Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last of the births for a while

Amy calved this morning! One little bull calf. So her record to date is bulls-3, heifers-0. Lars was the lucky one to bring the news, she'd calved just before he dropped the morning feed. Dang he's cute, he's also destined for the freezer. He's been out exploring, trying to romp and keeping Mama busy....I guess somethings never really change. Amy's proving to be a good mom, with the way she kept those two steers groomed we weren't too worried about it, but you never know. So, here we go! My year is starting a month early, whether I'm ready or not. I was sitting the other day thinking it's kind of like being excited about someone dumping a pile of paperwork in front of you and going crazy with anticipation. Another reason that I question my sanity on a regular basis. Yep, I do it every Spring with the garden....oh yay! Can't wait to get it all planted so that I can stand over a steaming canner while it's 105 out with no a/c and firmly convinced that winter can't get here soon enough.

This morning was filled with the flurry of our first calf, I'm not sure where the afternoon flew off to, probably somewhere less chaotic. So this evening was catching up on the Christmas baking (I learned a few years ago not to start this too soon). My first couple of batches of gingerbread disappeared mysteriously within 2 days. Amazing, there must be a gingerbread vortex somewhere in the kitchen. So I was off to get dinner in front of the masses and bake. I still have "one" batch left, but I now have 100+ gingerbread men sitting on my counter. Yes, I counted, I'm also keeping track of the how many have been authorized to report to duty. Phase 1 is almost complete, but I ran out of steam. Phases 2-4 will begin tomorrow and continue on through the afternoon. That should have me well placed for the end of the week, provided I can fend them all back for a couple of days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How time flies

I do think about getting posts to the blog, really. Life keeps getting in the way, pesky life.

So what's new around the farm? Cold. It's cold. We've warmed up last night to a balmy 6 for the day's low, I think it got up to 24 yesterday afternoon. There's a slight dusting of snow, so I'm enjoying that....of course more would be nice (hopefully the powers that be are listening). Yes, I know that winter hasn't even officially arrived, but Christmas falls just a mere 4 days after said "official" date and I do love a white Christmas. Besides, if I'm going to become a living icicle it would be nice to have Cousin Snow to hang out with.

All the animals have been heat lamped, tucked in deep straw, tank heatered all the fun of the wintertime that comes with living here. The young rabbits are now all weaned, moms are getting a winter break. I have fingers crossed for baby Angoras this next week. Amy is bagging up, so there will be a calf soon.

Christmas decorations have been up for some time, still a few to finish but all will be in place for the holiday. I finished a couple of outside projects this last week, so now it's time to settle into the house and start baking. Oh yum!

Justin has been in New Mexico for the last couple of weeks for training, will be nice to have him home soon.
There's the news, time to stoke the fire and get the day in full gear. Maybe today I can foil the pigs so there's no out of pen romping...maybe...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sickness and such

It's got to be flu if Leif sleeps all day and I lay there not operating knitting needles. I dislike sick, but it does give me time to be crafty....I abhor sick if all I can do is lay there. None the less that's pretty much how I spent my time, that and checking Leif's fever. I do wonder though, if you're running a fever, can you reliably check someone else for a fever?
*If you're wondering where the thermometer is, cause that would make sense, join the club. It beeps you see and said above sick child gains endless amusement from making it beep while healthy and feverless....which of course means an issue arises when he is sick and with fever.*

Luckily, Justin was able to take that first day off and part of the second to oversee the household. Of course he'd had a run with some kind of creeping crud the week before. Although his was more of a hit you over the head and drop you to your knees kind of crud, didn't really creep up on him at all.
Now I'm just waiting for the rest of them to fall. It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when and this season is like some kind of sick and twisted pick a path for illness. There all manner of sickness, all of which I'd rather avoid but they seem to be very vigorous.

Rabbit trail: I loved those Pick-a-path books when I was a kid! They were fantastic, since you could read the same book and have a different story line each time. Can't find them, I've looked. I would love to get some for the kids though.

Well the beef and goats are in the freezer. No more Boyos for the moment. A word to the wise, be careful about what you use to call the bovines in with. If feels odd to have to call "Hey Boyo" to a cow.
Very tasty. The kids really enjoyed the goat, wasn't sure about that one. There's pepperoni cooking at the butcher now, so we'll have 25lbs of goat-a-roni soon as well.

I have more yarn spun up, playing with dyeing, some I'm liking more than others. Life threw a curve so I haven't gotten my shop up and running as soon as I'd have liked but I'll get there. I'm also trying to knit up socks and holiday stuff....oh the life of the insane.

Still haven't butchered the chickens, you have to admire my procrastination technique on this one though. I'm fairly sure I've out done myself with this one. I'll be canning them, now that's going to be great to have my own home-canned "dump and cook" in the pantry! Beef is on the list as well, figure I'll just settle in and pick a week to can which time I'll butcher the chickens...makes sense.....right? I could in theory stretch this out another few weeks since it would make sense to butcher when there's rabbit to can as well. Yes I've thought of that, no I probably won't do that.
Well....I'm not planning on it at the moment.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easing up

As it always seems to happen, life looks like it's going to ease up a little. I have (most days) stopped trying to understand how this works, but one day I look around and it's calm again. Now this could be the calm before the storm, probably since Halloween is on Saturday. Talk about chaos:
(5 kids+candy+knowledge of community bowl coming)vortex sugar consumption=H.
The math is pretty basic, the outcome never varies, the day after is always ugly.

I do love the equation though! Today the kids and I spent the afternoon putting up "The Webs". These were a request by Leif and his excitement and enthusiasm made it so much fun. The thought did run through my mind that store bought cobwebs are much whiter than the homegrown variety. It also occured to me that I was putting up cobwebs...on purpose...when I already had plenty to begin with! Mine aren't as pretty, I admit. The younger three then spent the evening drawing spiders (mostly black widows) for the webs.
Okay, you might ask me how much I'm loving it on Sunday. For right now, it's wonderful. Yes it's time for me to break out the "You could climb Mt. Everest in your underwear and this" coat, layering my fleece pj bottoms under my jeans, I have that nagging knowledge rattling around that very soon my nosehair will start to freeze when I go outside (I hate that by the way). From November to March I'm not like an onion, I am an onion.
My layers have layers.
If I'm not layered, I'm stuffed between the woodstove and the wall (this area is now referred to as "Mom's spot" by the kids). So why should I be looking forward to it so much?? Like today, the house smells of pumpkin spice muffins, a ham bone simmering away to make soup and woodsmoke. Snow.
Soon, I'm going to have a day where I can sit and watch the snow fall. To go outside and hear a muffled world. A full moon over crystalized snow is one of my favorite things to see. It makes not being able to bend my knee past a 35 degree angle and knowing Congress can come to a decision faster than I can get dressed in the morning, for 4 months worthwhile....for 3 months at least (that last month I'm ready for Spring to show up).
I guess I should get started on those thrummed hats!...and the socks....and scarves....or I should get started spinning so I can get all those things made.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


"This is...hey, hey! Jim Neville from Belmont"
Yes, I'm quoting lines from The Black Stallion, do you have any idea how many times I've seen it lately? This is pay back, I just know it. When you add how many times I tortured my mom with this movie growing up plus what I'm watching now, I probably hold the world record for single movie viewing. I do still love this movie, but could do without the daily viewings. There are movies I'd rather not add to the "Thanks! but oh isn't that sad, I have chickens that need decapitation and eviceration....maybe another time." The Black Stallion movies should not be added to this list.

