Archive for May, 2010

What a weekend…

May 31, 2010

Well, the weekend is over and I’m still alive and kicking, though not kicking very high!  Thursday, I dug more plants, and took yard sale/perennial sale stuff to neighbor’s house.  Friday and Saturday was the sale. Dottie covered on Saturday, because at 6 a.m. Saturday, after doing chores at 5, I took off for the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, at the Cummington Fairgrounds, in Cummington, Mass.   Saturday was hopping…lots of folks, lots of sales. Saturday after the fair closed, Sue and I spent the night at the Days Inn in Pittsfield (not too many places closer!) and after grabbing a quick dinner at Friendly’s, both were sound asleep by 9 p.m. Sunday was slow, but worthwhile, nevertheless.  I got home at 7, John got dinner ready, we watched l/2 an episode of “Edward the King”, and then collapsed in bed.

Today was catch up day.  Everyone needed food and water.  And I needed to mow some, especially in a path for the next pasture’s fencing, which I put up. I also put up the pigs’ fencing behind the house, and in the afternoon, John helped me load each one in a big dog cage, and he wheeled it up to the pen, where we deposited the grunting and screaming pig.  Twice, since there were two pigs.  An ordeal, but boy are they content out there, exploring and having a grand ol’ time for themselves.

Ah, I forgot, when I went to feed the sheep, one lamb stayed in the background and didn’t look all that happy.  Turns out he had flystrike…on the site of his recent castration.  That’s never happened before, and normally, flystrike doesn’t really happen until the middle of June, so I thought I was safe, but this little guy was a mess. For an hour I clipped fleece, poured on peroxide, dunked in soapy water, rubbed out the surfacing maggots onto the ground…then put medication on him, and put him in “sick bay” all by himself. He wasn’t feeling too good, I could tell, since he didn’t yell and whine for mama.  But later this afternoon, he was yelling up a storm, so I gather he’s feeling some better.  Hopefully, he will be fine now.  I have some permethrin stuff to put on him for three days in a row.  Anyway, with all this, it’s been a “change your clothes five times” kind of day.  ]

All the tablecloths have been washed, dried, and put away. (From the tables at the show)  We’ve had dinner.  John planted some more plants in his veggie garden.  I cleaned up the ram pen where the pigs had been, earning their milk by tilling it for me.  Hopefully, tomorrow before it gets too hot, I’ll plant my squashes in there.  And maybe turn over the edges of the other garden, tilled incompletely by the chickens earlier in the month, and put my sweet potatoes in there.

I just about ran out of rovings at the festival, so will have to have more made.  I’m also expecting 16 pounds of nice plain cream colored fleece back from Zeilinger’s which I’m hoping to dye in creative ways this summer, ready for the fall shows.

And I have been spinning one jacob fleece, and have three other fleeces to spin, a black coopworth lamb, a white coopworth adult, and a nice camel colored romney.  And the heat’s off in terms of getting ready for shows, since we don’t have any more til the fall…I look forward to a leisurely summer of spinning and knitting what I want to spin and knit!


Ready, set, go!

May 27, 2010

Okay, I’m ready!  100 plants have been dug and I quit, even though there aren’t 300 plants!  Yard sale stuff has been transported, mostly all with prices on each piece.  In faith, I decided that it was time to get rid of the baby highchair, the Melissa and Doug wooden doll house, the wooden shape box, and a bunch of other baby toys. (Laura is 7=1/2 and hasn’t played with most of it for years.  Theoretically, John and Vicki are finished having children. They are, after all, 40 and have three kids!)  The car is packed with fleeces and yarn and boxes of goods to take to the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair on Saturday.  The signs are ready to put out on the various roads leading to our yard/perennial sale tomorrow.  It’s time to relax for the evening, for the next three days will be busy, busy, busy.

Monday, I have to corral the sheep and give the second CDT to the lambs. Thursday, I have to separate out the ones who are leaving on Saturday, to give them a couple of days to whine before they go to new homes and drive new owners crazy.  The pigs go out on pasture maybe Friday?  Maybe Monday?  When there’s time, sometime this week.   The turkey poults and chicks are in the brooder, unfortunately, squeezing through back and forth to each other’s sides, and until tomorrow, too bad…I just haven’t got any energy left to deal with it.

