Sunday, October 25, 2015

Our First Q in Excellent!

Well there is a lot going on, but I think this accomplishment is one to be proud of.  Not only did we get a Q, which means we had no mistakes at all, but we were the only 20" dog who qualified at all in excellent standard at the trial last Saturday, so we got a first place ribbon as well.  Our biggest challenge lately has been our weave poles and we have been working, working on them at home.  He got them perfectly in 3 out of 6 runs over the weekend, and I know a lot of his "failures" are due to my nerves in the ring.  

<<<< Here is the course we ran.  There is a time limit that we have to meet and we lose points for every second over that time.  We were about 7 seconds under, so I think we did great! 

Here are the obstacles as numbered on the map:

1  Jump    2  panel jump    3, 4 & 5 jumps   
6 Teeter    7  tunnel   8  double jump  9  pause table  

10  weave poles  11 & 12  jumps  13  a-frame  14 tire junp

15 triple jump  16 chute   17  dog walk  18 & 19  jumps  and 20 tunnel.  

On the pause table, the judge counts down from 5 and then we can go on.

Grover usually is very interested in the judge at this point and I need to get him to focus on me and not leave the table to go meet the judge.

We were in the home stretch with a clean run so far as we came off the dog walk.  Only 2 jumps and a tunnel  to go!   And we have blown it on the last jump before, so I am being very careful.  We really celebrated when we finished this run clean.  Believe me.

Our next trial is right before Thanksgiving and it will mark a year of running in trials.  We did get one more leg of our open jumpers at this trial, but we still need one more to get our title and move up to excellent.  So that will be our goal in November.  

At home on the farm things have slowed down outside.  We had our first hard frost overnight Sunday, so I had brought in everything I wanted out of the garden on Thursday before the trial.  I froze peppers and cooked the last 2 pumpkins and pureed them.  And on Saturday, Sam made a frame to cover the lettuce. We keep it covered except when it is nice and sunny and warm and we have had 3 salads this past week from it.   I planted garlic and hauled loads of maple leaves from the yard down to give it a nice deep bed of mulch.

That is asparagus on either side of the garlic.

We have had some beautiful fall days over the last week, despite downright cold temperatures over trial weekend.

Friday, the dogs and I took a walk through the maple grove, or sugarbush.  This is up on a hillside and ridge above the pond and the colors were fabulous.  To the left is the road going up   and on below is the maple grove itself.   It was so beautiful and the bright sunshine made the gold leaves almost glow.  

 In only 4 months we will be gathering sap and boiling it down into syrup once again.  

Below is one of the trees we have tapped in years past and you can see the healing scars left by the taps.

As for fiber-y pursuits, I am in the process of warping my big loom for Mom's custom runner, which will be 30" wide by 9' long.  Definitely the largest rug I have made to date.  I also skirted 30 pounds of fiber to be made into more rug yarn and somehow managed to stuff it all into a good sized box.  I use a lot of packing tape when I do this.  First I vacuum all the air out of the bags the fiber is in and then close the box quickly because any little hole in the bags will allow air back in and the fiber will expand to fill 5 times the space I want it to.  Always a challenge, but it is boxed and taped and ready to go to the post office.  

I also took a couple of towels off the small loom, but I still have to hem them and then I will photograph them.  


And I have gotten 4   4oz bobbins spun toward my big secret project.  This is all natural colored alpaca, but it will eventually be dyed.  I need at least 3 times this much, maybe 4.  I will know better once I ply these into 2-ply yarn and see what kind of yardage I get.  But I have all winter to get it done.  

And Oh, I got a box of roving in the mail this week.  I bought a gorgeous shetland fleece at the Great Lakes Fiber Show in May and paired it with a fine brown alpaca fleece and sent it off to be processed into a ready-to-spin roving.  It is lovely and I can't wait to spin some of it.  I hope to spin this for sweaters for Sam and myself.  Don't watch for those this winter though.  Maybe by next fall!
The End


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Well Into October Already

So far, the highlight of October has been a visit from our nephew, Wit.  My brother's family moved from Ohio to Arizona last year and this was a promise made to Wit, that he could come here and go hunting with Uncle Sam.  And they did.  They got several squirrels last week and even made stew from them.  Wit was here for almost a week and we really enjoyed having him here.  It is so nice that he loves to come and spend time on the farm.  He even helped me put together the corn shock and hay and pumpkins to make the yard festive for the season.  

Fall has come in wonderfully, with all its beauty and cooler temperatures.  I think we may get our first frost this coming weekend.  But we will still have some lovely days.  I have a lot to do outside.  I cooked some more pumpkin and made puree for the freezer this weekend.  Yesterday I prepared the garlic bed and planted a lot of garlic.  I still need to collect the  maple leaves from the yard and mulch the garlic.  I harvested a lot of basil yesterday and chopped it up and froze it with some water in ice cube trays for use in recipes this winter.  I still have lots of peppers in the garden to deal with, though last week I attempted to make hot pepper jelly.  I say attempted because it is not real hot.  It could use a little more heat.  But it is tasty and that's what counts.  Sam has been busy getting firewood cut and stacked and it is about time for me to get out and cover it with tarps to keep it as dry as possible.  

It is all work, but it is work that makes you feel good at the end of the day.  We also enjoy other outdoor activities in the fall:  Sam has been spending time in his tree stands as bow season is now open.  Last night he was able to spend time observing 3 mature bucks rattling antlers together not far from his tree stand.  He said they were all 8-pointers and were not seriously fighting, but maybe warming up for when the real competition for does in estrus starts.  He was thrilled to see this.  He said he has never had a chance to see this before.  No arrows were loosed.  

A late afternoon walk this time of year is wonderful:
First we pass some alpacas.

Then down the road and after about 3/4 of a mile we will turn and go into the woods

Then there is the creek to cross before we wind our way up the hill and across the hayfield to the pond


Grover finds it hard to stay out of the pond, but he refuses to jump from the diving board.  

The way home is mostly downhill.

An early morning walk earlier this week with my camera caught these images:

A big green caterpillar on a fence post

Another of my favorite trees, a huge old oak

  And proof that nature eventually prevails

Grover and I are off to another agility trial this weekend.  We were unable to get a qualifying run at all at our last trial, so we still need 2 Q's in Open Jumpers with Weaves to move up to Excellent.  We have been working so hard on our weave poles which has been one of our biggest problems, so maybe we will do better this weekend.  It is a 3 day trial in Zanesville, and we will be there all 3 days.  I think Sam will join us on Saturday evening so we can go to Weasel Boy Brewing, a craft brewery in Zanesville.  He and Rowdy will come and stay overnight with us and then Sam can watch Grover and me run on Sunday and then Grover can go home with him and I will stay and work the rest of the day.  That's the plan right now.  As always, it is subject to change.