Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Woods in "What Season is This?"

Mid December and it seems like September or maybe April.  It is really getting spooky.  It was much cooler in October and November.  There has not been ice on the puddle pond or tub in over a week.  I am getting spoiled.  My neighbors keep saying it is going to be hard to take winter when it comes.  I think they may be right.  We still believe winter is going to come.

Lyndy and I found a tree on the property for a Christmas tree and decorated it last night.  It feels funny to be putting up a tree in the house when it is in the 60s outside.  When I went down earlier in the day to scope out possibilities, I took a long walk in the woods of Cabin Spring Farm.  I walked the deer paths and found that there are some tiny pines coming along in a woods of predominately cedars but then I looked off into an area I haven't walked in awhile.  There were 2 VERY large pines, one must be a great great great grandmother.  I just looked up in awe for several minutes.

Since the weather is so accommodating, I did more outside projects.  I cleared the beginning of the main path into the woods, for one thing.  It is behind the fiber studio where the nature spirits told me it should go (a few years ago).  At the time I was told where the path should go, I started clearing and found it was a major dump site (barbed wire, cans, glass, you name it).  I cleaned it up and put a couple of logs on either side of the path.  When we did the addition to the fiber shed, a couple of years ago, the path ended up in a great place except for the initial incline.  Since then things have been coming together beautifully to create a special new place.  I love how the universe works.

I love when the leaves fall from the trees and one can see deeply into the woods driving the back roads.  Will this be the year I paint silhouettes of trees in the woods?  I hope so.  How can I not, when the weather is so delightful (that is if your not ready for winter yet).  Winter will officially be here in 5 days and 2 hours.




Saturday, December 5, 2015

TREACHEROUS

This is the time of the year I am not sure if I like it to be warmer or cooler.  It rained more than 2" at the beginning of the week.  It can rain frequently this time of year.  Not a problem if there were more grass but when the grass is short and the animals are eating hay, the area near the main gate, where there is a lot of traffic, can get quite muddy.




Even the pastures get slip-slidy and it becomes treacherous (more so on 2 feet).

When it turn cold the mud looks like this










Then it becomes hard to walk on but it is no longer slippery.  Mira walks carefully toward the pasture.


I think the animals prefer the mud.  I know the bird do.  They do not like the cold under their feet so we put down areas of straw, here and there.



The last couple of mornings we have had HEAVY frosts.  






 It is so beautiful to look at but definitely difficult to maneuver through.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Visual Update of Things to Be Thankful For

Cirrus and Sal enjoying their recently cleaned out puddle pond.


the beginning of a new shelter


Hay stacked up by friends for the winter, the sheep are very happy.

Thanksgiving dessert laid out in the tiny house

and plenty of room for all


Lyndy in her bedroom



The final window in the tiny house (that Lyndy painted) looks great.

SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Perfect Timing Today

This morning, John and I went to pick up hay, three weeks later than past years.  Our hay supplier asked how many square bales I wanted and I said, "as many as you can get on the truck".  That number turned out to be 33.  On the way home, I started thinking about how hard it was going to be to get up on the truck and get all that hay off with it packed high and tight.

As we came up the final hill to our farm, we met a neighbor and friend coming to see us.  Another gift! By the time they got up to the barnyard, I had gates open and swept the hay area.  They were excited about helping to unload and one volunteered to drop the bales down from the truck while the rest of us stacked.  I supervised the stacking and maybe moved 3 or 4 bales myself.  That was the fastest we ever did that chore.  Thank you Mike and Lance!

Since the geese now have to spend the night in the run and the weather is suppose to get colder, I constructed a cozy spot for the geese.  I was going to make another small wood structure but decided to use straw bales, 2 small fence posts and a piece of cattle panel instead (for now).

I guess I will have to clean the geese tub more often now since they will be in it more being confined for so many hours.  I cleaned the puddle pond out a few days ago and it looks so nice.  The geese like it again.

