Summer’s Sunday

I’ve been seeing a meme on both Facebook and Pinerest lately about how August is summer’s Sunday, and I quite like it.  It’s appropriate this year, given the changes I’m already seeing.

Though, to be fair, it isn’t always like this.  This summer (and last, too) was pretty mild.  In Augusts past we’ve had brutal days and nights where it’s still 90 degrees at 10:00 at night. Now may days are bracketed by farm chores completed in downright comfortable temperatures.  Three years ago I had to be out by 8 am to beat the awful oppressiveness of it. Evenings I would just sweat through it.

But these last few……..

It’s been perfect.  My friend Lisa and I agree that we can put up with frigid “polar vortex” type winters if it means we can have these summers.

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The stream is totally overgrown, but it’s a lot of wildflowers and color.  It’s so difficult to properly photograph.

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See that wild morning glory in there? It’s that time!

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Alabama, in our pasture wasteland.  The grass (not that we had much to begin with) is all gone for the year.

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Happy Sabine.

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Roquefort is so “majephtic”.

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Sweet Keswick

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Yeardley

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Basil, who has never lost his cuddliness.

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Chicken watering hole.

Our curriculum for the school year is submitted, plans for share dyeing are in the works, Emily the shearer has been contacted about shearing the Angora goats. Our first tentative steps toward fall have been taken.

Scenes From the Farm, Mid-Summer

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Where have three months gone?

Scout and I have been having a fantastic time getting to know each other.  He is– bar none– the happiest baby I have ever encountered.  From the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep at night he is all smiles and laughs.

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More soon…

Introducing Scout

The last two weeks have been such a whirlwind of change that I completely forgot to update the blog until Fran mentioned our newest lamb in the comments of Amy’s last post. It’s so hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks and one day since Scout Thomas arrived, two weeks early thanks to a wicked and fast acting case of pre-eclampsia. We are completely, utterly, hopelessly in love and nothing will ever be the same again. 11037180_10206053626837502_9028858308409763832_n For those of you keeping score at home, Scout weighed 8 lbs 1.5 ozs, was 19 inches long and was born very suddenly at 9:05 p.m. on April 13th. IMG_0131 IMG_0155 IMG_0221 IMG_0315 IMG_0318 IMG_0333 IMG_0337 IMG_0364 IMG_0385

Mom, Dad, big sister and baby are all doing well– exhausted but very happy.

More as soon as I figure out how to juggle all this.

 

Shear Bliss

Too corny?

Ah, well.  Yesterday the flock finally was freed from their heavy fleeces (just in time for temps to plummet and rain to fall all day today). But yesterday. Yesterday was glorious.  Later in the evening there was much more frolicking than I have seen since…..well, last spring.

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I love watching Emily work, and I love seeing the wool coming off to reveal the little bodies underneath.

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Wembley’s fleece came off in a solid, felted clump, not unlike a rug.  Poor thing. When a sheep has been as sick as she was, it’s no surprise.  I’m sure the three or four baths I gave her didn’t help. But, now she’s well and free of the old fleece and can start a new, healthy coat.

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Now, this. This is what I love to see. The colored flock. The sun-bleached outer layer, the darker layer at the skin, and all the variation in between.

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The pure Border Leicesters were mostly silver underneath; the Border Leicester/ Cormo crosses were more black underneath.

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Our friend Amy came and helped out with hooves, while Emily’s dog watched (and snatched hoof clipping to chew on).. Seriously, she was a HUGE help. And unsurprisingly, Emily can easily manage a sheep one-handed while Amy and I struggled tag-teaming them.

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The goats were surprisingly well-behaved for her.

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Neve helped out, too, of course!

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Cassie.

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Lyra

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Ursa – who is seriously the tiniest thing once you get her out of her coat!

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Wembley the Wonder Lamb.

I know everyone is sad we were unable to have a party for shearing this spring, but trust me, we had a great reason (BABYBABYBABY) that Susan will update y’all with soon enough.

In the meantime, I hope all of your steps are as light and carefree as the flock!

Yesterday In Pictures

We are SO reveling in the spring weather!!!

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Yes, hello. My name is Adelaide. You show me a fence and I’ll show you a stuck goat!

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She does this every. day.

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It’s been warm enough the last few days that the dogs have started their summer ritual of hanging out in the stream.

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The peas are growing well!

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The peonies are going to bloom any second.

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The lilacs are blooming now and busy attracting bees and butterflies with their heavenly scent.

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The strawberries are flowering.

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The broccoli is sprouting.

