Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deja vu all over again

That's what we're experiencing here in central Kentucky. Yet another snowstorm arrived early yesterday morning. We are nearing all-time record amounts of snow this winter and though lots of people are sick of it, I can honestly say I'm not. The icy farm road business is getting a little old, but having fresh clean snow on the frozen ground instead of sloppy mud makes it almost worth being farm bound. It is much easier to keep fiber animals clean when they are on snow.

It seemed like the perfect day to spend some time in the kitchen baking up something that would fill the house with good smells. After an inventory of the freezer, I decided to bake some banana nut bread. Whenever we have bananas approaching the too ripe stage, I stash them in the freezer and, when critical mass has been reached, it's time for baking. This is just your everyday, basic banana bread. I've been making it for a long, long time. My favorite way is to eat it warm with butter about five minutes after it comes out of the oven, but next would be buttered and stuck in the toaster oven for just a few minutes. Delicious with a cup of tea.

Not long after the bread was done, the mailman braved the farm road and delivered a box of Florida sunshine! My sweet mother-in-law sent us a boxful of Honeybell's from sunny Florida, where she spends the winter. (I know she's extra glad to be there this winter!) We've had very little sun around here lately, so we are especially grateful for these.

I know I've been neglecting the blog lately. I think I've been in a bit of a slump because of not being in the normal routine of interacting with my animals twice daily. That's all about to change though. I'm getting back to what passes for normal around here and getting excited about new lambs being born soon. And, once the mud dries up and we have some green grass, I'll be so happy to see spring arriving

Basic banana bread recipe-

1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we like walnuts)
1 heaping cup mashed bananas (the riper the better)

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add to first mixture. Add nuts and bananas. Bake in loaf pan for approximately 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven. (I like to double the recipe and freeze one loaf)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keeping watch

We are just at the beginning of a winter storm and as I sat in front of my little Vermont Castings woodstove, all toasty and warm, I looked out the studio window to see this scene. The Grannie is in with those silly teenage ewe lambs, being a bit of a calming presence. As the first flurry of flakes began to fall, they took themselves to the barn. Grannie stayed where she was, whether because she has a longer fleece and didn't feel the snow as much or that it seemed too much of an effort to get herself up. As I watched, Holly came out and stood beside her. I believe she was willing her the energy to get up and into the shelter of the barn because after a few moments, Grannie struggled to her feet and made her way in. Observations like this are one more reason why I love being a shepherd.

Monday, January 17, 2011

They're everywhere

Though I have spent most of the last week sitting close by that cozy fire, it occurred to me that though I have been unable to go outside and do my usual barn chores, I am still surrounded by sheep. Even without looking outside for confirmation, anyone can tell right away that I love sheep and they are a big, big part of my life (and my husband's....though mainly by default in his case ;-) !) Mind you, these are all in our little sunroom. There are plenty more scattered about the house. And in the studio, well there's no where you can look and not see some sheepy thing!

That's my Pauladeen up there and on the bottom shelf, a collection of Colin's Creatures, plus a corgi I couldn't pass up because it looks so much like my Ivy (and that's just how she looks when she goes out to "commune" with her sheep).

(Ivy in her spot watching over the kitchen...her favorite room.....she is a corgi, after all!)

So, the stitches come out and the splint goes away a week from tomorrow and I'm more than ready to get back to my life. You know how, when you're worn out and overwhelmed and you think, "If I could only have a little time off"? Well, I'm over it! Let's get on with my life around here!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still here

Honestly, I have not fallen in a hole somewhere! I am experiencing one of my well planned periods of time where absolutely nothing goes as planned.

My stitches came out last week and my hand looks fabulous (if I do say so myself). In fact, it looks so fabulous that my husband talked me in to having the surgery on my other hand now, rather than waiting until June. June was chosen because it would be after the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival and well before the serious wedding preparations got going. So, tomorrow morning is the scheduled left hand surgery. Which means I will most likely be out of it for a few days again and I'm still not allowed to do barn chores.

The picture was taken on a rare day of sunshine. Central Kentucky has had more snow already than we usually have for a whole winter......and there is more on the way tonight. I love the look at that girl's face turned soaking up that little bit of sun. She looks so content and peaceful. Somehow I managed to sneak up close enough to get this picture before they saw me. I have to say, I miss seeing all the girls twice a day right now and am anxious to get back to the regularly scheduled program around here.

Someone be sure to remind me of that around the end of February when I'm tired of hauling hay to all of them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Outside my windows

Yesterday felt like the real beginning of the new year. Mike went back to being a veterinarian (instead of my own personal farm-hand) and I am back to (sort of) being a shepherd. I'm not actually doing much of the feeding chores yet, but hope I will by the end of this week. My stitches come out on Wednesday and I'm hoping for permission from the surgeon to start pulling my weight around here again. (And I wish I had not made that reference to my weight. Oh my! Holiday foods and little to no physical exercise=not good.)

I've spent some time in the studio today, trying to bring about some organization and order. I have way too much paper. There are copies of patterns, articles to read "when I have more time" (and who am I kidding with that?), to-do lists, magazines, inspirational pictures I've saved from magazines, sheep records, financial records. It overwhelms me and I'm having trouble finding a way to get control of it all. When I feel like giving up, I sit down in front of the Vermont Castings, knit for awhile and look out the window at the sheep. The little girls are the most fun because they tend to interact with each other more than the adults do. They are in the pasture right outside the studio and I love watching them, especially when they are unaware of me, though it's difficult to catching them not watching me! (just in case I were thinking of coming out to give them some treats) Even the chickens are out busily scratching around, acting like they are finding real treasures amongst the brownness of our current landscape. The big girls are pretty sedate at this point in the year....resting up for the challenges of lambing, I imagine.

My friend, Lindy, is having a wonderful giveaway on her blog. Be sure to go check it out and leave a comment before it ends tomorrow. I know from personal experience that those socks are just the best for keeping toes toasty and the yarn is gorgeous....just what you need to knit up something special. Think of it as a late Christmas present to yourself!!