Have a good weekend.  If you are traveling, go safely.  If you are staying home, relax and enjoy! When this weekend is over, the Spring rush is past, and lazy Summer takes over.  I am anticipating 16 pounds of roving coming back from Zeilinger, and dyeing bits of it in creative ways all summer.  And spinning the most beautiful coopworth, white and dark…very dark.  I saved two pounds of each for me.  The rest is going to the festival and hopefully, will be sold.  Ditto, jacob and romney.

Wow, that’s fast!

May 25, 2010

Last week, after one day spending four hours with various techies at various computer and internet provider places, I finally managed to get hooked up to our new broadband hi speed internet.  Today, I hit the button to get me to “Add New Post” and instead of taking five minutes (while I knitted a couple of row or cleaned the toilet) it was up and ready to go in five seconds.  Wow!  That’s fast!  I doubt very much if it means I’m going to spend lots of time surfing the net for stuff; it’s akin to watching tv, something else I don’t do.  But it might well mean, as friend, Wayne, suggested, that I’ll be posting more often here, since it doesn’t take half a sock to finish the post.

Today it is supposed to hit records for Vermont, meaning 94 or so…blech!  I hate heat!   A friend was bemoaning the efforts of feeding livestock in winter; I’d much rather feed them in winter than in summer!  In summer, I try to get out there by 6:15 or so, and work til 8:30 or 9:00 a.m., then inside, close up the house and not do outside chores again til the next morning, or at least after dinner, bugs permitting!

Yesterday I blew it. I was supposed to go to church to open it up for a new knitting group, which has been meeting monthly, and had just gone to weekly. What with getting ready for the yard/perennial sale and for the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend in Cummington, Mass., I totally forgot about the knitting thing.  I hadn’t written it down in my calendar, and moreover, didn’t even look at my calendar, so it wouldn’t have done any good if I had.  The older I get, the more I have to make lists and check calendars.  It wasn’t like this 10 years ago!  I don’t like it!

Okay, now that I’ve told you the big list of things I don’t like, let me tell you what I do like!  I like digging the perennials that need splitting and potting them and trucking them to my neighbor’s for our sale…I visit a few nurseries, check prices, and price ours at least half what they charge in nurseries.  I like going through the house and eliminating everything I haven’t used twice  in five years, other than family heirlooms.  It keeps the clutter down some.  I like having a booth at the Mass. Sheep festival, seeing folks I haven’t seen since last year this time, spending two days knitting, spinning, talking, selling, with no other responsibilities.  Getting ready for it, packing up, and such is a bit of a hassle, since it’s the same weekend as the yard/perennial sale (and no, I can’t bi-locate like Roman Catholic saints of old; Dottie does the sale by herself on Saturday! The sale is Friday and Saturday; the festival Saturday and Sunday.)  Last year, and this, Sue and I opted to get a room locally, and stay overnight, instead of driving back and forth the approximately two hours to the site every day. It makes it a lot more relaxing for me, but John is already having second thoughts about having to take care of Lizzie for two days.  Fine time to tell me!  There are no other options, since Dottie is doing the yard sale, and Sue is with me!  He said he’d do it a few weeks ago…Men!

The lambs continue to grow well.  Next weekend, several will go to new homes, which will certainly help my grass!  They are running through a lot of it now.  When the population gets down, it will be easier on me, not having to change pastures quite so often.   I think I have folks committed to buying all but one of the sheep, maybe two.  This is the first time this has happened so early.  It’s kind of exciting.  (Other than the 3 I will save for meat, and the one I will keep for breeding.)

I got 10 little chicks from the grain store last week. One died, so nine left. This week, six turkeys come, and next week, 15 more…Then we are in good shape, with no additions ’til August when the meat birds come.

I have sold out of jacob fleeces, but fortunately, have a few of my friend, Lasell’s, to sell at Mass., and will pick up some from another friend today, I believe.  That should get us through this show.  And I have some roving to sell as well: coopworth, jacob, and some romney.  And, of course, all the socks I’ve been making all winter while watching Netflix…so hopefully, it will be worthwhile, and I’ll at least pay for my expenses.

Okay, time to head out to the grain store.  Have a grand day, and keep cool, if you’re reading this from a part of the country destined to boil today.

