Monday, June 29, 2009

Rain, rain, rain....

My favorite topic of any day is the weather but I have to say our current pattern here in New England is just the pits!

May was not the best month for sunny days but in June we have had 7 days without rain and a rainfall total so far as of this morning of 4.5". Late May we were delighted to be getting a great start on the hay season and I thought what a great season it would be. Just after that thought it has rained ever since. No one can cut hay, and although our grazing is non-stop for the sheep, the areas around their sheds are getting too muddy. Saturday night we had a rotten thunderstorm and driving rains. In the morning when we got to the flock on pasture they were all in their shed and not interested one bit in coming out. We decided a move back to the winter barn would be the ticket, a change of pace, dry and spacious and the winter pasture would do them fine for a few days.

Here was the flock about a week ago before the real deluge started. They were pretty happy here. It was cool and although misty, not pouring all the time. That's Bea on the left looking at me. Crystal on the right laying down is really happy here, can you see it? This pasture is right behind our house and porch. We all love when they are here for the rotation. We have dinner on the porch and they love the company! One night I put a very gentle CD in the player and put it on repeat for the overnight. In the morning they were all sacked out and very mellow. (Sheep Tests 101: The Effect of Music on A Sheep's Overall Demeanor)

This weekend we bought lots of quarts of fresh strawberries. Despite all the rain they are just stunning this year. And soooo delish! I made some strawberry shortcake with one quart and then froze the rest. The one thing I would drive interstate for is strawberry shortcake and now I don't have to on some dark winter afternoon. They aren't quite as good as fresh, I know, but still I'll manage to enjoy that winter treat! So take advantage of your local produce while the farmers are putting it up at your local farms and road stands.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

They've got to be kidding!

Betsy MacIssac of Crooked Fence Farm, our sister farm across the river, is surely kidding. I stopped by yesterday to see the new arrivals from her flock of Cashmere goats. The past few days brought forth some dear little kids! This is Karina and her kid, June, just a few days born.

This is Dixie and her kids, Zeke (gray) and Crecent (white).

June and Crecent say hello. Once June and Karina are a bit more settled they will join in with Jasmine's side of the fence. Karina is a bit protective at the moment however so no sense adding undo stress to her day!

I got to hold Cresent for awhile. Cashmere, as you know, is sooooo soft and there is nothing softer than a Cashmere kid! Or sweeter. Cresent was so mellow and loved to just be held. And Dixie, a first time mother, didn't bat an eye with me in the pen.

Betsy is holding little June, another dear, sweet kid.

Final Cashmere tally are 3 doe kids and 3 buck kids for the season. Congratulations, Betsy!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Jack and I traveled Downeast this past weekend for the memorial service for my uncle.
We left the farm at noon and traveled across NH and up the coast of ME to Bucksport and then down into Deer Isle. We arrived at the Pilgrim's Inn (backview of the inn), a beautiful oasis on the island and in the wee village of Deer Isle in time to get settled before dinner. It's an old inn, still showcasing the internal beauty of colonial days but updated in every respect. Happily there were no TVs or telephones in the rooms, only in one sitting room, so relaxing was the main course.

There is a beautiful pond off the backyard and the ocean is just across the street.

Coming in the front door, a warm and welcome view!

Saturday, June 13th, was Worldwide Knit In Public Day! These gals were great fun to talk with and had I had more time before the memorial service I would have sat and knit with them for while.

Love the colors of this scene...

We arrived at my cousin Burt's house at uncle and aunt bought this slice of heaven in the 1960's and since passed it on to Burt and his wife Pat.

Friends came with guitars and fiddles to play on the front porch all afternoon.

A view to the sea from the garden....

Burt is a lobsterman and keeps his boat in Burnt Cove. After lunch, family and friends boarded the boat to take the ashes over to the reach off shore from the house where my uncle had always wanted to be laid to rest.

It was a beautiful afternoon, couldn't have asked a for better weather. The girl on the far left was the wild card for me. In chatting we learned we had grown up in the same town and had known each other although it had been some 45 years since we had seen each other. It was so great to reconnect with that part of my life!