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The Monarda is shooting up fast.

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The raspberry bush is taking over!

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The azaleas are about to pop.

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The dogwoods are showing off.

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And Ursa is looking mighty tired of that fleece!

Evening In Pictures

Every day seems to be gaining ever more momentum toward summer. I took extra time this evening to appreciate the new flowers, the new bits of green popping up everywhere, and the wooly creatures who will be freed of their heavy winter fleeces in the next week or so.

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The apple trees are starting to leaf out.

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This broody hen is very unhappy that I keep taking the eggs from under her.

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A different kind of lambing season…

For the past ten years of my life, early Spring time has been about waiting. Waiting for the pastures to turn green again. Waiting for the mud to dry up. Waiting for shearing time.

But mostly waiting for lambs. I’ve probably spent a hundred nights or more waiting for ewes to give birth, sleeping in my truck or in the barn, or in my bed with a baby monitor propped up on my pillow. Year after year, I experienced the same excitement and anticipation waiting for the very first lamb or kid of the season to be born. Sometimes it felt like it was never going to happen and then, suddenly we were up to our elbows in knobbly knees and pink noses.

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I am happy to say that lambing never lost it’s magic for me. No matter how many babies I saw born, no matter how many sleepless nights, no matter how many moments-old lambs I saw take their first wobbly steps, it never stopped being an amazing miracle.

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Last year, we decided not to breed the ewes for lambs this spring. Mostly because our flock was at capacity and we didn’t want to have to make any tough decisions about any of the older ewes. When you have a no-kill flock, there is always a trade-off to be made between the old animals and the new.

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We also held off lambing because I knew that this year, I would be awaiting a lamb of my very own during lambing season. I am 37 weeks pregnant today, eagerly anticipating the arrival of my very own knobby-kneed miracle.

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I am feeling all the things you might expect a very pregnant first time mom to be feeling. Excitement. Anticipation. Trepidation. Discomfort (my empathy for the ewes has increased greatly!).  I can honestly say that I have never been so happy– or so content– in my entire life as I am right now.

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But in spite of that, I will miss the lambs this year. I just keep reminding myself how incredibly lucky I was to have that experience so many times.

No one in this world has ever been luckier than me, that’s for sure.

An Easter Lamb Miracle

Hopefully you are all having a lovely and relaxing Sunday.  The weather here is beautiful, if windy, and the kids are about due to crash from their sugar largesse left by the bunny.

I am enjoying the newly blooming flowers and the pea plants which have begun to sprout.

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But the BIG news we are happy to share is that Wembley the wonderlamb has made a full and complete recovery.

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When I found her downed several weeks back with a thiamine deficiency, we were pretty worried.  When we brought her home from the vet that evening, we were unsure how she’d do through the night.

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She lived in my tub for two weeks before I felt like I could move her out to the sheltered front porch.  But after a few days I was still pretty worried. She was still crooked, and could barely stand on her own. When the nearly three week mark hit and she was walking sideways, unable to lift her head completely, I was really worried. But then, suddenly one day, she decided she’d had enough, and walked around the gate and off the porch.  I took her down to the other lambs (lots of bleating was to be had) and worried yet again how she’d do through the night.

But now? Holding her own at the feed trough and hay bale. Walking straight, no head tilting or any indication of illness other than being a bit skinny still.

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The only difference between her pre-illness self and now is that she got used to us being her food-bearers, and consequently is very friendly and cuddly now.

I’m pretty comfortable calling this turn around nothing short of miraculous.

And They’re Outta Here!

That’s right! All of you lucky Juniper Moon Farm shareholders (after waiting patiently for what seems like FOREVER) will be getting delivery of your share yarn starting this week, depending on how close you are to the farm.

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Trina and I spent the day getting ALL the orders sorted and packed and processed for shipping.  We powered through and you should start getting tracking info in the next day or two.  Full and Double shares will be arriving in boxes; half shares in the envelopes.

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The color is a lovely light grey/brown, with maybe slightly more brown than last time.

The biggest difference, however, is that the mill sent them in a different size than we ordered.  Normally share yarn comes in 4 ounce skeins. This time it was a motley mix of assorted sizes and weights.  Trying to make sure everyone got the proper amount STRESSED ME OUT.  And here is why:

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The size difference!  This is why we had to weigh everything and fill orders by that metric. I meant it when I said motley mix. We had a hard time of it, but we got as close as we could for everyone.

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A full share.

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A double share.

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All loaded up and on their way to the post office!

Keep an eye out for your packages, and happy crafting!!

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