Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Technical Dificulties

I can not access my photo album for this blog. SORRY I know many are waiting patiently for new pics of the sheep after shearing and the tiny house update pictures.  It all started when I updated the operating system on my computer-DON'T EVER DO THAT.  So now all I can do is keep trying different things and not spend too much time at it.

I took the computer to the computer doctor ( yes that is the name of the place) and he groaned when I told him about updating to a new system.  He gave me some new memory ( for the computer) I wish he could give me some.  At least the computer is working faster, even if it is not doing the right things.  I guess it is time for some young person to visit.

The sheep are hanging out waiting for the grass to grow in the pastures.  Usually, at this time of year, I am complaining about mud and the sheep eating too many greens at one grazing.  Hopefully, rain is on the way so I can get back to a more seasonal kind of complaining. 

Cathy is coming all the way from New England to help me in my gardens, so I have been working hard to have things where we need them.  It is great how events motivate us to get things done.  I washed pounds and pounds of fleece before the shearing event, John made temporary steps for the tiny house, instead of wobbly stacked boards nailed in a couple of places.  I made things look a little better so Cathy doesn't want to turn around and go home.

The chickens were good enough to let me know they are going to scratch up everything we plant unless I cage planting areas, so building cages, is on the agenda for tomorrow.  I need to finish digging out the BIG stone for the first step of the new decent into the woods near the fiber shed.  I am so excited about potential completion of some long overdue projects.

Tomorrow, I go to C-ville to pick up Cathy so I plan to go early and see if I can get some questions answered at the Apple Store.  I want to post pictures of the big piece of felt I made and the sheared sheep, and the new work completed in the tiny house and the suient washed fleece and more....

Thursday, April 21, 2016

For Moments Like These

I was out hanging out with the animals and I let them go out for some better grass.  The geese and chickens came in and the chickens were settling for the night. Sitting on the well head, I was reading and waiting for the sheep to come back.  Cirrus came to see what I was reading.  He all but asked me to read to him, so I began reading to him of golden rod and asters from Robin Wall Kimmerer's book, Braiding Sweetgrass.  He listened intently until my articulation became flat and dull and he went back to eating.  It was just as well because it was becoming too dark to read.  That expression, as I read to him,-- is why I love my roll as a farmer.

The way the animals all follow me; ready for an adventure.  The way we dance together through familiar routines.  Responsibilities that place me in the spot to be in awe of an almost full moon hiding behind an evening cloud.  For moments like these, I choose to be a farmer.

There is a grass, or perhaps a hedge, that the animals leave uneaten in the pastures.  On the part of the hill that I don't feel comfortable mowing, it remains tall and dry in the spring.  It is in their way as they try to eat the new grass, so yesterday, I weed wacked the big patch and raked it into piles.  This morning, as I headed out the driveway, Eloise was considering the potential of the piles for future nesting materials or perhaps just a place to take a morning rest.  She really appreciated the gift.

Can you say it is "quiet beyond belief" when all the night critters are in orchestra.  Does that count, or must one instead proclaim "PEACE" instead of quiet?  It IS for moments like this that I say, "Thank You God."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This Is What

Without Jen or Cathy reminding me, time can go by that I thought I had blogged but hadn't. 

 Well, the sheep got sheared.  That's the biggest news from Cabin Spring Farm.  Great event!  Gorgeous day, over a hundred people came by between 2 and 6 last Saturday.  Annie is a beautiful black again, Gretta's spots show again.  Charlotte is dark gray and Amelia and Norma Jean, pink.  They have to be especially careful not to get sunburned.  I love to rub their backs after they are sheared.  My hands glide along and get very shiny from all the lanolin. 

The tiny house is starting to look like a home.  Two of the chickens went in to inspect it the other day.  

The group of chickens here now are real wanders.  They come up to the house, stir the compost by the old garden, peek in the fiber shed, and just keep moving about.  John found the rooster and one of the black hens walking down the road when he was going to town, I wonder what that was about.  He coaxed them back toward home.  How far they would have gone?  

