Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Arrival of Summer 2019

A Few days before summer arrived, we lost Donald, our resident rooster.  A fox got him while I am sure he was protecting his ladies.  We did not witness the sad event but all indicators  point to a fox attack.  The evening of the same day, I saw a young fox coming toward the barnyard alone. This one was too small to take down a large rooster alone.  There must be a den somewhere and the kits are learning to hunt.  We knew we had a fox but we have had no trouble until the Donald attack.

Now we have to learn how to outfox a fox.  The first thing we are doing is changing our whole schedule of visits to the barnyard.  Some days we coax the chickens in early.  It has made the evening schedule a lot more difficult or at least longer.  We will do what we can.  Donald was a fine rooster and as Lyndy said an icon.  We shall all miss him.

Donald was taken between the two weeks of Fiber Camp.  Camps ended yesterday on the first day of summer, an Exquisite day.  All in all the weather co-operated with a cool first week and low 80s the second.  Rain, for the most part, came in the late afternoon or evening.  More on camp later.

I am truly excited to have summer arrive so pleasantly giving hope that this one won't be too hot.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Greater US

I was reminded by the geese this morning that what is felt as "bad or wrong" by some, brings joy and pleasure to others.

We have had days, weeks, and months of rain and MUD.  Most of the people in the community are getting tired of it all, farmers and fencers are very frustrated.  The sheep at Cabin Spring Farm are waiting in the barn for their meals to be delivered.  BUT the geese are loving it!  They have the right feet for all the mud and walk on top of it, while the rest of us sink to different levels or slip.  The geese's puddle pond is staying full so they can get in a good bath and the tiny pond they are digging in the goose run at night is holding water for hours.  Me, I try to live in the moment (truly) and go through routine without complaining.  And I try to laugh about it.

Our way of life here in our community (particularly the peace and tranquility) is being threatened.  The thought of how things might become, began to consume me to the point that my morning meditative walk to the barn was lost and I barely greeted the sheep when they were at the gate waiting for me.  My sleep was disrupted by the thoughts again.

When I told one of my neighbors how I was being consumed, she was very helpful!  She reminded me of my former practice of centering prayer.  Being similar to meditation, the practice is to clear your mind of any thoughts; releasing them by sending them down a river or poofing them into the air or whatever so as not to give them any power.  Once reminded, that part was relatively easy.

Settling my emotions and spirit, I was ready for the next challenge; to understand my part in it all.  My neighbor made some suggestions about what I might learn in the process.  It didn't take long before some insights came rolling in.

I am now in the process with emotions in balance and I perceive what my part might be.

On the other side, there are people that would love to see a very infrequent clay shoot gun club turn into a pistol and rifle range with longe range rifles and pistols shot 9-sundown 7 days a week.

When we committed to being stewards of this land we were amazed how quiet it is here.  People who come here, are struck by the peacefulness that engulfs this this area.  This land is truly a sanctuary.

The zoning board of appeals disallowed, the new occupant of the gun club property,  having the range grandfathered in for pistols and rifles but now the new guy is taking it to the circuit court.

What is justice?  What is morality?  It is not about you- it is not about me- it is about the greater US.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentines Day



Karen used to dress up her animals for Halloween I just asked these two sheep to pose as a valentine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019's First Egg Laid at Cabin Spring Farm

The dirty egg on the left is the one the Dorking hen laid a couple of days ago.  I was so surprised.  I guess we are getting more light.  Two days later she laid another!
So nice to have fresh eggs again.

The yoke below that is larger and orange is hers.  SO BEAUTIFUL










I want to get more chickens again this spring.  I really like having chickens around and they are so quiet unlike some other birds that live here.  I told the geese that if they are going to be so loud around me they better be that noisy when intruders come their way.  I think they are.

 Little Gray came down to the barn with me this evening and the doe that doesn't like us was out.  She stares at me but mostly stares past me at Little Gray.  She chased Little Gray several months ago and he has not forgotten and stays close to me.  Why does she feel that a small cat is such a threat?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Winter Grooming

Little Gray is now an inside/outside cat.  As I watch him meticulously clean himself, I think about the differences in grooming.
 Especially now, the sheep get hay all over themselves.  Sometimes, they get in the way when I am trying to give them grain and end up with that in their fleece as well, but not to worry one of the other sheep will eat it off.  Other that that, they just shake really hard.  They also go out in the rain and snow and after one of natures showers they look beautiful.

