Miscellaneous Monday

High Plains Drifter shawl being wet-blocked
High Plains Drifter shawl being wet-blocked

It’s one of those days: getting a little bit of this and that done, not getting anything big accomplished. We had rain, ice and snow last night, and it was so bad around 7:30 PM last night that our satellite dish was not behaving, so I missed about the first ten or fifteen minutes of the Call the Midwife Christmas special! Aargh! I am going to find some time this evening to watch the beginning again. This is one of the few tv programs that I actually seek out, there isn’t much on the tube that interests me in general. Unfortunately, the third season of Midwife doesn’t begin until sometime in March. Oh well. It will be here before we know it!

As the temperatures have begun to go down again and the wind is coming up this afternoon, I finally got around to setting up my foam pads upstairs so I could wet block my High Plains Drifter shawl (the one that I finished this past October). Although most of the shawl lay flat, the edges were puckered and it needed a good wash anyway. Usually I just wash my finished knit items and lay them out on a towel, but when you want the edges of a garment to lie particularly, it needs to get pinned out. I am not much of a lace knitter, so I have not really needed to get serious about this process. It looks nice all spread out in the spare bedroom! I can definitely put it to good use in this weather. We are supposed to be getting some terrifically cold temperatures in the next few days (in the negative numbers, with daytime highs around 1F). Brr. Time to put out more straw in the goat and sheep shelters!

Wintery vacation

Painted sky
Painted sky

I keep taking photos of the surrounding woods and of the animals in the still-snowy paddocks, but although beautiful, there aren’t really any new views! Snowy trees and ground definitely lighten the grey days, and even after the sun has gone down the brightness of the snow still reflects so much light that the headlamp is not always necessary. As always, I am watching the daily almanac to see how many minutes of daylight we are garnering, and I had almost forgotten how slow it is to begin after the Solstice!  2 minutes gain in the past week doesn’t seem like enough :*)

Bucklings in the snow
Bucklings in the snow

After a wonderful visit with our older son and all the kids, I took some liberties with the last few days now that everyone is gone. I have not gotten much accomplished, but it sure has been a relaxing time. We went for some hay late this morning, had some lunch at Moody’s Diner, then came home and crashed. I had intended to wet-block my Prairie Drifter shawl, but that has not happened! Tomorrow will be the day, I hope.

Right now it’s raining like a bugger, and I am hoping it doesn’t all turn to ice. We will cross our fingers, for sure.

Lull between holidays

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Is great. Time to put our feet up and do some more knitting as well as watching another snow begin, enjoying my oldest some who is here for a week from North Jersey. We have had some fun doing the rounds of the area, and even took some time to get down to Pemaquid Point Light this morning. The temperatures are in the upper 20s for a change today, but the wind down at the point took our breath away. The clouds were rolling in for the coming snow, but the sun was just peeking out from behind the light, and the view was spectacular! (That’s my older son and myself in the photo in front of the lighthouse).

I have been slacking in the blog post department and a lot has happened in the past week and a half. We had two snowstorms hard on one another, and then an ice storm this past weekend. Many in our neighborhoods are still waiting for power to get reconnected. We were lucky, have not seen a flicker. But the ice on top of packed snow has not been kind to us at chore time! Even with YakTrax on my boots it’s almost impossible to stride normally up the driveway. So feeding times are definitely an exciting adventure. The animals are all doing well, but with the extreme cold I separated the does from the two boys and Zorro the llama. They are back together with the ewes, where they have a much larger shelter and I know they are out of the wind on dry ground.

Solstice and Christmas have come and gone. After a lovely time with family and friends (and a lamb roast on Christmas Eve, Yum!), we are thankfully on the up slope of daylight minutes and hours. Every day means another minute or two! The winter obsession begins :*)

The Last batch

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Of chevre for 2013 is in the works. The weather has not been our friend this month, and I have decided to begin drying off SnowPea. I usually milk right through the middle/end of January, but the temperatures and the weather have not been particularly helpful this year. So I am shifting things up a little and calling it good.  (It was -8 here this morning, not usual for this time of year on the coast!)