Butchering time! Steers and goats had dates with the knackers. This makes three animal types I've watched and still stand firm that I'd rather pay them to do it than fumble through it myself. Sure, I'd do it if I had to, but I don't so I won't. Besides, you can't beat driving across the road and picking up neat little bundles, freezer ready.
The rabbits are growing nicely, oh are they cute little buggers. They're eyes should be opening over the next few days, they are getting fur, and their ears aren't plastered to their heads anymore. Yes, they're still going into stew.
I just took a canning meat and seafood workstop, that's got me thinking of all kinds of canned goodness when the meat comes back from the butchers, the rabbits and chickens. While I was there, I had the lid checked for the canner as well. Go figure, may not look it, but it's still spot on. She even tested it twice. The needle doesn't sit in the zero anymore (this is one of Justin's Grandma's canners), but tested true each time.
I had to sign a release for before she did it, can you believe that?? Right, I'm going to sue the WSU if we all die from food poisening or botchilism. It does make me wonder if I can hold Revereware responsible for all those failed dinners over the years. Yes, I'm joking, yes it's a pet peeve.

The flue has descended upon our house. To date, Justin has had it the worst (probably the flu that no one wants to admit is here). He took 3 days off, considering it's a 4 day work week, that's amazing for him-who-does-not-take-sick-leave. It's settled in his chest, but I have something in my snake oils cupboard for that. Malina has had a head and chest, far different from what her dad had. I'm fighting something, not sure which, hit me last night out of nowhere. Doing better today, but still feeling sluggish. Figure I'd rather fight it than get it, watching my hubby over the last week has kept me firmly planted on the couch not willing to chance it. The rest of the kids are all doing just fine. I'm not sure what the hibernation time is, but I figure if anyone is going to catch the mutant strain from their dad it will show this week sometime.

There's what's new with us for now!

New Addition

So can you figure it out? Radar believes (I think as most cats do from their very narcissistict view of life) that I've provided him with a very nice cat domain.

"While I appriciate your efforts, I know there's still liver in the fridge."
There you have it, a loom. Yay! I can start weaving now!! I've always wanted to have a stab at this and I'm loving it. Like spinning, it's very relaxing. This is a single heddle and from what I've been (trying) to read on the net, just what I want to start with. Going up from here, there are charts. Hmmm. I'm sure it's easy once you get started but right now it's making about as much sense as immitation cheese food.

Rabbit trail: Really, go check it out at the grocery store. You have cheese, cheese food (imitation of cheese) and then you'll find immitation cheese food. So it's an immitation of an immitation, which makes me wonder just what is it made from? If cheese is made from milk, cheese food has some milk product it in somewhere and some other unknown begs to wonder what the immitation is an immitation of? Talk about a brain bender, better than chickens and eggs.

For now the loom is living in the living room (good place to live). I was feeling like a troll when it was in the basement, much easier to interact with everyone when I'm where they are.

This is what's on there currently, well one of what's on there. They're scarves, a bit wide, but will be great doubled over. Hopefully (flu and cold bugs floating around the house) I'll have these finished today, the one in the pic is finished, working on #2 right now. Then of course, it's on to warping it for the next project. ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Farm babies!

I guess it's not too surprising that the rabbits win this prize, but our first farm babies are 2 litters of New Zealand/Californian cross. All are doing well at the moment. Stats:
Olga: 8 with one death, 7 live
Hildegard: 8 live
So the rabbitry has grown from over night! Amazing how that works. These are both first litters for the does. All the babies are good sized, moms made great nests. Yay! Yes, we've officially gone from having rabbits to a rabbitry.
Rabbitry. I find that word mesmorizing for some reason. It sounds so very British in my head. The i, t, r and y just kind of roll into eachother, isn't that right old boy...hmmm?! ah, quite right, quite right. It's such a good thing that my internal dialog stays internal, for the most part.
I'm very excited! First births on the farm, it's a milestone. This is going to be a year of firsts for us, those big firsts. First "big" meat animals going off to butcher. They're supposed to be big, but I think a Dexter (no not the cartoon character, the bovine breed) jumped a fence somewhere. First breedings and births. It's going from starting up to operating and replenishing the livestock, feels good to have hit this stage.

When they're older, I'll get some pictures of the litters up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Overcast and rain

Fall has definately arrived here in the valley. Ask me in the mornings as I'm rolling out of bed sans fire and I'll tell you it's Winter. Yesterday afternoon the skies clouded over and the rain came, there's been some form of moisture descending ever since. I've noticed that I don't mind this kind weather when it's not a constant for months out of the year. Actually, today was a good day to sit and knit during the I did! Justin's second sock (considering he's got two feet this is really necessary) is almost finished.
Tomorrow I need to gear up the great laundry battle again, I'm starting to win. I can start to pack away the summer things and get out the heavy winter items (more laundry, egads!). We've hit mid October, it's time to start decorating for Fall!
I can't believe it's already mid October! Where did this year go anyway? You know, I try to follow my Great-Grandma's advice and live a day at a time, but I'd really like to ask her if they're supposed to go by this fast or not. I always think of her this time of year. Maybe it's the baking, the memories of a fluffy white head drifting around the kitchen and the smells that wafted out of that room when she was in it and her whisptles. She never did learn to whistle, although she did love it.
"When I was a girl, it wasn't lady like to whistle. That was something boys did, even after it was acceptable, I just couldn't get the hang of it."
In almost a century, she never did learn how whistle but she did whisple with style! You'll find that somewhere between a whisper, hum and a whistle. Sometimes, you could hear the song in it and recognize it. I can still hear that sound. It's funny but I've caught Lars whispling on occassion, caught myself doing it a time or two.

Rainy days are good for so many things! Of course as with all else in life, moderation aides appriciation.

Just Chillin'

We had a bit of a name issue, so Chong became Jeebs (reference Men In Black).

Yesterday was musical rabbit for the kids. It was wet and dark out, good day to just chill with a bunny.

