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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer is Here!!

Well we finally have summer and sunshine......and all the work that that brings....but I am not complaining. A lot of the perennials are starting to bloom, birds are singing and my little frog came back to live in the flower bed....I think it is the same one....but how do you tell. of course there is also a gopher living under the front step that has been munching on some of my plants...have to figure out how to get him out of there. Have not done much knitting the last while with all the outside work, am still knitting on the headache hat but am almost finished. Did take some time to do a couple of dye pots. I have the grey and light brown colored yarn I had processed at the mill this spring and I thought I would try some over dying and it turned out great!! Love the colors!! Have to get a couple more pots on the go. The last week we have been shearing the llamas and shearing alpacas for the first time, we sheared twenty-four llamas and three alpacas. Some spitting, some screaming, some jumping over panels and having to shear some laying down. We still have seven alpacas to shear but are going to see if we can get the guy that shears in the area to do them. RH had got the blades and combs sharpened for our clipper but who ever did it did not do a great job so it was a real pain getting the clipper to work properly and with the alpacas with their denser fibre it was not doing a good job. I know the guy that shears in our area is so behind because of the rain, and if he can not fit us in we will just have to shear them ourselves. The farmers markets have started for the season, we go to two of them,one Thursday afternoon and the other one Saturday morning so that keeps us busy too. RH does the markets and I stay home and tend to the animals. We have three female llamas we are waiting to have their baby's, they are overdue so am keeping a watch on them plus the three pygmy girls are due any day. I had entered six llama fleeces in a fleece show and because of the rain and not getting them sheared before the deadline to enter them I just had to wing it, now that we have sheared them I think I am going to have to substitute some of the entry's if they will let me, as some I entered have too much trash in them. So I am off to sort through fleece and decide what to do, plus I better go down to the garden and see what the gophers have been up to!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The rain has not ended!!

Thank-goodness I did get the garden in before the rains came or it would be so late even though the mice ate the pea and bean seeds on me, actually we had a couple days when we did not get rain and the top of the ground dried off enough I could poke a few more pea seeds in and sure enough the mice were munching again. We have the mouse bait in pieces of plastic pipe but the mice were taking the bait out of the pipe and taking it home with them......all I hope is they had a party and invited all their friends. Now I have rocks against the pipes so the mouse can get in but they can not take the bait home with them, I was down at the garden yesterday and it did not look like any more mouse activity lately, even a couple of seeds they missed were growing. I think I will soak the bean seeds (I had to go buy more) overnight before I plant them. I was talking to a guy that has had the same problem with the mice and he has made cute little bird houses without the hole for the birds to go in and just put mouse holes at the bottom and he puts the mouse bait in them, that sounds more attractive to me than old pipe laying in the bed. I have all those tomato plants growing under lights....when will I ever get them in, it has been too cold to even harden them off, I need a mini greenhouse thing I guess. I also have pumpkin and squash plants growing under the lights ready to put out. Now on the knitting of the cute little sweater hat......I am keeping at it but it is not going fast!!I have now separated the stitches and am working on the front and back on straight needles so is so much easier, is so hard to see your stitches when they are scrunched up on the round needle, I think the other hats I have knit in cables have been knit on two needles and then sewn up, I don't know whether this pattern could be knit on two needles....will have to think on that!! Yesterday I took a skein of my grey alpaca/mohair/wool mix that I have been using for socks and dyed it blue, it turned out so nice so decided to do a dye pot of five skeins today, when I added the dye to the pot........I forgot I did not used the amount of dye for the dark color.......I used an amount between the dark and the these skeins are not the nice grey/blue color I wanted......they are blue!! blue!! I did a sample pot using red dye but I think I put the right amount in that dye pot. The dye pots are just finishing up so will take pictures tomorrow when they are dry. I better write myself some notes and underline them!!All our big goats have had their kids so now are waiting on the pygmies and the Angora/pygmy cross goat that the buck caught when RH left the gate open, he did that three times so I guess we are lucky only one accidently got bred!! Am off to take the dye pots off the stove and get the bottles ready for the kids in the barn. Will post the rainbow that we had after yesterdays rain.

Monday, June 2, 2008

This might be spring??

Well we went from winter to summer heat and then to a monsoon, the rain started and lasted about ten days, I was so glad I had got my garden in before it started raining........or so I thought.....when it dried up enough I could get down to the garden, I was so excited to see what was growing....what I found was the mice had dug all my pea and bean seeds out of the ground and ate them, at first I thought the birds did it but the more I thought on it....there were no bird feet tracks and the seeds were dug out just like I had picked them out of the dirt....I defeated the gophers by putting in raised beds with chicken wire around them and mesh wire under the beds so they could not dig what??...this never seems to end!! Now we have mouse bait in pieces of plastic pipe in every bed and they must like it as when I went down yesterday they had drug the squares of bait out of the pipe trying to take it home with them, let us hope this is going to work. They also started digging up the beet seeds must must not have liked them as they just left them so I replanted them. I had ordered special pea seeds as we have a problem with powdery mildew on the pea plants so only get a couple of picking, so ordered a mildew resistant pea seed. Now the mice have never bothered my pea and been seeds before......why now. After the monsoon we have had pretty nice spring weather. More goat babies, we only bred four of the Boer/Dairy does and we ended up with a set of quads, a set of triplets and two sets of twins, the three pygmy does we bred should kid pretty soon. And I have been "trying to knit" the cute sweater hat!! I got the twisted rib brim finished no problem, and it is double so takes a lot of yarn and a lot of knitting, then it was on to the pattern &*^%$#$% I have knit a lot of cable knitting in the past and never had this much trouble, first of all they had a chart to knit from in which a lot of the symbols were so similar it was hard to tell the difference so after I ripped it all out the first time I color coded the symbols, which worked better although I found it really hard to knit the pattern on the cir needle the stitches were either all scrunched up on the smaller needle or too far apart on the next longer one, so after ripping back at least three times I think I am on my way but this pattern is a lot of work, takes forever to knit a row, is getting easier now I can see where the pattern is going. Have found a mistake way back and I am not going to rip it all out again, I will just emb a flower over it or something because if I rib it back one more time it is not going to be a will be a headband!! If I knit it again I will redesign the cable does not need to be so complicated. Well I am off to do a couple more rows on the headache hat!!