Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Early Spring

If you are tuning in to this blog from Northern Ontario, it will not be a surprise that I will mention the weather.  It's like July weather, with temperatures in the 20s and people walking around in halter tops, shorts and sandals.

I've had a hard time getting time to update the blog this month.  However, I remembered to take the camera outside a few times to catch the signs of spring.  Like the alpacas venturing out into the fields for the first time, as they sense the approaching spring and search for that first blade of grass.

I know that I should keep them off the pastures right now, but I'm a bad farmer....I like to see their enjoyment as they kick up their heels for the first time since the winter socked them in close to the barn.  I'll give them some time to stretch their legs before I close off that pasture so that the grass has a chance to start.

This was another scene from a week ago.

Today, the only snow you can see anywhere is at the shady edge of the woods.
Warm and sunny for the last several days. Short and halter weather indeed.
Of course, spring fashion is in full swing here at the farm. 

I had a beautiful walk to check the fence this morning.  It feels like the earth is coming alive after being frozen and buried under snow for several months. 

I finally finished spinning up some dreadful rovings that I had accidentally semi-felted in the dyeing process.  I think if I had purchased the fibre, I would have thrown it out and not thought too much of it.  But when you watch the fleece being grown on the backs of your animals, and carefully skirt and sort the fibres, wait for months to get it back from the mill in roving form and then dye it (usually successfully)...this stuff has your heart and soul in it.

So I thought I would try to salvage some of it.  It was tough to draft so, the resulting singles were pretty uneven in diameter.  Lots of lumpy spots.  But actually, after plying and washing it, it appears to be a lovely soft, interesting yarn.  It will no doubt knit into a beautiful textured fabric.  I love the colour.  I only have about 200g, so I'm leaning towards a hat and mitt set.  I keep thinking of a little girl's jumper dress though.  Perhaps I will have to hang up the yarn in a place I can see it often.  The answer will come to me.

We've been trying to tame a homeless cat for about a month.  She's a nice little cat, but very nervous.  My daughter and I were able to cage her and bring her to the vet for shots and a checkup.  Thankfully, we think she was already spayed, is in good health and was well behaved in the vets office.  The vet and I beleive she is probably about three years old.

We think one of the renters of an old farm up the road left her when he moved out.  Another neighbour started feeding her, but when he got a dog, she was frightened away.  We suspect she's been living in our implement shed for the winter.  My daughter has named her Mittens.

Our hope was that she'd become our new barn cat, doing mouse control in return for food and lodging.

We kept playing this game where we would coax her with food into the barn, then pick her up and put her in the hot room (which has a cat door) to eat and get used to us petting her.

It did work most of the time, but it sure made chore time a lot longer.  She is very nervous of the alpacas and really tried hard to convince us to bring the food outside for her.

She is more interested in becoming a house cat.  She leads us back to the house, all the while talking to us about how she really is a princess, and not suited to the barn.  She spends a lot of time lounging on our deck.

I don`t think the barn mice are in any danger soon.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

In Like a Lion!

A co-worker at the library commented the other night that I didn't have much luck timing my evening shifts with the winter storms.  I've had some 'hold-my-breath-and-pray' rides home at night from work this winter.

However, let me say "I FEEL LUCKY TODAY!".  I'm off work for for 3 days.  We are supposed to receive between 15 to 30 cm of snow by tonight.  It's heavy wet snow that will be hard to shovel, difficult to plow or snowblow.

Walking out to the barn today was tiring.  We are conserving our energy for the hours of snow clearing ahead.

Winter weather is not all bad.  It gives me a day in the house to catch up on some things I like.

Like spinning....

And knitting...

It's a good feeling to have those dear to me inside my cozy home on days like this.
This is my cat Smokey, who has discovered his new favourite spot on a table piled with sock knitting yarn that is beside my computer in my craft area.
He 'works' with me and if I'm using the mouse...he takes the opportunity to hold my hand.  How cute is that?
Do you think my cat might be jealous of the mouse?

I have recently referred to myself as a "dog person" who is currently without a dog.  Smokey is definitely trying to fill that void in my heart.  I feel the love.