Three important jobs I can check off.  Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bobcats

Just when I was really enjoying the automatic chicken door opener and just when I was really relaxing into fall, a neighbor told me she saw two young bobcats crossing over to our property.  Another neighbor has seen a bigger bobcat, so it looks like we have a mother and at least two kittens living nearby.

Unfortunately, bobcats are still hunting about the time the chickens's door opens in the morning and Sunday morning 2 chickens did not show up for breakfast.  I looked about and was wondering if the hawk savvy chickens had been tricked.  It was at church a couple of hours later, that my neighbor told me about the bobcat sightings.  Later that day, I noticed that Eloise was missing a bunch of tiny neck feathers on the back of her neck.  I wonder if she was almost breakfast.

I have now adopted a new morning/evening schedule.  I have to put the geese and chickens in the run before dusk and wait until the morning shadows lift in the morning to let everyone out.  At least the automatic door let the hens out into run so they don't have to stay in the coop too long.

One positive that has come out of this, is the geese have become friendlier to the chickens now that they are sharing space longer.

I called our extension agent to see what others in the county have experienced with bobcats.  He told me they are still pretty rare around here, many fewer than bears, which seem to be everywhere this year, he said.  Unfortunately, he has had a bear killing his sheep.

One thing I have to keep in mind is, wild animals have favorite foods (same as us) and don't generally go after foods they have not previously tasted and enjoyed.  Also, bobcats and bears are territorial and we don't have other sheep in the near vicinity, so maybe the bear and bobcats in these parts haven't tasted sheep.  I read that female bobcats stay within a 5 square mile area and males 25 square miles.  The females take care of their kittens for 8-12 months and teach them to hunt on their own, this time of year.  That is particularly worrisome knowing that at least 3 are hunting.  I saw a rabbit today and a mouse so I know that some favorite food is around.  Unfortunately, I guess chicken is a favorite also.  I don't know if Cirrus and Sal permanently discourage the predators or if they will try again for goose.

I don't know how long the bobcats have been around.  Somethings I have read say they are so secretive and other reading suggests they will come right up to a house.  I am going to try not to worry too much and do as much as I can to keep the 17 animals under my care as safe as possible.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It Is SO Quiet, Today

I can't hear the geese or the sheep.  I think everyone is lounging in the sun on a cool day.  I will go to investigate after writing this in the silence.

Besides the animals, the wind has been so loud the last couple of days.  And then there was the hammering yesterday (on the tiny house), with a strange kind of echo.

I was knitting with a neighbor the other day and we were swapping stories about the sounds we hear.  We had been hearing the train and speedway, a few days previous, and they are both over 10 miles away.  She can't hear either and was surprised I could.  Her sounds were hers.  Around here, what you hear depends on if you are on top of a hill or in a hollow, or if you have stone above you to echo back sounds.

I remember going to sheep dogs trials at another neighbors place a few years back.  The trainers use commands or whistles to direct the dogs out on the range, to circle the sheep, but it seemed like the dogs were getting the signals just too late to be efficient.  I think it was because of sounds bouncing around due to a combination of wind direction and Short Hill.

The refrigerator is so loud.  Amazing what you do hear when things are so quiet.  We have been reading and talking about fan and pump noises in tiny houses.  I think the best thing is to have everything manual instead of automatic, so one can decide when the noise will happen.

The tiny house is coming along nicely.  I will take new pictures when I go down to the barn. And speaking of pictures, I love this one Lyndy forwarded to me last night.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

WHO's COUNTING?

One thing I especially like about my yoga teacher is that she reads us beautiful things as we are doing our poses which helps to relax and distract.  Tonight, she was reading some things from Hafiz.  She was reading about a person who was feeding a grass hopper on their hand and walking through a meadow asking if there was anything else that was better to be doing.

It made me wonder how many people take time to do these things.  Do children still watch ants carrying things from here to there?  Do they at least still catch fireflies, in the summer, in a jar and let them go?

