Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life on Mud Lane

As I was tucking into bed last night, I first heard the wind and then the rain came.....in sheets. And I hoped that my otherwise fair-weathered flock of sheep would take cover and that the small puddles in the chicken coop would grow no bigger.  The thing about having an epic winter in Vermont, with an epic amount of snow is that you are surely in for an epic Mud Season. Let me tell you folks, there's mud everywhere----not just the obligatory ruts, holes, and dips that your car tires fall into on a dirt road. I'm talking mud that you sink into in the backyard........slippery mud that can be worse than ice causing you to do a header right into a pile of manure. Oh, and there's still a bit of ice around.....just to keep you guessing.

I drove my car through the car wash last week regardless. I just wanted to 'wash the winter away.' I knew, that in a matter of hours, the tires would be caked and the finish would be sporting a layer of brown dirt......I didn't care. It was almost like the first sign of Spring to me---the first car wash of the season!

As I arose this morning, already running late, hubby asked me to check Bentley's ears as he had been shaking his head intermittently all night long. Golden Retrievers, in my experience, struggle with ear fungal infections and Bentley is far from exempt. We have it down to a science---special wash to clean the ear and then drops. He's well-behaved about it, but he certainly doesn't enjoy it.  I gave him a cookie and let him out into the dampness which I'm sure is not helping his ear affliction. No doubt he will, along with is younger brother, bring some backyard mud into the house on his return.  My vacuum cleaner lives in the living room for now.

Before dashing out the door to work, I thought that I'd better peek in on the sheep. Out the back door and into the mud, I hurried down to the barn being careful not to get sucked into the abyss of water, sticks, and natural detritus littering the backyard.  We still have snow cover as we are in the woods and on a hill. I slowed down once I reached the barn because a sheet of ice covers the ground in front of the door and I don't want to end up on the other end of surgery. I stepped into the barn and reached for the light switch feeling triumphant that I had not fallen.  We have a Dutch door that separates the hay/grain/tools from the sheep and we usually keep the top part open.  All I heard was quiet......and then I looked......
No matter how many times I see it----whether humans or animals, new life causes me to stop in awe, take in a breath, and bask in the miracle and the wonder that it is. And it is just that.....

I love Mud Season................Namaste!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring happenings.......even if the weather doesn't cooperate!

I had every intention of getting this blog post out yesterday (on the last day of March), but it didn't happening for a number of reasons.  I won't bore you with those........instead, I think I will provide some updates.

Ravellenic Games Update
I love Ganseys Socks
I had a feeling that my project for the Ravellenic Games was a bit of a steep challenge and it turned out to be just that.  I did not even finish one of the socks by the closing ceremonies.  I managed to finish the second sock last week during a short trip to Florida to see my parents.  I am quite pleased with how they turned out.

The embossed hearts are kind of difficult to see in this picture, but they are my favorite accent on these socks.  Oh, and they fit---another good thing!

My next sock conquest will be to finish a pair that I started well over a year ago......yes, I know, shameful!  The pattern is from Fiber Trends and it's called Railroad Rib Socks.  I started this pair right after I learned how to knit socks using the Magic Loop Method from a great instructor at Baker's Yarns in Springfield, VT.  They carry Malabrigo Sock Yarn there and I know it's the owner's favorite.  I bought a skein and casted on for these socks right then and there in class...........then I brought them home and they languished like so many things that I start.  Well, time to finish!  Here's how far I am.
Railroad Rib Sock Cuffs
I have one tiny error in the right sock right at the beginning when I messed up the ribbing pattern.....can you spot it?  My instructor said to just carry on and that the yarn will pretty much obscure it.  I figure, that part of the sock is usually hidden by my pant leg so I let it be.  So, there's a method to my madness........I picked these back up again for another reason:  they are on my favorite needle.  I really like the cables on the Chiao Goo circular needles.  They are very flexible and I don't find myself fiddling and adjusting it so much---it just knows where to live and that's important when you are knitting Magic Loop.
  I will probably make the leg part of these socks a little longer than the usual 6-7 inches because I like some extra material for coverage.

Remnants (what the shearer throws off) of Fleece
In other news.........the Spring thaw is on.........at least we hope it continues.  We've had quite some snowfall here since February and very cold temperatures.  We are kind of wintered-out.  Spring heralds the shearing of the sheep and I am glad to say that it went off without a hitch.  Here's the remnants of the fleeces:

I took the fleeces to the spinnery mill today and by June should have some sock weight and DK-weight yarn!  Shearing day is always a special day for me---it's the "harvest" of all the work that you did the rest of the year.

Pregnant Sayda
The shearer's visit yielded another piece of vital information....the confirmation that we do indeed have a pregnant ewe on the premises.  Sayda, our Bluefaced Leicester ewe is due any day now and we're keeping an eagle eye on her.  I'll be blogging about that for sure.........wow, two blog posts in a month?  Unheard of!  Here is Sayda in all of her shorn, pregnant glory.

It is difficult to tell from this angle how pregnant she really is, but she's not the easiest animal to photograph.

Well, I'm off to get some sleep now.  My vacation is over and I'm back to work tomorrow.  I'll leave you with a gratuitous pet photograph:
Bentley and Ray