Thursday, March 19, 2015

Is it Spring Yet? Is it Spring Yet?

Well the snow is gone (for good?  We can hope) and the agility toys have come out of the building and are set up.  A sure sign of spring!  That and the roller coaster of temperatures.  We had 70 degrees on Monday afternoon and 17 degrees Tuesday morning.  Our forecast for the weekend calls for mid-50's to 60's (Saturday) and around freezing overnight.  March it is.

We ran another batch of syrup on Saturday and our total of finished syrup for the season is just around 4 gallons.  I have a gallon put away for our use and have sold another 5 quarts already.  I still have a couple quarts and several pints to sell.  Sam pulled the taps on Sunday, the 15th and I was grateful for warm temps on Monday because I scrubbed out 40 buckets and cleaned 39 taps with tubing to store away until next year.  The sap pan has not been brought down for cleaning yet.  We had a decent yield considering the late start.

I acquired a couple new items for my home agility course.  You may have noted the yellow tunnel in the top photo.  I was trying to get the boys to pose inside it, but no luck.  My other acquisition was a full set of weave poles, which you can see in this photo.  There are 12 and they do not need to be driven into the ground!  The base is 2 flat metal pieces with pegs that the poles sit on and I can pick them up and move them in a matter on a minute or 2, instead of the way I had to do it when I had poles that had to go into the ground.  So currently my equipment consists of weave poles, 2 tunnels, a teeter, a tire jump and 4 single jumps.  I plan to build a double jump next, I think.  

Another new acquisition is for the farm.  Sam purchased a round baler yesterday.  We have a neighbor who used to put in the first cutting of hay on our big hayfield in round bales and he kept those for his cattle and helped us out with mowing for our second cutting, which we put up in small square bales for the alpacas.  Last year he had some personal issues which kept him from getting to our hayfield for quite a while which affected our second cutting yield, and we decided we probably needed to bale and sell the first cutting ourselves.  Sam found a baler locally on Craig's List and now it is in our field. 

 We will need our big Deutz tractor to run this baler.  It's too much for our little Kubota.  Here's my very favorite part of this baler so far:  

Maybe I should not find this funny, but really, look at those illustrations and try NOT to laugh.  

I have a lot going on in my fiber-y world.  On Friday, I drove up to Apple Creek Ohio and dropped off 50 pounds of raw  alpaca and wool fiber to be made into an alpaca/wool yarn and rug yarn.  I may have come home with this:

 It is a lovely bump of wool rug yarn in purples (surprise!) and greys and some red.  It should be enough to weave one rug.  They sold it to me at the cost of producing it since it was done with waste from other projects.  How could I turn that down?  

I do have more rugs working on my big loom here at the office.  I should have them done by next week and then I will decide which rug I will enter in the spring art show put on every April by the Monroe Arts Council.  2 years ago I entered a handspun shawl which took first place and a perfect score in the textiles division.  

Last year I did not get my s**t together to enter anything.  So this year I plan to enter a rug and this:

It is a small knitted shawl using some of my own hand-dyed alpaca yarn in a colorway that just screams SPRING to me.  I have knit this shawl 2 other times and it is quick and simple.  It is a free pattern on   I believe it is from the spring/summer 2012 issue.  

 And now that these have been received by my niece, I can post a photo of the GrumpyBum Monster pants I knit for my great-nephew, Blake.  Aren't these adorable?  Someone posted a photo of them on Facebook and I had to find the pattern (its a freebie) and some yarn in my stash to make them right away.  SO cute!  They even fit for now. 

I guess that's about it for this week.  While I have seen my first robins of the season this week, I have yet to hear the spring peepers, though to be fair, between the snow melting and a day of 2 of steady rain, the sound of running water has drowned out most other sounds down here in our holler.  That is also a sign of spring's imminent arrival.  Fingers are crossed!

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