Monday, April 24, 2017

Farming/Homesteading Ain't For Sissy's


We have had some nice sunny, warm weather this past week. Now we are back to showers, rain and potential low snow (not here though) until Thursday. Then it promises to be dry and sunny plus warmer again. The lovely yellow rose is blooming as is just about everything else around here. I have six rose bushes and they are all in various stages of bloom. In fact I have already had to dead head three of them.

With the warmer dry weather comes the spring cleaning barn style. I got the hay barn cleaned and organized yesterday and also began to move thing into the new greenhouse.   The photo here is before cleaning. Of course I didn't get an after because when I get focused just about everything else goes out of my brain.  You have to trust me it is a clean hay barn now.                                                                                                     
Here I will share a photo of what I took out of it and is now in the new and improved compost pile. 
I then washed out some pans and bucket that were really needing it. I also cleaned a few crates and got that organized as well.   Note Libby my lovely assistant director of quality control.                                            

Sherman in the foreground and Yarrow behind him. Good grief they were up all night keeping the bad guys on their toes. And it was a warm, lazy afternoon for some of us! 
The blueberries promise a bumper crop this year provided the birds keep their beaks off them. That is one reason they reside in pots on the deck. This is the "cat deck" so it provides natural bird control.

 I managed to get in a quick visit last week also to the Armstrong across the road . Janet introduced me to the latest "house calf" and of course I got to see LD (Lonesome Dove) the rejected wool/hair cross ram lamb. In fact I had come to take his manhood away but he was hanging on to them and that would have to wait for another day. 

I managed to go to free sew morning at the Blue Iris again. Got the binding on the quilt waiting on top of the sewing machine to load up done. Now just to take the time today to hand stitch the binding on the backside and then it will hit the couch. Promise photo when I get that far.

Don't you just love the fun tote that Janet gifted me with ? 

One of the neighbors on the east side of the driveway was watching my progress to the gate. I lovvvve my neighbors!!

Monkee was not a happy camper last week. Had some ear issues that earned him a cone of shame for a few days. April was not kind to us cat wise. First was sweet Helen who may be have beginnings of liver failure. She is twelve and a sweet girl . Chloe who had a dental issue and lastly Ari the English Setter had to break the cat streak with a bilateral puncture wound between the second and third digits. So a multiple $$$$ later and I am hoping we are done for awhile. Critter issues do seem to come in groups.

The temp is dropping and I need to get on with the quilt binding day. I will be back when life allows and hopeful to have some more wild flower photos for you all before they take their leave for another year.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Winter Curtain Call Number 4

 Below is the bounty of spring. I mean after all Easter Sunday is only days away right?

 Who could argue with this pastoral scene , blue sky , puffy white meringue clouds. It certainly must be ?

Not to overlook the splendor of the long and winding road. 

See those thicker drops of rain to the center and far right? Those are what we call "popcorn snow". 
Please note that this event occurred less than five minutes from the scenes above. How ever it was at about 1,000 feet . Wait it gets better.   

Yup 36 degrees a drop of 20 degrees between valley floor and 1000 feet. So our low today was a solid 34 when I reached my road just about 2 miles from where the 36 registered. The time 2:30 PM.

And this is what it looked like at rock bottom temperature reading. 

In a journey of less than 10 miles I experienced 54 degrees with balmy blue skies and wild flowers in abundance , rain, hail, popcorn snow and real snow. Someone might want to tell the Easter Bunny not to forget the muck boots and mittens.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Warp Speed Mr. Sulu

If time went any faster or the activities in it I would most certainly meet myself coming or going or both. The last four days have been jam packed with activities and changes. A couple of additions also.

Little Trouble added two more herd members. On the right is one handsome little buckling. And on the left is one special little doeling. Why is she special? Well  Sundance Kid is their Daddy and in about 10 breedings to does in the last 5 years this now 6 year old has never never never produced a doe kid. Big congrats to Sunny on finally coming through!

What could of been a busy enough time was accelerated by branding weekend. Jessica , daughter 3 of 3  whom you may remember from her 21st birthday visit 
joined us for a chance to help on the vaccine crew at the Ash Creek Corrals branding on Sunday. My dear friend Pam , Jessica's Mama, came along for the ride. It was three days of cows, calves, kids, thrift shops and food. Doesn't get much better than that!