I have never seen such a dry April here.  The ground is hard and it sounds wrong when the sheep run across it.  There are deep cracks everywhere and the water in the puddle pond keeps seeping out.   I will have to reseed the barnyard when the rain comes again.  The sheep pastures, which usually have a new supply of fresh Spring grass, are so over grazed.  I am so thankful to have the pasture below the driveway, this time of year.  I can let the animals graze there in the early morning and then they are content to hang out in the barn most of the day.  

The boring bees are here in full force.  They don't seem as annoying as I remember them to be.  It just seems like they are humming.   

I was clearing an area in the Fairy Forest of Boxerwood, today, with a few women and one of them was humming.  She says she is not aware that she is humming until someone questions the mysterious sound or her grand children mention it.  Her humming reminded me that I used to hum all the time when I was younger.  A young girl at church, recently, reminded me that I used to skip all over.  I tried it for the first time in many years.  

I have been hula hooping, with a large hoop, to try and firm up some stomach muscles.  Tonight, when John was grilling dinner, I was practicing in the front yard.  It was a beautiful evening and I was taking in the breath-taking view and light and my hoop got away and started rolling down the hill.  Fortunately, the fence by the bluebird house stopped it.  When I went to retrieve it, I decided I should clean out the birdhouse.  I thought I would find some fleece in the nest, because I leave it all over the place, but instead I found rabbit fur.  

Time to stop rambling but "this is what" has been going on at Cabin Spring Farm the last week or so.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Eggs Smashed in the Night

I went down to the barnyard in a snow squall this morning.  All 3 geese were out and about and I wondered why no-one was keeping the geese eggs warm.  When I looked in the closet, I found the eggs were smashed into pieces .  The whole nest was destroyed.  I guess some predator/s came in the night.  It was very windy last night and I didn't hear anything.  I think we lost a chicken too. It is always sad to lose animals but at least I was spared finding dead or missing goslings which could have been the case if it was next week.

I am glad the geese are alright.  Sal seems to be taking the loss O.K.   I guess, in the even more fragile animal kingdom, there isn't an expectation that everything will go smoothly.

Some people say they could never live on a farm with all the loss of life.  I feel death is a part of life and maybe farmers just have a closer look at death.  I bet if you surveyed 100 farmers and 100 others you would find that farmers don't fear death as much as most people.

I am ready for the wind to subside and the sun to come back out, no more snow squalls for today.

 Family due to arrive soon so that will make things cheerier.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Group Dynamics

Five more of Karen's chickens came over; this time for an extended vacation.  They are staying until the end of June (after the wedding).  So basically,  it was a reunion for her chickens that just came and the ones that came last week.  In between, a few went to another home.

The first day seemed fine with all the chickens in the run.  Thursday morning was a little chaotic as all the animals figured out how to stay out of each other's way.  The sweet little rooster was not happy to be back in the company of the big rooster and I think is counting the days until that rooster's vacation is over.  The big rooster chases him.  Then in the afternoon, one of the hens wanted some grass Sal was eating and went after her.

This morning was one of those delightful mornings when everything is so quiet and if you don't make eye contact, no-one even gets up from there lounging spots.  This afternoon I let all out again and there were animals everywhere.  Some of the chickens following me to the mailbox across the road.  I turned around and there they were in the road.  I have never had chickens that followed me like these do.  Then the big rooster was harassing the sweet one again.

Group dynamics is always interesting.  I have several kids who keep coming back for fiber camps and depending on who is here when, each camp can be very different.  They all know each other but if one of the dominant ones is not at camp, the camp can take on a completely different personality.

Sometimes it takes a couple of days for everyone to find where they fit in.  I hope, in the animals' case that this happens really soon because Sal's eggs are due to hatch in a few days, if all goes well, and then things could really get exciting.

A week from tomorrow, the sheep are suppose to get sheared.  After shearing it takes a couple of days for the sheep to figure out who's who and there tends to be some head butting until all are identified.

If I can just make a lot of space available for all to spread out, hopefully the new dynamics can be minimized until the new group is defined.

Stay tuned.