Biologists let us know that the honey bees are declining and now the bats.  But, have we delegated the responsibility of counting plant and animal species and numbers there in, to the scientists?  I count 9 sheep, 5 chickens, and 3 geese, everyday, and sometimes John and I throw quilts out and star gaze, but we don't count the stars (maybe planes blinking as they travel across the sky) .  We don't count the birds, though I am aware there seem to be more in the winter.  There were more tiger swallowtails this summer and fewer monarchs.  There were many fewer dandelion flowers.  We used to have thousands of them.  It seems funny to have to nurture dandelions.  Makes me think about the song, "Where have all the Flowers Gone?

All this rambling, but all I really want to say is, tomorrow, after counting 9 sheep, 5 chickens, and 3 geese I think I will go count grasshoppers, beetles, hickory nuts, and walnuts.  But, I won't count stink bugs because there are thousands of them.  Yesterday, when I was thoroughly cleaning the fiber studio,  for guests coming today, they were in every dark place imaginable.

My guests today, numbered 10.  They were from the local sheltered workshop, come to see if there was a job or money to be had, in fiber production.  I have so much fiber to offer, so we were exploring possibilities.  At the end of the morning one fellow wanted to make a camouflage toboggan out of wool  but also dog or cat toys.  I alway say, "we are only limited by our imagination".

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015



Happy Halloween.  Back from the "wild west".  We had an incredible time.  Everything is SO VAST and so diverse and SO beautiful!!   We saw a few sheep and then this one.


It was across from the visitor center at the Colorado National Monument.  First John tried to tell me it was mechanical and then he told me they paid it to stand there.  I saw two more the next day on another rock in another place.  The mule deer out west are heavier looking than our deer here.  We saw a beaver dam and an eagle nest and assorted small animals as well.  The rabbits are really fast.

When we returned, the animals all acted like they did the day I left, over a week previous.  I guess they didn't miss me and were not mad I left because Cathy takes such good care of them.   It is So nice to have a fine farm sitter.

I think it is really important to take vacations and see all the magnificent places there are.  I think there is something special about every place but sometimes you have to look a little harder or deeper.  This vacation I didn't have to do either, we were oohing and awing from the first moment on the train, almost.  We flew into Denver and took a train for 8 hours, along 230+ miles of the Colorado River, through canyons, and along forests and through falling snow.  We got off the train in Grand Junction Colorado and rented a car to explore some of the National Parks of Utah.

I had a few flashbacks to when I was between school and work or work and work and and had time to just wander.  Back then, if I had $200.00 saved up, I felt I could go anywhere I wanted.  Now, most people need a little more security and a little more traveling money, though you can still camp for free in some of the most beautiful places in the world.  

Back at home, it is fall with leaves turning and a nip in the air.  Many fall projects to do, but alas today is Halloween and it is cloudy and nice sitting by the wood stove writing the 6th blog of October (not bad for being gone over a week).


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Burrrrr

This morning we woke up to 29 degrees.  The first hard frost of the season.  I even put on my gloves to go down to the barn.  Something felt funny in a couple of the glove fingers and when I investigated I found beach glass.  When was that?

There was frost all over the grass but the water in the buckets was open.  It seems a little early to go into winter mode and after tonight it is suppose to get warmer again, so I won't get the plug-in buckets out yet.

Lyndy came over to work on her house and besides being cold it was windy, so we had to bundle up, but we got some more clapboard up.  I am glad we are almost ready to move inside.  The sheep are loving this weather and have hardly been inside at all for several days.  Sure makes cleaning the barn easy.

The geese don't seem to mind the cold either but I put straw in the barn closet incase they want to get out of the weather.  So why doesn't everyone wear goose down or wool?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lyndy's Tiny House Update mid October

Lyndy's tiny house has a new look.  Lyndy and
Brook and John of course, put the house wrap
on and then covered it with clapboard. Jerry helped paint the sage clapboards on Saturday.  Door knobs were order, more decisions made,  we are plowing forward again.  The question remains- "will it be ready for Thanksgiving pies?"