We have a ton of chevre in the freezer to get us through until kidding sometime in April, and I think that SnowPea and I are in agreement that now is probably a good time to call it quits!

2013 is going out with a bang!

Ewes barely getting to the feeder this morning
Ewes barely getting to the feeder this morning

A doozy of a snowstorm and temperatures that have remained well below freezing for almost a week now are ushering out the year. After getting at least a foot of snow by 9 a.m., we began to get a little bit of sleety stuff coming down. Chores were challenging this morning as well as this afternoon and the temps are definitely not coming up. Mealtime in the greenhouses isn’t the end of the world, however. (The ewes ate their grain outside, and the hay in the greenhouse).

We had a wonderful weekend anyway. Yesterday we took our grandson for a trip on the Candy Cane Train. Santa and a bunch of lovely young elves were on the train as well as some great story readers and barbershop singers. We had a good time and then we had a sleepover. Good stuff! Winter hasn’t officially begun, but it sure feels like it!

A knitting time of year

Prairie Drifter Shawl
Ocean Drifter Shawl

Knitting has been keeping me pretty busy for the past month or so. I always have a project on the needles in some form, but when the evenings are as long as they are at this time of year, I try to get a little more accomplished. Not so easy, since by 7 PM or so I am pretty tired and on worknights I get to bed around 8:30 or 9 at the latest.

Comfy mitts
Comfy mitts

We have gone into the deep freeze here as well, which is another motivating factor on the knitting front. I finished my Ocean Drifter shawl awhile ago (made from our farm-grown Coopworth/Border Leicester cross wool with a little mohair thrown in), and then I finished some lovely, comfy fingerless mitts that match a cowl I knit last year from String Theory yarn (Caper Aran in Cobalt) that I bought at Spa. Lovely and soft, I am enjoying the mitts and cowl quite a bit right now! (The String Theory yarn is a merino/cashmere/nylon combo, very nice).

Simple triangular shawl
Simple triangular shawl

I am also knitting a simple triangular shawl as a Christmas gift for our elderly neighbor. It’s handspun, hand-dyed BFL/silk two ply. Kind of on the bulky side, I am crossing fingers and toes that I have enough to make the shawl as big as I had envisioned it. It’s pretty and soft, and I know our friend will love the colors. She doesn’t move around a lot and sits in her chair with sweaters and other things draped around her, so I am hoping she enjoys this. Doesn’t look like much yet, but it’s fun knitting that doesn’t take too many brain cells!

The last project I am working on is one I cannot detail yet. When we went on our summer retreat to Vinalhaven, we did some natural dyeing experiments on some raw clean fiber as well as some yarn. (Dyed with osage orange and cochineal bugs). We all took a portion of the spoils and agreed to do something with it and do a show-and-tell at our Christmas party. I will have to cover that project later :*)

Houdini boy

SnowPea is happy to have Bagels back  in the paddock with them
SnowPea is happy to have Bagels back in the paddock with them

So much for switching out the bucks! By the end of the day last weekend I had found Bagels in a number of different places, most notably not in the paddock with the donkey, which is 2 paddocks away from where the does live. The last time I found him already cuddled up with the does, I just left him there. I admit that I don’t really know what to do! If he is shooting ‘blanks,’ I really need to get him away from the girls so Beige Boy can do the deed. How to do that, I don’t know as the girls regard Bagels to be the dominant buck, so they really don’t want to give Beige Boy the time of day. :*(

The crew watching me drive down the driveway this afternoon
The crew watching me drive down the driveway this afternoon

It’s also been a long week at work, and I have been fighting off a little cold and just been plain tuckered out. Slacker central as far as the blog goes. It’s a little disheartening to be doing chores in the dark in the morning and then doing chores at 4 PM in the afternoon and not having enough light to take photos that actually work! It also means that I really don’t see the girls well enough to hopefully head off a problem before it gets too bad to deal with. Sigh. We are counting down to the Solstice for sure :*)