A much-needed knitted item is finally off the needles. I have been spinning some of our beautiful dark brown roving recently. It’s making lovely and very lustrous yarn. I had a 99 yard skein that I decided would make nice fingerless mitts for chore time. I began them on Sunday and finished them this afternoon. They are not beautiful, but I think they will be warm and functional. We have had a few cold mornings so far and I have managed without gloves, but I think those days are numbered!
So we lucked out in this hurricane. I know that there are quite a few people in Maine without power, but we can’t complain too badly, compared to what is going on in the mid-Atlantic. I did hear from my older son in northern NJ and he is safe, but did comment that it’s like a war zone. I can believe it. Very sad.
We got to celebrate our 31st anniversary in the pouring rain while trying to get our goats set up for their artificial insemination appointment. Of course today had to be the day! We do not have a barn, and our greenhouses are not in the greatest shape. Our hay greenhouse, not being accessed by animals as well as being pointed in a better direction than the others, is the best of all four. So we set up there and when Whit the vet arrived he told us that that would work. As John and I were needed to hold the goats on both sides, I only got two photos, while we were setting up. Ah well, it’s always an interesting experience and I was able to follow the whole process a little more closely this year. We had semen straws leftover from last year, kept at the vet’s place in his nitrogen tank.
Let’s hope that some of these breedings take hold. When the vet’s helper did an examination of the semen it appears as though the straw we used on SnowPea was not quite as good as the straws we used on the other two girls. So we will keep good thoughts for the breeding. It’s always an adventure!
Yesterday afternoon our friends Jim and Pam from Hatchtown Farm brought over a ram for us to lease for the breeding season. Cole is an exceptionally beautiful black ram, silver, grey and black. He has the appropriately wrinkly, blown nose that tells us he already has some good rammie experience! And it’s also that time of year. (A ram’s nose gets swollen and wrinkly as breeding season arrives. It must make them more able to note the hormone levels in the ewes).
When they backed the trailer in, Cole was glued to the opening in the back door, probably already noting the female presence nearby. It took the three of us to get the marking harness in place while he pulled and struggled to get closer to the girls. Trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, we let him loose in the pen with the 4 ewes and Jingle the donkey. No doubt about it, Etti is definitely his new love! She has the blue crayon markings to show for it, but we knew right away that they were the couple of the day. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and they spent the whole afternoon side by side.
We have gotten our breeding started a little later than usual, so I hope that the girls are not cycling too far apart. Don’t want to have lambs spread out too much in the spring!
Yesterday we were busy. Not just another Saturday, but a really crazy day. We went to get some hay and came home. Thank goodness our son came over and helped unload it, as it is Canadian compressed and the bales weigh about 65 lbs, at least. I was also shifting a lot of equipment in readiness for the storm, and then it was time for our
shearer Emily to shear a few lambs and a ewe to prepare for a trip to the butcher. After that it was time to pen the 4 ewes who are going to be bred, and get the sheep coats on them.
I was ready to do some worming, but all the girls seem to be in very good condition with pink mucous membranes, so we coated them and called it good! Hopefully they are ready for the ram. Arriving today!
Morning chores have become hat weather at last! I am not too upset by that, I have been looking forward to the frosty mornings. Even when it’s getting into the 50s and lower 60s during the day, at 5:15 AM it’s definitely chilly. The longjohns have made their appearance (but the old, holey ones, not the newer, thick and heavy ones!), and in the last two mornings, so has the hat.
Hats and I do not have a great history. When my hair was long they had to be extra large to fit all of my hair under, and I have never thought that any hats looked great on me, anyway. But doing chores without one is not a possibility, so I have embraced the knitted cap! I got a passably nice one at Mexicali Blues a number of years ago and I have abused that one to the extreme. Last winter a friend of ours, Chris, surprised me with a handknit birthday cap! It’s wonderful, I love it, and it fits much better than the other one. (Alpine Topper from Halcyon Yarn).
Our grandson’s stuffed lamb agreed to pose for the photo, and the hat always seems to have hay permanently attached:
Awhile ago I had some 3-ply sock yarn spun up. Some lovely silver mohair went with the silver and white Coopworth/Border Leicester fleeces to the mill, and what came back is really beautiful. I have been knitting with some of it, and I have some that’s natural color, but I also have been dyeing up a storm.
I had a lot of fun, mixing and painting quite a few skeins. It wasn’t a great couple of days weather-wise, so I moved the operation indoors. It was lovely to get many of the skeins washed, and the rest of them painted. My only trouble is that each one that comes out of the steamer is more beautiful than the last, and I covet them all!
Note: We do not need a Goatie WooWoo Alert for this blogpost!
I can’t really say that this is Goat Breeding 2012, as our girls got bred for the 2012 kidding season in January. We were really behind the times last year and our artificial insemination experiment didn’t get its show on the road until early January. That’s really pushing the breeding season for goats in this part of the world, and unfortunately the AI didn’t “take,” and we ended up transporting two of our 3 girls down to a friend’s farm to have Pippi and SnowPea bred by their Saanen buck.
This year I vowed to get started much earlier. Since we now have a contact with a wonderful AI vet, Dr. Whittaker from Turner, Maine, we decided to get started early. We did not use all of our semen straws last year, so the doc has them in a tank and we will proceed as last year, except in a more timely way (our girls are LaMancha, and we are always hoping to have close to purebred LaMancha babies).
Anyhow, yesterday our friend JoAnn of Beau Chemin Preservation Farm in Waldoboro emailed me to say that the hormones had landed, so I headed over there after work and picked up our box of goodies (she also is doing AI on her goats). Today was the day for the initial shot of estrogen plus the insertion of the hormone packs. Not something the girls were looking forward to, I must say. Our friend was here to lend a hand and the 3 girls are on their way. In a few weeks we will have the big event: the visit from the vet with his tricked-out van and wonderful staff. And then we cross our fingers and hope!
The last day to have the windows and doors open to the wonderfully mild breezes. The temperatures are reportedly going to be dropping now, not that it isn’t about time! We have had a lot of rain in the last few weeks, so I am hopeful that the trees, which are just beginning to turn, will be bright and colorful. Columbus Day weekend is sometimes the peak of the color around here, but the colors have been late, and the weather has been much warmer than a usual September and early October.
But the leaves are turning, and I hope we don’t have a storm that knocks them off the trees before we have a chance to enjoy them!
It was quite the rain. Inches of it, in fact. As my hip is still not doing that well, and my doctor definitely told me to take it easy, so I had a great time reading and making these: dryer balls! I had not a clue about them until very recently when our friend Kris (who also owns Coopworth sheep) showed us the ones that she sells. Apparently they are very popular!
I am always seeking ways to keep chemicals out of our lives, and this definitely fits into that plan. Felted wool balls that are used in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet. Add a pin into the ball, and it helps keep down the static as well. I had begun making some of the them a few weeks ago and I thought that I would use this as a way to stash bust some bags of roving and bits of yarn that I knew I would never use for a project.
Making the balls of roving or yarn, or a combination of both, and then popping them into a stocking and throwing them into the washer with a load of laundry is a very easy way to make any type of felt ball. Then they are thrown into the dryer in the stocking. After that you can run them through the laundry again if the felting is not fulled enough, or just keep them for the dryer. As I was winding the roving at the start, I sprinkled a few drops of lavender essential oil on it. So they smell really wonderful as well as being a helpful aid in the laundry :*)