Friday, July 30, 2010

He's leaving home

We leave bright and early with Austin (shown here yesterday with his mom, Bea) and Guthrie for their new home.....

Wait until you see where they will be living. Sheep are lucky to live here on Long Ridge Farm but then there are new options somewhere in NH.

The destination revealed Sunday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Out and About

First and foremost, thank you all for the summer reading suggestions while I continue to spend more time off my feet than on them! I have to say, I had not read one book from your suggestions so the list is fabulous!

I have been abysmal at keeping up with things this week. I have found myself just hobbling from bed to chair to kitchen counter, between ice packs and naps. The heat has been oppressive for the most part and so I am trying to stay low and cool to keep the swelling down. Yesterday I couldn't stand another minute prone and got out and about to say hello to the farm. I wound my way down to the big barn to see the lambs and moms. Wow, how they have grown! Kalie made sure to accompany me and stay spotter for chipmunks on the stone walls.

It is a foregone conclusion that Della, our mama Romeldale, is fondly known as Aunt Della by all the lambs. Since they were all born it's Della they hang with. She is mellow and forgiving. They climb on her and snuggle with her and she has never tossed her head or given them the boot. The lambs love her. Here she is with Lilly, Griffin and Maggie (on the backside) taking some shade and a rest while the others graze.

Our new baby chicks are almost full grown and out and about now. This flock is NH Reds and so far are quite different from the last flock of Buff Sex Links for which our dear Bianca stems from. This flock stays in and amongst the bushes and shade....but everyday are venturing further about the barnyard.

As soon as I came down to say hello, they popped out of the bushes and made a brief appearance before they headed up around the studio to forage for bugs.

As I found my way back up to the house Webster and Bianca were having a visit by the cottage. Our Bianca is the best darn hen ever. She is living with the lambs and mamas now in the big barn, she finds her way into the barn each night where she roosts, lays her egg each morning before heading out for the day. She is not mad for the new flock of hens yet but hopefully by winter we will be able to soften her up. For now though Bianca is everyone's friend and a bright spot around the yard, dependable, personable and so friendly.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Your recent favorite reads!
Me, a Type A personality, left to my own devices for weeks on end with limited time to motor about on both feet,am in need of more books to read. In the past week I have read these three books:

How To Knit A Love Song
A lusty, predictable love story with a very light drama laced throughout but with lots of references to farming, knitting and love, it was a fun read.

Little Bee
I wasn't attracted to this book on the shelf but then thought better of it and found it a fast and moving read. I wept as I finished the last page.

So I had to have some more by Chris Cleave and just finished Incendiary today. Now this book was tough. From page one to the last page it was hard to continue and yet impossible to put it down. Therefore I didn't. Not a happy book, not at all. But if you are brave and can work through it's dark spots, take it on.

What are you reading, what can you suggest next for me? Kris, thanks for your offerings today: Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamont and also Still Alice. While I wait to hear your thoughts, I have The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark waiting.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Blues ~ For students not for me!

Recovery is treacherous, cruel and oh, so boring! Here is my existence to some degree. I mean from here I travel on crutches to the bathroom, the bedroom and the kitchen. I have a spot in the kitchen at the island where I can elevate the foot and at least converse with Jack during meals.

Yesterday, my friend, Betsy came by and brought some lunch from the Putney Coop (yum!) and we sat on the porch for a visit. Now I haven't been to the porch since surgery as it's been too hot and this foot wants to swell at the first opportunity. So when I'd had enough I got up on the crutches and headed back to the living room and did a skid on a throw rug. I didn't fall down but did hurl forward onto the ball of my healing foot. Oh boy, did that feel great! I hit the icepacks and made an appointment with the doc for today just to be sure something hadn't gone awry. It felt odd but may just be a bit of aggravation. Today the doctor unwrapped the bandages and noted I had minimally caused some bleeding but all in all I am okay. She wrapped me up with the next appointment for 9 more days if I don't do something silly!
So what was a breeze on day one has become a bit of a trial, but I will survive it! I am just so not a couch potato and the hard part is staying down. A true test of MY patience!

Backing up a few weeks, I taught Basics in Natural Dyeing, here at the farm to a great group of students on June 12th working through the steps to become a successful dyer using Earthues natural dyes. I was full of enthusiasm after returning from France. After a brief lecture we jumped into dyeing two colors from one dyepot. I set up the day so each student would go home with 8 dye formulations with yarn samples to build from for their own personal work.

It was a rainy day but it didn't dampen our spirits.
As we rolled along through the dyeing schedule students watched the yarns to be sure the skeins took the dyes evenly.

Sidney couldn't help himself....he just loves a room full of people and happy sounds. Puts him right to sleep!
The skeins get sorted for each student at the end of the day.
And yes, I asked for a group photo! After just a day together relationships form as we share a common interest.
The following day, June 13th, I taught Unravel The Magic and Mystery of Indigo. Each student came with a drive to learn the indigo process and also various areas or interest. Margo brought a number of pieces she had prepared in the shibori fashion where others brought raw fleece, roving and yarns.
I love to teach indigo and I prefer students bring their own fibers because once they connect with the process, applying the range of blues to their own work is the kiss of success! Here are some fibers oxidizing between dips.
Helen is building her layers of indigo to some beautiful yarns she spun. Indigo dyeing works on the concept of building the blue through multiple dips until the prefered blue hue is acheived.

If you have yearned to get started with natural dyes consider joining me and Michele Wipplinger for one of the workshops coming up in August and September which you can review here.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pasture days

It's been another whirlwind couple of weeks since I returned from Seattle. The lambs are now taking day trips with their Moms to pasture. It's good to get them used to the pasture changing and the routes around the farm. The ewes know the way well and the lambs surely follow!

They found a patch of daisies along the way....delish!

Clover and tall green grass...the best in sheepdom....

Each night we lead them back to the big barn. Until they are a bit larger I feel better with them nearer civilization after dark. It's a cheerful commute each day!

We, along with much of the nation, have been struggling with extreme heat and humidity for the past week. I'm not a fan of this kind of weather and find myself looking to the sky for a glimmer of a rain cloud or even a fresh breeze. So far neither one presents itself. The sheep are bearing up with lots of shade and water, not to mention TLC and pep talks to help them through. I do find spending time with them and giving them a rubdown, ear scratch or a chin rub mellows them immensely during these hot weather patterns.

I am checking out for a few days (again!). I have foot surgery tomorrow morning and will be home and recovering, slowly albeit. I'll be back with an update in a few days or so. Meanwhile I hope you are finding ways to beat the heat!