Thursday, November 6, 2014

Then what happened?

I think it's fair to say that 2014 kinda got away from me. It's time for some wrap up.

This could take a while. I'll post pictures later.

1. Remember the organic cotton I planted in May?  I was so hyped to grow my own green and brown cotton. Um, yeah. Total fail. The plants never got more than 12 inches tall. And those were the big ones.

2. On the other hand, some beautiful sunflowers turned up outside the fence of the front pasture. Where did those come from? Oh yeah, I scattered the seeds early on in the season and then forgot about them. Only 5 or 6 survived the mowing cause, yeah, I forgot they were there (fail), but the survivors were lovely (score.)

3. Josie, the ornery appaloosa who broke her foot in a fit of pique, healed. Even the vet was surprised, And it only took 6 or 7, maybe 8?, weeks on stall rest. Oh, what a long 6 or 8 weeks those were. Nonetheless, Josie is now back in with her buddies, Annie and Shadow, and all seem pretty content.

4. Cain, the mutt alpaca who broke his leg, is also healed and on his way back to normalcy, or so it seems. Again, stall rest, stall rest, and more stall rest, along with a well-placed sling. He's a little gimpy, but who wouldn't be if their leg were bent and tied at the knee for 6 weeks? He's walking and putting weight on the leg. Score. As a bonus, the vets gelded him and his brother Abel while they were at the vet school. Double score. Abel is SO ready to be out and about.

5. I buried Cricket and his angel kitty together under a flowering crabapple tree in the back pasture.

6. The surviving BFL lambs -- there are eight of them -- are isolated and doing well in a detached garage shed in the front yard. They were all sheared last week, except for Bumblebee and Firefly who obligingly shed their fleeces several weeks ago. The shearing revealed far too many pointy bones on all of them. Their only job now is to eat and eat and eat. They are doing this well.

7. Deleted for the sake of litigation 7/7/16. :/

8. A fantastic, stupendous, stunning, and infinitely comforting hedge was strategically planted along the property line between my yard and the nasty neighbor. This involved a lot of awkward tiptoeing around on my part. The property line, though a couple hundred feet from my front door, is practically in their garage. I felt like a trespasser every time I moved the watering hose. Currently the trees are five feet tall and only a couple wide. But they're green giant arborvitae, so starting next spring they should grow and grow and grow, creating a solid green wall that blocks my view of the neighbor and, even better, her view of me.

9. Shadowfax, the POA who normally shares a paddock with Josie and Annie, was temporarily housed with Thyme and the minis. One of those little guys -- I'm thinking either Thyme or Jesse -- ripped Shadowfax' upper lip completely open, right up the middle. OMG. It was gross. The vet, bless her heart, came right out and stitched him back together. He now has a lovely hairlip. If he could speak, he'd lisp.

10. After 8 (maybe 9?) years of blissful twoness, Chief and Jesse, the mini half-brothers from across the road, got a divorce. Chief just walked out. Very gradually, over the course of the summer he started hanging out with Mama P and Tigerlily. Now, he lives with them in their stall. It's a little tight, but that's what they asked for, so that's what I've given them. I gotta say, Chief and Tigerlily look like a matched set. They're cute. Must be kismet.

11. Chief's defection left Jesse as the odd man out, so he started hanging out with Thyme, the feral pony and Tyche, Thyme's daughter. This transition has not gone as smoothly. Jesse is a pain (just ask Chief). Jesse seems to be trying to expel Tyche from the family. Thyme is pretty protective though and not one to be messed with. The other morning I walked into the barn to find the two - Thyme and Jesse - trying to kill each other. Jesse is half Thyme's size, but he just would.not.stop. When I finally got the barn door open, they raced outside and did a couple of laps around the paddock, then went back to eating side by side. Tyche keeps her mom between her and Jesse at all times now. I'm keeping an eye on all of them. It's a good thing Jesse is so small.

12. Sammy, the little mini who arrived with Zeus, developed heaves. The first signs were there last fall when he arrived at Tyche's Run, but over the summer it got bad. Fortunately, he responded well to simply soaking his hay. I am not looking forward to doing this in January and February, but it is what it is.

