Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March Comes in Like?

Ok, who can resist that face?  Buck does not mind the snow at all!


Wow, Mother Nature has sure thrown us for a loop or 2 this past week.  Last Friday and Saturday we had snow on the ground.  Not a lot, but it was snow covered.  This was my kitchen thermometer on Sunday morning when I came down to start the coffee:


 And it looked like this outside.

By the time I took the dogs for their walk on Monday afternoon, it looked like this and was a comfortable 50-ish. 

Last night, we had yet another winter storm come through, and while it did not produce the snow they said it could (mainly I think because the temperature was hovering right around freeze/thaw)  here are some photos from chore time this morning.

Our 5 adult male alpacas


                                      Our hayfield

A stormy early morning sky.

Sam and I also had to cut a tree off the fence in the alpaca field before I left for work this morning and he started the sap boiling.  It had come down in the night and taken out a section of fence with it.  It was nice it came down right where 2 rolls of fence were joined or it would have taken out way more than 1 section.  I knew the alpacas would not get out, but the dogs could have.  I'm not sure they are smart enough or motivated enough, but did not want to chance it.

So Monday has been the best day of the week.  We did cook down sap  on Sunday.   We topped 6 gallons of finished syrup.  The cold weather put a temporary stop to the sap run, so we did not run any Monday or Tuesday, but Sam is boiling again today and it looks as though I will be doing likewise tomorrow.  This weekend might see the end of it though, as it is forecast to go up into the 50's.  I'm ready for a break!  Next year, we hope to have a better system which will allow us to boil off more sap in less time.

On Monday, I decided I needed to check on my bees and start feeding them to boost their population increase to prepare for spring nectar runs.  I was very sad to find that I had waited too long on my top bar hive and it was full of dead bees with no honey left.  They were flying in the warm weather we had had in late January, but must have run out of stored honey in the last couple of weeks.  My newer hive, started last year, still had capped honey in their frames and were rather cranky at my attempts to help them, so I think they will be ok.  I will be in there checking their progress on a regular basis though.  I have ordered another package of bees to arrive in April and in the meantime we will relocate the top bar hive closer to the house and get it cleaned up and modified and get it ready for a new colony.  

I have also started dyeing the 12 pounds of yarn I picked up from the processor in January.  Here is the first batch I did on Sunday drying in the Monday afternoon sunshine.  Batch number 2 is at home waiting to be washed and hung up to dry.  I will have 4 more batches to do.  The color to the right is one I did up last year and sold out of.  I tried to make it as close as possible to last year's from the notes I made.  It is not exact, but close enough.  I need to have all of this done by the first week of April for the Knitter's Fantasy show in Youngstown, OH.  

Things are much different now than in January when it seemed there was little going on.  I really don't expect that it will slow down now until June, but even then once shearing is over we will have the garden and mowing and all that fun stuff to do.  It really never is dull around here.  One grows to appreciate the quiet days.

The chicks are ready for spring and lots of bugs!



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