A Tumble Creek Farm Ewe

A Tumble Creek Farm Ewe
One of many

Monday, February 28, 2011

More Snow Mixed with Rain

Just when I was beginning to think winter was on the wane more snow will be arriving today. This is lambing season at Tumble Creek Farm so I went out to check the ewes. There are triplets on the lamb bar so I was planning to bring that in for cleaning and refilling. No lambs yet this morning so I grabbed the bucket and turned to face a gust of wind coming through the barn. Wet drops on my face say rain. So I got back into the house and my husband is standing at the living room window saying, "Wow, look at the snow blowing in." It was snowing on the north end of the house and raining on the south end. Interesting...
  We have 9 lambs now at a ratio of 5 rams to 4 ewes. Awaiting 10 ewes still. Five should be this month with the last 5 grouped in the first week of April from the last session of AI. The last ewe lamb was born Friday night when we had an Arctic Blast and the temp dipped to -3.5. All did very well and were cozy by their mom's sides or under the feeder nestled in the uneaten hay. Where is the camera when you want it?
  On today's schedule is bringing in the last of the bred ewes so they can share in the shelter of the barn. They also need shots and shearing so I am not just spoiling them.  Their condition will be checked and a shearing date set when the weather looks more promising. Within the next two weeks I will have more fresh fleeces to skirt and post for sale.
  The bag I have been knitting is finished and awaiting felting. Project for this afternoon. My washing machine is the new style that is a water-saver and does not have the agitator in the center. It is low and does a good job on the clothes but not good for felting. So the shoulders will get a workout today and I hope to have success. I used some Bluefaced Leicester yarn plus a few odd cleanings of fiber that were lurking on the racks in the studio. Most of the natural colored is from the neighbor that grazes my retired Border Leicester ewe which I know felts very well. My next project is a wine bottle cover with a leaf design in the center. This will go in the gift collection drawer along with the kid socks I make up for a last minute gift. I like quick projects that I can see the design grow and as a small space-taker. That way there isn't so much to clean up if I need the coffee table for company. Pictures will arrive shortly.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lambs and Wet Heavy Snow

So typical on the high desert for this time of year; a few warm days then an unexpected heavy snow. We woke up to the downspout dripping and thinking it was just a bit of rain. Outside was a mess with branches broken under the weight of the snow. There was only 7" but it felt like 12" when we started shoveling off the deck and cleared a path to the barn. My husband came home from work early and we spent the rest of the day with the chainsaw removing a very large limb hanging over the metal tool shed. It was so heavy with snow and near to breaking at the trunk. Another tree limb was hanging over the corner of the barn but we were able to shake the snow off that without cutting off the branch. When the emergencies were over he used the quad and blade to clear paths around the yard for me to walk easily for chores. The chickens would not come outside so watched from their doorway.
  There are now eight lambs from four ewes. One is a single ewe lamb and a set of triplet rams plus the two sets of twins. More are expected next week. The triplets and mom are doing fine after a tough week keeping her going. She was not interested in her food or water so I was drenching her with water and hand-offering hay. She would eat it that way but very slowly. Life is much better now and she is out of her jug and with friends again enjoying her lambs. I did put up the lamb bar and they almost have it figured out except they look at my knees first. It might have been cute and friendly had they been ewe lambs, but I don't want rams bouncing off my knees in a few months.
  The knitting project of the bag is coming along well. I am now in the top half and have put the two bottom pieces together. I'm not quite sure that the pattern is correct in the change from garter stitch on the lower half to knitting in the round as the texture has obviously changed. The bag will be felted when finished and the pattern does not show a picture of it prior to felting. I figure it will be an original either way so will carry on with the directions.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Waiting for Lambs

The WIND woke me this morning! The past week has been in the 50's and now the wind has come back in gusts. I was up checking the pregnant ewes in the barn this morning so missed the weather report. I'll just go back outside again and figure it out.
   The five bred ewes are now in their 'due' time as of yesterday according to the Pipestone Sheep Management Wheel. These were AI'd so should come in close together where as the pasture bred ewes will be sprinkled anywhere from now into the next month.
   Last night I started a new knitting project. The plan is to make a felted bag for a pair of dance shoes using some of my spun yarns that I have been saving. It requires four colors so I chose two grays and two pinks. I am not thrilled with it at this stage and could easily take it all apart and start over if the mood strikes. To be continued...
   One other project that has been ongoing is to blend mohair with my Bluefaced Leicester on my card and then make roving. The staple lengths are the same so I am looking forward to test how it spins up. A friend has requested this as she owns the mohair. I'd also like to dye some and see if it would work in the above felted bag project...