Friday, December 31, 2010


We're having a little reprieve from winter today. It was 66 degrees earlier this afternoon! There's no need to be surprised by it. This is Kentucky, after all and the interlude won't last. This time last week, we were anticipating a white Christmas. Today the bees are cleaning out their hive and I feel spring feverish. I am not fooled, though. Winter is just waiting to pounce again
The big girl ewes and the little girl ewes spent most of the afternoon snoozing in the sunshine in their respective fields. Holly moved between the two and slept along with them. Except for a short run to the feed store and what I hoped would be a quick trip into the grocery, I've accomplished very little today. Please tell me why so many people are frantically grocery shopping on New Year's eve? Judging from the mob at the store, we must be the only people in Woodford county who are not having a big feast or party tonight! We'll be lucky to manage being awake at the stroke of midnight, much less out partying!

I've been thinking a lot today, mostly, about the coming year. Shearing and lambing will be here in two short months, then gardening and, most exciting of all, a wedding in the fall. Mike's son, Taylor, and his fiance, Crimson, are planning to be married here on the farm in early October. We have plenty to accomplish between now and then and you'll probably hear a lot about it. We've done this once before, when Mike's daughter, Katie, got married here 6 years ago. I am so pleased that they want this old farm to be the setting for such an important day in their lives. (And, there's nothing like the deadline of a big event to get all those neglected projects finished up!)

However you choose to welcome the new year, I wish for you a safe and satisfying evening and hope you'll join me here for another year of life at Tanglewood Farm. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Not so bad

It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. The surgery was quick and I slept most of the following two days. (Mike's theory was that I was trying to catch up on all the sleep I've missed in the last year or so, when the carpal tunnel numbness woke me up three or four times a night.) At any rate, it's over and I'm ready to get on with it! Mike says I don't make a good invalid, which I will take as a compliment (though I'm pretty sure that's not how he meant it). And thanks to all of you for all the good wishes. One down and one more to go (though not for several months).

I'm enjoying my quiet time at home this week. I've been thinking about how I would like my life to be in the coming year. I'm going adopt my friend Lindy's idea and pick a word for the goal I want to achieve (definitely not a resolution-that's doomed to failure from the get-go). Right now there are several words that appeal to me: balance for one and maybe living a healthier life. How about you? Do you have goals for the coming year?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moving right along

Whew! I'm sorry for all the confusion. I fully intended to get this up in the morning, but like a lot of plans I've made lately, it just didn't happen. So, I'm going to go ahead and include all those folks who got here a little late to the party. After all, it tis' the season!

According to, the winner of the Christmas Give-away is comment number 6. Michelle said..."Oh, I would be wonderfully happy to win ANY book by Alice Starmore; thanks for the chance!" So, Michelle, send me an email at, with your address and I will get this package right off to you. Thanks to everyone who stopped in and commented. It is so much fun for me to read all the comments and follow links back to your sites. I never cease to be amazed at how the internet can connect from so many far flung places.

Our farm lane has finally thawed out and is safe to drive on. We are going to have a few days of "normal" (whatever that is) temperatures in the 30's and then the bottom falls out again and we head for single digits. I'm going to be excused from farm chores for a while. My poor husband will be doing all my chores while I recuperate from carpal tunnel surgery. A big part of my panic at being ice-bound for 4 1/2 days was because I could see that I was not going to be fully prepared for Christmas in time. I found out the day before the ice storm that my surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I would not have chosen a pre-Christmas date, but having to work around the surgeon's schedule, Mike's schedule and my own made it a necessity. I'm just hoping, hoping, hoping I'll be able to figure out how to knit. I am a very right-handed person, so the idea of wearing a cast on that hand for three weeks is daunting, to say the least. It's possible I'll be forced to practice my continental style knitting (at which I am lousy)!

(that's little Miss Olive looking at me...hoping for special treat...because she knows she's special!)

We are still seeing the coyote on a regular basis. In fact, yesterday morning he (or she) came within about 30 feet of the house. I'm worried that this one is getting just a little too comfortable around here. Holly was doing her duty, staying close to the sheep, protecting them and barking. She spent the entire day out in the field with the ewe lambs and, as I write this, is doing her nightly patrol, now that all the sheep are in the barn for the night.

Thanks to all who commented and I hope you'll check in here again. There is always something going on here on the farm..........and lambing time will be here before we know it!

A winner coming soon!

Thanks so much for all the comments. I'm so sorry for the delay, but I'm having a bit of a glitch here. I should be able to post the winner's name a little later today. Be back soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Give-away

Still here on the farm and still iced in. This is an exercise in patience and one I would have preferred to experience after Christmas. Honestly though, we are doing fine. I think it's more the idea that we can't get out that makes us a little restless. That and the fact that I'm not finished with Christmas gifts. Mike noted today that we could probably live off the food in the pantry and the freezers for several months. I'm hoping this is not the time for us to find out!

