Monday, February 28, 2011
After a long break from bag making I am sewing Bundaflicka totes again. I got three made this weekend, very satisfying and enjoyable. I was concerned I would not be able to get "in the groove" again. When I don't enjoy doing something, or lose interest, forget about it. It takes a Herculean effort to start up again. Not with my totes. I'm still into pockets and straps. It felt weird to sew on fabric that's not soft, slippery and totally black (Mia's bridesmaids capes). I have nine weeks until Maryland Sheep and Wool and will need to keep up the pace sewing until then.
I brought Bella back inside last night. She was not doing very well in the barn. I noticed she was not jumping up to run over to me when I went out with the bottles. I am usually swarmed with lambs when the bottles appear. I stood her up and she was very stiff from staying so still. I had taken her sweater off because it was 50F in the barn yesterday, but she was so hot I could feel the heat through my sweater. I gave her a shot of LA200 for the fever and laid her under the coffee table, her favorite place. I went back outside to do chores and returned a couple of hours later to find her in the bedroom in a pile of laundry. Matt had gone to bed and sick and she followed him in there. Poor little Bella. I put her back under the coffee table and slept on the sofa next to her. She seems better this morning and "talked" to me when I was getting her bottle ready. I don't think Bella is ready to be a member of the flock just yet. She is resting this morning with Auntie Carol Crayonbox's lovely sweater on. I received a package with three beautiful, warm, soft sweaters from my friend, Carol, who makes the fabulous felted bags from my wool. I really appreciate all the terrific hand-knitted lamb sweaters I received from people this winter. There was love in every stitch.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Mia picked the Hyatt for her wedding reception because it's only two blocks from the United Methodist Church. Our main concern was snow, then we worried about rain, and we didn't have either....BUT a devilish wind roared all day. Kim Leinker managed to organize a caravan of cars to the church, but the bridal party walked from the church to the reception. The wind made for great pictures, but it was so strong it blew the flowers right out of the bouquets!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
This Bundaflicka Messenger Tote is hot off the machine. I adore this fabric, made from drapes I sewed for Mia's apartment but she can't use. The fabric is heavy duty upholstery fabric with an embroidered flower pattern that looks like crewel. I put nine pockets in this tote, six inside and three on the outside, under the ample flap. A generous inside fits your lap top, books, magazines and fiber arts accoutrement. I really like it. I think I'll cut out another one!
This is what we like to see...newborn Deborah up and nursing from her mother, Dina. Dina's mother, Dolly, came from a petting zoo at Frog Pond Farm in Bainbridge. My student was working there and talked me into "saving" her. Dolly was the only sheep in the "zoo" and had not been shorn for several years. I was a bit concerned about taking her, but she's been a fantastic, sturdy sheep with a lovely, soft fleece. I think Dolly is Romney and Corriedale but I'm not sure. Dina seems to have her mother's strong maternal instinct.
The lush green fields are covered with drifts and the sheep stay in the barn. They are surprisingly content to do so. Even the sheep with no lambs sleep most of the day, eat hay, sleep some more, eat more hay, then go to bed. I think Chris, my llama, misses the open fields most of all. Two more months of winter here in the Great North Land, then the flock will have green grass to eat. What joy!