 Doesn't it look inviting?  Even the stink bugs and a spider were making them selves at home on the front porch.

Some of the inside is getting done too, but you can't see it here.  That is for the next peek.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall on the Farm

YES the sheep still live here.  It seems like all the talk, lately, has been about the chickens and the geese.  I guess that is because the sheep have been behaving better than the birds recently.

It is funny how the geese hang out with the sheep and all get along so well and then they get back to the barnyard and still behavior is good most of the time until the geese decide to harass the sheep for no apparent reason.

A few days ago, Sal was limping and then holding up one of her legs a lot.  I thought, "Oh no, the golden goose again".  She probably got stepped on.

  I consulted with the nature spirits and Sal's spirit guides and ended up giving Sal a homeopathic remedy in her water.  The remedy is used for sprains and strains and dislocations.  The next day she was barely limping and today she seems fine.  I love when things work so well.  I love this picture with every one following me down the pasture and then posing.

Then there are the brown sheep and the grey geese and then a good shot of the white sheep and Charlotte, and of course Zorra gets to be in all the pictures because she is the farm ambassador.  



Another beautiful day and additional small projects completed.  Still lots to do but the weekend looks to be good to polish off a few more.

We may have a tiny house crew this weekend so keep tuned for an update.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Timing and Timelessness

Today, two more things got crossed off the list of farm projects thanks to John.  The hay storage area and the chicken coop have been winterized with that clear wavy panel stuff.  The fall rains have started and the nights are getting cool (mid to low 40's).  Now the chickens will be cozy.  We also got another present for the chickens.  I bought them an automatic door opener so they don't have to wait for me to come down and let them out in the morning.  It also closes at the right time in the evening.  It seems like, this time of year, if I go down to close the coop before dinner, the chickens aren't ready, and after dinner it is dark.  One of the hens is back to sleeping outside of the coop, but at least she has selected a better place than the tree.  So when I go down after dinner, I have to turn on the light in the barn, peek in the closet to see where exactly she is, turn off the light (so as not to rouse her), go back and open the closet door, pick her up, and take her back to the coop.  If I could just get there a couple of minutes earlier, she would still be drowsy and I wouldn't have to turn the light on and off.

This morning I helped John put the big green shutters ( he made for the little church down the road) on to replace the 50+ year old ones that were on it.  The old ones were in rough shape; maybe not the best timing.  I wonder how long the new ones will last.

When it comes to personal timing, I go between thinking, I am doing things at just the right time and feeling that I am dragging my feet.  Sometime, there are moments, however, that seem like time stands still and nothing needs to get done.  This morning, I was waiting at Cedar Hill Church for John to go back up to the house to recut a shutter, when just such a time arrived.  The temperature was perfect, the sun shone  warm on my back, and shadows of turkey vultures glided by on the tree tops.  I was definitely living in the moment.  Then a young woman walked by with a large German Shepherd puppy on a leash.  He/she wanted to come over and see me but the young woman just kept going and barely acknowledged my greeting.  She was tuned in to her headphones but her dog turned around at least a half dozen times before they got to the bend in the road. 

My inspection sticker on my van expired the last day of September.  I knew it was going to expire but then I forgot until Monday.  I didn't get noticed by law enforcement and I pushed my expiration date up an extra month for next year so does that mean I did it at just the right time or I was dragging my feet?

I wish I could have more timelessness in my life.  My short term memory has not been that great lately and I was thinking it might mean that I need to "live in the moment" more, because then I wouldn't have to remember the past moments.  

So what about that dog today and what about the animals at Cabin Spring Farm, do they live in the moment or do they have to worry about timing?


