled her horrible feet. All of them were terribly overgrown, and one, the cause of the limp, was badly infected. We trimmed away all we could and dipped her foot in a bleach solution for a few minutes to try to kill some of the bacteria that are causing such pain and decay. (Not sure that would be the vet's solution, but it's what I had on hand.) I gave her a penicillin shot to help ward off the infection from the inside. This also means that I can't have her walking out in the pasture where the other sheep live because foot rot is terribly contagious. (Free sheep bring issues, have I mentioned that?) Her foot will need to be soaked every day for a week or so, and I will probably give another penicillin shot in a couple of days.

But that hot wool is off, and she can at least be cool. And we're working on getting her foot better so that pain should start to diminish.

Esther is clearly a project that will take time. If you think if it, send a little prayer up for QE, that her sicknesses abate and that her little heart can settle down and find a home here. Who knows what her life has been like so far? She isn't thin, thank goodness, but she has not been maintained well at all. Sarah thinks she's only about two years old, so she has lots of life ahead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Free At Last!

We sprung Queen Esther out of the local Animal Shelter this afternoon, aided by one of Murphy's Finest, Officer Tammy. DD helped, too, because we needed lots of help to corner our girl in a pen that was big enough for her to get a little speed up, and crash nose-first into the chain link. Which she did. She bloodied her own nose in the process. Sheep can be kind of, um, self-destructive. With just a mini-rodeo, we had her caught and loaded.

Tammy not only helped load Esther into her Critter Mobile (as I dubbed it) but she drove Esther to the farm and helped wrestle her into the waiting pen. Since we had worm issues, and since QE is still as wild as March hare, I dosed her with wormer before we turned her loose in her new little pen. I wanted to handle her as little as possible today, so that she could begin to settle into her new home.

Now, the issue is shearing. This is going to be a hot week, and even though QE has shown herself to be unbelievably tough in this heat, I don't see any reason to prolong the discomfort. Also, she's got a fairly pronounced limp, and we need to investigate the cause. So I picked up the phone and reached a shearer who had been recommended to me - a young lady who is willing to do small flocks in this area. I told her that my experience is still limited and that I'd appreciate her help and some "teaching." By a miracle, she is off work tomorrow and will be here at 9:30 AM to help us out. We can get the wool off (trying to salvage as much as possible), look her over for skin problems or cuts, abrasions or whatnot, and see what's wrong with her right front foot, if anything. A complete sheepy spa makeover.

The other sheep welcomed the Queen with curiosity, if not reverence. In fact, Shadrach gave her a couple of unceremonious butts through the fence. I believe when we get her wool off that Shad will be the bigger sheep of the two. But they won't get the opportunity to jostle for the crown for a while yet. After a couple of hours in her new home, she relaxed noticeably and I hope she will get a good night's sleep among her much-needed ovine companions.

In other farm news, I found another chain link pen for sale on Craig's List: 7.5' x 7.5' x 4' for a really good price. I just had to drive to Lewisville to get it. Ms. Laurie lives on the way, so I met her and we went to pick it up from a real nice guy who was cleaning up some rental property. Laurie, Lance and I tied the one-piece pen to the truck within an inch of its life and I trundled slowly down the road to home. Some people collect stamps or Hummel figurines. I collect chain link. You just never know when you're going to need a handy pen for a new critter, or a sick critter, or a stray critter. And it was cheap. Just like me. Squeak, squeak...

Tomorrow, the big reveal, as QE is relieved of her woolen raiment... Be sure to tune in!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Suris Leaving the Nest

On this hot summer afternoon, Mary and Ken Berry came down from Farmersville to pick up their little alpaca boys and take them finally to their real home. Haltering them was a little bit of work, just because they haven't had enough experience yet. But we gave them a farewell squirt with the hose to make their ride a little more comfortable, and with a little coaxing (ok, and some lifting) they made it into the trailer, and were off down the road.

Boaz and Micah, left here alone in their little-boy paddock, seemed a bit confused and maybe a little forelorn - though I hate to anthropomorphize too much. In any case, I decided they needed a romp in the sprinkler, too, and Bo took advantage of the hose for a cool drink right from the source.

Still no word on the Cormo ewe. I hope there is good news tomorrow.

All Around Glorious Day

The third Saturday of the month is Spinning Day at the Red Barn here at Jacob's Reward. This morning we managed to seat nine lovely ladies comfortably with spindles, knitting needles, or wheels. (I think the Red Barn is sort of like Dr. Who's phone booth sometimes - not sure how it's done.) And we proceeded to have a blast. Shareholder Carol got here first and treated the chickens to a feast of raspberries and raisins. They will watch for her arrival from now on. Then Farm Aunties Chris and Mary pulled in, and Laurie, Brenda and sister Donna, Rita, Gracia, and Kate!
We got Carol spinning on a spindle - she is one intense lady! She was so focused that she needed to take frequent breaks and stretch her fingers! But her yarn is coming along beautifully! Yay! Another spinner is born! Mary, aka Grandmatutu, is spinning nicely as well, but she has to be careful of her shoulder. Good thing everyone always has yarn to knit on when the hands need something familiar and comfortable!

Lots of the gals brought yarn for our Yarn Storming project, with Chris digging the deepest into her stash to gift knitters less fortunate--three large garbage bags full! We all did a little swapping around in the bags and still ended up with what will be a really big box of goodies to send up to New York.

Laurie never seems to come to the barn without her signature to-die-for quiche, which fed the crowd, supplemented by Rita's chips and Carol's melon slices. Total Nom-Fest.

Into the afternoon, we ventured out to visit the critters, and Carol had apples and carrots for the pigs - I mean alpacas. Mr. Gizmo helped himself to the largest share of the treats, and the chickens stayed busy picking up what fell on the ground.

The time together with fiber in hand was spent in wonderful conversation as our little community bonded in even more meaningful ways. If you haven't been to the Barn yet for a spinning day, please plan to be with us next month, on September 19!

I didn't get any updates on our Cormo ewe. I left a couple of messages for the Animal Control Officer, so we're just having to wait.... tick... tick.... tick.... I'll post here as soon as I know something definite.