We are still working on the chicken chasing, though she has not had a chance to really chase them in some time. She is usually on a long lead when they are out and about. She did chase poor old Apache quite a way up the hill and across the flat the other evening. I did NOT see it coming. Now I am on the lookout for that as well. She is learning her sits and lay downs. She is fully recovered from her spay surgery. Work in progress.
In the last several months I have managed to reduce my alpaca herd by 50%. I am currently down to 24 alpacas on the farm and I tell you, it is such a difference! Since we are having a drought, the reduction has been a blessing. One of my small pastures is resting and the others are no longer overcrowded. I will need less hay this winter, which is good because unless we get rain, there won't be a good second cutting, which is what we count on. We do have 7 crias due starting next month and possibly 8 (not sure on that one), but I will still be overwintering less than 35 alpacas as compared to last year's 50. I may need to get a gym membership! Our pastures are much less colorful however, as we now only have 2 females who are not either light fawn or white, but that's ok.
Despite the dry weather, the tomatoes are doing great. To the left are the romas, which are starting to ripen. I will dry some of these and hopefully can some if they produce as well as they look like they will.
We have 3 rows of other varieties of tomatoes and have enjoyed several of them already. These plants are almost 6' high. I am pleased with the way the cattle panels have worked as supports.
We are still getting 6 to 8 eggs a day from our 8 hens. Sam found a nest up in the loft last week that had about 8 eggs in it. He eliminated that nest and now they are back to using the nest in the corner of Apache's hay feeder, which I have put a wooden egg in so that they will continue to use it instead of looking for a new hiding place. Silly birds!
I have been into the bee hives twice since I last wrote. I was hoping to find a comb of capped honey in the top bar hive, but most of the combs were only half capped (which was why I went back a week later), so I just left them. The new hive is thriving and they stung me twice the first time I got in there, but just through my pants, which was not bad at all. In fact, I thought I had been stung only once till I undressed. That hive is definitely more aggressive than the top bar hive.
Sam has been diligently working on cutting up logs that we have acquired due to the June 29 storm. He is cutting some up on the sawmill and more is being cut and split for our firewood for the winter. And most of this wood has not come from our farm. He is still hoping he can get a timber buyer to come and look at the good useable trees we have down, but I think all those guys are pretty busy these days. Sam is planning to get his dozer running and start hauling them out.
In 2 weeks I will be preparing to head to Newark Ohio for the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair
www.midohiofiberfair.com/ where I will be a vendor. I guess the good part of not selling much at the festival in Troy back in May is that I don't have a lot to do to get ready for this festival. This is the second year for this festival and I am told it was well-attended last year. Most fiber festivals are at fairgrounds in barns, but this one is in an indoor venue and will be air-conditioned, so maybe I will get to wear a shawl. It is almost a 2 hour drive for me, so I will need to stay at a hotel Friday and Saturday nights which really cuts into any profit to be made, but I will try it out.
Speaking of shawls, here is my "Maluka" shawl, which I am knitting from some of my hand-dyed alpaca. It is a free pattern on ravelry.com
and I love how it is coming out. It will be kind of a cross between a scarf and a shawl. And yes, it's purple!
I am putting warp on my loom for 2 red, white and blue rugs. I hope to have those done by next week.
I really tried to get Laci to pose with Rowdy in front of the hibiscus, which has just started to bloom, but this was the best I could do! We'll work on it!