Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunday Morning At The Pond

CAST: #2 Daughter -naïve teenager
Mom-Resident amateur photographer
The man-step-dad extroadinare

SETTING: MOM and #2 DAUGHTER taking a walk one early Sunday morning toward the pond in front yard MOM taking pictures

#2 DAUGHTER: (walking ahead gets to the pond) Mom come quick something is wrong with the frogs!

MOM: What’s the matter? (walking toward her daughter)

#2 DAUGHTER: I think one of the frogs is dead and something is wrong with the other one.

MOM: Call the man so he can get the dead one out. (continues to walk toward pond)

#2 DAUGHTER: Man, come quick one of the frogs is dead (screaming as it is nicer to let everyone in the valley know we have a dead frog on Sunday morning instead of walking up to him)

#2 DAUGHTER AND MAN (walking toward pond with #2 telling him that one of the frogs is dead and he has to fish it out)

THE MAN: Are you sure it is dead? It is cold this morning and he may just be conserving his energy.

#2 DAUGHTER: No it’s dead. It is not moving.
THE MAN finds a stick, kneels by pond and tries to move frog to side of pond where he can reach him. Frog takes offense at being poked and swims away.

#2 DAUGHTER: Oh it’s alive. (Stating the obvious. She is after all an honor roll student)

THE MAN: It was just cold like I told you.

#2 DAUGHTER: But somethings wrong with the other one.

THE MAN (still kneeling looks at the other one and looks up at the MOM) There is nothing wrong with it there are just two frogs on top of one.

#2 DAUGHTER: Well can you get them off so they don’t drown her?

THE MAN: #2 Leave them be, they are (red neck drawl) farn-a -kate-in’

#2 DAUGHTER: What’s that? Will they hurt her?

MOM: #2 They are having sex and no they won’t hurt her
THE MAN: Eww! #2’s watching froggy porn! (starts running away)

#2 DAUGHTER: No I am not (totally embarrassed, starts chasing him)

Curtain closes on a weird family moment.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little spell-song on our roof at night--
And I love the rain."-
Langston Hughes, April Rain Song

It wasn't raining when we went to bed and we did not need it to sing us a lullaby as we were exhausted. It was however great to wake in the middle of the night and hear it hitting the roof. We need the rain so bad as we haven't had measureable rain in two weeks. It also gives me an excuse to be lazy today and I need it as we kicked our own asses this weekend.

Friday while the man was at work and kids in school, I drove to town and cleaned a friends house, picked up seed potatoes, went grocery shopping for the week and stopped at the feed store and got feed. Then when the man got home we sheared the angora goat and one sheep. The one sheep being Bozo who started out looking like this....and ended up looking like this. I can not wait to dive into this.Saturday we did the morning chores, sheared the last two sheep- the mama's. We thought if we let the babies by them they would be okay....The lambs were trying to nurse while we were shearing and walking on the fleece. What a PITA, so the second one was definitely louder but much easier on us. After a shower we went for hay, paid for stock panels, went to Home Depot, went to lunch, detoured to order mower parts which will be in Tuesday, stopped and looked at a brush hog with a plow and snow blower attachment, unloaded hay, went back to town to pick up stock panels, stopped at Walmart to get son his spring gobbler license (they didn't sell them but saved 13 cents a gallon getting gas there instead of from a gas station 1/4 mile away, too big of a difference to not take advantage of) detoured again to go to hunting store (told us go to county treasury now) bought bait, unloaded panels, did evening chores, the guys went fishing, I did laundry and #2 daughter did dishes

Sunday the guys got up at 2:30 to drive my brother and SIL to Newark airport for their trip to FL. When they got home we did the morning chores and I went to a friends house to help build a stone wall around her garden. About mid afternoon her kids came back with me to play with my kids. Cleaned house, did laundry, did uncles pills for the week, cooked dinner for everyone. After hubby woke up he tried to fix the rototiller -needs new diaphragm on distributor-it is Sunday, it's wasn't going to happen. So washed and detailed my car and he worked on building a pen with the stock panels and ordered our piglets and roaster chicks. Saturday we go pick up the roasters and hopefully the piglets.

