Friday, February 27, 2009

Growing Cria

When I went to the barn at noon to feed JR, I took my camera so that you could see how big the babies are. We had 5 2008 cria. First born last spring in May was Spot - remember the bottle baby He was sold in December. Then Celeste had Lyra ↑ in June, a 19.7 pound cria who now weighs 93 pounds. Look at her fiber!!! I can't wait to get my hands into it.
In July, Lady Belita delivered Mira ↓ the white cria below. That's her mom behind her. Mira weighed 24.2 pounds and is at 100 pounds now.
And, of course, here, getting lunch, is JR (Libra) who weighed 13.6 pounds at birth in September, and now weighs 35 pounds.
Our last cria ↓ is Snickers (Astra) who was born 2 days before JR at 17 pounds and weighs in at 82 pounds. He is our barn clown, right in your face, following you around. He's very brave and is the first to investigate anything new.

I went to my accountant's office this a.m. to have him finish up my income taxes. Just for the record, kids, I'm smiling.......

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Added a New Feature to Blog - Maybe

I think that I just added the little feature over to the right below pictures from my Etsy store. If it works, and you are a Googler, you should be able to leave your avatar and I can link to your profile. So, if you wish, please do it.
Well, if it works...... I'm not really a techie granny.

Yea! It's working!!!! Thanks friends.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Scary Happening

That's Sonata ↑ who is JR's mom.

Damn! It almost happened again. Same scenario - 45 degrees, rainy, I'm digging little trenches to drain the water away from the barn, and rumble, rumble, down comes the snow off the roof. There wasn't nearly the snow pile this time, but it's really strange that this could happen twice while I'm out there. What are the odds?????

Family news!!!! I just got off the phone with son Rob who teaches at Scranton U in Pennsylvania. He just got tenure! Congratulations, Dr. Smith.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wooden Vase

This is the tiny (2 inch) bowl/vase/container that Greg sent me with my order. The original picture disappeared in my post below. How can he hollow out that tiny thing? I am going to visit his studio this summer.
I love his stuff. I think it reminds me of my wheel throwing pottery days.......

♪♫♪ Happy Birthday, Nicole ♫♪♫

No one could have nicer, kinder kids than I do. Well, they aren't really kids - youngish adults. Today is Nikki's 40th birthday! She is a teacher, coach, wife, mother, chauffeur...... All those hats that a young mom wears. She wears them well and I'm incredibly proud of her.

The bowl above should be in her mail box right now. I bought it from Greg Gallegos who has his workshop, Natural Selection Studio, in Haslett, Michigan. Click here to go visit his Etsy shop

His wood crafting is incredible and his packaging makes me smile. The lovely wooden bowls arrive in these soft felt bags that his wife makes. I had a picture of the free sample bowl that he turned and sent me, but I seem to have lots of trouble with my blogspot pictures. Sometimes they just disappear. I will add it to another page later.
I forgot to mention the bowl is from a Maple burl. I think that means a knot in a Maple tree or branch. Appropriate for Maple's daughter, don't you think?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Storm - Much Ado about Nothing

We were supposed to have 5 to 7 inches of snow today. The 7 a.m. picture above shows a nice quiet morning before I went to do chores. It was nice enough that I was able to shoo the horses out with a little hay while I mucked their stalls. I checked the weather map when I came in at 9. The storm is about an hour away in this map. I am in Ithaca - the very middle of the mitt.

Here we are at 3 in the afternoon. Not nearly as nasty as predicted, but I'm glad the 'pacas and horses are snug in the barn.

This is what the weather map looked like at 3. Way worse on paper than out the window. The storm was coming from the south and swirling around so that the wind was from the north east.

And here is the barn at 5, just before I went out to do evening chores. We got only about 3 inches but I will have to shovel out those doors in the morning to get the horses into their paddocks.

....and here she is.....dear, sweet Cassie, who is actually a ham about having her picture taken.