Had to dig to get the truck out so Matt could go to Postma's and pick up hay. The hay cart, a modified landscape trailer, was drifted over. The short bed on the truck can hold 38 bales piled high. One has to drive back to the farm very carefully. Matt likes to go to Postmas. They are so friendly and helpful and always ask what's going on with the wedding, lambs, etc. Matt always comes back in a good mood. The Postma farm is right behind the Chobani factory which is exploding with expansion construction right now. It's great to see some industry in this area, even though it looks so out of place, sprawling between farms, on both sides of the road. They even built a covered corridor, high above the road, to connect the factory buildings. I confess I enjoy the Greek yogurt, which has the texture of very creamy ice cream. Pomegranite is my favorite, and I eat one every night as my guilty treat. We have to go back again at 4 to pick up another load to get us through the week. Was hoping to get to the movies today, but doesn't look good. Not much I can do, we have to have hay for the sheep. Wouldn't it be nice to have a mow full of the stuff, but maybe next year. I have to work harder, and make better connections. Pirate Radio, another good Brit-flick is on at 4, and I love the soundtrack. I'll do some sewing while that's on. Deborah, the ewe lamb born to Dina, is doing well. I went out there this morning and saw her lying in the same spot I left her last night, with Dina on the other side of the pen staring out into the flock. Uh-oh, I thought, this teenage mom is not liking motherhood. I picked up the lamb and to my delight her belly was firm and her mouth warm as toast - signs she is nursing just fine. I put her down and she ran under her mom to nurse - phew! When I put out hay, she began nibbling on it - at one day old! I think I have two more sheep to go, maybe three. The lambs are growing like crazy, even the tiny ones are looking more sturdy and taller. I left Bella out with the sheep this morning. She is lying next to a lamb pile-up, looking a little perplexed but comfortable. I want her to know she is a sheep. She's liking the hay and nibbling on it, which is very good for her. The sooner she's off the milk replacer, the better. I'm not going to keep the lambs on bottles forever the way I used to. On deck for today - finish the messenger lap-top bag I started last night and cut out another one. I'll tidy up the apartment a bit, but that's usually a hopeless case. I need to make more creme. My ad came out in Wild Fibers Magazine today! It's a fantastic issue, and Linda Cortright made an adorable ad for me. Hope to take some time to read an article or two. Ciao for now.
Friday, February 25, 2011
These gorgeous black ram lambs are big and beautiful. I'm going to wether them and keep them for wool. One I call Rocky Balboa and the other is Vin Diesel. They were huge single lambs at birth. I'm quite sure Rocky weighed at least 15 pounds. I don't know how my Bluefaced Leicester girls pop out these big lambs, but they do. I love my boys....I just have too many of them this year. Dina's ewe lamb born today makes 24 live lambs in the barn, I think. I'll make a better count in the morning and determine how many ewes vs. rams. I know I have four angora goat bucks, and two does. Love that kid mohair...
While doing chores tonight I noticed a little black lamb sitting quietly on the hay. But she was not on the maternity side. Did she slip through the fence? I climbed over, picked her up and saw a dangling cord. She must be a new baby, I thought, and was delighted to see an absence of male equipment attached to her. Now who's the mama? I checked around for a damp behind, but nobody looked messy, or particularly interested in her. I figured out where to put her but had to take care of the mother goat and baby buck in the pen first. Got them their shots and worming - every new mom gets wormed before she leaves the jug as birth stimulates parasites - and let them free in the maternity ward. As I picked the new baby up and started walking backwards, holding her in front of the sheep, Dina, Dolly's lamb from last year, stepped forward. Dina is the mother of the beautiful black ewe lamb born today! Dina is a little confused by the whole thing, but she followed her baby and was thrilled with the nice hunk of hay she has all to herself. Matt held her while I squeezed a little colostrum out of her youthful udder. I have to keep an eye on them to make sure the lamb gets up to nurse and that Dina let's her. Love those black girls! They give me such beautiful wool!
I'm bringing little Bella out to visit her flock-mates when I do chores. I want her to know she's a sheep, not a human with some structural problems. Bella likes the barn, especially the green, sweet smelling stuff on the floor called hay. She's nibbling on it, which makes me happy. The sooner she's eating hay the sooner I can get her off milk replacer, which is prohibitively expensive. Bella is making friends in the barn, but I'm reluctant to leave her out there all the time just yet. She doesn't have a mother/protector to keep her from getting knocked around by other lambs or sheep. Bella went to Matt's office yesterday and made lots of new human friends. They loved her cute little sweater knitted by Auntie Kim.
It was the perfect day to cut out a Bundaflicka bag and get started on a new crop of totes. Mia donated some gorgeous draperies I made several years back, then gave to her but she's moving and can't use them. I love the buttercream yellow and crewel-like flowers. I making a messenger type bag first. Only one strap and no button or closure to sew. I added a strip of pockets on the outside of the body, which will be hidden by the flap. That will make nine pockets on one little bag. I'm known for my pockets. Out to do chores. It's been snowing and blowing all day, with the barn banging and creaking over my head. I love a good storm. It makes having all my critters under this big, giant roof very satisfying indeed.
