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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Solstice is Past

A new front door.  Rowdy-approved.
It is the true beginning of summer, though it has felt summery for a few weeks now.  The hours of daylight are long, with true dark not arriving until well after nine pm.  Though now that we have passed the solstice, the days will begin to be shorter.  I kind of hate that.

There is so much to do on the farm this time of year, even though we have very few animals anymore to take care of.  There is a lot of mowing to do and we have had a lot of rain, which makes the weeds and grasses grow that much faster.  Sam is already thinking about getting firewood cut and stacked for next winter.  Outdoor maintenance needs to be done on buildings and fences and trails and wells and compressors.  And then there is the garden, which is starting to take off with the warm weather and rain. And right now, wild raspberries are ripening and so Sam is picking those and I am planning what to do with them.  First, jam.  Then I will bake a pie tomorrow.  And I will make puree to put in the freezer to be used for raspberry chocolate chip ice cream at a later date/dates.  Sam will be brewing a batch of raspberry wheat beer.  So much yumminess!


As I've said, the garden is really taking off.  I think I also said I do not use herbicides on the garden, so since I was away for 3 days this past weekend, I had a LOT of weeding to do.
  This is one garden.  I weeded it Tuesday and then it rained again.  A never ending battle.  But I do not worry about eradicating every single weed.  Life is too short for that.

 
Here is the other garden.  My use of cardboard boxes as a weed deterrent is definitely helping, but again, nothing will get rid of all the weeds.  The tomato plants are large enough now that I can "weave" them through the spaces in the cattle panels, and soon I will also need to tie them up.  Most of the plants now have flowers on them so soon I will need to start using my essential oil/water spray as an insect deterrent. 

We lost a hen this week.  Sam found her dead in the chicken coop while I was away.  We have no idea what happened to her.  So we are down to 3 hens.  I am contemplating getting some new ones, but haven't decided yet.  



The bees seem to be thriving.  I have been supplementing them with sugar water and they will go through a quart a day if I keep up with it.  I need to check in the hive this weekend and see if they are ready for another box.  I suspect they may be.


 
Sam and I did stain most of my studio almost 2 weeks ago.  It came out all right, but we used a sprayer and I think there is a learning curve to getting a nice even coat.  The studio can be seen in the background of the garden photo above.  I think it looks ok.  Now we need to get some railing on the deck and gutters and downspouts.  I purchased some shelving units at Ikea last weekend and have them put together and am quite happy with them.  Now to fill them up!  

Grover with his Double Q ribbon
Grover and I were away last weekend.  We went to 2 different agility trials, the first near Columbus on Friday and then one in the Cincinnati area on Saturday and Sunday.  We had a great weekend.  On Friday, we had 3 runs and we qualified in all 3, resulting in a Double Q (our 7th), our MX (Master Agility) title, and a Premiere Q.  We then drove on to stay at Mom's over in the Dayton area while we attended the other trial.   Saturday was a no Q day for us, though after Friday's success I didn't let it bother me.  Both runs were very good runs and we missed qualifying by just one little mistake each time.  On Sunday we Q'd on both our runs for another Double Q.  Which brings us to 8.  We only got one run on video, our standard run from Saturday, where Grover jumped off the teeter.  I truly think he was startled by the judge because he turns to look at her as he goes on to the next obstacle:  Standard Run Saturday



We had a very nice time with my Mom and came home Monday to find that Sam had replaced our old drafty, clawed up wooden door with the new one he got at an auction a few months back.  I am so pleased. Here is how it looks from the outside and of course Rowdy is showing us how it looks on the inside att he beginning of this post. 

I have had so little time for weaving lately, so my projects look pretty much the same as they did 2 weeks ago.  However, I was able to finish the knitting on the Mystery Knit-Along Wrap I was participating in just yesterday.  It still needs to have ends woven in and trimmed and to be washed and blocked, but I am overall very pleased with it.  It is huge, but I think it will make a great wrap to take with me to agility trials that are air-conditioned in the summer and never warm enough in winter.  