Bruce and Jeebs (I don't think either of them moved much for 30 minutes)

Lars and Jeebs
Jeebs parked out here for almost an hour, had a nice little nest going.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall on the farm

It's definately fall here on the farm! Justin turned off the irrigation last weekend, the PUD calls it off this Thursday. While frost has been calling a visit over night, we had a low in the teens the other night, yeah that was just a bit chilly to say the least.
The steers will go off to the butcher this week, the cow will go into the small pen for the winter and we'll move the horses over for easy keeping this winter. The goats will be going to the freezer and the goat project put on hold for a year or two.
The angoras have furred out nicely! It's time to start keeping them groomed, although Cheech made a Great Escape attempt the other day. They're look less like chop jobs and more like fluffy bunnies again.
We've been burning fires the last few days, the stove pulling it's duty well. Getting into the hallway is getting to be a grand adventure some nights! Between Daisy the hound with no undercoat, the cats who are willing to call a truce to sprawl and Seamus who fits himself into the mix on the cold nights, it's a jumble of bodies. One misstep causes a feline-canine chain reaction that while vastly entertaining, is not something you want to find yourself in the middle of. I have my place in the mix, right between the stove and wall.
I love Fall. It's a wonderful time of year, everything winds down to a close. It's a time of year to take stock, make notes, close the books and start gearing up for holiday baking. The earth seems to slip into it with ease each year. It's not a season to hit you upside the head without warning. The lighting is warm, even if the weather is cold. It's the time of year when coffee and hot chocolate taste the best. They aren't defenses against the cold as much as they are accompaniments.

Well there are the updates, for now at least. I have a good 6 loaves at least rising next to the stove so it's about time to get them into the oven. Then I think it's time for some popcorn, yum!

Kids' News

Ahh, the time of year for the first mid terms. Do you remember those? Lord I do. The time of year you got to find out how many more hours a night you were going to be spending hunched over your books like Gollum.
They're all do well! Bruce has achieved a first and currently holding the highest with all but one B in a sea of A! The rest aren't far behind and doing well with getting their work finished after school.

Lars has finished irrigation duties for the year. As Justin delivered the fateful news last weekend.
"Boys, I have good news and bad news for you. Good news, no more irrigation duties for the year.
*much smiles and cheering*
Bad news, since the irrigation is off, you need to start hauling water to the stock.
*Bruce from the backseat "oh yeah, I forgot about that."*"

Malina is loving school, usually ready by 9am, bus gets here at 11:50 and she's off to her learning. She's doing very well! Homework time is getting more complicated, but the older ones are pretty good about filling in when needed.
Anna is plowing through books like she's getting paid. I've lost track of how many books she's gone through since the beginning of the school year.
Leif has a great teacher this year and he's making progress by leaps and bounds.

The two older boys are doing very well. Lars is adjusting to Middle school, not as scary as he thought. Bruce is making the most of his final year outside of high school (okay that's just not right there) and really enjoying his woodshop elective!

There's the kid news! I need to sneak pics of them soon.

New Yarns and My News

These are the results of my last mad farmer's market dash.

Autumn Meadow

Vintage Rose

Okay, it's not comletely true, I'm developing a serious issue with dyeing yarn. Every skein a surprise, I love seeing how they turn out!

My other news? Well me and my new and daring self (notice the plural usage there) have opened a shop on Etsy.
Yes, I have.
Hand me a paper bag please.

Curious? Here's the link Lazy Squirrel Farm

I'll be setting up the shop and getting things listed over the next couple of weeks. This idea has been hovering in my mind over the summer and Justin's been giving me poke between the shoulder blades about it every now again. I had two runs at the Farmer's Market, with some success and positive reviews about the yarn, so I'm taking the next step. I'm also taking the next step because 3 hrs in the frigid Fall weather was a good incentive to find a way to do this in closer proximity to my woodstove!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I need professional help

So, I spent a couple of days, picking, flicking and carding. Spent today spinning. Why? I wanted to experiment in the kitchen with dyes. What happens? Not what I was aiming for, but I like them better than my original plan.
"There's no such thing as mistakes, only happy accidents."
Thanks Bob.
I'm now looking at two skeins that I'm planning on taking to the farmer's market this weekend. I'd rather not, but that's their purpose.

Harvest Moon

Autumn Wood

It seems to true when taking pictures of yarn, they never do them justice. Harvest Moon, while vibrant isn't glow in the dark. I love how Autumn Wood came out!

I'm still debating, it may not make it to the market, there's a pattern called Elvish Leaves....doesn't look like it's just begging to be knit up into a scarf called that?! *sigh* I wonder how may dilemas like this I'm going to have.

The problem that I'm facing now, I can't spin fast enough to keep myself in skeins to dye! I have a wonderful diversion from housework, it's fun to watch how the colors change as they dry. Ah well.

That's the latest! There'll be more to come, I'm doing housework at lightening speed (it's amazing what a little incentive will do) tonight, so that I can spin up another bobbin or two. Ugh! It's all just so addicting.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Houston, we have a problem"

How can you tell that you have lost all hope, you are addicted to fiber and your family unsure of what to do (or maybe unwilling to give up the products of said addiction) supports you.

Scene: peaceful living room, calm inhabitants, whir of a wheel going in the background.

All of a sudden there's a thunk. The wheel slowly comes to a halt, treadle is laying on the floor and everyone looks up stunned.

My ever faithful footman connector has died after 20 yrs. It gave up with no warning, unable to continue it's essential duty any longer.

*moment of silence*

No problem, figuring that it had limited life left I had bought a replacement when the wheel came home. Can I find it??? Noooo. It's 9pm. Stores are closed. My family is getting that deer in the headlights look.
Justin takes the peices out and examines them, I'm looking around, where did that fish tank tubing go? Glue stick? Something, anything for a temporary fix until a new piece gets here.
I stand there staring at the partly plied bobbin that is to be socks for him. I just need to finish plying, then I can knit and I'll be fine until I can reconnect my footman to the treadle.
Do I have a cupboard full of yarn ready to go? Yes, of course I do. What kind of fiber addict do you take me for anyway?? They're all for different projects, or I haven't decided what they're for, but I'm pretty sure J. won't go for lilac Kool-aide socks...even if they'll be hidden in boots.
Dear man quietly asks if I have some knitting I can do? No, nothing on needles at the moment.

"What about my socks?" Calm and soothing, I think he uses that voice to calm down hysterical people at work.
Well that's them, on the wheel.
Inside, I'm hysterical. My wheel is out of commission, this is clearly a time for panic and a VERY good argument for getting another know...backup.
Outside, I'm calm, I'll come to a reasonable solution...just give me a minute to finish my internal hysteria.

