Friday, September 28, 2012

It Has Been Busy Lately

trying to get the right picture for a sketch 

Amelia glad to see me

the stately pose from a silly girl

the wallpaper is gone

making progress on the fiber shed

It has been busy around here.  And off farm, I set up a nature weaving project at Boxerwood, started the after school fiber workshop at the middle school, submitted all the forms for next years tourism booklet, and continue to meet with my small business consultant.

Right now I am in the middle of my 4 days off on my new fall schedule.  I never know what day it is if I am not at school, Boxerwood, or a river.   Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are full of responsibilities and I squeeze in yoga and Tai Chi.  Thursday through Sunday are free. 

Monday, Karen came over and helped me remove wallpaper in the cabin.  It came off easily.  I was kind of sorry to see it go but it does seem lighter and fresher.  Ruckus was Thursday and everyone liked the new look even though it is not done.  

The fiber shed is clean again.  With all that has been going on it got cluttered, so I cleaned it for Ruckus Day.  Had to stop in the middle to identify a small snake that had moved into a mouse nest of fiber in a rolled rug John had given me.  The snake checked out O.K. but I still gave the rug back to John.

The County Extension office just got a premo microscope given to them so I have to go check it out.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Special Attention

 I wonder if the sheep here know how fortunate they are.  They might think all sheep are offered kale and carrots for snacks.                                
            It is hard to tell how much Norma Jean likes the kale because this is the moment before I had to hold on tight because she was devouring it.

Norma Jean and Gretta think kale is superb.  Zorra can eat a whole carrot if you let her.  Most love pumpkin seeds and ate a hole in the bag when I didn't get them out fast enough.  If I had 20 sheep I wouldn't probably give them the same kind of treats, but with just 9 it is not so bad.

Growing up with many siblings, we didn't eat exotically.  We rarely went out to dinner.  I used to have piano lessons on the other side of the city, for some reason, and I got to go out for dinner after sometimes. That was a real treat for me.

I still like to go out for dinner now.  Partly, it is that I don't have to plan what we are going to have and then stop what I am doing to prepare it, but I finely realized (in the shower the other morning) that, both now and then, it is probably more about the attention.  Someone sitting across the table listening to me, is one of my favorite things.  A cup of tea with a friend is as good as lunch out.  Tea is good because it takes awhile to cool.  Meals here, are more about the making.  It only takes a few minutes to eat and then we are off to do whatever it is we are doing.

So- it is attention that I crave?  Interesting.  Why did it take me so long to realize that.  Did I not get enough growing up?  I thought I did, then.

I hope I gave my girls enough attention,  I hope I give my husband and the sheep enough attention now.  I will think about that this week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Chicken Craziness

Another BEAUTIFUL autumn like day.  The kind of day that one skips to do farm chores.  The humidity is gone and there is such a light feeling to the body.

Yesterday was just as nice so I took the hose and sprayed the chicken coop out really good and the nesting boxes as well and drilled holes to drain the water out of the nesting boxes.  I left the big door open to help dry everything out.  Today, the coop was very dry so I put fresh straw in it to ready it for the return of the chickens which I thought would be in the next week or so.

Tonight, I went down to let Brown 2 in because I knew she had been out earlier.  To my surprise, instead of finding her just outside the gate, I found her on top of the gate.  For the first time, she flew up but she didn't fly down so I gave her a little nudge to complete the experience of flying over the fence.  It was dusk so she was a little foggy about where she was going and she walked up the chicken ladder of the coop and went in (another surprise).  I went to check on the other chickens to see if anyone wanted to join Brown 2 in the coop.  I found Black 1 on the half wall in the barn where three have  regularly been roosting, I found Brown 1 on top of the closet, and I didn't find the araucona at all.   I took Black 1 and put her in the coop so at least 2 are sleeping together.   Crazy chickens.  At least they are laying again, except for the araucona (or at least no green eggs with the others).  I hope she shows up tomorrow.  I saw her around 6:00 P.M. and she was fine then.  Sometimes they roost at different times so I won't worry yet.  I wonder if all chickens are so scattered or if it is just the chickens at Cabin Spring Farm.

