I spend a fair amount of time most days planning blog posts. And then life happens, and days and weeks go by with those ideas just floating around in my head.
Any way, yesterday when I went out to feed, the ewes were not happy with me. Instead of going and buying more corn, I spent the afternoon playing with Laura (more on that in a minute). So they are milling around, complaining loudly that they are starving, that hay just isn’t good enough, that they will keel over and die if I don’t have a bucket of corn for them. Silly girls. It had finally warmed up enough for the hose faucet to work, so I’ve stretched the hose out and am filling waterers while I can, which includes using a bucket to fill the tub in the barn. I am walking back and forth between the barn and the big tub when I spot …. (you ready for this?)… a lamb!
Now, the day before when everyone was sucking down corn as fast as they could, I had walked around behind the ewes, feeling everyone’s udder, to get an idea of who might lamb when. Some are closer than others, but no one feels imminent. As compared to Faith, who is in the barn with Ashe, whose udder is full and has changed to a rich pink color which normally indicates impending babies. The lamb cozies up to Midge, who is still big as a house and whose udder was soft when I checked. She talks back to him and lets him nurse. He is dry and has obviously eaten already, so I pick him up and walk over to the barn. She follows. I open the barn gate, Faith comes out, and Midge and her son go in.
So what fun things was I doing with Laura, you ask? She had called me to see if I was available to go with her to pick up a Craigslist find (a small mangle for pressing her woven goods), and then she came back to the house to card some angora fluff she had gotten from a mutual friend. It was fun, and it will be great to see what she makes with the finished yarn.
I haven’t talked here about why Ashe is in the barn. She is Kid the Younger’s last remaining sheep from the flock that he had from being in 4-H, and I had held off on telling him she was having problems until he was here for his birthday. She has been down, unable to stand for over a month. There was one day where I was afraid she was checking out (she refused food and water), but other than that one day her attitude has been good. She is very skinny (she has always been thin), but eating and drinking well. I put her in the barn with a companion to provide her with as much comfort as I can. At first her companion was Eartha (who has always been my thinnest ewe). They got corn long before anyone else. After a few weeks of confinement, Eartha was getting a bit testy, so I let her out and brought in Faith, who seemed the closest to lambing (ha!). My other big surprise was finding out that, despite her illness, Ashe is still pregnant. She has never had a lamb that survived, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for her and the lamb.
Our weather has been miserable cold, not getting above freezing for days on end. This week is supposed to be back to normal. Living in an old (40 years old) mobile home, is a challenge in cold weather. If I am not careful (and sometimes even when I am), I have to deal with frozen pipes. It isn’t often that I have no water at all, though it has happened. Last week, I had water to my bathroom sink, but not that tub or toilet. The 2nd bathroom had water to the tub. The kitchen had cold water, but not hot. The hose bib was frozen shut. It makes doing things much more challenging. The toilet can be flushed, for example, but I have to manually refill the tank. Buckets of water have to be carried out to the animals so that they have something to drink (not enough snow on the ground for them to eat). It’s not quite pioneer living, but it’s as close as I want to get. I have no illusions about how hard life was in the “Good Old Days”. I laugh when someone tells me they’d like to go back and live at some time in the past. No thanks! I love my modern conveniences.
When I wasn’t dealing with wood and water, I’ve been knitting and spinning. I got the Christmas stocking fulled, finished one prayer shawl for my mom’s church group and started another, and finished the first pair of socks of the year:
(this is about 70% of the ends I had from the Christmas stockings. The dime in the lower right corner is for scale) Bias knit prayer shawl. The dark green is a bulky yarn, the cream is 3 strands of worsted weight. First socks of 2013, from a mohair blend yarn that I had in stash. There is enough yarn left for another pair.
In spinning, I have been working on some yarn spun from one of Faith’s old fleeces. I washed up some of the skirtings from her fleece using the directions in Margaret Stove’s “Spinning for Lace” dvd, and have been spinning them worsted from the locks. It is turning out very pretty, and with 2 spinning dates last weekend I’ve made a lot of progress on the bobbin. I am selecting locks to emphasize the color variations in the fleece.
I also took a couple of minutes to play with my new toy from Santa, a mandoline. Made quick work of some onions and potatoes for a tasty soup.
Hope you are staying warm (or cool, depending on where you are) and keeping busy. Talk at you soon.