Saturday, April 12, 2014

Got Kisses?

Party time at the farm tonight! The graduate students were raising money for a school in Kenya again, by donating money and voting who should kiss one of our chickens. They all brought massive amounts of delicious foods and a lot of fun games to play. 

However, somehow the animals always steal the show:


First, alpaca admiring.

Heinrich gets some love from the students.
Last year's Kiss the Chicken candidate renews his friendship.

The Farmer/Professor himself gets to do the honors this year! One kiss for two chickens... I hope they don't feel cheated.

Ensemble cast of characters
 
More loving... Tenny and Athena are soaking up the attention, regardless of who won the contest to give the winning kisses! Come back tomorrow, will ya?!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

EGG-citement!

A list of things to be excited about today:
It's Spring Break!
These nephews are coming to visit next week!
Spring flowers are starting to bloom!
I'm obsessed with this knit egg pattern.

 I plan to add a nest and some chicks as well, before it's all said and done.

Between knitting sweet nothings and accidentally picking up my favorite Harry Potter book, I am not getting as much accomplished as I had planned so far this week. But I am enjoying myself for now!
Joining with Ginny's Yarn Along today. Have a happy day!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Omelet

"Finally..." should be the name of this delightful knit. It took me a long time to knit and finish this lovely lace-y goody:
            Start date: June 15, 2012, during a sleepless night in Innsbruck, Austria
            Finish date: February 23, 2014, snowstorm raging in Indiana
            Posting date: March 31, a beautiful Spring day
The pattern is Omelet from the 2011 Summer issue of knitty.com. Yarn is left over Fiddlesticks Knitting Exuisite from THIS epic project.
I'm not sure why I thought a second lace shawl would be easier than the first. It was definitely just as taxing, especially when I had to tink back 4 rows of 300+ stitches. I should really just knit what the chart says. Some lessons are learned the hard way, over and over again!

Modeled photos will follow in another post.
Lastly, I am delighted to share that one of our chickens has recommenced laying for the season!
Omelets for all! Happy eating, happy Spring, and happy lace shawls to you!

Linking to Ginny for the Yarn Along!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Who-Who-Who's Two?

There is a Barred Owl couple that lives on our property. I see them swooping around both day and night, and their aggressive calls have been mistaken for dog (or coyote) noise on several occasions. I am fascinated by these birds as several family members have had close encounters with these beautiful creatures.  So when Nephew #7 celebrated his 2nd birthday last week, I thought I would pass along some of the family lore with this knit owl stuffie. 
 A bird in the hand...
 Here's hoping the little guy has a hoot of a new year as he celebrates his happy life!
This free pattern just took a few hours from start to finish. (I'm a bit of a dawdler. It could go quicker without the incessant admiring!) Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day Yarn Along

Snow Day #7 for 2014 gives me an opportunity to update the blog and participate in Ginny's Yarn Along today. I am three rows away from finishing my Omelet Shawl, and most importantly, only have one more line of lace knitting on the pattern to go! Someone please stop me if I start talking about knitting lace again anytime in the next 5 years. I am ready for making something a little more mindless!
There is not too much book reading going on right now, as I have to seriously study these music scores (as well as several others) for upcoming performances. Hearing the music instead of words while I create rehearsal plans is pretty cool though. Today is perfect for getting my music geek on!
It wouldn't be a proper snow day without some snowshoeing. I had to dig out my car at the end of the driveway so we could get plowed out, and ended up taking a stroll around the neighborhood after I was finished. What a perfect little diversion!
 










Tenny, guarding her alpaca charges... Actually, she just wanted a hug.
Stay warm, safe, and may your spirit stay positive. Happy Winter!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Minus 11 Fahrenheit

Nothing like another Polar vortex to get outside and sunbathe... Unfortunately -11 is the current temperature, with wind chill, and it will fall again at nightfall.
I love the snowy noses!
 While the temperatures are no picnic for animals needing to live outside, I think our alpacas are doing well and enjoying the extra portions of hay to keep their metabolisms up.

Bridge over creek near our house.
And for all the trouble they're causing, the weather and the snow do deserve a round of applause for beauty and peacefulness.

Stay warm in your hand knits!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hauling the Hay, Gentleman Farmer Style

When we were visiting my brother's farm last weekend, the topic of hay storage came up, which reminded me that I have been meaning to blog about how we do it here at Shady Grove Alpacas. By November, our constantly "starving" animals had eaten their way through 96 bales of hay since last winter so it was time to reload the stores.
Hungry, Hungry 'Pacas
 Upon arriving at the hay farm and waiting for the farmer to reappear out of some remote field, we were greeted by the most enormous hog either of us had ever seen.
Anyone want to wager a guess how many pounds this pig weighs?
The Farmer in awe (and supplied for scale) of hog.
 We begin the day by, you guessed it, renting a UHaul truck! One of these days we will upgrade our "farm" vehicles, but at this point in our small operation renting is still more economical. We backed the truck right into the hay farmer's barn to easily throw all those bales into the back. The Farmer was thrilled to learn that this hay was of the finest quality and a third cutting - ideal nutrition for the alpacas.

We fit around 75 bales in the back. There was probably a way to get a few more in, but why force the matter. We'll need to come back for more in late Spring and a few bales won't make that big a difference.

At home, there was the arduous task of unloading all those bales into the garage... Yup, our garage has extra room at the front so that we can have a car and all of the hay in one bay. Pretty convenient to not have to build another structure for storage. This revelation brought a look of incredulity to my brother's face, but...
5 rows deep, 3 rows wide, stacked 5 high...

Whatever works, right?