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. http://www.ferncrestfarm.com/
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 http://www.5acresandadream.com/2016/09/solar-barn-light-and-paint.html 
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?