Monday, September 28, 2015

No Doubt, Fall is Here

Yes, the leaves are coming down.  Not like they will in another week or two, but fall is definitely here.

 In the woods, the road is already blanketed in leaves and there is more light in the late afternoon on the westward facing hillsides.  This is a beautiful time of year to hike in the woods.  

We didn't do a second cutting of hay on our upper hayfield, as it just did not look like it would be worth it.  So there are now these patches of pretty lavender colored flowers.  The dogs and I were up there Friday in the evening light and I tried to get them to pose for photos.  

Grover sat nicely:


Luca, well he doesn't get the whole "sitting still for a photo" thing 


And Rowdy had other ideas altogether

And while not as lovely as some of the other fungi I have come across on the farm, this puffball is quite large.  It kind of makes me think if a dinosaur or dragon egg.


Saturday was a beautiful fall day here in Ohio.  I spent most of the day doing enjoyable fall type things.

I chose 2 of my "sugar pie" pumpkins out in the garden and put them in the oven and then made puree from them.  Do you see the hearts in this pumpkin?  So very beautiful.  

 I am thinking of pumpkin rolls and pumpkin bread and maybe even some pumpkin ravioli.  I have many more pumpkins still in the garden and I think I got about 6 to 8 cups of puree from these 2 pumpkins, some of which I have put in the freezer.

And while pumpkins were cooking in the oven, I enjoyed some time spinning light fawn alpaca on the back deck.  This is for another big project and I have a lot to spin.  I have been working away at that keg of raspberry wheat homebrew, but have not managed to finish it off yet.  It is getting pretty low if the amount of foam is any indication. 


I am at the office once again.  Sam and his friends came out of the Idaho wilderness early Saturday morning and had a long drive home.  Sam called me about an hour after I get here today and he was calling from home.  He was unloading the truck and then going to bed.  At 5 pm yesterday, they were outside Minneapolis, so I am sure he was tired.  I am looking forward to hearing about his trip.  And yes, he did get a bear.  So I will be looking up bear recipes for sure.

Here are the 2 rugs I finished last week while I was here at the office.  Both are done on the same warp, which was natural, red and black.  On the rug to the left I used grey, black and white alpaca and some leftover red.

 On the rug to the right, I used mostly white alpaca, but put in accent stripes of grey and red.  Both rugs are 28" wide and 40"  long and are available for sale at the Arts Center in Woodsfield.  

Next on the loom will be the 9 foot runner for Mom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last Day of Summer. Where Did it Go??

I have had very little opportunity to get my camera out this last week and a half or so.  It just doesn't seem right that there are no dog photos this week, but that's how it is.

Since my last post, Grover and I went to an agility trial.  While I thought we did really well, we did not get any Q's.  Both our Jumper's runs (one each day) ended with a jump and then into a tunnel (which was the last obstacle).  On both of those runs, we managed to be on course for a qualifying run until that last jump.  On both, I think I moved too soon to direct him toward the correct end of the tunnel and on both he dropped that last bar.  Wow.  Disappointing, but that's ok.  On our Excellent standard runs, our inability to get the weave poles under pressure kept us from having clean runs.  But our Saturday run was beautiful other than that.  I came out of the ring feeling we had done a fabulous job. Sunday was ok, but not as good.

Then this past Thursday, Sam left before dawn on his hunting trip out to Idaho.  I was supposed to be a vendor at the Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs Ohio this past weekend, but I thought it was more important that he go on his trip, which had been postponed from earlier this month due to fire.  I don't expect to hear from him for a few more days.

And Saturday, I had a lady come in the morning and purchase one of our yearling female alpacas, Tempest Sonata.  Later that night, some other folks arrived from southern Indiana to pick up 5 more of our alpacas.  They stayed overnight in our guest house and I fixed them breakfast Sunday morning and then we loaded up Mayhem, Tempest, Dulci, Jubilee and Opi and sent them on their way to their new home. 

This leaves me with 17 alpacas on the farm, several of which are geriatric and almost all of which are white.  Most of the white ones I have left are my best fiber animals however, so I don't feel bad about that.  I would really like to get down to 10 or less.  But even now, it just seems strange to have so much space in the barn and buildings.  Wow.

I have also been at the office during the week since Sam left, so that's another reason for lack of photos.  I get home around 5 or 5:30, walk the dogs and feed them and it's about time to shut the chickens in for the night.  It is pretty much dusk by 7:30.

The garden is coming to an end for the year, though we do have lettuce coming up and will use a glass cover over it.  The squash and pumpkins are hardening in the field  and the tomatoes are pretty much done.  I have lots of green tomatoes and need to look up a recipe for green tomato jam.  I've never had it it, but willing to try it..

We still have a lot of peppers on the plants.

