Wicked Witch of the Wool

My adventures in knitting and my daily life on the farm.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Weird Weather and Weaning Woes

Time to update, it's been over a week since my last post. Funny, it reminds me of "Bless me father for I have sinned, it's been 3 weeks since my last confession", doesn't it? Lost Roses just had a nice entry in honor of her Blogiversary where she comments on the similarities between blogging and the penpal writings of yesteryear. I guess I see blogging more like a confession, whether it be to a diary or a priest. I never kept a regular diary growing up, and I never confessed my sins to a priest. My mom came from a catholic family, and my dad from a protestant. They never got involved with a church, so neither did I. I had a mormon girlfriend at one point, and her family took me along to their church on several occasions. I've been present at a few catholic services, and some protestant services too. I've read quite a bit of material on Buddhism, Hinduism, and even excerpts from the Koran. There ar also several books on Nature Religions in my library. I do believe in a higher power, but I have a hard time with the dogmas of religion. My philosphy is to be the best person I can be for everybody at all times.
How's that for a confession?!

Lots of things have happened since last week. It is currently weaning time here at Goat Central. Poor Barney is almost 3 months old and could potentially become "interested" in his mom, aunt, sister, and half-sister. Since we are planning on keeping him intact, the only option for him right now is to go live with his dad. Barney is not too thrilled about the new living situation. He would gladly trade his family jewels to be able to spend time with the ladies and just be a baby. The cries are tearing at my heart strings. Not only is Barney crying, but Pebbles, his sister, is quite upset, as is his mom, Leslie. I'm surprised that I haven't had any calls from my neighbors yet, asking what on earth we are doing to those poor goats. It sounds like we are slowly strangling our little goats.
This is Little Barney in happier days, 2 weeks ago when we had some visitors here to pet the goats.....

This winter and spring has been strange. We have had countless snow storms, a very wet spring, and now it looks like summer will be odd too. 2 days ago, this is the sunset we had....

It looks like there is a fire going on, but although there are some wildfires raging in our state, none of them are in our area. Then last night we were treated to a spectacular light show, amazing colors, and a decent downpour.

I can't withhold these two pictures of 2 of my kitties.....
Here is Miss Mini Bikini playing the "Princess and the Pea". Due to the rain we have been getting, I've been storing the pillows from the deck furniture under the covered porch. She absolutely loves sleeping on top of the pillows, but she looks slightly miffed, as if there is a pea underneath there somewhere bothering her to no end.

And here is Moby Wan Kanobi, claiming my new sheep skin. If he could talk, he probably would say "This is MY spot, lady, find somewhere else to sit or I'll pierce you with my Daggers of Death".

Finally, I had promised you some pictures of my garden in progress.

My 1st clematis is blooming. I need to make some kind of trellis to support it further.

I love the purplish-blue color of my Sea Holly. The picture is slightly blurred, for some reason my camera has a hard time with close-ups.

The potatoes are really starting a growth spurt. I need to start hilling them up this week.

The Tree Mallow is blooming like crazy. The color is great, and I only hope it will survive the winter.

Cabbage perfection!

Here is my row of 18 Magnum Sunflowers. They have been positively exploding this past week....

That's it for now. I need to go spend some time with poor little Barney.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Weekend at the Estes Park Wool Market

Last weekend we went up to the Wool Market at Estes Park. Linda picked me up in The Beast along with Chery Friday afternoon. I almost thought that the fumes of yarn and fiber had clouded their minds making them forget to pick me up, but I should have known they would run a little on the late side ;-)
Traffic through Denver was actually pretty decent for a Friday afternoon, and we made good time up to Estes. We stopped at the Safeway there and bought all kinds of goodies for our weekend. Then we met up with Phoebe at the condo belonging to Phoebe's aunt. What a gorgeous place! The condo was a 1 bedroom apartment with a kitchen, living room with a fireplace, and a huge bathroom with a heart shaped jetted bathtub. More on the tub later. He he he.
Here is a picture of Cheri and Phoebe getting their knit on, while eating brie and crackers.

Linda was blocking her Clapotis. She had just experienced a knitter's nightmare; running out of yarn a few rows before completion while under a deadline to finish the project. Oy vey! The shawl was absolutely stunning, but missed the last few rows. Luckily, no-one would be the wiser after the blocking, and more yarn is underway. Her first attempt at blocking was pitiful (sorry Linda), all crooked as you can see in this picture....

We quickly made her block the shawl in the living room where there was more room, and I have a fantastic picture of her, with her bottom in the air, but for fear of death and dismemberment I won't be posting it here.

Saturday morning we awoke early to see the stunning surroundings. The condo was right next to a cute little pond with a bridge to a little island. Here you see Linda and Phoebe on the bridge.....

After breakfast at Starbuck's we headed over to the fairgrounds. Silly me did not take any pictures of the critters or the vendors, bit I did take some pictures of the people at the Blogger Meet. Here is Kristy with her famous self-dyed, self-spun knitted socks that grace the cover of Spin-Off magazine. I also met Miriam of Icarus and Seraphim fame, and I just had to tell her about my Icarus Gigantuous I made with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet. I need to re-block the shawl and take a good picture and send it to her.

This is my loot.....