Storm Alert

I spent most of yesterday getting ready for the storm that is pounding midMichigan right now. The bay mare above is Abbey who is 30. She and the nearly blind pony, Kelly, get Phenylbutazone (Bute) powder on their grain twice a day to help them move around better. I liken it to the Ibuprofen that I take daily to keep me moving. They were just about out so I drove down to St. Johns to the vet to restock. Would hate to be snowbound and not be able to medicate them.
Here's little JR from yesterday morning. He's up to 33 pounds (should be 60 to 70) and I wonder what would happen if I weren't supplementing him 3 times a day with his gruel. I had to run to town for strained carrots, yogurt, and Glucerna just in case I use what I have mixed up.
While I was down at St. Johns, I went to Tractor Supply because as you can see from this picture, I am just about out of shavings for the horses' stalls. Usually I have the shavings delivered from a sawmill and dumped in the indoor arena. I haven't called Jim because either the snow has been too deep or it would have been too muddy for him to get in.
I don't really like to buy the baled shavings because it's so expensive, but didn't mind yesterday. Middle daughter gave me a very generous gift card to TSC for my birthday. She knows that I buy most of my clothes there ☺ and I'm sure that she won't mind that I bought bedding for the horses.
I'm taking interval pictures of the storm to post later.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Proud Birthday Granny

Thank you for the birthday flowers, Beth....and all the rest of you who remembered my birthday with cards and gifts. My age doesn't seem to stick in my head. I always have to say to myself - Let's see, born in '42, it's 2009, 2 from 9, ah ha - 67. Oh, my, that's closer to 70 than 60.
Meredith made some potholders to put in my Etsy store. You can see some on the desk above or in my shop - The reason that I'm blogging about this is because it blows me away that a 9 year old can be so proficient. She does a lovely job weaving them on her loom, each one has a different pattern. She used my new Canon PowerShot to take the pictures in my little light box. She didn't like the color that she was getting so turned off the flash. I have no idea how to do that, then she showed me how to take movie clips. It's not fair, she's only 9!

This is totally her deal. After she downloads the pictures into the computer, I log in to my Etsy store and leave. She puts the pictures up, writes her descriptions-and-can "copy and paste"!!!!! I just recently figured this out. She calls me when she is done so that I can do a quick proof read and we hit Finish.
She took the cute picture of my sweet Max ▲. He does sleep a lot now that is is older.
My two daughters and two granddaughters took me out to dinner, and the grand girls stayed overnight with me. That's always lots of fun.
Elizabeth, below is six, and keeps us laughing. Can't you just tell?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family, Friends, Fiber

It recently occurred to me that I spend a great deal of time blogging about the crisis's, death, and the mishaps in my life. I live a wonderful, blessed, "oh, my gawd, I'm so lucky to be alive" existence. Saturday night I spent the evening with my two grown daughters, (wish that you were with us, Rob) drinking wine, laughing, and yes, crying together. Isn't it amazing that your kids can become your bestest friends? See, I'm blessed...

.....and then Sunday was spent with nonfamily friends who feel like family. Mary and Cary came over for a full day of fiber fun. The picture above is of Mary putting some delicious wool through my carder. Cary and I were watching - and, of course, making suggestions. And this picture over here → is Cary showing us how to draft the fiber off the corner of the batt instead of splitting it like we usually do.

Needless to say, we had marvelous food around since both of these women are awesome cooks (not me). But we had the good sense to keep it upstairs so we weren't snacking all day. Mary's delightful grown daughter, Anna, came over for a while. She made some wonderful banana (I think) bread that was spiced up to taste wonderful.

In the afternoon Billie, my across the street neighbor, came over and Beth with her son John stopped in. Beth and John had been in the barn and get this - weighed alpacas, which John recorded for me. They also trimmed some toes which I have been putting off for waaaay too long. And, now see what a great life I have..... Beth left a big container of white, chicken chili in the frig for me - with toppings - cheese, sour cream, and tortios. (I can't spell that & neither can my spell check)

☼☼☼ And the sun shone all day ☼ ☼ ☼ Ain't life Grand?!?!
For those of you who have inquired about Ivan and his colic - thanks for your concern and good energy. He's fine! Eating, pooping, banging his stall door - back to normal.
And little Jr (Libra) - he weighed 31.3 pounds last Friday. I'm encouraged that now the snow has disappeared, he will be getting green grass into his system. I'll continue to do the 10 ounces of gruel 3 times a day though. His buddy, born the same week, now weighs 81 pounds.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Alpaca/Merino Yarn Arrives

