Tuesday, September 29, 2015


  I counted four mother hens with newborn chicks following them around.    The moms find places to hide their nests where I can't find them and pull the eggs.  One hen hatched eight chicks on top of a rabbit cage.  Luckily I heard them peeping and got all of them down safely.  I've put them all in cages in the past but truth be told the moms do better on their own free ranging.  They teach the babies how to forage and periodically tuck them all under their wings to warm them.  Warmth has not been a problem lately as it's been hot and dry.  It rained all day today and will be wet all week.  I suspect  the mother hens have all their little ones inside.  It's a miracle my cats have not consumed the tiny chicken nuggets.   The bantam moms are fiercely protective and launch attacks into the cat's faces if they come too close.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

On the Wheel

I'm spinning lovely orange - yello - bronze 100% mohair and loving it.  This fiber reminds me of why I keep angora goats.  I love the slip and luster.  I usually blend wool with mohair but for some reason I didn't this time.  Now I'm glad I left it alone as it's heavenly.  I will probably knit socks with this yarn.  When you use mohair in sock yarn your heels will never wear out.  Commercial companies put nylon in their socks but no need here.  I have plenty of mohair and the goaties keep making more for me.

Out to Graze

The grass is getting a little thin on the hillside.  We've had days and days with no real rain.  It's not as bad as some years past when the hill was dusty and rocky.  There are thick patches here and there but sheep are creatures of habit.  When I open the gate they run up the hill as far as they can go to the tippy top where the pond is.  It's getting thin up there, too.  I've been putting out hay on the days when I can't let them out but sheep dearly love green grass.  Rain is expected over the next several days and it will be a blessing.  The less hay I feed them now the more I will have next April when I really need it.  I have 110 round bales stored away, a record for me.  Last year I had around 55 and that was not enough.  You don't want to be scrambling for hay in April when all the other losers who ran out are looking, too.  That was me last year.  I like fat and happy sheep.

Bag Lady

My newest Bag Lady went home with this lovely Bundaflicka tote on Saturday.  I love my bag ladies.  I wanted to keep this bag for myself but when she fell in love with it I couldn't say no.  The massive hay bill hanging over my head was a factor, I confess.  I found this luxurious tapestry chenille on line and this bag is the last of it.  


Doreen and Delphine came home to the farm yesterday.  Matt picked them up in Long Eddy, New York.  The girls are purebred Tamworths, also known as "Irish Grazers" for their ability to forage with their long snouts.  My Scarlett and Sue Ellen were Tamworths. Fabulous pigs.  I'm so happy to have new piggies in the barn.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fingerlakes 2015

The Fingerlakes Fiber Festival this year was absolutely wonderful.  I drove the 200 miles west to the little town of Hemlock, an hour south of Rochester, in lovely weather.   Kim was waiting with sushi from Trader Joes and we ate dinner while setting up in my new space.  This year's roving runs are gorgeous and well received.  My Yarn Pockets are a success, which is a real treat for me as they are easy to sew and a great way to use smaller pieces of fabric.  I had requests to make them to match the Bundaflicka Knitting totes, a smart idea.  Warm weather continued through the day until a storm blew in.  We attended the pot luck supper with local shepherds and fiber artists while torrential rain and wind pounded the pole barn.  I was relieved to be in the big strong new building with a concrete floor instead of a flimsy pop-up tent.  We worshiped in the same pole barn on Sunday morning with Reverend Adams leading the small group.  Sunday weather was cooler and delightful.  I came home with zippers and goodies from another bag artist, and a sack full of Cushings Dyes which I'm anxious to use.  I had so much fun hanging with the Fiber People who are so talented and inspiring.  Lisa Merian and Candace Cain, local shepherd friends, were there, too.  We had a chance to catch up on a million things not possible when we are all working at home.   Carol Schwartzott was absent and sorely missed.  She's "retired" from fiber art, if that's possible.  I'm lucky to have some of her exquisitely lovely creations, which will live on forever.


My orchard is giving me an abundance of apples.  Trouble is, they don't want to come down.  I have to knock them down as best I can with my shepherd's crook.  I hook the branches with the curved part of the crook and shake them hard with some success.  I risk being knocked on the head but that's okay.  The sheep and goats often stand around, waiting for their delicious apple snacks.  I can't reach the top branches and the apples often rot on the tree before a fierce wind comes along and helps me out.  Large orchards have machines that shake the apples loose.  If the old Dodge Ram truck was running I could back it up to the trees and stand in the bed.  I love this orchard which dates back a hundred years or more.  If I had money to burn I would hire my Amish neighbors to trim the trees back and really get it going again.  The trees are so thick that light doesn't get to the inner trees and apples don't grow.  The darkness inside the orchard is mysterious and inviting.  The sheep love it. 

Tote Season

Winter is coming and knitters are thinking about cold weather projects.  Teachers are back in school and they are the ultimate Bag Ladies.   Weekend travelers need a carry-on bag for their jackets, computers and passports.  Retirees are considering taking the ocean cruise they always dreamed of. Bundaflicka Knitting Totes are perfect for everyone on the go.  For me, it is truly a blessing to create something so lovely and functional.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Three weeks off after summer school went like a flash.  Lying in after the alarm was too good to be true.  I got up anyway to make coffee but took it to the sofa.  I did chores in my jammies and sewed to my hearts content.  Here we are back to school already with so much to do before winter hits.  The barn is full of round bales - over a hundred, which is more than I've ever had on this farm.  It was a tough hay year with so much rain this spring.  We have not had rain in many days but the hillside is still green.  Coco is giving me three gallons a day.  I think she could give me more but that's about all I can squeeze out before she finishes her half a bucket of grain and walks away.  Blackie and Rocky are thriving on lush green grass and Coco milk.  We'll be bringing them all in the big barn when the bad weather hits.  Once the snow starts in December it will be difficult to carry feed and water to them on the lower field by the tractor shed.  The slope turns to ice and I don't want to chance it.  It will be easier for me to milk her morning and night if she's closer.  I think her insemination took and we will be blessed with a calf in April.  The vet looked her over when he was out giving rabies shots.  He thinks she should deliver with no trouble.  Won't it be fun to find a little baby cow beside her one cool spring morning.  We sheared 34 lambs three weeks ago.  I was relieved to find all 34 lambs accounted for.  With my rough land and coyotes up on the piney ridge well, things happen.  The Wensleydale/Bluefaced Leicester wool is lovely.  The lambs are robust and growing nicely.  I have two young Nubian does who are so beautiful I can't stand to part with them.  I'll find homes for the bucklings.  Coco is so easy to milk I confess I wince at the thought of Fancy and Matilda freshening again.  They are she-bitches from hell to milk.  Coco just stands there and let's me take what I need (as long as the feed holds out).  Colorscape Chenango is happening this weekend with the Fingerlakes Fiber Festival following the next weekend.  I'm working very hard to get ready for them.  Spouse is away teaching energy efficiency at a community college in Buffalo all next week.  Don't know how I will rest from Colorscape, go to work every day, get ready for Fingerlakes, and do all the chores/milking.  If I ever really thought it through I would probably give up....but it's just so much fun.