 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Making Hay in the Sunshine


Grover is practicing his jumping over the windrows of raked hay while Rowdy watches.

Hay mowed.  Note the blue sky and light clouds indicating low humidity.
 As I was wring my last post, Sam was mowing our hayfield in preparation for baling.  It was not real hot, but the humidity was low, which along with sunshine, dries the hay in a timely manner.  We do hay twice a year, first cutting and second cutting.  First cutting is usually the end of May or beginning of June.  It all depends on the weather.  A minimum of 3 days without rain in the forecast are necessary for the hay to dry.  Hay that is baled damp will mold and be potentially harmful to livestock that consume it.  Either that or so unappealing to the animals that it will go to waste. First cutting hay is usually a higher yield, but is stemmier and less nutritious and less palatable to some livestock, such as alpacas.  Second cutting, which is usually done in the heat of August, is not as tall and stemmy and is softer, being more blades of the grass than stalks.  We have always "square-baled" the second cutting to feed to the alpacas, as that is what they prefer, and first cutting is round-baled and fed to cattle (which we do  not have so we plan to sell it).  Square baling is much more labor intense since each bale must be removed from the field and stored inside.  Ours goes up into the lofts of the barn.  Round bales can be moved only with a "bale spear" on a tractor and can be stored outside.


 
This is only the second time Sam has done round bales and I think this year was much more successful for him.  These are some big bales, about 6' in diameter.  I forgot to ask him how many he got.

 

A good agility dog can scale the side of a 6' round bale with ease.

Speaking of which, Grover has been on the injured list for the past week.  He was favoring his right hind leg quite a bit, so we went in for Xrays and the joints look fine, so a muscle pull or strain in the hip area was diagnosed.  He has been on leash exercise only and on an anti-inflamatory and we skipped agility class last week.  Tonight we will go to class and hope that he shows no more signs of lameness.  If he does, we will have to pull out of the 3 days of agility we are entered in this coming weekend and probably go see another vet.   Fingers are crossed he will be fine...  

It has gotten very hot this week after almost a week of below average temperatures.  I noticed this morning that the tomato and basil plants in the garden seem to be shooting up, finally.  They do like the heat. The garden is doing well.  And it will be doing better now with the warmer temps.  I use no herbicides or insecticides on my garden.  I rake and pull weeds by hand or sometimes use a little Mantis tiller, so I will always have weeds in my garden.  It never looks as nice as many gardens I see, but I don't like the idea of Round-Upping my food.

The chickens have a volunteer sunflower in their yard.  I was careful to weed-eat around it the other day.  It is just to the right of the coop and growing very fast.

 

 I have one very strong beehive from the swarm or swarms we caught in the horse barn a few weeks back.  I have determined that the bees that were in a bee box in the barn are indeed queenless.  Whether they were a separate swarm that lost their queen, or part of the big swarm we scooped off the ceiling, I don't know.  I put their box next to this one, and maybe some of them integrated into this colony.  However, this colony is doing very well, the queen is laying well, and I am feeding them a quart of sugar water every day.  I put a third box on  for them to grow into and will need to check their progress again next week.  I have them across the road from the horse barn where it is very easy to keep an eye on them and change out jars every morning.  

My daily exercise has been kind of curtailed due to Grover being sidelined for a week.  We have taken only short walks with few hills.  Rowdy is still walking with us on these, but it seems he lags further and further behind all the time.  It is so hard to see him like this at only 12.  There are occasions where the "old" Rowdy comes out and these occasions usually involve water and a stick.  These times make me so happy because I know he is still happy despite the arthritis in his legs.
 
On Saturday, Sam and I worked on staining the exterior siding on my studio.  It came out darker than I thought it would be and we got low on stain, so the sprayer would no longer work, so we are not quite finished.  I am still getting used to the new color.  I'm not sure I like it a lot, but it is what it is.  Now I feel I need to paint the window frames and the door once I get the rest of the staining done.
  


