"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Waiting Game



Inga stands on a pile of snow that slid off the barn roof blocking the entrance to the stalls, looking out on a snowy day. Inga is due to lamb any time now, as are 14 other ewes.
 Jonas is the sire of my 2017 lambs. He stands out in the weather wearing a thick white blanket of snow over his warm wool coat.
My husband holding a newborn ram lamb. We're just waiting for a dozen or more, enjoying the lamb season's waiting game.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lamb Season Begins

 Lamb season began February 4 this year with the birth of twin lambs to my ewe ,Cedar Pond's Tovah. I was not expecting lambs so early and am very glad Tovah is a pro at lambing. She found a warm and snug place to have her little ones under cover , chasing all the other ewes away first. When I discovered the lambs she'd already cleaned them up , they were on their feet and trying to nurse.
 Lambs are just too cute !
That is a wall of white snow on the other side of the chain link fencing around the lamb pen.
 Tovah had a ram ( boy ) lamb and a ewe ( girl) lamb, a perfect set of twins !

Only 15 more ladies- in- waiting left to have lambs.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

 Best Christmas present , my first pair of overalls. Never mind the clutter of Christmas packaging and new gifts of much appreciated wool socks behind me , my new overalls are amazing. I just slip into them all the while still wearing my pajamas and voila , warm and ready for chores outdoors in the below freezing temps we had for awhile here at Laughing Dove Farm . I do believe me and my new overalls will be inseparable for awhile , even into February. Yes, they are the gift that keeps on giving, thank-you Jim !

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My New Wool Workshop



 Here is my new wool workshop in the snow . Our new home has had snow since the Sunday after Thanksgiving and it is simply beautiful , but very cold. This shed was delivered in late September as a shell and my husband just finished insulating, wiring, sheet-rocking, and painting it. All for me, and well ... kind of for him too. I'd begun to set up my wool working items ~ looms, and lots of other stuff I need to work with the fleeces my sheep produce in his new garage / shop. It does not fit into our new home so where else was I going to put it ? My husband decided to give me a place to set up my wool works in a new little shed just off our driveway before you reach the house. This works for both of us and I am loving all the thoughtful and hard work he put into this. ( Most of this stuff was in a an upstairs hall landing and spare bedroom in our home at Cedar Pond.)
 As you walk in the front door of this little shop you can see an old hutch , shelves of wool fleeces, weaving shuttles, and other bits and bobs I use to weave , plus some items of comfort every workshop needs.
 My floor loom is in the front of my wool shop and why we chose this particular shed model with extra windows. The loom fits here with room for me to walk around it as I am warping ( threading) it and also affords me a lot of natural lighting.
 My husband installed shelving above the windows. I've placed some house plants from our previous home on it , along with baskets for storage. The windows to the right of the loom look out onto pasture where my sheep graze when there is grass instead of over a foot of snow.

 The shed has 2 lofts. This loft holds all my bins of handspun yarn, Wee Little Sheep ,fiber, and other products I've made from the wool of my sheep to sell. There are also bins containing supplies I need for the set-ups where I sell my items at bazaars and farmer's markets. I put a few pumpkins and squashes from last fall's harvest there to store for later use too , along with my dollhouses and misc. spools of yarn for weaving. My husband is going to make me a special ladder to keep here so I can access the lofts easily.

 We put an electric heater that looks like a woodstove in the corner . We did install fireboard around and underneath this electric heater so we can install a real woodstove later on. The teakettle is electric so I can brew tea, coffee , or hot chocolate whenever I desire. There is a table loom to the right of the heater I am in the process of warping.
 Anyone for tea ?
The door to the shop . I hung warps for weaving on pegs on the wall by the table loom.
I am so thankful for my new wool workshop . I never in a million years would have thought to have such a sweet little place to call my very own and plan to spend many hours happily busy weaving and crafting the wool of my spotted sheep , all the while striving to follow this admonishment ( and often failing) "But we urge you , brethren, to  excel still more , and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you may behave properly towards any outsiders and not be in any need." I Thessalonians 4: 10-12

