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.

Monday, March 13, 2017

If The Moon Is Full Is There Love In The Air?

 Is this not a moonlit night that has love in the air? Is it just "coincidence" that this breath taking moon makes its appearance the night before he arrived in all his splendor? Perhaps but being a hopeless romantic I think otherwise. 

A year ago January on super bowl Sunday I awoke before day break to start baking. I was going to a quilt workshop and wanted to take my favorite Pecan Sticky Buns to share. Buns in oven I then proceeded to go outside to do barn chores. It was a crisp morning, sun barely rising and quiet. Too quiet. I finished up the chores in the doe barn and turned my attention to the buck barns but before that a stop at the big barn where the my chickens were housed"Odd" I thought so quiet sun coming up barely kissing the sky "my flock should be rising now." The sun higher in the sky and I suddenly realized I couldn't see the outline of the birds that every morning greeted the dawn sitting on the very top of the nesting box always outlined by the new sun. We had a few fox issues but had beefed up security around the coop. I opened the barn side door to find all 23 of my birds (or so I thought) dead at my feet. 

Later after a very emotional moment or more I found two live birds Wise One who sat in a nest box most likely not even daring to breath and Survivor who had flown up to the highest crossbeam in the roof area to avoid the fate of the other 21 .  In my then 31 years of having chickens I had never had a loss of this nature. And I found that the fox had found a place of only 2 inch width that it had gotten in and proceeded to terrorize the birds. 

It has taken a year plus for me to even entertain having another roo. My original roo Robert Redford was given to me by my neighbor as a very young roo. He was handsome and gentle with his ladies.

 But today a new roo joined the flock of nine laying hens including Wise One and Survivor. He is a handsome devil too and because of his lovely white(blond) tail feathers he is Paul Newman. He is a Rhode Island Red x White Leghorn. Robert was a Wheaton x unknown.   

 As I said destiny the day after a moonlit night. I like to think Robert would approve.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Crazy Busy Week That Was

The last of February merged with the first part of  March . It was without a doubt the most full week in a long time. In fact it left me with only two days that were devoted entirely to home and the needs there. So busy in fact that I didn't make it to the Blue Iris Quilt store for free sewing day and my oh my I did miss it. Especially being surrounded by ladies who do incredible work such as the peacock below done by Chris. I must admit this photo that was taken two weeks ago is not the finished work and I will look forward to seeing the finished project this week. She is a very talented lady who loves doing art quilts because as she puts it " I don't do conventional quilts because I can't sew a straight line. " I really don't think Chris has anything to worry about.

Even though I had braved a trip into Redding for most of the day last Wednesday I made it to my fiber group at The Shed later that evening. It wasn't snowing as it had the week before and Janet (my neighbor on the cattle ranch near me) and I had a clear drive this time. There I am jumping, er, sitting for joy as I spin and wave at Judy on the other side of the camera. We do have fun!

Janet of calf nurse fame is also an accomplished spinner and weaver. She keeps telling everyone she is just a beginner but we know better.

When we see someone with scissors in hand we know something is up. Those hands belong to Pam and she is cutting her table runners and towel off the loom. When a weaver finishes a project their heart beats faster as the project is getting cut off the loom or because taking scissors to a project you have spend considerable time on can just make your heart jump around a bit no matter your experience level.
And here are  the finished projects still attached in a row. Note the white weave between the larger piece in front of Janet and again by Pam's left hand ( that would be on the right looking at the photo) it separates the the two runners and the towel.

And a close up look at the weave structure. 

           While Pam was playing with scissors Lori was working on a twill project

 to see how color and texture changes can enhance or distract from the pattern. 

  All in all a good time was had. Carol whose back is to me in the photo of me spinning  was busy measuring out the last of the warp for a new project . It will be a scarf in a Log Cabin weave. And Judy who was too fast for my camera that night spent her evening dusting off and warping some Inkle looms for use in weaving some projects from her new book. 

Oh just in case any one is wondering about our weather . This was about noon today Sunday March 5th.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Do I Seem Obsessed With The Weather?

