Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yarn Along - Yarn Carnage

First, a bit of good news. The blue roving I had been working on is spun and plied.  It was a painted roving and I tried to split it into equal strips so I could match up the colors when they were plied.... It seems to have worked for the most part.  It came to 190 yards of 2 ply and I like it lots.  I'm working on the more somber shades of blue and purple now.

Next, a reassurance that the Yarn referred to in the title was no. where. near. any of the fiber or yarn or roving or anything that we have for sale.  This debacle happened in the house, in a bedroom, in a cupboard that housed only a part of my personal, spun-loong-ago (and ignored) stash.   To say I'm disgusted with myself is an understatement.  It's also a sad commentary on my housecleaning skills but there is some redemption to be had in that department at the end of this story.  Fiber people out there have already guessed......moths.  (Picture the figure in The Scream)

Family was coming to visit for a weekend and I needed to return a bedroom to its intended purpose (instead of catch-all/storage room).  With the door shut against feline mischief the room had received minimal attention for *coughyearscough*. Approaching the cabinet I saw a little white coccoon on the floor under the door......nooooooo......   I won't repeat the X rated language I used but between that and the vacuum cleaner nothing came out of that room alive.

Everything got hauled outside and assessed.  Anything with angora in it was a total loss and went into the trash.  Since those skeins were disintegrating as I touched them it was a sad but easy decision.  Other skeins seemed to have been ignored but the majority had varying amounts of damage.  They all got shaken out, retied where necessary and washed.

Some seem to have escaped damage completely.

The rest are sad.  I *should* probably toss them but I can't quite bring myself to since I know there is some good sound yarn in there.  Sorting it out will be my self-imposed penance for having let it get damaged, I guess.  I'm especially upset about the camel/silk skeins, the llama/Border Leicester and the 2+ pounds of purple/pink which was an early satisfying dye experiment.

Now that I know the yarn is inert and de-bugged I can store it PROPERLY and plan some projects to use it.  I'm thinking fulled items, maybe some rug hooking and incorporating the shortest pieces into decoration on felted wool balls.

The best news on the whole situation is that I now have a pristine bedroom for guests and I can finally reach and maybe USE my loom again!  I'll have to teach myself all over again but I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

While working in the wool shop lately I've listened to 'Fevre Dream'  (yes, that's the correct spelling) and now am into 'Windhaven', both by George R.R. Martin (he of 'Game of Thrones' fame).  Both are quite engaging.  'Fevre Dream' puts vampires on Mississippi steamboats (sounds goofy, but it works) and had a satisfying end.  'Windhaven' is rather like 'Dragonriders of Pern' without the dragons.  There's a good bit of social and political wrangling but it's not as dark and mean as the 'Game of Thrones' series and the story moves along at a good clip.  Two thumbs up if you'd like some popcorn for your mind while you're doing something mundane.

Joining in with Ginny......

Monday, November 21, 2016

With A Vengeance

It had to end sooner or later and when winter arrived it did so suddenly and in no uncertain terms.  Friday was sunny and about 70 degrees and the sheep were still enjoying pasture time although pickings out there were getting pretty slim and we had been feeding hay in the barn at night too.  You know the grass is pretty well gone when the flock spreads out in all the pastures and does a lot of walking (but the exercise is good for them).

A glowing pink sunrise.  The air itself looked pink - it was so pretty.

Meandering about.....

Clear, warm, dry fall days.  So rare.

Saturday started out sunny but the forecast was for deteriorating weather with snow by nightfall.  Gee, maybe it won't be that bad.

Ugh.  Sunday morning saw four inches of wet snow, icy roads and more coming.

Now the pastures are really, really, really done.

Andy had just finished picking corn and closed up the cribs on Friday.  WHEW!

The wind began to pick up and visibility dropped as the drifting began.

 The wind built up knife-edged banks right next to blown bare ground.

The sheep are cozy in the barn and we're cozy in the house.  After the beautiful fall the roaring wind and this sudden decent into winter makes things look pretty desolate out there.

Time to really be thankful!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Sky Above

I would hate to have to live in a city where the ambient night lighting is so bright you can't see stars or the Milky Way or the moon back lighting cloud banks.  This week the big show was the Super Moon, which to be accurate was more like a Super Duper Moon since we haven't seen the like since the mid 1940s.   We were lucky to have clear weather for it, and no city lights to dim the event.

I got a couple of nice pictures to remember it by.

And these - clouds? or alien jellyfish overlords drifting by to inspect their human herd?

OK, maybe I read too much science fiction when I was little.  ;-)

Monday, November 14, 2016

X Marks The Spot

I choose to believe this big X over the farm is like a rainbow, marking it as the best place to be, and not marking it as a target!  Yikes!

The leaves are coming off the trees fast now with mostly the rusty browns of oak and some yellow beech and maple still hanging on.  Basking in the late fall sun the landscape is still pretty and  the sheep are able to go out every day.

