Old girl Mae in the middle of the throng

Memorial Day weekend was going quite well until early this a.m.  We had a terrific thunder and lightning storm break out in the wee hours, around 3.  I was already awake, as usual, and got up when the rain started.  (I couldn’t remember if I had closed all the windows in my car).  I checked (they were closed) and got inside just before the downpour began.  And the thunder and the lightning.  It was a terrible storm.  I was sitting in the dining room watching the sky light up through the roof windows when a really powerful crack and a crash happened and we were in the total darkness.  I didn’t have many lights on, but it was creepy.  John came out and said he thought the pole up at the end of our driveway might have been hit, but I was afraid that our elderly neighbor’s house might have been struck by lightning.  When things got a little less electric, John went up to check and he couldn’t see anything going on at all.  Wherever it hit, it must have been a doozy, because it really sounded like it was right here.  CMP got things up and running again around 6, so it wasn’t too painful an outage.

In the creep

Aside from the weather, the weekend in general has been a good one.  Pam and I were able to catch up with our friend Jane from northern Vermont on Saturday morning.  It was nice to be able to catch up with her.  And then I took some photos of the lambs and goat kids yesterday.

Ram lamb

They are getting to be big as houses, and weaning time is here.  They are having a little trouble getting into the creep area (a fenced-off place where only they can get in to eat grain and hay, the moms aren’t supposed to be go through it).  But the most curious thing I came upon yesterday was the frog.

Very patient tree frog hanging out on the green panel

He/she was very patient while I tried to get the camera to focus on it and not the grass behind it.  Didn’t seem to want to move from the panel it was sitting on, having a nice rest!

A bright turtle afternoon

A beautiful and non-grey evening sky!

A partially non-grey day was ours!  When I went into work at 7 this morning it was misty and brooding.  When I came out at 3, it was a little steamy, but gorgeous, bright and the sky was actually blue!  We had some things to do before chores, and it was a pleasure to be outside doing them.

Baby painted turtle

It was also a day when my husband played traffic cop for the new hatchlings, the painted turtle babies.  They are so cute, and they tend to hatch at this time of year on one side of the driveway, and make their way across to the woodsy wet area on the other side.

Painted turtle babies have the cutest orange belly!

When we built our house we must have really messed up the whole traffic pattern.  It’s always interesting to watch where the mama turtles lay their eggs:  they are partial to a lot of the sandy back-fill near the house, and also in the gravel of the driveway.  We get a lot of the painted babies that hatch in the spring, and also some snapping turtle babies, although we don’t usually see as many of them.

And to top off the loveliness of the day, the evening sky was a treat.

Pansies greeted me

The pansies have not gotten into their pot yet, but we improvised!

Pumpkin dreaming

Yet again (!) another week has come and gone.  Another grey and wet one.  Yesterday we got 6 of our old girls off to the butcher and on the way home we stopped and had a visit with our friends at Bridge Farm in Dresden.  They were in the process of baking in their outdoor bake oven and we stayed to watch the process, as well as to leave with some beautiful “everything” bagels.

Our giant pumpkin plant comes home

Today we went into town to get our Giant Pumpkin plant to grow for the Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest which will take place in October.  All the men in the house are planning great things and monster pumpkins!  John, Sawyer and I went over to pick up our little pumpkin plant, which comes from a pumpkin that weighed 1,129 lbs last year.  Wow.  We are going to plant that in front of the house where we get the most sun and the vines can just go wild across the septic field if they want.  I love dreaming about the garden at this time of year.  It’s almost the end of May and we are still having temperatures in the 40s and 50s.  Yikes.  I have a feeling that we are going to get slammed right between the eyes with hot weather and skip spring altogether.  And I pledge not to complain about dry warmness!

Bumps in the wet road

Lamb #101 peeks at me (newborn photo)

Another week is gone and it’s raining again.  Oy!  I think I am going to have mushrooms growing out of my ears pretty soon.  :*(    The paddocks were drying up in between the rain storms, but now are a sloggy mess, and the tractor is still not in good working order.  But we have a butcher date in a week for some of our girls who are ready to move on and the lambs are all doing well except for number 101, one of the bottle lambs (the first one born this season).  He had a mysterious malady that did not respond to any of the therapies we tried.  We lost him on Sunday night.  Our first and final thought is that he ate a foreign object that he just could not digest.  It’s the only thing that makes any sense, but sometimes there is no sense when it comes to lambs and kids.  You can spend your days and nights making sure that there is nothing there for them to get into, and they get into something anyway.  Between the weather and losing our little guy (who was not so little), it’s just been one of those weeks.  Losing any of our animals is tough, and it seems to have been a rough spring so far, between our Bear and now this sweet lambie boy.

But, we look forward to the cycle of weather changing for the better very soon; hopefully spring will begin acting like spring and vanquish the temperatures in the 40s and let the gardens really begin to grow!

