Blondie

August 4th, 2013

Twenty three years old (or is it twenty two?) and as pretty as ever. I would not call her a hard keeper by any means, but it does take quite a bit more senior grain to keep her weight like this. I have not been riding her. I probably should – due to the senior grain she has loads of energy.

Blondie, 23 years old

Blondie, 23 years old

Blondie, 23 years old

Blondie, 23 years old

Blondie, 23 years old

Rosie

August 2nd, 2013

It’s been far too long since I shared photos of Rosie. She is such a sweet little girl. She adores the kids that come to visit her and she is very quiet. Today I heard her bray, but that was the first time in 2 months. Normally I get the quiet donkey noise (like a very quiet bray almost).

Would you believe she’s still losing her Winter coat? Most of it is gone now. More important than that though, she is finally losing weight.

Rosie, August 2013

She’s so friendly it can be difficult to get a photo of her. You have to be quick and snap the photo before she’s in your lap OR you can let her eat.

Rosie, August 2013

Rosie, August 2013

This is the far end of her dry lot. Recently, I partitioned off this section of the paddock paradise track (a track that goes around the outside of the pasture) and gave it over to Rose. To feed her, I split her soaked hay between 2 slow feed hay bags, hanging one in each stall that she has access to. Then she gets 4 or 5 small handfuls of hay along her track. Anything I can do to encourage movement!

Rosie, August 2013

To keep her happy she gets to munch on the stemmy hay that Blondie leaves behind or she can go out on the pasture with her grazing muzzle on. It is equine nature that they want to graze all day, so in her case, the more I can slow her down the more time she can be allowed to graze (this is also the purpose of the slow feed hay bags).

Rosie, August 2013

Her ‘grain’ is a tiny handful of soaked timothy pellets (literally less than a dozen pellets). The only reason I give her these is to deliver her magnesium supplement which is a powder that I sprinkle on top of the pellets.

Rosie, August 2013

See the shadow line in the white part of her coat, midway down her side? And a shadow line near her hip, also in the white hair of her coat. This is where I can see that she is losing weight. The fat pad over her hip is quite large, but around the edges of it now it’s sinking in and the ridge along her belly is also sinking in.

Rosie, August 2013

She’s looking a little bit narrower width-wise too!

Rosie, August 2013

Next up I have some new photos of Blondie.

Garden 2013

July 31st, 2013

Normally this would be a Wednesday Work-in-Progress day, but in lieu of showing you my knitting (which has progressed) I want to document this years garden. Once again this year we amended the soil with plenty of semi-composted horse manure. I say “semi-composted” because the manure pile was only turned a couple of times and could have used some added water to pass the water damage restoration report; this was far from perfect black gold compost.

I believe it was Memorial Day weekend that I put the starter plants in the ground and planted seeds for the rest. Some of the starts I grew myself and things like the peas were only sprouted on damp paper towels. I fully intended to get things in the ground earlier this year, but it just didn’t happen.

My garden is long and skinny. This is the squash end.

Garden 2013

Then comes the peas. They really need to be planted earlier. Usually I do alright planting them late, however the deer decimated my Sugar Snaps this year. If you recall past garden years, my peas usually do MUCH better than this.

Garden 2013

One of the monster Zucchini plants. The secret to Zucchini is black plastic and composted horse manure. We also have a few lavender plants that attract loads of bees for pollination.

Garden 2013

And a little guy. I love the shape of them.

Garden 2013

Cilantro. I gave up and let it form flowers. Every salad I make (for myself) has cilantro in it. Maybe I should cut it all off relatively short, it should bush out, right?

Garden 2013

Red neck bean pole structure made with whatever I could find laying around. These are bush beans. Last year they climbed up the pasture fence so I figured this year I’d give them something to climb on. It is only 1 or 2 vines of each bush that want to climb, the rest do as they are supposed to and form a bush.

Garden 2013

Crazy Romaine lettuce. I’ve never had success with it before. It must be a weird variety though because it has a texture similar to Kale. Very flat.

Garden 2013

From left to right: Rainbow Swiss Chard, a bit of spinach planted where the carrots didn’t come up, carrots, Spring lettuce mix.

Garden 2013

Sweet Basil and Thai Basil. Desperately needs to be harvested and preserved.

Garden 2013

Not pictured – I have 2 long rows of Kale behind the peas and a few Broccoli’s. This is my first year for growing Broccoli. I did find out that the deer love it.

Finally, yesterday’s harvest. We have been picking Zucchini for the last 2.5 weeks. Snow peas for almost that long. The 2 Spaghetti Squash shown here are the first 2 that I’ve harvested.

Garden 2013

Some things I need to do better:

  • Weed control. Maybe try newsprint between rows or more black plastic than I use now.
  • A sprinkler. Some nights I really don’t want to take 20 minutes to water by hand.
  • Plant my cool season crops earlier.
  • Unsinkable

    July 19th, 2013

    Unsinkable

    Unsinkable

    Unsinkable

    Pattern: Unsinkable by Kirsten Kapur, Through the Loops
    Yarn:
    Wooly Wonka Fibers Arianrhod Sock in colorway Iceberg.
    Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
    Notes: This yarn/pattern combo are absolutely stunning. The pattern, though a small shawl, is quite intense to knit in the beginning since it is cast on from the long edge and then most of the patterned section is knit/purl/knit/purl.

