The Turtle parade

Painted turtle mama heading into the weedy, sandy area

It’s that time of year again.  The painted turtle parade across the property has begun.  It’s egg-laying time, and the turtles who were hatched here seem to find themselves a little corner of the Ruit Farm on which to lay their eggs.  The area that we call the winter sheep paddock is very sandy and that seems to be where most of them head.  They dig up our driveway as well as all around the house.  It’s a maze of painted turtle nests.

She’s not happy that I am hovering!

Driving down the driveway at this time of year is fraught with dangers:  it becomes not only a turtle crossing, but also a turtle nest bed.  I really love watching these ancient creatures as they creep along and seek out their perfect spot, but we really should be putting up signs that announce this as a Turtle Crossing!  Many places in Maine are doing that, as turtles are killed by the hundreds at this time of year because of the call of the nest.  In Maine, it’s more a question of “Why did the turtle cross the road?” as opposed to the chicken.  I hate seeing turtles squashed on the roads, but unfortunately it’s a fairly common sight in the late spring.

A Summery holiday weekend

The day began with heavy fog and clouds, but it has finished up as a gorgeous, sunny afternoon.  I am afraid that it’s the non-stop Fiber Frolic preparation weekend, but we were pleasantly surprised with some unexpected company this afternoon as well.

Carded batts

Our friend Jocelyn, of the Salt Bay Treadlers, came up to get some goat milk for a litter of baby bunnies that she has had born at her place.  Beautiful chocolate angora bunnies, but a large litter for the first time mama.  So we had a chance to have a nice visit, and she helped me pick some clean fleece to get it ready to put through the carder.  Before I knew it, our son and grandson had stopped by for a visit and we had a lovely time.  They had been to the beach and Sawyer was full of news about their fun.  Nothing like a 3 year old to provide a lot of exciting chatter!

And so the day has flown by.  I am happily sitting here in my shorts and t-shirt, sipping a glass of wine with a slice of John’s wonderful semolina bread, while the steak is on the grill.  Can’t do much better than that!  In a little over two weeks the school year will be over, and the hard work will begin 🙂

Green and gold days

Lupine’s last fleece drying on the rack

I have been very bad about blogging lately.  It’s been crazy times at work and outside of work I am trying to focus on getting ready for the Fiber Frolic in a week and a half.  Here’s hoping that Memorial Day weekend is a nice one, because I have a lot of work to do!  But at the very least, the trees are greening up nicely and when the sun is out the new leafy greenness is very uplifting.

I would love to get more yarn space-dyed and a few more fleeces washed.  I may card up some of the fleeces into batts as I don’t have much roving around right now.  So to that end I spent most of Sunday washing Lupine’s last fleece from 2010.  It is still a winner, very lustrous with long beautiful locks.  I hand wash my fleeces in small batches in the kitchen sink, drying it out back on a piece of lobster trap wire.  So I hustled all day doing batch after batch, and it’s almost all clean.  I am going to try and wash a black fleece as well so I can card up some contrasting fleece colors.

I also did some potting up of some of the plants that I like to keep in containers.  Sage and thyme, right out the back door for ready to use convenience, and my favorites the geraniums.  I usually plant white alyssum with them but I couldn’t get any last weekend at the nursery.    So the rains are coming and going but we are managing to struggle along between the downpours!

Goats complain

Yesterday as we were out getting afternoon chores finished up I went over to watch the goatie girls interacting around the feeder. They weren’t panning for the camera like they usually do.  There is almost never a dull moment with them around.

They confided in me and were a little miffed that they have been getting such short shrift in the blog these days.  I admit, lambing has kind of forced goat business to the back burner, but now that the lambs are all here we are getting ready to think about kidding.  Bonbel and Pippi both look like they are probably pregnant, although it’s difficult to tell until the last month.  But I guess that’s almost where we are!

If the girls were bred by AI (and that’s a really big if), they would be due smack in the middle of Fiber Frolic weekend, June 2nd and 3rd.  That would be interesting!  John would have his hands full while I am manning the booth in Windsor.  On the other hand, as I truly believe, they were bred during their next cycle by our friend’s buck, so they really should be coming due about June 23rd and 24th.

This is just about the latest we have ever had kids.  I have been drying Pippi off to give her some time before the big event and I hope that she does before she starts bagging up for the new little ones. And then we have to decide if we are going to leave the babies with their moms, or bottle feed and start off the milking season with a big bang :*)  Always a challenge and a new adventure!

Spring has officially sprung

It’s been crunch time at school this past few weeks, and the rain is back again, although we have an almost rain-free Mother’s Day weekend.  On the positive side, things have greened up like crazy, and the nights are not as cold.  I can’t complain, the lambs are growing like weeds and the school year is fast coming to a close.  A few of my fellow teachers are retiring at the end of this year and we have been working on retirement parties and gifts, so even at the end of the school day we are hustling to get things finished.

Last weekend we waited with bated breath over our breed registry’s cooperative booth news from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I really miss getting down there, but it’s such a long and expensive trip that I haven’t made it in quite a few years.  Our booth did really well this year which is great news and I am guessing that we will sign up for another try next year!

And so it goes.  With the exception of the last two born, the lambs are officially huge!

More rain

Esther’s babies next to a giant lamb!

And it’s raining again!  First we don’t get any rain, and now we have a week of it.  But on the positive side, our most recent lambs are doing very well.  I was worried about our newbies.  But we kept them together for a few extra days and let them out yesterday morning.  They seem to be doing well, and tonight they were doing the lamb dance with the older guys.  But they still look like midgets compared to the other lambs!

We are cruising into the weekend and I am hoping that it’s a restful one.