Saturday, January 23, 2016

Creating the Illusion That We Could Go Somewhere

Another 8 inches or so and there is still some snow in the sky.  This morning you could hardly tell we shoveled or plowed yesterday.

The wind last night blew much of the snow off the roofs so the tiny house doesn't really show the snow depth but it sure is pretty.

Before this picture, below, Amelia came out, leapt into the air, ran around the barn, and is now peeking out the door.

 I couldn't believe how quickly the geese plowed through the snow.

Yesterday, I had this area shoveled out pretty good, but the second day, it only gets a one lane path, like our road.  Good enough for now.

Yup, it is all an illusion,  we aren't going anywhere.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cold and Wet / Hot and Dry

Sitting by the wood stove, listening to the wind and periodically checking the snow depth (so far just under a foot) and making a list of drought resistant perennials, --cold and wet vs. dry and hot.

Cathy is going to help me design and plant (hopefully) some no care wildflower gardens, in the spring so I am doing my homework.   Meanwhile, it is still snowing and the weather channel is calling for snow all night.  We may wake up to 2 feet of snow but at least 7 or 8 inches of it have been plowed already.

In the barnyard, I enlisted the help of the critters for snow compaction by enticing them with grain and just walking around with my camera.  I wonder why animals are so interested in cameras.  Check this out   and here is Zora.

All of the sheep like to eat the snow.   
Charlotte doesn't seem to mind carrying a bit of snow around.

 The geese tromp around in it too.  They seem to enjoy laying in it.

sharing bits of hay

Good thing for orange beaks.

Back to the wildflowers.  I want yarrow, blazing star, coreopsis, coneflower, rudbeckia, New England aster, blanket flower, painted daisy, anise hyssop, agastache,  and others.  Maybe I should plant a lot of lavender as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 Ring Circus

In the first ring, 5 fiber campers.  In the second ring, Tiny House Camp, and then came friends from New England.

Yesterday, being Martin Luther King's birthday, Cabin Spring Farm hosted a "No School Fiber Camp".  The kids had all been here before so it was a very relaxing day.



LOTS of imagination and kindness, I LOVE these kids.

Lyndy and friends had the day off as well, so they came to work on the tiny house.  It was in the teens most of the day with wind, so they worked in the shop, planing and routing siding. (Sorry no pictures)

Lyndy gave the kids a tour of the tiny house at lunch time.  They really couldn't understand the concept at their age, accept for one (age 13) with an eye for a little separation from siblings.

When all campers had returned home, we had 3 hours before a friend and his nephew were due to arrive.  I gathered up all of the above tools and materials (with help from Beverly) and John vacuumed.
By the time the third ring arrived all evidence of the day's activities was gone.

Our friend brought us FRESH haddock from the Cape and his nephew( previously a chef) proceeded to cook us a fine fish dinner, complete with homemade chips (french fries).  He had just driven 12 hours but cooked and served us in stride.

Some fine conversation, a cup of tea, and a last check on the animals on a cold night--a perfect end to a lovely day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Our Perfectly Designed Home

A great part of the last two days, I have spent resting in my green chair in our living room trying to recover from a winter cold.  The cold gave me the opportunity to finish the book I was reading but, even better, I can watch the sheep graze from this chair.  This picture was taken in the early morning.

I love the way it worked out that we can see parts of the barnyard and pastures first thing in the morning from our bedroom,   (a little hard to see the sheep in this picture)

from the kitchen sink,

the sunroom/TV/office space, my seat at our dinner table,

and most importantly, now,  from my green chair.  (back to the first picture)

They say from studies, that if you have a view of trees from your hospital bed you will recover more quickly.  So imagine how quickly I can beat this cold with a view of my wonderful animal family from my comfy chair.

I remember, before I had the sheep, I used to look up at the pastures and imagine the sheep grazing up there.  I could really visualize them and they looked, then, just as they do, now, from my green chair.  I didn't visualize the geese, they are a bonus (when they are behaving).

