Saturday, September 13, 2014

End of the Garden

Well unfortunately I think this week is going to be the end of the garden...  The weather has turned quite chilly, and there is even the forecast of frost next week!  And of course I'm going to be out of town, so I don't think I'll be able to get any of the plants protected...

I thought I'd give a re-cap on how things grew.

First up are the cucumbers.  I guess it was a bad year for cucumbers all around, so I don't feel terrible about their bad production.

The "tender green" cucumbers did terrible!  I planted 3 plants, and 2 died within a few weeks.  The one remaining plant hardly gave any fruit.  Definitely won't plant it next year!

Next up is the "market more" cucumber.  It did better, but still not great.  Production was pretty good though.

The "national pickling" cucumber was the best overall.  Biggest plants and best production.

And last but not least, the "straight 8" cucumber.  Decent production but small plants.

Next were the squash.  I planted 3 plants of each type, and honestly they did about the same.  The first one was "success PM yellow straight neck".  Overall these plants did better.

The other type was "yellow crookneck".  I eventually lost one of these plants, and another never seems to bear fruit, but the last one produces a ton!  Surprisingly there are still tons of new baby squash fruits on the plants, hopefully they will have time to mature.

Now to the big guns...the tomatoes!  First up is the "yellow perfection".  These are heirlooms, but they probably performed best in terms of production.  They did eventually get late blight, but they are still going strong.

The pathetic looking plants on the right are "homestead" tomatoes, another heirloom.  Huge fruits, but they did terrible.  Definitely won't be planting them again.

The huge success was "matt's wild cherry" tomato.  They may have contracted one of the wilt diseases, but the plants are huge and produce quite a bit.

And the biggest disappointment, "iron lady" tomatoes.  They were supposed to be blight resistant, but they got it anyway.  And they plants were tiny.  They have produced a surprising amount of fruit, but nothing compared to some of the others.

My pepper plants were a joke...I've gotten a few decent-sized fruits, but all have holes from insects.  Not sure if I'll bother next year.

And last but not least...the last stuff to start in the garden!  I think I may have pushed the envelope a bit with these, especially considering the recent cold snap, but I started another batch of radishes, carrots, and beets a few weeks ago.  They're coming in nicely.  I also planted some lettuce and spinach a couple days ago...wonder if they'll grow at all!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indoor Obstacles!

One of the frustrating things about living in upstate NY is the short training season...  Luckily it is typically cool enough in the summer to do training (not so in IN!), but once December hits the obstacle course is covered in snow.  I decided to fix that...I built an indoor obstacle course!

Actually, I built the indoor course because I had a few obstacles that I didn't want sitting out in the sun all year.  But I quickly realized that there are other benefits!

First up is several unusual surfaces to walk over.  From left to right: a leftover piece of foam insulation, a trash bag, part of a shower curtain, and some foam pool noodles.

Next is a step over/jump.  It is actually a leftover roll of fence.

Last but not least is the tunnel.  After the NY State Fair, I knew I desperately needed a tunnel.  I haven't had one in several years, so even Ralph is unaccustomed to going through one.  Luckily there are lots of posts in our barn, so I wrapped some heavy twine between two posts and the wood cattle stanchions.  Next I draped a tarp over the top.

On one side I attached a shower curtain.  I had to cut the bottom off so it didn't drag the ground, and I slit the curtain in several places.

On the other side I attached a few foam pool noodles.  I need to get some bells to hang on one of the ends too.

Just a day or two after I set up the indoor course I had all 3 lamas going through it.  Their reactions were quite surprising.  For some reason T absolutely refused to do any of it, at least the first time.  The second time (a couple days later) he was only nervous about the tunnel.  We still need to work on that.  Kara was amazing with the tunnel, her issue was the unusual surfaces.  But it only took 2 passes and she was over her fear.  Of course Ralph was awesome about everything!

From now until the next show (the Big E, the last weekend of September), my main focus is ground-driving T.  He has good moments and bad, I may end up scratching but I figure I might at least try!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Llama Yarn

I've been busy working on a special project this past week...llama yarn!

A friend of mine sent me about 10 ounces of gorgeous tan llama batts, and asked me to spin them.  I normally don't like spinning from batts, but I've figured out the secret...just turn them into roving!  Whenever I spin a batt, I split it into 3-4 strips, and then pre-draft the strips into thinner roving.  It is much easier for me to spin that way.

Once I finished the first of my color work mittens for Rhinebeck, I started spinning the singles.  Luckily we had crappy weather, so I got the yarn spun and plied in just a few days.  I washed the 2 finished skeins over the weekend (along with 10 other gorgeous skeins of handspun), and they are sitting upstairs drying.

The depth of color in the fiber is just gorgeous!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Llama Biography # 19: Autumn Hill's Trillium

This is another semi-sad biography, but not until the very end...

The next llama to join our herd was Autumn Hill's Trillium.

Autumn Hill's Trillium at about a month old.

Once we got Randallama's Cherokee to be our main herdsire, we quickly let him get to work breeding our females.  Little May Flowers was one of those females, and she was bred to Cherokee in the fall of 2004.

Randallama's Cherokee, Trillium's sire.

Little May Flowers, Trillium's dam.  May was pregnant with Trillium in this picture.

In September 2005, I came home from school one afternoon to find May looking very uncomfortable.  It soon became clear that May definitely was in labor, so I grabbed the neonatal book and birthing kit and camped out in the barn for awhile.  A little while later May delivered a gorgeous true black female cria.  With May's first baby, it took her awhile to figure out that she was responsible for it, so we were careful not to intervene too much with her second baby.  Luckily May was a great mom!

May and Trillium...twins!

I love true black llamas, so this little girl quickly became a favorite.  She also had amazing presence and the most gorgeous fiber.  

Goofy baby!

A very dusty Trillium at 3 months old.  Her half-brother (same sire) Inali is behind her.

Trillium at 4 months old.

Trillium went to her first show in the spring of 2006, the Western Ohio Triple Crown.  Even with not behaving well, she placed 6th in a huge class of Medium Wool Juvenile females.  Friends of ours saw her at the show, and decided that she needed to join their farm.  I was sad to see her go, but was glad she was going to a great home.

Trillium at 7 months old.

Several months after Trillium left the farm, I found out that she had contracted a parasite and died.  It was a huge loss, for both myself and the other farm.  Her legacy does live on though...May was rebred to Cherokee a few years later and had another stunning cria!

May with Trillium's full brother.  He is now a breeding male in Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Etsy Update!

I've been pretty good the past few weeks about doing Etsy updates!  I have so much yarn, and I hate adding them to Etsy, so I thought it would be good to do them a little at a time.

Wool & rayon yarn.

Alpaca & merino yarn.

Wool & rayon yarn.

I've also been adding batts.  I traded a few of them, but I still have a lot of gorgeous ones left.

Merino, silk, firestar batt.

Alpaca, sari silk batt.

BFL wool, bamboo batt.

Please take a look at my Etsy shop and find something that you like!