Now the kids are on their way to school, the man is at work, the morning chores are done, the house is clean, it's raining outside and I have hours before they all come home and no place I have to go....Life is definitely good.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Morning time

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. ~Richard Whately
And who would want to lose an hour in Spring? It is slowly creeping in - heat wise it feels like summer! The quince is starting to bloom, as is the PJM and the lawn is covered with violets.I had been forewarned by Cyndy that the snakes were out so I wasn't surprised when I went out to hang laundry and saw him.In other Springy news....Wednesday I picked the first asparagus!!!It was only 12 stalks so I gave it to mom for her and my uncle to enjoy. I also got some chives out of the garden and dehyrated them. A couple of years ago I made an herb mix from Living with Herbs by Jo Ann Gardner and loved it so I am making more of an effort to dehydrate herbs so I can make it again.

One duck started setting on eggs on Sunday and by Monday afternoon there were two in there so look for duckling pictures somewhere around May 11th if all goes well.

And in fiber news...I finished the thumb on the selbuvotter.
I read when you cast on the stitches that go over the thumb to cast on in pattern. I did and for my first it doesn’t look that bad (atl east I don’t think so). I went to court with a friend Wednesday and brought my knitting with me but knew I couldn't concentrate on selbu so I started Tiny Treasure socks and finished the pair yesterday.The parts for my shears FINALLY came in. They said they were waiting on the extra blades I ordered so it would be one package. I didn't need the blades to shear as I have some, I needed the parts. Anyhow they finally sent it with only the bottom blade! Oh well I don't care at this point. The man easily fixed them last night and we are back on track.
Today's agenda is to go clean a friends house. His surgery went well but he is still in alot of pain. Then grocery shopping, a stop at the feed store and then home to shear when the man gets off work. Hopefully we will finish by tomorrow when the rain is due. Wouldn't it be nice if we got the rototiller running again and the greenhouse garden got tilled before the rain? I am pressing my luck there I guess!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


To the Dandelion,
Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and, full of pride, uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth's ample round
May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.
~ James Russel Lowell

Yesterday I found the first dandelion of the season. I look forward to seeing them and then get frustrated when they pop up right after I mow the lawn! And seeing as how it is earth day you know I mow it using my goats and sheep and I only resort to a reel mower when need be....NOT! I am feelin' extremely un-politically correct today. Must be the fact that today is also PA primary. I can't wait until it's done so they STFU (#1 daughters initialism, you will figure it out but in case you need a hint the S stands for shut).

On a less antagonistic note, I finished the first selbu mitten. Well actually I didn't do the thumb yet. Gardening has taken center stage so knitting is slow. This weekend we were able to move the rhubarb in the large garden, finish cleaning it up and we got it rototilled. The rototiller then stopped working so the greenhouse garden didn't get done. The man has to see what is wrong with it tonight.

In the greenhouse the cabbage, broccoli, millet, and sunflowers all have their second leaves. The huckleberry, green zebra, reisentraube, blondekopchen and basil are up. There is no sign of the roma, amish paste, ground cherry, wasipinion or black krim and only 1 red cabbage. I think I am going to start another flat of amish paste with more seed just so I know I have them as they are my main tomato. If the garden were ready I would plant the lettuce. I might just put some in pots.

Today, fter doing my civic duty, I intend to move some elderberry plants and perennial sunflower. I also have to find a better place for the currants.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April days

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."
- Robert Frost

I think I go into a winter hibernation also and when Spring arrives I am always amazed at what I can pack into a day.

Monday I drove Mom on errands. Tuesday, I had things to do. But on Wednesday we kicked butt. We moved her swing out of the garage. Mom started raking the garden and when I went down I pulled the old corn stalk stubs and pulled the old cabbage roots. The blackberry canes that I hadn't finished in the fall, I cut and the tops were trimmed back to 6 feet on the new canes. I had to move some asparagus plants from the large garden to the greenhouse garden as they were now in an annoying space. So I dug them up and dug a section in the greenhouse garden and planted them. Hopefully they will like being by the other asparagus I have planted there. I pulled up the black plastic that we used around the squash and raked that whole area.

