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My last post was three months ago.  It was all about winter, and how long it was taking for spring to arrive.  I told myself I wouldn’t post again until spring was here.  Now it is May, and it is about time I brought you all up to date.

Only a month ago, April 16th, it still looked like this here.

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Not much spring to write about.  The garden waited patiently.

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Then it happened…spring.

The birds came back, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds.

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An eagle watched us on our walk.

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We were walking on bare ground again!

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The garden beckoned.

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The baby bellies grew big.

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The wild flowers burst into colour.

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In the last week the rhubarb tripled in size, and the gooseberry and black currant bushes are filling out.

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Redford the rooster and his flock of ladies are enjoying the warm weather and scratching in the bare ground.

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Jenny had her first calf…we called him Jake.

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Then Olivia had her fifth calf…we called him Blackjack.  Olivia has always had chocolate-brown calves, just like her.  Her boys have always been called Jack.  This year, for some unknown reason, her calf is black.  Hence the name!

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Yesterday Cotton decided to have her lambs.  It was an interesting time.  All my sheep have delivered their lambs on their own with no real problem.  I noticed Cotton seemed to be taking longer than normal, and struggling a bit.  Fortunately I have a neighbour/friend who used to raise sheep in New Zealand.  A quick call and he was pulling in to the driveway.  We headed back to the pen and we were just in time to see Cotton deliver a little boy…backwards!  It was a breach birth, but she managed to do it on her own.  We pulled up some lawn chairs and watched her clean and bond with the little fellow.  It wasn’t long before he had had a drink and was settling down for a nap.  Good thing too, because then Cotton proceeded to give birth to another little boy…another backwards delivery!  24 hours later and Mom and both boys are doing just fine.

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Now we watch and wait for the next two ewes to lamb.  Poor PJ looks like she could pop.

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Hopefully she won’t have to wait too long.  I will keep you posted!

So spring is here, about time too.

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It is the middle of February and it is still here.  Winter, that is.

The snow and cold continues, as does the beauty.

There have been clear, sunny days,

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days when the views just make your heart sing.

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There have also been overcast, grey days,

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but they have their own kind of beauty.

Many thanks to one of my readers, who suggested putting oil on Emma’s feet before we walk.  I have been rubbing a bit of olive oil on her pads, and she can walk and walk without getting snow and ice balls building up.  Such a simple solution! Thanks Maureen at Mo Bloggin.

The lingering winter has allowed me to continue working with my wool.  I have set up an area of my house as my “wool” room.

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I can’t say it motivates me to spend more time spinning, but as least it keeps it all together in one space.

Here are a few things I have been working on.

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I have been spinning plain white wool.  I met a local lady who is very experienced with spinning and knitting and she gave me a lesson in spinning.  It helped a lot, and I now believe that with practice, my spinning will improve.

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Still need lots of practice!

I have dabbled in dying too.  Believe it or not, this was supposed to turn out red.  Guess I will have to try again.  Half the fun of dying wool is the surprise of how it turns out.

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My last project was a scarf.  I used wool I had dyed a while ago, and after spinning and knitting I ended up with something I can actually wear.

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Sometimes I spin, and sometimes I knit and sometimes I just sit and marvel at the views outside my windows. Smoke from Brother Tom’s chimney drifting and dancing across the field.

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Winter is still here, and we might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

It won’t last forever.

 

 

 

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We are only two days into the new year and so far it has been a good start.

It is still cold, -12 but the clouds are gone and it is sunny out.

Our first daily walk of the year was filled with the beauty of winter.

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Home, sweet home.

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Blue, blue skies.

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Thanks to Brother Tom and John Deere for the paths to walk on.

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An early morning shot of the full moon before it sank behind the hills.

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I even found time to do some knitting.   It may not look like it, but it is a cotton dishcloth.  A wool dishcloth wouldn’t work too well, so I splurged and bought a skein of cotton.

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It’s not quite square, has a few mistakes, and is far from perfect, but it is finished and ready to use.

A good start to the year!

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Here it is, New Year’s Eve, once again.

One year ago I wrote a post about creativity, and made a commitment to myself to do something with all the wool I have gathered over the years from my wonderful sheep.

Well guess what…I didn’t.  I did take a knitting class and complete part of one sock.

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I was planning a visit to a friend before Christmas and she told me about finding wool pillows for sale at a craft sale.  She wanted to try one, but they were asking $150 per pillow, with no return policy.  Not a problem, I threw two bags of my wool in the truck when I went to visit and we did put together four pillows.

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Two each, and I have been using mine ever since.

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So I did do a little bit of wool work, but nowhere near what my intentions were.  There is always next year.

I did set one goal last year that I have achieved.

One of my gifts for Christmas 1999 was A Book Lover’s Diary from Brother Bill and family.

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Ever since then, for the past 18 years, I have recorded the title, author and date of every book I read.

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The number of books I read in a year changes depending on what is happening in that year.  Over the years the number has ranged from 39 to 107.

Last New Year’s I set a goal to read the most books ever.  10 books per month for a yearly total of 120.  If I complete the book I am currently reading ( a wonderful biography of Gordon Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings) today, I will have read 122 books.  So, I did it.

