It’s time to name some lambs, y’all!

by Susan on April 14, 2014

 

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HOLY SMOKES! Lambing season is nearly upon us and it has completely snuck up on me this year. My dear friend Sarah VV reminded me this weekend that we haven’t come up with a naming convention of this year’s forthcoming lambs yet.

Every year, we chose a category from whence the lamb names will come.  In the past we have used candy bars, herbs and spices, islands, U.S. presidents, Jane Austen characters, Muppets, Downton Abbey characters and fonts. Here’s the cool part: you get to help us pick the convention!

[My friend and former business manager Jenny says that I never write about naming conventions without including this link. I was going to leave it out but I didn't want her to be disappointed.]

As I said last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) the category needs to be something with lots of naming possibilities. Candy was great cause there are umpteen jillion kinds. Think broad. Characters from fiction? Good. Characters from Dickens? Fine.  Characters from Salinger? Not so much.

Put your nominations for this year’s convention in the comments of this thread.  Amy and I will narrow down the choices and then y’all can vote on which one you would like us to use.

The first person to nominate the particular category that ends up winning gets to name the first lamb and -BONUS!!! – will win a bag full of JMF swag. In fact, the first person to nominate any of the conventions that make it to the voting will win a yarny prize. [I have an insane amount of yarn in my office, y'all, and some of it has got to go to a new home where is can run around of leash.]

So nominate away!

In other news, shares in our 2015 Yarn and Fiber CSA went on sale today. This shares will include the fleece grown on the very lambs that are currently snuggling up inside their mamas, waiting to make their grand entrance next month.* I’m not sure that we will keep doing the CSA forever, but I’ve decided to go ahead with one more year, at least.

I may be accused of burying my headline a bit here, but there is one more bit of news about the 2015 CSA Shares. I’ve lowered the price this year to make the shares more affordable to everyone.  Why? Good question. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this over the past few months. See, the entire point of the CSA when I started it back in 2007 was to give knitters a more personal connection to their yarn. To give the yarn a little context, if you will.  Back then, CSA Shares were JMF’s only source of income and we had to pay all the bills associated with raising the sheep and running the farm from that income stream.

Since then, due to the hard work of a lot of people who believed in what we were doing, and the very generous support of our shareholders (both moral and financial), Juniper Moon Farm has grown and expanded beyond my wildest dreams. The sheep no longer have to shoulder the entire burden of supporting several people’s livelihoods. I am more grateful for that than you will ever know.

I wanted to pass that good fortune on to the people who have supported us along the way, even if it’s only in a small way. I’m not sure if all that rambling will make sense to anyone else or not, but it makes sense in my head. And it lowering the price of shares by $50 lets more people participate who couldn’t before, well, that’s just a bonus.

You will find the Cormo Shares here and the Colored Flock Shares here.

* Don’t worry– the lambcam WILL be back in time for lambing.

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One of the biggest challenges for me in knitting this sweater has been keeping track of where I am in the pattern.  The pattern for the Blackberry Cabled Cardigan is extremely well written and accommodates a variety of bust sizes.   The front and back body pieces have  a good deal of side and waist shaping, which give the sweater its amazing curve hugging shape, and the cable pattern pattern runs throughout.

This means that while I am knitting, I am trying to keep track of the number of stitches I should have on the needle based upon the size I am knitting, how many more rows between increases and decreases, and where I am in both the cable repeat and the blackberry stitch.  For me, this involves a lot of counting and detailed notes.

Now,  I generally consider myself to be a sort of tech savvy person.  My day job essentially entails sitting in front of a computer.  I use mobile apps to manage my grocery list, prescription refills, my daily to do lists, my calendar, and my email. My phone and / or tablet are very rarely out of arms reach.  But, when it comes to my knitting, I am a Luddite. I cling to my paper pattern and my pencil, and, with a complicated pattern such as this one, every single page of the printed pattern is filled with notes.

Notes to help me keep track of when I started increasing or decreasing.

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Notes to help me remember when to start shaping, and little circles to point out how many stitches I need to have on the needles.

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Notes to remind me how many rows I put between the increases and decreases.

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And literally hundreds of little hash marks to help me keep track of the number of rows and repeats I have stitched.

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I swear, the hash marks are everywhere.  If I had to go back and duplicate this sweater based upon my paper pattern and the notes?  Well, I think we can all agree that it would nigh unto impossible.   Also, my dependence upon a paper pattern makes that much more for me to carry around when I am knitting on the go.

Please, please, please help me.   Do you use a knitting app?  If so, which one?  What do you like about it?  What don’t you like?  I am willing to spend a little money to find an app or a system to help me break out of my paper pattern trap.

Oh, yeah.  Pictures of the sweater.

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Look!  Seaming!  More on that next time.

