Knit Picky

Ok, so, it isn’t like an actual diagnosis or anything but, I’m moderately obsessive compulsive.

Someone once laughed at me saying to refer to myself as “moderately” obsessive was an oxymoron.

Well, that’s where the not NOT an actual “diagnosis” comes in. I’m pretty sure I stop just shy of the precise clinical parameters.

Call me… maybe… Pathologically Enthusiastic.

Enter knitting.

Oh, man. If ever there was an opportunity for me to go full-blown OCD, it would be for knitting. One moment yarn… three weeks, 10 new gray hairs and lots of squinting and mumbled curse words later and VOILA!

A coaster!

However, true to my form, I have a hard time working at my own level.

I see the potential!

I want to DO the potential!

NOW!

I don’t know how to work a short row? I don’t even know what a short row is?

Balderdash! I makin’ SOCKS, dag nabbit!

Well, somewhere between coasters and socks there lies the hat.

Ahhhhh, the hat. So much fun… so fast… so difficult to make the right size when you’re brand new to knitting and still learning “what the flippy flap is a gauge and why on EARTH do my samples keep curling into little tubes!”

Since my mom-in-law taught me how to cast-on and knit the day before she left for a month-long vacation, I have learned a few things.

1) I was doing it wrong.

2) I was doing it wrong.

3) YouTube is an awesome place to discover all the ways you’re doing it wrong.

1a) I was knitting to the back of the loop… hence, floppy, twisted stitches with no elasticity.

2a) I was casting on backward (not in the wrong direction, literally backward). This may be due to the fact the my mom-in-law is left handed… or I’m just that unobservant… Either way, my first stitch kept wanting to fall out.  REALLY problematic when knitting in the round.

3a) In the space of three YouTube videos, I managed to get all that sorted out.

Of course, I was 2/3 the way through my second hat… and had to finish it WRONG or else it wouldn’t be consistent. It may be lame, but it’s ENTIRELY lame. There is continuity and excellence in its lameness. Right?

So, hat number three turned out better, but still too big.

It is supposed to look like the one below pictured on the child that isn’t my child, but I have decidedly non-girly girls with a strange aversion to pink… well, at least that’s what the Small One tries to make us believe while begging for a pink iPod Nano. “Pink looks GOOD on an iPod, mommy!”

Ah, the mercurial inner workings of the eight-year-old female… But, I digress…

Hats! Hats! Hats!

Now I wanna make mittens and slippers and socks! What IS a gusset, anyway?! Clearly, I will be spending more time with my dear friend, Y.T. who will take all the time I need to show me… Y.T. is very patient that way.

I wish I were as patient with me… especially now that I have been introduced to Ravelry.com.

Oh, Dear Lord. Help me.

Happy Friday, Y’all!
Farm Girl, out!

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Posted in Knit Picky, Pathologically Enthusiastic | 4 Comments

Feeling Saucy

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past… hmmm… let’s see… two days.

Lots of interruptions (like an unidentified, frightened, barking doberman showing up on the farm last evening) and a very angry back kept me from making much fast progress.

Yesterday I got them all sorted and blanched, but only got about half of them peeled.

Much to my back’s great relief, today James and Anna jumped in and helped me finish up the peeling and seeding so I finally got them all processed except for getting the juice boiled down into something usable.

Why does it not seem like very much product for all that work? LOL

Don’t even ask me about the two grocery bags full of green Roma’s still in the garage.

Ah well. It shall be yummy! … when I can actually bring myself to look at another tomato. 😉

Eat ’em if ya got ’em.

Farm Girl out, Y’all.

Posted in Foodie Farm Girl | 3 Comments

Look who’s up!

Not even an hour after surgery he’s on his feet and annoyed that Early’s across the room eating all the goodies.

No recliner.

No frozen peas to sit on.

No stack of movies.

No beer.

Just straight up toughin’ it out.

He may be running on unleaded now but as alpacas go, he’s all man. 😉

I’m proud of ya, Buddy.  Permission to chill for the rest of the day.

Posted in Ruminations | 1 Comment

Mr. Fancy Pants gets too big for his britches.

Well, I wasn’t expecting to be doing this today…

This morning I converted what is usually one of the alpaca-free stalls into a convalescent ward for Shiraz.

Gentlemen, kindly bow your heads and say a short prayer in his honor, ’cause Dude is getting snipped.

The event precipitating this sudden change of breeding status was, to date, one of the craziest and most unexpected we’ve had here on the farm.

There we were all peacefully chatting in the barn; the big goats eating cooked rice out of my hands, the alpacas curiously evaluating if they want any part of that snack and repeatedly rejecting it… baby goats incessantly butting heads nearby. It seems that the elder of the two dinky ones is likely coming into her “doe-hood” so they’re starting to get competitive with each other… hence the head-butting.