Most of the sheep let the chickens ride on their backs but Norma Jean didn't want Brown 2 on her back today.  I wonder if it was just today or if she doesn't like it.  Norma Jean has recently decided that she likes to get scratched around the ears and under her chin.  Now most of them like it but not Gretta or Annie.  Time to do clicker training again.  I want to halter train all of them so it makes sheep chores easier.

Took more sheep photos today but then when I thought I was getting some good ones the batteries failed.  Maybe tomorrow will be another fine day and I can get caught up with outside loose ends.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chicken Raid

The broody hen was killed in a night raid.

This morning when I went to check on the broody hen, she wasn't there.  There was one black feather and some broken eggs.  I hoped she had just been frightened by something and was holed up somewhere else.  This evening John thought to look in the chicken coop where none of the chickens have been for weeks.  She was there but dead.  She got out of the closet in the barn without being captured and thought she would take cover in the coop but something followed her in and attacked her.

It is interesting that you can determine what the predator was by the remains.  I had forgotten what each predator does but looked it up again tonight.  It sounds like it was something in the weasel family.  Weasels are pretty skinny and can get through anything bigger than 1"so can easily go through the fence.

According to what I read, the weasel is suppose to be the farmer's friend.  They eat mice and other rodents and usually eat whatever is most plentiful.  I didn't know the skunk was in the weasel family so actually it could have been a skunk.  The children's' message at church this morning was about skunks. Apparently there are an average of two skunks per acre.

Whatever the culprit, if they come back tonight they won't find any chickens or eggs.  I cleaned out the closet.  The rest of the chickens roost fairly high so may be O.K.  If it was a weasel the chickens are probably safer in the barn than the coop.  If it was a skunk they should be safe roosting in the barn as well. It was just not a good idea to nest on the floor of the closet.

In three years, that was the first chicken attack at night.  The others went missing during the day but not when we were around.

Black #1 or was it Black # 2, was a very sweet hen.  I shall miss her.  She was the one that was going to be a good mother one day and probably was in the past.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Loose Ends

Vacation is over and time to get to the list of loose ends from the summer.  Unfortunately, I can't find the list.  I remember several things on the list but some of them involve calling people I have lost the phone number for.  I found one number on my desk so maybe there is hope.

Most or many of the items on the list are farm related - I wish the humidity would subside.  Looks like rain today so that should help.  I should be mowing right now instead of writing.  Wish I didn't put things off so much then I wouldn't lose scraps of paper with phone numbers.

Part of the issue is that I have always had a difficult time at seasonal transition times; especially spring to summer and summer to fall.  Not really summer to fall, more like August to September.  I think it is a remnant of having kids in school for so many years.  It seems to take several weeks to settle into the September schedule.  I find myself getting out of bed to make sure dates are on the calendar.  So many new things in a schedule I am afraid I will forget.

Three of the things on the list involve taking pictures.  Pictures of the cabin because we are opening it up to farm stays soon and need to have good pictures for marketing.  Pictures of the sheep for t-shirts; again to promote the farm.  Pictures of favorite places to frame and put in the cabin.  I took photos of the cabin yesterday that came out great but the photo shoot with the sheep didn't go as well.  I think I need to have someone else take the photos as I interact with the sheep.  As soon as I pick the camera up they walk away or put their heads down.  I guess I just need to keep taking pictures and a few good ones may happen by accident.

Making headway on the new website.  Stay tuned.

Time to go mow and then I am going to felt a postcard.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fish and Chocolate

 Seagulls fighting over a stolen bag of food, on the beach, breaking the lull of conversation and ukelele,
         Walking through Lincoln Square with 3 flavors of gelato dripping down the wrist, 

            Thursday night live band by a river,  
A lock filling with water on the mighty river, swinging high over the river, 
Peppers begging to be painted at the farmers market,

 Bonfire in the sand, blue moon rising over a great lake,
 Picnicking at sunset on the other side,