 On the inside, however, it is starting to have that "lived in" feel.  I put a new warp on the loom over this past weekend and am weaving some waffle weave towels for myself.  I feel like maybe I have a definite color pallette.  I hope to get some cubical shelving from Ikea this weekend and paint a piece of pegboard to attach to the wall to the left of the window on the yellow wall.  There is no A/C out there, so I may need to do my weaving in the early mornings in the summer instead of in the evenings like I usually do.

 On my big loom here at the office I have some fabric that will become throw pillows.  I think it is coming along very nicely.

I have been continuing to knit on the Mystery Wrap I started about a month ago.  It is almost finished and has gotten very large and unwieldy so I will wait to photograph it when it is finished, which should be this week.  But I do have a busy weekend planned, so it may take a little longer.  It is really colorful and fun.  There is a photo of it in progress in my last post.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June So Soon?

Grover is doing is cat impersonation
Yes, it is now June.  We had a very rainy cool May and today is bright and sunny and quite nice.  

Today Sam is mowing the hay in our big creek bottom field.  It really could have been done a couple weeks ago, but he was in the process of getting ready to leave for a 9 day fishing trip, so it just had to wait.  This is how the field looked on Monday.  The grass is about as tall as the fence posts.  Today is Thursday and there is a chance for storms on Sunday, so here's hoping the hay will dry in a timely manner so it can be baled Saturday afternoon.  Sam is planning to round bale this.  My guess is I will be tedding hay tomorrow while he is at the office.


 Though they are done now, these irises were in full bloom last week.  They were given to me by a friend who is no longer with us, and I think of him every year when they bloom.  They are such a lovely deep shade of purple.

My garden is pretty much planted, which is nice.  Now for the weeding and watering.  I have been thinning the lettuce a little and adding it to the romaine that we over-wintered.  Fresh picked salads are wonderful.  



I did some mowing myself on Monday.  It took quite a while to get through the grass in the empty pasture across from Mom's house.



 Sam and I also sheared all three of our alpacas on Monday afternoon.  It is really different to only have three to do when we remember years we sheared 50 plus.  And these are all old ones that we have had for up to 17 years, so they know the drill and don't give us too much trouble.  I think getting ready to shear and then putting everything away afterward took longer than the actual shearing.

Sam had a nice fishing trip.  There is a lot of fish in my freezer, but we have not had any of it yet.  He brought home pike and wall-eye.  I prefer the wall-eye.  

While Sam was traveling home on  Saturday, my friend Tari and I drove to Wooster Ohio and attended the Great Lakes Fiber Festival.  The weather was wonderful and we saw some old friends and did a little shopping and I dropped off about 25 pounds of alpaca and wool fiber to have spun into yarn.  It was a very enjoyable day all around.

I finished weaving some 2 color napkins on my loom at home while Sam was gone and I have even gotten them hemmed and pressed.  I need to trim threads still, so I have not taken a finished photo.  They came out very nice and I have no idea what I will do with them.  I am starting some throw pillow covers on my big loom, though having some trouble with it since I seem to be missing a crucial piece of the pattern.  I have asked for help online and hopefully someone can come up with the piece of the puzzle I need.  

And for knitting, I am still working on the mystery knit-along wrap.  Here is how it looked yesterday.  There are 2 identical pieces like this that will eventually be joined to become a rectangle in the next 2 clues.  It is fun, but it is getting tedious to knit on one triangle and then immediately repeat it on the second.  I will be ready for something different when the next clue comes out.
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's Heating Up

Rowdy cooling off in the beaver pond
It is mid-May and the forecast for today is for a high of about 90 degrees.  That's pretty darn warm.  At least the leaves are all out on the trees for the most part and the shade will help to keep things a little cooler on the farm.

As is usual for this time of year, there is a lot to do.  May usually means planting the garden, shearing alpacas, and starting the long summer job of keeping things mowed, which includes doing the first cutting of hay.  I will admit the mowing is usually mostly Sam's job.  A lot of our property is not flat and he is much better handling that mowing than I am.  I am happy to mow the flat pastures,  which I started on yesterday.  Due to a warm wet spring the grass was incredibly thick in these pastures.  And the two I have left to mow will be even worse.  And this photo reminds me that there is a lot of weed clearing to do as well.