Friday, September 18, 2015

Empty Space





When I look down toward the barnyard, I see Lyndy's Tiny House and have this feeling of …….. longing, is the first word that comes to mind.  And sweetness and specialness and endearment.  Sometimes, I worry that when the tiny house leaves there will be an empty spot in my heart and I wonder what that is about.  I know that the tiny house will  probably only be here 6 more months, so I have to identify what it means to me.

What comes to mind, is hours spent as a child laying on my back thinking of the ceiling as a floor, as a floor of an essentially empty house.  I am sure everyone or as least many have done this.  I am also certain a reoccurring dream I have is an archetypal dream; the one where you find an empty room in a house you have been living in for many years, and you get so excited.  Does it all just mean that we  have become too busy in our lives and we yearn for simplicity.  Or is it about wanting to go in a new direction or discover something new in our lives.

I have alway loved camping; sleeping in a tent, or now sleeping and waking up in my van looking at trees.  I take deep breaths and take in the natural world.  The animals have a great Empty barn they hang out in a lot, sheep napping (the sheep don't sleep there at night).  I love to go down there early in the morning, when they are still out in the pasture, and rake the dirt floor for them.  It makes me feel like I am camping somehow.  At least it gives me that wonderful feeling of simplicity of life, like I had when I lived on a 26 foot Chinese Junk for a year.

I am so happy for Lyndy that she will get to experience that simplicity of life.  I love reading about other people who live in tiny houses and what they treasure about them.

I feel lighter just from getting rid of extraneous clothes and having, now, only clothes that bring me joy.  I went through my books but need to redo that segment of the plan.  I can't wait to be at the end of the paper phase of the process.  And then--- the rest, at which time all of my things may fit in a tiny house but I will be living in a tidy house not a tiny house.

Here are some pictures of Lyndy's Empty House





I guess it isn't really empty; there is a radio, a couple of ladders,  a few tools and some nails.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

When I was walking with my walking buddies the other morning, Katie suddenly stopped to pick some wild mustard.  She has written several books on wild edibles and has been gathering since she was 4 years old.  She invited me to stop in to her place for some steamed wild mustard at the end of our 3 miles.  I excitedly accepted her invitation.  Talk about "knowing where your food comes from".  The mustard was superb.  It reminded me of when I lived in corn country in the midwest and everyone said to be really good, you had to eat an ear of corn within an hour of picking it.  The mustard greens were eaten in that time frame.

My brother, John, has shown  me several times what you can eat but I forget.  I asked Katie if she would walk around the farm here and tell me what I should be eating.  She said she would.

  I know a few things that are good for the sheep but they don't last in the pastures because the sheep seem to have no sense of the importance of selective eating to make sure the species survives.  I know it is hard when there are 8 others competing with each sheep but IT'S IMPORTANT.  Now is a good time to plant because there are bare spots and the weather is cooling off so I shall try to plant some new GOOD stuff.  I know I want to plant dandelion (imagine planting dandelion) and wild garlic should be on the list.  What else?  I want to make sure they like what I plant because we all know that just because something is good for us doesn't mean we are going to eat it.  I would say Gretta and Sarah and maybe Annie are the best eaters (willing to try new things) around here.  Even the chickens are fairly selective.  I found out yesterday they don't like raisin bread, or at least not Ezekiel raisin bread.

I wish the few people who read this would make suggestions as to what I should plant for the animals.

The pastor at my church does children's messages about the abundance of wild food that God has planted for us and how if something catastrophic happens, like getting lost in the woods, there is always plenty to eat.  And think how much money can be saved and you don't even have to weed the crop-- usually what you are eating are the weeds.

Bon app├ętit  and keep those plant suggestions coming in.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Altering Behavior 101

What do you do when an infant is holding something dangerous or  doing something that could get them in trouble?  You offer them something enticing and slip the dangerous item away without any fuss.  If it is a troublesome behavior, you show them what good behavior could lead to.

