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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Done, Done and Done...Now on to the Next Thing

I think we could fit another Aussie or 2 on this stump!

Yup, finish one thing and it's on to the next.  A couple of big things are behind me, shearing for one.  That's probably one of the biggest jobs of the year, though not as big a job as it was when we had 50+ alpacas here on the farm.  We sheared our 21 on 4 evenings over a 10 day period and in the middle of that I went to help shear 16 on Saturday at a friend's farm.  There were many more hands for that job than just the 2 of us at our place, so it went much more quickly.  I'm glad to have it behind us.

The next thing I finished is the dyeing for the upcoming Great Lakes Fiber Festival, which is in only 3 days.  I dyed 8 "colorways" of yarn in varying amounts depending on the dyeing method, for a total of 45 skeins dyed.  I can dye more skeins in the same batch if I am laying skeins out and applying the dye in a controlled pattern, so I usually do 8 of those at a time, but not always.  For my kettle-dyed colors, I can fit only so many skeins in the dyebath at a time without crowding, so I will do only 5 or 6 of those at a time.  I am pretty happy with how these all came out.  All but 2 colors are repeats of colorways I have done before.  Even taking good notes and trying to do things exactly the same, sometimes my results are quite different from one batch to the next.  
All these skeins are now labeled and ready to take to the show this weekend.  I still have a nice variety of 100% alpaca yarn and rovings and batts to sell as well.  

I also added additional boxes to my 2 beehives.  Never having started a hive with a nucleus colony before I was worried about when they would need room to expand, and I needn't have worried.  They would have been fine for another week or 2 I think.  But now they have lots of room to grow.  Another thing I did when I went in was to open up the entrance a little more.  For a new hive, I use and entrance reducer at first which makes it easier for the new hive to protect their home from invaders.  As the colony builds up in numbers, they are better able to defend the larger entrance and they need more space to come and go.  So I turn the reducer to a larger opening and eventually I will remove it altogether.  You can see all the activity in front of the hives, but this was right after I went in and disturbed them.  They did sting me.  Twice. The very top boxes are actually feeder boxes.  There is a quart jar of sugar water in there for the bees to eat.  They went through a lot at first, but I think they are finding enough forage now that the sugar syrup consumption has dropped considerably.  So that is another job done for now, though I will continue to replenish their sugar water a couple times a week and will open the hives again in a couple weeks to see how all is going.

Sam is still working on getting the trees cleaned up in my practice field.  Most of the tree debris is gone now, but there are stumps remaining, which make mowing a chore.  The other  night he lit a stump and it was still smoldering in the morning.  The air was redolent of pine smoke when I woke up.  This weekend, he is planning to rent a stump grinder, which he has been told is tedious work, or "one stump per beer" as someone put it.  I won't be here for that fun.

So now on to new things.  First, we are still waiting for 2 crias to arrive.  Both mothers-to-be look like they are ready to pop anytime.  Both are bagged up, meaning their udders appear to be full of milk.  But since I do not know exactly when they were bred (they were in a pasture with the male from mid-May to mid-June) it could be another week or 2 before they deliver.  It is always a waiting game, though, even when you know the exact date of conception.  We have had full-term deliveries anywhere from 11 months to just over a year of gestation.  There is no hard and fast rule with alpacas.

Hay season is upon us.  The hayfields have benefited greatly from hot weather followed by a couple good rains.  Sam has spent a lot of time working on the big green tractor to get it to where it will work with the round baler he bought.  He did not anticipate that it would be such a difficult process, parts for the Deutz tractor being hard if not impossible to acquire.  But I think he finally has it about ready to go.  Stay tuned.

And it is Festival Time!  In just 2 days, Tari and I will be off to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival for 3 days of camping and fiber vending and shopping.  I missed last year because Sam was on a fishing trip and I was waiting for crias to arrive.  No fishing trip this year!  2 years ago Tari and I ended up sleeping in our van because the nights dipped into the 30's.  I think this year will be much better.  This was our booth that year.  I am really looking forward to this weekend.
 

I have sent in entries for 2 agility trials so far this summer.  I am attending one in Sharonville Ohio (Queen City Dog Training Club) in June.  This is close to where I went to high school, so I hope to see some friends while I am there and Grover and I will be staying with Mom.  And yesterday, I sent off an entry for the 4th of July weekend  for a 3 day trial in Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh.  More details on that to come.  Though for this one, we will be sharing a hotel room with one of my fellow dog club members and her dog(s).  I am not sure if she is bringing one or two.  I am sure Grover will love this arrangement.  I am just wondering how the hotel room will handle Grover and 2 border collies, one of which is just a puppy!  We shall see.




 

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