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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2 Days Until Christmas and it is 60+ Degrees in Ohio

Some dogs have a hard life....not mine, though.  I wish they all had a comfy warm place to sleep.
 
It's true.  We are forecast to have highs near 70 in Ohio today.  I believe the old record was 62 degrees for this date back in 1957.  We had some rain the last couple of days and the overnight temperatures over the weekend were in the 20's, but now the forecast is showing highs in the 60's the next several days.  No white Christmas here.  I'm ok with that.  It does mean a lot of mud though, here on the farm.

Since my last post, I have traveled to Grand Rapids Michigan with my mother to visit our family there.  My cousin, who is 6 weeks older than my older son, and his wife had a baby in early December.  This is me with little Easton.  This is the first grandchild for my aunt, who is my mother's younger sister, and she is so happy to finally be a Nana.  I am happy for everyone.  It is wonderful to have another new baby in the family.  

The other big news, which is closer to home for me, is that I have a deposit check from a man who is buying 12 of my remaining 17 alpacas.  I have been wanting to make things simpler, especially since my sons live so far away, and this will definitely make things a little easier.  But is is so hard to think about having only 5 alpacas out there after having had them for almost 17 years.  The ones who are staying are Chiquita, 17 years old,  Peg and Bodhi who will both be 17 in the spring, Truffel, who doesn't belong to me and is getting up there in age and Lightning, our white male.  The buyer does not want a male.  So mostly seniors who deserve to stay here and be buried here.  The rest of the herd will be leaving for Tennessee in January.  This weekend, Sam and I need to microchip 8 of them and Monday the vet is coming to do health certificates to make them legal to be imported into Tennessee.  It is hard to say what might come along to live in our soon to be empty pastures.  I had planned to get some sheep, but with traveling to the west coast a couple times a year, spending time with my mom in western Ohio and going to agility trials, I think it will be easier to just buy lamb and wool as needed.  



 And speaking of trials, at our last trial, which was in November, Grover earned his Open Jumpers title.  I am very pleased to say that at our most recent trial this past weekend, Grover Q'd both days in Excellent  Jumpers!  He got 2nd place on Saturday and 1st place (only 20" ex dog who Q'd) on Sunday.  I was thrilled at his Q on Saturday and amazed when we did it again on Sunday.  So he needs 1 more Excellent Jumpers Q to move up to the Masters level.  Our standard runs, while respectable, were not good enough to Q (weave pole issues again).  I was not UNhappy with those runs, but we can do better.  We have only 1 Q so far in Excellent Standard, so need 2 more qualifying runs to move up to Masters in that.  Our next trial is mid-February.  We will start back to class in January.  
 




Look what I got in the mail last week.  33 pounds of rug yarn in 4 different colors.  This should keep me busy weaving rugs for months to come.  And I still have a lot of fiber in storage that can become more rug yarn.  I am planning a new rug warp and may start to count it out today.





Last post I mentioned waiting for parts for my loom.  They arrived shortly thereafter and I was able to start (and finish) my weaving project.  Here it is on the loom.  It has since been removed, but needs to be washed and hemmed.  More photos next post.  I am very pleased with this project.



My shawl is coming along nicely.  I am now using the second color and need to finish a large mesh panel with it before I move on to color number 3.  Considering I really did not like the colors of either of these 2 yarns, I think they work well together and I just love how this is coming out.  


Yesterday the dogs and I walked to the beaver pond in the afternoon.  After 2 days of rain, it is quite full.  There is plenty of sign of beaver activity, but no sightings of beavers.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beautiful Weather is Hanging Around

After some rain last week, we have enjoyed some truly fabulous weather for early December.  Blue skies and temperatures up into the 50's.  No complaints here.  We have had no measurable snow so far.  There was a very light dusting one morning last week on the deck, but it did not even stick on the grass, as the ground was too warm.  This nice weather is supposed to continue into the coming weekend, I believe.  However, I will be traveling to Michigan with my mother to visit family and meet my brand new second cousin.  I am looking forward to that and I hope the weather stays nice for our trip.  I'd prefer not to have to drive 7 hours in snow coming home.

This past Saturday I had a booth at the local Christmas Festival in Woodsfield.  It was a very successful day and I sold all 5 pairs of those fingerless mitts I made.  I guess I need to have a couple more than that for next year.  I wish I could be disciplined enough to make a pair  a month.  I think I will try for that.  

Then on Monday, I went to the Christmas Party for POTC, the Parkersburg Obedience Training Club.  There was also an award ceremony, and Grover and I got a plaque with title tags to hang on it.  I have yet to put everything together.  NA  is Novice Agility,  NAJ is Novice Agility Jumpers, and OA is Open Agility.  We have since earned our Open Agility Jumpers, but we will not get that award tag until next year (and hopefully some more).  Our next trial is a little over a week away.  

Otherwise I have not been too busy.  I've been getting my Christmas preparations underway, but there is just not that much to do.  I don't shop much any more.  I've had a rather Grinch-ish attitude about Christmas since my boys both moved out west.  I just cannot get excited about it.