Okay, I'll spin the wheel by hand, if it takes me all night I'm going to get that bobbin plied. At this point Bruce sits on the floor, grabs the footman, Justin cheers him on "If Mom says slow it down, slow it down, speed up, speed it up son." So for the next 10 minutes my son sits and spins the wheel, bobbin is plied, he even directs me when it's time to change hooks.

Meanwhile, as I'm watching my son watch the yarn wind onto the bobbin, I'm thinking maybe I have a problem and God Bless'em my family is suporting me all the way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A picture is woth a thousand words

Or so they say, but pictures just don't do these guys justice.

Angoras of the Lagomorph variety.

I've been looking at pictures for years, snagging a quick peek at the fair. It just can't compair to getting up close and personal.

All of our working animals are here and getting started. So my first "fun" animals are here. That's not to say they aren't working, they'll provide this oooooh so wonderful fiber, great fertilizer and the kids love to sit with them and pet (judging from the sprawl, the rabbits don't mind either).

Yes, I bought my first Angora rabbits last weekend. There's a breeder, Sue, over by Colville at Daisy Hill Fiber Farm. I crossed paths with her via a friend who raises different breeds, but rabbits none the less, at Two Hunnyz Rabbitry. For the last year I've been waiting and drooling over Sue's website. We started the meat rabbits, last of the for sure work animals and I started the ball rolling on the fluffier version.
I had a wonderful late summer morning drive over Hwy 20, a little on the drizzly side but this time of year that's refreshing! I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon wandering her rabbitry and farm, listening and talking, fondling very soft rabbits. It ended with a testing of a couple of wheels I've never sat at before, seeing some of her yarn and roving.
A complete Mom day. Quiet, wonderful, full of fiber and an espresso. I'll be feeding off that day for a long time to come.

So here they are in all their glory.

She's a German/Satin Angora cross. Yep, she's that fluffy. Justin thinks she looks more like a disembodied head than a rabbit. LOL

He's a German/Satin cross. He'll be our new house rabbit. His other eye is a bit off, but he's a doll! During his hair cut, he spent it sprawled on my lap watching TV. After he was sprawled on whoever would let him.
Not pictured: Cheech
German/Satin Cross.
Yep, Cheech and Chong. He's a little more active than his brother, but still more than happy to lounge. Every time I go out to his cage, he's got this look like he's been up to mischief. He's currently sans coat at the moment.
They're all from the same litter and I have plans to go over in the Spring when she has Satin Angoras availible. Everyone has since had a haircut and pedicure.
Satin Angoras have a gloss to their coats, they look like they've gotten into my bottle of Shine Drops.
I'm working on a batt that's 25% Angora and 75% Targhee. As much as I'd love a 100% Angora, I'm going to wait a little while. Maybe next fall when I have more.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Me and mine

My entry.
It's filet crochet, vintage size 30 thread, size 10 steel crochet hook, 200 hrs for those curious about the details. The pattern is from an Elizabeth Hiddleson book and about the same era as the thread. It's backed on a very dark green velvet.
It's now over the couch, I've had that spot for it for the last two years. I'd taken the ribbons off, but the kids put them back. ;) What to do for next year? I'm not sure, I'm working on socks at the moment. I have another filet project that I'd like to do, two actually, but they're both going to take me a long time to finish.

Lars and Dougall

Lars and Dougall, doing their thing.

Lars demonstrating penning.

The bird swap and Lars getting to handle a smaller bird. If you look down the table you'll see Dougall doing his best to enforce is evil duck image.

Lars and his blue, with Dougall standing there very please with himself.

Yes, Dougall is hiding behind his ribbon. He and Lars did a great job for their first time at the showing table.

Anna and Starlight

Anna and Starlight in the spot light (say that 5 times fast)

Anna and her hen, see how well she's staying on the table?!

The bird swap, Anna had fun handling a different bird.

Ta Da!! She got a blue, not bad for first time out.

Adventures in Fitting and Showing, a novel

I'll start off with saying, no clue. Had no clue. Consider yourself warned.

Easy enough, right? You take your disease, bug free animal down and enter them into the fair. Sure I know that 4-H does more, we're an Open fair though. So I figure we put the birds in, hang around the barns and figure out it all out for next year. HA! Wroooong....soooo very, very wrong.

Then evening before the children catch up their innocent, unsuspecting birds, get them caged and wait for Dad to arrive (he's gone off to get hog panels.) I finish up in the kitchen, listening to one very peeved drake, the hen has settled down in her carrier. She's got no worries, food and water all to herself, it's cool, she's takin' a nap. The drake, well....he's not impressed.
Dad gets home, the children pounce, they're all ready to get this ball rolling! Animals get loaded, Dad gives the order to
"Load the Birds so we can get going."
"They are honey."
"oh....well come on, what are we waiting for?!"

We join the throng of entrants, vendors and families getting ready for the fair. It reminded me of the movie "The Greatest Show on Earth". The birds get settled into their pens, watered, fed and we find the Superintendent of the barn to find out what comes next. There's a fitting and showing clinic the next morning, hadn't planned on doing that but she'd like them to try it out. So, the kids are skeptical, Lars more so. He needs to what with his duck? Dougall, stand on a table? Riiiight. He's going to do it, not going to do it, going to do it, not going to do it. Finally he settles on a take it as comes basis. We all pile back into the Suburban and head for home.
I'm left wondering if entering is that chaotic, what are the next four days going to bring?!

Thursday morning dawns early! First day of fair, the children bound out of bed (they need to be there before 8am to clean out pens, water and feed their birds), eager to get to the barn. I need my coffee. At the gas station I opt for the supercharged caffine blend, long ago I learned the wisdom of planning ahead. The morning progresses, animals tended at the grounds, back here to get everyone else off to school, make sure Justin is ready for his day (work intruded on his vacation), morning chores, housework, feed the rest an early lunch, back to the grounds for fit and show clinic.
Hmmm.....confidence is waning. Okay, well we have the information, now to get Miss Meena to school, back home to get Justin, more house stuff, load everyone up that's back from school and off to the grounds to get some hands on time with the animals.
Starlight is doing well, Anna's wandering around asking if anyone wants to pet her chicken. Okay, now it's Lars and Dougall. The lady with years of experience proclaims "He's a handful." Oh dear.
Long and short of it, Dougall got hung upside down...after which he behaved quite well. Lars worked him and we decided to call it a day at about 7:30pm.

