Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Grass Is Always Greener

Poor Lila.

"I sure wish we could go over there to that field."

"HEY LADY!!!  A little help with this gate please?!?"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sheep Humor

I love the look on Eli's face :-).

"What on earth are you doing, Murphy?"

"I'm trying to reach some of those yummy pine needles."

"But it's so cold that now my tongue's frozen to the metal fence!"

*   *   *   *   *

It ain't even remotely cold here.  And it's so humid that the jeans I hung out on the line the other day never dried.  Then I weed wacked the plug for the filter on my pool.  Try to get an electrician to come out and fix that!  The next day we had a lightning storm and my computer got popped (I guess) and wouldn't boot up.  I worked on it off and on all day.  Nothing. Saint Tim comes home and touches it and it fires right up (read that with sarcastic sing song voice).  

I've sent him out to work on the pool!

**  Update - he fixed it!!!!!  The boy can do anything :-D.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Same Trees, Different (Time Of) Day

A rainbow for Linda at Life on a Colorado Farm :-D.

This is the same rainbow as above, just a different angle.  I love how it's arcing over the barn to the sheep.

Or to the barn...depending on where you're standing.

Poor Baaxter, he's been without his beloved jungle gym/tree fort/rocket ship* for over a week.  It's been a long, sad week for a heartbroken little lambie.  As soon as I pulled into the paddock, up he jumped, much relieved.

And even happier when the Gilbert was out of his way.  Yes, our mower has a first name.  And a last name, Brown.  Gilbert Brown was a heavy duty Green Bay Packer - The Grave Digger - and this farm would fall apart without him.  And Baaxter's trailer ;-).

*Yes, Woody did finally figure out how to jump on the trailer, but after the initial fun wore off, the three New Yorkers completely lost interest.  Not Baaxter!  He loves that trailer.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

The view from the back porch.

From the driveway.

I couldn't decide which of these I liked the best.  One thing I DO time this happens, I'm going to go up and walk around in there!  Doesn't it look like you could just wrap your arms around a big sunbeam?

Sunday Stills - Flower Gardens

The key to this week's challenge is to get the whole garden, not individual flowers…

From left to right - butterfly bush, dye garden, zinnias, borage, sunflowers and lavender.  Those are tomatoes looking messy on the end. You should be able to click to biggify. To see the flowers, not the messiness ;-).

I love foggy mornings.

The boys, coming out to see what I'm up to.

And here comes everyone else.  Time for breakfast.

And no flower garden is complete without a cat :-).

For more Sunday Stills Flower Gardens...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Adventures In Handspinning

A week or so ago I teased you with a "guess who this is" basket of half spun yarn.  While I'm chomping at the bit to spin Maisie's yarn, I'm making myself hold off as long as possible because I'm sure I'm going to want to cast on as soon as it's done and I really, really, really want to knit her for the 2015 Iknitarod (not that far away!).  Here's another clue.

Hmmm - looks like someone curly ;-).

I love how the character of the sheep shines through into the yarn.  Maisie's yarn probably won't look significantly different between spinning and washing to set the twist, but as soon as some hot water hits a curly fleece, boing!

Here it is before washing.

A closer look. 

800 yards of 32 wraps per inch yarn.  Perfect for a special lace project.

It didn't start out "perfect".  And while I've yet to spin a perfect yarn, it needed to be a bit more perfect than it was.  I must have fallen asleep halfway through plying and a huge chunk was waaay under-plied.  While it didn't fall apart, it wasn't "right", so I stewed on how to fix it.  Almost anything with yarn is fixable, especially if you've got the right tools.

You can live without a good skein winder.  You can wrap yarn around other things like a big box or board to skein it.  You can get your sweetie to hold the skein while you unwrap it to wind a yarn ball.  You can try setting your skein down on the floor board during a long car trip to wind your yarn ball.  Actually, don't try that!  Don't ask me why I know ;-).

What I really should have said above is you can live without a skein winder.  What is hard to live without is a GOOD skein winder.  Don't ask me how I know that as well.  I now have a good skein winder.  It's an Andy Nistock hand crafted winder/swift.  With a counter.  That works exceptionally long as you remember to write. down. the. number.  Don't ask me how I know that either.

397 times around.

I had the arms set out to the 2 yard mark.  Actually, I like to set them a hair past the mark just to give myself a little extra padding, especially if the yarn is super stretchy.  This yarn isn't, but still.  So, 397 x 2 = 794 yards (or just under 800 yards in crazysheeplady maths ;-).