 I promise a post with other photos and subject matter but this is the first weekend of March?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

California Weather Gone Bad or This Is Just CRAZY!

This is how it looked about a week ago and then we got this

And after the hail we got rain and more rain and wind and mud. Did I mention rain?

And then we got this for a daytime high.

Followed by

And also this
So we come friends to yesterday and look what do we have here?

And now what do I see?  
With a forecast of rain showers tonight snow mixed with rain showers after 4 AM and before 10 AM tomorrow. Accompanied by our recent morning temps in the 28 - 31 degree range. I am not putting up the citrus trees dresses any time soon.  I must say I am not holding my breath on that one!

I will close this post with a photo from a friend of mine Facebook page. She is up the hill about 2000 ft. These are her solar panels the other day wondering why the batteries aren't charging?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Brief Weather Report

We had a mixed bag today. Early chores were met by cloud cover and an occasional sprinkle . Mid morning put the bucks out in their field and we had a brief down pour. Then the clouds parted the wind stopped and the remainder of the day  was down right balmy . Well balmy may be  a bit of an embellishment. Let us just say mix of sun and clouds. Until this came to visit about 6:30 just in time for dinner.

First a sprinkle , then it picked up to metal roof big drops of rain and then it sounded like we were tbeing stoned. Quick check outside , hey I was hungry, pea size hail.Then the pounding got heavier and in the end we had  snow  rather deep hail.

Even the Calli and Ari ventured out on the deck   and left their mark. 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grateful To Live on Higher Ground

Welcome to Northern California where when we say rain we mean it!

This is a view of the Sacramento River yesterday as I flew down our mountain to pick up a few items. Look closely to the left yes  that is a mobile park and yes the water is encroaching on the cabins and mobiles currently living there.  Below is another view and I wish I could have stopped on the bridge for a better shot  but there were others behind me. However it gives you an idea of how it is moving .

But when I got further down the road I was greeted by this pastoral vision. Reminding me that there is beauty even in the middle of potential disaster and also one always needs to make choices . Yesterday I choose Anderson via Cottonwood. I am a wimp I couldn't decide so stopped at both little towns.
I have pretty much been hanging out at home the last few days and will continue until Wednesday which is my girls day out. I have quilting in the morning and an evening at The Shed which was featured in my blog entry a bit ago
In fact I was there last Wednesday but was spinning up a storm (no pun intended) and didn't get any photos. Promise more this time. 

Then there is the loom thing. Some of you may remember this post  Well I am still working on the Hammett floor loom to this day. It has taken some detective work and such to find out exactly what is needed to make her weave. Besides me the weaver. The mystery to this loom is the age (something older than me ahha!) she rolled off the line in 1946 with that said has had multiple owners  lives that is . And as happens over time some will be purist and some will try to build a better mousetrap loom. This dear loom had holes and missing pieces that she accrued along the journey. I am hopeful that I will have the last piece to my puzzle done soon. The "black hole" you are looking at below should be adjusted to look like the photo to the right with a proper bolt , bushing and nut.  


Took me bit to find a fellow weaver on my weaving group online that has the original set up as I do. There were several folks who have the same loom and year of production but their looms had been tweeked along the way by someone. There was a positive side to this loom being in my friend's storage area from 1969 to 2016 it kept it from anymore rearranging of original parts.  And I need to attach the spring to the warp beam release treadle aka brake that is attached to the pawl that keeps the warp beam from moving while one is weaving. In laymen's terms it keeps the warp on the loom from advancing forward while one is weaving.

With all this said I have high hopes to have a warp on by the end of March and will then do two things. Begin my rug weaving endeavors and add part two of my walk down how to weave on a floor loom for you all.

With the advent of Spring also springs forth finishing my greenhouse. Until I change it after this post the greenhouse has been living only as a feature post on this blog Again delayed by rain and wind. All ready to roll except for the attachment of the plastic. I have missed my planned winter of puttering in it growing winter salad fixin's but to everything there is a season. I will be glad to see it done and get growing!