Wee Little Guy is showing the typical wrinkly ram nose the boys all get this time of year.

There is some grunting and head butting but for the most part they aren't being too crabby with each other right now and troop out in the morning in a lazy group.

The girls are more energetic in the morning and queue up at the gate, then spill out into the pasture.

Andy heads down to the lower gate to let them out into the north pastures.

They tend to follow the worn paths rather than walk through the grass.  Creatures of habit, we are.

Peanut always sees me no matter where I am in the barn or barnyard and now she's thinking maybe I'll come along out to pasture with the flock.

 "Aren't you coming?  It's going to be a good day."

I'd love to wander around out there with the girls but there's just too much to do.  I feel guilty disappointing her.  Eventually they decide to start on the middle pasture and she follows the flock.  I know she has friends out there but I still feel bad.

They disperse to the far end of the field and will work their way back as the morning goes on.

As evening chores approach they rest near the back of the barn and watch for us to let them back in for the night.  Full and comfy sheepies.

It's a pretty sweet November so far.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

International Hug a Sheep Day!............Was Yesterday

And I knew it was and hugged a lot of sheep but didn't get the post up until now.  Maybe we can think of it like the Twelve Days of Christmas and make it last.  After all, every day is a good day to hug some sheep!

Salsa got a hug.......

So Gem and Snubby had to get one too.

Two hugs at once.

And Peanut gets her own hug.

And Brick and the other boys get hugs too. if you didn't get to hug sheep yesterday you still have time - like sending a thank you card, it's never too late!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


The weather turned ugly Wednesday and we woke up to almost 2 inches of sloppy snow on Thursday.  That was bad enough but then it started to get freezing rain on top.

Since the trees still held a lot of leaves I was afraid for the really old apples in the backyard.  They were bowed but undamaged.

I have to be careful what I say.  Not half an hour after I said, "Gee, some tree is gonna come down on the power lines."............... the power went out.  The electric company still has not replaced our super old poles but they weren't the culprits - as usual it was a limb on a tree up the road that took out service for a grand total of 14 customers.  The battery on our generator wasn't up to snuff so Andy had to drive our old truck across the lawn to jump it.  The poor old truck is technically for sale and hasn't been on the road for a long time but it started right up.  The engine is good, mileage is ~ 120K and the interior is excellent but the body is rusting apart from all the road salt.  Bad enough that the towns use salt in the winter but the dirt roads are brined in the summer to keep the dust down.  Every time it rains the vehicles get a salt bath underneath.  :-(

Friday turned into a bright clear day, but cold!  We turned the sheep out into the south pastures for one last time.  How many days they can go out will depend on the weather and how fast they deplete the grass. We're supplementing with hay now but they are all studious grazers and will gnaw it to death if we let them.

And a great many leaves came down with the ice and snow.  All the pretty reds are gone leaving just some stubborn yellows and oaks that are still green.  Definately a foreshadowing of what's to come.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


That glorious, warm, sunny October is gone.  Now we have a wet, cold, blustery October and I think it's going to stay that way.  Our wonderful (to me) mid-80s temps have been pushed aside by a cold front and we're now hovering just under 40.  The 10 day forecast doesn't have us topping 50 for the coming week.  :-(

With this cold front we finally had rain - just over 4.5 inches of it.  The weather people will probably look at the last 6 months and now declare it 'average' for rainfall.  Weather stats have a way of making wild weather seem bland in retrospect.

I've been washing sheep coats recently, a couple of loads every few days.  I had started earlier in the year but then with the drought I let the job slide.  Now, however, with hay season looming fast I need to get them all done and repairs made to those which have need.  Over the years we've really snag-proofed the barn and feed bunk but they still manage to catch the coats on things we haven't found or even the sharp stubs on the woven wire fence in the pasture where the vertical and horizontal wires intersect, wrap and are cut 'flush' - not flush enough sometimes.  I'll probably have dozen or so to fix and I'm making a pile so I can do them all at once.

When the rain started Thursday I was tempted to shut the sheep out so they'd get washed off again but it was pouring buckets already at chore time and driving them out would have been an unhappy affair for all concerned.  Plus, the rain was supposed to be (and was) an all day affair so coming in sopping wet at night they'd be bringing gallons and gallons of water in and soak the bedding.  We broke into the new, 'this year's' hay and fed in the barn and "picnic area" in the old feed bunk.

Friday was the same rain - just pounding - plus it was in the upper 40s - so they had a second day of hay. Today it was a more normal type of steady rain, but barely 40.  Hay again.  We're hoping to get them back out tomorrow.  We'll be turning the flock into the north pastures again and they *should* be able to keep grazing for a couple more weeks.

These mushrooms popped up as if by magic on the lawn.

At least something can flourish in the cold, wet end of the year.