Monday, April 14, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

It has been a busy week on the farm, but a happy busy week.  Patrick and I spent part of Saturday putting up Fiber Fest posters on the Cape. We heard from lots of people who are coming over to the Vineyard for the big event. Sunday was all animals all the time. 

We woke up early with the idea that we would move the remaining moms and babies out of the kidding barn and over to Felix Neck to join the rest of the flock but I changed my mind. First of all, Tarragon had a really runny nose and I didn't want him out in the rain until it cleared up. (More on this later.) But the main reason for the change in plans was that the kids just looked so small and fragile. I decided that, since Andrew isn't rushing us out of the kidding barn, another week indoors can only be a good thing. I was really having a lot of anxiety about moving them and I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off me when we decided to leave them where they are for now.

Patrick and I spent the rest of the day at Felix Neck doing farm chores and talking to all the people who were there to attend the Annual Osprey Festival. We were there to educate visitors about the sheep and goats and their role in controlling invasive species but almost everybody wanted to talk about the dogs. Biscotti and Fettucini were definitely the stars of the day and they were on their best behavior. 

This is a rare picture of Cini smiling. He is my worrier (wonder where he gets that?) and is always working, always on the look out for potential danger to the flock.

Biscotti is much more light-hearted and playful. They both crave affection and attention from us.

In fact, they may have been too charming. Sometimes people are so taken with our Maremma that it's really hard to convince them that these dogs make terrible pets. They are working dogs and they are miserable when they're away from their flock. Believe it or not, Maremma have been in the U.S. for less than 20 years and there are already rescue organizations for them. It breaks my heart. 

Now that the grass is greening up we've started moving the fences regularly again.  In addition to giving the sheep and goats fresh grass to eat moving the fence helps to manage the parasite load that the animals carry. Basically, all sheep and goats carry some parasite; the trick is to keep the number down to a minimum by moving them frequently once the weather is warm. There's a really good animation of the life cycle of a tapeworm in a goat here

Tarragon's cold took a turn for the worse this morning and I had to call the vet for the second time in less than a month. Dr. Tuminaro is such a good sport and is always willing to rearrange his day to see to our flock. I called him because in addition to a runny nose, Tarragon had a big swelling in his throat this morning. I'd never seen anything like it and it really scared me. Dr. T gave him antibiotics and is coming back on Wednesday to check up on him. If the swelling hasn't gone down Dr. T may have to use a syringe to drain the swelling, but I'm really hoping it doesn't some to that.  I am so worried about him that it's hard for me to sit here typing this instead of jumping in the car and running over to check on him.

We are in a flurry of activity getting ready for Fiber Fest.  Our house looks a bit like a yarn shop right now and we are trying to get everything labeled before my mom and sister, and Patrick's sons arrive on Thursday. 
We got the dyed yarn back from the mill- it's absolutely beautiful! My pictures don't do the colors justice but here they are.

Parsley is on the left; Sage is on the right.

Chili Powder

Sage again. 

This Saffron but the color isn't as red as it looks in this picture.



Patrick is the head of the labeling department here at MVFF. He stamps all the tags and hand writes the info. My handwriting isn't up to his exacting standards- not that I'm complaining, mind you! 

All of the yarn is 70% kid mohair 30% Cormo and it is luscious. There is some slight varigation in the spin and the colors aren't solid-solid they way they are in mass produced yarn. They are just lovely and I love each one more that the last.  There are several more colors that I haven't shot yet and fingering/sport/sock weight yarn in the same colors. 

Thanks to Sedress for suggesting that we carry the "herbs and spices" theme through to the yarn for Fiber Fest.

This week's baby pics

Miss Juniper


Oregano is still completely unafraid of us and runs over to get picked up as soon as we arrive.

Sassafras looks like she's yelling in this picture but she's really yawning.

Oregano samples my hair.

And my sweatshirt.

I will keep you up-to- date on Tarragon's health. Send him happy thoughts.

I'm trying to figure out about how many shareholder's are coming to Fiber Fest this weekend. If you are coming could you shoot me an email. Also, how does everybody feel about name tags?


SeDress said...

1. The yarns look lovely. Will there be any for sale on Etsy?
2. Suggest you tell people not to go look at the tape worm page just before breakfast. Informative but YUCK. So if you move the goats, do the mites wither and die? get eaten by birds, chickens, whatever? Or just wait until the goats come back?
3. Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy (for Tarragon).
4.And may the sun shine brightly (but not too warm) on the festival.

Susan said...

Sedress, I can also count on you to ask good questions.
1. I will put the yarn up on Etsy for you guys. The pictures really don't do it justice though. I need to learn more about my camera and how to white balance.
2. The eggs and parasites will all die within 3-4 weeks unless they have a host, so you can move the goats back to the same spot. Chickens eat them as well, so farms that have a free-range poultry operation often "follow" the sheep/goats with the chickens to do clean up.
We also use wormer to control the parasite load but you can't worm too often or the parasites develop a resistance to it. It's recommended that you change wormers frequently and there are several that just flat out don't work any more.

Jenny said...

The yarns look amazing! I really can't wait for this Saturday, especially since this has been a super duper stressful-in-the-office week. Some sheep, baby goats, gorgeous yarns and wonderful dogs who make terrible pets will be the perfect remedy!

I'm a shareholder and I'm coming on Saturday! Yayayay!

Long Haired Spider said...

I cannot believe the cuteness of Oregano!

I wish I was coming this weekend...sigh.

Quirkles said...

I'm with Jenny! I'm so excited for Saturday! Animals make the world a happy place!

Joan said...

Coming on Saturday with Deb, and I think name tags are a good idea.

--Deb said...

That yarn looks great--I can't wait to see it in person. (And, really, that Parsley is SO my color!)

Hope Tarragon is feeling better, poor baby.

And, I see Mom commented about name tags. She keeps worrying that people won't know who she is... (grin).

So, let's see, tomorrow I have to pre-prepare all of Chappy's food; the day after tomorrow I get to pack; the day after the day after tomorrow, we're driving up to the island and hopefully Chappy will refrain from getting sick in the car ... and then the next day? The festival! W00t!

Jennifer said...

I love this blog. Your animals are so amazing!

Mary, Mary... said...

I'm still coming--unless the FAA cracks down on Continental. I'd love name tags as I have a hard time remembering my own, much less anyone else's!

nplumcreek said...

Ooh, I was I were coming also. I LOVE the Sage yarn. Hopefully, I can buy some off Etsy (?). I went to a small gathering last night of spinners. I'm a wanna be. Having moved to the boonies (away from any knitting groups) a year and a half ago, it was great to just smell the wool. Ha.

nplumcreek said...

I meant I WISH I were coming. Good grief. Can't even talk.

woolies said...

The goatie pictures are so adorable, but so is the YARN. YUMMY!
And I'm glad that Tarragon is better, wish I could be at the fiber festival.