When I returned the third rooster, Laure and I were walking back to my car from her coop, and she suddenly asked me if I had a light in my coop.  I don't.  She told me a light in her coop is on a timer which signals the chickens to come in to a safe place.  Later, it goes out but I am not sure when the radio, (tuned to NPR) goes off.  So Laure thinks not having the light to call him in, is why Sideshow Bob slept outside and also, most recently Randy Rooster.

Unfortunately, after Randy invited one of the hens to sleep in the tree with him, she decided she should try it herself.  I don't know if she is hoping he will come back or she just likes sleeping outside.

Forgetting all my wisdom about encouraging good behavior instead of punishing bad, last night I tried shaking the tree branch and spraying water from the hose, to get the hen to come down.  She just tightened her grip and then went to another unsafe branch.  The tree hen survived the night.  I wonder if she slept through the heavy rain.  Anyway, tonight I shall offer them all a bedtime snack to get the errant hen to change her behavior.

We are going to try something similar at Boxerwood.  The staff is always complaining that the play trail gets over use from kids, especially older siblings of tiny tots.  They were originally trying to come up with ways to reduce the wear by omitting some of the kids.  Now, the plan is to create something just as exciting, but for a slightly older aged child, in another area of Boxerwood.  I am going to be a part of the new creative endeavor and I am excited.

 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Writing Is On The Wall

It is in rooster language and must be faint or in a corner of the coop somewhere.  The last three roosters, including the one that just came, spent a few to many nights in the coop, but then decided to sleep outside.  They must have seen, etched somewhere in the walls or ceiling of the coop, "If you are a rooster, don't sleep here or a raccoon will come in the night and take you away".  Unfortunately the roosters who have come, have come from farms where they were sleeping in chicken coops, and don't know about safe places to sleep outside.  The one who is here now, has slept the last two nights in a tree.

The night before last, I could not find the rooster when I went to close the coop.  I didn't know if he was still around.  I looked everywhere.  But yesterday morning we heard him crowing so we knew he was still with us.  I went down to see if I could see where he had spent the night but saw no sign of him until I let the hens out of the coop and he dropped down, from the tree by the coop, to chase them around.

Last night, I should have gone down a bit earlier than I did, to coax him into the coop.  We had a visitor for the night and we were talking at dinner, so when I did get there, the rooster was in the same tree AND he had invited one of the hens to join him.  I asked John how he had done that and he just said, "sometimes you get lucky."  They were too high to get safely from a ladder so I had to try other means to get them down.  I tried moving the branch with a rake and tried pushing them with the rake but they just tightened their grip on the branch.  I even took the water bucket and flung the water at them but most of it didn't make it high enough.  The whole time Cirrus, Sal, and Eloise were watching me wondering what I was doing but finding it amusing.  I gave up and let them sleep in the tree.

This morning, the rooster kept crowing and crowing early, so I went down to let the others out before he convinced them all to join him tonight.  Now, I will have to get them in the run early somehow, and then close the doors so they have to go to the coop to roost.  If I can accomplish this, I will have to take the third rooster back to my friend.  Sad thing is, I like all three roosters.

I guess no more roosters for awhile cause the writing is on the wall.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Early September Notes

I have a few diehard follower who let me know when I have not written anything in awhile, and then I think, "what have I been doing?"

Well, I have been dyeing wool with late summer plants, for one thing.





Thanks to some good friends, we were able to process several plant dyes.  One of the greens is from some dark purple dahlias my friend Lindy brought over.  Ryan is a pokeberry fan and I wanted to try jewelweed. (what a lovely orange)  The dark skein on the left is from some fermented wineberries.  Next year I will collect many more berries.  Now I want to try the autumn olive berries.

When I am not dyeing wool or spinning, I am researching hybrid water systems schematics for Lyndy's tiny house.  I found a good one on a marine sight.  

