Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fortunately and Unfortunately

We had a POWERFUL windstorm last night.  It was SCARY.  Fortunately all is well this morning.

Unfortunately it was dark and there are too many trees between the house and the barn to risk going down there last night.  Unfortunately the chickens had gone to bed but fortunately they are O.K. this morning.  Not sure where they slept last night, don't think they could have held on to the stanchion they have been roosting on.  Fortunately animals seem to know when severe weather is coming.

When we went down to survey the situation this morning we found medium and small limbs down but fortunately no trees.  Unfortunately there were a lot of small wild cherry leaf clusters and small branches  all over which are poisonous to sheep but fortunately there were more branches of locus which seems to be the sheep's favorite.  Fortunately the cherry is only poisonous in the wilt stage and I was able to get it up before that.  Unfortunately there is more in the upper pasture but fortunately the upper pasture is closed off to the animals now.

Later, I went down to town to pick up sheep feed I had ordered at the farmer's co op.  Unfortunately they didn't have power but fortunately they were charging things to peoples's accounts.  I went to the bank but unfortunately the ATM was down so I couldn't get money.  I decided to go to Kroger to get money but unfortunately they were closed too.  Fortunately I ran into a friend who loaned me $20 so I could go to the Farmers' Market to get a few things.  Fortunately the Farmers' Market doesn't need power to operate.  Fortunately I did not spend all the money because unfortunately I needed gas.  There were only a couple of gas stations open and they had long lines.  Unfortunately they could only take cash but fortunately I had $10 left and ended up in a short line.

Many downed large pine and locus trees in town and much of the area is without powder but Very fortunately there are many creeks and rivers where people can cool off.

We have no loss of trees or power -- I feel very fortunate.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Interesting Animal Behaviors

I think the invisible eggs hatched today.  Hard to be sure because the chicks are invisible as we might have guessed.  This was the due date and the broody hens abandoned their invisible nest.  Hopefully we will start getting visible eggs laid for us to eat soon.

Our neighbors must be wondering why they haven't been getting any eggs lately.  Between the two hens being broody and the snake snacking, we have eggs, few and far between.  I did get one egg yesterday and one today so we can eat pancakes and bake cakes.

The two hens that were broody are no longer sleeping on top of the closet but they are not roosting on the stanchion with the others either.  They are roosting on the half wall in the barn which would be O.K. with me but they poop there and there is a danger that their poop will end up in the sheep minerals bin which is screwed on one side of that wall.

I do enjoy the chickens most of the time and they do a pretty good job of cleaning up around but they are a little nuts sometimes, that is my opinion.  And the problem is, I think we need more chickens.

Maybe we need geese too, I am not sure.  I know we will need fish soon.  I am waiting to see what comes to us next in the way of farm animals.  I have been checking out Craigslist but I am not going to rush into anything, I am just going to put the feelers out.

The sheep were not going into the lower upper pasture much so John bush hogged the pasture to make it more like the barnyard but a little taller.  But they still prefer the barnyard.  It is too warm to close them into a pasture with little shade so I keep the gate open and they don't spend much time out in the correct pasture.  I decided to let them go into the area behind the garage/barn a little early in the grazing cycle because that would be better than eating the barnyard over and over.  They were very happy and even went into the new wild area and were grazing on tall stuff over their heads.  I have to check out tomorrow to see what it is that is so exciting over there.  It was a little late tonight.  I need a little fine tuning with this pasture rotation.  At least when they go down into the lower pasture next week there is shade down there.

I can't wait to see what everyone does tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lovely Summer Days

Another productive day.  I continue to amaze myself.  I just keep finding a way to make a difficult job reasonable for me and then do it.  

Today was a little easier, with a cool, beautiful, clear, dry, day.  Wish we could have a few more but it is suppose to get in the low 90's for a few days.  Tomorrow may be just 85 so I guess I better finish my ditch to get water to my vegetable garden.  Why not- I am on a roll and I know 90's are going to drive me indoors to my closet projects.

