Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BRrrrrr, It's Cold!

Rowdy and Tigger are making the best of the cold weather in front of the wood stove.  

I am still plugging along with the Spin-Off for the Missouri alpaca show.  I plan to have it done and in the mail back to the coordinator by Tuesday the 18th.  I'm getting there.  Meanwhile, I have not had much time to work on things I'd like to work on, like finishing up the bindings on my rugs and painting my downstairs bathroom, for which I purchased paint around Thanksgiving time!

Sam bought us a new car a few weeks back.  It is a dual-fuel car and runs on compressed natural gas and gasoline.  So we are now (or I should say Sam is) working on installing a compressor so that we can park the car in the garage and hook it up and fill it with gas from our wells.  The compressor is on its way here from California as I write this, but its installation has required that Sam run a new gas line over to the garage since the compressor has to be inside and easily convenient to the car and have a source of electricity.  So I came home the other day to  this.
 This is a backhoe dug trench from the back deck through the yard to the corner of the garage.  I have to cross it every time I go to the weanling pasture to feed, but it's not hard to remember it's there!

I think if this works out well, we will have other natural gas vehicles in our future.  The nice thing is, they are relatively inexpensive to purchase used as the availability of compressed natural gas is very limited.  That's a shame because it it much cheaper than gasoline.

Sam also cut the window opening in my studio.  We just used part of a window that we already had  from when we remodeled the house and it's not real big, nor does it open, but its purpose is light, not air at this point.  I had purchased a nice stained glass of running horses a couple years ago and it fits in the window perfectly!  I still have a lot to do before the studio is done, but I won't have time until next month to really get any work done out there.
January is a pretty quiet month around the farm as far as the animals go, mostly limited to feeding and scooping and the monthly worming (boy was it hard taking my gloves off to vaccinate 53 'pacas this past Sunday morning!).  February is quiet as well except we will hopefully be tapping trees for sap again.  This will be only our second year of maple syrup production and we hope to produce enough to sell a little bit.  We are going to set up our evaporator up near the pond, which is close to where the trees are we are using.  We have already put in a supply of wood, but I am sure much more will be needed to keep a hot fire going for 12 hours or so at a time on boil days.  I will get to put my new chainsaw into action!  The wood is stored under the pavilion at the pond and you can see the cement block we bought last summer at an auction to build the new evaporator with.                                                      
 Our pond is still down almost 2 feet.  The current snowfall we have should remedy that when it thaws.   The open area you see in the photo is where the windmill powered aerator bubbles up.

 I have managed to finish up 1 of 2 skeins of yarn for Michelle.  It is pretty cool, I think, but I forgot to take a photo, so maybe you can see it next week.  I also finished up a pair of mittens I started way back in November and realized partway through mitten #2 that I was going to run out of my hand-dyed variegated yarn.  So since it was multi-colored anyway, I went through my "stash" and found another hand-spun hand-dyed yarn I could use and I think it looks ok.  The white is my mill-spun yarn.

Keeping warm has been work.  The cap on the new chimney liner we put in managed to get  clogged with creosote and the whole house filled with smoke.  Last night and this morning Sam took the woodburner out and cleaned the chimney and climbed up onto the icy snowy roof to clean the cap as well.  Kind of a tense job requiring ropes tied to tractors and treesfor him to hold onto.  We were burning some elm that I think was not dry enough and hence the problem.  Dry wood only from here on out!

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