Friday, January 27, 2017

Travel Trailer ~ Tiny Home Away From Home

Cedar Pond was sold the first day we put it on the market May 1,2016. We had 2 offers on our home so we knew if the first offer fell through the second probably would not. We were surprised our home was snatched up so quickly and we'd have to leave by June 15 , 2016. That left us 6 weeks to pack up and move to our home over the mountains and far away. However, our future home was occupied by tenants and my husband had not yet retired and needed to stay near Cedar Pond to continue working until the end of September.What to do ? We moved a travel trailer ( above ) to the back yard of our youngest son and his family.  They live within walking distance to our new home. I lived there for awhile and my husband stayed with his younger brother and family withing walking distance to Cedar Pond so he could commute to his job until he retired.( My  husband came over the mountains frequently to stay here and begin getting our future home ready for us to live in .)
The travel trailer is a 1990's model we paid cash for ( cheap ! ) to use as a home-away-from-home when we visited our sons and their families on this side of the mountains. It soon became my real home for awhile. We did not have time to re-model the travel trailer or glamp it up, but the trailer was in pretty good shape, roomy, the air conditioning worked , and I was truly a happy camper.

Here is the living room of my tiny home (above). The carpeting and upholstery are turquoise and in good shape. I decided I would go with the color scheme. Hey, I like turquoise.I filled the trailer with my quilts, some antiques, my house plants, and my spinning wheels. A girl's gotta spin you know !

I did tear out all the original curtains and drapes, they were pink and turquoise with a lot of frilly trimmings popular in the 90's. I replaced them with simple sheer white curtains. The trailer already had blinds installed in all the windows.
We put a flat screen t.v. and DVR player in the trailer on an antique shelf . We were not connected to cable or satellite , we have an ample collection of favorite videos to watch. You can see the small bedroom off the living room here.
The very small,warm and cozy bedroom with the very small sliding door. A bedroom with no space to walk around the bed. The bed is very comfortable though with plenty of storage in the nightstands and above the bed. You just have to climb over the bed to access the storage.
Since our tiny home / travel trailer was in the back yard of our youngest son and his family, his son would practically bounce out of their home in the mornings and head to our trailer to visit. The first thing he would look for is our cat Blizzard. Little grandson really loves Blizzard and Blizzard is very happy to make himself available to grandson. ( Blizzard is on a bunk in the 2nd bedroom of the trailer.)
What you can't see is the sink and stove to the right in the picture, and the dinette that seats 4 to 6 people to the left front of the picture.
Blizzard and our other cat Miss Marple were never allowed out of the trailer when we lived in our youngest son's backyard. They did not seem to mind at all. Here is Blizzard looking out the window at our son's Mennonite neighbor haying his alfalfa field.
My German Shepherd spent the days outdoors and the evenings indoors with me and the cats.I covered a lot of the trailer's original carpeting with my own handwoven rugs.
Even a tiny home has room for a large dog to stretch out.
All my house plants and the small trees and bushes we brought with us were placed around the outside of the trailer. In July I gained a new puppy from one of our granddaughters and the puppy kennel was placed under the awning in front of our trailer. In this picture our 2 youngest grandsons are talking to my puppy , Luna.
Blizzard was never allowed outdoors but he surveyed the comings and goings from the trailer screen door. I loved living in my tiny home and know I could live this way quite happily. So could my cats. I think even my husband could too. However, he retired, out tenants moved out and we began moving into our new home at Laughing Dove Farm.We are so thankful to our youngest son and his family for their generosity in allowing us , our flock of geese, chickens, doves,sheep and dogs to live in their back yard while we waited to move into our new home.

This travel trailer is now our guest cottage.We had a few guests stay in it quite comfortably. Our grandkids like staying in it when they visit. I fill the cupboards and fridge with snacks and beverages. The trailer has a very nice kitchenette and a bathroom, plus a bunk room with 3 bunks.I am planning on making it even better and doing a teensy bit of renovating. We will be adding a nice corrugated metal roof, skirting around it, and a porch. My once tiny home will be our guest cottage.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Digestive Stupor ? ( Northern Saw-Whet Owl )

I found what looked like a blood-tinged pile of feathers in our hay barn last week. I did not take time to examine the little bundle of fluff as I stepped around and over it several times to grab flakes of alfalfa for my sheep. The day was cold , the snow was deep, my sheep were baaing loudly to get their day's ration of food and I assumed it was a dead bird. I'd examine it after I finished my barn chores.
As I walked by the little pile of fluff carrying my bucket of chicken feed I was startled to see eyes peeking out at me as I passed. I observed this was definitely a live owl ! I was afraid the owl was injured because of the blood around it, and that the owl did not seem to be disturbed by my comings and goings even when I stepped over it.

