Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Holiday Season and Deer Season are Upon Us.

Thanksgiving was last week and that is pretty much the beginning of the Holiday Season.  As usual, Sam and the dogs and I trekked across Ohio on Thanksgiving morning to my mom's house to share the day with her and my brother and his family.  It was a rather quiet day, compared to Thanksgivings past when there have been over 20 people at Mom's.  Next year may be noisier....

Unfortunately, I did not get to do much "Black Friday" shopping because Rowdy got very sick about 11:30 Thursday night and at 3:15 am I decided he needed to go to the emergency vet clinic just down the road.  It was after 5 am by the time I got home and I was really in no mood to go out again. I won't go into details, but Rowdy was pretty sick and was given medication and sub Q fluids and was on a bland diet for a couple of days.  I am happy to say he is fully recovered and back to his old ways and habits.  

We arrived home from Mom's in the early afternoon Saturday and then Grover and I headed out at 5:30 the next morning to Zanesville for the last day of an agility trial.  I am glad we did so well in Morgantown because we did not do well at all on Sunday.  Our next trial will be the end of next week.  We will be running Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the IX Center in Cleveland, which I understand is a huge dog show.  

Monday was the start of gun season for deer here in Ohio.  Sam got another deer,  so we are set for venison for the year.  

Yesterday was a beautiful day for the end of November, bright and sunny with highs in the mid 60's.  I took the cover off the lettuce and arugula in the garden.  It is doing quite well.  Actually, we still have uncovered arugula growing, despite a few nights of well below freezing weather. 

I also spent some time putting up insulation in my studio yesterday.  Sam bought several packages of the batts that don't need to be cut at the auction last month and I probably put up about a third of it.  Sam has most of the siding up, but not all.  I really like the way it looks so far.  

 During gun season, I generally stay out of the woods with the dogs, even on our property.  Even though Sam is no longer hunting, we allow the neighbors to hunt on our place and it is just best to stay out of the woods.  So yesterday, I walked down the road to the beaver pond with the dogs in the mid-afternoon.  The beavers have been very busy preparing for winter and I was surprised at how much they have done.

They have really built up their lodge and have been working close to the road.

Rowdy is standing by the road and I am down along the water and there are cut trees everywhere and clearly defined pathways.

In the photo at the top of this post, Grover is standing on the far side of the lodge from where these 2 photos were taken, and you can see where the beavers have stockpiled cut branches in the water close to their home for easy winter access.  I would love to get another glimpse of these busy creatures, but they seem to do all their work in the dark.  I guess I don't blame them.  


I have also been busy.  I have been finishing up items to take to the Christmas Festival in Woodsfield which is this coming Saturday.    I finished 4 woven runners and 3 baby blankets and also made a pillow.


I am still working on fringe on scarves, but those are almost done.  And of course I have rugs and socks and yarn and maple syrup and a few alpaca bears to sell as well.  It will be a fun day sitting in the courthouse chatting with people and visiting with my good friend Tari.   I always look forward to it.


I knit myself a new hat and Sam's sweater is coming along well.  I am almost done with the back.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Frost, Frosty Agility Trial

I don't recall a year where the first frost has come so late.  We had a very light frost in late October, but it was only down in the low areas, like where we live.  The first real frosts have come only in the last week or so.  I'm not really complaining, but Grover suffers from seasonal allergies to something in the environment that begins in late summer and ends only with the frosts.  He scratches out much of his coat during that time.  This year, allergy medication helped a lot, but he is now off it and still scratching, though it is lessening in severity.

