May 25, 2016

Back on Track

You may have been wondering where I've been.  It seems like 2016 and time for blog posting has been like oil and water.  There's just been so much going on that something has had to give.  Well, truth be told, quite a few things have had to fall to the wayside. The husband and I had our first date night this past weekend since December.  That's how crazy it has been.  We have been just that completely enslaved to the farm projects.

First, it was that I needed to put in the garden--and then it stopped raining altogether and the weather got very unseasonal--and an insane amount of work has had to be done to keep everything alive, though the tomatoes have been a drama and I've lost nearly all of them. It still isn't raining ... except for the first day that the roofers showed up to put OSB on the barn a couple weeks ago, which was also when the farrier was finally able to come to do hooves, in which case the sky opened up like we were in the midst of a hurricane, not once, but three times.

The *%#!# barn has also sucked all of the time and energy out of my spring and everyone else's in our little family. In the course of three weeks, and under a deadline from the bank, we had to build 31 roof trusses (16 ft high by 40 ft wide) one-at-a-time on the second story of the barn (very hilly here and not a lot of flat ground to work with), lift each one off of the second story with a 42 ft forklift, and set it in the stack.  When we had 31, we had to set them ourselves, one at a time, beginning at the part of the barn that is 24+ feet off the ground.  I have a SERIOUSLY DEBILITATING fear of falling. I can't see how, with having to stand at the edge to set every truss, and then that little accident that involved the dropping of a truss from 20 ft in the air on top of me early on in the process, I didn't end up in the psych ward.  But here we are, on the other side of it, with hopefully a stronger family bond and a very clear understanding of our limits.  Basically, we can do just about anything, the five of us.  And look what we did, all by ourselves except for a little block work and roofing:


It's large enough that our house could actually fit inside of it with room to spare.  No joke.  It's 36 ft x 60 ft with 2 stories (each one 12 ft high) and a partial basement.We rock.  I think we also have the largest barn for miles around. And I could not be more grateful to the guys from Team Roofing in Athens, Georgia who came out, were the first company to ever give us a fair price in this barn endeavor, and were completely insane enough to climb up and down that roof with grappling hooks and a rope or two. That, my friends, was my limit. I don't do roofing.




And then there was the sheep drama, which continues to make me cranky and tired.  Blanche and Stella got pregnant in December, which is late, because I knew from the Farmer's Almanac that this would be an unseasonable cold spring and I also knew that there was no chance that we would have the barn finished and lambing pens set up in it by the beginning of April.  So the ladies were due in May.  Stella surprised us all by being a week early and quietly having triplets.  One of them was a little puny (Frenchie) and it took a good 24 hours to get her to feed correctly.


Blanche, on the other hand, the world's worst mother, was two weeks past her expected due date and created serious worry that she would deliver stillborn lambs.  Nope, she decided, while we were roofing the barn, to also have triplets.  Because she is the worst mother ever, she forgot the last two that she delivered and had to be coerced to clean them.


Then, she flat out refused to accept the second-born (Lennie).  He had to be a bottle baby and I have had to go out to her pen and feed him every 4 hours for the last two weeks.


Yesterday, doubtless because Frenchie has some pretty sharp and snaggly looking teeth that have just come in, I realized that Stella had officially abandoned her and that she was so weak from not having been fed enough that she could barely stand.


Because Mother Nature has replaced our Georgia May weather with weather found in Minnesota or Michigan, Frenchie had to spend the night in a cage in the laundry room and is now living with Lennie in the dog pen so that I don't have to chase them both down at feeding time (which is still every 4 hours). Did I mention that I make their formula from scratch because what you get from the feed store, based on last year's experience, is crap? Sometimes, for just a second or two, I think that all of this is not worth producing a few skeins of yarn.

Speaking of yarn ... Any day now (I'm thinking tomorrow), I'm going to be dyeing up a whole batch of it and getting back on track with the online shop.  Most specifically, I'll be dyeing more Gypsy because I have a new two-at-a-time ankle sock pattern called All About That Curve (more on that tomorrow, but you can check out the pattern today on Ravelry or in the online shop) that was designed for that line of yarn.  I'm going to be doing a kit for this pattern with that yarn and some pretty exclusive and awesome stitch markers, so more on that next time, too.  I'll also be dyeing up a new yarn line, Traveler, which is a fingering weight 75/25 Superwash BFL/Nylon blend.  It's very close in its composition and durability to my discontinued Rocket Sock Medium (there's still a bit of that left in the shop if you want one last skein), but it's a little lighter weight.  It's also going to be a series of eye-popping tonal dyes that you aren't going to be able to live without.  So also be looking for the post about that.  Of course, if you subscribe to my newsletter, you will also get a note about it in your inbox.

And there we are.  A little bit of normalcy--well for about 5 seconds because the kids are suddenly out of school for the summer--has returned to my life and I'm looking forward to having time to write a blog post or two once in a while.



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