Thursday, December 2, 2010

now that's a lot of yarn...

It has been a monstrous week. Trips to the doctor, foul weather, a broken furnace, and Gibson hurt his elbow and is on painkillers. He doesn't understand how to slow down and rest. I think for border collies, recovery is just Latin for "limp faster." When he started limping today I called the vet right away. I needed to know if it was anything beyond the normal wear-and-tear of an active farm dog. As my partner, and the power that will make this farm run smoothly: I need him to be healthy and able to train. Turns out it was good I took him in, because the vet said he could easily have torn something on a weekend herding lesson or jaunt with the other dogs at work. He's in elbow limbo right now, and too much of anything fun might tear what's already strained. So my very-active puppy needs to learn to heal, and is doing so. Slowly.

So the week's been hard on all of us, but it is coming to a beautiful end. Tomorrow is Friday, of course, and for those of us running farms while holding down a day job it means the holiday starts at 5pm. This weekend is a big deal, too. With the hard cider bottled and ready to drink, the wool shipped from the mill, and my fabric here from the online shop—I have a three-day vacation to farm, sew, prepare the first round of CSA packages*, and some how take the time to realize it is here. The farm is here. There are 50 bales of stacked hay, a fenced in pasture, a sheep shelter on the hill, and five new ewes coming in a trailer this Monday. There is wood stacked by the stove, and bills on the table, and I am looking forward to whittling both down to insignificance.

I'll give a proper update on the CSA soon, the wool, the whole experience of holding your sheep's fleece on a string. But tonight I am going to tend to my pup, watch a DVD, and get some rest before the weekend hits me like a ton of wool-felted bricks.

*If I don't hear from the folks listed below, I will draw more names. I only heard from half? Please email me if you want to keep your spot in this year's program?

35 Comments:

Blogger Kalee said...

It's beautiful

December 2, 2010 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I want to jump in the middle of it like a huge pile of fall leaves.

December 2, 2010 at 7:58 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Yummy! Is that from your very own sheep?????

December 2, 2010 at 8:00 PM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Very nice job Jenna!

December 2, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger dk said...

It looks heavenly!

December 2, 2010 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Thinkin' Out Loud said...

It' so lovely! Maybe if this CSA works out for you and you decide to continue it when you have a larger flock I can join. Something to look forward to for me since I don't think I've ever held true wool.

December 2, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Cool! Aside from the CSA what are your plans for it? Will you have enough to knit your fist Cold Antler Sweater? I still proudly wear the first scarf I ever made from my sheep. It was handspun and while that was during the beginning days of my handspinning, nothing makes me feel more full than to wear the scarf knowing that it came from animals I tended.

December 2, 2010 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

About half will be sent to CSA folks, the rest will be sold retail at market, or bartered. I will keep a stash for myself though...just started balling up a skein to knit with tonight!

December 2, 2010 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

It looks so beautiful. Yes, keep me in the drawing if the others aren't interested.

December 2, 2010 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Beautiful! Is all of this just from this year's wool harvest?

December 2, 2010 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Have fun knitting it up. Take care of the pup and enjoy the fiber.

December 2, 2010 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

That is so cool. I should get off my ass and send my spring wool to the mill. I want my own yarn, too.

December 3, 2010 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger FTM Farmer said...

please keep me in the drawing if the others don't respond. I'm getting a learn to knit kit for Christmas, and would love to put it to good use.

I'm also excited about the card exchange on fb.

December 3, 2010 at 1:26 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

http://www.stillrivermill.com/

They did my wool, and did an amazing job. they do as little as 5 pounds (one sheep) and all you do is print out and fill out the online form and mail it in. Takes about 4 months... but worth it.

December 3, 2010 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Your yarn looks lovely but not being a knitter, I don't have a complete appreciation.
I am a working dog person though. If I were you, I would stop the pain killers. Pain is an animals signal to rest. Without pain they try to have life as usual. I would take Gibson out only on lead and then I would confine him to his crate or resting with you during your movie. Bones and yummy filled Kongs can be your friend. I would do this routine for about a week. I know this sounds like a bummer but you don't want that elbow to become arthritic or have a chronic issue. Over the last 27 years of handling drivey German Shepherds I've had injuries. I had one GSD in a crate for 6 weeks while a partially torn ACL healed. It worked although we both almost went nuts.

December 3, 2010 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Jennifer King said...

Hi Jenna, Your yarn looks terrific! Can you share with us which mill you used? I'll be shearing my first sheep in March and haven't decided where to send it yet. Thanks..Happy Knitting!

December 3, 2010 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Oh no! Puppies just don't know their limits. I agree with doglady. You have to restrict Gibson's activity. Unless the painkillers knock him out so he does nothing but sleep. they aren't going to help. I have been pureeing organ meat and freezing it in Kongs, also peanut butter, will last a long time and will keep him quiet. Tell him he is getting his own sheep if he is a good boy. Maybe he will cooperate.

The furnace still isn't working? Golly, it is cold up there. Hope you can get it fixed soon.