They brought with them a bit of Flair. Pam and her hubby are moving to Idaho next month after many years of wishing and hoping the dream is coming true. Since they have a lot to do starting with building their home on the homestead no livestock will be going with them. Miss. Flair is Pam's oldest doe and I offered her a place to live out her life at the age of ten. Flair's Daddy was a buck of mine and I was happy to give her a retirement home and make leaving , as exciting as it is, a bit less stressful on Pam concerning her old doe. Flair does have sense of humor. Did she say "kiss me"?

Then there is Lonesome Dove a hair/wool cross that was left on a rainy night in a field that the cowboys worked gathering the cow/calf pairs for branding the next day. Ma ewe could be seen at the far side of the field with the larger , stronger ram lamb and their Daddy . Apparently LD was left behind and was cold and hungry. Cowboy Jerry (otherwise known as Janet's hubby) packed this little guy down the hill and he is currently residing in a large office box at Janet's. He will soon make an appearance at Walnetto Farm until we can find an appropriate forever home for him.

More photos of branding and kids next time. Right now I see a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sauce in my future then a warm bed. Leaving you with this shot from the side of my driveway. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Short On Words Not Lacking In Pictures

Spring is blooming. 

Remember when I said we have rocks? 

                                                Pretty in purple

 New yarn for a exciting project as I venture into Orenburg Lace knitting.

 A beginning and an end to some fencing adjustments. 

Little Trouble slept through the project at hand . Buns in the oven will do that to a girl. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Farmer's Tan?

Does it count as a farmer's tan if you get a tan line after sitting on the deck on a blissfully warm sunny day knitting?  See that line about two thirds of the way through my tattoo? It wasn't there this morning. The tattoo was , ok yes I have a tattoo. You can't tell here because it is a reverse selfie and isn't very detailed and focused. But it is the Celtic symbol for Maiden, Mother , Crone. I got a wild hair after my first three grandgirls joined us. I was feeling very wise and crone like. You know sage and full of wisdom? So I decided what better way to celebrate my leap to being a Gammie yup no R in it in our family reference. Also a bit of a nod to my Great Great Irish Grandmother.

The day looked like this in the afternoon post chores and laundry out. The wind that had threatened to spread my laundry over three counties had even died down to a lovely almost warm breeze.


I was in the process of finishing up the finger less mitts I began in um, well never mind. Let us just say one more UFO knitting for unfinished object is almost done.

I didn't stay long only about an hour or two or never mind.   My reasons were good . It was clear with a lovely view of Mt. Lassen herself in the east. The sky was so blue and the sun felt so good. And it has been a long, wet, cold winter did I mention wet? The Pyrs were napping in the goat pen and the goats were munching the lovely green sweet grass that has grown all fall and winter with the rain we have had. It was so idyllic you know just a perfect spring day.

So who can blame me? Certainly not me for one. Anyway I need to rest up as kidding commences on or about April 7th. And a goatherd needs to store up energy for the weeks ahead. Not to mention there is always a UFO waiting in the wings.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

If It Is Saturday It Must Be Weeks End

We have had more rain in the last week. Some fairly decent precipitation has been left behind.  And even though we are still grateful it wouldn't be a stretch to say "thanks but we are done ".

This is one of two seasonal creeks I have shared before and they have gotten a lot of use this past year and now well into 2017. This year is very similar to the 2005 year when it rained almost continually from October until June of 2006. So much in fact I was wading through calf deep water in the old goat pens in the Central Valley. 