I knew snow was forecast but a snow day was too much to hope for. This storm came up from the south and was headed for Norwich, maybe that was a factor. They don't seem to close when the storms come from the north and hit my area first. I've often driven in awful conditions to arrive at work and it's not bad at all there. I took my time doing chores and pulled some sweaters off as it's 50 F. in the barn. Heat wave! It's not good to be warm in the barn as the sheep can come down with pneumonia. I'll open up the way back today so the sheep not in the maternity ward can go out the back and play in the snow. I have three more ewes to deliver, I think, maybe four. That's okay - I'll have babies to play with longer. I counted 23 live lambs in the barn this morning and six goat kids. Only two does, sadly, and goats can't be wethered as they will not grow horns. I like horns on my goats so I can grab and hold on to them easier. I have LOTS of gorgeous black ram lambs - so beautiful I will wether them I think and keep them for wool. I like to dye the black wool purple, then add some vibrant colors, ex.- my Pacifica run from last year which sold very well. Matt is working from home today. I'm hoping he will take me to the movies tonight to see The King's Speech. Matt is feeling very chipper today as he has two big trips coming up. The State of Arkansas has appealed to NY Weatherization to come to their state and teach Mobile Home Weatherization, which Matt pioneered in NY State. They are paying Matt's agency a thousand dollars a day, plus expenses for Matt to spend a week there. He comes home to wash his clothes then heads out to San Francisco for an energy conference, then an extended visit with his son, Sean. More chocolates on his pillow. Nice work if you can get it. I'm happy for him, and me, as I don't have to listen to his miserable ranting and raving about poop on his shoes, living in a cave, how I'm not making enough money, how the farm is my thing and not what he wants to do. Yada, yada, yada. Go party and leave me alone! I don't even try to remind him that if I didn't buy this sheep farm in upstate New York he would never have found his DREAM JOB with NYSWDA. Men! You have to draw pictures!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
A storm is headed this way. Four to eight tomorrow. I have to get in to work tomorrow. IEP's are due (individual educational plans) for my students. I have a long list this year, just like last year. Some teachers have only 4,5 or 6 but I have more than a dozen, maybe 14 or 15. It's tough to collect all the info from teachers, parents, etc. and apply it to the template on the computer program during the day when the kids are there. It requires staying late, and, with lambs and wedding, guess who didn't stay late to work on IEP's? I've got a good dent in it but quite a bit to do tomorrow. We received an email from the top warning us to have them in by end of day tomorrow. Robin will help keep the kids busy while I finish up and get them printed. I'm sure there will be revisions required. The IEP's will be examined at the annual review with the student's Committee on Special Education, what they call Child Study Team in New Jersey. Sometimes they don't like what I have to say, but I tell it like it is. IEP's contain all the accomodations and modifications the students need to succeed in the classroom and are legal documents. We'll see how it goes. Meanwhile, I have three lambs on bottles with two who have mothers and would like to be on bottles. They are so cute. I sit on the floor of the barn and the lambs jump all over me. It's easier to feed them standing up as I can hold a bottle between my knees while holding the other two in my hands. In a couple of weeks I'll start watering down the bottles and encouraging them to eat more hay. Bella went to work with Matt today and was quite a hit in the office. I'm not surprised - she is absolutely precious. Speaking of lambs it's time for their evening feeding and the moms are hungry. I find myself looking around for Lydia Burdick, my 200 year old ghost. Kim told me she saw Thor run to the middle of the barn with his hair up, growling. Then he ran back to her. I've seen him do that behavior before and thought he must have heard something outside. But why run to the middle of the barn instead of to the barn door? Hmmmmm. She won't reveal herself to me if she doesn't want to and I am not going to try to draw her out. Let sleeping ghosts lie is my M.O., unless she wants to help with chores!
Ciao for now.
I can't stop looking at these lovely ladies in their orchid chiffon gowns and black velvet capes. When Mia first tried on the bridesmaid's gown at Dressed to the Nines in Morristown, the owner said, Are you SURE about this COLOR????? Well, Mia knows her own mind and wasn't deterred. I was a little concerned at first, but now I think the dress is just spectacular. I think Hannah, my future architect granddaughter, is examining the roof supports or something. Very cute indeed.
