“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Monday, November 30, 2009

Puzzles and Piecing In Progress

Well! When aren't there works in progress! Some for about 20 years...

Oh! Lets not go there. I know Kristin - your quilt!
Don't you love this detail in the fabric?
These are two projects that are underway right now. Both involve a little piecing and design. Just different materials. One is a bit tough on my shoulder, but fun nonetheless.
The slow to get started project, till Dave got it going, is the field stone pad for the frost free faucet from the second spring. I wanted an area that would be easier to mow around. Also a surface that could drain the running water. And, if the goats are around it, they couldn't make a muddy mess. Its been like a jigsaw puzzle, and I am still walking around the fields looking for missing pieces. I like how its started, but we'll see how it looks in the end. If you like puzzles, you should come over. This is fun and gets the creative juices flowing. You also have to go for a level surface, so its got a few dimensions to think about as you move pieces around.
I had a plan when I started this re-learning, nine patch project. One was to see if my sewing machine was still working after sitting unused for six years. Yes! Its true. Six years. The quilt I have been working on only had hand quilting left, so I've been busy without a machine. Then I experimented a bit with the quilt group's machine. Well now that I need to put on binding and start something new, I wanted to get some practice in, learning what I have forgotten about piecing, pressing and keeping things square. My Singer Diana works, although I'm sure it needs some TLC. My corners are coming in pretty sharp and square, and I got so far with past knowledge, but tomorrow I think I need a hint on what's best next. My group should have some advice.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday, White Saturday, and Confetti Sunday

Friday was spent trying to time our trips around the Black Friday shoppers, and the incoming sleet and snow. But once home, it was just another day. What made the Thanksgiving week-end particularly fun was the neighbor's visiting grand twins. Here they are checking out the ruckus in the adult goat stall.
They were at the barn twice a day to help get all the goats in and out, preparing the feed, and even did some stall work getting the bedding paper down.The extra hands were helpful Saturday morning when we put all the goats into new areas, requiring us to change their routine. By Sunday the goats had the new destinations all figured out. Fast learners.Mary Ashley made sure every kid had a spot on the hay rack. Jake also needed a bit of love and Dave's corn treat.
Saturday was our first day waking up to any snow on the ground, and the gray sky looked like it would bring more.
The snow highlighted the dips and hills.
You can see all the work put into mowing the fields.
To me its quietly beautiful.
In the early afternoon the sky had turned blue, and the snow was gone, as we showed a friend the fields and woods.
As gray and raw as it had been in the morning, the afternoon was breezy and amazingly clear.And suddenly we could see what had been obscured in the clouds on the morning walk... ...snow topped mountains in the distance. It was quite wonderful!And as for the confetti today. It came out of the most recent batch of recycling from the high school. Looks like the goats should have a party.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


While we enjoy this unseasonably warm Thursday, many families are still on the road to be with family and loved ones. We hope they get where they are going safely, and that everyone has good memories of Thanksgiving 2009.

We have much to be thankful for here. Our young, morning visitors remind us of that when they get out of bed on their own to walk up the lane for "chores". Our neighbor's granddaughters come and recite the kids names, touch each one to give them their love, and take some back. They gush like proud aunties of "How they've grown!".
In the garden, amongst the weeds, there is still a bit of life and color, and next year's strawberries are planning their expansion.
Although this year's garden was a weedy mess, it still provided fresh food all summer and fall. Who can't be thankful about that?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trinity Is Dating

OK. Its a little more serious then that. Its an arranged marriage.
Sigh! Will it work out? What are these people thinking? She should be allowed to find her own true love.
Well, here on the farm, Trinity's choices are slim to neutral - I mean neutered. Its her twin brother(and he's willing!), or the three males that have been castrated, and can just be friends.
We visited my goat mentor Shirley yesterday, and she has three available bucks. The oldest, mature buck is close to three hundred pounds and I thought back to Twee last year as a young doe being overwhelmed by Bucky. Scratch that.
So I chose from the two younger and smaller bucks.
I liked this homegrown boy that Shirley has. Red Heart.
I like his look and his temperament, and his traditional coloring also.
I think Trini was playing it cool, but I think she is going to like this guy.
He is a bit forward, but that's what this is all about!I think they make a nice couple.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pasturing the Goats

