Yes, Saturday was the day Sam and I finally were able to repair the corner of the fence where Buck was squeezing his 110 pound body out through an 8" hole. One of these days I will get a video of him sqeezing through the bars on a tube gate between pastures. We have to keep fence wired to gates that are on the perimeters. This seems to be a Pyrenees thing, because Star seems incapable of figuring it out. She's not very smart, though.
But, I digress. Here is our nice new corner. Believe it or not, there was a tree about 6inches in diameter right up against the corner post that we had to cut down in order to wrap the fence around it. That post has been there almost 12 years. We also had to tear out some old barbed wire fencing which used to keep the former owner's cattle out of this field as it used to be a hayfield. When we built the fence in 2000, we built it inside the old barbwire fence, but now many of the posts are rotten and the barb wire has become a hazard. It can be nasty stuff to deal with. By the end of the job, I was trying to remember when I'd had my last tetanus shot. Ah yes, 2005, the year Rowdy was a mouthy puppy.
After the fence building, the dogs and I enjoyed a walk.
Rowdy is actually trying to herd Luca in the hayfield, but they were both having a great time. In fact, this whole week has been almost free of precipitation. Much of the mud has dried out. And the temperatures have been above 40 during the day. Quite nice.
We set out about 24 taps in maple trees Sunday and Monday. I was able to cook off a small batch (6 3.5 gallon buckets yielding almost 2 quarts of finished syrup) on Tuesday, but I think it has been too warm at night for the sap to run and Sam only collected 2 1/2 buckets of it yesterday. I hope we can collect enough to run another batch tomorrow or Saturday. It is forecast to turn colder by Saturday. Here is a link to a post a year ago showing our syrup making. It's funny because Buck is also at the top of this post. He is the little while fuzz ball sitting on the ground. How things change in a year! http://straightforkfarm.blogspot.com/2011/02/february-is-galloping-to-close.html
We also had to have one of our oil wells "pulled" this week. We have been on the waiting list for the guys with the pulling rig to come out for a couple months and they finally did. Basically, there was no oil coming up when Sam was running the pump, so that usually means there is a hole or something somewhere and you need to pull all the tubing and rods out of the well and replace whatever is causing the problem. We have had to have this done more than once since we have had these wells. It isn't cheap, but it is part of the maintenance of the wells.
The good news is that the well is now pumping oil again. It will probably take 2 years for it to pay for its own repair.
We have started allowing the alpacas out on the pastures for a day at a time. It makes them very happy and helps us to save on hay, which is getting to be in short supply. We are going to have to acquire some somewhere soon.
This also helps to keep the barn clean! This morning I spread a nice thin layer of clean sawdust on the floor and no one was in my
Now for fibery stuff. As I sat at the syrup evaporator Tuesday, I worked on a mitten for a friend of mine. I forgot to photograph it, so I will show that next week. It is in 2 colors of hand-spun alpaca. She has big hands (she is 6' tall), so I had her try it on yesterday and it is a perfect fit so far. Whew!
I finished bobbin 1 of the lace weight alpaca/bamboo yarn. 4 whole ounces in about 3 weeks. I hope to be quicker with the second 4 ounces. We'll see.
I also have 1 rug woven on my loom and hope to weave the second one today so I can free up the loom for another project. Pics next week!
So there we have it, we have come to: