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Meet me at Jimmy Beans!

This Saturday I will be in sunny Reno, NV at Jimmy Beans Wool. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary and, knowing the Jimmy Beans folks, it will be lots and lots of fun.

I’m coming with a big trunk of garments from our Spring/Summer collection for knitters to see and try on. Trunk shows are a great way to see what you want to knit next. Every time I do one of these, someone comes up to me to say that they never would have knit X had they not gotten to try it on, because they just assumed it wouldn’t look good on them. That’s the magic of trunk shows!

If you’re in the area, come by. I’d love to meet you.

Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

I’ll go first. It’s 10:46 a.m. and I have already finished everything on my To Do list.

Your turn! Go on– tell me something good.

The Farm Report

We’ve had some spectacularly mild weather here this week!  I could get used to low humidity and temps in the mid 80′s.  If this was always what summer was like I’d be MUCH more inclined to have it stick around longer.

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July has been pretty dry, and I’m not one to complain about it.  Not after last year’s sogginess!  I think it may be helping keep  much of the bug populations rather low.  The one exception seems to be the flies.  They are HORRENDOUS right now.  Speaking to our vet this week, she agreed that this has been a terrible year for flies.  I’ve been having to spray down the sheeps’ back ends with fly spray every few days, and the vet assured me it was the smart thing to do.

Right now my main objective has been to keep the flock comfortable and well-fed.  They have plenty of shade throughout the day, and I have put an extra water tank out as well.  They are getting a dose of electrolytes in their water and so far it hasn’t been hot or awful enough out to warrant a heat tonic.  (We still have August, though, so…..)

I want them well-fed to give them the best chance against any parasite that may pop up.  We did copper them this spring, and they get Levamisole every so often to be safe.  We are taking NO chances.

Aside from that, I have had a few opportunities to get to know our new vets.  Most recently we had a farm call to take care of a ewe I’d found with a prolapse.

***WARNING -  NO PICS, BUT STILL NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH ***

Sunday evening when Oona and I went out to take care of feeding, I noticed one of the colored sheep has quite a lot of red going on under the tail area. My first thought was flystrike (it’s terrible.  Don’t click on that link if you don’t really, really want to know).  There were a lot of flies buzzing about and her tail was wagging a lot as though she were itchy.

I dropped everything and ran for my permethrin spray and gloves, prepared to do battle with maggots. But as it turned out, there was no fly infestation.  Her vagina had prolapsed and pushed out of her body, and that was what was attracting the flies. As bad as fly strike is, this felt much, much worse.

Thankfully, our vet arrived with confident reassurances, and after an epidural was administered to the bewildered ewe, the whole area was washed well, pushed back up inside where it belonged, and a large stitch was put in place to make sure it stayed put. The bad news is that this ewe cannot be bred again. Ever. Once the vagina or uterus collapses outside of the body like that it has a tendency to want to continue to do so.  That stitch that the vet put in her is permanent.

Today I did a thorough check on everyone and she is healing well, and there are no more flies buzzing about her ladybits.

Also doing well is Mr. Paddington.  When he and his twin, Piccadilly, were about a week old, we noticed he had a limp.  It got progressively worse over the next two or three days and then we discovered a large lump above his front hoof. When we picked him up, it burst.  Susan and I were stumped; when a second spot appeared on his back leg and a third on his chest, he went straight to the vet.

She found that his hoof was broken.  Most likely his mama stepped on him, or one of the other mamas.  When they are that little and trying to nurse, they tend to get underfoot a lot. The broken bones were surrounded by a pocket of infection, which was spreading to other parts of his body.

After lancing and draining his abscesses, she scrubbed him down well, splinted his leg and bandaged him up.  I was sent home with instructions to re-bandage every two to three days, administer antibiotics and a painkiller.  The kicker, for me, was that the bandage changing and scrubbing of the wounds required him to be asleep, so I was given a vial of sedative to knock him out every few days for a good cleaning.

If you’ve never had to knock out a small animal, it’s rather disconcerting at first!

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Despite his handicaps, Paddington continued to thrive and nurse and hop along after the other lambs.  We have been calling him “Hop-A-Long Paddington” ever since.

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He’s a bit crooked, since his other joints and muscles grew disproportionately in response to how he was using them.

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He will win no prizes for conformation.  But this lamb by all rights shouldn’t even be alive.  It’s a miracle the infection didn’t settle into his bones.  It’s amazing that he never stopped nursing from his mama, despite the fact that she was not the most attentive parent.  He is the friendliest lamb in the field, owing to the time he spent being handled by us, and even though he’s crooked, he is growing just as well as the other lambs.

And if we are all very, very lucky, there will be no more vet calls this year!

Cha-cha-cha-changes…

You know what’s hard to believe? I have been blogging right here since February 10, 2008. That’s six years and five months of almost daily blogging, for a total of 2469 posts. Of course, I didn’t write all of them. I’ve had various staff members over the years who contributed to the blog, and plenty of good friends who pitched in from time to time. But the over all responsibility for this blog, and the one that came before it, has always been mine.

In the beginning it didn’t actually feel like work at all! Whenever something exciting happened on the farm or I stumbled across a great new book or website, I couldn’t wait to come here and write about it. I used to say that nothing felt like it had actually happened until I told the blog readers about it.

But lately… Lately, writing the blog has become more of a chore. A burden, almost. Not because I don’t love communicating with you lovely people. Blogging has just started to feel incredibly one-sided. And not even a whole side at that.

When I started this business, it was just me and the sheep. I wrote about what I was feeling, what was going on on the farm, what it felt like to be responsible for 100 sheep and goats well-being. I vowed right from the start not to write about religion or politics because that wasn’t what this space was all about. It was about bringing people who love knitting and fiber animals together– there were more than enough forums out there that point out our divisions. I wanted this one to be about this little piece of commonality that we all agree on.

But as Juniper Moon Farm grew, so did my responsibilities. First it was with the addition of staff. Then the larger, more expensive farm. By the time I started working with KFI as the creative director of a commercial yarn line, I had a whole lot of people’s livelihoods that were resting (at least in part) on my little business, and by extension, on this blog.

I started pulling my punches on a lot of topics that I thought would be too controversial for my blog. Things I wouldn’t have hesitated to write about in the early days started to scare me. I put more and more of the responsibility for writing light and breezy blog posts on the shoulders of my employees and I policed their content for anything that might offend. Coming up with suitable blog topics became a weekly task that we all dreaded.

But mostly? I just I think I just got burned out.

2469 blog posts is a whole lot of blog posts, y’all.

What does all this mean? It means that I will no longer be blogging daily in this space. When something awesome happens, or I read a really good book or try out a fab new recipe that demands to be shared, I will blog. When Amy has animal news and pictures, she will blog. And when we have news about the CSA Shares and our commercial yarn lines, we will blog.

If you’d like to be notified when we DO blog, you can follow our Facebook page, follow us on twitter, or you can just check back here from time to time. I will also be posting mini updates on the Facebook page. And I will try to post more moments on Instagram as well.

As an added bonus, when you come here to read a post, you’ll know that I’m blogging because I have something to say– not because I have to keep my stats up.

I am so grateful for the time I have had writing this blog and getting to know all of you. I promise, I’m not going away– I’m just changing my expectations of myself. I hope that makes sense.

 

 

Back next week!

So sorry I’ve been AWOL this week. I picked up a nasty summer cold before we left for the Azores and I’ve been basically sleeping and blowing my nose since we returned. I promise to get back to blogging ASAP.

 

In the meantime, what’s in store for you this weekend? We’re having a yard sale tomorrow and I’m hoping to lay low on Sunday.

Home from Paradise!

We got home from our magical trip to the Azores late Tuesday night and we’re still in that hazy, sleepy zone that accompanies traveling thousands of miles across multiple times zones.  Forgive me if this post is a little muddled.

 

The Azores is made up of nine volcanic islands that were settled by Portugal back in the colonial era. The islands were uninhabited before the Portuguese arrived, so the language and culture of the Azores is pure Portuguese. The owner of the company Mike works for immigrated to the U.S. from the Azores as a child, and this trip was a strategic planning meeting for the directors of the company. Spouses got to tag along, which is how I got so incredibly lucky.

 

I had wanted to visit the Azores for years, ever since reading Sailing Alone Around the World: a Personal Account of the First Solo Circumnavigation of the Globe by Sail by Joshua Slocum. Mike and I had talked about it as a potential vacation destination when we first met (along with Iceland) and then weeks later we found out we would be going. It was almost surreal.