Much of my time lately has been devoted to chicken psychoanalysis.  I got 2 roosters from a friend a couple of weeks ago.  They were sweet roosters but one of them decided it did not want to sleep in the coop at night.  That in itself is not a bad thing, but this rooster picked bad places to roost, so that I had to go out before dark to see where he was and then wait until he was half asleep and move him to the coop.  I decided to take him back before a raccoon got him or I fell off a ladder.  Two nights before I was to take him back, the other rooster started the unsafe behavior, so I took them both back.  My friend gave me another rooster to try and so far so good (but it has only been 2 nights.  I tried to figure out why they did not want to go into the coop (intimidated by the geese or one of the hens?).  I went down early to see what happened before bedtime but nothing seemed deterring.  I guess this will be another unsolved mystery.  And then there were 2 chicken deaths within a couple of weeks.  (sudden coop deaths)  The first, I found on her back like she had fallen from her perch in the night.  The second, was laying on the bedding facing into a corner of the coop.  When you research "dead chickens in the coop" interesting things come up like: falling off a high roost and braking a neck, heart attack from fright, stroke, all kinds of things humans die from in the night.  

We have had a few visitors and another coming Monday.  I have been enjoying spending more time just hanging out on the farm.  The fall is busy with fiber weekend things, though, so I might have to say good bye to the lazy days of Summer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PPPS

Puddle Pond post script=  I forgot to include a picture of the puddle pond after I finished it.
It is hard to tell how well it is working because it has been raining quite a bit since I completed the work.  Some of the straw is coming up and the geese don't seem to like it as much as they used to so guess we will have to wait to see how things go.

"In The Loop"

When I sent an email to my "Virginia Fiber Enthusiasts" list, last night, to see if anyone wanted to come dye with natural dyes this weekend, I was not expecting the responses that I got.  There were the regular "if I don't have to work" or "in a crunch time, call me next time" that you expect to get but also many others as well.

  I usually expect to here from a couple who can come and a few regrets from people I see frequently that feel like they should let me know why they can't make it.  What I didn't expect was responses from people I haven't seen in a looooooong time who thanked me for keeping them in the loop.  People told me of the good memories that came up from getting my email; from special times here at Cabin Spring Farm to memories of dyeing wool with someone special in the past.  Some offered up their favorite plant material for dyeing and even where I might find some woad.  A friend who moved back to New England said she missed me and there was loads of golden rod there now.

Every time I send an email, I wonder who is getting it that is no longer interested and periodically I ask if anyone wants off the list.  Rarely does anyone ask to be removed and there are over eighty residences that receive these emails.  I guess part of the reason they don't ask to be removed is that I send out emails to this group very infrequently.

One response asked about the critters and how were they doing and was the pasture getting enough rain.

The best part though, is that for some it reminds them of something they once did (that they really enjoyed) and may do again some day.

I hesitated to send out the invite to this whole list instead of just asking a few people,  but now I am glad that I did.  It is important to Keep People in the Loop.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tiny House Update (mid August 2015)

O.K., Lyndy officially said I could share pictures of her sweet tiny house.  Lyndy brought another crew over Saturday to work on the tiny house and the theme this time was roofing and decorative shingles.  Lyndy also worked on her painted window.  Here are a few of the most recent pictures.


Lyndy can stand up in her tiny house bedroom. There is actually plenty of room up there (unless you want a bed and dresser set).  Certainly lots of light and view!


Roof is done on one side.  The other side has a small skylight to go around and then the roof will be done.  You can also see a sample of the clapboard sitting on the wheel well.  That will probably be the next crew event.

Not many decorative shingles on the front with the window up top.










When they are up they will look like this.







I love this view.  The front of the tiny house with its 22 inch front door and nice front porch.

So you can see the outside is mostly done, and then on to all the interior details that makes the tiny house bigger.  

The animals love the build because it means more visitors which sometimes leads to treats or at least a little more attention.  They can't really see the tiny house very well from the barnyard so they probably wonder what is going on over where all the noise comes from.  When they do get a good look this fall, they will probably say, "That is just the right size for Lyndy".

