20 August 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

... paint them! Week two of art class.

This one was done with Daniel Smith pigments; I prefer them to the brand I used for the watermelon. Love watercolors!

Chef Jeff made a trip to the Amish village down the road for fresh-from-the-field cabbages... he's busy making sauerkraut again!

And we have even more guinea babies. I believe this brings this year's total to over 90. Sigh. Don't you need some guinea fowl?

Fall's just around the corner... I'm going to make the most of the summer days left. Sweet corn roasted on the grill, here I come!

14 August 2010

Never Too Late For Old Dogs

I have always wanted to learn to paint with watercolors.

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet (how much do we take it for granted??? Thanks be for the Internet!) I am finally able to take classes in my own home, on my own time (which is a blessing, since the only time I seem to be able to do art is usually at 1 a.m.!)

Behold the result of Week One of Laure Ferlita's Artful Journaling - Foundations class:

It's a piece of watermelon on a square plate... in case you can't tell. ;) You can embiggen it but it's probably better if you don't. ;)

I know there are lots of imperfections, and I'm ok with them. I know how to do better next time. One of the best lessons from Laure's class applies not only to art, but to life: if we learn from our mistakes, they weren't a waste of time.

I learned a lot about reflected colors in shadows, and blending colors from just three primaries, and contour drawing (and to pay better attention while doing it!)... and I had a great time getting out of my head and into the Zen zone for a little while.

I recently had a wake-up call concerning my vision, which gave me the impetus to sign up for the class (which is great, BTW). Is there anything you've always wanted to do, but haven't? Don't wait for a wake-up call... in the words of Nike, Just Do It!

08 August 2010

Never Not Busy

It's been, what... five months? What's happened at Tuppinz Farm lately, you ask?

Ada Oberhasli Goat came into milk, without having been bred or having had any kids. Apparently this can sometimes happen in strong milking lines, and is caused by high levels of prolactin. It's called "witch's milk" or "precocious udder." (Do they have special classes for precocious udders?)

I duly milked the girl for a week, but in the end I decided to let her dry off (the vet having confirmed that she had no infection). We'd given all the milking equipment away when we decided not to breed or sell goats, so it was too much of a pain to milk without the little stainless steel milk pail - Ada kept kicking the bowls over. I do have enough frozen milk to make one serving of paneer (as long as Jeff still has a few cheffing days left...)

Sheep and goat shearing was - as usual - postponed several times as we tried to find an agreeable shearer. The Big Day will finally take place tomorrow. The sheep will no doubt be relieved to be rid of the floor-length carpets which now envelop them and make them appear like so many Cousin Its on parade in the pasture. The 2010 Sheep Corraling Rodeo was completed today in two hours, with just two people, and went very well... after four years, we've got the process down. Or maybe the sheep do?

There is nothing quite so freaky as Jacob sheep with camera flash in their eyes. This shot reminds me of Gene Simmons and the movie "Legend" at the same time... et tu?

Having reluctantly come to the conclusion that Icelandic sheep and Angora goats, which both need to be shorn twice every year, are not a good idea for Tuppinz Farm (and its lack of available shearers), we are relieved to announce that our dear friends Lael and Larry Wilson will be adopting the majority of our sheep, and our five mohair goats.

Lael is a professional shepherdess (visited regularly by a shearer!) and will perhaps be breeding our wonderful stock, and she'll definitely be selling their fiber via her website. I was a customer of Lael's before I became a shepherdess, and I'm confident you will be pleased with any fiber you purchase from her!

We will keep four or five of our "pet" Jacobs (whom we think will allow us to shear them ourselves). They undoubtedly will provide enough wool to keep us in sweaters and socks for our cold Wisconsin winters, without intimidating me into hand-spinning paralysis via unprocessed fleece overwhelm (don't you dare tell me you haven't experienced it yourself after a buying frenzy at a fiber festival!)

Thank you, Lael! You're a life saver!!

What once was our horrible, haunted and cursed, falling-down farmhouse...

... is now going to be my new round pen! Dressage donkeys, here we come!

We have experienced The Great Guinea Keet Explosion of 2010 (which is still taking place...) Twenty-eight keets and their parents have gone to a new home with some lovely people. There are approximately 30 left... with more on the way. Yikes! Not the best year to confirm vegetarianism, was it?

And finally, after four years of shepherdessing, I have moved my donkey tack permanently out of the sheep shearing area and to the other end of the Long Barn.

Tell me, please, why does a woman with just TWO riding donkeys need THIS MUCH EQUIPMENT?! Because nothing fits donkeys properly! I won't even show you my saddle collection... time to place some CraigsList ads. After many failed saddle experiments, I'm happy to report that donkeys seem to be very comfortable in Wintec dressage saddles, with wide gullets and cushy sheepskin pads. Anyone in the market for a wide Passier jumping saddle, or a Big Horn Flat Topline cordura saddle? A mule headstall and breast collar? Send me an email!

I haven't been doing much knitting, but I'm happily taking online watercolor painting classes from Laure Ferlita, which are wonderful. I recommend them wholeheartedly!

If anyone tells you how peaceful and quiet life would be on a hobby farm, remember this entry, and how infrequently I've blogged since moving here, and that you would be better off visiting a hobby farm than living on one!

Truly, it is enough to make one just want to lie down and take a long nap, like Miss Tikki here: