I never had a chance last week to post. I was incredibly busy preparing for our annual Labor Day Weekend party, which started in 1998 as a way for my family to come and see the farm we had recently purchased and relocated to. It continued as a tradition and we invite neighbors, friends, work contacts, etc over for a cookout on Saturday and on Sunday it is usually just family relaxing and consuming leftovers. We have had as many as 11 people staying over in the guest house, but this year there were only 8 down there and 2 at my house. The Michigan contingent of my aunt, her friend, Mark and her son (my cousin) and his wife and their 2 pugs were unable to make it this year. BUT, I will see them all (sans pugs) in about 9 days at my niece's wedding in Toledo.
So, with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac looming, we got incredibly lucky weather-wise. It rained steadily for several hours Saturday morning, but gradually cleared off and by 5 pm or so, out came the volleyball net. We had a lot of people coming and going all day and I think a good time was had by all. Including the 5 dogs. I had added some chicken wire to the top of my chicken yard fence in an attempt to keep them in and it worked pretty well. I did not want to have to worry about dogs chasing chickens through the volleyball court. There was enough trouble keeping dogs from eating the food which was nose height to an 80 pound Lab (my brother's) and keeping them out of the house as well.
Sunday, we woke to torrential rainfall. Really. We were scheduled to go horseback riding at 11 am and that was cancelled, though around that time the rain ceased. The creek was up and running. Kids, dogs, running water, what a great combination!
After lighting the grill and eating more burgers, hot dogs and chicken, we loaded up and trekked to the pond. 5 dogs, 4 kids, 2 grandmothers and several others. The kids swam and zip-lined and the dogs created typical chaos.
Niece Haley is demonstrating the zip-line. She and a friend she brought along also liberally painted themselves with mud.
Later Sunday night, we had 12 people and 5 dogs all in my living room watching (well the dogs were sleeping) The Hunger Games
And on Monday, everyone left. Wow, was it suddenly quiet.
BUT, I won't have quiet for long. So much is happening. A huge surprise is that my elder son, Ian, is arriving next week from Portland Oregon to attend niece Krista's wedding. I know it has been at least 2 years since he was home. He is between jobs at the moment and is starting back to school in about 2 weeks, so he had some free time. I am so thrilled! I hope he and I will have some time to do some hiking. He will be here for 8 days, but of course we will be in Toledo for the wedding for the weekend. Sam and I are rethinking our travel plans and will try to get younger son, Sam/Zac/Satchmo to come home for a week or so instead of us traveling west this fall.
As for other things going on, we are expecting 7 crias in the next 6 weeks. First up is Tunita, the white alpaca in the photo to the left. She is 11 months pregnant as of tomorrow and has had many crias and looks ready to drop at any time. Alpaca gestation can vary greatly with 11 1/2 months being average, but anywhere from 325 days to 372 days is within normal limits. Although going over a year is unusual, 372 is our farm's longest pregnancy to date. Considering we start "cria watch" at about 325 days, it can be a LONG wait if they go a year or more! Peg is the brown girl in the photo. She has lived with us for all of her 13 years and is due with probably her 10th or 11th cria. I would have to check to be certain. Probably her last. We'll see. I'd like a daughter from her.
Also, work will start soon on a new roof on the guest house. The guest house is actually my mother's second house, which she purchased about 11 years ago so she would have a place to stay when she came to visit. Long story short, it was in disrepair and the roof is now in dire need of replacement. It won't be easy as there are some broken trusses that must be replaced. We are having a green metal roof put on and will be bringing a peaked roof out over the front deck, which faces west and gets incredibly hot in the afternoons.
Here are some before photos of the front and rear of the house. It is going to look SO different!!
I have managed to get some knitting done. I'm not sure how. I knit up a cropped lacey sweater to wear to the wedding next week. No, it is NOT alpaca. It is a cotton/modal (a type of rayon from beech trees) blend and is nice and shiny. Maybe I can get someone to take my picture wearing it next weekend. It is really pretty.
I also started a pair of socks from some of the yarn I dyed in the workshop I took at the Great Lakes Fiber Show Memorial Day weekend. I think they will be Halloween socks.
So I hope to post next week. My son will be here by then, but I should have time and maybe there will be a cria photo or 2 .
Meanwhile, here are some early morning shots of wildflowers and misty hills.