Look what came in the mail Thursday. 37 skeins of gorgeous, beautiful, wanna hug yarn. Back on January 13th, 2009, I mailed 6 pounds of gray Alpaca from Tribute who lives with Leslie and Bob at Irish Valley Farms, and 4 pounds, 15 ounces of colored Merino that I bought from the McMurrys at Genopalette. After the sheep is washed, it loses some weight so I'm calling this a 60%Alpaca/40%Merino Blend, DK weight yarn.
If you are interested, Stonehedge charged $186.02 to wash, spin, skein, and ship this back to me.
It didn't even take a month for them to process and return it.....and with a little note on the receipt saying "Beautiful" which really pleases me.
I do think this is beautiful. Probably the prettiest yarn that I have received from any mill.
The little sheep picture here is from McMurry's farm of some of their sheep. Look the young lambs have long tails.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ivan's Colic

My plans this morning were to go to the feed store and get grain for the horses. They are all older and eat Equine Senior. I'm very lucky because I can watch all the horses very well from my kitchen. These pictures were shot just opening the deck door. Anyway, there was Ivan pawing, looking at his stomach, getting up and down, and not eating. These are sure signs of colic, a horsey upset stomach that can be serious. I took him back into the barn and then took him for a walk down the road. Sometimes a little exercise will help. I lunged him a little in the indoor arena (it's zero out there this a.m.). I knew he was upset because he didn't stop and munch on the hay stacked in there. I gave him an injection of 6 cc of Banamine which usually helps a lot. Then put him in a big stall with fresh water. Sometimes in the winter the horses just don't drink

enough which can cause them to colic. The good thing is he pooped while I was walking him so I don't think that he is impacted.
Because he looks bright and alert (as you can see by the picture above) I'm going to go let him back out into the sunshine ☼
The little picture here is of the other three looking at someone walking down the road. They look like they are all together but are actually separated by fences.
Maybe I'll get to the feed store afterall.....

Two Maples

I have google alerts for NorthStarAlpacas and Maple Smith so that when these words are mentioned out there somewhere, I get a link to them. My Maple links are usually related to wood, you know- bats, musical instruments, things like that, and of course, lots of Maple Leaf hockey referrals.
But this week I was linked to , the blog of Brandy Shelton of Johnson City, Tennessee. Lo and behold, here's little Maple Rae who was born on December 7, 2008.
Oh, my, another Maple. It's kind of like having another grandbaby out there.
Brandy (mom) and I have corresponded some. She wondered how I got my name. My grandma, who died in her 30s, was named Maple, and the story goes (I find this hard to believe) that she was named after my greatgrandfather's girlfriend back in Ireland.

Monday, February 2, 2009

JR's Gruel and Hungry Deer

Yesterday I increased Jr's food intake to 3 tubes of 3 ounces of gruel 3 times a day. 27 ounces surely seems like enough to make him grow faster. He weighed 29 pounds last Friday when I weighed him (4 months old). I'm having to mix up a lot more now. I keep it in the frig and then syringe it into the tubes a couple of ounces at a time.
I just drop the capped tubes into hot water to warm it up, when warm, I wrap the tubes in towels which I keep inside my jacket until I get to the barn.

The dogs and I took a walk out behind the house. The deer have pretty much taken down all my fences to get into my little grove for food. There are apple and pine trees there. You can see where they have been digging for the apples. Poor deer. They are pretty hungry this winter and we have way too many here in midMichigan. When I was young, we had to go "UpNorth" to see any. I'm thinking we will be having a big put up fence party when the ground thaws.
Behind this grove is horse pasture and then an open corn field. The wild turkeys have been very busy scrounging in the corn field this week.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Custom Alpaca Hat

Sara from northern Illinois liked the pattern on this brown hat and asked me if I could make her one in grays. Of course, says I, frantically trying to remember what I did. I seldom do the same thing twice and don't write it down. Fortunately the hat hadn't sold so I was able to look at it. Super easy - Cast on about 75 on size 4 needles, knit for a while, switch colors and to a size 7 needle. Knit for 5 rows and then 1 row of purl . Repeat until desired height. Do some decreasing then yarn overs every 4 or 5 stitches to make holes for the tie. Knit garter stitch for a couple more inches and bind off. Make an I Cord to match the border.
Unfortunately I didn't have any gray yarn so I spun up a couple ounces from Reggie, a herd sire owned by Sharon Winsauer and the Kuklas in Jackson. That's the handsome guy pictured above. I also spun about an ounce that I added black to as I spun for the trim on the hat.
So, this is what I came up with. I will go list it in my shop now and send Sara a note that it is finished.
It's here if you want to see it in my Etsy shop - just click →. PonyTail/BigHair Hat