We did not anticipate all this new life that we are seeing. Both the neighbor and I have had a surge of births that we did not plan. Boys will be boys and if there are girls around, they use all their wits to get out and make a visit. As DH says, “They have all day to think about how to escape while we have other things to do” Plus the ewes seem to be having earlier babies this year than usual. We will have some very nice fiber pets for sale this summer.
This morning, numbers 7 and 8 were born. I am thankful that I only have 5 bred for April, because I already have a crowded barn and because of all this rain, everyone wants to be inside.
By this afternoon, mom decided one was enough. So the ram lamb is in the house.
The neighbor girl who has been helping by playing with the pups needed a quilt – or so the pups and I thought since she didn’t have one. So I made this for her which is 50 x 60. I “enveloped” it and used the butterflies and ribbons where our ancestors would have tied the quilt. The backing is so fitting since we live in Western Washington where we are setting rain records lately.
Even the pups have been bored with the rain and mud. They are finding indoor activities, called “Who can make the smallest pieces out of Mom’s calendar”.
The other “fun” activity we have had this week is an unexpected population explosion. 6 new babies in the last 3 days. Either the girls had secret dates or there was a very young boy that reached sexual maturity extremely early. We did purposely breed 5 ewes that we believe are due in April, but those are not the moms giving birth. Oh, what fun a farm can be!!!! Certainly not boring.
We have been relaxing by putting together jigsaw puzzles. Somehow they calm the mind and give one space to think.
But really, who buys purple sheets? I guess it’s better than dying my hair that color. It was a daring stretch for me.
Time flies and this last year, the sheep have taken most of my time and energy, but I really miss the quilting and blogging. I decided this year, it is important enough to at least get a little done each month. This morning I pulled out these Sunbonnet Sue blocks and my goal is to make a quilt top from them before the end of the month. After making 3 twin size quilts with the other blocks, these 15 were left over. I’ll think this layout will work. I am linking to https://www.elmstreetquilts.com for the sake of accountability.
The 10 pups have had a lot of extra attention this past week since the schools were on vacation. Here the neighbor is telling them the story of the Lion King. At their 10 week vet check this past Friday, the weights were between 18.5 and 25#. No wonder we are going through so much food!
Yesterday was a family day to play. I chose a rather challenging puzzle which may be here for the month. It is interesting to watch people’s reaction. Most people find it compelling to fit at least one piece.
The Great Pyrenees pups are now 9 weeks old and in with the sheep. They are loving the additional freedom and room to explore. So far they and the sheep are mostly eyeing each other Tomorrow will be fun. The neighbor and I are taking all 200 pounds of them to the vet for their official wellness visit.
I’m still trying to make ICLOUD work so I can access photos from both the upstairs and the downstairs computer. So far, a lot of time spent and a big failure. If you are successful, please let me know how to download and upload photos.
My prayer is for each of you to have a blessed year.
Here is a photo of the outside garden boxes. Onions in front, with squash and corn at the other end. The next two boxes are potatoes and the 4th box has beets, peas, green and yellow beans. Each box if 4′ x 32′.
The upper hoop house has sweet potatoes (experimenting) and tomatoes fill the other half. There are some unhappy banana plants on the potting bench and some citrus that are recovering from sunburn.
On the left the empty spaces are harvested greens, then purple Chinese cabbage, a green bok choy, carrots, radishes, salad onions, lettuce seeds, and the raised part at the end is strawberries. On the right, the cabbage and celery got burned due to my misunderstanding of the on and off buttons and we had a hot day and the fans were off. They are starting to recover. There are some healthy weeds at the far end and up front chives, harvested “cut and come again” lettuce and parsley.
The hanging basket has tomatoes, another experiment, while there are red, orange, and green peppers below. There are beets and broccoli at the far end. On the right, the cucumbers didn’t make it, so have some squash in the back and some melons in front There is another box on the far right which is not yet filled with new dirt and a box across the back from which we have harvested some garlic. The garlic is only okay, so will find a new location next year.