Friday, it's the big day. Fit and Show, 9am. Justin took the kids down to the grounds, I stayed at home to milk, do farm chores, just about needed a block and tackle to get Bruce out of bed, housework, packed the two coolers for us to eat out of, got everyone ready to spend the whole day down at the grounds, Justin picked the rest of us up while Lars and Anna stayed behind to get some last minute handling and instruction in. While they're waiting their turns, they're getting last minute tips, listening to the judge's comments, Lars's arm is getting tired. Dougall is all tucked in under his arm and has, at this point, resigned himself to his fate and getting a doze in.
Anna is up first, it's going great until the judge put a pen on the table and wants them to demonstrate how they put them in and take them out. Anna, I tell her to watch what the others do and follow suit, Lars has turned a greenish white....just watch son....and breath. Then another surprise, the judge switches everyone's birds. Anna took it in stride, does very well and gets her hen back. Lars is calming down some.
This goes off well, Anna's doing great until the chicken next to her decides it doesn't like her hen. It jumps her, they both go off the table.....and again....Anna's flustered at this point. A group is asked to leave, Anna in them. She puts her hen back, very disappointed. I go with her, talk, tell her it's okay and she and her hen both did fantastic for being first timers! Come on, her hen stood there like she'd been doing this days out of the egg and she's a working farm hen. Good dispositon on behalf of the hen and Anna's been packing her around for the last day. I know that Anna doesn't understand, but I was really impressed with both of them. Sometimes you just get bad luck with the line up.
Everyone is called back up and she gets a blue ribbon. Ahh, she feels better but I know she had her eye on that purple ribbon. Maybe next year. ;) Off she goes to put on Starlight's pen and back again to see how her brother does.
Lars is called, I know he's dreading putting Dougall on that table. Dougall has some surprises of his own though and stands there like a gentleman. He fussed a bit at first, but settled down to grooming...or trying to at least. Lars completed the penning excersize perfectly, the Superintendent was very impressed. Neither he or Anna really had any instruction in this. He was starting to calm down, the worst part was over.
Now for the bird swap, Lars got a Phoenix pullet, while the poor girl down the table looked like she'd just been handed Daffy's evil twin. Dougall may behave for Lars and the nasty lady that hung him upside down....but he was going to eat this girls buttons for breakfast! He did try too.
Lars also took a blue, put Dougall back and the two of the, Anna and Lars, put in their request for next year's birds. Lars has decided that this will be Dougall's only year at the fair. He's best suited to the life of a guard duck and is retiring to said life. Next year, he wants to do a Call drake...they're tiny little things. Anna has a range that she's considering, but has it down to Frizzle, Call duck and Silkie. She wanted to try geese...but Mom's not doing geese, no.
Bruce voiced that he would like to consider it for next year, Malina wants to, Leif was pretty oblivious...he had a germ on the end of a string that he was flying through the air.

Big breath. Done...nope. Saturday brought Poultry Judging. They didn't have enough of one breed to do a line up so we supplied a line of Speckled Sussex cockerals. Lars took Reserve Champion in this for Juniors. Listened to why the chickens were judged the way they were and knew which ones he got wrong.
It was a lot for Anna to take in all at once, people everywhere, she did listen but she's reading up some more now that she's home.
Friday and Saturday were the marathon days, stayed all day, came home did the housework, got dinner for everyone and collapsed.
Sunday, was quiet until 4:30pm. We'd made rounds during the previous 3 days and Justin talked with the people in the Rabbit barn. The result is that we now have 2 Californian does for free and a very nice New Zealand buck (he's just a little narrow through the shoulders, but for a first buck he's great) for $10. We bought the does cages and one of the nest boxes. Okay, I have a Suburban and 5 kids, a duck, a chicken, 2 does, 1 buck.....I ran out of room at 5 kids. I spent a couple of hours running animals and accessories home, doing a little connecting of my own and finally finished up at 7:30pm.
As for me? My filet crochet piece took Grand Champion *grin*. When I went to pick it up, there was excitement to see what I entered next year. Don't know, but I'll figure something out.

Next year is going to be crazy too, it just is, but at least I'll know what to expect, what I need and be able to line up my time better. There's always the proverbial monkey wrench but hopefully it won't be too bad.

Today, I have a date with the couch, remote and a pair of socks. Sounds like heaven.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fair Time!

So the fair comes to the Okanogan Valley again! I love fair.
This year we took the plunge and entered. Lars and Anna entered animals, I entered a crochet project. It's been a lot of fun, grueling, but fun. The kids are down at 7am to clean out pens everyday. Today they had their first taste of Fitting and Showing, more on that later, so we were there all day....oh boy. Two more days.
I'll know what I'm doing next year, so that should help. It's been a lot of flying by the seat of my pants the last couple of days and I do that soooo well *insert sarcasm here*.

In any case, I have to admit that I've really enjoyed just hanging out at the fair for a change! We've had the time to really look at the exhibits, split them up over the days and just meander. The kids have been able to watch their friends compete, congratulation them on their winnings, run around and just enjoy. Small town county fair, couldn't think of a better way to end a summer!

Bald Eagle on exhibit

"Mom take a picture of the Bald Eagle!" Granted, we don't see them this up close and personal, they're usually up high riding the wind. Of course I took the picture. These are rescued animals that are unable to sustain themselves in the wild.

Leif. He's been running around all day, so much to see, so many people to recongnize and he's stuck waiting for his siblings to finish their 1st tour of barn duty. We've been at the grounds since 7 this morning, it's almost 4pm now.....Dad and Mom are just about wiped. True to the 8 yr old, he's still got energy to spare.

Justin actually managed to sneak a picture of me. I'm working on a pair of socks I'm making for a knit along sock exchange on Homesteading Today. We were taking a break, catching some shade and waiting for Justin's parents to arrive.

HA! I caught him. This took some doing, but I caught Bruce being goofy with his brother.

Miss Meena, not to be left out adding her own silliness to the day.

So we're still in the thick of it, but that's fair! I'm not sure however, if I'm going to be coherent by Sunday evening.
I think that Monday I'm going to make the couch my best friend, say hello to the remote and find something brainless to watch on Netflix.

The kids are very excited for next year. The Superintendents of the Poultry and Rabbit barns were very helpful. On the poultry side, they spent most of yesterday working with the kids and their birds, crash course in showing. Lars has plans for a Call drake next year, Anna did but she's thinking about doing rabbits instead. Bruce hasn't quite made up his mind, although the thought of selling a market hog has his mental calculator going.

More to follow on the entries, but it's been a long day and I'm beat. Time to head off to a prone position.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bee Happy??

Ooooo, so bad, I know. Really though, never thought I'd be happy to see bees. I was looking at needing to hand pollenate the plants. After the orchard hives were moved, we were sans bees. The girls and I had collected our feathers, courtesy of Dougall the Duck, when I saw some very nice girls doing the job for us! We're now all on produce watch. The green beans are about a week out. You know that first crop, takes forever to mature and then before you know it you're sick of picking every other day. The cukes have gone insane, for the first time I have a very impressive crop. I'm so excited! The melon bed, well it's a jungle in there. The watermelons are turning out to be very prolific, will definately be sharing these.
Amy is far enough along, that I can see the calf moving around in there! Yay!

