Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Continues!

These guys don't mind the snow at all.  And it is a good thing.  Our pattern seems to have been about 3 to 6 inches on Sundays.  And it has never really melted in between.  We have had partial thaws, which only make the bottom layers of snow dense and hard to walk in, and then new snow on top.  And as for our road, the partial thaws turn to slush and then freeze solid overnight, creating inches of ice with rough areas caused by the tread of tires.  Walking on the road became downright dangerous last week, until this past Sunday's unexpected snowfall which was heavy enough to provide traction on the ice underneath.  
 They called for an inch or less on Sunday and we got at least 3 or 4 inches.  It just kept coming down.

   I did not post last week.  I was in Florida and got back late Tuesday and just did nto have any photos except ones I took in Florida and none of them were really post-worthy.  But while I was in Florida, the pipes in the house all thawed and burst.  As did the main water line into our office building.  Poor Sam spent Friday and Saturday replacing pipes.  Now our temperatures at night have been below zero again the last two nights and we had one frozen pipe in the kitchen, but it thawed yesterday afternoon with no breakage.  Thankfully.  However, our drain from the kitchen and downstairs bathtub and sink is frozen and so we cannot use those until we get a good thaw.  Sam rigged up the kitchen sink so that it is draining into a bucket under the sink and we just rotate buckets out as they fill up and dump them out the back door.  Spring can't come soon enough!

Oh wait, we need to have syrup season.  We had already run our first batch of syrup a year ago today in 50 degree daytime temps.  We tapped on Feb 9th, ran sap for the first time on the 11th.  We will be at least a week behind this year.  We'll see.

My poor chickens have now been "cooped" up for about 4 weeks straight.  Even with being shut inside with a heat lamp, the rooster has suffered frostbite to his comb and it turned white and now is turning black.  I had heard of chickens getting frostbite on their combs, but I guess it was never cold enough since I've had chickens for this to happen.  I feel bad for him, but there's not much I can do.  The damage is done.  A couple of the hens have some white tips on their combs as well.  I have been making them scrambled eggs with the shells in them to give them something other than dry layer ration to eat.  They have a heated water bowl as well.  Funny, there are a couple of mice living UNDER the heated water bowl.  They scurry away every morning when I pick up the bowl to empty it and refill it.  Must be warm under there.  Those mice best not let the chickens catch them!

Still no way to know how the bees have fared.  I am not optimistic.  I ordered another package of bees which will arrive in April.  If my hive survives, I will start another.  

 The dogs and I and sometimes Sam as well still manage to get out for our daily hikes.  Last weekend we came upon this sad sight.  It's hard to tell form the photo, but this is an area just adjoining our property line where they have started to cut timber.  It is right along the path we take up to our pond and we knew they were going to timber, but it is such a mess and it used to be so pretty.  They will leave all the tree tops and mess behind.  Once the leaves come out it will be less visible, but it makes me so sad.  

 I love to sit at my dining room table and knit and watch the birds at the feeder.  Here are just a few.   

And here are some more waiting their turn

 The other day the feeders were full of birds and there were jays and towhees and doves on the ground picking up scattered seeds as usual.  As I watched, a hawk swooped in and landed on a tree limb just on the other side of the creek.  Every last bird disappeared in a matter of seconds.  I don't know where they hid, but they were goneOnce the hawk flew off they started to reappear as if by magic.

  Speaking of knitting, look what I finished.  Isn't that gorgeous?!  It is not alpaca, but a blend of merino wool and silk.  I purchased the fiber already dyed and ready to spin a little over a year ago and spun it last January.  I needed the right project to showcase the fabulous gradient dye job and I was a little disappointed that this did not use up all the colors in the yarn.  I still have about 130 yards left that goes into a kind of teal color.  But I love it.  This was dyed by 
Fiber Optic Dyeworks   I took a dye class from her in 2012 at the Great Lakes Fiber Show.  This shawl probably has a wingspan of over 5'.  A yardstick fits inside the curve easily without touching either side.

 I also did 2" of knitting on the first pair of socks I got in our sock Round Robin that I am participating in through the KnitSpinFarm podcast  I will mail these off today to the next person and I should get another pair to work on in the mail soon.

I could go on and on.  I took 130 photos this past week and have been having fun editing them.  I took a short photography class last summer at SSK (a knitting retreat) and one of the things the instructor said that I really liked was "pixels are free".  I am taking advantage of that!

Here are our 5 male alpacas enjoying the sunny but cold weather.


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