Here's Burt at the helm. He has a GPS now so although he has fished these waters for more than 25 years he feels more confident as to the locations of the barriers and reefs beneath the sea's surface.

Burt and Pat's dog, Lilly, enjoys the sea spray.

Those who didn't take the boat ride came down to shore to watch the spreading of the ashes....Burt blew the boat horn three times, twice. It was beautifully sad.

This is me with cousin Burt and cousin Eric. My mom, Burt's mom and Eric's mom were all sisters and have since departed us.

We left Deer Isle around 6PM, headed for Portland, ME for the overnight. We were offered a family member's condo, empty for the weekend, in Portland right on the harbor for the night. It was a treat! A beautiful sight at night when we arrived at 10PM and come morning , although a rainy day, the sight was still lovely. This was the view from our bedroom.

So another chapter's closed, but the family bond continues and that's the part that matters most.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Prideful things

I am not one for tooting my own horn but I just have to share a couple of neat things I am proud of!

The feature article in Spin-Off magazine is about the CVM/Romeldale breed and I was happy to provide the fleece to Robin Russo for her project. There is also a photo of Bea and Peach side by side within the article. So yea for CVM/Romeldales and our small part in bringing awareness to the breed! Please be sure to get a copy of Spin-Off to read the article.

This spring I was chosen to create a palette of naturally dyed colors for a prominent spinnery in the US. I have been working on the details with them for months and next week I begin to do the dyeing using a yarn they have chosen for the line. I am so excited to be a part of the project and although I cannot spill the beans about who I am working with I can say this is the culmination of years of studying and learning and working with natural dyes. What a great feeling.

Stay tuned for news as it unfolds by late summer!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Around the farm

Ashley had another near death experience this weekend. We came out to do the morning chores and found her cast (on her back, unable to upright herself) against the shed wall and had kicked out the bottom board in an effort to right herself. I have written about this before and when a sheep casts, it doesn't take but an hour for them to die. By the time we found her she was barely breathing, eyes closed and lifeless.

We got her quickly on her feet, gave here an gentle rubdown and let her be while the rest of the flock had morning hay.

She stood around for a good half hour very quiet. Wouldn't you!? After the flock went out to graze she stayed behind and I gave her grain. That put her up and over and within a few minutes she started chewing cud. That's the best sign as then I know her rumen is functioning properly. By late morning she was grazing once again. That girl has nine lives alright.

Yesterday we got another 90 bales in the barn from first cut. We have added a source for our hay so we aren't cut short by the end of the season.

It was a stunning afternoon as we drove along through the field picking up bales. There were Bobolinks everywhere, hopefully not having had their nests damaged. The drawback to spring haying is the field wildlife can be disrupted. This was a close as I could get to a Bobolink. What adept flyers they are!

This morning I moved the sheep to the near field for the week. We took it slow this morning so they could poke along and check out the sights of the barnyard, grab a mouthful of honeysuckle bush, sniff Sidney and look around. As we headed toward the machinery barn they knew where to go and I stayed behind them as they filed right out to morning hay and new pasture.

Ashley stayed behind as they entered the field and I gave her a cup of grain. She's managing just fine!

Sadly, one of our hens died yesterday. I thought something had been wrong with her earlier in the spring and then she seemed to get better. But all day Saturday she didn't even leave the coop and hung by the waterer. I thought she might just have a bug of some sort but when I let the hens out Sunday morning, she had passed away. It's so sad, regardless of the species, when we lose a friend on the farm. She was a happy hen and had a good life while she was here. That's to be thankful for.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


May was a blur....from getting ready for the spring sheep and wool shows and all that goes with that to spring bursting forth here on the farm to then being away for a week at the end of the month. My flow has been anything but steady! Our spring has been stunning this year. Not hot or humid, plenty of rain and equal amounts of sunshine. These pictures around the farm today are what we see more days than not. Just lovely and everyone is enjoying it from Webster

To the flock

To Sidney

To the hens