Monday, October 25, 2010

changing seasons, sheep, quilts, and SNAKES!

Fall is here! The temps are 50-60 during the day and the 30's at night. It is supposed to freeze here tonight. The grasshoppers, or whats left of them, have probably bedded down for the winter. Rumor has it that we are going to have a warmer dryer winter here this year. Dennis is finishing up what is left of the garden, the squash, the last to be harvested, is all picked and he has been tilling in all the organic matter, the garden should get better every year. Ahhh, the change of season. With the harvest, alas, also comes the harvest of the turkeys, one by one they will be going. We were going to keep a trio of them, but we shall see. They were a lot of work, but I really enjoyed their antics. So inquisitive.

Last night the guineas were locked in the back yard and roosted on the deck. When Dennis was ushering them back out of the yard, he noticed right outside our fence a lone coyote, watching. He stopped and watched for awhile, he could see the coyote occasionally making big leaps, just like a dog or cat would do whilst hunting some unforeseen prey in the tall grasses. I have read articles on coyotes, that they will watch a farm and learn their routine, before making their move on the poultry. I wonder if this is what he was doing. Dennis has seen him a few times, just out of reach, watching, waiting.

Two weeks ago, one of out chickens was running around the yard with something hanging out of her beak. Now if you have ever watched chickens, what one has the other wants, so the rest of the flock was giving chase, trying to run down this chicken and steal its catch. This was going on for sometime and Dennis decided to join in the chase and see what all the interest was. Lo and behold was he surprised to find it was an almost 12 inch baby rattle snake.
You can see the 2 rattles on the end of the tail.
A friend of mine in AZ used to call these "buttons". Rattle snakes in AZ are easier to ID from a distance as they have "coon tails", black with white rings around the end of their tails, except of course for the deadlier Mohave snakes. I am glad that the chicken got this snake, as the smaller the snake, the more venom it injects, since it does not know how to control it yet.

We took a road trip to Byers Colorado to pick up our two new Katahdin hair sheep. The trip was uneventful, and everyone is settled in at our place, once they figured out that the dogs were not going to eat them. They are quiet, except for feeding time, and not pushy like the goats are. The girls are Dido and Marble, guess which one is Marble?
They are only 4 months old, so still have some growing to do to reach their full size. I am glad that we were able to obtain the sisters, as they are very attached to each other, and do everything in unison.
They shed their coat in the spring,their hair feels coarse, not spinning quality, it is hard to describe actually. Nice to have an animal that is relatively maintenance free. Of course they do need occasional hoof trimming, and deworming if needed. You will also notice that they have long tails. The difference between goats and sheep, other than chromosome wise, is that sheep hold their tails down, and goats always have their tails up, unless they aren't feeling well. Sometimes it is hard to tell the two apart, if you don't have experience with livestock.

When I moved here last year, I signed up for two quilt classes. One was a stashbuster, using up fabrics in my stash, finishing unfinished projects, etc. Here is a quilt that I started in Arizona, and am just now finishing. It is a bee and flower quilt, with a black background, something that is out of character for me. But this quilt turned out quiet stunning, the black with the primary colors.
It will be perfect hung on the wall of a certain little someones bedroom.
My other class was a sampler block of the month quilt. We just got the final instructions of how to finish this quilt last Saturday, so hope to show you that one, but probably not soon.

My first hand knit sweater is coming along, I have the torso all finished, and half of one arm. Of course I ran out of dyed yarn, so had to try and match the shades, not to successful on that one.

As fall harvest wanes, there is still much to do outside. I have feeders to fix so animals don't get exposed to wind and rain when feeding, shelters to ready for the arrival of the winds and snows. Of course, weather and joints cooperating. My goals for this winter after keeping warm are a few more quilting classes and to get my looms up and weaving.
More later...............

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