Thursday, February 19, 2015

C'mon, Lambs!

No lambs yet, but we're getting closer every day.  Well, we can't be getting farther, amirite?  Darla and Dixie had been outside in the "hog pen" separated from the other ewes because they needed extra grain.  We just got about 4" of snow the other night, but worse than that, temps have been extremely low for this area.  It's been hovering around zero, with windchills below zero over night.  I don't want to chance them lambing outside, so I brought them in the barn temporarily.

If you remember, last year I built 2 nice jugs that would be perfect for them, except for one thing....well, 3 things.

They're already occupied!  The goats have not been handling these frigid temps very well, and even though they've got a cozy shelter and plenty of hay, I saw them shivering a few times.  I figured since I had space indoors, they could come in the barn until the really cold spell passes.

So, where are the sheep?

They're just kinda hanging out.  There's not a whole lot they can get into, and I had been telling my sister they were so much better behaved than the goats, because the goats look for everything possible to get into.  The sheep were fine!

Until this afternoon, I got home and saw Darla had been playing with the tub of cracked corn. I use plastic storage totes to hold grain in the barn...each holds a 50 lb bag of feed really well.  There wasn't much corn left, and Darla had been rolling it around trying to get it open. It'd spill a few kernels here and there, and she'd root them out.  She reminded me of a dog playing with those treat-dispensing toys.  So I put the bins of feed up high, out of her reach.

Since the cats are in the barn, with the heat lamp, I sectioned off a small area to keep the ewes out of the way of the lamp.  The cats can sneak behind it and the sheep don't bother it.  (that's a stuffed toy tiger in the background, by the way).  The bunny in the picture, Rocky, is in temporarily as well. He's got a big hutch outside, but I was worried about it being too cold for him.

And the does are in for the winter, since they didn't have adequate wind breaks outside.

Back to the sheep.  They're starting to look rotund.  (Darla, below)

Dixie isn't as big, but it's only her second time lambing, so I think probably her ab muscles are more toned than Darla's.  I still hope she has twins in there.

Wide load, Darla.

Udder pic! Darla is pretty bagged up. I've set up the video baby monitor so I can keep an eye on them at night.  When I leave for work, I can aim my laptop's camera at the baby monitor and have an adequate view of them while I'm at work (streaming from Ustream).  The channel is called Ewe Tube.      Darla is on the right, Dixie on the left.

Kiki has to sneak around, because Dixie does not like her and will try to give her a butt.

Temps are falling again tomorrow night. I do believe the last forecast said the windchill overnight will be around -25*F.  Yikes.  I have to admit though, I kinda like it. I never want to rush summer, because I really don't like the heat.  So, I try to enjoy these frigid temps while they last, because I know soon enough I'll be sweating at 6 AM wishing it wasn't so darned hot outside.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

The hawk was in our yard, eating a song bird.  Maybe a house finch?  Hawks have to eat too, I know.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To Da Beach!

In just a few short weeks, I'll be heading down to the Outer Banks to attend my first ever knitting retreat!  I'm very excited. Not only will I have a fun filled, knitting weekend, but I'm also going to be spending time with my sister AND my Aunt Linda AND Debbie (from our MLK weekends).

Oh yeah, and I'm going to be teaching a class and a demo!!  I'm going to be teaching a needle felting class, where we'll all create a beautiful felted scene, and then I'm going to be teaching a demo on how to create a felted bar of soap. That's where you wet felt wool around a bar of's like a wash cloth and soap all in one!

I'll be vending Purl & June soaps, lip balms, and lotion bars there as well.  My aunt had the great idea to create a custom soap for the retreat.  She suggested something beachy, since we're going to be on the beach.  I thought that was a fabulous idea, so I started doing some planning.

I came up with something really special, and I cannot wait to bring it down there to show everyone!

I did some experimenting with colors and tried to create a beach sunset scene! I think it came out pretty well, especially for my first try!  It's a Beach scent, which smells like warm sand, surf, and a hit of sunscreen. It really makes me want sunny days!

And today, since I was home (snow day, yay!) I spent some time making up needle felting kits for the class.  I'll also have some for sale in the Etsy shop fairly soon.

I color coded the different needle sizes, since you can't tell just by looking at the needle which size it is.
Now the kits are just about finished. 
Oh, and I recently did another needle felted scene.  I was inspired by a picture someone posted on a fiber arts forum on Facebook.  She dyed some yarn, using the picture for inspiration.  Here's the picture she used:
And here is my needle felted version:

I guess I've been in beach mode since thinking about this retreat!  