There is still 1/4 of the garden to finish cleaning up, which will be done after driving Mom around today. Then we are going to transplant some rhubarb. Her's isn't up yet so I am hoping it won't affect it too much. I also have extra blackberry plants that need to be transplanted.

The weather has been amazing. Today we are expecting 72. I have a cardinal family that comes to the feeders everyday now and yesterday I saw my first gold finch of the season. The woodpecker can be heard in the woods and the barn swallows abound. The red tailed hawk flies over and the rooster warns his flock. Their music and antics make the time spent outside so enjoyable.
On the farm front, I started leaving the duck eggs in the nest on Sunday so hopefully she will go broody soon, it worked last year. The lambs are getting bigger and soon we will be getting the pigs, roaster chicks, and turkeys.

And fiber has not been forgotten. On Monday evening the Selbuvotter glove NHM#7 looked like this before I pulled it all out and I switched to a large needle. As of this morning it now looks like this. I love these gloves. I keep needing to see one more row, no one more! It is addictive. But, I have also managed in the past week to finish these-small projects with no thought involved. I still have to finish the poncho which has been sadly neglected. But right now I need to go put dinner in the crockpot and open the greenhouse, still have to decide where everything is going to be planted, start weeding the flower beds......

Monday, April 14, 2008

da Vinci Weekend

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Everyone needs a break because everyone has a to-do list a mile long and we are no different. Friday while I was taking one of those breaks outside the greenhouse; sitting and trying to decide how I wanted to plant the garden, I discovered this… Self-seeded Osaka Purple Mustard and Asparagus!!!! The rest of the family really didn’t care, they had bigger fish to fry (literally) which is why Friday night found the kids outside in the rain getting worms for Saturday…opening day of trout season. Not to be missed by the man ….who still hadn’t picked up his license even though it had been paid for.
Saturday morning we did a complete cleanup of the barn, went to the feed store, went and bought more hay, went to the grocery store and finally picked up his license. After packing a lunch we made our way to the river. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was hot but a slight breeze made it comfortable.
Everyone else fished while I walked the shore and took pictures. The floods change the course of the river and usually this is our first look at what has changed. This my favorite part of the river, where it goes around a bend and you can't see what is there. To find out, you have to first walk across the field of ankling twisting rocks!Sometimes you can even find things there to take pictures of, little oddities that just don't seem to belong there...And when you get around the bend there is another bend which you can go explore or you can stop and smell a lone flower! After several hours we left with a stringer full of nothing! Supposedly they just missed a big one!!! We did the evening chores and took a washer out to #1 daughter, stopping at KFC on the way home.
Sunday dawned cooler and windier which actually worked in our favor as the day was spent doing more labor intensive work than casting a line. We replaced a 4 x 4 by the garden gate, replaced two broken fence posts and repaired the fence. We planted 6 Nanking Cherry’s, cleaned out the chicken coop, went and picked up a wider door/frame for the basement and the countertop and got the rototiller up and running.

It was a wonderfully exhausting weekend which didn't seem so exhausting while taking those little rests.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Face forward

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror”. Byrd Baggett I was thinking too much about how I could have changed things, second guessing still. I finally had to motivate, I screwed up but I have to learn from my mistakes and not make them again.

So Monday as a diversion, I finished off the Ice Queen Version A
and the Belle Starr hat.I decided to start the Selbuvotter NHM#7 but hit a snag so asked to join the Yahoo group hoping to find answers.

Tuesday morning I received my approval, searched the archives and there was the answer! I love the internet! I got up to row 7 on the palm/back. I had to stop to take #2 Son to the the ear, nose and throat Dr who did not like son's ear so put him on an antibiotic. We go back for a follow up and hearing test in three weeks. Hopefully he doesn't need another set of tubes.

Today Mom went for blood work and her shot in her shoulder. She said it hurt worse after he was done playing with it than it did before she got there. Hopefully the shot works and she will be able to use her right arm more. She wields an awesome hoe and the garden will need tending soon!!! I was able to finish a dishcloth while in the waiting rooms.

The three bottle babies are getting bigger. I still bring them bottles but they also drink the replacer out of a bowl. Last night a friend agreed to take the two boy's -McFlurry
and FrostyThat's their baby pictures...they don't stand still long enough for me to take new ones!