This post is mostly going to be a great photo dump (I’m buried under a mountain of work that built up while I was away). These are just the pictures from my iPhone– I haven’t had a chance to download the ones from my camera yet. IMG_8877

The beauty of this island can’t be overstated. There are several main volcanic craters with lovely little lakes in them. This one was positively fairy-tale like.

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Oh the hydrangeas! You have never seen so many hydrangeas in your life. The ones on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket can’t even hold a candle to these. They are absolutely everywhere.

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We hiked along the coast where the lava formations meet the sea and form all kinds of tidal pools. There were sea urchins, an abundance of purple jellyfish and all manner of other sea creatures.IMG_8898

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The volcanos produce heat that warms thermal baths all over the island. Some of them aren’t open for swimming because the temperature is double the temp it takes to boil water.

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This was my very favorite spot on the island. The cliffs are impossibly green.IMG_8933

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One afternoon we visited a tea plantation, the only one in Europe. After seeing how tea is harvested and sorted, I’m surprised it isn’t much, much more expensive.IMG_8959

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In the village of Furnas, the geothermal heat is so great that it is traditional to cook picnic lunches with it!

 

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Holes are pre-dug in the ground at the hottest spots. Families bring a pot layered with meats and vegetables to the men attending the area. The pot is covered with a wooden lid and buried under dirt for 6 hours.IMG_8965

When the family returns 6 hours later, their pot is dug up.IMG_8967

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Our pot contained chicken, pork ribs, chorizo, blood sausage, pork belly, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, cabbage and kale. Everything steams together and the results were delicious and so tender.IMG_8977

Furnas is also home to the most incredible botanical gardens! Our hotel was situated in the gardens, and we had access to the thermal baths as well.IMG_8993

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I’m leaving so much out but I don’t want to bore you. Suffice to say, if you ever have the chance to visit the Azores, GO! It was a once in a lifetime trip, although we would go back in heartbeat.

Today In Sheep

The lambs have gotten HUGE!  Their tails have all fallen off, and they are more and more independent every day.  They are still nursing, but it’s becoming rather comical as they have gotten a bit big to be under their mamas!

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Oona has been learning how to handle taking care of feeding; she has the advantage of being fast enough to outrun them to the troughs, but the disadvantage of still being small enough to get a bit trampled.  She gets smarter about how she manages it every day, though.

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Paddington and Piccadilly nursing.

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This is Darby, if you can believe it!  He looks enormous to me now!  Luckily he is still just as sweet as ever.

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Wembley.

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Wimbledon.

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Esmont.

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Snacking on the go.

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Keswick.

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The fabulous Knightsbridge.

Everybody is doing well and growing like weeds!  So far even our very hottest days have not been too awful; hopefully that will remain the case and we won’t have to administer too much heat tonic this summer!

Some Thoughts on Whole 30

Salad

Greetings from Day 30 + 2!

 

Mike and I spent the last month following the Whole 30 plan. Basically, on Whole 30, you eat all the vegetables, proteins and fruits that you want, but cut out all grains, sugar, alcohol, white potatoes and legumes.

Strange as it sounds, Whole 30 was both way easier and much more difficult than I had anticipated. The first few days were rough! I didn’t realize quiet how addicted to sugar and grains we were. Giving up bread was also pretty rough. I can’t tell you how often I wanted to reach for toast or a peanut butter sandwich over the last month.

For the first week or so of Whole 30, I was exhausted and cranky. My body was so used to getting some kind of sweet treat to get me through the afternoon, not to mention two or three Coke Zeros throughout the day. But at about Day 10, my energy level normalized and, I can honestly, say, I’ve never felt better in my life.

The hardest part by far, though, was the cooking. I’m a pretty good cook and cooking is something I really enjoy, but Whole 30 required a whole lot more time than I am used to spending in the kitchen. We usually eat out two or three nights a week, but on Whole 30, eating out is nearly impossible.

Besides the fact that nearly everything we ate had to be cooked by me, when you eliminate grains from your diet, you eat a lot of vegetables. Like, a staggering amount of vegetables. One book I read said you should plan on 6 cups of vegetables per person per day. We didn’t always eat that much, but there were definitely some days that we did. Truly, I have never eaten so many vegetables in my whole life.

I found that it was much easier to prep a bunch of meals at one time. For example, if we were having steak for dinner, I would grill tomorrow nights chicken at the same time. Chopping vegetables for two or three meals similarly seemed to save time and kept me from washing a mountain of dishes every night. (You will need a lot more food storage containers than you think!)

