Monday, May 26, 2014

Shear Joy

At which repetition does a novelty wear off? Our fourth year of shearing on May 3rd had a little feeling of "been there, done that" pervade the activity. There was no trip in a cargo van , no shear team coming to our farm with us seeing the process the first time, no first shave of a cria. And there is a growing mountain of alpaca fleece piling up... Nonetheless, the animals were happy to be a little cooler without a big winter coat on.

Dark Star and Leven look fresh and glossy, post shearing. They enjoyed prancing around the pasture eating hay (!) while the ladies were being shorn.

 Yesterday we moved the fence panels so that part of the pasture can recover. We accidentally allowed the alpacas to over-eat one section. First accomplishments: the obligatory rolling, nap time, and lazy eating while laying down.

 While watering the new grass seeds, I noticed that Greta (back) was very interested in the hose. I took it up to the fence, and she could not get enough to drink! Bella, the bossiest micro-manager of all time (front), had to investigate as well. She preferred getting her face soaked to actually drinking. She kept getting water up her nose and sneezing. She may be the ring leader, but she is not intelligent...

Here's to new joyful experiences amidst the well-worn traditions! For the sake of tradition, I shall add that this is CERTAINLY the year to process alpaca fleeces. Right?!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

So Maybe I Cheated A Little

This Spring no time materialized to throw lettuce seeds in the ground, water them consistently, and keep them covered in times of frostiness. Just taking care of me properly was a struggle due to time constraints. 

So when I saw starts of butter crunch lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and romaine at Rural King over Spring Break, I couldn't resist the purchase. 

Eating a giant home grown salad several times a week is one of life's greatest pleasures. So glad we didn't have to wait over a month for everything to grow to edible size.

 The woodland rabbits are already raising their second or third brood, so I am keeping the greens covered with an old netting screen, hoping they won't find the gaping holes... The butterflies that favor broccoli have also stayed away so far. Look at those healthy leaves!

I decided to try several varieties of potato this summer: Russet (they were from the supermarket and sprouting in my cabinet), Yukon Gold, red-skinned potatoes, and Midnight Moon which is blue. The potatoes were started properly - no cheating with pre-raised plants!

I kept the strawberries under a winter garden cloth all winter and most of spring until about a week ago. Perhaps this is one reason the berries are ready a few weeks early! 

Another screen keeps the birds off the berries. The moldy and bug-eaten berries are greedily accepted by the chickens. (Ooops, I didn't mean to talk about poultry again... Maybe I should change the blog name to reflect my obsession...)

One and one half pounds of strawberries harvested on Friday night! They did not exist for more than a few hours on the kitchen counter. Hoping for a new batch tomorrow!

Enjoy what is left of your three-day weekend! Summer has arrived, and I am ready!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cheep, cheep!

Look at the time... the end of May already! Several posts are missing from this last month,  so hopefully this weekend will be a great time to catch up. Let's start with knitting...

Eleven eggs, two nests, and two chicks!

 Over Spring Break I became obsessed with knit eggs, which then eventually led to nests and then little chicks.

 Originally there were grand delusional plans of sending a nest filled with eggs and a chick to all nieces and nephews under a certain age. In the end, I enjoyed playing with my table decorations more than a lot...

Have you noticed that the last four posts have been all about chickens or eggs??!

Perhaps tomorrow we can focus on alpacas, gardening, yarn, etc., without slipping another poultry-related post into the mix. Ba-GAWK!