Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer is Flying By

What?  No photos of the dogs this week? So I thought I'd post Thomas the barn cat keeping an eye on things from a safe height in the hay loft.

Yes summer is streaming by at light speed it seems.  Our wet weather disappeared and now we are complaining that there is not enough rain.  Though as I write, we are getting some light rain, the first in weeks.  In the garden, the tomatoes are not thriving.  Too much rain early on and not enough sun was not ideal for them.  My beets were also small and I have harvested them all and they are pickled and canned, except for the last batch which was too small to can, so they are in a quart jar in the fridge.  They should be ok that way.  I dug up some carrots, which Grover helped himself to when I went inside to get my camera to photograph them.  He only took a couple and really enjoyed them. 

 The corn is doing fabulous.  It loved the wet weather followed by the dry sunny weather.  I just hope we can get it all harvested before the raccoons find it.  

Also doing well are the squash and pumpkins.  I only planted butternut squash this year because it keeps well and we love it.  It is kind of taking over, which is ok because there is room for it to do so.

There are some quite large ones and even one hanging on the fence.

I planted sugar pie pumpkins and there are a few of those, but not as many as the squash.  I hope to make pumpkin pie from my own pumpkins for Thanksgiving, if Mom doesn't mind.  Also pumpkin bread and Sam said something about pumpkin rolls, which I have never made.  They seem like too much work. I can make a cake that tastes just the same.

 Sam has been spending hours and hours getting this little Farmall tractor running.  He bought it a few years ago and it has been sitting in the granary down the road needing attention ever since.  But it has this nice belly mower, which will make much easier for me to mow my agility practice field.  It will turn oh so much more agile-ly than the Kubota with the bush hog on the rear!  The Farmall still has some issues, but it is in running order and I got to try it out on Sunday.  I love it!

Hopefully I won't have to pick everything up and move it now to mow.  It also helps that the rain has given us a break.  The grass is not growing anywhere near as fast.

Speaking of agility, Grover and I are off to a trial this weekend in Dayton, at the  

 Gem City Dog Obedience Club

Wish us luck!

I have something odd happening in my alpaca barn.  It mystifies and amazes me.  We had 2 crias born this spring, as I have posted.  Their mothers are B'Nita, born in 2008, and Trillium, a daughter of B'Nita's, born in 2011.  Both crias are doing well, especially Trillium's.  She is bigger than her pasturemate (the 2 are joined at the hip every time I look out there), though both are thriving.  Earlier this week, as I was cleaning the barn as I do every morning, I watched one of the crias nursing.  Then I did a double take because I realized the alpaca who was nursing the cria was neither B'Nita NOR Trillium.  In fact, it was Tunita, who is 13 years old and is the mother of B'nita, grandmother of Trillum!  Tunita's last cria is almost 3 years old and was sold last summer at almost 2 years of age.  The cria who was nursing was Trillium's cria, and she was spending enough time under there for me to conclude she must actually be getting something for her efforts.  Sure enough, when she finished and moved away, I got a hand under Tunita and was able to  express milk!  Now I have noticed that since I am not breeding all our alpacas anymore, they seem to be having odd hormonal swings.  Some of the females are actively mimicking male breeding behavior, right down to the orgling and mounting.  I wonder if this behavior is causing ovulation (alpacas are induced ovulators) and possibly false pregnancy in some of these girls.  I don't know what else would cause Tunita to start lactating and accepting a cria she did not give birth to.  I find it very interesting.  Whatever the cause, Tunita is producing milk and seems happy to be attending to a cria again.  She is a good sweet gentle alpaca who I had retired from breeding, but she has not retired from cria-rearing!

 I took advantage of last Saturday's fabulous hot sunny weather to wash a couple of fleeces and lay them out to dry.  This is 2 years of fleeces from Grand Design, a light fawn alpaca with very fine fiber.  This will be my next blanket project.  This one will be handspun and hand-dyed prior to weaving.  I hope to do this one a little faster than the last one, which took 2 years, start to finish, including the spinning.  I am hoping for a 1 year time frame.  I think I can do it.  It will be slightly smaller than the last one, not double-weave.

 I also finished a scarf I had started last February.  I have finished almost every project I had started since the first of the year.  One pair of socks left to go.  But no worries, I have lots of plans to keep my hands busy.

And by the way, Rowdy's face is healing up very nicely.  He went for a shock therapy treatment on his legs a couple days after the injury and the vet we see there said it could have been stitched and probably should have been, but I think in another week, there will be very little left to show of the injury, except maybe a spot where there is no hair.  Ah, both dogs are getting a bath tonight.  Grover because he has a trial this weekend, and Rowdy because he STINKS!

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