December 3, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Great yarn! I'm looking at different mills now so I can send out a nice Romney fleece. Although since it takes so long maybe I should just wait until spring shear so I can send several out at once.

And you're so right about the weekends for us working folk....every one of them feels like a holiday even if they're just 2 days and even if we just stay home. Hooray for weekends!

December 3, 2010 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I love the fact that one of your vacation days is being used to take delivery of your sheep! As opposed to, you know, renewing your driver's license. :)

That wool looks beautiful, Jenna. You have so much to be proud of.

December 3, 2010 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger haylie said...

Please keep me in the running, too, if others don't respond. I'm really excited about re-learning how to knit this Christmas. Beautiful wool, and by the way, I love your blog. I live in the city with some aching, yearning barnheart.

December 3, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Jen (emeraldsunshine.org) said...

I don't know anything about knitting, although I'd like to learn, but I will say that I'm sorry your partner is injured. Poor guy! Of course, like a guy, he just doesn't know his limits... ;)

December 3, 2010 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

That is beautiful yarn, and I'm no knitter so I don't even know from yarn! Good for you, Jenna!

@doglady - YIKES! Being a GSD mama, I can't imagine crating them for six hours, much less six weeks. And yes, they think they're impervious. Ours runs, limp or no limp. It has to really hurt to slow him down. We only give pain meds at night, so he can get some rest.

December 3, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

The yarn is beautiful, have a great weekend!

-Brenda

December 3, 2010 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

looks good!

doglady, do you do schutzhund with your shepherds?

December 3, 2010 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

That yarn is truly beautiful!

December 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Back Porch Chat said...

Please keep me on this year's CSA list to draw from.

The yarn looks wonderful. I am a crocheting maniac and would love to make something out of your homegrown yarn.

Can't wait to see pics of your new ewes.

December 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Toni aka irishlas said...

Sounds like a great weekend to me. Don't forget to play a tune or two!

Nice looking yarn.

December 3, 2010 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Wow! Your sheep are coming already?!

I'm excited for you that your dreams are coming true!

December 3, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Lovely yarn! I can almost smell the woodsy, wooly scent, and feel the lanolin. If you do have a re-draw, keep me in.

Margaret
in Bend, Oregon

December 3, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

The yarn is simply beautiful! If someone backs out, I want another chance please!

December 3, 2010 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I don't know if this is appropriate or not but here goes.
Tara- It was horrible. I took her out on a leash and pinch collar to do her thing and back into the crate. She could be out with me in the evening if I left the other two in their crates in the garage. The day the vet said she could go for long walks we had a buried body search in a city. After 6 weeks of no exercise or training guess who identified the burial site which solved a 6 week murder mystery? She was a very cool dog.
Meredith- No I don't do Schutzhund but a lot of the dogs in my dog's pedigrees are Sch III and they are all working line dogs. I use mine for search and rescue. Tomorrow I'm traveling from Downeast Maine to NY to pick up a puppy who happens to be the granddaughter of my 10 year old SAR dog.
The accepted/expected standard of practice for veterinarians is to give pain meds. This has been consumer/owner driven. I always refuse the pain meds because I know what will happen the minute they kick in with drivey dogs.

December 3, 2010 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger helen said...

What are you going to sew?
Hopefully some CSA spots become available, I would be interested in joining. It's weird we don't have a yarn CSA here in MN. Have you ever considered adding an alpaca or two to your flock? I have heard they are great companions to sheep. And they are super soft :) I dream of someday having my own plot of land and an alpaca and some sheep to spin from.

December 4, 2010 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 7, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger alewyfe said...

Ooh, ooh, if they don't respond, add me to the lottery please! I meant to enter the first time around... then the second... maybe the third times the charm? would be good motivation for finally learning to knit and/or crochet... That, or a great christmas present for my gram! If the yarn lottery is all full up, i'd be interested in buying any extra felting grade raw wool maybe- I make soap and would love to try felting over some of the bars. Hope Gibson is feeling better, poor pup! The patient must be patient... try telling that to a puppy, oh dear!

December 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Sue in Hawaii said...

Jenna, you are so right about "recovery" = "limp faster".

With BC's we absolutely have to curb their enthusiasm and protect them from their selves. My BC was running at my friends farm yesterday before dawn, came around a corner down a hill and whammed smack into a gate that was always there, giving herself a minor consussion, no doubt, but it did not slow her down at all. I didn't realize it until it was ligher and I could see the cuts right above her eye. But boy was she upset that she had to be on "concussion watch" the rest of the day and didn't get to go back to feed the horses in the afternoon. Another BC of mine was on a months rest after a partial cruciate ligament tear and the first day he went back to agility was so excited that he took off for the A frame and didn't stop - sailed right off the apex into the air. Luckily did not injure himself but I thought for sure his career would be over.

So, knowing that Gibson, is a necessary farm hand, you are so right to make him rest despite his entreaties. He will be complaining long before his elbow is fully healed. There are lots of things you can do if you have the time (what time!) to stimulate his mind while he rests. Good luck with him and keep us posted!

December 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

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