December Eleventh and Twelfth

December Eleventh:

40s, sunny.

Finished washing mohair, set to dry.

Argyll is still loose.

Lots of paddock clean-up.

Threw down 7 bales of hay from the balcony.

Thimble scoots along with everyone, but her lameness appears to be worsening.

Moved horses to new pasture.  They were thrilled. Nite Nite instantly rolled in the oak leaves.

Mailed packages for CSA orders.  Picked up extra envelopes and boxes.  Mike & Jan helped me to find what they had in stock that would best work for shipping mohair.

Posted “Muppet’s Bake Sale” to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter to sell Thimble’s mohair locks to help defray costs of her vet bills.

Packaged many orders – weighed locks.  Consulted with Sandy for recipe for baked goods.  Was considering Gesine’s maple shortbread but was worried it’d be too crumbly.  Sandy says Chewy Chocolate Orange Cookies are good for packing.

Chores at 4:00, horses last.  5:30 was very dark but one thing I really enjoyed was walking down to the horses’ pasture with their dinner and looking at the stars.  Orion’s belt, the Pleiades.  I inhaled deeply.  This was the gift of the dark.  I try not to complain about the shortening days, but I am struck at how quickly the day comes to an end and how little energy I have as compared to my summer-self.  But this is a beautiful gift and I can’t believe it took me until now to recognize it.  So every night I am vowing to soak up the stars when it gets dark and I am finishing chores.

Made latkes for dinner.  Stayed up til 1 making cookie dough and packing orders.


December Twelfth:

45 degrees by 7a.m.


Twisted Cranesbill Geranium-dyed yarns & labeled, photographed.

Finished cookies and packed mohair to ship.  Jim did morning chores for me and brought down a dozen hay bales from the loft to make it easier for me to hay the animals for a few days.

Delivered packages to Post Office.  Mike and Jan were both there and it was a good thing.  It took Mike about 40 minutes to check me out with all of my packages.  There was a long line at Jan’s booth, but everyone preferred it to standing behind me.

Picked up an order from Lynn at the Tuscan Sunflower.  We caught up.

I forgot to pick up Char’s Rx.

Washed jars for feeders and made sugar water for bees.  This warm day means they’re out feeding, but there’s nothing for them to feed on.

Moved the soil that Jim had dumped into the garden.  Rebuilt my raised bed that Peppy had knocked down.  Filled it up with soil.

The goatsies are so cuddly and sleepy today.  Everyone wanted a massage.  The same with the sheep.  Argyll is increasingly losing interest to be with the other sheep.  He hangs out with the chickens, ducks and dogs all day now.  He runs and follows me around.  He helped (Quote, Quote!) Jim with putting greens up around the lamppost and the front porch.

Watched Custer’s group for awhile and noted that Mary & Charlotte have even brighter gold blazes on their backsides, so noted the date for Holly.  I also noted that Wendy has a bright gold blaze and so I recorded the date.

Jim and I trimmed Hawthorn tree, overgrown azalea and pruned the volunteer Chokeberry bushes in the garden.  Peppy was so very interested in the work.  I shook the apple trees to get the last apples to fall off and gave them to her.  She was very, very appreciative.

I gave Peppy a good rub. She was so blue and bristly looking in the afternoon sunshine.  I lay my cheek against her back and hugged her. She is REALLY warm!  What a warm piggy!  She was very cuddly today.

Jim and I spent about an hour cleaning the pasture.  I had him drive the tractor into the alpaca pasture so that instead of me carting the wheelbarrows’ full of manure back and forth to the manure pile, we could fill the bucket.  I asked him to help me clean the pastures and it went a lot faster than when it’s just me.  The alpacas were hilarious and curious and followed us around and were quite underfoot during the afternoon.

Jim helped me with the evening chores.  It went so fast.  I walked the horses dinner down to them.  I fed them under the stars that were only just coming out.

Jim and I had to hustle to get Char’s Rx at the market and then we went to dinner at a new place in Bennington.  It’s a cafe-type place.  Two Brews. I think that’s the name.  It was good.  I would rather have dinner at home, though, in the future.  But I wish them well. They have put a lot into the structure.  It makes me happy to see people invest & dream big in our small towns.  If I was a person that went out for lunch or breakfast, I would definitely go there.  So I would recommend it.

I scoured the jars that had been keeping the bees’ food from before.  They always grow moldy at some point and you have to disassemble everything and clean it with a fine-toothed comb, so to speak.  I used a piece of papertowel and a sharp tool(knife edge) to run it around and get all of the mold out of the hidden spaces, even though I’d already washed them.  I used a bit of boiling water to rub the glass down and loosen more dirt.

I made my lists for tomorrow:  chores/cooking/baking.

Grabbed my newest pattern and yarn and two sets of needles to start a new knitting project.  Made tea.



Jim & Argyll, greening up the place


Thimble’s mohair, out to dry


Dyed with Cranesbill Geranium, left to right: 100% Shetland, (2 skeins), & 70/30 Cormo/Mohair blend(2 skeins) – I call this “Indy’s Color” because I’d been making the dye on the day I had to put Indy down. Originally my test swatches were more amber, but the yarn dyes up sort of straw-colored. Very pretty.


He’s such an individual these days. Argyll won’t join the others. I put him in the pastures, he pops out again.


The first thing that little pony did when I moved her to a new pasture? Roll in the oak leaves!


Ruger & Izzy are loving the new pasture, more space to roam, dryer footing.


I love that this is my life – mohair locks from little Thimble, handspun from Aisling, natural dyed yarns from the flocks with leaves I foraged in my front garden, dried flowers for dyes to come.


Some CSA shares were packed and shipped this week – I’d dyed some of the grey and the white Shetland with indigo, had overdyed a walnut-dyed Shetland with indigo, giving a pretty green color, dyed some Shetland with Goldenrod and also with acorns.


2 oz. bags of Thimble’s mohair – I stayed up so late packing all of the orders for her fundraiser/bake sale that the Muppets hosted(well, we know who really hosted it!)


More CSA shares – this was a natural colored share – just the gradient, please! 100% Shetland from our flocks.


A hankering for latkes, Friday night, grated the potato and shallots and mixed with 3 eggs, salt and pepper, sizzled in olive oil. Delicious.


Sandy Warner provided me with the perfect bake-sale recipe for the Muppets’ fundraiser – Chewy Chocolate Orange Cookies. But, they’re chewy only when they come out of the oven, then they get super crunchy. Still delicious, though. They should hopefully travel well.


Chewy Chocolate Orange Cookies for. the. win. They were SO good right out of the oven with my morning coffee. This recipe wants you to refrigerate the dough overnight and then form balls and roll in an orange sugar before baking.


Twenty one bags and boxes of Thimble’s fiber & bake-sale treats headed out the door, off I trotted to the Post Office.


Malcolm having an afternoon cuddle this beautiful Saturday.

The Muppets were in such a happy mood today, the sunshine felt so nice and they had wonderful afternoon naps.

Sorry to bore you, Olivia! She came so close to me while I sat with the lambs this afternoon. Then she proceeded to yawn repeatedly!

While Jim & I were cleaning the pasture, the alpacas enjoyed inspecting the tractor. Kicking tires and such.