At first, Shiraz just seemed curious and actually, just a bit annoyed at the ruckus. Then, it appeared that he had had his fill and was attempting to break up the fight using little ear nips and nose butts…

… Next thing I know alpacas and goats are flying everywhere with me squatting on the ground, my back against the gate; a barn full of animals seemingly hurling themselves at my person.

I jump up yelling scolds and just-shy-of-profanity at every furry person in the room and they all scatter at full tilt… and Shiraz is dead-set on “getting” one of those little black things or know the reason why.

This is about the time Grace shows up for an animal love-fest only to see 150 lbs of camelid bearing down on a 25 pound micro goat at what seemed like about 25 miles per hour. No joke.

He didn’t let up. The more he ran the more determined he became and the more animals popped up on his radar. Before it was over he had gone after everyone EXCEPT Grace and me… WISE choice… According to Beth (via Anthony Bourdain), alpaca is delicious.

We scrambled for the grain and I managed to get a halter on him which seemed to redirect him into “walk” mode and settled him down fairly quickly. In the mean time, we herded the terrified goats into the barn where they stayed in safety until this morning when they were released under my very watchful eye.

At the moment, Early and Shiraz are happily hanging out in the barn where about 10 inches of nice, clean straw await the latter in the stall that will be his private sanctuary while he recovers from getting taken down a few notices… ok… maybe ALL of the notches.

After talking to the vet and the previous owner, the consensus is that the combination of

the scent of the “newly-arriving” doe and the competitive behavior they were displaying got his top-of-the-pecking order hormones kicking in and, instead of reading them as females, he was seeing two young alpacas that he needed to “peck” into their place… needless to say the outcome of that misplaced “lesson” could have been really unfortunate to put it lightly. Like I said, 25 pounds vs. 150…? Yikes.

He’s not an animal for whom we’re likely to get any takers for breeding as he doesn’t have a show record and has never been bred in the past so there isn’t any good reason not to turn him into a “fleece-only pet” and companion for Early.

Early, on the other hand, does have a show record, has at least 12 babies to his name, has champion fleece and is docile and sweet to the point of being nearly staved out by the more dominant males at his previous home. They sold him for his own good and protection. For now, he remains intact as we may want to breed him someday.

So, today ends the line of AJ’s Shiraz… and hopefully the continued terror or two, even-harder to tame little pipsqueaks who have got to be sick of getting picked on. First the other goats, now their bodyguard! Sheesh! No wonder they don’t trust anybody.

So, that’s my story so far today. Time to go clean the kitchen and do some baking in the lull between traumatic events. You could call it… therapy.

Peace, Y’all! Farm Girl, out.

Posted in Ruminations | 3 Comments

In-Chick-Nuity

Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

What you see in this picture is a makeshift feeder that I came up with to try to feed everybody in a central place and not waste so much hay. Basically, I reengineered a tomato cage that James had made out of 4″ pig wire. I opened up the “seam,” bent the ends into loops which I used as screw holes to mount it superficially to the wall.

I then took five little white cup hooks and mounted them along the top of the wire, three opening up, two opening down, to hold the other side closed whet the feeder is filled with hay.

I screwed a small board into the wall to make the less likely to get pulled down by rowdy, ravenous caprines who are very rough on pretty much everything.

I put hay inside the “cage” and close it along the top, then put the alfalfa on the outside so that the alpacas have access to it first from the top, but the shorter people can get it as it drops into the hay and down to the ground. Goats may turn grass hay into a bed or potty if it hits the ground but they sure don’t waste the alfalfa!

On the upper right side of the picture you’ll notice what looks like a cut-open milk jug… which, to the untrained eye it is. However, its true purpose is as an alpaca’s only mineral and grain dispenser. I made two and put them far apart so the boys won’t bicker over them… as much.

This has been another tricky nuance to the whole blending of herds thing. Alpacas can’t have some of the things that goats need… mainly lots of copper. And goats will eat the alpacas’ grain right out from under their noses if it’s left low enough… which is any flat surface… SO… alpaca-free stalls and no-goats-allowed mineral dispensers keep everyone safe and feeling special.

In other exciting news…

Angel Acres is officially registered with the American Dairy Goat Association!

Now every baby goat born here will have our AA77 tattoo in its ear to signify registry and farm of origin. While I’m not looking forward to the tattooing process, it’s pretty cool knowing each and every little goat who leaves here will be eternally marked as one of ours. 🙂

That’s about all I have for now. Last week was crazy and this week promises more of the same so I thought I’d take advantage of the calm between storms to fill you in.

Up next… more farm improvements trying to beat the rainy season before the barn becomes a Bog of Eternal Stench!

Until then… here’s some cuteness for you.

Farm Girl, out.

Posted in Ruminations | 1 Comment

I’m so happy right now…

… this is my lunch.

Someday that little bowl on the right will be filled with fresh GOAT mozzarella. I can’t wait. 🙂

Happy Wednesday, Y’all!

Posted in Foodie Farm Girl, The Bread Box | 8 Comments

Yesterday in Pictures


Posted in Ruminations | 1 Comment