Last week before the 5 days of rain began, we had another breakout in the night. Our lambs and kids are mostly weaned, so we don’t usually hear a lot of calling during the night. The sheep and the goats choose their spot, near their babies or not, goats in the greenhouse and sheep mostly out on the paddock hill, and that is the way they spend their nights. An occasional baa or blat is all that we hear in the wee hours. But last week one night there seemed to be a lot of activity right at nightfall. We didn’t really pay much attention to it, we were babysitting the grandboy and doing other things. While I was sitting in bed reading I thought there was more noise than usual, but then it got quiet.
Until the wee hours. My husband got up and was watching and listening out the bedroom window (which points right in the direction of the paddocks). Then I got up and listened. It was just quiet enough that I was a little concerned, but not alarmed. Around dawn, my husband said that he was going up to see what all the fuss was about, and came back down pretty quickly. Pippi and 4 of the goat kids were outside the fence, but one of her kids was inside the fence, and one of Rhubarb’s kids was outside the fence and wanting his mama. John thought that they had gotten out from the top fence line, so when I went out to get them back in, that’s where I looked. There wasn’t any opening that I could find. As I worked my way around the fenceline, I found an opening of about
6 inches at most between two of the cattle panels. I really couldn’t believe it, but they must have squeezed through, and after they got out, it closed up behind them.
I am glad that the sheep didn’t follow; the goats are not really a problem to get back into the paddock. Another breakout gone south! We got everyone back in and things went back to normal. I am sure that Pippi was the ringleader, but that’s one of her endearing (or not) charms. And with livestock, it’s always something!
I have fallen into the summer slump! After the frenzy of the end of the school year, it’s a huge relief, but also a huge let-down to have time. Not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning has its definite pluses :*) But now I seem to be going to bed at all kinds of crazy hours and getting up at a different time each day. This always happens in the beginning of the summer and I find a balance eventually. Usually the heat of the June and July days forces me to get up and get out to do chores before it’s too hot to think and milk goats at the same time. But with all the crazy cold, wet weather we have had in the past two weeks, I was in hibernation. It actually felt good. Did a lot of knitting and reading. I think I needed that.
I finished my Dafka/Raven scarf, began one like it for my husband who is coveting that one, and started a cute sampler worsted weight bag I saw on Ravelry. The dining room table still looks like a war zone, but I can face it tomorrow or Wednesday!
Today we had a very lovely send-off for two of our 2011 lambs. They are going up state toward Greenville to live on another farm. I am so very pleased to have been able to sell a few lambs this year for breeding stock. Most of our lambs go to meat, which is good also, but it’s nice to think that some of our babies will be leading good lives elsewhere, as we can’t keep them all (unfortunately!).
We had separated out some of the ewe lambs and one ram lamb for inspection. Our visitor was looking for the brownest or blackest lambs available. So we pulled Fuzzy Lumpkin’s, Lupine’s and HoneyBea’s ewe lambs as well as one of Mae’s ram lambs. I chose the longest and the darkest boy with a beautiful face and nice hams. Gorgeous fleece as well. She chose Fuzzy Lumpkin’s ewe and liked the ram lamb as well. I hope that they do well for her. One of her friends had driven down with her and they had a very large dog crate for the lambs to travel in. They seemed happy enough once they were both in there together and off they went! A new adventure for numbers 106 and 112.
It’s that time of year again. I can say that almost any day of the year I guess, but this time it’s about the end of school and the beginning of some summer r&r. And farm work. And trying to play catch-up with all kinds of things. When I am feeling really stressed, which is typical at this time of year (and this year more so), all I want to do is knit or spin or weave. Or get lost in a book! So I have quite a venerable stack of books beside the bed and a list as long as my arm of the projects that I want to get done this summer.