Alpaca shearing and haymaking will have to wait until Sam returns from a fishing trip he is supposed to leave for in two days.  There has been a lot of haymaking going on in the area though, and this week would have been perfect for it.  Hot and dry the next 2 days and the past 2.

I have gotten most of the gardens planted.  Though I need to buy some corn.  It's on my list for today.  This is the tomato and pepper garden.  I am trying something new and using old broken down cardboard boxes as a weed barrier.  It should act like mulch and hold in the moisture as well.  And it uses up what would otherwise be garbage.  The large green plant is parsley that came back from last year.


 In this garden I have lettuce, arugula and romaine all coming up, as well as beets.  The romaine to the right was planted last fall and over-wintered under a hoop cover.  It did really well with the mild winter we had.  I set  out some cucumbers yesterday that I started in pots and also planted butternut squash.  Corn will be at the far end and I'd like to get some pumpkins, though I may put them somewhere else entirely.  All this planting took up a good part of the last two days.

 Here are the beehives from the swarm (swarms?) we caught almost 2 weeks ago.  The nearer one is the huge clump that was hanging from the barn ceiling and they are doing really well.  The farther one is the box of bees that was in the barn which we relocated in the hope that it was a swarm with a queen.  I think it may be queenless.  It still has bees in it and there is some coming and going, but it does not act like it should.  Tomorrow I will open it up and look more closely at what is going on (or isn't).

Me and the agility dogs!
Grover and I went to an agility trial in the Cleveland area this past weekend.  It was a three day trial and we got all three of our jumper's runs, but only one standard run.  So we have one more Double Q toward our goal of 20.  We are up to 6 now and we managed to score 45 MACH points over the weekend, bringing our current total to 243 out of 750 needed.  By my calculations, we are almost 1/3 of the way there.  One more Double Q and we will pass the 1/3 mark, as long as we score at least 7 points.  We were with my friend and instructor, Sharon, and her three papillons.  We took advantage of the wonderful weather on Saturday and went to the beach with the dogs.  We also went on Friday, but the weather was overcast and windy. If you look carefully you can see the Cleveland skyline in the central background.  Our next trial(s) will be the 16th, 17th & 18th of June and we will be a two different venues that weekend.

  Check this out!  Sam and I moved my loom from upstairs in Rowdy's room AKA the guest room last week.  It seems so small in that large space and I have had time to actually sit out there and weave only once, but it was wonderful.  Rowdy took up residence on the rug and Grover sat in the doorway and kept and eye on things.  I still need to put in some shelving and have plans to hit Ikea in a few weeks since there is one right by where I will be for an agility trial. 



 I may have only spent a couple hours at the loom in my new space, but my sewing machine is in there as well and I did spend some time out there sewing one of my hand-woven valances for the dining room  I will admit I have not yet had time to sew the second one, but now that I have done one the second should be easier.  That's the theory anyway.  I am so pleased with how this turned out.  I hung it late in the day and I was disappointed that the pattern did not show, but wise Sam said he thought it would show much better in daylight with the light coming through it.  And wouldn't you know he was right!
 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Things Are Buzzing

May has arrived and there is so much to do all of a sudden.  Even since I took this photo, the woods have burst into leaf and the wildflowers are everywhere. 
The grass in the pastures is knee deep with only 3 alpacas to eat it, so I will be on the tractor mowing soon.  We had some extremely warm weather this past weekend and now it has turned around and feels much more seasonal.  But it is enough to make me start planting and preparing gardens.  

 The asparagus is coming on nicely and we enjoyed some last week sauteed in butter with ramps and morels.  The root bulbs of the ramps are minced and sauteed, then I added the asparagus and morels and when everything was nice and tender, I threw in some of the ramp leaves chopped up fairly fine.  Quite yummy.