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The First New Moon of 2016

Today is a new moon day, the cycle begins again.  Having sheep makes me more aware of what the moon is doing.

On the new and full moon the sheep get Garlic Barrier (circle T trade mark).  It seems to be quite good at keeping the parasite levels down.  I give it to them at the new and full moons because that is suppose to be when the parasites lay their eggs.    

I was spinning with 13 others today, to celebrate Distaff Day. To remind some, Distaff Day, historically was the day the women went back to their spinning after the 12 days of Christmas.  There were two other Distaff celebrations in our part of the state, one an hour and a half south and one an hour west.  There was probably one in Charlottesville, an hour and a half east and maybe, the group that first introduced me to Distaff Day, in Harrisonburg, an hour north.  An interesting note (at least for me).

  In our group the youngest was 3 and the oldest seventy something.  The 3 year old was drop spindle spinning as a partner with her mom and sometimes with her 7 year old brother, who is one of my students.  H, my student, is amazing.  He hadn't spun since July and he just took off with the drop spindle after I got him set up.  He figured things out on his own, required little assistance, and showed me how he had figured out how to let the weight of the spindle work for him to draw the yarn through his fingers, an advanced concept.

Later,  He told me he wanted to spin on a spinning wheel.  We always start by just treadling for awhile to get that part set before we bring in the hand motion.  I love it when a student listens to why we have to learn to treadle slowly and when we might want to go faster.  He was really looking over the wheel and asking me what things are and what they do.  It is always fun to witness the young boys noticing the mechanics of the wheel.  H also observed that 4 of the wheels in the room, had double treadles and reasoned that they would be easier.

I hope H will continue coming to fiber camp and be the next boy to master spinning.  Maybe he is at the new moon of learning but I bet it won't be many moons until he is really good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winter 2016 Has Arrived

Finally, winter has arrived.  Our high today was 33 degrees and last night it got down to 13 or 17 degrees depending on which side of the house you took the reading.  It feels good to be in winter again.

  This has been a season of unusual blossoming.  There is a yellow jasmine blooming all over town that has been brighter than I have ever seen it at its normal time, which is in March, I think.  There are roses and cherry trees blossoming and dandelions are still going.  There are big stands of spring bamboo.  And look at the new grass in the barnyard.

This was the morning sky one morning, not long ago.

 Another thing, I forgot to mention in the previous blog, is that I decided I want to paint more.  This would be a good picture to paint.

This one is taken through our bedroom screen.  

The only problem with cold temperatures is the animals' water in buckets freezes.  I got a new heater for the sheep trough but it doesn't seem to be working.  Fortunately, we have two blue plug- in buckets (one in the goose/chicken run, and tonight, one in the barn).  The goose tub and the puddle pond are both, iced over.  

When it was muddy, it was hard to getting from point A to B without tacking or traversing.  Good thing I spent the time I did, sailing and skiing, in earlier years.  Who knew the experience would come in handy getting around barnyards and pastures.  But now the mud has turned to frozen, uneven cement like rubble, Yuck.  Tomorrow, we shall take an excursion to the cabin yard and I will hang out in my greenhouse van and perhaps paint a few sheep or continue my knitting.  

Plenty to do in all seasons and temperatures.

While I Was Away from the Written Words

Where have I been?  mmmmmmmmm, not sure.  It seems like the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a big blur.  I went to my pictures to see.

I hung out with the animals and made walkways with straw when the mud got really bad.

I made an angel for a Christmas tree.

 I went to Ohio and came home.  I also went to NC for a few days.  I have been knitting a baby sweater and knitting a second mitten.

I have been dealing with a great deal of MUD (2 straw bales worth).  Which reminds me I owe Cathy for a bale of straw.   We were away for Christmas and my birthday and it rained just about everyday.  You know you have good friends and farm sitters when they will contend with all of that MUD and still talk to you.  THANKS ALL.