Maine Fiber Frolic 2017 Poster
MOFGA Common Ground Fair Poster

Way Too Cold!

Muck boots & YakTrax -- a winning combination

Muck boots & YakTrax -- a winning combination

This month has been brutally cold…colder it seems than is normal. Or maybe its just that we’re seeing these temps for several days in a row and it’s harder to take. I don’t know…it’s just not fun. I’m thankful for the Muck boots that I bought a couple of years ago. Boots are such a personal thing but for me, it’s all about keeping my feet warm & dry…this includes not sweaty. Sweat is wet just like anything else is wet and it makes your feet just as uncomfortable especially when they then get cold. Anyway, the Muck boots have worked for me. I have a tall neoprene pair and and short pair of garden type shoes…love them both! The tall pair has a pretty good bottom on them and do pretty well in the snow. I add a pair of YakTrax anyway just because I feel like I can walk more normally and that means my hips and back don’t ache quite as much.

Hay & Water…doesn’t that sound yummy!

this hay will feed the flock for about 2 weeks

this hay will feed the flock for about 2 weeks

We’re now buying Canadian hay…big compressed 2nd cutting bales that weigh about 65-70 pounds a piece.  It’s nice and green and the sheep are loving it. We had it tested and it’s the perfect maintenance ration for our girls and guys. Actually, it’s easier to handle than normal 30 pound bales. This comes 28 to the pallet, gets put on our trailer by forklift and when we get it home, we roll the bales off the trailer and into the barn. It takes up very little space and far less time than it would take us to put a ton of square bales on the trailer, take them off & stack them.

we weigh out the hay everyday so the sheep get just what they need and there's no waste

we weigh out the hay everyday so the sheep get just what they need and there's no waste

We have some square bales already paid for, however, so the day is coming when we’ll have to pick them up. Need some nice weather.  Water is always an issue in the winter. We see the sheep eating snow all the time. I think they enjoy crunching on crusty snow but we have to remember that they can’t possibly get the amount of water they need  just by eating snow. The issue in these low temps is keeping the water liquid long enough for the sheep to get their fill. We’re pretty low tech here and don’t have a stock tank heater so Jim is mixing hot water from the house (an outside hot spigot is a wonderful thing) into the cold water from the livestock well. He’s noticed that the water stays liquid for many more hours than it would otherwise and that the sheep seem to drink alot more than they do if just cold water is put out for them.

It’s a New Year!

Spot is looking for some goodies

Spot is sure that I've hidden another bucket of goodies behind that gate!

The new year arrived and we didn’t really make much of it…a quiet evening at home and a good night’s sleep. We spent the 1st getting ready for a load of hay and I did some sorting in the studio. The sheep got their holiday goodies today (a little behind schedule) and were most appreciative. Most of them love apples — some prefer carrots — a few don’t like either — but everyone who wanted something got it today. It’s always fun to watch the little ones with their first taste of apple. To begin with, they don’t have a clue how to get it into their mouths…it’s a different shape than they’re used to. Then they’re not sure how to chew it…texture is all wrong. When they do get it rolled around into the right spot for those molars to chomp on it and they get that first taste of sweet juice…WOW! you can see their eyes brighten and their chewing becomes alot more enthusiatic! Then they follow you around looking for more — very cute!!

Boxing Day

The boys were here for Christmas. We all survived the traditional Chinese food on Christmas eve. I love that it’s easy and we spend alot of time just talking,laughing, playing games and not alot of time cleaning up. We decided on fresh ham for our Christmas dinner and I had everything scheduled to the minute so the oven would be available for this giant 9 pound roast. I know…that’s alot of meat for 6 people but everybody wants to take leftovers home! I was just about to put the pie in the oven…I mean, I was standing there with the oven door open, pie in hand…and…the power went out!!! Could there be a better time?! We waited…and waited and I started to think about what I could cook instead of the giant roast — something that wouldn’t take long to defrost or to cook on the grill…thinking about how many steaks I can retrieve from the freezer without keeping the door open for too long. I decided on a time after which we would scrap the idea of the ham. Jim was doing chores so I ran over to the neighbors’ with a shortbread. The door opened and the wonderful smell of roasting turkey filled the air…a giant generator is a wonderous thing! Our friends, Nina & John, stopped by a little later. They were filling time while waiting for the power to come back on, too, and had heard that the outage was caused by a downed tree on the main road. We had a nice visit and it did keep my mind off the lack of power. Jim came in to take a breath before heading down to the culvert for water and the power came back on! He was saved from having to haul water from down the road and we were just a few minutes over the deadline for a change of menu so I decided to get the beast into the oven and convect the thing. So…we ate a little later than originally planned but we all had fun and nobody had to go any great distance to get home anyway. Today we’re kicking back a bit and looking over the wonderful books and music we were gifted. FUN!

White Christmas…let’s not overdo it!

This is the first day of winter and already we’ve had more than enough snow. It can stop now! It’ll be nice to have a white Christmas but we don’t need 3 feet to make everything white! It seems like so much of our time is spent moving snow around these days that neither of us is being very productive in the tool or fiber end of things. It’s very important that the barn doors can open and the feeders don’t get buried. The CSA is underway…drafting a brochure.