First and foremost, I picked out a gorgeous sheep skin. I almost bought one last year, and have been regretting not getting it for a whole year. I'm actually sitting on it as I type right now. Since I really loved the yarn I got last year from Brooks Farm, I decided to get 3 skeins of their Duet in a nice variegated blue colorway. It is a total of 1,500 yards, and I'm thinking of making the Elektra jacket from Twisted Sisters with it. I also bought 1 skein of their Primero Mohair yarn to make a Moebius scarf with. Then I got 2,400 yard of blue alpaca lace from A Star (I must have been channeling blue this weekend). Finally I got 3 balls of Golden Crown Suri Alpaca (total 1,300 yards), 2 balls of brown 100% Qiviut, and a big ball of natural colored cashmere/merino laceweight (1,380 yards). I also got a pretty shawl pin, some shawl patterns, and some Addi Turbo Lace needles. I didn't buy any fleece this year. I have quite a few down in my basement, and since my back has not been letting me do any spinning I thought it better not to get any this time around.

I talked to several local cashmere goat breeders about doing a breeding swap and possibly to buy some more goats to add to our herd. Why I didn't take any pictures is beyond me. I also talked to some llama breeders about possibly selling my llamas sometime in the future. If we are going to expand our goat herd, we'll have to get rid of the llamas.

Saturday night we hooked up with Lisa and Brad who were camping in the Rocky Mountain National Park just above Estes. Lisa had brought her new Lendrum wheel along and was spinning while camping.

Brad and Lisa had a wonderful campsite overlooking a valley below where a good-sized herd of elk were grazing. We could hear them bugeling below all night. The dinner was very nice. We had brats, cold chicken, corn on the cob, strawberries, grapes, cookies, and finally, s'mores. Now, I was a s'mores virgin. We don't eat those in Europe. Linda had brought her "roto-roasters" and showed me the right way to roast a marshmallow. I'm sorry to say that I wasn't too fond of the s'mores, though. It might have something to do with hershey's chocolate I don't care for.
Here are some pictures of the festivities.....

I ended the evening in the heart shaped jetted tub back at the condo. Remind me to never add a large glob of bath soap to a jetted tub. The suds kept on growing and growing, until I could barely breathe. The ladies came running when I started laughing uncontrollably, and I think Linda took a picture of me in my soap-heaven.

The next morning we got back on the road around 9AM. We decided to take the long road home over Trail Ridge Road. What a gorgeous trip. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

We arrived in my driveway at 2:30PM right behind my visitors who arrived half an hour early. Jan's colleague with wife and 2 kids had come to see the farm and pet the baby goats. I quickly unloaded all my stuff and got to playhostess for the rest of the day.

All in all a great weekend. Jan had managed to keep my plants alive in my absence, and he even started assembling my new greenhouse. I'll have some more gardening pictures in my next post.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pissed Off!

So, I have been spending countless hours these past few weeks trying to get my vegetable garden going. A few days ago we had 100 mph winds in some parts of the state, and although I don't think we got quite that much wind we still got a lot of very strong gusts here. We have had hail storms; 3 in 1 day. My veggie garden has survived reasonably well.
This morning I come outside and this is what's greeting me:

Dead Tomatoes

Dead Basil

Dead Cucumber

Frost! It dipped well below freezing overnight. If I had known in advance, I would have covered the tender plants. On the news they are saying that it has only dipped below freezing 2 other times in June in recorded history. And it has never done so as late as June 8th. I am exceptionally bummed, and frankly, pissed off. Now I get to start over again with a lot of my crop. The corn is looking very bad as well are the beans. Today the wind is blowing like mad. It is like Mother Nature wants to make sure that every plant that is not quite dead, will be.

Oh well. I assume I will have forgotten all about this in a month or two. On to other things. Look at this cool moth I spotted the other day:

It has been hanging out for a couple of days by the sliding glass door. I didn't see it today; maybe it felt a little cold overnight.
I went down in the pasture yesterday and picked a lovely bouquet of wild flowers.

I also have been finishing some socks:

The sock on the left is "Sauvie Island" from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and the one on the right is "Rock and Weave" from the same. I love the little sheep buttons I used for the closure, and I really like both of these socks a lot.

Next weekend I'll be heading up to Estes Park Fiber Festival. I can't wait to fondle all the fibery goodness. Many of the girls from Spinners with Altitude will be going as well, so it should be a fun excursion.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Another Weekend in the Garden

Look what was delivered in our driveway on Saturday!

The orange machine in the front is an industrial strength wood chipper, and attached to the rear of Kermit the Tractor is a bush hog used to mow pastures. My hubby is so excited and had to try everything right away. With 35 acres mostly consisting of scrub oak, we have plenty of dead wood to chip. That came to good use in my vegetable garden. I didn't like the rocks we had put on the ground, so I removed the rocks while Jan got to play with the wood chipper. This is the end result:

I finished off the day by turning a cattle panel into a trellis over the seating area. There are grape vines growing in the beds on either side, so I hope to eventually be able to train them to grow across the trellis.

I plan on moving around as little as possible for what is left of the weekend to give my back a rest. It might be time to get out my long neglected knitting. I promise to show more knitting in the next post.