Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It Sure Has Not Felt Like January....

No kidding, it was in the low 60's on both Saturday and Sunday.  Overcast, but mostly dry.  Needless to say, not much got done indoors either of those days.  On Saturday, Sam and I went out into the lower hayfield and played with the drone he got for Christmas.  He needed me to figure out how to work the video camera on it while he was flying it.  I must say  it is quite an impressive "toy".  It will be fun to see some drone footage of Grover and myself running an agility course once the weather improves.   

 Driving back to the house in the buggy, I spotted what I at first thought was a tree branch in the pasture across from Mom's house.  I said to Sam that that branch looked just like a couple of really large deer antler sheds, and since there are no trees in that pasture, a branch there would have been unlikely.  So we investigated and found these

 I wish I had used a yardstick to show the scale here.  The longest tine on the antler on the right is about 10" long.  Even though these are not at all symmetrical, these are from one deer.  He is known by the guys down here on the creek as "Big-Timer" and he has been around for many years and he has made it through yet another hunting season.  I had hoped to post a trail cam photo of him along with the shed photo, but I can't seem to access it.  Maybe next time.  So anyway, finding these sheds means that it is time for the bucks to be dropping their antlers and Sam went out the next day and found 3 more, one of which was also very large.  We have a big collection of sheds and I used to have them displayed on the fireplace mantel, but it got too hard to keep them cobweb free, so I recently boxed most of them up.  Now the mantel is acquiring new shed decor.

2 down

 Sam finished the drywall on the ceiling and on 2 walls of my studio last week.  If the weather had not been so nice last Saturday, he may have gotten the last 2 walls done as well, but that just isn't gonna happen if he can be outside.  I can't really blame him for that.  Good weather in January needs to be taken advantage of.

2 to go

 Once the drywall is up on the remaining 2 walls, the mudding and sanding has to be done.  Sam installed a gas heater, but we will likely change it out for one with a thermostat on it eventually.  It is amazing how warm it has stayed in there since the ceiling and insulation went in.  

Not much else has been going on on the farm this time of year.  The insurance adjuster came out and looked at the poly-shelter and we will be getting some money toward replacing the roof on that, which surprised us.  A new roof has been ordered.  Getting it up will be fun.

I finished knitting the sweater for Sam from handspun alpaca/shetland yarn.  The sleeves are too long, so I will be taking the sweater apart at the seams and shortening them a couple of inches and re-seaming soon.  I think I could have gotten by with knitting the smaller size, but as Sam said, he'd rather it be a little loose than too small and I agree.


I have made good progress on the striped sweater for myself using a commercial grey yarn and some of my hand-dyed alpaca.  I usually get plenty of knitting time in this time of year when it gets dark by dinner time.  I finish the dishes and turn on Jeopardy and get comfortable next to the woodstove, usually with a dog snuggled up next to me.

I am almost finished with the alpaca scarves on my small loom at home that I posted a photo of in my last blog post.  There is a Weave Along on a group on Ravelry for any project made of linen right now and I have never used linen before.  So I bought a kit to weave a couple of linen bread bags and that will likely be the next thing on the 8 shaft Compact loom at home.


I have started a couple of rugs on the big 4 shaft loom at the office.  I decided to use some color in the warp and see how the rugs turn out.  I should get 2 rugs from this warp.

Grover and I still have over 2 weeks until our next trial.  I have also been looking at trials scheduled in May, June, July and August.  We will be in Zanesville Feb, March and April, but then we have no more trials there until September.  Right now I hope to be in the Cleveland area in May, Cincinnati in June, Pittsburgh in July, and Dayton in August.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We Welcome 2017

This old dog still loves the snow and cold.  I think he may have been a Husky in a former life.  

Yes, it is 2017.  The time goes by so quickly the older I get.  I would love to be able to slow it down.  Even winter no longer drags like it did when I was younger.  I try to get some joy out of every day and usually I can.  Even if it is nothing more than sitting by the fire with a dog at my feet knitting or spinning.  

