Friday, May 31, 2013

The Last and the First

The last day of May and it feels like the first day of summer.  We went over to see Lyndy and came home late.  It is a beautiful starry night, so I went out front and there were as many lightning bugs (fire flies) as there were stars.  Don't remember ever seeing so many.

It seems like it has been May for a long time.  So many things going on I guess.  Today, was the last day of Boxerwood education programs for this year.  I taught frogs and turtles.  I took three groups of 3rd graders down to the ponds and I have never heard so many frogs all at once - mating season for Green Frogs.  It was a whole orchestra.

There are many Painted Turtles at Boxerwoods, as well, but today I saw my first snapping turtle there.  It was HUGE.

The sheep have been feeling a bit warm the last couple of days so I put their fan on for them in the barn.  They have been laying low for much of the day so I imagine they will be out grazing for much of the night.  I wonder if they will notice all the fire flies.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Split Shift

I am now working a split shift.  I am following my animals lead.

I get up between 6 and 7 A.M.  The veggie garden is still in the shade at that time, the animals are out and about and we can work on halter training, and the shed is cool from having the windows open at night.  Then, depending on what the sun is doing, it can start to get warm around 10 or so.  Still nice in the shade, later in the day, but that is not where the work is.  The animals hang out in the barn or in the trees behind the barn and sleep on and off through the heat of the day and I hang out in the house or the shed with a breeze or the fan, depending on what needs to be done.

Fortunately, we have had a cool spring and I have been loving it, but we have had a few HOT days.  The ceiling fans have kept the house comfortable, when the overnight coolness wears off, but I know we will have the air conditioning on soon.  I love living in a log house- great insulation.

We used to try to keep working through the day but now we let ourselves slack off mid day and work in the evening.  Last night, we went out after dinner and I hung out with the animals and cleaned the barn and barnyard.  Then I loaded and moved a whole trailer of stuff that came off the area that is going to be a pumpkin and melon patch again.  Next year John is going to grow peanuts there too.  John was doing his things and then when it started to get dark we went in and found it was 9 P.M.

Not being farmers, in earlier years, it is taking us a bit to figure out a schedule but I think we are getting there.  It still feels funny taking off in the middle of the day but sometimes we have to go get things so I guess that is still sort of work.

Soon I will have three weeks of fiber camp and we will probably have to move from shed to shade throughout the day ( another kind of split shift) but I am sure we will figure out how to stay cool and happy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Effinger and Clementine

Effinger and Clementine came to live at the farm.

Alyssa, a good friend from New England, came to visit last weekend.  We entertained her well.  I let her help with hoof trimming and we took her to the Effinger Carnival.  Alyssa and I both were able to get a ping pong ball in a fishbowl after a few attempts.  We were presented with two fish which we named Effinger and Clementine.  They went to live in the trough with the salamander and we think we saw Gold 1 or 2.

Alyssa did a great job calming and loving the sheep while I trimmed hooves.

It is interesting to see the different attitudes and general composures of my first time volunteers.

I have to say I would rate Alyssa up there with the best.

It is so great to see how much joy the sheep and Cher bring to so many people.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Will Never Take Walking for Granted

This morning, in the shower, my knee hurt and lately my left foot has been hurting.  When my mobility is compromised, I think to myself, "what if this wasn't just temporary".

Especially lately, there has been alot of reference to amputees, due to the Boston Marathon bombing.
With all I do, I can't imagine not being able to walk wherever I want, whenever I want.

About 90 percent of all the walking I do is on uneven grade.  There is almost nowhere on this property that is level.  When I walk with friends, lots of ups and downs.  And on Mother's Day yesterday, we hiked up a trail along a cascading waterfall.  Nothing could have been better.

I tiered my vegetable garden last year and I am very happy about that, but to get to it, is some of the worse terrain.  I have to walk across a slope (much worse than up or down).  The sheep and Cher walk across the slope all the time- good thing they have 4 legs.  At least I think that would help.  Occasionally, one of the sheep will be limping and I take a look and move the injured foot around.  I wonder what the problem is, but probably it is just from walking on uneven terrain.  It never lasts more than a couple of days.

When I first moved here, it was the worst.  I thought maybe all my shoes were worn out and started replacing them one pair at a time.  Over time my feet and legs have gotten used to the unevenness, and my muscles compensate, but still sometimes, like lately, I am sore.

I think it might be better if I walked barefooted but that has its own problems.  I think the bestests might be making myself some felt shoes.  I shall try that soon.

Today, I went to the library-  level.  I parked across the street by the Methodist Church and read a sign that said if you are tired, rest in our rocking chairs.  I almost took them up on that.  Then I went to the grocery store- the worst.  The parking lot is So bad that it is hard to hold onto your cart and put groceries into the car.  There are a few parking spots that are a little more level but, I never think about it when I park.

All in all, I guess walking on uneven terrain will help me "never take walking for granted".

