The summer that wasn’t is almost over (for me, at least). It’s go-back-to-work week, beginning Wednesday. Just as the weather gets really nice! Oh well, I will really appreciate a few more mornings of leisurely coffee drinking and no hustling at chores :*)
Last evening while I was milking, the rains began. Within minutes, outside the greenhouse we were over our ankles in rushing water. It was crazy. I sat out as much as I could and then gave up and got drenched. The goats were not pleased! They hate the rain. But the weather is a little cooler today and I am feeling more energized! Time to play with more fiber :*)
In this summer-of-the-rains, I can only think that the happiest beings in our neighborhood are the frogs. The bug population is thriving, so hopefully the frogs and toads are getting their fill. Everywhere you step, something hops in front of you! Usually they are small, patterned froglets, but two larger specimens have become our good friends. (These two are American Bull Frogs, but my favorites are the spring peepers and the wood frogs, who don’t “ribbit,” they quack!)
I don’t know if it’s the same frog, but there are two that seem to hang out together in our mushy areas near the fence. They always have smiles on their froggy faces, and don’t seem to mind us moving around them. They don’t pay any attention to the sheep and goats, either, they just do their own thing.
Yesterday during morning chores I saw this guy sitting on the edge of the goat trough (our troughs are pretty large… maybe 30 gallon). Then, last evening I was doing chores and found what I presume to be the same frog treading water in the tub. John pulled him out; even though I put a floating piece of wood into the trough, he looked like he was going to have trouble exiting the pool! (Once he was out, we drained the trough, cleaned it and re-filled it).
I wish I could make a really concrete list of things that I have accomplished this summer. I did take a class at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham which was good, and I am partially re-organized in my studio, but I haven’t gotten much knitting done, and I haven’t gotten my loom warped yet! I did quite a bit of spinning and am hoping to get some dying and felting done in the next two weeks. Big sigh!
Two more weeks to go until the first day of school, and counting,
We have had a busy week since the Fiber Tour weekend. Our friends from NY, Barb and Phil, came up for their yearly visit and we actually had a pretty nice week weather-wise. Yesterday we got over to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, which is someplace I have been meaning to visit for a very long time. It was mostly overcast, but the sun came out to surprise us every once in awhile, and the main part of the gardens nearest the entrance kept us busy for over 2 hours. Different sections of the gardens focus on clusters of different kinds of annuals and perennials and it’s always good for me to see how things look when they are set together. Lily ponds, waterfalls and fairy houses made up some of the areas, and I particularly liked the last bit we reached where we saw some great examples of artichokes in flower! Wow! I want to try growing those next year :* ) There are also a few other things I saw there that I would like to put on the *someday* list for our house. A really lovely way to enjoy the day. Enchanting! I can’t wait to go back.
After our garden ramblings we met John at home and got ready for the yearly ritual: the big lobster dinner!
This weekend we are participating in the Maine Fiber Arts Tour weekend open house. We are part of the two-year tour map, so anyone is welcome to give us a call and come by at any time, but this weekend is set aside as a formal Open House.
We got really lucky with the weather, that’s for sure! Since we were expecting more than one or two visitors at a time we set up a tent at the top of the driveway, closer to the animal paddocks, and it has worked out extremely well. Folks can come in, see our product, maybe try a little spinning or felting, and then visit with the sheep and goats. We also are able to keep our Bear dog a little calmer, without people getting her all excited as they enter the house. If it weren’t for the mosquitoes, it would be totally perfect!
We had a lot of lovely visitors today and hope to meet and greet many more tomorrow.
We have been discombobulated here on the farm, what with the animal nursing and crazy weather. It’s been an intention of ours to get our guard donkey, Jingle, down to the pasture to be with the rams for quite some time. Since the rams had to come home because of Kyra’s Boy’s leg issues, we got stalled again. After an incident in the pasture with the ewes (which I shall write about another day), John and I decided we just had to get her down there. I know, kind of like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, but better now than never.
It takes some planning to get Jingle down to the pasture. Our road is used as a cut-through from the east side of our peninsula to the route which runs down to the tip of the peninsula and the lighthouse. Even though it’s a dirt road, cars tend to appear around the curves going a lot faster than the posted 25 mph… thus, making me nervous about Jingle’s reaction to the passing traffic. So even though we walk her down (1/2 mile or so) on two leads, I always feel more comfortable if someone is following us in a car with the 4-way flashers on so that no one can get right up behind us before we move aside. (I always picture myself with Jingle on the lead, flying along with my feet barely touching the ground… not a pretty picture! She can run fast when she wants to, and packs a wallop when she kicks. Ouch!).
So that’s what we did: Chloe and I got Jingle fitted out in her new halter with two leads and headed down the road, John bringing up the rear in the Subaru. It was a nearly perfect walk (parade), only one vehicle really spooked her. A pickup roared up behind John, and when we moved to the side of the road to let him pass, he came really close and was already going way faster than he should have been when he came alongside us. But disaster was averted, Jingle got into the pasture, and Chloe and I had a very brisk walk down! Phew! And our ewes now have their own personal guardian for the rest of the summer.
Big sigh! Just as we thought things were getting back to normal, Bear’s stitches began to lose their grip. So many of them let loose that our poor old girl had to go in and be anesthetized again on Monday morning and have some different connectors hooked up. So she is home again, with her conehead and her poor sore back leg. No need for pictures of her boo-boo, it’s not so pretty! Just a nice one of her pretty face!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!