    Finished size (while pinned on blocking board) = 80 inches long by 13.5 inches at the center point. 6 inches tall at the ends.

    Only had THREE yards remaining. Yikes. My gauge was odd though, 17 sts & 27 rows in 4 inches. The pattern called for 15 sts & 27 rows.

    Unsinkable

    WIP Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    July 10th, 2013

    Unsinkable is off the needles and ready to be blocked. No pictures until it is finished.

    Day 12 of Tour de Fleece. I have continued to spin each day. The purple mixed fiber is finished. It amounted to about 200 yards and may be worsted weight at 11 WPI. This is the first time I’ve tried to measure gauge using WPI so it’s really anyone’s guess. For sure I’ll need to knit a swatch to get a better idea.

    Purple Fiber

    Next up is Wooly Wonka Fibers Polwarth in colorway Provence. This is spinning up so quickly! After just a couple days of spinning here and there I’m almost halfway done with the 4 ounces.

    Provence

    My goal now (besides to keep spinning each day of Tour de Fleece) is to pick a pattern and knit something with one of my handspun yarns.

    WIP Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    July 3rd, 2013

    This week I am working on Unsinkable. One more row and I’ll be into the stockinette portion of this shawlette. Yay for that! The patterned portion is intensely ribbed, constant back and forth with the yarn. I’m ready for some plain knitting.

    Unsinkable

    It’s also day 5 of Tour de Fleece. I have been able to spin at least a little bit each day, even if all I can fit in is 5 mins at lunch and 10 mins in the evening. Tonight I am ready to ply.

    Tour de Fleece Day 4

    Tour de Fleece, Day 2

    June 30th, 2013

    At the end of day 2 this is where I am at:

    Tour de Fleece Day2

    All of the fiber in yesterday’s photograph is now spun on the spindle. I have this one additional ‘cupcake’ of color that kind of goes with this. This is what I’ll spin up on Monday, followed by winding the singles off of the spindle. That is, unless I decide to ply without winding it off the spindle first.

    Tour de Fleece

    June 29th, 2013

    Today is the start of Tour de France which means it is also the start of Tour de Fleece. This will be my first year participating. My only goal is to spin some each day.

    This is my warm up day where I get back into spinning mode. I am starting with some fiber that was already on my spindle. This is where it was when I started:

    TdF Warmup

    The fiber is a mystery. It’s from a bag of leftovers. All I did was separate out the leftovers that were similar in color.

    So far, so good. I’m currently going to physical therapy for my rotator cuff injury and wasn’t sure if this would impact trying to spin. As it turns out, it’s my left shoulder (the uninjured one) that is sore while spinning.

    Cruise Socks

    June 19th, 2013

    Finally done! These socks were my travel knitting when we went on our Panama Canal cruise last year. When we returned from the cruise I set them aside to do Christmas gift knitting followed by test knitting. Imagine my surprise when I picked them up last week to find that only the toes remained to be knit. Instant gratification.

    Do you like my little helpers? They must have thought the bright colors resembled carrots.

    Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A
    Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in colorway Bittersweet
    Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)
    Notes: Love this pattern. The first time I knit it I was really pushing my skills in terms of socks and knitting from a chart. I had to pay very close attention to every single row. Now, several years of experience later, the pattern is a breeze in which I only have to refer to the chart when the motif changes.

    For fun, here is the first pair of socks I knit from this pattern (also knit with Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock).

    Pomatomus Socks

    Alexia Shawl

    June 14th, 2013

    Yes, I know I’ve been missing in action. Today is my birthday and as good day as any to start blogging again. This year I’ve knit 4 projects, this is the 2nd one that I can reveal. The other two are test knits for patterns that have yet to be released and those will be revealed in due time.

    For now though, here is Alexia! Seeing these photos really makes me want to find a pretty summery dress to pair this shawl with. Not that it does a bad job of dressing up jeans!

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Alexia Shawl

    Pattern: Alexia Shawl by Anne Podlesak
    Yarn: Wooly Wonka Fibers Artio Lace in colorway Heartsease.
    Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm)
    Notes:What a fun shawl! This shape was a new one for me and I was so excited to try it. I love how the detailed vertical panels separate the motifs and divide up the shawl. Once finished, the shawl seems to sit very nicely on the shoulders too.

    The picot cast on may seem a little bit fiddly in laceweight yarn, but give it a try. Once you’ve done a dozen rows it gets easier.

    I used 835 yards, 4.7 grams remaining. Finished size of from the neck down the back is 18.5 inches, down the vertical ivy lace pattern is 20 inches (I took these measurements today; the shawl has been off the blocking board for a month at least). This shawl was released as part of Anne’s Heroine’s Shawl Club. As such it will not be available outside of the club for a couple more months.

    Don’t miss the gorgeous photos of this shawl that Anne’s photographer took. You can find them on here on Ravelry.

    Just for fun – I was playing around with these photos in the free Photoshop application on my Surface tablet.

    Alexia Shawl