So we've decided to keep the Berkshire gilt for breeding. Thus, she recieves an actual name, not menu listing. Are you ready??
Mrs Seaman Hornsby.
Why? Have you ever watched Operation Peticoat, Cary Grant, Tony Curtis.......yes? no? If you have, it makes sense, if not watch it and it will. ;)

Summer is progressing nicely! Before long I'll be up to my ears in the canner, taking daily steam treatments and really wishing for winter. Today apricot picking is on the to do list. A friend has a tree that I'm going to harvest from, I'm thinking that I'll be drying them.

High note. Goats got loose and ravaged my berries and plants. Happy side, the blackberries, grape, butterfly bush and moss roses are all coming back. Raspberries are gone, gone. Goats also don't like Petunias or all. It's time for new stake out stakes.

Kids are busy running around doing the summer is fun thing! Life is good. I'm focusing all my creativity energy on the filet project I started a couple of years ago. I'm almost finished with it and it will be entered inot the fair this year. Justin has been busy with work and is working on permanent hog pens. One more month and we're back to school fun and fair!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This evening as I was getting ready to get dinner started, Lars walked in with a jar covered in seran wrap.
" Mom, say hi to Dragon."
"Who??" as I walk over to see what they've picked up this time. I'm expecting the usual, frog, grasshopper, maybe a praying mantis.......and then my eyes get very large once it registers. My son was very pleased with my response, which brought various other offspring galloping into the kitchen as well. It's always good when Mom makes that sound, whatever it is. There I stand staring at the largest moth I've ever seen in person. I'm also double checking the holes to make sure they aren't too big. While supressing the urge to start yodling, I grab the camera. I found it online it's a Big Poplar Sphinx. Big is right.
More info here:*Washington

For the record, that's a quart jar.

Friday, July 17, 2009


It's finished and looks so nice in the kitchen! The measurements are: 2ft 9in long x 2ft 1in wide, 12 yrds of fabric and took about 20 hrs. The top photo is the side that my mom likes the most, the bottom is the side that I prefer although I like both sides. The green and yellow mottled section, I tossed the strips put them in a bag and didn't look when I took one. I found I was thinkng about it too much. I do have another one planned for the living room, but there's orange and blue wool waiting to be spun up for winter wear, so that's going to need to wait.

Yay! A rug that I can change with my moods, it's like reversable clothing for my floors. I can hear Justin groaning now. To give me credit, I haven't changed my cupboards around significantly since we moved here, that's 4 yrs folks! It's a record. I have rearranged the living room several times, but that's what living rooms are for and out of consideration, if I happen to do it while he's working the night shift I always leave the lights on so he doesn't fall over the furniture.

Happy Birthday Leif!!!

He's now Thinking ahead, he made sure the cars had wheels before he chose, it's the cake that keeps on entertaining! :) The bakery gals were just a tad nervous when he started inspecting the prospective cake, but really what's the point of getting a cake with cars that don't have wheels. That makes no sense at all.

Enjoying his day, while siblings wait silently wishing him to hurry up to the cake and ice cream eating part.

Group shot! All smiling and not from mischief.....okay Dad was being goofy in the background. I thought I'd take advantage of the moment, having lured them all into one place with the promise of sugar.
Do you ever hear the whispering wildlife show narrator start talking about your life??
"and here we have the fortune to witness a most rare event. All the
members of this pack, gathered together, enjoying eachother's company. This
occurance, so brief in duration, has only been captured on film a few times
over the last decade.........astounding."
*soft pretty music in the background as the picture fades and they cut to a loud obnoxious commercial*

Leif (at reminding his mother) got a new lego set, bike helment and a brand new bike, red. There's something to be said for a bike who's scratches and dings are all yours. (He was up at the crack of dawn the next morning, on with the helmet and riding as fast as his legs could peddle. )His brothers handed over the controler to the X-box for the whole day, watched his movie and let him choose the games to play (even the "we're going to just run in circles for 30 minutes and laugh our heads off"). The day closed out in about 30 seconds, snuggling on the couch with me and declaring he had a good birthday this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Officially a farm?

What? When did that happen anyway. Could this be the reason behind the nagging fatigue, random moments of vague anxiety, my obsession with weather and the feeling that someone somewhere has change the 24 hr day to 12 which causes the place to look like the aftermath of the Apocalypse??? Okay, so I've always been obsessed with weather and at the last head count there were still only 5 progeny running around so I know another one hasn't snuck in without my knowledge.
Justin ran a list of the various animals running around about the place and it kind of took me back. Here's the list:

Bovine for eating
Bovine for milking
Poultry, including one duck (because Lars has held fast since he was 3, it's not a farm unless there's a duck)
Caprine for eating
Caprine for milking
Porcine for eating and a possible for breeding
Feline for catching the Mus musculus
Okay so in English this time:

Cows, chickens and duck, goats, horses, pigs, outside cat for catching mice. Check. Huh. Guess that explains a few things. I think the Apocalypse tryout is simply the result of having 5 very active children running around. Feed 10 cats, 1 gallon of pure caffeine each, put them in a 10x10 room filled with feather pillows and string one small fish from the ceiling, leave for 30 minutes.
You know that when you return, there will be nothing to allude to the existence of anything remotely resembling a pillow, there will be feathers in places Albert Einstein couldn't reason out how they got there, the fish and all evidence of it will be gone (including the string) and all 10 cats will be calmly sitting there, looking innocently at you with that "What?!" look on their face.

Don't forget the garden, at least I think it's a garden. I have a faint recollection of planting corn in there with Lars. I can get back to you on that, right now the weeds are winning.

This year was my trial year for the pea variety "Wando". Always makes me think of the Where's Waldo cartoons. Touted as heat and cold tolerant, heat was my main concern. They win. Surviving a late frost and pulling through high 90's heat that would have made my other varieties wail in agony and die, they got a little droopy but after a good evening watering bounced back and are still spitting out peas. Nice and sweet, even after the peak pick time. I would suggest not picking them early, the early peas taste great, but at maturity they have a wonderful flavor. They've run the gammit of weather this area offers with flying colors. Definitely a keeper.