When I was doing a very quick organizational move through my yarn supply I found one skein of a very dark brown, DK weight two ply. It was the last skein of yarn that I had had spun up from two of our ewes that we no longer have on the farm. They were two extraordinarily lovely Coopworth sheep; Dafka and her daughter Raven. (Dafka was one of the first Coopworth ewes that I bought). They stayed incredibly dark all of their lives, even into sheepy old age. That’s a little unusual for any black sheep, as most tend to “silver up.” But they didn’t. The real shame of it is that we had to cull them because their lambs were born with entropion every single time. (Entropion is a turned-under bottom eyelid that scratches and ulcerates the cornea and is so painful the lambs don’t get onto the udder and they don’t thrive unless you deal with the situation). I hated to see them go, but they made us some grand meat lambs, so I guess that you can say they did their part for the farm. I miss them and their beautiful, dark brown wool. I found one lonely skein when I was getting ready for the Fiber Frolic, and decided that I would keep it and knit it up into a scarf for myself. The Dafka/Raven scarf! I will wear it and remember them fondly.
I am using the Yarn Harlot’s One Row repeat pattern. It’s a good one for potato-chip knitting and I am carrying it with me wherever I go. It’s also reversible which makes it even nicer. So this last 250 yard skein will be a scarf that I will cherish. Our years with Dafka and Raven will not be forgotten!
It’s Saturday night again and it’s raining. I know that the ground had gotten really dried out, but I am definitely rain-shy after the early spring that we had! But today was the first Saturday of our newly-hatched Pemaquid Farm Market. I want to call it the “Farmers’ Market” but am having a difficult time deciding where the apostrophe should go… I know, I am a language geek! I hate poor grammar and punctuation. It’s something that I feel grumpy about a lot of the time! And I am guessing that we can probably write the term “Farmer’s Market” in two ways, as it is meaningful in both. Farmers’ Market gives it the connotation of one market for a lot of farmers, which it is. But it is also a Farmer’s Market in that it is the market for each individual farmer. So I guess we all can take our pick on which spelling we want to use! I didn’t look anything up, just sat here thinking about the possibilities :*) Maybe you can tell I need a vacation!
Anyhow, today was marvelous. Weymouth House, which is a community-minded organization on the peninsula, has invited local farmers to join them on their beautiful lawn each Saturday between now and the end of October to share our farm products with the community and visitors from away. It was a lovely time, even though it threatened rain and began to sprinkle toward the end of the time. We are going to be there from 9-1 each Saturday until the end of October, so I hope that anyone who is near will come and sample some of the local produce and products. As we get going I know that we will have more vendors, but today it was Pam of Hatchtown Farm and I (we share a booth as the BaaBaaSisterhood) and
Anna Barber and her angora bunnies. It’s a little early for produce, but I expect that by the beginning of July we will have a lively crew. Come down and visit with us! 1700 Route 130, Weymouth House, Bristol!
It’s the end of another schoolyear. It’s been a crazy week, beginning with the Fiber Frolic last weekend, which was wonderful. Great weather, great visiting with lots of great folks. Exhausting! And all the special activities this week at school have kept me whirling. I have finally finished a baby gift for a colleague who is having his first baby (well, his wife is!). I am really pleased. The sweater itself is knit from a superwash Malabrigo worsted, and I got the pattern from Ravelry (In3s, a Baby Cardigan by Kelly Herdrich). It’s a very sweet capped-sleeve vest/sweater, and I would love to make one for myself :*) The really lovely part of it is that I found the buttons at the Fiber Frolic. A vendor in the same building does beautiful Raku beads and buttons, and I think these were made for this sweater! I love it!
It’s here again! The Maine Fiber Frolic. Tomorrow and Sunday at the Windsor Fair Grounds. I was scheduled for a lawn space in the EZup tent, but got a call that there was a cancellation, so I ended up getting my inside booth in Building #1, where I had the booth a few years ago. Fun! Now I can have some lighting, which is one of the biggest drawbacks to the outside tent area. On the other hand, I might have been able to garner some vitamin D directly from the source this weekend :*) But this is good… hope everyone can come out and enjoy it! There is some great stuff out there. Gotta love a fibery weekend!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!