I was able to get into the greenhouse this afternoon and here is where we stand right now…
On 4/2 I planted... and as of today
Tapestry millet (saved seed) nothing up
Atlantic Broccoli (Victory) several coming up
Bonanza Broccoli (from store/Burpee) all up
Arugula(store/Burpee) all upLeek (Agway) nothing up
Grand Rapids Lettuce(Fer/Morris) all up
Blk Seeded Simpson (store/Burpee) all up
Late Flat Dutch Cabbage (Victory) couple up
Hopi Black Sunflower one up

Today I planted
Amish Paste (SSE)
Huckleberry (SSE)
Ground cherry (SSE)
Wapsipinicon Peach Tomato (SSE)
Green Zebra Tomato (saved seed)
Reisentraube Tomato (saved seed)
Blondekppchen Tomato (saved seed)
Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage (last years left over seed from Victory )
Roma Tomato (Store/Burpee left over from last year)
Black Krim (saved seed)

I am late getting most of it started but ahead on some from last year and all turned out pretty good then so I am not going to worry about it.
Tomorrow is Uncle F's doctor appointments. Before we leave I want to get the greenhouse garden ready to rototill and a rough draft of where I am going to put everything. Hopefully this weekend I can pick up the potatoes and really be ahead of things!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves.” ~Peter McWilliams
I was raised on a small dairy farm. Being raised such we knew that we were responsible for the animals well being. Some of our animals were raised for food and I never felt guilt over that as they were raised well. Then there was a long hiatus from farming and lessons were forgotten.

Several years ago I got a “free” horse. This led quickly to chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, a calf, and when I started spinning fiber animals. They started with two angora goats, added a year old wether that was on his way to the butcher, two Finn ewes and last year a Finn ram. And as much as I would like to shirk my responsibility and say it is the man’s fault because he never tells me “no”, I can’t do that. This is all my fault. I thought I had thought everything through.

Long range planning does not deal with future decisions but with the future of present decisions.~ Peter F. Drucker

The goat, wether and ram were in one field, the ewes in another and all was well. Then in October we merged the two in hopes of lambs. Then in a freak moment we got a great deal on two calves which was too good to pass up. We put them in the field where the ewes had been. Fast forward to this Spring. We divided the sheep area in the barn to get the girls away from the boys for the impending births. Then we divided the girls side into a lambing jug, a creep area and general area with a small fenced yard.

I turned into a freak (complete understatement) worrying about the births and if all would go well, would all the lambs make it, etc. etc. etc. Thankfully all went well with the deliveries. The one ewe delivered three and one came to the house to live with me. Three weeks later the second ewe delivered three and two eventually came to the house to live with me. When the little bottle lambs are put back with the girls they fling them all over so we have to keep them separated. Here is the problem..no room in the barn. I can’t put the girls back in their field because the calves are in there. I can’t put the girls back with the boys because I don’t want them pregnant again. I can’t put the bottle lambs in with the girls. I can NOT keep three lambs in my house.

I had already decided that I was not going to breed again anytime soon, as it all of a sudden dawned on me that I wasn’t breeding to get milk like from a cow or something I needed. I was breeding because lambs are cute. I can’t keep them all, well I could but I shouldn’t! I like lamb chops/roasted leg of lamb but even I can’t eat the bottle babies now. So why breed and make more that I have no plans for. OH decisions, decisions, decisions.

Decisions are the endless uncertainties of life that we'll not know if they’re right until the very end, so do the best you can and hope its right. ~Lily Collins

When I was talking to a friend about my lambs, she had said a friend of hers uses Finn to breed Suffolk. So I made a call to see if she could call and find out if her friend would like a free ram.Last night we drove Smuffin an hour away to my friends house and she will deliver him to his new home. Then I cried and the man and I didn’t talk the whole ride home.

“Guilt is regret for what we’ve done.
Regret is guilt for what we didn’t do.”

I feel I had to do this but I had to because I failed to prepare properly. I feel I used him in a way and threw him aside. I regret I was not acting responsibly when I got him and I am hoping that this decision is the responsible thing to do for his future.