  I have done up 3 quarts of pickled hot peppers as well as several pints of hot pepper mustard.

While at the office I have been able to work on some new alpaca rugs.  

 This is a white, black and red striped warp and I am using mostly grey weft with some leftover red I had.  I will also be doing a white weft with some grey and red stripes, I think.  

My light fawn rug yarn for a custom runner for my mom arrived last week (I knew it would as soon as I warped the loom for something else!), so that will be next on here.  It will be 30" by 9' long.  I have never made a rug that long, though I have frequently made 3  3' rugs on one warp before, so this will actually be easier.  My rugs are selling nicely at the Arts Center in town and I may take some to a consignment shop in Marietta here in a couple of weeks.  I need to have some more yarn made.  I'm glad because I love weaving these.  

I continue to work on the brightly colored towels on my small loom.  These are much more challenging and go quite a bit slower than the rugs.  I am almost finished with the first one of two.  


Friday, September 11, 2015

Changes in Plans

Yes, more cool fungus.  This one is just across the road from the red barn where we store our hay.  I put the dogs next to it for scale.  Isn't it beautiful?  It looks like something one would see in a coral reef.

So yes, I missed posting last week.  I was SO busy with preparations for our Labor Day weekend that I just had no time to think.  We had 8 people stay on the farm.  My mom and aunt arrived first, on Thursday.  On Friday, my niece and her husband and 1 year old son arrived.  On Saturday, a good family friend, Robin arrived with her 15 year old son and his friend, who also came with them last year.  Those boys have grown a foot in a year, I swear!  Our party was mostly attended by family and neighbors, including a donkey who is a livestock guard for my neighbor's cattle on  up the road about a mile and half.  He just wandered down and hung out with everyone for a while.  You never know who will show up!

Sunday, time was spent at the pond, which was really nice, thanks to some rain on Saturday.  All the "boys" loved it including my niece's husband.  Then when we got back to the house, neighbors started showing up  and before we knew it, another party was in full swing.  Robin and I ended up running into town and getting 7 large pizzas.  

My aunt left on Sunday, and everyone else except Mom left on Monday.  Mom stayed til Tuesday.  

We do have a good bit of raspberry wheat homebrew left on tap in the mud room.  What a shame to have to drink a pint or so every day!


Sam was supposed to leave on a hunting trip on Sunday, but there was a fire out in Idaho, close to where he was supposed to be going, so his trip was postponed for 2 weeks.  

And while I was glad he did not have to leave on Sunday, I had to decide to give up my vendor spot at the Wool Gathering for this year.  Sam will not be back in time for me to go and I just can't swing it with 3 dogs here (I am dog-sitting for Mom while she goes to Italy) AND I have people coming to pick up some alpacas I have sold that weekend.  I will miss going to the Wool Gathering, but I didn't want Sam to give up this trip he has had planned since last March.  I will be at the Wool Gathering again next year.

In other news, son Ian and fiance Michelle have set a date for their long-anticipated wedding!  It will be June 4th 2016 at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.  I have already started making plans.  The ceremony will be in an old historic barn so I am hoping no ugly mother-of-the-groom dress will be required.  I'll worry about that at a later date.  But I am so happy for them!

 We got about 3" of rain again overnight Wednesday night.  To the left is how the beaver pond looked Thursday evening.  When we walked out there with Mom on Monday, this entire area was dry enough to walk across!  I am sure the beavers are happy to have some water back.  Grover is actually standing on part of their dam.

And speaking of Grover, he and I are off tomorrow to Zanesville for a trial.  We have been doing so well in class and working so hard on his weave poles that I hope we can get a couple of Q's this weekend.  We need 2 in Open Jumpers to get our title and move up to Excellent in that.  We really are capable of that goal.  We'll see.

And for everyone who always asks how I keep Grover so clean, I just wanted to share this photo I took of him after our walk yesterday.  He looks like this at least 4 times a week, especially in the fall when the burrs are everywhere.  Just click on the photo to enlarge it and you will see just what I am facing here in a little while when I go to get him all cleaned up for trial.

 I have another batch of tomato sauce started and today I made a second batch (1/2 recipe) of hot pepper mustard.  I even threw in some raspberry wheat homebrew, I mean why not? As my son who has been a sous chef at a Yosemite lodge and a Portland restaurant says "I put beer in everything".  We have had an abundance of these peppers and I will likely do another quart of pickled peppers on Monday or Tuesday.  Sam loves them.

I have started warping my big loom at the office for a couple of alpaca rugs, but it is not far enough along yet to take a photo.  I also have started some very colorful towels on my smaller loom here at home.  This is a new-to-me weaving technique called overshot, and so far it is slow going.  But, oh the colors!  These are for me!