Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In the air

No matter that the calendar still says February.  Spring is most definitely in the air here in central Kentucky.  It's not just a renegade daffodil here and there that's blooming.  There are a host of them up and glowing in the sunshine.  I just keep picking them and bringing them inside to enjoy because the worrier in me is afraid that one morning we'll wake up to all the accumulated winter weather we've missed this year.  Today the sun is shining,  the birds are singing and,  I swear,  the grass is starting to grow.  The best sign of all ?  I heard the peepers last night for the first time !

The bees are getting a treat today... leftover honey frames from last fall.
This stuff is the bane of my existence.  It's all over the garden beds.
It was a rough weekend around here.  Some varmint got into the chicken house and killed two big chickens and partially ate them.  Saturday night,  I set a Hava-heart trap inside the chicken house and left the chickens loose in the barn,  thinking they might have a better chance of escaping the murderer.  One of the banty hens made the mistake of settling into a hay feeder used for the lambing pens and got picked off.  I'm really mad now,  but am at a loss as to how to catch the thing.  I'm thinking it might be a mink or weasel because it seems to be much smarter than the average stray possum we've had to trap.   As if that wasn't enough,  my little Luna has been feeling poorly.  She's had an elevated temperature for several days now.  This morning,  I'm finally seeing some improvement from the antibiotics and Banamine.   In the meantime,   I've allowed her to do something I'm certain I'll regret later.  For a few days the only thing she was really enthusiastic about eating was Aslan's dry dog food and I let her clean up what he left in his bowl.   Aslan and Luna seem to have a special friendship.  If I don't fasten the gate to keep her out of the pen where he is fed,  he will step aside and let her have the whole bowl.  He doesn't let any of the other sheep get away with that.

Here's another sign that spring is in the air.  Poor Junior !  Remember that song from ' Urban Cowboy ' that goes ... " lookin' for love in all the wrong places " ?  ( Yes,  I do know how much I'm dating myself here,  but it is what it is. )  That's what I think of every time I see him showing off for the chickens.  Obviously,  they are not impressed.

Hey,  girls ..... look .. look ... look  at me !
Hey !  Where's everybody going ?

Friday, February 24, 2012

A flurry

 Not of snow,  that's for sure.  The temperature yesterday reached 69 degrees !   Today it's in the mid-forties and falling to mid-twenties tonight.  Such a weird winter we've had this year,  but I know from reading some of my favorite blogs,  that even in New England there's been very little to resemble the winters they normally have.

It's a flurry of finished objects that's been happening around here.  One of my goals for this year is to finish at least some of my many,  many,  many ( and many more ) projects that are currently taking up space on my collection of knitting needles.  In fact,  the reason I have so many knitting needles is that it's just easier to buy another needle sometimes,  rather than put all those projects on stitch holders ( or,  I suppose,  actually finishing something before starting yet another .... but,  what fun would that be ? )

( Think those tulips have given it their all ? )
First,  it's a Bandana Cowl from the Purl Bee.  I used a skein of handspun that needed to be made into something fairly small and useful.  Don't you love the Purl Bee ?  Their projects are nearly always something I want to cast on right away ( could be part of the reason for knitting needle shortage around here ).  This skein of yarn came from my own hand-dyed wool/alpaca blend roving.  It's really soft and comfy around my neck and I think it will become a favorite.  Right now,  I'm kinda over wearing scarves.  There's always the wrapping and draping and looping thing to figure out with a scarf.  Cowls are simple.  You just slip it on and you're good to go !

Next is a sweet little bolero/vest that will probably go into the Christmas 2012 stash.  ( I can hardly believe that !  What's the world coming to,  if I have already knit something for Christmas ? )  I think this needs to go on a smaller body than mine and there are several candidates in my family.  The pattern is from Plymouth Yarn.  The yarn I used came from my collection of Briar Rose yarn.   I.  Love.  Briar.  Rose.  I want to be able to dye yarn like Chris Roosien when I grow up !  I've never seen a Briar Rose yarn I didn't want to bring home with me.  And,  here's some really good news .... Briar Rose will be at the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Festival,  May 19 and 20,  at Masterson Station Park,  in Lexington,  Kentucky.  A lot of folks around here have not had the pleasure of seeing Briar Rose in person and I predict there will be a small riot at Chris' booth !

