Friday, May 26, 2017

Rewards

The person who started making corn cob dolls most certainly had chickens.  We try to give the chickens a lot of food scraps.  There favorite are corn cobs, strawberries, and melons.  Donald always let the girls start eating first.  If it is strawberries, he might not get any.  What a polite guy.  He is rewarded by having three gals who love him.



The Chickens are alway offering to help me create new beds, and then keep the soil loose.  So after I plant the seed, I immediately, put a screen over the area.  I love to adorn the planting beds with my treasures from the sea.  John doesn't appreciate stones and sea brick and tile around fruit trees and other areas where he mows but he loves these beds.  This is much better than rows and popsicle sticks.  It makes my heart happy just looking at this picture.



Sometimes it is not so bad not remembering things.  I had forgotten there was Love-In-The Mist planted in this bed last year.  It reseeded itself nicely.  Good thing I didn't get out there and dig up the area too soon.  Ah, the rewards of not getting to something. 

 We have had a week of rain and soggy ground and a sloppy barn and barnyard.  Usually, with a lot of rain, we get beautiful rainbows for a reward.  Actually, many times the rain is the reward.  But this week we have had MUCHO rain and no rainbows.  This time, our reward came before enduring a week of rain.  A magnificent sunset.





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not This Time








Last Saturday, two young women came out to visit the farm; to meet the animals and play with wool.

Friday, I was cleaning the goose run and decided to dig down under the nest and remove any eggs that remained there.  It was like harvesting potatoes.  To my amazement there were 9 eggs deep under the nest.  I showed the eggs I had harvested, to the Saturday visitors.  One asked how geese decide how many eggs to sit on.  She wondered if it was determined by how many goslings the goose thought she could keep under control.  I told her she would have to ask Sal.  I also told her it took all 3 adult geese to keep the goslings under control some of the time.

I tried to get the girls to take the goose eggs.  I don't want to throw them in the compost or woods here because then some animal might come closer looking for more.  At this point, I don't want to eat them, not this time, though some say they don't go bad.  Unfortunately, they couldn't think of a reason they should take the eggs.

Up at the fiber studio, we all three had fun spinning wool and felting some small balls.  One of the girls, has sisters that knit.  She said they like knitting on really big needles.  I have been wanting to try that here with some roving or super chunky yarn.  One of the campers at Spring break, was plying some commercial yarns together.  I was thinking that, since plying is easier than spinning, maybe some of the students that have trouble learning to spin, could try plying first. Then maybe we could spin some 4 ply yarns and knit with them, or weave.  Always fun to try knew things.

Then came Mothers Day.  There are eight mothers residing at Cabin Spring Farm.  Little Mama, the only broody chicken here is sitting on eggs again.





Maybe this time she will make it the whole term again.  She was sitting a few weeks ago but one of the eggs broke and made a mess of everything.  A friend told me that I should always candle the eggs because if they are not fertile and they get warm under a broody hen they can explode.  Now I know.

Sal is the mother here that deserved the day off, Sunday.  Her four little ones are so busy.  It could have been 13, but not this time.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2017

The day before I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool, the sheep decided to escape from the barnyard.  I was gone maybe 2 1/2 hrs. I wonder, how much of the time I was gone, were they out?  Don't know how they did it ( I must have left the gate ajar) but it was wide open when I got home.  It is a very strange feeling coming up the driveway and seeing all animals out and about.

It was especially disconcerting since I was leaving Saturday morning and John wasn't returning from Ohio until Saturday evening.  Had Gretta figured out how to open the gate?  Would they leave the property?

I double checked the gate and headed off for the annual sheep  festival to see what was new in the fiber world.  Not much.  Couldn't find any new 3D printer equipment.  Couldn't even find any natural dyes.  Just a lot of yarn.  Oh yeah, and some brown Finn fleece for $40/lb. for the unwashed fleece.  Wonder if they sold any.  I did buy a couple of springs for spinning wheels and a couple of small dye plants.

The best part of the whole trip, was camping in the beautiful Greenbriar State Park and waking up looking up at trees surrounding me.  I tried to figure out how I could capture the scene of upside-down trees with watercolor or wet felt.  I had some superb inspirations of new things to try in my fiber studio but not inspired from anything I saw at the festival.  John sent a text--A O.K.

The weather was cool and rainy most of the time I was gone, but the rain wasn't too hard and didn't really interfere with anything except maybe the comfort of the outside vendors.