I have planted some herbs outside in the herb garden and I may have to cover them overnight this weekend as we may get frost.  I have sunflowers  and cukes sprouted in pots on the back deck and am waiting for tomatoes and peppers to come up.  Lettuce, arugula and spinach are starting to come up in the garden and beets have been planted.  

Mom came to visit this weekend.  She brought the ashes of Luca, her Springer Spaniel, and we buried them up at the pond.  He loved that pond and I think it will be nice to think of him being there.  While Mom was here I took her out to the stalls in the horse barn, which have become a storage area, to show her the new front door Sam got to replace the ancient drafty one that is probably 50 years old, and we discovered that the barn was full of bees.  Honey bees.
There were bees in these bee boxes I had stacked in there last fall with intentions to deal with them this spring. 



There were bees clustered on the the window (this photo was taken after dark once they settled down).   There were what seemed like thousands of bees in the air, coming and going through the doorway.  This was on Sunday afternoon.  I was pretty sure it was a swarm of bees and that they had likely been attracted by the stacked hive boxes which still had frames of drawn comb, though no honey, in them.  

By Monday morning, this is what we had going on.  Those bees are not covering anything, that is a solid mass of bees hanging on the ceiling and support beam above the stall divider in the barn.  No doubt, this is a swarm.  So while Sam was at work on Monday, I prepared a hive box and when he arrived home we decided where to put the hive and then Sam stood on one side of the stall divider and held a box and I climbed up onto something on the other side so I could reach the bees and I brushed and scooped them into the box.  We then took them to the prepared hive box, into which I had placed frames with drawn comb and one with honey and some lemongrass oil, and I dumped them in.  Then we went back and scooped up some more bees and dumped them into the hive as well.  We will see if they stick around.

My dilemma is that there are STILL bees in that box in the barn and there is STILL a cluster of bees in the window. And during the day yesterday there were STILL large numbers of bees coming and going through the barn door. Is that a second swarm?  This evening I will delve into the box in the barn and see if we need to set up a second hive.  I really thought I was done with bees.  But it seems as though I am not yet meant to be finished with them.

On Friday, Grover and I have a private agility lesson over near Columbus.  I am excited about this and hope we can get some good input on things we need to work on.  I would like to do this monthly and have homework to do between lessons.  And then the next weekend, the 12th to the 14th, we are going to an agility trial in the Cleveland area.  This is a new venue for us and we are going with my friend/instructor from the Club, Sharon.  So next time I post I hope to have lots of good runs to share.

I am still working on the same two weaving projects.  The exciting news is that I have started to move things into my studio!  So far just my sewing machine table, drum carder table, and a plastic bin organizer with some of my weaving stuff in it.  Moving my loom from Rowdy's room will be a chore, even though it folds up, but maybe Sam and I can do that this weekend.  I am still trying to figure out storage and shelving, etc.  But it is every exciting.  

See the frog?
Grover among the Trillium










 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Everything is Blooming and We Say Goodbye

Luca and Rowdy 2012
I love this photo of these 2 dogs when they were young and healthy.  Sadly, last week I got an early morning call from my mother and I drove across the state to be with her as she said her last goodbye to Luca, her companion of 13 years.  Luca spent a lot of time here with us on the farm both when my mom was traveling and also when she was here to visit.  He loved swimming in the pond and running in the fields and woods.  He was a year older than Rowdy and he will be missed.  His ashes will be interred here on the farm up by the pond he loved so much.  Rest easy, Luca.

I also said goodbye to our foster dog, Boomer.  My brother's family has moved into an apartment which will allow them to have their dogs while they are having a house built.  I am pretty sure that Grover misses his buddy Boomer.  And while I am happy to have a 2 dog house again, Boomer will always be a welcome visitor.
 
Since my last post, Grover and I attended an agility trial in Columbus, Ohio for 2 days.  We had some really good runs, though only 2 of the 5 were qualifying runs.  Both were Jumpers with Weaves (JWW), so we got some points toward our goal of a MACH and no double Qs, but we did get our MXJ title, which is a Masters JWW title.  