The geese like to go in the pond and duck under to clean themselves.  When the pond is frozen the geese will take a bucket bath.  They stick their head deep in a bucket of water and try to throw it over their shoulder until they are fairly wet.  Then they use their long necks to move the water around.  There has been snow and mud on the ground for several days and the pond is frozen.  But, one day the valve on the rain barrel at the barn wasn't frozen so I could fill the big catch bucket with water.  Cirrus was thrilled.  He watched me fill it and then precariously climbed in.  It is about ten-twelve inches tall so a big step for him.  Once in, he had a blast and took a long wonderful bath.  Getting out isn't much easier than getting in so he was teetering on the rim and as he stepped off he fell forward and his chest hit the mud.  Ug, I felt so bad for him.  I tried to tell him I would wash it off for him but he walked off trying to wipe it off.

The chickens take dust baths when there is dust to be had, otherwise I don't know what they do.  They look pretty clean though.

And then there is me.  I take fewer showers in the winter though now that I found soap that moistens the skin instead of drying it, I do take more frequent showers than I used to.  The soap, we found in a small town on Nova Scotia.  The woman who makes it harvests sea vegetables from the local shore and adds some essential oils with different properties. We still try to take outside showers whenever possible but we have had a long stretch of cold nights and some wind that is the worst when it is already cold.

Back to little Gray,  he follows me into the bathroom when I go to take a shower and I would love to know what he is thinking when I turn on the valves and make it (rain?).

Saturday, January 19, 2019

A fine winter



It has been a good winter.  So far.  Some nice snow, a few nights of very cold temperatures, and some beautiful mornings.



This I say after some new snow and a calm day with the snow covering the mud and frost heaves.  We have had plenty of precipitation !!! mostly rain but some ice and some beautiful snow.  The animals don't complain but do appreciate some extra hay and grain.  And occasionally they like me to bring the hay to the barn.



Henry took these great pictures.  He is my farm helper, apprentice fiber tech and an all round wizard as I know I have mentioned before.  He can fix most things I put in front of him.  The other day he set up a sewing machine he had never seen before.  He knew how to thread it and knew when it didn't work, it was a belt.  He took the machine apart and adjusted the belt and off we went.  This was a machine I got at the habitat store for 6 dollars.





When you live in such a special peaceful spot, it isn't hard to stay home and play with fiber.  Unfortunately, I am still putting out mostly prototypes but do manage to get some product to the farmers market.  This week, I gave a young woman from nearby, some yarn to make a few hats.  When I told a friend, she offered to make a few too.  I am excited at the thought of new products.
I try to keep the sheep up to date with products that are being made from their fleece but they don't seem too interested.  When this snow melts and they get back over to the cabin for some grazing, that will capture their interest.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Saori Weaving, Natural Dyeing, and the Remnants of Hurricane Florence

No more excuses, I broke down and bought a new computer.  I am still figuring it out but I said "no more excuses". 

Here is a sampling of my new weavings with my Saori loom.  So far I am just using natural fleece or natural dyed fleece and yarn, so I don't have a great selection of colors.  There are many jars of dye bath in the fiber shed so I guess it is time to do some dyeing.  Many wonderful dye plants in bloom too.

We are starting to get rain from the hurricane now so the New England Aster will be beaten down and ready to be harvested.  The goldenrod is lovely this year so that will be one of my yellows.  Still looking for greens but I have some new ideas.  I think I just need to do more experimenting.  Look out the window,  GREEN everywhere so why haven't I found a whole pallet of greens?  

I was supposed to go camping with Rosemary tomorrow so I trimmed 12 hoofs to get that done before I went.  The rain is coming down heavily now so I am glad we postponed and very glad we got the hoofs done because it is going to be hard to do much is the barnyard for a few days.  Another good reason to dye some wool tomorrow.  

This might be one of those times that I go backwards with blogs to chronicle the County Fair "sheep to shawl" demonstration that 10 of us did and maybe a few other things.