I took some great pictures yesterday and I thought I would inspire or guilt Gail into posting some.

Gretta under a Rainbow

What a Charming Place
Opening for Farm Stays Soon

The Mimosa  was Exquisite this Year

A Peaceful Evening

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let there be Music and a Little Light Once in Awhile

I was sweating before 9:00 A.M. this morning.  I was playing electrician assistant and drilling holes in timbers and running wire, stapling wire and pushing wire through conduit- usually the wrong direction. Then I was shoveling dirt into a trench.  I just went out to check out the new light in the fiber shed; not bad.

Tomorrow, I shall have music that doesn't go out because the battery drains.  I know I didn't think I needed electricity in the barn or fiber shed but, I am beginning to think of more and more I can do with


The barn was done last week and I only had the light on one night when the sheep were near the barn.  I couldn't get a sense of whether they liked it or not but I know they will like to have music once in awhile.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Summer Time, and the Living is Easy?"

Five days again, how does this happen?  I am not even on vacation.  Two very successful weeks of fiber camp are over and I guess this coming week I will take care of some things that were put aside.  Hope the weather cooperates.  I have got to get up earlier but it is hard when I wake up at 3:00 and don't feel like I get back to sleep.  Most nights aren't bad though.

When we were having all the work done here, we put electricity in the barn and ran wires to the fiber shed so I can put a flood off the fiber shed toward the garden and then I could work in the barn, fiber shed, or garden at 3:00 A.M.  That would make for a long day!

Officially summer and how different it is here compared to the Cape.  We used to have a long string of family and friends visit in the summer- now it is usually spring for visitors or perhaps autumn.  We do have some family scheduled and some considering.  One of my sisters is a new grandmother so I am hoping her grandchild will get her to the east coast more often.

Still haven't gotten all the vegetable garden planted but I am not going to beat myself up.  We have a long season here and I can still plant some things.  Next year, there won't be so much prep work in the garden and I will be able to plant earlier.

For me summer is about swimming in the rivers and last night I had my feet in the Maury after a dinner out.  It is a mountain river and it was not at all cold.  Well, maybe in the deep pools, but I had my feet in the shallows.  The pass is SO beautiful now, the wild Rhododendrons are still blooming.

I like summer if it doesn't get too hot or last too long.  The sheep think it is too hot already and lay in the shade all day except early, early and late.  In the cool of the mornings sometimes they run back and forth across the pasture.  It is so fun to watch; they are like new lambs.  I am very pleased it still gets down in the low 60's or even 50's at night.

Ah Summer,  when will autumn be here?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Animal "goings on"

I don't understand chickens.  We had two go broody and sit on top of the closet in the barn.  O.K. that sounds normal.  But they really didn't have a nest, just sat on the boards.  When I went to put fertile eggs under the one that was up there at the time, I only saw one egg.  I slipped under maybe 6 fertile eggs.  A few days later we saw a broken egg on the ground so maybe there were only 5 left.  John drilled holes to run electrical wires and they never moved.  Noticed one other, broken on the ground a few days later.  Then yesterday, when the 2 broody ones were taking a break and getting something to eat, I looked up on the shelf and saw no eggs.  So do they hide them when they leave the "nest"?  Are 2 hens just sitting up there for long stretches with no eggs under them?  I don't get it.

The tire trough got finished today!  I went up to see what the sheep thought of it this evening but they were more interested in staying up in the pasture to eat.  When the excavators finished grading, they seeded the area and put hay down.  They put down nice orchard grass hay with seed stalks in it, so that it would set seed as well.  The chickens followed after the guys seeding and tried to eat all the seed.  Later, I saw the sheep eating the hay.  Hopefully, the animals won't eat it all.

