Friday, September 30, 2016

Stick A Fork In It, September's Done

Seems like the first half of September was all a flurry to get ready for the fiber festival and the second half has been getting caught back up from it.  Kittin is just exhausted from all the hustle.

"The coming, the going, the to-ing, the's all just too much."

The festival went well - good weather, tons of interesting activities and exhibits.

The fleece sale had around 80 entries!

The Skein and Garment entries were outstanding!  Anyone failing to be inspired needs to check their pulse.

 More about this pattern soon.

Over $1,000 in cash and prizes were awarded and spread over a huge assortment of categories aimed at beginners, experts and the creatively inspired.  The festival accepts and returns mail-in entries so start planning now to enter next year!  

The vendor booths were awash with yarn....

Books and educational media........

Spinning fiber and sundries (this is our booth)....

And finished goods like these felted vessels, created by the genius at Fat Yellow Dog Farm.

It was great to unwind after the weekend by walking Holly without a clock ticking in my head.  We saw a few monarch caterpillars, although not like last year.  I did see several adults flying around which was nice.

The wild asters were in perfect bloom and I thought they were every bit as nice as some cultivated ones I've seen at garden centers.

The sheep enjoyed fine, sunny days and were turned into the south pasture again.

Despite the summer drought the fall weeds wildflowers put out a tremendous number of blossoms which the honey bees were taking full advantage of.  This is what September looks like to me - fall blooms in a golden haze of late summer warmth.

I'm glad for photos - this will be hard to recall during the long cold of winter.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Precioussssss

What's more useful than a magic ring that grants invisibility?  If you have livestock it's second cutting hay.

A streak of hot and dry weather (OK, we could say the streak started in early June) gave us the chance to grab what little second cutting hay was available. The two fields that are grass and alfalfa mix were the only ones that had growth enough to even consider.  The volume was minimal because of the drought but with days getting shorter and dew getting heavier we knew it was probably a 'now or never' situation.   Andy raked the windrows into triples and they were still unimpressive.

These two fields yielded around 1800 bales of first cutting.  We expect the second cutting to be about half that as the grass component doesn't grow back as robustly as the alfalfa.  But with the drought supressing the plants we ended up with a grand total of 290 bales from the two fields and we're happy we got that.

We'll be doling that out by the teaspoonful this winter to the geriatrics and anybody that feels poorly for some reason.  Thankfully the first cutting was of good quality and should be very adequate for the bulk of the flock on winter maintenance.

Precious it is, and we loves it.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Sheep have gotten an undeserved reputation for being stupid.  They are NOT stupid.  They do make very bad snap decisions sometimes, but given normal circumstances they learn quickly - very quickly if there's food involved.  Animals in general like routine and when something yummy is involved they learn what to do in one go and you can then set your watch by their behavior.

When the flock was in the barn eating hay last month because of the drought we started giving a small grain ration to make up for the mediocre hay quality.  Once we started turning them out we decided to keep giving a bit of grain in the evening to encourage them to queue up at the gate and come in smartly rather than wandering around the pasture they pass through to get back in.  It's really just a dusting in the feeders but sheep don't worry about how much is there - there is NONE, or there is SOME.  That's all the motivation they need.

They know when they'll be let in and come back from the lowest pasture to hang around and be handy.

Once a bottle lamb, always a bottle lamb.  "My" kids hear our voices and wonder why they can't just come in this little back door.  It would be so much faster.


Stewart Little

Sheep that were never bottle babies consider our appearance at the back door with more suspicion.  This colored Cotswold is particularly uncertain about our motives.

"She's staring at us.  Why is she staring at us??  This can't be good!"

But when it's time to come in for grain hesitancy goes out the window!  (I have no idea what those loud buzzing noises are on the video - they didn't occur in real life - must be the mothership trying to contact me again.)

That's Nibbles and Kandy bringing up the rear.  Somebody has to be last.  They are both old enough that they do. not. run.  But don't worry, there was plenty of space at the feeders so they surely got a mouthful or two.

I have to admit, I show the same enthusiasm when eating at a really good buffet.  ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Certain Something

Who is he?

Any beverage is improved by the addition of a few of his hairs.

Fleas won't jump on him because they know they're not worthy.

Jeans and a Tshirt become formal wear with his fur all over them.

Zen gardeners study his litterbox for design inspiration.

He is......

"Stay furry, my friends!"

.....the most interesting cat in the world.