13. Tortellini, the sweet and shy feral cat, and mother of Fettucini, died quite unexpectedly one night in July. I never did figure out why. She seemed in excellent health, but die she did.

14. Batman, the outdoor feral tomcat who lived alternately on our farm and at the farm across the road, followed me into the farmhouse for food one morning in late winter and also died. His death was not surprising. He was a mess. The surprise was that he'd managed to live as long and as well as he had as a feral. Eight years at least. I miss seeing him stroll up the drive at mealtimes, but I must say I am relieved that he will not be fathering any more kittens.

15. We lost our first chicken over the summer as well. Sierra disappeared one evening just before sunset. Again, no real idea what happened. Somebody or something took her I suppose.

16. A few days before Sierra disappeared, something attacked Tweedledum, one of our beautiful Brahma hens. I walked into the barn one morning to find loose feathers everywhere and a semi-naked Tweedledum acting like a trauma victim. She walked upright like a penguin though she wasn't egg bound and her breathing was labored. I was sure she would die. Her flock mates harassed and attacked her at every opportunity until I finally separated her. She spent about two months in a cage in the farmhouse (ugh, there is a good reason chickens don't live inside, yuck.) On nice days, when it wasn't too hot, I'd bring her out and let her hang out in the goat paddock, away from the other chickens. Every evening at dusk, she'd run up to me and ask to be taken back inside. By the end of the summer, she seemed to have regained enough health to go back to the barn permanently, so I reintroduced her to her flock. That was one slow process, but she has finally (now in November) fully reintegrated. I still don't know what happened, but it was satisfying to give her the chance to recover and watch her succeed. And I now have a very soft spot for the chicken who for a brief while would run up to me like a puppy begging to be picked up.

17. The goat boys are doing extremely well. I did manage to keep them free of all the lamb problems. All three have spectacular fleeces. At some point I'll post some pictures. And can I just say, BFL/Pygora yarn. You heard it here first. There won't be any baby goats this year though. Too much going on sheep wise...

18. The Black Welsh are also doing well. There probably will be lambs. Black Welsh/ Lincoln lambs I'm hoping. Black and curly! We'll have to wait and see.

19. We are finally getting a truck. Yay. It only took a few days of shopping last year to realize I couldn't afford a truck anytime soon, so I dropped it. But one of my brothers, out in LA, just bought a new truck and is gifting me his old one. Um, I think that make us a real farm. Yep. He's going to drive it out over Thanksgiving. It's a 2000 Ford. Here's praying that it survives the trip.

20. Spinning and weaving have both taken back seats to animal health these several months (see above.) Nonetheless, I do have several projects in the works, including a beautiful BFL yarn from Bumblebee, a new linen and horsehair (Tigerlily and Jesse) sofa pillow weaving project and a throw blanket in huck lace at the studio downtown. The blanket was supposed to use Popcorn Pee Pee Pants handspun yarn for the weft, but at the last minute, I couldn't bear to use the yarn I'd spun. The blanket just didn't seem good enough. So I still have PPPP yarn looking for a project.


  1. 2014 has been a rough year.

    I love the drawing fro your shop.

  2. Great logo! And that is quite a wrap up. It's surprising you lived through all that. Way to go!

  3. I am surprised that you could (or would) remember everything that you went through this year. Let's hope that it's dull as dishwater from here on. I am SO HAPPY that you will have an Etsy shop! The name and logo are wonderful!

  4. Good Grief you have had a time of it! When I ranched with my Father we noticed we had a horrible, dreadful ghastly year every now and then, so we took notes and fixed what we could about them, accepted what we couldn't and vowed to keep going.....but they are dreadful! The Arbor Vitae are outstanding privacy trees! God bless you and your farm!

  5. Holy Cannoli! One can only hope that 2015 is an opposite of what you went through in this past/present year. Blessing upon you and all your animals! As for the nasty neighbor . . . we'll just choose to say nothing about that. :o( Except grow, hedge, grow!

  6. You have had one crazy hectic time of it! Hopefully you're no worse for the wear(?) Good job on the arborvitae. We used leyland cypress (cuz they don't grow as tall) and are so happy with how quickly they grew and how they block the neighbors out.