Second week of Fiber Camp (new set of campers) started today.  We were down talking to the sheep and came back to the fiber shed and two of the girls saw a black snake in the shed.  The girls stepped out and I showed the snake the door.  The girls didn't get upset, they just calmly stated that there was a black snake in the shed.  We have seen three blacks snakes within the past week, or perhaps the same snake 3 times.  I am not sure how far they travel.  Anyway, I think it is time to give it a name.  I think Blake is a good name for a 4 foot black snake.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Week of Fiber Fun

Tomorrow begins a new FARRR AWAY Fiber Camp.  I am very excited.  I am having a hard time doing a slide show of the first week for some reason.  It was working and then it wasn't.  I will check later to see if it is then or redo it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The 1st Fiber Camp of the Summer

How can it be 5 days?  I guess I have been absorbed in Fiber Camp.  It has been a great week and I shall be sad to see it end but more campers next week.  We had 8 campers this week; some mornings, some afternoons, and some all day.  This morning was cold- thank goodness we had Gramma Meisters quilts to wrap up in while we knitted.

Imaginations have been revved up and the ideas keep flowing.  Wish we had more time to fit everything in.  It is hard when some campers only come half days but they have so many other activities to engage in.  

Lots of Colors, interesting textures, new techniques, and I am finally remembering to take pictures.  Full slideshow to come.  This time I don't have to wait to get pictures from others who have a life of their own.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Fun Has Begun

Wednesday night was like the opening scene of the movie "The Piano".  I loved that scene but I didn't like living it.  Mucky, mucky, mud- I had to get a couple of wheel barrow loads of straw to get to the chicken coop to close it up for the night.  I think it has rained every afternoon since we started the job.  Just late afternoon scattered thunder showers, but heavy and wet.  Sometimes, the crew had to stay late, to fill a ditch so they could get their truck to the other side to go home or to shut off a pipe so we could turn our water back on.  Yesterday, it did not rain all day and things began to dry out after morning fog.

 What's this pipe?

I was wondering if Zorra was trying to start the backhoe.

There have had to be big holes over night  and I was constantly worried the sheep would fall in.  When am I going to believe they see in the dark and avoid holes?  I just didn't realize how extensive the excavation was going to be.  And through all the excavating and all the noise the animals didn't complain much.  The two broody hens stayed in their spot on top of closet in spite of all the drilling and wires for the switch and outlet.  The sheep spent their time in the upper pasture and in the trees behind the barn.  At least this weekend will be a little break for everyone. 

Next week is the first week of fiber camp.  I am really looking forward to it  but we may be moving around a bit.  We would but anyway, but I don't know where the guys will be- when, so noise and excavating may be an issue.  We will just go with the flow.  It will be fun no matter what.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Good Trade

Peas for a tire- now that  was a pretty good trade.  Actually, you can trade just about anything you have for something a neighbor has hanging around.  The tire is part of the new trough.  Now that we have a tire, the work can be started Monday! 

The tire seems to be in good shape and was pretty clean for sitting in the woods for who knows how long.  When we took the truck back through the pastures to where it was we saw beautiful museum pieces, mostly old farm machinery.  It is interesting how things end up where they do, a story behind each object and usually there is a brother or buddy somewhere in the story that left the item or was going to ......

 Now this tire will begin a new life as a watering trough.  So, today I was checking for leaks and cleaning it with a bleach solution.  The sheep were very interested until I made some kind of noise with the tire and they all took off.

Earlier today, I was weed whacking in the veggie garden very carefully because I was afraid our resident rabbits might have a rabbit hole in there like they did one year.  Fortunately, they didn't but later when I was weeding in the dyeing garden I found where the rabbit hole is.  It is right in the center of the garden.

I got a little close before I realized and took out some weeds the rabbits probably wish I hadn't and then it rained.  I saw one of the rabbits later and apologized but he/she didn't seem as friendly as usual (I hope it was my imagination).  I try not to disturb the animals who live here, but sometimes (see yesterday's blog), it is necessary.  Why with all the area around here, do they choose to live near where we walk and work? Sometimes, I wish I could make trades with animals, like- you come here and hold still or don't poop in the barn or.... and  I will make it worth your while.   A good trade, I think.