For anyone wondering how Lyndy is going to get her refrigerator and stove into the house, that is what the side door is for.




Friday, August 14, 2015

Sometimes Feet, Sometimes Hands

Sometimes I create with my feet (previous blog) sometimes I create with my hands.

A couple of weeks ago, Beverly and I took a felting workshop called "Felting for Painters".  Most of the students in the class were painters, few had felted before.  The workshop combined wet and dry felting techniques.  The good thing about felting is you can put light over dark.  That is pretty hard to do with a painting, especially a watercolor.


The lower sky needs to be much lighter and the pastures defined more, but I can still do that.

This is not the right light but I was too lazy to find a better picture, I have only taken this picture a thousand times.

I have been wanting to do some landscapes for awhile, so it is nice to finely do one.  It is actually fun.

My sister Judy has been wanting me to do something for a room in her house (not sure what she calls the room) where she has some original art from most or all of her siblings.  I keep promising her something, so maybe it will be a felting or maybe some mud art.  I wonder which she would rather have.




Working with the Nature Spirits

Last weekend I decided it was time to patch the puddle pond.  I wasn't really sure how to approach it so I called in the nature spirits for guidance.  It was an interesting process they had me go through but it seems like the repair is working pretty well.

First I had to hoe out the squishy mud and put it in 2 places.  Then I put the straw into the mud and tamped it in.





My quality control supervisor is pretty lenient, good thing.


Good excuse to buy new sandals- now these can be farm use only.









This video will make you feel a part of the process.  Enjoy!  Make sure to put it in full screen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Weather Outside is Frightful

It rained 2 inches yesterday after a somewhat dry spell.  I alway find it interesting that no matter what the weather, I can always find a reason not to do something.  Too hot, too dry, too wet, too humid, too windy, too cold.

The puddle pond has sprung a leak.  It has no liner but the clay has been holding the water fine with a little evaporation which was filled by the next rain.  I filled it at the beginning of the week and then found it almost empty the next day, SOME evaporation.  I tried it again with the same results and decided to wait and let it drain more and see what was going on.  It was getting close but then it rained the 2" and now it is full again.  I should have been weed whacking over by the fence when it was dry but it was too hot, now it is too wet?  That's what I told myself.  This morning, the air was also too heavy besides the weeds being too wet.  So, I did what all good farmers do; I went to town to the farmer's market and to run some errands that are not so weather related.

I just love the fact that I can have a general plan for the week and then decide in the morning what to do that day.  Even with all of my putting off of chores, due to weather, I manage to get a fair amount of work done.  Another thing I find amusing is, when there is something I enjoy doing, but it is sunny and HOT, I just go do it and tell myself how healthy it is to sweat.  And then I take 2 or even 3 showers to keep resetting my energy.  I have sweat a lot building Lyndy's tiny house and I can get pretty sweaty in my fiber studio.  On the other hand, the bookwork I am so far behind with, doesn't ever seem to get done (even when it is hot and I could sit in an air-conditioned house).

Last week John and I took 3 days off and went to the Monongahela  National Forest where the weather was Delightful.  We sat on the screened porch of the lodge in rocking chairs reading magazines and painting the river.  I had to put a long sleeve shirt on a couple of times but I didn't mind that.  We took drives through the forest and hiked to a waterfall.  We ate good food and slept well.

I have turned the fan on for the sheep the last few days because there hasn't been much breeze.  They graze in the heavy rain and snow but still heat is what seems frightful to them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shelters from the Storms

I think most living beings, really would like to spend most of their time outside, if they could.  But, sometimes we need a shelter and here are some examples.








 This is Lyndy's new house that we were building last week.  John, his brother Chuck, Lyndy, and I worked long, hard hours to get it out of the garage/barn and tight to the weather.  Many decisions to be made, but those can wait a bit while we all take a breather and look for new ideas and inspiration.

It seems funny that the sheep have a larger shelter than Lyndy will have but there are 9 of them so I guess they need a little more space.