Cantaloupes, Burpee's Ambrosia. These were the first that I planted and plant no other. Their flavor is beyond compare. Mine are flowing at the moment and it's going to be hard to be patient while they ripen on the vine.
Everything else, I'm still trialing. I have decent cukes for the first time in 3 yrs, time will tell if they do well for pickles. The new beds are doing wonderfully! That's the spot for growing the veggies. The boys don't disagree, it means less yard to mow. ;)

This years flock, Speckled Sussex, is growing well! I've been noticing some early sparring, and iridescent tail feathers are starting to show. Their size and growth have been impressive. They'll reach a nice size by butchering time. Something I really like seeing is their personality, very friendly without being obnoxious, accepting of other breeds. They're also turning out to be fairly hand tame, not adverse to being picked up and snuggled. If I can't find the girls, they're usually to be found out in the chicken yard with 2 or 3 chickens roosting on legs and shoulders while the rest mill around looking for a spot.

Well that's the news for now. Enjoying what's left of the maintenance time of year. Soon the produce will start flying and it will be time to start preserving. Ugh. Love eating it, but does harvest have to come at the hottest time of the year??? ........... Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical complaint. Ah well, such is this life. One guarantee though, no one will bug me while I'm in the kitchen and canning. Of course I don't want to be in there with myself either.....but I'll let someone with a degree figure that one out.

Little Pig, Little Pig

Here they are in all their porcine glory! Finally, finally found someone with weaners. They were over by Spokane so my mom graciously brought them over for us (thanks Mom!). I usually like to have them earlier in the year, but this is what this year had to offer. Oh, I cute! Wait, just wait. They get big, very big. Then they start to stink, then they'll figure out how to get out. They're smart, very, very smart. I'm not sure why calling someone a pig is an insult really. Pigs are by nature (unless defective and yes, we've had one of those) relatively clean animals, interactive and highly intelligent. Example, if you have the feed bucket and said pig is outside their enclosure, they will deduce that you plan on putting them back in there and will go the opposite direction....preferably in the direction of the nearest heavy traffic roadway. Downside. Upside, if you have a pasture containing horses and those horses have already tried to kill said pig, chances are said pig will not try to go into the pasture again. So of the two choices, the one they'll most likely choose, playing pig pong with high speed vehicles.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Picked up a new skill

As I was browsing through a forum at Homesteading Today the other day, a thread title caught my eye. It was about "Toothbrush Rugs".

Huh?? Never heard of such a thing, so off to the web I go. Google is my friend. I love Google. Google reminds me of Tony Curtis's character in "Operation Peticoat", you need it, it will find it. It will find things you didn't know about, things you'd probably rather not know about.......rabbit trail, but they're fun.
Anyway, 3 minutes later I'm watching videos and reading up. Cool! I found a site with pictures of a lady named Maymee (I'm a poet and don't know it. I've got feet and they're longfellows.....and my childhood out in Bayne strikes again.) and how she makes hers. Looks like fun, looks useful, I love braided/rag rugs, looks like a good way to spend the hot, hot hours of summer when breathing sucks your will to live. Now is the time for that internal dialog:

"You need to learn a new pastime like you need hole in your head.."
"Sure, but I've always wanted to learn to make braided rugs."
"Again, repeat the last thing I said. You're already running an hours of the day deficeit."
"It's not a pastime, it's a skill! If I can make them, I won't have to buy them and they'll be the style and color I want. It's affordable, I can start by using up all that fabric we've been packing across the country for the last decade or so."
"................dang it."

Ha! I just won, or lost depending on how you look at it. That gets too confusing and my brain starts hurting, so I don't think about it too deeply.
The battle has been fought and I'm off to find an old toothbrush and fabric. Found both, defiled Justin's tools to craft my "needle". The kids told on me when he got home, little tattle tails. :)
So are you wondering what these things are?? Just what the name implies, you fashion a needle of sorts from an old toothbrush and use torn strips of material to make a sort of braided/knotted rug. I've included a link at the bottom to the page with instructions.

Here's my needle. I used a Dremel and a sander, finished off with sand paper. You can whittle it down then finish with sandpaper, but then you don't get to use power tools. ;) It took me about 20 minutes to make this way. I used an old child's toothbrush, but the traditional style would give you a larger/thinner needle. I'll make one of those next. This part was fun all by itself!
Here's the patterned material. I was never going to use this, so into strips it went.

I found a sage green knit fabric, bulkier, but hey I'm experimenting. Remember that nightmare dye job??? Can't find out new things unless you experiment. ;)

Here's what I have so far. This went very quickly! I worked on it during the heat of the day and again in the evening, a little this morning. I will say it took me almost 45 minutes to figure the directions out! I was ready to start talking to the walls (they're very good conversationalists though) and then it clicked. It reminded me of when I was learning to tat, couldn't figure it out, then it just clicked into place. I like the look of it! There's a hint of braided rug, without the worry of the braid sewing coming undone. The underside has a raised pattern, I'll need to get a picture of that later.

And the close up.

If you have some scraps, unused clothes, etc. I would give this a try! There are a couple of other methods out there, but I think this is my favorite.

Info site:

There are also some tutorials on youtube, just run a search for "toothbrush rugs".

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Venture

Yeah, yeah, I need a new venture like I need a hole in the head (ever wonder how that saying came to be?? It's mistfied me since I was a kid....rabbit trail, but good scenery.) Anyway, these are something I've been thinking about making for a while. Beads, creativity, simple, fast....perfect. So here's the first set, my muse seems to be taking a holiday so they're pretty standard, nothing unusual really, I do like them though, very summery. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kermit and more

As said, I finished plying "Kermit" up last night. Specs: Navajo 3 ply, 239+ yards, 14 wpi. There are another 3 batts waiting in the wings, so there should be a good amount of yardage when I'm finished.

Next that proverbial list comes the dyeing for winter warmness. I'm having the kids help in this process. They're helping to pick, dye and card. I'll do the spinning and knitting. :) I'm still doing the Wilton's and still learning at that. This is Lars's color choice, orange and royal blue. One thing about the food colorings is the blues tend to seperate and this batch has unfortunately. I think I'll move to commercial dyes for some colors.
The orange is a mixed color to gain a deeper hue. Now to see how they turn out.