Another lesson I learned was that, when you’re cutting out the sugar and grain, you have to find ways to amp up the flavor in your meals. I used a lot more spices and rubs in my cooking than I normally do.  Since soy sauce and store bought condiments and salad dressings are out, you really have to think out your marinades and sauces, too.

I think that the main thing I learned was that, while eating a whole, clean diet, you can’t just wing it. Having a fridge full of pre-chopped vegetables at least gives you options of throwing together a salad or a stir fry at the last minute.

I do have to admit here that I was wrong about something. I few weeks ago, I did a blog post about the documentary Fed Up. In the comments, reader Susan S. posited that eating a whole food diet was something that only rich people can afford and I disagreed with her. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and I have to concede that Susan S. has a point. While buying fresh, whole vegetables and, say, a whole chicken, might be cheaper than even a fast food meal out for a family of four, it takes a whole lot more time and effort to turn that fresh food into dinner. And for people living at or below the poverty line, that may be time that they just don’t have to devote to food prep.

Of course, you can spend more money to buy pre-cut veggies and boneless skinless chicken breast, but then you do get into a situation where dinner from the drive through probably does cost the same or even less, without all the work.

(Susan S., I apologize for dismissing what you said about this without giving it some serious thought. I generally hold myself to a higher standard than that, and I am sorry. While I may disagree with on the science, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been open to hearing you out. I hope you can accept my sincere apology.)

The big question is, will be be adopting Whole 30 full time? Probably not in it’s hardcore form. Our eating habits have definitely changed dramatically over the last 30 days, and we will absolutely be keeping a lot of these changes. I don’t see us going back to regularly eating bread or pasta at home– it will be something for special occasions or dinners out. I also plan to continue replacing starches with vegetables, vegetable and more vegetables.

And we will not be going back to eating sugar the way we did before. Mike and I have both started reading labels and astonishing each other with the amount of sugar in food (almost 10 teaspoons in a can of Coke!). For the past month, we’ve finished meals with fruit and I expect that to continue. Mike and I each lost about 10 pounds in the last month, and I think that is nearly all due to cutting out the sugar.

Going forward, we will be shooting for an 80/20 balance, eating mostly clean, whole foods. And I’m planning to repeat the hardcore Whole 30 three or four times a year to make sure we stay on track.

Sorry for the super wordy post! I would love to hear your experiences with this kind of diet.

 

 

Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

Tell Something GoodTuesdays

It’s Tuesday! Time to share all the good things going on in our lives with each other!

I’ll go first:

  1. 1.My sister had two out of three spot of skin cancer successfully removed and none of them were too deep.
  2. Darwin survived his surgery and is now longer trying to have sex with my leg all day long.
  3. Mike is going on a business trip to the Azores this week and I get to tag along! I have wanted to go the Azores for many, many year, and Mike and I had talked about going before we found out about this trip. I’m going to spend the next week exploring, taking pictures and taking in the culture. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Your turn! Tell me something good, y’all!

This Week in Darwin

Thanks so much to those of you who asked after Darwin last week! I posted on Tuesday that Darwin was under-going his second attempt at neutering on Wednesday, after having bad reaction to a pre-anesthia sedative his was giving the first time and having to be resuscitated. Then I completely forgot to post again letting you all know that everything went perfectly fine with his surgery.

The hard part since then has been keeping Darwin calm so he doesn’t rip out his stitches. This dog is 30 pounds of muscle and play! (Someone who saw us walking Sunday morning called him “a cinder block with feet” and it’s an apt description.) Walking him twice a day has helped to wear him out and keep him from being completely bored while he is separated from our other dogs.

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We celebrated Darwin’s successful operation with watermelon– his favorite!

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Then, Saturday evening, we found out that that sedative wasn’t the only thing he is allergic to. Darwin got stung by a bee and his entire head swelled up!

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This picture really doesn’t do it justice. Both of his eyes swelled shut and his lips were completely distended. I was terrified that his windpipe was going to swell shut! I forced two benedryl down his throat immediately and spent the rest of the night monitoring his breathing. Very quickly the swelling went down, but it was very scary nevertheless.

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Sunday morning he was back to his old self again, our adorable Dr. Chubbs. He has two facial expressions: tongue a tiny bit out

 

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and underbite. I guess this is his smile?

Someone told us recently that another name for English Bulldog is “vet bill”.  Good thing we love this little guy so much already!

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