 

I finished the socks I have been working on for Sam.  I'm glad they are done.  I am not a huge fan of knitting socks.  I like to wear them, but otherwise I find the knitting somewhat tedious.  Its a good thing they don't take too long.  These came out quite nice.  


 

I have a couple of other things I am looking forward to knitting, one of which will be a big project, a sweater that is more like a coat.  And a 3 color shawl I just started.  I am using some yarn I had in my stash.  Th yellow color I think is downright ugly.  I bought it in a kit a couple years ago and did not know exactly what the color would be.  It is an UGH in my book, but I think it will go nicely with the 2 other colors.  I'm not overly fond of the green either.  Sometimes when you order yarn online the colors are just different in real life than on a computer screen.  However, I love the variegated.  I won that from a podcast contest.  

My rug loom is naked right now.  I will get to work on that next week.  I want to try something new.......My small loom at home is ready to weave on, BUT I need some parts for the loom to make all 10 treadles functional and I cannot proceed with my project until I get them.  They are on order.  I was hoping I could finish the project that is on the loom before Christmas, but I don't think it will happen.  It has been one of those things.  I had hoped to have this project done by Thanksgiving, but one of the yarn colors was back-ordered and took forever to get, so then I warped for my first ever 8-shaft project, and I don't have enough treadle ties, which never occurred to me until I wanted to start weaving.  Ah well.

 






So that's about it for this week.  I will finish with some photos of late fall on the farm





 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mild Weather Continues into December

A culvert down near the beaver pond got washed out and they brought in gravel to repair it and closed the road for a few days.  Not long ago, Rowdy would have been right up here beside Grover, but despite everything we do, he is just painful most of the time.  He still enjoys life, just at a slower pace.

Since last I posted we have managed to stay busy.  Grover and I attended a 3 day trial in Zanesville last weekend, right before Thanksgiving.  This marked our one year anniversary of trialing.  Grover earned his Open Jumpers With Weaves title on Friday, so we moved up to Excellent in Jumpers.  We did not get any other Q's that weekend, but I considered all our runs to be successful.  The weave poles were done perfectly 50% of the time, which is ok, but we still need to work on that.  We have no classes in December, but I went to the building to practice anyway when we normally would have had class this week and plan to go once a week if weather permits the rest of the month.  It has been rather wet to practice outside.  We have another trial, a 2 day trial, the 19th and 20th  of December.

Sam got a very large 8 point buck on the evening of the 16th with his crossbow.  The deer was large but definitely not a trophy rack.  Sam got over 100 pounds of meat off the deer which has been frozen and canned and shared with Sam's mom and dad.  We had decided earlier this year that we would like to learn to tan a hide with the brains of the deer.  So Sam saved the hide, which is huge, and worked on it and we now have a tanned hide, though it is stiffer than we would like.  Sam's brother says he should have started with a smaller hide.  But this is what we have.  Sam is already planning better ways of doing the next one.

And this week is gun season for deer in Ohio, so I have come to the office an extra day so far so that Sam can hunt with the local "gang".  We would like one more deer for the freezer and I know Sam's mom and dad would like some more venison as well.

Thanksgiving was last week.  We drove to Dayton with the dogs on Thanksgiving morning.  I baked pies and bread the day before, including a pumpkin pie with my homegrown pumpkin.  It was yummy.  I also took along the finished runner that Mom had commissioned for her entryway.  It looks wonderful on her new hardwood floors.  I was so pleased when I took it off the loom and the finished measurement was 9'4" X 30".  There is math involved in weaving and things like take-up (once the rug is no longer under tension on the loom, it can lose up to 20% of its length) to consider.  I was going for a 9' runner and I can be mathematically challenged, but I checked and re-checked and was really quite pleased with the finished rug.





 



I also finished the last of the warp on my small loom.  This was supposed to be a sample, but came out as a full towel, though smaller than the other 2 more colorful towels.  I have to say this one is my favorite of the 3 I did.

I also finished a quick gift knit, which I will post a photo of next time and another final pair of mitts for sale at this week's Christmas Festival in 2 days.



This pair of mitts is from some more really old handspun.  The first time Tari and I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was in 2003 and I bought a lovely jacob fleece there.  Jacob Sheep   (click for photo) are interesting as they are 2 colored, being white with big spots of black or varying shades of brown.  They can also have up to 6 horns!  This was a lovely fleece, soft and crimpy, and I blended it with alpaca and spun it.  I have a pair of socks from this blend as does Sam.  I came across a nice ball of leftover yarn and the mitts are very nice.  That makes 5 pairs I have ready for sale at the festival.

A really cool thing:  Sam and I have had salad and also pizza with arugula from greens that are under our little hoop cold frame!  It has been so nice to go out and cut fresh lettuce in late November.  We may finish it up tonight because while it is not freezing, it is not really growing much anymore.  But to have fresh lettuce from the garden in December in Ohio is a treat!  A salad should go nicely with marinated seared venison loin.