Monday, March 30, 2009

Calling for Squares

One of my friends on Ravelry has posted this and I feel compelled to help her. Can you also?
We need 5x5 squares, knitted uniformly and to that size, in shades of blue,in very soft yarns, next to skin for this dear boy to snuggle up with. She needs the squares ASAP so if you cannot get to the link on Ravelry then contact me and I will coordinate. Below is the blog from Cindy.

This is Luke. He is 8 years old. Luke was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenus Leukemia) when he was 6 years old. He had a successful bone marrow transplant when he was 7. He had been in remission and in doing routine blood work this March it was discovered that Luke's AML has returned. He is now scheduled to undergo chemotherapy, radiation treatment and hopefully another bone marrow transplant.

The Warming Grace project wants to send Luke a blanket. I need 63 five inch squares in any shade of blue (Luke's favourite colour) in a soft yarn ASAP.

Calls for squares have been so successful and I thank you all so much. We have had more than enough squares to complete 6 blankets so far which is awesome. Unfortunately, many of the squares I have received have been unuseable for the following reasons:

1. Yarn - not soft, some downright scratchy (please rub it against your face or on the inside of your wrist)
2. Size - 5" is 5", not 3" or 6" - it is really hard to put together the blankets if they aren't relatively uniform
3. Quality - it is unfortunate that I have received squares that are so loosely knit they are unuseable, or there are huge holes in the middle or somewhere in the square.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the efforts people have put into knitting and sending squares; however I won't send out a blanket that is not first rate to a child who is putting up such a brave fight.

I am hoping that I can get lots of 5" squares (and kid friendly colour in a nice soft yarn - please no acrylic), particularly in the blue shade as soon as possible. If you can help out thank you sooooo much. Email me at for my snail mail address. Please post my request on your blog if you can(there are so many blogs who have a much bigger readership than I do currently). I thank you so much. My goal is to get Luke his blanket by the beginning bit of May (taking into account mailing the squares, getting the blanket sewn together and mailed to Luke).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yet another finished object

I had made a pact with the Guardian of Unfinished Objects back in January to get all my UFOs done by spring so I could move on and so far so good, two to go! The thrummed mitts are done. I had a basic mitten pattern that I completely altered to make the yarns work with the fleece stuffing. It really was haphazard but in the end they came out okay. Sorry for the rotation view, I can't get them to load correctly! Here they are right side out.

And inside out.

The details can be viewed on Ravelry here .
I improvised the Green Mountain Spinnery's Basic Mitten pattern and knit a strand of my CVM/Romeldale yarn with a strand of Kid Seta (mohair/silk) and used CVM/Romledale roving for the thrums (stuffing).

They are not completely matched but are absolutely comfortable and very cozy. How ironic they are complete now that spring has arrived ~ but next year they'll be a pleasant surprise come the cold winter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Okay, so I'm a glutton for displaying raw fleeces! Raw Long Ridge Farm CVM/Romeldale fleeces! What our dear loved ones spent the last year growing on their backs, through rain, snow, sleet, hail and hot sun. I love our flock and haven't they done a fine job!

Actually I tell them....all you have to do is grow fine fleece, I'll do the rest.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Shearing

The day we spend our year preparing for has arrived! The shearing.

Our shearer, David Hinman, is due to arrive at 9AM and Jack and I have a short list of preparations. After 10 years of preparing for the shear I have learned one thing, don't disappoint the shearer! Organization is paramount to his arrival. By 8:30 all of the sheep are in the handling area, fleece coats have been removed and the shearing area is clean and ready. We don't feed the flock prior to shearing as it is more uncomfortable for them if they have a belly full of hay. I like an early day shear for that reason. Here is Jack with the flock as we settle them into the handling area. Sheep, as with any other animal (or heck even us human types!) hate change and they know something is up. We do our best to make the experience as pleasant as possible for them. After each sheep is sheared we put them in a new pen with fresh hay and a clean coat while they await their freshly shorn comrades.

Here is David bringing a ewe out into the shearing area. What you can't see as his face shows, is the effort it takes for David to coerce the sheep into the shearing area. His hand with the sheep is firm and kind.

Betsy of Crooked Fence Farm arrived to help me skirt and bag the fleeces.
While Jack and David worked the shear, Betsy and I worked away on the skirting table, preparing the fleeces for their final destinations. The morning was cool and brisk but the sun was delicious and warm. By 11am the fleeces warmed as they were prepped on the table.

Here's David shearing Memphis. She is the face on our logo. A very special ewe and a lady in all respects. Not to mention a divine fleece with a 22 micron count.

The work for Betsy and me piled up quickly ~

Sights of the fresh fleeces ~

By 12:30 we gathered up the flock and took them back to sheep headquarters at the winter barn where they found racks full of hay and fresh bedding. The day was lovely but the weather forecast calls for cold nights through Tuesday. Although they are "just sheep" to some we consider our flock more than that. They deserve peace and comfort for all they do! See those heels kick up! They feel good!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hazel's CVM/Romeldale lambs and a winner

Here is Hazel and her newborn lambs on Thursday. Hazel, being a first time mom did a perfect job! She lambed out within 15 minutes with no signs of distress and gave two adorable ewe lambs!