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Cris lives in bucolic western Kentucky with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of assorted four-legged creatures.  She spends her days as a librarian and her nights dreaming of a small plot of land where she could raise a few chickens.  She can be found on Ravelry as Flarkin.

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Introducing Darwin!

by Susan on April 11, 2014

The other day, someone with whom I am Facebook friends reminded me that I haven’t posted anything about the newest member of our family yet on the blog. It seems completely impossible that I haven’t, but I guess things have been so nutso around here that it just completely slipped my mind.

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Meet Darwin, our new English Bulldog puppy.

Now, I have to tell you, if I had known the absolute chaos that our lives were about to descend into, we absolutely would not have gotten a puppy. Lucky for us, we didn’t know, because we love this puppy so so much and can’t imagine our lives without him.

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Darwin sleeps a lot!

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I can’t resist taking pictures of his wrinkly face when he’s snoozing.

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But he is a puppy, so he plays a lot too.

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Darwin and Oona may be too much cute to contain in one picture.

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Although he is only 12 weeks old, Darwin is already starting to look more like a bulldog.

You can expect about a million more pics of this puppy in the future!

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Unexpected Garden Guests

by Amy Karasz on April 10, 2014

Today the weather was beautiful, and we decided to take our learning outside.

As in, I needed to take advantage of the weather and get some gardening done, and I needed some slave labor to help.

The girls pulled weeds and collected rocks while I got out the hoe and pulled up all the grass and weed cover from the garden beds.  I was working along at a pretty good clip, dragging the top layer of weeds and their roots out of the ground, keeping a steady pace so i wouldn’t think about how tired I was getting.

At one point in the back corner of the front garden I noticed a small amount of fuzz fly up at me, but figured it was either partially composted wool bits or some of the fuzzier chicken feathers.

Then I struck down again, and a HUGE clump of the ground came out with the hoe, flinging lots more fuzz, and prompting a loud squeaking, crying noise from the clump.

In that same instant, I saw what I thought was a mouse laying there, squirming about, and I yelped. No, I am not afraid of mice, but I was taken by surprise and had already been edge worried about those huge monster-sized furry spiders that live in the ground out there.

The girls came running, and by that time I realized that the little creature had longer ears than a mouse, and no tail.

All of that fuzz was rabbit fur, and that clump was a nest of babies; a FLUFFLE of bunnies, if you will.

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The clump.  The outside is composed of leaves, hay, and leaves.  The inner part is all rabbit fur.

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There were quite a lot of them crammed in there, and they all sought the heat of each other’s bodies as we cooed over them.

Emily informed us that rabbits do indeed build nests in the ground this way, and that if you find one you are supposed to gently put it back and leave it be.  The mother will be back at some point for them.

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So that is what we did, despite protests from the younger girls that we should keep them forever.

Either way, I am not thrilled about having rabbits in the garden, but leaving them seemed to be the only option I could live with.  I’ll worry about keeping the vegetables safe later.

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Back to Regular Programming Soon!

April 9, 2014

First of all, thanks to so many of you who sent kind, thoughtful emails yesterday. Your words really helped me get through a tough day. Sometimes we forget that even bad situations are temporary. Thank you for reminding me. I am working my way through 6 months of emails and trying to make sure that […]

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An Important Message from Juniper Moon Farm

April 8, 2014

As the owner of Juniper Moon Farm, I accept full personal and professional responsibility for every aspect of our business. Over the past few days it has come to my attention the extent to which I have let you down.   It is only just now that I am beginning to understand the depth and breadth […]

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2014 Blanket Block-A-Long – April

April 7, 2014

For the first several months of this blanket block-a-long finding inspiration for the block designs was simple.  I was full of ideas.  Bursting to try new things.  I had only to look around me to see all kinds techniques, colors, and motifs I wanted to incorporate into a block.  Taking those ideas, putting them to […]

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Spring 2014 Shearing Party

April 6, 2014

Another shearing party, come and gone! Yesterday’s super laid-back party may have been my favorite one yet (aside from the absence of several people that shearing just isn’t right without). There was plenty of food, beautiful weather, a great new venue, and lots of friendly faces!  For us, not having too much going on to […]

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It’s Shearing Day!!!!

April 5, 2014

If you are heading to our Shearing Party today be aware that some GPSs are ending you on a wild goose chase. If you have any trouble, stop and ask a local for directions to Pleasant Grove, the place where Old Farm Days is held. When you arrive, drive straight to the back. You will […]

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Shearing Day Update!

April 4, 2014

Emily, our awesome sheep shearer, won’t be arriving at the Shearing Party until 1 p.m., so if you are only coming to see the sheep shorn, you may want to schedule your arrival for later in the day.  Before the shearing there will be lots of knitting and socializing, but not much in the way […]

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