Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February is Coming to a Close

Grover likes to do what Rowdy does....
Yes, I knew it would happen before too long.  The end of February means we are one step closer to spring and lots of outdoor time.  It won't be long now before the spring peepers start singing up in the frog pond in the evening.  But for now, we still have some cold, dreary weather ahead.  We are fortunate not to have had the severe winter storms that have plagued the central states and the northeast.  We have had more of a winter than we had last year, though and spring will be welcome.  Isn't it always?

We have boiled down sap for syrup 5 times so far this season, and Sam is doing the 6th run today.  We run about 35 gallons of sap each time and end up with approximately 3 to 3 1/2 quarts of finished syrup.  I hope to get a few more  boils in before the trees bud and the sap stops running.  We'll see.  I think our last boil last year was March 6 and it was a poor year.  In this photo, the quart jar is some of our honey and I had just poured it into a smaller container and loved the color of the honey coating the inside of the jar in the sunshine.  The pint jar is syrup from this year.

 On Monday we had a beautiful sunny day with a high temp around 50 and everyone was out enjoying the sunshine

The chickens seem especially happy for sunny warmer weather and are out looking for bugs and worms in the yard.  Their egg production has increased a little and we are getting about 1/2 a dozen eggs a day now.  I am wondering if there is a hidden nest somewhere.  

The dogs and I got out for a nice walk in the sunshine.

Look how blue that sky was.  Nothing like today's grey overcast or yesterday's steady downpours.  Days like Monday make it possible to get past the gloomy days.

Grover is probably keeping an eye out for Elvis the rooster

The next time the weather warms up I need to get into my beehives and start feeding them sugar water to help them build up their numbers to get ready for their busy pollinating and nectar collecting/honey making season.  I attended a very good meeting last night and learned more about my top bar hive.  I feel I have so much to learn still about the bees and I want to do things right.  I would love to have a good honey harvest in a few months.

Now that March is right around the corner, literally, I have to start dyeing the yarn I picked up from the processor in December.  I will be a vendor at the Knitter's Fantasy in Youngstown in just about 5 weeks, so I have to get everything ready.  I really need to order a new banner as well, smaller and easier to display.  Still need to book a hotel room, too.  Maybe next week I will have yarn photos to share.  

This week, I don't really have anything new  fiber-wise to share.  Same shawl and socks as last week.  I am into the home stretch on the shawl, though, with only about 10 rounds to go.  But each round takes at least 1/2 an hour with 600 stitches, so progress is slow.  This is the shawl made with my hand dyed, hand carded, hand blended, hand spun alpaca/bamboo yarn.

I can't imagine these alpacas are wondering if the weather is nice enough to leave the shelter of the barn.  Maybe it was actually a bit too warm for their thick fiber coats.  Shearing season is still 2 months away!

Star and Buck are keeping a watchful eye on the alpacas as they are allowed a day out on the pasture in the sunshine.  Even the winter grass is a treat when one has been on a steady diet of hay, hay and more hay.  They will be ecstatic when the grass begins to green up.  Won't be long now!

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