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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's Still Winter, But Spring is Not That Far Off!

That's what I tell myself, anyway.  I always feel putting January behind us is a big deal.  I find the last week of January and the first week of February are usually the coldest weeks of the winter and if we are going to have frozen pipes and other issues, this is usually when that happens.  It is plenty cold right now, but we got the negative F temps much earlier.  Instead, we have had snow, then rain, then freezing again, which makes for difficult navigation around our place.  We get ice built up in places that just do not thaw because the sun does not hit them.  Like right in front of the alpaca barn.
 This is the north side of the barn and the ice sheet is about 20' wide here.  I had to take hay over there yesterday and I discovered that the Buggy does not steer well or stop well on ice.  Big surprise!  Can you see Grover in the driver's seat?   His favorite place to be.






This is the road between our house and the guest house.  This was yesterday morning and we got a good bit of sun in the afternoon and it thawed out for the most part, but there is still a bit of ice to watch for.



Sam has made good progress on the sugar shack.  Notice the large covered vent on the roof.  Since producing maple syrup requires boiling down about 40 gallons of sap to end up with 1 gallon of finished syrup, that means an awful lot of water is going up into the air in the form of steam.  You really want that to continue on up and out of your building.  This is another reason one does not boil sap in one's kitchenWe still have a lot of nice dry pine left from last year that we will be feeding into the evaporator for hours on end.  I enjoy the process.  We will also be using this time to clean out more of the underbrush around the pond.  We get a little more done every year.

Upcoming:  Grover and I have our third agility trial this weekend!  I feel we have come a long way, even though our practice time has been limited to class time due to weather since  December.  So maybe we will have a qualifying run.  We will have 4 shots at it and I think we ought to be able to do it.  

Also, a week from today I am flying off to Phoenix to see my brother and his family, so unless I get enough material to post on Tuesday, I won't post until I get back.  I hope to  spend some quality family time and get in some good warm weather outdoor activity as well.  My camera will definitely be packed along.




While I am still working on the frogged and re-knit cabled cardigan sweater, I did finish the handspun gradient cowl I posted about last week.  I'm really happy with how it turned out and I think Sam even did a great job of taking some photographs!  You can see more about the project here :  Cathy's willow cowl








 




I also finished the bindings on the 2 rugs I took off the loom last week.  I am so happy with these!  They really turned out well.  I am just going to tie new warp onto what is left on the loom from these and use the same pattern to do a couple more.  The warp on these was black and white and I will change it to brown and white for the next rugs.








As usual, Grover is waiting to go for a ride.  What he is really waiting for is spring when we will fold down the windshield and he can once again ride with his paws on the dashboard and his ears streaming back in the wind.

 

This (now) empty bird nest is up in the barn rafters.  These clever birds "feathered" their nest with alpaca fiber and chicken feathers!

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