All year we have been taking the goats out to the fields, rotating the paddocks and extending the pastures with the electronet fences, so that we can maximize the high tensile fenced areas. If you've been following along, and look today, you can see its been working pretty well. The fields are still producing enough for the goats, so we have not had to supplement with hay. They are still getting it fresh from the field.
The past month or so, we have been taking the kids outside the main fences to get to their field. In addition to getting fed, they are doing weed and grass maintenance on the outer alleys.
Today they barely needed us to get to their pasture. It is a long walk across the field to the gate and then up the hill. My assistant goat herder, the dogs and I get a good, stimulating walk everyday.
If they learn how to open the gates (actually been done a couple of times!!), and close them behind themselves (not done yet), we can all sleep in.
Problem is, they are trained to be so well behaved with a reward of grain, once they get to their destination.
Today they got all they way to their fenced in area, which was open and waiting, way ahead of us.
They came tearing back in a little goat stampede to look for their treat. Honestly, the fuss they make. You'd think they were starving or something.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goofy Goats

Every night when Dave is on barn duty, its the same routine.
The goats and the horse wait for Dave at their gates because he is the giver of the corn. Corn is like candy to these guys. The only time they actually got corn as a food was when we had the 14 below zero F temperatures in January.
Hoping for seconds, but it rarely happens. We don't want fat goats, just trained ones.
Meanwhile the kids still try to hop in the hay rack to get every grain. Tonight on the first attempt, Saba flipped out. She's getting too big, but she doesn't know it yet.
Pants/Cookie and Aziza check out the clean paper supply.
Here the brothers, Cookie and Grant, snack together.
Saba is my little pest/friend, and wants to get some close ups.
Just another night in the barn with the goats.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recycling Ends Today in Ligonier - How Can This Be?

Well that's it! I'm going to use my wine bottles as fence post decorations, and the green beer bottles as Christmas decorations until the bins come back! After thirty years of recycling, I'm not sure how else to deal with this change.
The barricades being set up to close the recycling lot.
The cost of recycling has become a topic in the past year. The cost has been measured in dollars and profit - or lack of it - to the companies doing the recycling. Now that it seems to have become unprofitable, Ligonier, as well as many other communities, is left with nowhere to take its plastics, glass, metal, and even paper. As this time, it looks like a couple of farmers are taking care of some of the newspaper in their shredders, and that's it.
I wonder how the cost of larger landfills will affect us in this turn in economics? Probably it will be noticed and calculated when its too late.
I just picked up a small load of paper from the high school office today on my weekly run. It only produces one or two bags of shredded paper a week, which disappears in the stalls in a day or two, but it helps the school and it helps me. It doesn't save anyone money, but it saves a space in the landfill.
One of the seniors at the high school discovered how much paper was being thrown out, and looked for a way to recycle it. The school had the same problem as the town, in that their company stopped picking up their paper, so they were stuck. Through the Ligonier Living blog conversations, she got directed to me and the goats.
We've been doing office paper for about two months now, and I think we can make it work better, so that there is more collected to make it more worth my trip. Then I would love it if they could do some of the shredding, even if its just a bag a week. Its the time element when there gets to be a lot of paper, but a lot is what is needed. I'll have to see if we can coordinate better. Unfortunately, I can't do newspaper in my shredder, or I'd have a lot more contributions. I've been told you can use chipper/shredders for newspaper, but as of yet, I haven't made the purchase. The cost for me, greatly outweighs the need.
Goodbye to the bins...
The Loyalhanna Watershed Association, who has coordinated the town's recycling all these years and tried to keep it going, has managed to find a paper recycler, but I'm not sure of those details.
Drew Banas, Director of the LWA, at the end of clean-up. The stress is over Drew?
Meanwhile, we all can suggest ways to do our own little part. I have been using newspaper as mulch in the garden, and I know animal shelters and even the veterinarians sometimes use paper for their facilities. More simple ideas?