So, enough of my whining. Here we have the last give-away of the year and I think it's a great one. I've had a ridiculous time trying to get some decent light for pictures. It's been gray and gloomy during the daylight hours, so I've taken these in the house, under some strong lights and they are a pretty good representation of the colors. Not perfect, but close enough that you will get the idea.

There are three skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Kaffe Fassett (lamb's wool and very soft), two skeins of Cascade Pastaza (50% llama/50% wool) and one skein of Merlin the Cat Yarns Superwash Sock (560 yards of merino wool). The book is "Fishermen's Sweaters by Alice Starmore. It has tons of sweater patterns (mostly ganseys, but some fair isle) in sizes for the whole family.

I imagine next week will be pretty hectic for all of us, so I'm going to ask that you leave a comment by 9:00 am on Tuesday morning, December 21st (Eastern Standard time). If I hear from the winner soon enough, I just might manage to get it in the mail before Christmas.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to check in here and participate.

Friday, December 17, 2010


(Lottie's perspective is that it's all long as feeding time is on schedule)

They say that's what matters, right? I'm trying to keep the perspective that this is a nice little respite from the busy-ness of the holidays. I'm trying to remember that the ice coating on everything is beautiful...even magical. I'm trying not to think about the fact that I'm not finished with Christmas preparations and that if we lose electricity, I'm done for! While other parts of central Kentucky got inches of snow, we got ice. We are iced in. Our farm road is one solid sheet of ice leading down to the creek and up the other side. Even four-wheel drive doesn't help on ice. Just walking to the barn presents major challenges and I've taken to carrying an electric fence post with a spike on the end to help me keep my balance! I'm more than grateful that we have heated, automatic waterers for the animals, so except for Henry and the chickens, I'm not having to carry buckets of water for everyone. It could be worse.

So, are you wondering what happened to the next give-away? It's coming......I promise. I've been trying to get some good pictures of the goodies and it is so dark, I'm not having much luck. I will keep trying and hope to get the give-away post up either today or tomorrow. Check back in the next day or two.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Want to feel under-appreciated? Want a job that is good for someone else and will make them feel better, but leave you feeling as though you just had a workout? How about having to pin your patient up against the side of his pen and hold on for dear life while you administer treatment? Not so much, huh? Me neither, but that is what I'm doing several times a day right now (and the thermometer in the barn read 5 degrees this morning). Our man Henry has a nasty abscess on the top of his head (ick!). How he got it, I do not know. In any case, when I first discovered it, he was one sick boy. Now that he's had a few days of antibiotic, he's feeling much perkier and stronger! Oh man, he does not like having warm Epsom salt compresses applied to his poor head! I can distract him for a few minutes by feeding him grain, but then, hold on because the boy doesn't want to stand still for this foolishness. I'm trying to remember that this is a good sign....that he's feeling better and the antibiotics are working. I'm hoping I won't need treatment when it's all over!

(I call this his "Go ahead. Make my day" look, but he's really a pretty sweet guy.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good girl, Holly!

Can you see that creature sitting up there in the snow? (click to enlarge) Yesterday as I was trudging to the barn for evening feeding, I heard Holly barking, barking, barking. She was barking an alarm bark, not just a warning bark and bouncing up and down with each bark. It took me a while to see this guy sitting out there watching the sheep. The whole scene was at once alarming and reassuring. Alarming because coyotes are usually out and about after dark and rarely do they come within sight of the house and barn. It was reassuring because Holly was doing exactly what she should. She hadn't abandon her sheep to chase the coyote. She had rounded up the ewe lambs and put them in the corner of the field nearest the big barn. Once she had them in the safest available spot, she placed herself between the lambs and the coyote and continued barking and moving slowing toward it. The coyote loped off toward the back of the farm. Holly has been on high alert since this happened, constantly patrolling and giving her warning bark.

There seems to be a larger than usual coyote population right now. A few nights ago, as I was walking from the barn to the house, I heard a big pack howling and yipping from the back of the farm, only to be answered by another large pack down in the creek below our house. Talk about raising the hair on the back of your neck....that'll do it! We don't hunt or trap them, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility, if one were to attack Holly or kill one of the sheep. We try to coexist. We won't bother them, if they don't bother us or the livestock.