I had a nice note from Mia today from Interlaken. I was dismayed to see on Weather.com that it was 40 F. and raining in Switzerland, but not according to Mia. They've been skiing on newly fallen snow and having a wonderful time. They skiied past a flock of sheep with bells on. It sounds like a classic alpine scene. She's eating great food and lots of chocolate. I was happy to hear that as she was skeletally thin and her gown had to be taken in several times after it was purchased. I love this picture...her cute red shoes and toes are showing and Andrew has his ring on and arm around her waist. Very sweet. The whole thing is very sweet.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I used to bring Mia and AJ to this park in the Morristown square to play when they were babies. Now, at age 30, she is strolling across the square with her brand new husband, Andrew Fisher, wrapped in the velvet cloak I made for her with love in every stitch. I wish them happiness and joy forever and ever. Amen.
I'm going about my business today, taking care of my sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and rabbits....but I'm still dwelling in the dream that was Mia and Andrew's wedding. I don't want it to be over. I know I will snap out of it when I go back to work tomorrow, but for now, I'm floating.
Monday, February 21, 2011
We were so happy to have Sean with us for Mia and Andrew's wedding. Sean is Matt's son from a brief but passionate child-marriage. He is the web master for a large jewelry company, Otto Frey, in San Francisco. Sean is a wild-Irish-boy and made good use of his time in Morristown, the South Beach of the Northeast. AJ accompanied him and took good care of Sean. Sadly, Sean had to leave to fly back early yesterday. We took him to Newark airport on our way back to the farm. We made sure to make a stop at the Morristown Deli, where my old friend, Mark, the owner, fixed us up with three Nova lox bagels with cream cheese to eat on the way. In a month or so Matt will be flying to SF for an energy conference and will spend some time with Sean before he returns home.
I can't remember having so much fun. My new friend, Rob, loves chocolate covered strawberries. He also loves working with farm animals and wants to come and help me shear the sheep on April 9. I am very grateful for his help, as he is a big strong guy and can probably catch and hold on to a large sheep with no problem. It will also give me a chance to see Kim Leinker, his girlfriend, who helped us so much with the wedding.
Okay it finally happened - but not to me. After I arrived home, greeted the doggies, feasted my eyes and nose on the luscious ham and potato casserole dinner my friends had waiting for me, looked at the lambs and got a report from Kim and Darryl, they hesitantly told me the news. Lydia had made contact. Kim and Darryl were doing chores in the barn together when they both heard a sing-songey female voice say "Helllllooooo." They looked around, then looked at each other, dropped their buckets and went inside the apartment where their children, Jared and Lindsay were watching TV. They told me it's a good thing I came home because they were no longer going in the barn with the sheep in the dark. Now, Kim and Darryl are the most SOBER, SERIOUS, down-to-earth salt of the earth people I know. I believe them. How can I not? I've been warned by Sister Bernadette and Chris Kupris that Lydia, the first farmer's wife, inhabits the house and barn. She has appeared to them, only once in 50 years. Kim and Darryl didn't see anything, and didn't stick around long enough to look after she spoke to them. I was so thoroughly "spooked" myself when they told me, just to see the intensity in their eyes while they recounted the experience, that I felt the hair on my legs, arms and neck stand up. I know ghosts exist, and I believe that they contact certain people, for what reason I don't know. My brother Mark has been visited several times by the ghost of my Swedish grandmother, but not me. Maybe there are certain mindsets, or levels of sensitivity that receive encounters better than others. I'm alone so often here, and can't always get my chores done before dark. After we said our goodbyes last night, and my Canadian friends left, and Matt had gone to bed early, I confess I was extremely nervous about going into the barn. My friends had done all the chores, but the White Boys needed to be fed and I am not one to abandon my hungry dogs. I had one eye over my shoulder and moved very quickly. No Lydia! I think she was saying hello to Kim and Darryl and welcoming them to the farm. I think Lydia is happy that her barn is full of animals and brimming with life. Sister Bernadette tells me that years ago, when a hired man was smoking in the barn, Lydia appeared and scared him off. I like that...and if you can't believe a nun, who can you believe?