Hazel took to the task instantly and is very attentive to her young. Just the way a shepherd likes it. Both lambs are a bit smaller which is normal for a first time mom, both weighing in the 8# range.

The lambs are nursing and sleeping and doing all the attendant things lambs do. Eat, sleep, grow, eat, sleep, grow.

Betsy and I pulled a name out of the hat for the runner up prize and the winner is

Please get in touch with me, Connie, so I can arrange to send your fiber to you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Georgia and her CVM/ Romeldale lambs

Here is Georgia and her lambs yesterday. They ventured outside for a bit of time in the sun and some fresh air. We are having beautiful early spring weather. The sun is getting stronger, the air is fresh and the song birds are arriving daily. Isn't Georgia the picture of a handsome mother ewe? I couldn't capture on camera the little sproings the lambs did as they ventured forth into their new world but they sure did! Left is the ewe lamb, Stella, right the ram lamb, Rufus.

This is Neville....smiling is he because he has made some babes! He is a proud papa. Neville is one sweet CVM ram. And a handsome one to boot.

Hazel's done!

Quick update that Hazel had twin ewe lambs...perfect! More to follow later with pictures. Looks like Anne may be the winner! She chose today at 6AM! We'll draw another runnerup winner this week from the rest of the names!

Hazel's still waiting

Here's Hazel yesterday...comfortable, chewing cud, hanging with her friends and looking very pregnant!

Still happy to take bets for the delivery day and time....looks like another set of twins to me! Place your bets here. For those that aren't fiber oriented I'll offer a pint of NH Maple Syrup to the winner!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Runner up winner Lamp Pool #1

Betsy and I got together last night to visit and draw the name from the hat from the rest of the participants in Georgia's lamb pool. Not to photogenic but we got the job done! And the lamb names are Rufus and Stella. Betsy's current naming system is the letters of the alphabet. Now she's looking at T and U coming up!

Congratulations to Manise! You win 2 ounces of roving from our dark brown Trinity! It's a wonderful chocolaty brown.

Hazel still hasn't lambed so place your bets in Lamp Pool #2!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lamb pool #1 winner!

Maryann wins the prize as she called March 15th at 6AM! Betsy and I will throw all the other names in a hat and pull one more winner this weekend. Stay tuned! Better jump in on the next pool for Hazel's lambs below now could be closer than we thought!

Georgia lambed this morning somewhere near 7AM! Twins! This is the CVM ram lamb nursing, the CVM ewe lamb had just had a drink and is resting in the warming box. Everyone is healthy. Both lambs have the correct markings for CVM/Romeldale breed standards. The ewe lamb is already a nice gray with spots and her fleece will soften and darken as she ages which wil make it yummy fiber! The ram lamb is white to creamy right now.

Once the little ram lamb was done nursing he went right to the warming box with his sister and instantly went to sleep!

Here is Betsy MacIssac with the proud ewe. Georgia's first lambs and not only did she lamb at a pleasant hour of 7AM, but she did it unassisted and gave twins first year! Three cheers for Georgia!

Friday, March 13, 2009

#2 Lamb Pool

I decided I'd better get the next lamb pool posted as these ewes are looking mighty ready to burst forth some lambs!

This is Hazel, a CVM, and a triplet. She is also a first time lamber this year.

Neville, a CVM, is once again the man.

Hazel was also put in with Neville October 12th and was released from the lover's lair November 16th.

Once again, based on gestation tables, Hazel should lamb somewhere between March 6th and April 10th. She's looking quite pregnant and my one clue is this:
Don't set a date too far out!

The person who calls the date and time the closest to the actual lambing will win 4 ounces of gray roving from our cute as a bug, Jasper. Otherwise known as the Jazz Man.

Good luck and the winner will be posted as soon as the lamb(s) appear!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Join the CVM/Romeldale Lamb Pool!

I am so excited to share this post with you. Let's have some fun!

Last year Betsy MacIssac of Crooked Fence Farm, Putney, VT (site is under construction so check back) contacted me to get together as she had just purchased her first CVM/Romeldales and was interested in getting together to discuss our shared interest. She had heard we had a fine flock of CVM/Romeldales that we began developing in 2002. Our encounter has blossomed into a great friendship.....Sister Farms bounding the Connecticut River in NH and VT. As the crow flies we are 4 miles apart, our farm nestled in the hills on the East side of the river and her family's farm set on the west side of the river in VT. We have joked many a time that if we had a boat that we could anchor on the NH side, I could be at her farm for a visit in 15 minutes! As it is however, we need to adhere to the roads which is a 25 minute trek.