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Not All Was Lost

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I have at least 3 or 4 thousand words to write.  Somehow, the wonderful pictures I took last week were erased from my camera.

There were some incredible pictures.  The couple of my brother and my nephew coming down the mountain on our hike.  The especially wonderful one of Aaron on the huge boulder we were sharing as John fished.  Then there was the one I was going to show Gail, of a dogwood in the forest.  It was one of those pictures with the branches of the dogwood in focus and everything in the background blurred.  Aaron found a shiny green beetle and we took close-ups where you could look into it's eyes.  All lost!

There were other pictures of woodland wildflowers and the mountains, river, and sky.  The funny thing is, the day before I took these superb pictures, we were down at Buffalo Creek, fly fishing, and I didn't have my camera SO I looked closely and told myself to "remember these images and the special day".  The next day I made sure I had my camera.  I took several pictures, including the ones previously described, and looked at them on my camera.  I looked forward to seeing them in a larger format and including them on my blog.  Then I couldn't find my whatchamacallit that puts the pictures from the camera card onto the computer so I bought a new whatch......  When I went to download them, they were GONE.  Husband John had taken a few pictures to put on craigslist and told the camera to save the other pictures--- but it didn't.  He was sorry it happened and told me to bring them back (brother John and Aaron).

Sure wish I could bring them back.  I really enjoyed every minute they were here.  Not just the time fly fishing and hiking but also the hove trimming and manure hauling.  Aaron and I started out trimming the hooves.  The sheep were not particularly keen on getting flipped that day.  Then brother John came along and told us he had seen a movie where they were working with sheep out west so he knew how it was done and proceeded to show us.  He was actually pretty good.

We decided to let him help us.  Aaron took this fabulous picture of his dad and he didn't lose it.  I think of all the things we did while they were here this was probably their favorite.

Not a bad picture of Zora either.  She looks like she is enjoying herself.

Not up to 3 or 4 thousand words yet but with this one I think I can stop writing.  Many Thanks Aaron.

for some reason this picture is not clear, blown up in this context.  If anyone wants to see how great it really is, I can email it. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Home Alone

They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words".  I have some great pictures on my camera but I misplaced the whatchamacallit that goes between the camera card and my computer, and my computer does not have a direct place for a camera card, so I will write about something that does not need a picture since I was not here to take one.

I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend and John went to see his mom at his brother's house.  We discussed whether we should have someone check on the animals while we were gone.  Since we were only going to be away for just over 24 hours we decided we would let them stay home alone.  The chickens are still roosting in the barn, the sheep and Cher are grazing the pastures and the water trough provides whatever water they need.  So we told them to be good; not to get into any trouble, and took off in opposite directions.

I had a great time at the festival.  I saw MANY sheep but none so beautiful as mine.  I checked out the fleeces that were for sale.  I like to keep up with what different fleeces go for.  The range this year was from $8.00 to $35.00 per pound with most going for $10-$12/lb.  The fleece for $35.00 / lb was a brown Finn.  There was just one or one left.  I have probably 20 lbs of brown Finn.

One of the best things about wool festivals is the contacts you make and the leads you get.  Now I am looking for an out of print book.

Camping Saturday night was pretty cool but wonderful regardless.  I had a hot shower the next morning but the pressure was not what I hoped for, so I began the morning with 4 layers of clothing.  By the time I got to the fairgrounds, I was able to shed one, but it was still the coolest weather I have seen at this event in the 4 years I have been going.

Sunday, we returned to 6 sheep, one llama, and 4 chickens.  None of them offered any information about the weekend but we didn't receive any calls from neighbors about loud noises or parties so I guess we can trust them to stay home alone, at least for one over night.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Sheep?

It occurred to me that I have not posted a picture of the sheep since they were sheared almost 2 weeks ago.  Just before they are sheared  they are more similar in color because of sun bleaching but when they get sheared they are much darker and you can see Gretta's spots though she is not in this picture.

What's funny is that they don't recognize each other for a day or so, as I have mentioned before, and do alot of head butting until they get it all figured out.  When we let the first couple back into the barnyard, Cher took off running in the opposite direction.  She wouldn't go near the sheep for probably 2 days.  Now, you can see, she is quite comfortable.

This time of year I get so busy, planning the shearing event, that my hair gets very long too.  I finally got 2+ inches cut and I look quite different myself.  Funny thing is, John noticed right away and the sheep didn't seem to notice at all.  If I wear something new or carry something they don't recognize, they are a bit leery, but the dramatic new do and they didn't blink.

One of my brothers and a nephew are visiting for a few days and my nephew has kindly agreed to help with hove trimming- as long as he gets his picture taken with them.

My business adviser said, when people stay in the cabin, I should let them help with hove trimming and charge extra.  Since Aaron is family, I will let him help for free.

It will be interesting to see if the sheep are easier to tip with 6 to 8 pounds of fleece off.  Maybe it will be like shearing new (smaller) sheep.