My husband, Sam, is a hunter.  He loves to bow hunt and spend time in a tree stand watching the deer.  He has seen young bucks sparring and he has watched a bobcat chase a rabbit across the snow.  I am sometimes envious of what he sees from those tree stands, but then I think of all the hours he spends sitting up there and how seldom he sees anything but squirrels and chipmunks.  Sam gets a couple of deer every year and that is a lot of what we eat all year.  However, like most hunters, he has been dreaming of getting that big buck someday, and on Nov 4th, he finally got it.  He generally hunts in the evening and he will disappear a couple hours before dusk and reappear 1/2 an hour or so after dark, just in time for dinner.  He usually "unloads" his crossbow into a target by the driveway and then comes inside.  This time, he pulled up to the back door instead and I knew he had shot something.  And the way he was acting, I knew it was something big.  He said it was too big for us to lift into the back of the buggy, so he drove the tractor to the very back of the farm and I followed in the buggy to help.  It is a very big deer.  I think the outside antler spread (widest part of the antlers) is over 23".  He is having it mounted, but all that meat (90 pounds processed) was in our freezer by Sunday evening.  I have never wanted to hunt and I don't approve of hunting just to kill something, but harvesting a deer to put meat on the table is different.  Sam enjoys spending the time he spends outdoors and it puts meat on the table.  Meat we do not buy at the supermarket.

can you spot Grover in this photo?
Earlier that same day, Grover had a vet appointment in town and afterwards I decided to drive over to a local county park called Piatt Park and take our daily walk.  This park is kind of a little gem in our county and there are almost never very many people there.  There is a hiking trail, about 3/4 of a mile long, that goes along the rim of a gorge to some sandstone caves.  What I like to do is go in dry weather, hike the trail to the caves and then go down to the creek in the bottom of the ravine and "scramble" back up the creek.  It is full of huge boulders and overhanging rock formations.  It is not a long hike, but I do not recommend it for everyone as both the trail and the creek scramble are uneven and rocky and there are very steep stairs from the caves down to the creek.  Grover had a wonderful time.

I took a few photos with my phone because I did not have my camera with me. 

Grover and I attended a trial In Morgantown, WV this past weekend, which is a little over 2 hours away.  I have not been to this trial location before, but many of my club-mates have and I was warned that there is really no heat in the venue.  It is like being in a huge tent.  If the sun shines, it warms it a little.  Very little.  And of course, the overnight temps dropped into the upper twenties.  Let's just say it was extremely cold in there.  It was a 3 day trial and we were there all 3 days.  I think we had a fabulous weekend.  We Q'd all 3 days in standard and on Sunday we also Q'd in jumpers, which means we added a second Double Q to our record.  We also got 29 MACH points, which gives us a total of 81.  I was extremely pleased with our runs.  Our next trial is less than 2 weeks away, but we will be attending only one day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (which is next week!).  

 The studio is coming along.  This is not the most updated photo.  This side is entirely sided now and 2 of the other sides are partially sided.  Today Sam is at his dad's because his dad said he had some logs long enough to cut 12' boards from which we need for the front and back  where the peak of the roof is.  He will mill the boards on his dad's sawmill and bring them home.  He will also be bringing home some insulation he bought at the auction last week and I can start putting up insulation in the interior walls.

Life is going to be very busy the next few weeks.  Next week is Thanksgiving and we will make the trip to my mom's as we do every year.  Then Sunday Grover and I have the agility trial and on Monday gun season for deer starts in Ohio.  This means Sam will be hanging out with the guys playing cards every night for a week.  Then December comes in with the Woodsfield Christmas Festival (for which I have been weaving things), the dog club Christmas party, and on and on.  And one of these days it might snow.  Actually, I believe that is in the forecast for this weekend.  I'm glad I have no plans.

early morning frosty fencepost


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Still Enjoying Warmer Than Usual Temperatures

There's nothing like a warm sunny day in late October to warm an old dog's bones.  And Rowdy knows it.  Our deck, which is so nicely shaded by 2 huge maple trees all summer long is now a nice place to enjoy a warm fall afternoon.  After the removal of 6 inches of maple leaves, anyway.

