Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sun, Rain, More Rain & Head Start Field Trips

Star & Buck hard at work guarding alpacas.

Once again, I have managed to keep busy.  The end of last week we had a beautiful warm sunny day and I celebrated the arrival of nice weather by scrubbing part of my deck (I ran out of steam) and getting out my deck furniture so we can once again dine "al fresco".  Now I just need to get to the wrap around part of the deck.  Our deck is like another room to our house in the summer.

Once the leaves on the huge maple trees in our yard open up fully, the deck is in shade pretty much all day long through the summer and is rarely too hot to enjoy.  We have speakers out there connected to a CD player in the kitchen, so we usually put on a CD and enjoy post-dog-walk cocktails followed by dinner most evenings that we aren't too busy.

Sun going down across the creek

Of course, the wonderful weather only lasted a day or 2 and then on Saturday we got rain that measured in inches.  There were no less than 3 small waterfalls cascading down the hill behind the house and the creek actually came up OVER the bigger of our 2 bridges.  That has only happened once before that I know of.  

Right behind the house

2 cascades

The water levels recede quickly once the rain stops, though the creek is still quite full and there is a constant sound of running water.  I kind of like that.

On Monday, the first of my 4 groups of Head Start Pre-schoolers came out.  They have been doing this for several years.  I always stress about whether I can entertain them, but pre-schoolers are pretty easy.  They loved the pups, especially Buck, and they love to feed the alpacas little tiny handfuls of grain.   

Monday's group

Thursday's group

I try to tell them a little bit about the alpacas and what we do with them and then I usually show them some things made with alpaca and if the weather permits, do a short spinning demoWell this year, I have my studio to use!  Here is how it looks all set up for the kids.

 I have a hand-spun, hand-knit sweater for them to touch, my drum carder (no touching please!), spinning wheel and raw fiber and some of my woven rugs.  I have the kids touch the raw fiber and then I card some so they can see how it smooths it out, then I demonstrate how the carded fiber easily pulls apart into fluffy bits unless I twist it, then I show them how the spinning wheel twists it. I have coloring pages for the teachers to take back and each child goes home with a snack baggie into which I put my business card (so mom and dad can see where they've been) and a bit of raw fiber and a bit of spun yarn.

After all that, they get one more treat, which is to see Rowdy do some tricks, which the kids love and so does Rowdy.  It amazes me what a child friendly dog he is, not having grown up with kids.  He is my empty-nest dog and came along about a month before my youngest went off to college.  But I digress.....

Isn't my studio looking nice?    I still have 2 walls to stain, but I ran out of stain and I wanted it to look nice for the field trips.  I put interlocking foam mats on the floor and plan to put a covering over that when I find the one I want.  All stuff that will be easy to hose off.

I also planted lettuce last week and hope to have our first asparagus for dinner in the next couple days.

I am ready to weave my first rugs on my "new" loom!  Tune in next week to see how it goes.  
I am in the process of binding off the purple lace shawl, which is requiring me to crochet, which I am not real good at, so it is taking some extra time.  

Here is the view lookin' out my back door last Saturday when the creek was raging!


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