It is easy to achieve a goal doing something you love.  Reading is like breathing for me, I don’t have to think about doing it, and if I stop doing it, it doesn’t take long for me to notice.

I haven’t set any goals for 2018.  I still have the wool one to work on.

A couple of updates…Pritchard and the girls are getting along just fine.  I believe there will be lambs in the spring.

The chickens have started to lay again.

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Notice the different sizes of eggs.

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The big ones are from the old hens, and the smaller ones are from the new hens just starting to lay.

Last but not least, there is a new addition to the farm.

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Odin has a little buddy.  His name is Buck and he is 12 weeks old.

Here he is on Christmas Day with niece Val.

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That’s it for 2017!

Happy New Year everyone, I wish you all the best in 2018.

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Well it’s that time of year…again.

Time to get the sheep bred, if I want lambs in the spring.  I am actually a little late this year.  I had kind of decided not to breed them this year, but then I changed my mind.

So off to the neighbours with the truck and trailer and home I come with this fellow.

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Remember him?  Pritchard the ram.  He has been back to the farm a few times before and always performed his job admirably.

The girls were a little startled and unsure when he first arrived.

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I used my old standby trick of giving them all a bit of grain.  Nothing like food to bring folks together.

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But…now I am beginning to wonder.

Pritchard has been here for over a week now and there has been no “activity” at all.  Most unusual.  Other years it doesn’t take more than a day or two before things start to happen.

So I have come up with three scenarios.  The first  (and the one I hope turns out to be right) is that things are just a little slow starting this year, and soon I will see the activity I have been waiting for.  The second (and this would be disappointing) is that Pritchard just doesn’t have what it takes anymore.  The third ( and this would be okay but not ideal) is that one of the male lambs wasn’t completely neutered this year, and  bred all three ewes before he “left” the farm.  That would mean there could be lambs born in late January or early February.   Not the best time for lambing up here, but if it happens we will see it through.

In the meantime, I will keep watching and waiting and hope I see something soon.  Something other than sheep lounging around the pen.

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It’s also that time of year for something else.  The Christmas Tree.

Emma and I took a walk the other day and went tree hunting.  I love to walk through our own forest and look for the perfect tree.

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We found just what we wanted, and today we went back with the saw to get it.

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I know, I know, it looks kind of Charley Brownish.  The cows had been rubbing against the middle and broken off a lot of the branches.  But…when I looked at it, I saw this.

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Just the tree for me, once the bottom was cut off.  So I chopped it down and loaded it on my trusty sled for the ride home.

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Perfect timing too.   I had just trimmed the bottom off, brought the tree into the house,  and got it set up in its stand, when I saw this out the window.

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It was snowing.  Quite appropriate for tree decorating.  I put a Christmas tape (yes, you read correctly, I still play cassette tapes) into the tape player, and got out my box of decorations.

Emma was in a mellow mood too, quietly watching the snow fall.

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It didn’t take long and the tree was done.

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Ready for that time of year, Christmas.

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This and That

Well we had a burst of winter, and then spring showed up and melted all the snow.  Emma and I were back out walking on bare ground.

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It was so nice after all that snow. Then this morning it came back, although not as much as before.  So there we are, out walking in the snow again.

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The sheep flock has shrunk back to its normal size.  The lambs have all moved on, some sold and some in the freezer.  All that are left are my old faithful ewes, Cotton, Abbie and PJ.

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It is so nice to have the flock smaller.  Theses three greet me gently at the gate, and eat hay out of my hands.  It so much more enjoyable than being bombarded by five rambunctious young ones, pushing and shoving with no manners at all.

The chicken flock has gone the other way.  There are now ten chickens where there used to be five.  Remember these little ones?

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Well they are all grown up now.

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They turned into four hens and one handsome rooster.  I have named him Redford, for his good looks and his beautiful red feathers.

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The downside of the chicken flock is that currently none of the hens are laying eggs.  The new ones haven’t started yet, but I am expecting them to any day now.  The five old hens are getting pretty old and I am thinking they would do better soaking in a nice hot bath in my soup pot.  So…the day is coming when the chicken flock will be downsized to a more manageable number too.

On to another topic…what is wrong with this picture?

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This is the box that holds my batteries.  The batteries that store my power that runs my house.  This box is empty!

After only one year, the batteries failed.  They stopped holding a charge and I was having to run the generator twice a day just to keep the power on.  Fortunately they were still under warranty so I was able to replace them at no cost.

However, the installers won’t be here until tomorrow, so I have spent the week relying on good old Genny to keep the lights on.  She really does a great job and I haven’t been inconvenienced at all.  In fact,  it is kind of refreshing to only have, and use power when you need it, and not 24 hours a day.  I checked my emails and did anything I needed to on the computer in the morning and in the evening.  Same with lights, I didn’t need them during the day.  The most noticeable thing is the silence.  We don’t realize the noise that surrounds us all the time, the humming of electrical appliances.

Today is the last day of November and I finally got one of my Christmas cakes made.

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I am late this year, usually they are made around November 11th.  Tomorrow I will make the dark cakes, while the electrical gurus install my new batteries and turn the noise back on.

Happy December everyone!

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Remembrance Day

In memory of those who served…

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Thanks, Dad.

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