Since my last post, there have been some changes.  First, Grover and I ran in an agility trial hosted by our dog club in Zanesville on Friday and Saturday of New Year's weekend.  Unfortunately, we got NO Qs either day.  But our runs were good and it was just one little thing each run that kept us from qualifying, so I don't feel like it was a disaster at all.  I still had a good time and that's what matters.  Our next trial is the second weekend in February.  

The biggest change has been the addition of a foster dog to the family.  Boomer is a young dog, about a year old, who was adopted from a shelter in Phoenix last July by my brother and his family.  Last post I said that they were in transition, moving back to Ohio from Arizona, and in fact are already living in Ohio.  My sister-in-law and the kids are staying with her brother until the house in AZ sells.  My brother is traveling with the band he is part of and will be back and forth to AZ.  Boomer needed a place to stay and so he is on the farm with us for now.  He and Grover get along quite well, with Boomer following Grover everywhere.  Of course it got really cold here right after Boomer arrived, so I have been keeping some old cria coats on Boomer and he seems to be doing ok.  He's not one to miss a chance at a walk in the woods, despite high temps in the lower 20's.


Son Zac flew back to California last Thursday.  He was here for about 2 1/2 weeks and it really was a very nice visit.  It was sad to see him go, though I am sure he was ready to get back to his life out there.  We currently have no plans to travel west to see him or Ian at this time, which makes it harder to say goodbye.  But I am sure we will get out there sometime this year.  I would really like to get everyone back to Bend, Oregon again.  Another week in that gorgeous luxury "cabin" would be fabulous.  

My studio is now complete on the outside, except for stain and railing, which will have to wait for spring.  I installed insulation in the walls in December and Sam started putting in the ceiling.  Our neighbor generously loaned him a drywall lift to help with that project.  Unfortunately, the weather got too cold to comfortably work out there for several days, so Sam only got a few sheets up.  The forecast this week is for above normal temps, so maybe I can help him get the rest of the ceiling up this weekend.  Then we can turn on the heat and start on the walls.

As I said, it was extremely cold the last several days, with overnight temps down in single digits, which meant I had to thaw pipes a couple of mornings.  Our gas also froze up Monday night, dropping our gas pressure to about 2 pounds, which is below the minimum required to run a house comfortably.  Thank goodness for our wood-burner.  Yesterday, the weather changed and it is going to be much warmer the next few days.  With that weather change came some very strong gusty winds.  And those winds caused a bit of damage on the farm last night.

This is how the equipment storage structure that  we call the poly-shelter looked this morning.  Granted, we put this up in 2002 or 2003, so it has lasted a good long while.  There was a tear down the center of it that we noticed a few weeks ago that was about 2 feet long and apparently a huge gust of wind came through late yesterday afternoon and ripped it right in half.  Sam is talking about putting a metal roof on this instead of replacing the tarp-type roofing and if he does that, we may use some of the hoop structure to build a greenhouse.  But for now, I think Sam will be cutting up the torn heavy duty poly fabric and using it to cover some of the equipment we do not want left out unprotected all winter.  

The last 2 handknit Christmas gifts were given and so now I can post those.  2 more pairs of socks, the purple for my mother and the green for my sister-in-law.

I am continuing to work on the sweater for Sam from handspun alpaca/shetland and have only one sleeve left to go.  Then I need to seam it together and knit the neckband.  It may be done by my next post.  That would be good.  


I started a new sweater for myself after the first of the year.  I am using some of my hand dyed alpaca yarn along with a commercial wool yarn in a striping pattern.  The blue is my hand-dyed alpaca.  I love this color combination.   This photo is just a small sample "swatch" to see how the yarns will work together.

I am also back to weaving, now that I have my weaving space at home back.  I have some alpaca scarves on the loom there, using some natural colored yarn and some of my hand-dyed.  I have not used my commercially spun alpaca as the warp before, so this is experimental and I am learning as I go.    I have woven only about 6" of this so far.  

And no photo yet, but I am in the middle of putting a colorful warp on my big loom for more alpaca rugs.  I should have some progress on that next time I post.

Happy 2017!!