A lot has happened since my last post.  Grover and I headed off to an agility trial and we had quite a weekend.  After a long spell of almost no qualifying runs, we started off Friday with a Q in all 3 runs!  We Q'd in Open FAST (which gave us our title in that, so now we are in Excellent FAST), then got our very first Q in Masters Standard, followed by our second Q in Masters Jumpers.  I was so excited because this gave us a Triple Q for the day and our very first Double Q toward our MACH title.  Now I need 19 more.  Oh, and 750 MACH points.  We earn 1 MACH point for each second we run under the SCT, or Standard Course Time.  We earned 18 points for our Standard run and 9 for our Jumpers run.  Here we are getting ready to leave the ring realizing we have earned our first Double Q.  What a great feeling.  We finished out the weekend with 2 more Q's in Jumpers (so we were 100% for Q's in Jumpers) and earned a total of 44 MACH points.  Our Standard runs were good, and Grover got his weave poles and hit his contacts every time.  It was other errors that caused us to no Q.  So I considered it a very successful weekend.   We will be trialing in Morgantown WV in a little over a week.

We got a light frost on the farm while I was away at trial (and then at Mom's for a couple of days).  Not a hard freeze, but enough to pretty much do in the tomatoes and peppers.  Then the temperatures soared back up into the upper 70's during the day and we have had some truly lovely fall weather.  I spent some time this past weekend cleaning out the tomato and pepper plants and now all that is left is one big parsley plant.  In the other garden, the arugula is still doing well and the swiss chard seems to be hanging in there as well.  We have lettuce and arugula in the cold frame, but it has not needed to be covered lately.

 Most of the leaves are off the trees, but there is still a bit of color left.  I took some photos up by the pond on Monday, which was Halloween.  This is the pavilion and the sugar shack.  Before we know it it will be syrup season again.  We still have plenty of firewood.

The outhouse is on the far side of the pond from the pavilion.  

This is actually on the path on the way up to the pond.  In the summer, this whole path would be in deep shade.  I love the fall light and the brightness it brings, especially when the sky is a deep blue.  And there is no way you could sneak up on anyone in the woods this time of year.  Walking through the dry rustling leaves is quite loud.  

I found these mushrooms growing on the road coming down from the pond.  They must be Halloween mushrooms.  They are kind of creepy looking.

Sam is working on cutting all the boards for siding my studio.  While I was away he got skirting all around it so that it should stay warmer.  I may put insulation underneath as well.  Sam has kind of talked me into waiting to see how warm it stays without my doing that.

Meanwhile, I have projects going on both looms.  I have 2 baby blankets on the big loom here at the office.

Both have peach cotton as the warp and the first one uses a natural cotton for the weft and for the second one I am using some thick and thin natural colored yarn that I think is cotton.  It has no label on it and I acquired it in the same estate purchase as the peach yarn and the yarn that I did the blue baby blankets from this past summer.  There is a pattern in both blankets, but I don't know how well it will show with the nubby yarn.  I will find out once I get them off the loom and hem and wash them.

On my smaller 8 shaft loom at home I am doing some holiday table runners.  This was a hard pattern to get my head around when I started the weaving and I had to cut off the beginning and start over.  But once I made a cheat sheet for the treadling pattern it did not take long for me to "get it".  I will get 2  4 foot runners from this warp and I hope to do a couple more in red when these are done.  I'll tell you, though, it was too nice outside this past weekend to be inside weaving.  On the other hand, if my studio was finished it would have been really nice to open the door and windows and spend the day in there!

I finished my Socktober Socks (I am wearing them today) and now I need to start a sweater for Sam from the alpaca/shetland handspun yarn I have been spinning for a while.  Which reminds me, I have also started spinning some chiengora, otherwise known as dog hair.  I have been saving some of Rowdy's undercoat for some time and 2 weeks ago I washed it and carded some up and got it on the wheel.  I need to finish it.  I started some secret gift knitting as well.  Something I hope to give for holiday use this year.  Time may get the better of me, however.  It has a way of doing that.