Tomorrow Grover and I are off bright and early to Zanesville for 3 days of trialing.  This will be our club's last trial until fall, though I have plans for other trials, no worries there.

Everything is greening up outside.  Flowering trees have been in bloom for the last week or so.  Redbuds, apples, peaches, dogwoods, everywhere we look on the farm something is blooming.  I love it.  Sam has been morel hunting for the last couple weeks and has had a great deal of success recently.  This is the batch he picked last evening.  He has already dried 2 quarts in the dehydrator.  We love having them dried in the pantry.  As they age, they get a wonderful earthy smell and I take them from the jar and crumble them up into soups and sauces.  They don't really need to be reconstituted when I use them that way.  Of course, we also use them fresh as I did last night.

I make this pasta dish with chicken breast, fresh basil (or frozen basil cubes this time of year), home dried tomatoes, fresh garlic and artichoke hearts.  I use some chicken broth and white wine and last night I added fresh morels and fresh ramps, which is a plant that grows wild here this time of year.  The root is a bulb that tastes like a cross between onion and garlic and the leaves can be put in salads or cut up and used in a dish like this similar to spinach.  The greens have a spicy flavor and Sam made pesto with them last week which was very good.  I topped this pasta with goat cheese just before serving.  Yum.

Which reminds me that last week after the trial, my sister-in-law and her kids came for a visit.  We had a great time.  Sunday was very warm and sunny and we took a walk to the beaver pond and also up to our pond and then ended the day with a fire and weenie and marshmallow roast.  The next day we went to Ohio University in Athens (from which my son Sam graduated 10 years ago) and took a tour as my niece is thinking of attending there.  It was a gorgeous day and there were students enjoying the weather everywhere we looked.  Jill and the kids headed for home early Tuesday morning.  We really had a nice visit.


 Another sign of spring is a tom turkey, or gobbler, strutting his stuff for the hens.  I got this shot  while he was distracted and before the dogs realized the turkeys were there in the hayfield.  It was about 6:15 in the evening.  I have seen a lot of turkeys this spring.  The 17 year cicadas of last spring are being given credit for an increase in the turkey population.  They emerged around the time the mama turkeys were probably having to find food for their new broods.  And they did not have to look far to find cicadas.



 The flooring is done in my studio and I have painted the window and door trim and I just had to take my rug out and get a photo of it in place.  It seems small, but there is nothing else in the studio at this time, which should change soon.  Sam will be cutting the baseboards and I will need to paint them, but then the interior is pretty much finished and I can start moving things in!  We still have exterior work to do including staining the siding and putting up bat strips, gutters and downspouts, and railing on the deck.  I am looking forward to moving my loom and sewing machine and other fiber-y stuff into my own dedicated space.  Maybe next time I post there will have been progress.



   I still have the napkins on my small loom at home, though I am almost finished with the third of six, so close to halfway done.  At the office, I have some fine cotton in a natural color on the big loom.  I am doing about 5 yards of this lacy pattern which will become new valances for my dining room windows.  This is something else that is new to me.  I will weave the yardage and then cut it into 2 pieces and sew hems and rod pockets.  The weaving will take some time, especially since I am usually in the office only 2 days a week.  If I can weave a yard each day I am at the office, it will be well into May before I am ready to start sewing.  I just hope I did my math well and am weaving enough to account for shrinkage, which there will be with 100% cotton.  I think I did.  We will certainly find out.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Definitely Springtime

Yes, it is definitely spring.  The weather has been cold and rainy and grey one day and then warm and sunny the next.  The grass has become almost blindingly green as it is only in springtime, and the little wildflowers are starting to pop out in the woods and along the roadsides.  Daffodils are blooming and when it is warm, I can't seem to stay inside.  That being said, I have planted a few things, some new blueberry bushes, which I tried to grow once before and they got lost in the weeds and eventually were accidentally weed-whacked.  I won't allow that to happen this time.  I have a lot more time to devote to gardening now that I have so many less animals to take care of.  I planted a new rhubarb plant, which I had also planted before which suffered the same fate as the blueberries, though it did last a little longer.  And I put in some more asparagus.  I keep looking for little asparagus spears to starting poking up....