Dye Ratios 1 part=1/4 tea Wilton's food coloring

Kermit: 2:0 Kelly Green

Orange: 2 no-taste Red: 1 Golden Yellow: 1/2 Brown

Royal Blue: 1 Royal Blue: 1/4 Black

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer has begun

The gardens are growing! This is the first year that I've had decent cucumbers since we've lived here. The tomatoes, watermelons and peppers are all blooming, the berries are forming up nicely. Unfortunately, the corn is turning out to be sporadic. Oh well, it will all come together one of these years! Maybe I should dig up some more lawn for the corn patch since it seems to be working so well for everything else. :)

A sure sign of summer is a tent in the back yard. They've all been sleeping out at night, with a dog or two. :) Of course the night's outside have begun a new pastime for the children, "Night Games". How are they played, well much running, laughing and shrieking are involved. They're great for getting the heart going. A firm must to is to try to raise your siblings fright level above your own, without making them so scared that they don't want to sleep in the tent. That of course would mean that you would have to sleep out there all alone, which is "no fun" and won't be done...even if the dogs are willing. ;)

The highlight of my summer, the stay of the Hummingbirds. I haven't seen the variety this year and I have in the past. My favorite is the Calliope and I haven't had one. This year it's been Roufus and Ruby Throats. There were a couple of others, but I haven't seen them lately. I decided to give Fuscias a go again this year. They were a must for years, but they didn't do so well for a few years and I stopped buying them. The back patio has a nice amount of shade with a little sun. They seem to be doing better, one more so than the other. In years past, the Hummingbirds played with the fuscias, so I hung the feeders on the bottoms of the baskets. There has been a lot more activity with this than previous years! I'll keep doing this, even if it's not fuscias.
So the rest of life? Same kind of crazy! Amy is giving 2 1/2 gallons of milk steady. Now that the chicks are hitting pullet/cockeral stage they are doing a good job of eating up the excess milk. I'm letting it clabber and they really like it. Next on the list is using that clabber to make hard cheese.
I'm starting to dislike my list, never seems to get any shorter. The 80's weather is coming back again so more wool washing is on that dang list too. I have some dyeing ideas for more of this fleece I'm working on (it's on the list too). That California Red fleece is beckoning from the closet as well. I'm thinking a nice thick, comfy sweater is it somewhere. Oh and the filet crochet project that has to make it to the fair this year, I have 17 rows left on that.
The kids, aside from camping in the backyard, are enjoying their break....or so they tell me. ;) Lars has had a break from his irrigation job, 1st cutting just came in off the fields. We're settling into our routine finally, so it's calming just a bit.

Latest Fiber Fun


I've had this dyed for some time, but finished the first bobbin today. There were so many ideas going through my head while I was spinning this! Beading yarn is something that I want to start playing with, in fact I beaded a small portion of this to see. I used light translucent beads, thinking of daffodils. Still, it just wasn't quite right. The thought that it reminded me of something kept running through my head. It hit me yesterday. Kermit the Frog! So, this will stay bead free and Kermit green.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Last Day of School!

They're all mine for the next 2 months. Mine I tell you!....Bwahahahahahah. Oh dear, either the heat is getting to me or 16 yrs with Justin is finally beginning to have an effect.

Yes! The children are officially on summer vacation! So it begins. They've all gotten their teacher assignments for next year and very pleased with who they'll be getting. The 4th grade teacher has gotten Anna, that means so far he's taught/will teach the oldest three....and he keeps asking when the next one through is due. Anna is very excited to have him next year.

Lars recived the Principle's Award again this year. Big doin's. He recieved it his first year at this school and his now his last in Elementary. He's pretty thrilled about that. Needless to say we are very proud of him.

Lars recieving his award

Bruce and Grandpa went boot shopping! He's got his boots. Now, we'll get him fitted for a hat and he'll be set.

There it is, summer begins. This fall we'll have all 5 in school, one in Junior High, another middle schooler making his way through and still have three in elementary. Wow.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Finding a moment

Moments seem to be getting lost in the larger picture lately. I can't believe that June (and with it the end of the school year) has arrived already!! We've been super busy here, so as I sit here in the company of my morning coffee cup I thought I'd take a moment to share what's been going here.

Lars would like to enter Dougall the Duck into the fair this year. However, this means being able to handle...or at least catch said victim. Bruce has become our resident winged creature wrangler. He can round up chickens faster than anyone I know, apparently he's branching out to ducks. ;)
Here we have a clash of wills, can you feel The Force????

"You are no match for me and my brother, Darth Dougallous."

Like so many stories, they all live happily ever some form. In Dougall's case, it was getting a new pool to play in. I think that's the most duckish behavior we've seen in him! Dougall suffers from species confusion, I guess it was bound to happen. The sole duck in a flock of chickens, we really should get a hen or two for him. I'm sensing a summer of trauma for the Dougall.

June has arrived and it heralds it's own kind of insanity. The end of the school year, beginning of summer vacation and a child high that surpasses any sugar known to man. Children and teens across the nation evacuate their houses of learning with shrieks of glee and in the background you can hear the quiet sigh of parental groans.
Okay it's really not that bad. I'm looking forward to having them all home, come the end of August I'll be really happy to have them all back. The timing works out well.
There is one thing, however, that I always seem to block from memory until it's upon me. The last two weeks of school. There are more events, picnics, field trips, just-because-we-don't-want-to-be-here happenings and to dos than the whole year combined....and they're all crammed into a just shy two week time period.
I guess I've started humming the circus music, unaware. Malina asked me the other day if I really liked the circus "Cause you sing circus music all the time!" I guess that must be the case. Life will settle into the summer routine and it will be better.

This house came with all kinds of wonderful little surprises. One of them being a built in ironing board. I don't know why this tickles me so much, but it does. I found that it's a great set up for the drum carder though. A few days ago, while I was getting some wool through and ready to spin, I just let it set up in the kitchen. I'd been cleaning up and discovered Nani, I guess she found the perfect napping spot.

"Don't disturb me, can't you see I'm engaged in highly important research?"

The summer fun has started for the kids. Malina has been busy searching for "Tadapoes" or tadpoles. We don't have as many this year since the pond is dry. Last year I had a couple of 5 gallon buckets filled with them, the kids believe in catch and release, catch and release....much to the chagrin of various life forms here. Leif is awaiting the frog hunting season. Anna has taken up beading and is working towards being able to sell some items at the Farmer's Market.
Lars is contemplating band, drums.........oh dear.
Bruce is looking at Football this season. He's also starting to count down to his driver's permit. *gasp* did that come around so fast????!!!
Justin is still pretty busy at work and the summer celebrations are going to be coming up soon. We'll also need to think about fertilizing the pastures again next month, possibly if Potash has come down in price any. He's finished the lawn system! Yay! It runs twice a day for 15 minutes on each section. No need to worry about it, well unless you're out wandering around checking plants and it happens to come on. There's still the backyard to finish, but the kids talked me into a copper butterly sprinkler when we were out flower shopping. It works, it gets moved around to water back there and the kids and duck play in it.
I'm still engaged in the wool battle. The Cotton Candy yarn is almost finished and I have an interesting green that's sitting next in line. Other than that, it's that wonderful down time between planting and harvest. Putting some finishing touches on the recovering the house. Bruce, Justin and I all worked and finished cleaning out the barn after winter (some wonderful compost in the making there). So the big Springtime jobs are wrapped up finally! Ahh, big deep breath.
It's looking like a windy day here in the valley, good day to catch up on some laundry and get those sheets on the line. Mmmm, gotta love the smell of line dried laundry!