6th MLK Weekend!

A few weeks ago I posted about my trip to Virginia to see my Aunt Theresa (the post just before this one).  Then I promptly forgot to blog about the second half of my trip!

Every year, my sister and I meet in the middle (I'm in MD, she's in NC) at my Aunt Linda's house in Virginia.  We knit, talk, eat, watch great movies, and knit some more.  We dubbed the weekend, Must Love Knitting weekend, which also conveniently takes place on MLK Weekend each year (an extra day off work for travel!).

This year was the 6th year...can't believe it has been that long!

Saturday morning, a couple of Aunt Linda's (and now ours) knitting friends came over for a yarn swap.  It started with a few things...but the pile quickly grew!

I got some very nice yarn to add to my stash!

After the swap, we all met at Baa Baa Sheep, a yarn store in Norfolk (which is now carrying Purl & June soaps, by the way)

All of the yarn was so beautiful, it was hard to narrow down what I wanted to buy.  I ended up getting two very pretty skeins of Madeline Tosh Merino. I'm smitten with the colors. I'm not quite sure what to do with them...I may just keep them around to hold and look at for a while.

This yarn was really pretty and had a little sparkle, but I'm not sure you can see it in the picture.
After our busy day, we went back home to have dinner.  We had a meal similar to one Aunt Linda (and my dad and their other siblings) used to have growing up.  On the menu was Doughtie's BBQ (really delicious) and coleslaw, salad, and jello carrot salad.  I really liked the jello salad, and may try to see if anyone in my house will eat it (probably not).  
We had class on Sunday morning.  It was a practice run for me, since I'm teaching a needle felting class at the Knitting by the Sea retreat in NC next month.  I'm really excited, especially after our little practice run!  Becky and Aunt Linda were star pupils.  
Look at our fabulous beach scenes!!   And York, the dog, was such a good boy posing for the camera. It's like he knew all about how self-timers worked.  
He is so photogenic.  
York was about 9 months old in these pictures. He's a Guiding Eyes dog (my aunt is a puppy raiser).  

Oh, and I brought my wheel to MLK to show everyone how it worked and to do a little more spinning.  I'm learning!
Debbie, Aunt Linda's friend (and our friend too) always comes over to hang out and knit with us on MLK weekends.  She is incredibly generous, and not only gives us lots of yarn when she de-stashes, but this year she sent me home with something else!

Sorry for the sub-par photo, but this beauty is an Ashford Traditional wheel!  Debbie wanted to give it to me, but I told her I'd only take it if we could consider it a long term (very long term) loan, or perhaps a wheel foster home.  I was blown away!!  I can't believe how incredibly lucky I am, and how incredibly generous she was to give me this wheel.  I'm so excited to really sit down and get to know this new girl (the wheel) and learn to spin on her.  
I'm already looking forward to next year's MLK weekend.  Hopefully by then I'll have spun LOTS of yarn to show off to everyone.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Virginia Visit

We just had our 6th annual MLK (Must Love Knitting) weekend, which happens to coincide with MLK Day every year (funny, that).  Usually I drive down to Virginia to my aunt's house on Saturday morning, but this year I left on Friday morning to visit my other aunt!

My sister came up from NC on Thursday night, so we had a girls' day on Friday!  Aunt Theresa took us to Smithfield to have a really great lunch at Smithfield Station. Then we walked around town and looked in all the cute shops. 

There were some really beautiful buildings.  

The bright yellow house was a pet store with some really neat toys in it.  They also had a couple of really cute Yorkie pups!

My sister and I took pictures of each other taking pictures.  We're silly like that.  :-)

There were several statues on benches, so we had some fun with them. I googled, and found this couple is called the "Valentine Couple."

I was trying to have a conversation with Mr. Washington, but he wasn't very talkative.  

And there were lots of pigs in Smithfield, of course!

Aunt Theresa spoiled us and bought us some treats.  I got a cute kitchen towel with a sheep on it, a new toy for the dogs, and a couple treats for David and the kids.  David was a bit weirded out by chocolate bar with potato chips and bacon.  He said next time I should just get him salted peanuts. ;-)

On our drive home, we saw this gorgeous sunset over the river!

After we got home, Aunt Deb was home from work and we got to visit for a little while.  We had really good Brunswick Stew (made by chef Theresa) and cornbread. It was so good!  I had a great time visiting, and I'd love to go back again soon!
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