June 13, 2015

How Time Flies!

It feels like it's been about a bazillion years since my last post, but in reality it has only been just over a month.  There's been soooooo much going on here at Cedar Hill Farm that every morning I wake up exhausted and every night I go to bed exhausted.  It's mentally taxing (I've scored right at 2, 200 essays--7 & 10--for the Pearson PARCC test in the last 4 weeks and with about a 1% exception, it has really been a rough experience in the gross illiteracy of an entire generation).

My sister underwent some extensive surgery a few days ago. That was more physically traumatic than expected, I think, and they sent her home without even having been at the hospital for a full 24 hours, though they probably should have kept her there for at least a week. Hospital overcrowding thanks to, I imagine, the current health care system, sends her home and puts her in jeopardy of life-threatening complications.  I'm not there, I'm here though I would've been there if she wanted me to be, so for me it's all a waiting game to see what details I get passed along to me.

The second oldest kid was inducted into the Boy Scout honor society, The Order of the Arrow. He's almost to the point of starting his Eagle project, and it stresses me out just thinking about having that on the horizon. He's been at Scout camp since Memorial Day as a camp counselor, but that's been such a drama because the executive in charge of the camp is, well, just plain incompetent with expletives, and has pretty much ruined the camp experience altogether for not just my son, but also for much of the staff (which has quit and walked off the job only 1/4 into the camp season), so he's on the fence (and has his mother stressed out about it to the maximum levels) about staying or just saying that he gave it a the ol' college try and coming home.  It's sad when one individual without a clue is able to single-handedly ruin an institution that teenagers have looked forward to attending for generations. Really sad. The oldest kid graduated from high school and had his Eagle Scout ceremony within a 24-hour span during Memorial Day weekend. The youngest kid went to basketball camp and has been grumping around because her mother is making her continue her violin lessons through the summer, and our pool isn't open yet, though she has re-discovered her love of art and is doing some pretty darned amazing portraits for an 11 year-old.

One sheep, Blanche, went into labor in the wee hours of the morning last week, and then promptly abandoned one of her twins to die in the field.  Fortunately, I found it in time to save it, and so we have had Puck, the male of the twin set, pretty much living on the front porch and in the dog pen in the kitchen for the last week.  The 3 am feedings have just about killed me, but we are finally not having to feed him through the night.  Just about.




Stella is holding out for Christmas, I think, with her twins.  We fully expected her to deliver last week, but she's still laying there in the shade (she got moved to the unused dog pen so that she won't be tempted to leave a lamb to die in a field) looking like she swallowed an elephant or two.

The barn project is on hold while we repair all of the pool landscaping.  We have an above-ground pool that is sitting in a hole in the ground to make it less above ground, and all the rain that we got over the winter caused the retaining wall to collapse, so we have spent the last 3 weeks digging that out, putting in a new super-duty retaining wall, and now, as the forecast finally reaches the mid-90s for the next several days (add about 60% humidity to that temperature), we are to the point where we are finishing up the deck.  Weather permitting, we might get to take a dip in the pool this weekend.
The garden has been a trauma.  First it was too cold but very wet and, although I didn't lose anything to frost this time, I did lose the entire sugar snap pea crop and most of the onions--I think as a combo of bad seed and too much rain.  Just about the time it came to planting the majority of the garden, the rain went away and was replaced by full sun, no rain, and temps hot enough to crack the ground.  Every other day I was running the well dry to keep the plants from shriveling to dust.  Consequently, the corn is also not very promising.

1/2 Dollar-sized Blackberry
Flip side: we are overrun by gigantic blackberries--some the size of half dollars!--raspberries, and a good many blueberries.  I've already put up 2 batches of blackberry jam and 5 quarts in the freezer plus what we've eaten.  I'm picking about a 1/2 gallon every other day of the blackberries, which is fabulous!  The beans are almost ready to pick and the tomatoes--all of which I grew from seed (I'm so incredibly proud of that!!) and which number about 80--are sporting their first tiny tomatoes. The bell peppers, however, seem to be in a perpetual limbo and are healthy but not growing at all.  I'm completely stumped. My cauliflower and broccoli crop looks to be incredibly promising, though (knock on wood) only time and hopefully not too much rain will result in something worth putting in the freezer.

I've finished a new shawl pattern, so that's blocking today and then when there are pictures, I'll have that out on Ravelry and Craftsy.  Although I enjoyed the success of having a sweater pattern on the front cover of Knit Picks Spring garment collection a few months ago, the resulting backlash from a numerical error in one line of the printed pattern, and then a technical error with their electronic pattern pdf, has left me a bit shell shocked.  There are apparently many very angry women out there that I think probably can't be helped by knitting alone, all of whom were given my email address by Knit Picks to vent their frustrations. There's a purpose for giving a customer the designer's email address, and it is NOT, I repeat NOT, for the purpose of demanding a yarn refund with profanity or making threats of violence against the publishing company and the designer because, well, once the designer hands it over to the editor and publisher, the whole thing is literally out of her control.  Oh, and they also don't give the customer the designer's email address for the purpose of demanding that the pattern be re-written to the customer's personal specifications ASAP because she didn't like the bust size options, the needle size, or the yarn selection for which the pattern was written. Seriously, it isn't. So, even though I am about to start on a new sweater design, I am thinking that I will keep this one and the one that I'm in the middle of doing the second test knit for to self-publish at my leisure.

I've also added a new line of yarn to the shop--well, "new" for this year, but I try to carry it just in the summer months. Calliope 100% silk is now available, though I'm running out about as quickly as I can get it dyed and posted, which is always a good thing.  I've gotten a bit more in, so a few more skeins will be going into the shop, probably this weekend, but my supplier underestimated the popularity of this base so I've got some on backorder until later next week. Additional color ways will hopefully find their way to the shop by the end of next week.

French Lilac
Cardinal
Blue Agave
Flamingo
Java

And did I mention that I am on the promotions team for the Georgia Fiber Fest this year in Columbus, Georgia (Sept. 10-12). It will be at the Columbus Convention Center again--love that venue!!!--and I'll be sharing all the details with you in my next post.


Again, I will be teaching a few classes.  If you are attending and you always wanted to learn to knit socks 2-at-a-time, this is your chance!  I'm also doing a forward, backward, and sideways knitting class (one of my favorites to teach!) and a class about lace edgings. Class sign up is on the website (www.gafiberfest.com). Admission to the market (I'll have a booth there, too, right at the front entrance so you can't miss me!) is FREE.

Okay, so that's all for now.  I hope we'e gotten caught up.  See you on the knit side!

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