In the history book of the Town of Westmoreland is many a tale of the ferries that ran from our town to the Putney/Dummerston, VT area as early as 1752. By 1812 a bridge was constructed from Westmoreland to Putney, later known as Britton's Ferry. The following winter the bridge was swept away in the ice flows come spring. Again, in 1814, the bridge was rebuilt and there was a toll booth on the NH side. As a side note, to this day, NH owns the CT River and perhaps NH felt they had rights to charge for travel across it. That bridge continued to serve the people for 12 more years accounting only one catastrophe. In 1820, a circus, traveling across the river, was transporting an elephant whose weight proved too much for the bridge and the poor elephant crashed through the floor and into the river below. The elephant did not survive but the bridge was repaired and continued to thrive until a series of rainstorms and repeated rebuilding discouraged further attempts to span the river at this location.

Betsy and I are both pleased and excited to be so near to each other and able to share not only shepherding help but also breeding our flock's combined genetics and getting together to work on projects with CVM/Romeldale fiber. It's a great opportunity combined with a genuine friendship.

Here ye, here ye! Crooked Fence Farm is about to have their first lambs! And we want to have a lamb pool for due date and time of day! Here is the first lamb pool.

This is the ram, Neville, a CVM. An extremely handsome boy and also a love. He is the proud sire to be.

This is Georgia, a CVM, the expectant dam to be.

Clue #1: This will be Georgia's first lambing. On a side note, both Betsy and I agree it is better to not breed ewes their first year but rather to let them develop and mature and start the breeding cycle in their second year.

Clue #2: Georgia began her breeding days with Neville October 12th and she remained in his adoring reach until November 16th, 35 days and two estrus cycles which is ideal.

Clue #3: Her due date, based on gestation tables will be from March 6th to April 10th. Look at her's not far off!

Time to place your bets for the date (month/day) and the time of day. The person coming the closest to the actual lambing date will win 4 ounces of Long Ridge Farm's
roving from our very dark and very dear Trinity, a natural colored Romeldale!

Check back for the results when the lambing is official. I will post the heading as Lamb Pool Results and the winner's name will be posted. Of course your entries will also be visible here under comments.

Good luck!

Monday, March 09, 2009


Three things come together in NH in late February to mid-March: maple sugaring, mud season and town meeting. We have hit the perfect storm this week. The mud on the dirt roads is as bad as ever...knee deep in places and the frost isn't even out of the ground yet. We had such an early cold winter the frost went deep and with the record snow fall this mud season will be a whopper. I hear that past our farm the roads are darn near impassable already.

Annual voting is tomorrow and then our town meeting is Wednesday night. Lots on the town warrant this year; typical issues like a new fire truck, repairing the pumper truck, we need a new highway truck and so forth but folks in town aren't feeling very flush right now so attendance will be high and the debates heated, I suspect.
I'll update those two issues by weeks end.

Now about sugaring, we are having a season but it's been a bit up and down. You have to have cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (above freezing!) for the sap to run and that hasn't been a steady thing so far. But Friday into Saturday was pretty good so we spent some time at a sugar shack in town Saturday afternoon into the evening.

Last summer I did a post in August about Reggie who had driven his team of draft horses past our farm as he was working on a logging project not too far away. Saturday morning I was out in the workshop and Reggie drove by and we had a visit, roadside style. He said he was giving sugaring a go for the first time from beginning to end, with his team of horses helping by doing the lugging. He invited us down in the afternoon. By the time we got there he and Norm had already gathered the sap with the horses so we got to hang out, have a few beers (pretty much a given) and see what might come of the days gathering.

Now this is a sugar shack to write about! It's portable! He can haul it anywhere with his truck. Reg took his horse hauler and converted it, temporarily into a sugar house. Inside there is a barrel stove with an evaporator on top, enough space for wood to feed the fire, space for folks to gather round the stove and outside the horses can pull up next to the sugar shack and the sap can be off loaded in buckets to pour into the evaporator. It wasn't a romantic Yankee Magazine sugarhouse but all in all it worked! They even rigged up a leaf blower which could be pointed at the draft to the barrel stove to further fuel the fire!

I spent some time in the barn during chores as Reg cleaned the horse and cow stalls to ready them all for the overnight. Jack and I have driven by his barn many a time on a cold winter evening and it looks so cozy. Now I see why. He has 5 horses, 4 of them draft horses and one guernsey cow, Fosta. Fosta is about 17 months old and due to calf in July. She is a lovely Guernsey and it will be nice to see a babe coming along this summer. Up back there are some 50 hens which are layers and Reg sells the eggs around town.

We came away from the day feeling good...had a lot of good laughs, helped as we could and once again knew how much we love our town.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Girl Interrupted

That thing we dread has happened today. My PC crashed....

We had a power outage (ever so brief) last night and when I got to my office this morning a message came on my screen...."Alert! blah, blah, blah....System failure!" So of course I did all the attendant things to resurrect the system but wound up just buying a new tower and moving on. In a week I'll have my world back to computer normal but meanwhile I have no email addresses to work with or whatever really matters.

We had a great time maple sugaring here in town yesterday with Reggie and Norman, more on that tomorrow..."Fosta", Reg and Shannon's Guernsey cow, sums it up completely! No matter what life hands you, it's all good. She was enjoying an alfafa snack.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Simple pleasures

A snack

Chewing the "fat" with your friends

And some time for rest and reeelaxation!