Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gifts of Spring

I've been walking in our woods regularly, just enjoying this amazing spring and reflecting on so many blessings, the best of which is my Mom's miraculous return to health.  I've also been listening to a really good audiobook while on my walks, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, about a young woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail alone- it's been good motivation to push myself just a little further!  
Morel mushrooms and a turkey feather found today!
I've been searching almost daily for morel mushrooms, unsure of how this strangely warm weather would affect the timing of their appearing.  I was really surprised to find some in a new place today, and I hope this is the beginning and not the end of their season!  It's now thunder storming, so hopefully the new moisture will help to encourage more mushrooms to come up.

My friend Marti has encouraged me to make more large felted wall hangings, and this one titled "Spring" was inspired during a moment of frustration with doing taxes.  Both my studio and the beautiful woods were beckoning, so I decided to create and this was the result.  You can find it in my Etsy Store!

What are you doing that is inspired by Spring?
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

High Tech and Low Tech

We have 3 pregnant ewes that needed shearing, and we were able to take them to Dianne's farm at the same time her flock was being shorn.  We'll have our other 3 done when the alpaca shearers come on April 18th, but it helps to get the fleece off before lambing so the fleeces stay cleaner, and it's easier for the lambs to find their mama's udder.
This is my favorite ewe (top), and its pitiful but she still doesn't have a name!  Any suggestions?  She's a sister to Dianne's "Birdie" and she has the most gorgeous, lustrous white locks which I look forward to using in lots of felting projects. All three mature ewes are bred to an amazing Wensleydale ram, I can't wait for the lambs!
Shelby is our daughter's ewe, and she is soooo friendly since Mirian handled her a lot as a lamb.  She sheared 12.5 pounds of lovely grey wool! I'm thinking of making a felted rug for Mirian from her fleece. 

I love felting with raw locks, the natural, organic look is very unique so I decided to combine "low tech" with "high tech" to make an iPad cover from some of our own sheep's locks.  First I had to wash the fleece... a process I enjoy for a short time, but it takes patience since the wool has so much lanolin and requires lots of hot water (I use the utility sink at the barn).
 Here's the finished product! It's reversible, and has merino and tussah silk on the inside, with just the right thickness and cushion.
 And yes, I'm one of those drink-the-koolaid Apple "sheep" that went right out and bought a new iPad (I sold my 2). How do I like it?  I LOVE it! The enhanced camera allowed me to take all but this last photo, the retina screen is amazing, and I like having the availability of fast LTE with Verizon data access when I don't have wi-fi available.  It does seem to burn up battery just a little faster, but it still has remarkable battery life!  There's just something a little humorous to me about combining high tech and low tech like this!
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Miracle of Green... Jello, that is!

Springtime is totally popping out here on the farm.  The woods are bursting with tiny wildflowers and even the redbuds are adding a hint of pink to the landscape.  Foals are romping over green-carpeted fields and my husband mowed our lawn yesterday.
Our daughter's horse already has to wear a muzzle to limit his intake of grass.
And today?  St. Patrick's Day, of course! Every spring is a miracle, but I have a personal miracle to share.
As I previously mentioned, my Mom was in the hospital (emergency gall bladder surgery).  She got through that but just wasn't bouncing back.... Long story short, she was re-hospitalized with a serious infection and other complications. My super close-knit family was faced with supporting my parents (married 62 years) through a very painful time.  My parents have always been affectionate and expressive in front of our family, but I witnessed the truest of love over and over again when my Dad held and consoled my mom as she vomited and suffered day after day.  My brother and Dad cried with Mom as she endured a particularly ugly wound dressing and I had to sit down for fear of fainting.

 Mom was being fed through a line, and somehow over the past few days she began to regain her strength and appetite, slowly healing.  Prayers and healing thoughts flooded in through family and friends, (some of them that I've never even met, except on Facebook!). Mom would beg Dad and I to tell her what we'd eaten at a restaurant, hanging on every word and moaning if we said it was good! Eleven days in the  hospital(with another stay just a few weeks earlier) was challenging her morale and on Thursday she was especially low and hard on herself due to not having been able to complete a diagnostic test (she just couldn't drink that nasty stuff).  Mom, Dad and I all cried together as she expressed her frustration and feeling that she would never get out of the hospital.

For about the third time, she opined to Dad and I, "If only I could eat ONE BITE of lime jello...." After a few minutes, I said "Okay, pity party is over, let's make this a good day!"  Dad encouraged her and I reminded her that God was with her, and she was improving.  She began to cry a little and said she wasn't feeling God's presence in the hospital.  I reminded her that God was within each of her family members, and in each kind nurse, and in her doctor whom she wants to adopt!

Just a few moments later, in came a nurse with a tray upon which was perched a lovely bowl of green jello!  We said, "What's this?  She isn't supposed to eat!". The nurse said change of plan, the doctor had just approved clear foods for my Mom!  She smiled and savoured each and every bite of that beautiful jello, as well as a small smorgasbord of other clear delights throughout the day, and she handled them all fine.  Best of all, she got to go home yesterday!!!! Mom still has a lot of healing and recovery, but now she can do that at HOME, the most wonderful of places in the world.  This has been a rare experience in an otherwise-healthy family, and has been a reminder that my parents won't always be with us, and all of us are here but for a time..... Healing has been done in ways other than physical as well.  It's been an experience that we'd mostly rather forget!   But... I'll always remember how God answered my Mom's prayer with a simple bowl of lime-green jello (and our own prayers for her return to health).

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Monday, March 5, 2012

March... in like a lion!

The past few weeks have been eventful, as my Mom has been ill and I've been to Ohio a bunch. This past weekend I headed off with friends to Tennessee for the Southern Select Alpaca Show.  I was on edge Friday as the weather predictions for the entire region were ominous... I've never heard such strong warnings about potential tornadoes and for the first time I can remember the schools in our county were let out early due to the storm potential.
As I was reaching Tennessee, my husband and kids were hunkering down on the farm... we avoided any damage, but there was HUGE hail for a very short time.  Check out this photo!  Yes, that is an egg in there for size reference.  To give you an idea of the weird weather, it was 83 degrees when we reached Shelbyville, TN and as we came home last night we were trying to beat an incoming snow storm!  There were tornadoes in our vicinity, and I was really uneasy being in a strange place during warnings but we avoided any problems.  My heart goes out to those people in the towns that were devastated by the storms, and for those that lost loved ones....

The show was a lot of fun, and the highlight was a blue ribbon and Reserve Championship for 8 month old SSF Michelangelo's Oprah (at top)!  As always, it was fun to reunite with old friends and to admire lots of beautiful alpacas.
Last week I picked these beautiful daffodils from the yard, and this morning we woke up to about 5 inches of snow!  It's just gorgeous out there, and not too cold to enjoy it. Hoss and I went out for an early walk to enjoy the winter wonderland as I know it won't last long; he loves it!

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