Found it!

It's back! And it's all together :*)

Well, I didn’t find it, John did.  I can’t believe it!  The mixing arm from the stick blender :*)

He was waiting for a call-back on parts for the John Deere tractor (I can’t even go there right now; things like this always happen when we don’t have much money!) and was getting cardboard and newspaper organized in the mudroom.  The box the mixer came in wasn’t empty, et voila!  I don’t know how the stem got into that and not into it’s nice little white case, but it did.  Yay!  Now I can forge ahead and make more lovely goat milk soap.

Knitting squarely

6 cm mitred knit squares

I almost always have a knitting project on the needles, and usually two or three simultaneously.  But my current mindset is so on-edge, what with the job situation and money being extremely tight, that I am all over the place with that.  I have a project that is setting my teeth on edge because I can’t get it right (this is the gift for a friend which I handspun and dyed the yarn for) so that is on the sidelines, and I have a bunch of stuff that I want to try (some simple lace knits, like Ishbel or the Multnomah shawlettes), but I have not pulled it together.  Sigh.  It is definitely a sign of the state of my mind that I don’t have something going that I am enjoying and working on.

I will have to do a different blog post on my podcast addiction at some point, but one of the podcasts I have recently found has saved my knitting soul!  I have a list as long as your arm of podcasts to which I subscribe (I listen to them on the way to work and home), but one of the newer podcasts that I am listening to is called iMake.  It’s simply a lovely podcast that comes from a very crafty soul on the isle of Guernsey.  What a lovely show!  Martine covers multiple crafts and she also has a segment on Guernsey each episode, which may be my favorite part of the show :*)  I love to travel and have always wanted to visit the island, so this is second best, I guess.  She speaks beautifully and is very clear, so my aged and faulty ears have no trouble with the listening.  Anyhow, awhile ago she mentioned that she was working on a sock yarn mitred square blanket.  I wasn’t sure how to knit a mitred square, so I went to her blog and looked at her very nice tutorial on the process.  I have a bunch of sock yarns that are just bits and pieces of the ends of the skeins, so when we were sitting at one of our very long vet visits with our old dog Bear, I had the foresight to take along a small bag with #2 needles and some ends of yarn.  I got three of the smaller squares finished while Bear had some tests done.  And I am hooked!

Small squares knit to each other next to a larger one

I am not sure that I want to knit the squares to each other, as I am an old-time quilter and think that I may want to re-arrange the squares so that the mitre stripe goes in different directions, not just in all the same.  Also, I don’t think I did a very good job with the connected small squares, so I have experimented with a larger square.  The smaller (6 cm) squares are 16 stitches to each side, so the cast-on is 32 stitches.  My larger square adds 8 more stitches to each side, and I think that I like that size better.  As you can guess, the larger squares are 10 cm so they are just a nice size, probably easier for me to handle when I connect them.

10 cm square on the needles

This has come at the perfect time.  I can pick up a square and knit one in a very short time and I can carry my small chicken project bag full of a sampling of leftover sock yarns with me at all times.  Knitting is a soothing activity for me, specially if I don’t have to think too hard about it!

Mother’s Day weekend

Ewes in a little bit of heaven

At least one day out of the weekend was sunny and clear.  The breezes yesterday moved just enough to keep the black flies mostly at bay (except for John, who seems to be a blackfly magnet).  We always have a list of farm work that needs doing longer than what we ever have time for, but we got as much cranked out yesterday that we could.  Right now that involves getting cattle panels (16′ long galvanized wire fences that are 52″high) out of the mud and the grass that’s grown up around them out so that we can clean the paddocks of the mud and poo from the year.  Which of course means that we have to set up different areas for the animals first!  We got our unbred ewe group into a self-contained area behind their paddock, and they were in heaven!  Today we will try and get a few more panels out of the way so that John can get in with the tractor.

Piggies dive in

And our piggies landed last weekend.  They are as cute as can be.  And so it begins!

A dismal grey week

punctuated by a few brighter moments…  last night I went to our monthly Salt Bay Treadlers meeting and we had a great time.  We had a lot of wonderful food and a lot of laughs.  Pam of Hatchtown Farm brought along her bottle lamb (because she has a cast on her leg) so we had some alternative entertainment as well.  I needed a good laugh and we had a multitude of them.  I wish that I had remembered to have my camera along as we also had plenty of photo ops!

Tuesday evening John, JD and I spent hours on the floor in the kitchen with Bear the Lab, talking to her as she let go.  She was wagging and alert to the last.  Bear now has a place of honor in our Rugosa patch, right outside the dining room windows on the SW side of the house.  We miss her terribly, but 13 years is a good life and we enjoyed it all with her.  I can’t really put into words how much a dog like Bear can enrich life so well.  We will miss her something awful.

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