The upper hoop house, outside boxes and two of the lower hoop house boxes are new this year and we started late. Hopefully next year, I will be able to start planting at the proper time.
I find early mornings I am most productive, so I’ve been getting up and spinning until it is time to go to the barn and release the animals for the day. Then I spin when I have little spaces of time throughout the day. It never seems like I’m getting anywhere, but then the day comes and I’m ready to ply what I’ve spun. This week was spent plying. Today I finished plying the last of the Merino burgundy (lower photo is real color) and washed these hanks, then hung them out to dry. This amount of wool represents a huge amount of spinning hours. I am hoping I have enough of the burgundy for a cardigan for myself. After it is dry, I will rewind it and see how much yardage there is.
Now that this is done, I feel free to start working with some wool from this years lambs. Today, I washed a small amount and now need to card and spin it. So maybe sometime this fall, I will have something to show. With this wool, I may make something small, like a scarf so I have something done from my sheep.
“Knock out” is the name of this pattern for this quilt, which I tested for http://www.quiltpatternmagazine.com/. I loved how easy it was to put together and will definitely make another. The size is 55″ square – just perfect for wrapping oneself while watching TV or reading. Now to have my quilting machine serviced and get this quilted before winter.
My neighbor came over twice this week and we put ads up for some of the fleeces. Several were shipped out yesterday. We have absolutely gorgeous fleeces, so I think we will sell out this year.
WOW! I’m sorry for neglecting this blog so long. I started this quilt a year ago and put it on the quilting machine early June. I had plenty of time to get if quilted for a gift, but it didn’t happen.
First, I lost power and had to find the pattern again and set it up to fit as I was in the middle of a row.
After that, the computer on the quilting machine died and I had to get an upgrade as that one was no longer supported. When that arrived, I had the machine serviced and the new computer adjusted.
Then I had to have the technician return as the program was not behaving correctly. Even now, the thread wants to keep jumping out of the tension disc.
Then I ran out of the correct color of thread. I bought more of the thread the end of February and tried to avoid going into the studio because this quilt just kept looking at me very accusingly.
The only sewing accomplished this winter was mending sheep coats.
Finally, enough is enough, and in order to get over this mental block, I took myself in hand and finished the quilt. I had issues with thread jumping out of the tension disc and took the quilting out each time it did that and started over. However, it is quilted. As soon as I took it off the frame, I squared it up and bound it. It is now on the way to its new home, and at last, the studio is once again calling my name.
Crazy days and crazy weeks leave one a crazy life.
Yesterday’s went like this. When DH got up, he reminded me that I was to take him to a Dr. appointment in Seattle, which is a one hour drive each way, so I called the girls that are learning to garden and asked if they could come in the morning instead of the afternoon.
I then called our friend to ask about the water system and he told me he had taken his truck to have work done and he was stranded half an hour away. So off I went to rescue him. When I got back the girls were here so we worked on fertilizing and planting beets. When they were comfortable doing that, I came in the house and had a quick breakfast and DH and I headed to his appointment. We were blessed with good driving conditions and the appointment was short.
When we got home, the lady who does fence work was here to see where our fence problem was. I did not know she was coming. We went over what she found and she will be replacing some very old fence posts
I don’t even remember lunch so it was probably left overs.
I changed into farm clothes and another friend that I invited over the day before showed up. She is such a delight and we enjoy her company so very much. She wanted to see the babies that were born Friday morning – a surprise – because I didn’t that that breeding was successful. So we visited while she took lots of photos as I fed the sheep I felt refreshed when she left. Yes, it was a crazy day, but a very good one.
There are other appointments and the girls are coming back 5 days a week, to help and to learn. They are unusually polite and attentive teenagers. Today they learned to drive the tractor.
DH and I spent 3 hours this morning and got the stalls cleaned. I don’t like to let it go more than a week, because it gets hard to clean.
This is the 4th set of black twins this year. Both are ram lambs and will be sold as fiber pets. Apparently this hen wanted to be in the photo and if this is what it takes, she is willing.
In between the craziness, I have been altering sheep coats and spinning. I’ll update you on that soon.