Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice

Nothing makes Rowdy happier than a nice big stick.  He was unable, however to pick up the big one that fell in the yard last night.
Yes, today is the first day of summer, longest day of the year as far as hours of daylight go.  The sad part is that now the days will start to get shorter.  But it will be a while before we really notice that.  Right now, we are eating our dinner at about 8:30 pm, sometimes later.  We don't get out for our dog walk until 7  or 7:30 because it is too doggone hot before then, so by the time we get back, it is usually time to feed the animals and then think about our meal.  I do really enjoy the summer evenings.
This has been a "jam-packed" week.  I did make a second batch of raspberry jam this week.  It is so pretty in the jars.  I may make a third batch because the berries are plentiful this year.  It is always nice to have on hand and so yummy.

Sunday was father's day, so I made Sam a nice big deep dish wild raspberry pie.  It was wonderful.  Topped it with some Graeter's chocolate chip ice cream and the dark chocolate in that ice cream was absolutely heavenly with the raspberries.  If you are not an Ohio person and don't know Graeter's ice cream, you are missing out on a treat.  The chocolate chips can be hunks.  As kids,  mom would get us Graeter's cones at the mall we went to near Cincinnati and we would see who got the biggest piece of chocolate in their cone.  

 I must have over loaded my pie crust because the edge actually fell off in the oven.  I've never had that happen before.

There is some bad news on the farm this week.  Both chickens who were attacked by the dog 2 weeks ago have died.  I am so surprised because I really thought they were doing well, but the one disappeared on Saturday and the other died during the night on Sunday after I carried her to the coop.  She smelled very strongly of infection, so I think that they must both have succumbed to some underlying infection caused by having so many feathers yanked out.  Very sad.  I am down to 8 chickens from the 18 I started with just a year ago.  I suppose when you allow chickens to be cage free that is one of the downsides.  So egg production has really gone down.

Other sad news is that our old dog, Ginger, is once again suffering from severe urinary tract problems and this time the vet thinks he can feel thickening in the bladder near where it empties into the urethra, indicating tumors.  We went through all the tests 9 months ago with no conclusions and she improved with antibiotics, so we are doing the antibiotics again in hopes of making her more comfortable for a while.  I have clipped her rear to keep her cleaner and to be able to see what is going on.  She is a very old dog.  She has been with us for 4 1/2 years and has been a pleasure to have.  She still goes along on our walks if she catches us leaving, though she now lags way behind and is very sore when we get home.  We always imagine that she must have been a real fireball when she was a young dog.  She was still very active when she came here and has really only slowed down in the last year or so and we do try to sneak off without her when we can since the walks are hard on her physically.  She just adores Sam and tolerates me.  Smart cookie.

apiary after weed-eating!
So, maybe I will lighten things up a bit.  Friday evening, I learned that bees are not appreciative of having the weeds removed from around their hives with noisy weed-eaters.  I figured I would wait until it was about dusk when it was a little cooler and I would put on my bee jacket (very hot) and go up and quickly get rid of the weeds around our 2 hives.  Well, it did not take long to stir up the hive!  I had taken an old rug up to the hive a few days earlier to put in front of the hive once the weeds were gone to keep more weeds from growing.  Unfortunately, I managed to catch a corner of the rug with the string in the trimmer and I had a wound up unraveled mess.  This was after aggravating a hive full of bees and I quickly retreated to the truck to try to unwind the rug string from the weed eater.  One very persistent bee  followed me  back to the truck and buzzed angrily around my head (bee jacket!) for several minutes.  Very annoying.  I had to wait until she gave up because if I tried to get in the truck she would follow me and Rowdy was wisely sitting in the truck.  It did not seem fair to him to get into the truck with my angry little friend determined to sting something.  With his summer haircut, Rowdy has little protection from stingers.  So this was a fail.  But, since one reason I was clearing out the weeds was to make it easier to work around the hives and I needed to put a third box on the hive anyway, I decided I would do everything all at once.  The next morning, while it was still cool I started my smoker, gathered my equipment including a box full of frames and my weed-eater, donned my bee jacket, left my sidekick Rowdy at home and went to work.  Before I even started the weed eater, I smoked the hive.  Things went rather smoothly after that.  

 As you can see, the third box is added, the weeds are gone and I have moved the rug into place in front of the hive to keep weeds from growing up in front of the entrance.  I actually got into both hives to see how they were doing and got some photos of busy bees returning to the hive with bright yellow pollen on their legs.  Can you see it in the photo below?  There is a lot of clover in bloom right now, so the bees seem happy.

Tomorrow our county bee inspector is coming to inspect the hives.  This is done on a yearly basis to assess hives for diseases and parasites.  Since I am so new at this I am anxious for any input he can give me and hopefully I will be able to get some pictures while he is here.  It will depend on what else I might need to be doing with my hands at the time.

It has been very dry and rather hot weather-wise.  The alpacas are staying in front of the fans or in the shade for the most part.  Yesterday and today and I believe tomorrow,  we have temps in the 90's and then I think it will cool down a little for the weekend.  We really need some rain.  We have been watering the garden on a daily basis, but everything else needs water. 

On the fiber front, I finished the knitting on my dog and cat satchel for the fundraiser this weekend, but am still struggling with the lining.  A seamstress I am not.  I worked on it for quite a while yesterday and then had to take a break from it.  The bag looks nice.  It has the flap on front with the dog and cat pattern and paw prints on the strap and on a pocket under the flap.

The fabric I got for the lining was not exactly what I wanted, but close.  It has multicolored paw prints on it and I was hoping for white with black prints.  But, our JoAnn's is pretty small.  It will be fine.

I am also working on a shawlette.  I knitted this pattern a couple months ago and sent the resulting shawl to my cousin, who is going through a hard time right now.  I loved the pattern and it is quick and uses a small skein of yarn and so was perfect for a small skein of my own mill-spun alpaca that I had hand-dyed.  It was the end of the run of the yarn, so was a smaller skein than all the rest at only 260 yards.  I think this will be so pretty!
This photo does not do it justice.  The colors are much prettier.


1 comment:

  1. You guys can come out as I made a freezer of homemade raspberry ice cream. It is sitting in the freezer in the sink, waiting to be ate later, maybe after supper or after church.