Rushing around…

May 7, 2010

This is the day we pack for the festival and go set up… My truck is packed, I mowed about an acre, the sheep are out on pasture, the chickens are tilling my garden, the piglets are doing a beautiful job tilling the ram pen, it’s 8:30 a.m. and already, I’m wiped!  At 1:30, John and I will head to Sue’s and load up the truck and her van, and we’ll head to the fairgrounds at 3, set up, and then have some dinner at the Salt Hill Pub in Newport, and then, finally, head home to bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day. The weather forecast for the weekend is for rain on Saturday and a high of 52 on Sunday, so I guess I’d better break out some winter clothes!  For this area, snowshowers are predicted for tomorrow night.

Here’s a photo of the lambs on 5/1, still in winter quarters, with their moms, eating hay.  Today, they are on pasture eating grass, photo after the weekend!

The piglets are still a bit shy around me.

Spring is sprung!

May 1, 2010

Well, Wednesday we had snow.  We only had about 2 inches which melted very quickly with the rain that followed.  But in Northern Vermont, they had 10-12 inches…Thursday and Friday the temperatures dipped below freezing in the morning…Yesterday it was 70; today it was 88 in the afternoon, an hour south of here, where we went to look for perennials.   Probably it was only 85 here…by the time we got home, it was 77, where it’s holding now.

John got his Miata out as soon as we got home; he’s taking it for a drive to warm it up now.  The Buick can’t come out until he gets some new wires for the spark plugs or something…I wasn’t really listening carefully. It was enough to know he had trouble finding them, got the run-around from some local auto store, and finally ended up ordering them on line from some place that deals with parts for old cars.  (The Buick is a 1955.)

I’ve been busy with all sorts of things, lambing until the week after Easter; grandkids here the week before Easter, and since mid-April, spinning and knitting up a storm, and washing fleeces preparatory to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, which is Mother’s Day weekend at the Hopkinton, N.H. State fair grounds in Contoocook, N.H.  In addition, I’ve been helping out at shearings, first at Donald’s, then at Suzie’s, then at Ian’s and then at Lasell’s…so I’ve touched base with David, Andy, and Gwen, fine shearers all.  I have to say that Gwen, who is David’s daughter , is a remarkable shearer. She has spent several winters in New Zealand shearing with the pros, and she is FAST!  and GOOD!

When the grandkids were here, Peter took  and incubator, an egg turner, 20 fertile eggs (theoretically), a brooder and lamp, and chick food, home with him, to set up in school to hatch out eggs, with his teacher’s permission.  It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for him and for his classmates, waiting for hatching day.  And finally, on Monday last it came.  I went out in the morning, and returned at 12:30 to find two desperate messages on my message machine from Peter:  “Granny, pick up, I KNOW you’re home.  Granny, this is Peter.  No eggs have hatched yet.  What should we do?”  He didn’t leave a return number, and we are old fashioned enough, or rather, our phones are old enough, so that we don’t have caller ID, so I waited. My son called about an hour later to say that one was pipping.  Later in the day, while I was out feeding the animals, Peter called again: “Granny, It’s Peter…pick up!  The chick isn’t out yet. What should we do?”  Again no return number, but then I remembered Star 69, called and got the number, which was obviously a business number, the school, I figured, so I called and they put me through to his classroom. (I didn’t realize that every class had phones!) Anyway, the bottom line was the chick hadn’t yet hatched. I told him it was okay, to just go home on the bus, and in the morning, there’d undoubtedly be at least one chick, maybe more.  Next morning, there were two, and later that morning, another pipped. The teacher hooked up some video thingie to it, and projected it onto the wall so the whole class could see what was going on while they did their lessons. Ain’t technology grand?  They all got to see the chick hatch.  But no more…so Peter took home three chicks that night to brood at home.  If they are boys, I get them…that was part of the deal. They live in a neighborhood, and although my son has no qualms about annoying his neighbors, I won’t be a party to that, so the deal was I get all boys.  Hopefully, they aren’t all boys.

The lambs are growing.  They are now eating hay alongside their mothers, and the mothers are limiting the amount of time they nurse.  Last Saturday, I brought home our piglets for this year, two sweet little tamworth girls who are earning their keep tilling the ram pen for me so I can plant it full of squash.

I tried to upload photos but something weird is going on and I can’t seem to figure out how to do it…so next time, assuming I can figure it all out.

If you go to the NH Sheep festival, look for me at the Hodge Podge booth.  (I share a booth with my friend, Sue.)