Autumn is really here

Sat. morning 30 F!
Sat. morning 30 F and frosty had visited!

Yesterday morning it was 30 F. at our house.  Luckily, John had taken some of our shearing sheets and covered as much of the garden as he could… so we came through the first frost of the season quite well.  We didn’t cover the potatoes and the leeks, but there are a couple of trees in that area that I think may have acted as enough of a buffer and protected them.  Phew!  Not long now, though.  The pasture where the ewes are was a blanket of sparkly white.  That’s definitely a done deal.  One more pass for the girls and it’s hay for the duration!

Bear Update

Bear enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!
Bear, 11, enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!

We have finally crossed another milestone:  Bear is  free of her cone of shame!  It’s been a long summer with this poor girl.  Our house wasn’t set up (is anyone’s?) to accomodate a 93 lb. dog with an enormous plastic cone (12″ high and 19″ diameter) on her head.  Her leg operation back in July was necessary, but it was so long in mending that it seems like forever.  Two months did feel like forever!

But here she is, yesterday, just after the removal of her cone, relaxing comfortably.  Looking pretty good, Bear!  Now she can have all the hugs she wants, without knocking our lights out :*)

Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness
Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness

Lamb Shearing

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend!  Amazing weather, cool but sunny.  It really feels like autumn has arrived.  It was the perfect time to have Emily the shearer join us for the fall lamb shearing.  persimmon_waits

Here Persimmon is in our shearing “waiting” room.  She is not a lamb, but she is half Border Leicester and half Coopworth so her fleece is really long by this time of the year.  If we wait until the February shearing, she will be feltie mess! We brought her up from the pasture on Friday afternoon, just before a brief cloudburst passed through.

Persimmon is the only adult who was lined up  for shearing Saturday, and although she is experienced in this process, she is not the most cooperative of sheep.  She gave Emily a run for her money and flopped around so badly that her fleece ended up twisted and turned inside out.  Not a problem for me, as I am going to put this fleece with her last fleece and have it made into roving.  Usually, we prefer to have the fleece come off the sheep in a whole, ordered arrangement, but for my purposes here, not so much.

Shlomit giving us the googly eye as she is shorn
Shlomit giving us the googly eye as she is shorn

The lambs tend to be smaller and less inclined to cooperate on the shearing floor.  It must be a very frightening time: man-handled, flipped, tipped on your butt and all that buzzing noise… and then finding yourself naked!

The 7 sheep were shorn in a relatively short time and were sent off to rejoin their group in the paddock.  I took this opportunity to separate the ram lambs from the ewe lambs; Persimmon was getting some great interest from the boys, and I thought that we could be having some very early lambs indeed, if I left her in with those little buggers!

Silver and grey fleece from Norma's ram lamb
Silver and grey fleece from Norma's ram lamb

Longest Scarf

ACR team scarf in progress
ACR team scarf in progress

I am madly working on another scarf section for the American Coopworth Registry’s team entries into the Longest Scarf in the World project to benefit Heifer.  Since 2009 was designated by the United Nations as the Year of Natural Fiber, teams of knitters are working together to create scarves (all 9″ wide) out of wool, cotton or any other natural fiber, to be put together at the NY State Sheep and Wool show in Rhinebeck this October.  As we knit, we are trying to raise money for each knitted row, to be donated to Heifer to help them keep providing fiber and meat animals to communities around the world.

Our team, the American Coopworth Registry, has a few scarves started, and then we are passing them to other members of the group to continue.  Ideally, the organizers asked for knitting journals to accompany each scarf, but in my case, I have dropped that ball (what a surprise!).  In the picture above, is the seed stitch piece I am knitting out of my flock’s natural brown wool, DK weight on #4 Peace Fleece wooden needles.  (I love these needles).  I also have kind of dropped the ball on the raising money part of the project (asking people for money is not something I do well), but I will give a donation when I send this off at the end of September.  All the scarf pieces are going to be tied together at the sheep and wool show, and then afterward, will be taken apart and the individual scarves will be sent to charities that provide warm clothing for people around the world.  I think it’s a great project on so many levels, I am enjoying it even though we are under a time constraint now!  Pam Child of Hatchtown Farm is going to continue knitting on this piece, and who knows, maybe someone else wants to help finish it off… any takers out there?

Every dog in place

Having 3 dogs is always an adventure.  We, of course, dote on them like crazy.  Tesser-the-4lb-Chihuahua, the boss of everyone; Josie the Jack Russell, the 12-lb. nudge; and last but not least, our gentle giant, Bear the Lab.  They are quite a crew.  After a summer off without a tight working schedule, I find it very funny that the three dogs really know what’s happening when things start to crank up and I begin to rush around again.  The other morning I was frantically digging through a pile of clean laundry wondering what I had done with my favorite shirt, and I stopped to look at what was going on in the main-floor bath… Tesser and Josie were maneuvering for their daytime snug spots, which they only do when they know we are all going to be out of the house for a workday.  Pretty amazing!

Tesser wins the coveted doggie bed in the bathroom!
Tesser wins the coveted doggie bed in the bathroom!
Josie get the tubside spot after losing the plum dog bed spot to Tesser
Josie get the tubside spot after losing the plum dog bed spot to Tesser

And Bear gets stuck with her usual spot:  under the dining room table!

Bear in her assigned area
Bear in her assigned area