I think next year I will check out the workshops earlier before they fill up.  There were a couple I might have enjoyed.

Back at the farm, it was a beautiful late afternoon but I needed a nap first in order to enjoy it.  Not sure if the animals noticed I was gone -- they seemed content when I went to say hi.  The one thing I alway notice at the Maryland Sheep and Wool is that few of the sheep there seem to have much personality.  Some seem to enjoy visitors stopping by to say hi, but most seem to be just there until it is time to go home.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Goslings Have Arrived 2017



Here they are, pretty amazing.  They hatched May Day or at least 3 of the 4 did.  And already they have been swimming,  gone out with the sheep and over to the cabin and up the driveway.  They are getting better at following but it seems like every time the adults move, there is always at least one that is eating and not paying attention and then has to figure out how to get where the others are.

Tonight, it is raining and when I went down, THEY WERE ALL IN THE GOOSE RUN.

Earlier, when all the animals were out and about, I was sitting and pulling leaves off some peach and cherry branches I had pruned, to use for dyeing.  What a peaceful, beautiful afternoon. This was after I had walked 3 miles, ran some errands, pruned a shrub and two trees, weedwacked, and mowed part of the lawn.  I guess it has been a busy day for all at Cabin Spring Farm.


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Long Month of April

Wow was April loooong. We came back from our trip to SC, had a week of fiber camp, shearing event, Easter,  5 visitors from New England (three different arrivals and departures), and 2 trips to southern VA., and John's mom came to visit, yesterday.  Oh, and I took about 60 lbs. of fleece to be processed in a new place really close by.  In October we should have a good assortment of yarn, batts, sliver, and more.


Mira before shearing



Mira after.

 And now you can see the true colors of the sheep


And the fleece.  This is Sarah's fleece, below.




Now it is May and we have a new resident at the farm (more later on that).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Pendulum of Hard Work

"Spring Break Fiber Camp" is over, whew.  The sheep were sheared and connections made at our annual shearing event,  AND Easter was shared with family.  Now a new year is resurrected, as was Jesus.

Rosemary and I had our own sunrise service up on top of Charlie's pasture, which is higher than any here.  You can see miles and miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east, the beginning of the Allegheny to the west, and of course Short Hill and House Mountains.  An amazing view and a SPECIAL place.

Now, I am ready to slow down and enjoy life's quieter moments.  There is a lot to get done but no rush to get it done.  There is so much quietude surrounding me today.

 The sheep are rid of a year's worth of wool containing a fair amount of hay and other vegetation and, I am sure, a decent amount of weight and warmth.  They seem to be happy and peaceful as well. They have new pasture (the highest and favorite) to eat, which was saved in a rotation.  The pasture below the driveway is getting long and thick and still a good place to spend some time when I can be on watch.  Today, Rosemary and I sat on the cabin deck and drew, at the picnic table.

Our time to relax and draw was well earned after some heavy lifting earlier in the day.  First, some quite large stumps that were hanging around, were moved to Boxerwood to be used in the "Fairy Forest".  Then we began moving my collection of heavy, large stones to the new steps area that I having been planning for over a year.  Pictures tomorrow.  Sweet.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

It's That Time of Year

We went away for 6 days.  We were on holiday, as John puts it.  We went to see Beverly and her new house in Charleston.  It was great to see my good friend and we had a lot of fun and got refreshed.

I got so refreshed that our first night back, I forgot I was a farmer and didn't remember to close in the birds and give the sheep some hay until 9 P.M.  At least I remembered before I went to bed.  The next day, I was back into my farming routine and everyone was glad, except Prince.  Prince is testy these days so I had to put my big wings out and remind him I was the Queen Farmer.  Since he had to retreat, he went after the sheep, nipping at their legs.

My first day back was also the day that Sal finally decided to sit on the eggs she has been moving around in her big beautiful nest.  Now we wait and see what happens.



Meanwhile, the sheep are really wooly.  I haven't told them yet but they are all getting sheared the 15th.  I always struggle with when to have them sheared; the weather is so changeable.  Today they are probably glad they have the fleece; it is cool with strong gusts of chilly wind.  The problem is they get buzz cuts. 


Charlotte gets so much hay in her fleece when she eats.  It is her place at the hay feeder.



Today I spent the day in the fiber shed taking an inventory of the fleece left from last year.  Next week is Spring Break Fiber Camp, maybe we should make some big pillows stuffed with fleece and lavender.