I decided to put it in a hay-filled crate and take to facebook to inquire if there was anyone capable of tending injured owls in the area. I ran to the house to get my camera and grab a small cat crate. Returning to the hay barn I bent down to gently pick the little owl up and whoa ....
                           
...look at those eyes ! I think this is the moment the little owl was truly aware of me after I began snapping pictures. A second after I snapped this last picture the owl flew swiftly up and away leaving behind the feet and wings of what had been a starling at least as big as the owl itself. That little owl must have been in a digestive stupor. It even ate the head of the starling.

According to our bird books this is a Northern Saw-whet Owl. We first thought it to be a Pygmy or Elf Owl .Our bird books state these owls feed primarily on insects , the experts might want to add a note to their description about feeding habits. "Northern Saw-Whet Owl ~ 8in. A very tame little owl; smaller than a screech owl, without ear tufts. Underparts have blotchy , reddish brown streaks. Bill black. Forehead streaked with white. - Habitat: Coniferous and mixed woods, swamps."  *Peterson's Field Guide to Birds

Friday, January 6, 2017

Time To Watch The Animals In The Snow

We've had snow here at Laughing Dove Farm since the last week of November. It is beautiful outside , especially as I view the winter-scape from indoors while sipping hot coffee. The birds in the picture above are sitting in branches just outside one of our living room windows. The cats seem to think this is just for them and occupy the window sill during daylight hours to watch the birds flitting from the branches to the bird feeders, bird bath and back again.
Luna, our 9 month old Lab puppy loves watching birds too, all birds. She is watching a Pileated Woodpecker  in our woods and would have followed the large and very loud bird if we'd not had her on a leash.
Whimsy, my German Shepherd has appointed herself Luna's best protector and playmate. Luna and Whimsy love the snow. Our below freezing temps and deep snow don't seem to affect them. Luna loves to roll around in the snow too.
My Sebastopol Geese appear to have such bright white feathers until the snow shows up the geese in bright whiteness. The geese too, do not seem to be bothered by the snow except for the lack of a continual supply of water for their bathing and drinking.

Every day I have to haul huge buckets of hot water out to the goose troughs. As soon as I pour hot water over the troughs full of ice the geese hop into their ice bath to drink ,bathe and play until they exhaust the small amount of water I am able to supply for the day.
Goth ( center of picture), my 12 year old Jacob Sheep ram and the rest of my flock of sheep are wearing their wool coats. The snow and cold don't bother them either.
Goth is having the best time of his entire life now. He has never had so much room to roam and on Laughing Dove Farm he has acres ! Since Goth has been a very good ram ( mostly ) I am happy to keep him in his old age. I am hoping he lives many more years and dies peacefully chewing a mouth full of sweet fresh grass. ( Goth is shown here with some of my flock, most of them are his children or grandchildren.)
My sheep heading back to the barn. The snow is much deeper now, the grass is a foot under the snow.
 Our old goat Thorin and Goth side by side.
We love our new home and the knee-deep snow too. The temperature has been below zero most nights and today it warmed up to 7 degrees above zero . The hardest part of so much snow has been doing my farm chores. I have a hard time walking in the deep snow while carrying buckets of grain and water and armloads of hay. Today we bought snowshoes for me so tomorrow's chore time should be a little bit easier. This is going to help even more if we get the predicted snow ( 1 to 4 inches) this weekend.

Our new home is snug and warm, the scenery all around us is so beautiful I sometimes can scarce take in that this is our home ! We've begun a few of the things we need to do to make this place work for us but because we're retired now we're taking our time. Time to gaze out the windows while sipping coffee or tea. Time to laugh at the silly things our animals do.Time to watch the animals play in the snow. Time to walk in the woods, play with our grandchildren. Time to go fishing and camping as soon as the weather permits EVEN IF there is a huge 'to-do' list attached to the fridge. That nagging 'to-do' list has been around as long as we've been married, I expect it to be here as long as we're alive. Time to be... simply be.