I am now a little more than half done with the syrup clean-up.  All the bucket lids and the sap pan are cleaned, along with about 1/2 the buckets.  This job has to be done outside and I can't avoid getting wet doing it, so I do require warm sunny weather which is why it takes so long.  I decided that this year's clean up was not worth the small amount of syrup we produced.  Let's hope for a better year next year.


One of our small population of barn cats, all of which are spayed/neutered, disappeared last fall. Timmy came here from the Humane Society as unadoptable because he was terrified of people.  After 3 weeks in our barn he was the friendliest cat we had. But while I see that our barn cats are fed every day and get medical treatment when necessary, they are free to come and go as they please and sometimes they don't come home.  Now it seems that Timmy's replacement has come along and this kitten looks very much like him.  This little guy just showed up.  We started catching fleeting glimpses of a half-grown cat around the place and then last week he started coming out of hiding in the barn when I would put the cat food out every morning.  I really don't want another cat, but he/she is here and I will feed him/her as long as he/she is around.  I would guess this cat is 4 to 5 months old and I have been able to pet him briefly as he eats.  I sit and talk to him while he is eating and touch him just a little to get him used to me.  He will need to be handled enough to be taken in to be spayed or neutered.  My biggest fear is that this is a she not a he and will have kittens before I can tame her enough to get her in.  I do not want to add to the population of unwanted cats.  Wish me luck.  Since I don't know if this is a Timmy or a Tammi, I have dubbed him TimTam for now.

This past Sunday morning as I sat at my computer drinking coffee around 8 am, there was a boom, similar to thunder, and the whole house shook briefly.  It kind of freaked me out a little, but it was so quick, I didn't think too much about it until later, when I found out it was an earthquake, centered about 3 miles away.  3.0 magnitude, which I understand is fairly minor, for which I am grateful.  Considering there are several deep-well fracking sites close to us right now, there is a good chance that that is the cause.  Disturbing.

In other news, Grover and I are heading to Columbus on Friday for an agility trial.  The trial is 3 days, but we will only be attending on Friday and Saturday.  This is a new venue for us and I am really looking forward to it.  We have only trialed 3 days so far in 2017, but we are entered in 2 more 3 day trials coming up, one this month and one in May and I am looking at several this summer.  Wish us clean runs!

Sam is working on putting in the laminate flooring in my weaving studio.  I think it will be fabulous, especially with my wonderful hand woven alpaca rug, which I finished this past week.  I am so happy with how it turned out, and I have enough of the dyed yarns left to make another rug that size.  

The finished rug is 6' X 43" .  I can't wait to see how it looks in the studio!




 

 

I finished the lace shawl I was knitting.  It came out gorgeous.  The yarn is hand spun by me, but I did not do the dyeing.  These are most definitely my colors, however and the shawl was fun to knit.  The "wingspan" of this is about the same as my wingspan, so it is a very nice size.  Now if only I had someplace to wear it!  The yarn is wool and silk and bamboo with some sparkle and while they are hard to see, there are beads as well.  Love it.





 

I have also finished weaving some hand/kitchen towels on my small loom.  I wove 4 towels, but I got to keep one for me since it had a couple little mistakes in it.  These 3 are for sale at the Monroe Arts Center.  I was very pleased with how they turned out.  They are about 18" X 28".  

And I already have the next project on that small loom.



These will be napkins in 100% cotton in a pinwheel pattern.  I plan to make 6 of them and I don't know if I will keep them or put them up for sale.  I guess I will decide when they are finished.

I am also planning my next project on the big loom.  I will be weaving valances for the 2 windows in my dining room.  I have some lacy valances on them now that are really old and very discolored as I discovered when I took them down to measure last week.  Washing did not really help.  These windows are on either side of the main entry to our house and since I will be getting a brand new door soon (!) I think new window treatments are in order as well.