Last one for today ..... a very simple,  garter stitch vest from the book ' Seamless ( or Nearly Seamless ) Knits ' .  Once again,  I used my own handspun,  natural colored wool/alpaca blend yarn.  This was an easy,  easy knit and the kind of thing I'm going to like wearing a lot.  I'm a plain and simple person when it comes to clothing,  so this is perfect for me. 

Believe it or not,  I have two more finished items that I'll share in a few days.  I know ..... it's shocking !

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This time of year,  the routine is the same every morning and yet there is always something new.  

So many personalities ...... the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Boss of the barn


Carson,  our rescue cat,   is really starting to come into his own around here.  We love him and I think the feeling is mutual.  He's such a lovely boy and his personality is so sweet and affectionate.   Sadie,  wild girl that she is,  still pretends she is pushing him around,  but they both know it's just a game now.   Slowly,  slowly he decided to come out of the room in the barn where the cats sleep at night.  I let him pick his own pace for acclimation.  After all,  it's a big barn and there were lots of other critters around that I'm sure he'd never seen before.  For a week I left the door from the workroom standing open and each day he ventured a little further out.   He was quite timid in the beginning and kind of crept around investigating all the nooks and crannies.  The day he discovered the barn loft was the turning point.  He loves going up there.  In fact,  he turns into " Zippy Kitty " and " Boss of the Barn " when he's in the loft.   He and Sadie chase each other around and up and over the stacked up hay bales and he loves going up into the rafters.  He's even gotten brave enough to take a run at the peacock a few times.  I'm pretty sure he now knows he doesn't want to go there anymore.

Carson reminds me so much of my Buster cat.  Buster was not a rescue,  but was given to me at a time in my life when I needed to feel unconditional love .... and he certainly gave me that for many,  many years.   I'm so glad I just happened to be looking at the adoptable pets on the Friends of the Animals of Jessamine County website and saw Carson's picture ( the boy formerly known as Peaches,  no less ! ) .  I believe Carson is glad,  too.  He's part of our farm family now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm impressed

Oh,  if only I'd known about the possibilities while Phoebe was alive !  I can't stop watching this ... and laughing !

My husband's cousin,  Vicky,  sent this along to him and he shared it with me.  I love this!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's the world coming to?

I've given up on winter this year.  My daffodils are blooming and the forsythia is coming on strong.  It's too weird.  I don't seem to be able to conjure up any snow,  so I'm just going to enjoy the mild weather ( and hope that winter doesn't show up at the end of March,  when lambing begins  ).

I have lots of little rituals and my own methods of doing things around here that can appear to be awfully random to the casual observer ( and my husband ).  For instance,  the way I feed hay.  Mornings and evenings I pull the hay cart out into the field and put down flakes of hay for the sheep,  llamas and alpacas.  There is some waste from feeding on the ground,  but it is preferable to having the sheep pull hay out of the feeders and down on their neighbor's head.  It certainly would be easier to feed from big roll bales,  but there is no way to keep the fleeces clean and having clean fleeces is very important to me.  I like to put hay out in a different location every day,  to have fresh ground under the hay.  When the weather is not unpleasant,  I go as far out into the field as I can stand to push the cart and then,  when the weather is nasty,  I have cleaner spots up close to the gates,  where I can quickly unload the hay.  Since we have had very little unpleasant weather,  I'm now going way,  way,  way out.  Pretty soon I'll be in the "back forty" !   Sometimes the hay is so far away from the gate that the sheep have trouble seeing it and I have to lead them half way there before they spy it.

Last fall,  I was worried that we might not have enough hay to get us through the winter.  We ended up buying extra and are now going to have plenty to get us through.  Of course,  if the weather continues to be strangely warm like this,  I can stop feeding hay and will have to start mowing the grass !!