   This little gem was gifted to me by Janet of  cattle ranch fame. This gifted lady talents aren't limited to making a survivor out of many a calf others would have put down but she is a wonderful weaver and when I saw this sweet little towel on her loom I very subtlety  mentioned "you know that would look great in my bathroom all the right colors". I never calmed to mince words and look what it got me this time !                                                        

 Lots of Miner's lettuce coming up in the back 21 (yes the property is cross fenced exactly in half) and I saw plenty today when Janet and I were up the hill at Ferncrest Farm having a meeting with the Country Weavers guild.
Expecting more rain tomorrow but after it is done and we have some dry sunny days I am going to be diligent about chronicling more photos while Spring projects commence. Have a great rest of weeks end and check back in the next week to see what we are up to. 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Crazy Busy Is Becomming The New Normal

Last Wednesday when Janet and I were on our drive to the Shed for fiber night we encountered a large number of wild turkeys in the mountains between our places and the Shed. They are fun to watch and hear but aren't very accommodating for a on the fly photo shoot. These turkeys are called a flock on one reference site and a rafter or a gang per another. Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 MPH which is pretty impressive. I must admit that they did run at a good pace when I pulled off the road to get a better shot of them. And basically that is what I have felt like recently a running turkey.

It seems that since the merging of February and March it has been crazy busy with the calendar already filling up April shows no signs of a slow down. I imagine it had to do with the drier weather we are were enjoying. Time to do stuff like "GEOFFREY FINISHED THE GREENHOUSE!" Opps sorry for yelling but I am so excited.
This photo was in transition and I will get a truly finished photo soon. I am looking forward to starting my fermented grains for my flock once again now that I have somewhere to keep it going all year where the pesky er sweet sparrows can't enjoy an avian smorgasbord.

 I am also entertaining enough mild temperatures left to start some salad greens breaking my chains from what I find to be a quickly deteriorating selection of goods neither produced or sourced in this country. Making the quality to be honest pretty dismal.

Then there was Fixer Upper day at Walnetto Farm.  I put up panels in the big barn that will give the girls two chunky sized kidding pens. I got my additional solar light 
that will go up in the big barn with the kidding pens. Big thanks to Leigh over at 5 Acres and a Dream for the link. Anyway it was at Leigh's blog I first noted these nifty lights.

 The next photo gives you a sense of the big barn prior to last Friday. You can note the large kennel panels to the right of the chickens.  Those were moved and new panels added. While the chickens were using two thirds of the barn for the last 3 years since partial herd dispersion  as you will see next they now will have one third of the barn and the goats two thirds.


Magic (well more like sweat equity) the panels were moved back set in place and divided by a cattle panel. This will give me to the right a full 10x8 kidding pen for now. And when needed with the addition of an 8 foot section of panel another kidding pen to the left of center.

Since I have 6 weeks between Little Trouble and Twist kidding dates it is totally possible that Little Trouble and her kids will be moved up to the second pen and field in the smaller doe barn to the west of the big barn. Therefore not requiring a second pen for this year so it will remain open giving more room to Meg and Patience who will remain in with Little Trouble until she freshens then they will be moved up to doe barn.

What the end plan is after the rain that began this afternoon ends about Thursday or Friday the panels to the right of the post will be removed and two 16 foot cattle panels will be installed to the second  large post which can be seen above. They will then run to the west giving the does in this barn a run that is 32 feet long and 20 feet wide. Plus and additional run the same size to the east of the large barn. The ply wood you see below was installed last fall when Meg and her two girls were moved there to buffer them from the wind.  It is about three feet into the over hang of the roof which has a gutter running the full length that diverts any rain run off into the pasture to keep that grass green. So basically free feed! 

At days end recently I have worked hard for you non farm types we (my husband and I ) do all this ourselves. And by hand in most cases. We haven't owned a tractor since 2005. Yes that is our choice but you do sleep well at night.  So when there is a special project on deck it is in addition to those events that happen daily. Feeding , milking , care of critters in general plus what city folks would deem daily chores. Keeping down the grass (we have 42 acres of that) gardening, cleaning the house (am I supposed to do that?) etc. So when days are done so am I. I have about enough energy to take a quick look at my blog friends and see what they are up too. So if you don't see me around here much in Spring through Fall that is why. 

Before I sign off for now I want to share the last fiber night at the Shed. Judy who is an incredible weaver in her own right

had a couple of life long friends join us. Rosie the mama Judy has known since Rosie was born and the same goes for Rosie's daughter Pearl. Pearl has a shine for weaving and she put her hand to an Inkle loom that night. It is always such a joy to see young ones interested in our craft.

Love the concentration on Pearl's sweet face as she winds on yarn.