Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Updates in crofting and crafting

Above is a low-light photo I took Friday of my third breeding 'group,' Bench and Blaise. They seem to be co-habitating peaceably in the extra horse stall, but I haven't observed anything more.

That same day I decided Sanson really needed a bigger sheep suit if he was going to have full range of motion to do his job. In the process I checked out his fleece at last rib, mid-side and WOW! I do not recall it being this crimpy and gorgeous when I brought him home, but lamb fleeces often do change over time.

It was easy to do all this because Sanson was hanging out in the Ram-ada Inn – even though 'his' girls were out in the wooded lot. He didn't appear injured which was a relief, but he's supposed to be out fraternizing with Boop and Broadway, not staying in near Bridget and Bijou. It appears the only time they hang out together is when the girls come into the Ram-ada Inn to eat. Crossing fingers that hormones kick in eventually.

Part of the definition of crofting is small-scale food production, so here is what I've been working on since freezing and drying prunes. Thanks to a nice bucket of paste tomatoes from a neighbor plus fruits from our own plants, I made a batch of condensed tomato soup, one of Rick's favorites:

Note to self: leave more headroom

Next I turned my attention to our abundant apples. So far, I've canned 14 quarts of applesauce and seven quarts of apple pie filling, with another batch of apple pie filling to prep tonight and can tomorrow. I guess I'll keep making applesauce until I run out of jars, and then dehydrate some. I've been listening to Barbara Kingsolver's Small Wonder, which just reinforces my desire to utilize as much as possible what we can produce.

As for crafting, guess what arrived on Sunday!!!
sweet little four-shaft loom
On Monday, the first of the two weaving books I ordered arrived (the second is Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler), and today I finished my TdF prize braid (perched on the loom, above). A friend is coming over tomorrow to look over the loom with me to see what we (the loom and me) need to get up and running, then we can move it out of the middle of the living room.

In late-breaking news, tonight Rick came home with a new-to-us tractor! It replaces the much smaller, worn out orchard Kubota my dad and mom delivered to us years ago (and Rick's old 8N/9N Ford, even though it's still here as a 'family heirloom'). Looking forward to getting the Sheep Sheraton cleaned out with its help after this rainy week is over.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Adventures in crofting and crafting

Okay, so I'm not technically a crofter but it made for a nice title and my sheep's ancestors almost certainly came from crofts. 😉

As I told Jeanne in the comments a couple posts back, Rick ultrasounded the yearlings for me surprisingly quickly, in fact a week ago tonight. Neither looked pregnant, so it was back to the mental drawing board to figure out how to safely introduce Sanson. When I noticed him sniffing Broadway's backside through the dividing panel yesterday morning, I decided to try giving Sanson 'protected access' by tying the girls up in their side of the Ram-ada Inn and letting him in while I rode Stella. By the time I was done riding they were eating calmly together, so I opened the gate to the wooded lot and turned them loose. I've seen a little shoving since, but none of the concerted effort by the girls to pummel Sanson, so yay.

I figured in for a penny, in for a pound; might as well introduce the other two ram lambs to their ewes, too. First I moved Bench into the empty barn stall and added Blaise without issue (no photo yet). Then I led Bridget out to the Ram-ada Inn to join Bijou, who, in spite of being the littlest (and sweetest) ram lamb, showed immediate interest and tried mounting several times! Bridget is unimpressed so far, but I'm sure she'll come around. Bridget has produced two cracking boys; I would love to have a ewe lamb of equal quality out of her to keep.

I'm not yet having adventures in crafting, other than spinning/chain-plying my TdF prize braid when I have a little free time. But friends of mine at church were given two student looms and I have been informed that I am getting one of them, although I'm not sure when. A local weaving friend is willing to try to teach me, and I have purchased a used copy of the book Leigh recently recommended, so I guess I'm inching close to another rabbit hole.

Autumn officially starts tomorrow, but I'm already happily wallowing in fall – comfortable daytime temperatures, deliciously cooler nights, morning valley fog, greening grass, changing leaves, and better sky shows (at more civilized times).

this was after agility class tonight

We made it through another summer at . . .

Friday, September 15, 2023

Flowers and play-fights for your Friday

I think I mentioned propagating African violet starts from the plants at my office job. Blogpal A is an African violet expert, so I contacted her about how to do it. We did a Zoom call and she walked me through the process. A year(?) later, I have seven happy plants blooming (or budding) away and a very impressed boss! (Believe me, I give A all the credit.)

Last Sabbath afternoon, Rick and I loaded up the dogs and drove to Swan Island Dahlias to enjoy the blooms. Yeah, I took a lot of photos. 😉 How could I not???

not my big hand, but still....

This is my big hand; the range of size and form is incredible!

this is Firepot, and I want to get some

this is China Doll, the other variety I want to get

On the way home, we were passed by emergency vehicles. A few miles later, we caught up with them at the scene of a horrific wreck. It looked like two totaled barely-recognizable-as-cars and a big box truck laying on its side, and as we passed, I glanced  over and saw a woman in the driver's seat of the vehicle facing the road. Later we learned that she was already dead, and her mother in the passenger's seat died as well – and that all the wreckage was one car, torn in two by the impact when the truck crossed the center line and hit it. It could have happened to us; it could happen to ANY of us. One instant without time to react, and your time here is up. It was a good reminder to "live each day as though it were your last," the latter part of a saying I heard a lot growing up. For me, that means always remembering Who is most important; Who I am accountable to.

To end on a lighter note, here are videos of what happens here every day, several times a day. Dogs are not only excellent companions – they are great entertainment!

And today, for the first time in ages, Poppy got to play with her littermate Penny. Don't they look ferocious?

But it was all in good fun and sisterhood.

That's it for this Friday from . . .