Next I take a scrap piece of yarn and tie off each stretch between the arms with a loose figure eight to help secure the yarn before washing.  Then, loosen one of the adjustable arms and off comes a perfectly wound and counted skein.  

Here's where the not so perfect part comes in:

Because part of my yarn was under-plied and I wanted to fix that, I stopped after the winding it from the bobbin onto the skein winder part.  I then took the loose end of the yarn, hooked back onto my bobbin and proceeded to slowly unwind the skein back onto the bobbin, adding a bit more twist in the spots that needed it.  

I could only do that because the winder is so free spinning and smooth. You can tension it or completely un-tension it with the knob in the center.  And interestingly, my first wind off after plying was 398 times, so I added enough new twist to shorten the overall length by 2 yards.  I think this yarn is much better. Still not perfect, but very pretty and special and ready to knit.

It's washed and drying on the porch.  It will then go back on the skein winder/swift and lickety split I'll have a ready to knit center pull ball of yarn.

Now to pick my pattern...

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Looks like Robin and I are trading blog posts today!  I'd salvaged enough of Burrnie's first awful shearing to make her a hat.  She posted pictures (that I forgot to take :-o) on her blog today. Thanks, Robin :-D.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Around The Water Cooler

Some time ago I tossed out a handful of cracked corn to a chicken standing at the feed room door. Once was all it took.  Now I have to "pay up" every morning.  And not only the chickens come running, but half the birds in the neighborhood as well.  They tootle around cleaning it up and then go get a big drink from the cat and dog water bucket.  I like when everyone gets along and shares. Maybe we could learn something from these "dumb" animals.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hank's Hideout

During the day, especially hot days, Hank holes up in the single stall on the left side of the barn aisle. The big door slides over and covers enough of the small doorway that only Mia and Maisie and one time Blossom (how on earth?!?) can fit under there.  Mostly he has his hideout all to himself.  

Maisie joins him in the afternoons and I frequently find him turned over on his back, sleeping with all four legs in the air.  The mornings though he's still on duty, always watchful.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Best. Cat. Ever.

I know that many of you would vote for Betsy, but other than baby sitting baby lambs...she's really a pretty naughty cat.  Comby, on the other hand, clocks in hours and hours of solid citizen service.  I saw him sleeping curled up with the sheep planter this evening and tried to take a quick pic.  He saw me and immediately jumped up.  

"I'm awake!  What are we doing?  Oh, you're walking all the way out back to check the rams?  Okay, I'm coming."

And away we marched, me, Iris, Weaslie and my trusty cat, Comby, off into the sunset :-).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aging Gracefully

Or else Weaslie's just given her a LOT of gray hair!

Fiber And Flowers

I was setting up a "photo shoot" and couldn't pass up a few more flower photos.  Guess who this is.

The dahlias are blooming now.

This one looking back towards the mighty purple loosestrife.

More prisoner plants.  Everything's behind bars around here.  The chickens love these poor blanket flowers. Or at least the dirt they're planted in.  Here's a fun blast from the past :-D. Those X Pens come in handy for just about anything!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Complicated

A few leftover pictures from the other evening.

I wish the dye garden showed up more.  I could take down that black fence...but then I wouldn't have a dye garden any more ;-).

Woody looks pretty sweet and innocent in this picture, but he's the ring leader. For everything.

"Who me?"

I'm thinking about moving Hershey, Daniel and Chocula into the boy's pen to start slowly introducing them to the big kids.  I'd add Burrnie in too...but he'd miss Maisie.  Daniel doesn't like to be separated from the main flock though (babysitting Burrnie was hard on him)...but he wouldn't want to be separated from his brothers either.  Grahammy?  That's all Woody needs - some encouragement from the master of trouble.  Keebs. Doesn't. Babysit.

"Oh, Uncle WILL-ard..." ;-)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Always Up To Something

All this in less than 30 minutes...

"I don't think that's a head rest, Murphy."

"I'm pretty sure this box is supposed to do something."

"And I bet it has something to do with this lid."

That's an old automatic waterer that has a leak in it that needs repair.  Before winter.  Where has this year gone!

"Hey, come here, Weaslie.  We want to, um, tell you something."

Weaslie's heard all that before ;-).

Baaxter knows how to get to those leaves...but he ain't telling ;-).  


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