So this morning the bottle babies went up to live in the barn on the ewe‘s side. We had already taken down the lambing jug. We removed the creep area from the ewe’s side and built a creep area on what was the boys side and moved the ewes with the lambs they kept over to that side of the barn and pasture. During weaning time the those lambs will be taken from the mom’s and put in with the bottle babies.

Hopefully this whole experience is a lesson that I will take with me and in future realize that I have to show more restraint and fully understand my obligations to the animals entrusted to me.

"The purity of a person's heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals" ~ Anonymous

I feel like a cold black-hearted person right now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blissful Exhaustion

I'm knocked out, I've never felt so physically and mentally exhausted, I'm quite stupid with it and long only for bed; but I am happy... Claude Monet

Mom was suppose to go have her hair done this morning, but the hairdresser is also a bus driver and someone ran into the rear of her bus - luckily nobody was hurt. Since I didn't have to drive mom to her appt, I made full use of the time....I entered the greenhouse. It was windy and only got up to 45 outside but was 70+ inside.

Aila (the bottle lamb) came with me to keep me company. Soon there was the meow of the cat at the door and things started to get crowded. Then I found proof we had another occupant, which meant that there were three too many in that greenhouse. I vanquished all but me and was finally able to get somethings done.

A couple of weeks ago I had managed some cleaning but more was required. I sorted thru all and I mean all the containers, tossed some, set some aside for a friend, and only kept ones that were of similar size. After straightening everything out, I got down to some serious playing in the dirt. I started two different broccoli, cabbage, two different lettuce and some arugula. Then I had to go shower so I could go to the Post Office before they closed as they had two packages for me. One package was cranberry bushes I had ordered and the other was a surprise package from my cousin. It was a pound of wool! I have to email the enabler and thank her and find out what kind it is.

The camera and lighting has not been very co-operateive in photo-ing the new lambs. Hoping things would be better I put the recharged batteries in the camera and took it to the barn. When I got there the lambs were laying outside of the jug. I put them back in and mom didn't want to let the two boys nurse pushing them away but would let the black girl. I checked her to make sure she was okay and she was so I held her up against the wall and let them get their full. Then during evening chores she would let one of the males nurse but not the other so we held her again and then she was fine and didn't push him anymore. I will have to keep a close eye on her and I think I will leave her in there for a few more days.

With out further ado, the blogger debut of lamb batch #2. On the left is Sable, jet black except for that patch of white on her head. Her wool is about an inch long already with no crimp. The one on the right is a boy named Frosty. He is the smallest one, and the one mom kept pushing away.
Frosty in the front and McFlurry in the back. You can't see it in the picture that well he (McFlurry) has long straight wool on his face but his body is going to be crimpy. That's cardboard behind them as the man tacked it up as he didn't want them laying next to the cinderblock wall as he said it would be cold!

In other fiber news, I have finished 11 of 14 pattern repeats on the Ice Queen but made no more progress on the poncho. Mom's appt has been rescheduled to tomorrow so hopefully I can get the Queen's repeats done. Right now I am off to relax before calling it an early night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Out like a Lamb/All Fool's Day

"The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools' Day.
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment."
- Poor Robin's Almanac, 1790
I am NOT joking when I say March went out like a lamb! My second ewe had her lambs late yesterday afternoon. She had two white boys and a girl who is jet black with a white topcap. Momma and babies are all doing fine. I am so glad it is over with, now the kids just need to pick some names. I will try to get some pictures today.

In other news the native residents are all over. These two toms were so involved in showing off to each other that they didn't care that most of the hens had already gone up into the woods! The deer are all coming down into the fields and lawns to munch on that first green grass. I am just hoping the fox and coyote's stay far away.

On the homefront, I feel like I am ahead of the game for the first time. The flower garden around the pond is all raked and so is the front yard. And the pile in the greenhouse garden got burnt. I was going to move on to the big garden yesterday but it rained. Rain is expected for today too so I am just going to run errands. Hopefully I will get back home early enough to get into the greenhouse and get some seeds started.

In fiber news I am still working on the Ice Queen (4 of 14 repeats done) and the poncho. I am saying the Ice Queen will be done by the end of the week....sooner if it rains more this week.