When Holly first arrived here, we figured she had been born around Christmas time. She has matured into one of the best livestock guardian dogs I have ever owned. I'm thinking she may need some kind of combination birthday present/reward in the near future. Good girl, Holly!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another winner

(the Old Girl is taking her mid-morning nap in her favorite spot--don't know where her buddy is)

It was a balmy 15 degrees at feeding time this morning. Amazing how warm that can feel when the sun is out and the wind is not blowing! Mind you, I'm not complaining about the cold. I think I used all my complaining rights during all the hot, dry days we experienced this past summer. According to the weather people, we are in for a few days of warm-ish (30's-40's) weather before the next front rolls through this weekend to give us a repeat of last weekend. Lots of rain, turning to snow and then low, low temperatures. Right now I'm especially glad to be raising livestock with warm, woolly coats to keep them comfortable.

So, enough with the chit-chat. I know what you all are really here for! I've been blown away by the number of comments these past few days. It's obvious there's a love fest going on out there for Kristin Nicholas and I'm sure she is grateful for all your sweet comments. As knitters who appreciate independent designers working from their homes, we need to support and encourage their efforts by buying their books and patterns (and in Kristin's case cards, bags and mugs), preferably direct from them personally.

The winner of "Kristin Knits" and a selection of Julia yarn selected by this morning is number 9-Jody, who wrote "Luv your cute little stove...just what I need for my cold and drafty craft room!" Jody, I can't send you my little stove, but I'll send along Kristin's book and some beautiful, soft, warm yarn if that will help! Please email me at within 24 hours with your address and I'll get it mailed right away.

(The gratuitous picture above is the outside of my new studio building. I know I've been promising to do a post with pictures and I'm going to do that really soon. I'll confess that at the moment the inside looks as though I've had a break-in and the place got ransacked! That's the problem with actually working in it...........I can't keep it tidy!)

Thanks to all who stopped by to leave a comment. I'll be doing at least one more giveaway before Christmas, so check back soon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New day, new week, new giveaway

Pippi loves the snow!!

It's been way too busy around here.....already. I want things to slow down so I can savor the season instead of rushing, rushing through it, trying desperately to get everything done.

As I write this, it's snowing outside, the animals have had their morning rations and I hope to spend most of today cozy in the studio. We got the little Vermont Castings stove installed not long ago and it's just as I hoped it would be. It warms the studio quickly, gives me just a little glimpse of the flames behind the glass panel and, now that Mike has cut some firewood small enough to fit, I can build a fire in no time at all. Plus, it's just cute!

So, on to the new giveaway. Kristin Nicholas is someone I would love to know personally and attending one of her on-farm workshops would be a dream come true! She is inspiring in so many ways. I love her use of color and seeing her designs makes me want to be more brave in the color choices I make in my knitting. So, for this giveaway I'm offering a copy of Kristin's book, "Kristin Knits", and eight skeins of Julia yarn. The reason I have two copies is because I pre-ordered the book, but when I discovered Kristin was selling autographed copies herself, I decided I wanted to support someone I admire by buying from her directly. The yarn is a scrumptious blend of alpaca, mohair and wool and has 93 yards in each ball. The colors are fabulous and the book will give you plenty of ideas for using it.

Leave a comment between now and Wednesday midnight eastern standard time and I'll random number generate on Thursday morning. Good luck!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not quite the peaceable kingdom......

Finally, after a lot of head butting, shoulder shoving and general bully-boy acting, we have achieved a truce. When I took the rams away from the ewes in their breeding groups, I dreaded putting them back together. Most of the year, they get along well enough. I would say they even become pals. But, as soon as the ewes start cycling, the boys get restless and then every day it's "I'm more rammy than you are"....pretty much nonstop until I separate them and put them in with their ewes. Henry is a new addition to our flock this year and Ollie is not impressed or pleased (but, I think the girls were!). As usual, I penned them together in a very, very small space in hopes that they would not hurt each other in the time it took for testosterone levels to come down. I penned them together so they could barely turn around and still they were pushing and shoving after a week. I gave them a little more space and after another few days, turned them outside together. I think Henry got the worst of it, but they finally have settled down. Henry is an old guy and he made a valiant effort at being the dominant one, but Ollie is not quite two and that gave him the physical advantage.

(Yes, I know...the coat is done for....I took it off and found it's beyond repair. That's his third and LAST coat for this year!)

(Seriously, what's not to love about that face?)

Then, there is poor Buddy (he's a wether), who got thrown into the pen to serve as a peace-maker. He's bigger than either of the rams and could intimidate them, if he only knew it. He's such a big baby and sweet boy. He'd rather be baby-sitting those silly ewe lambs than dealing with the rough old boys. (And, by the way, don't let anyone tell you that bottle raised ram lambs won't ever amount to anything. Sometimes they do, because Buddy was a nice guy, even before we took away his ramhood!)