Friday, June 29, 2012

The Climb

It seems this week that I have been climbing constantly. Climbing out of the clean-up hole that I am in. Going to Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair was so much fun! The color, the inspiration, the atmosphere itself. The feeling was wonderful to be surrounded, for 3 days, by people who knew what you were talking about. My hubby said he thought it was cool when I started talking 'fiber' with the other people. It can be a language all in itself. And they got it. They understood what I had in my booth and they liked it! and liked to talk about it. But then it was over and we had to pack up and come home. It looks like a hurricane blew through my studio. And the kitchen. and the bathroom. I'm still climbing trying to get out from under it all. When the house is a wreck and disorganized, I feel disorganized inside. Not that I'm a clean freak or any Martha Stewart, cause I'm not. But some resemblance to organization and neatness is required. I get a little crabby when its not. So, back to the climb I go. The ultra hot temperatures are not helping either. Its supposed to be 106 degrees today. I spend a good amount of time outside with the animals. Fresh water each day. Hosing them down several times a day. Then back to the climb.

One item I purchased is this cute llama doll. It was made by Envision Unlimited. They are an organization that
works serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across all ages.
He is the most adorable and colorful little llama. I think I'll name him Curtis. Well, back to unpacking. The Climb. I hope to see you on the other side! lol

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Trekking' Down The Highway

We are headed home after a wonderful weekend at the Fair. We visited with
Susan McFarland from Susan's Fiber Shop (and she gave me great advice about
my booth layout. Thanks, Susan!). I am exhausted but with a smile on my face.
So much inspiration to be found there! We hope to make it back next year. I
will post more when I get home, I'm anxious to be back.

Talk to you soon! Tammy

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To The Fair, To The Fair

I am off to the Fair with my lovely assistant,
Darrell. Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair in
Grayslake, Il. I have been so busy packing that I
Forgot to blog before I left home. At least I
Remembered all my meds this trip. I had an anxiety
Attack at 11:00pm last night because I couldn't
Find my knitting. I had it packed away in some
Tub so I "wouldn't forget it"! Lol We are on the
Road now so...

Talk to you soon, Tammy

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Poop Scoopin' Boogie"

"Yeah, heel, toe, dosey-do come on baby lets go poop scoopin"

Yeah, my fifteen minutes of fame are over and I'm back to my regular life on the farm. That is my theme song when I go out to do barn chores. "Let's go poop-scoop!"  lol  Cause while I was in the footlights, everyday life continued here and now there are double chores to be done. It is good to know that my eco-friendly pest control system is up and functioning:

                                                            Chickens are the best!

I have been busy on my Supercard. I've been making art batts. I am happy to announce that I have been juried in to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair next weekend in Grayslake, IL. I will have rovings, art batts, Noro cotton yarns, knitting needles, spinning wheels and anything else I can fit into the trailer in my booth. I will be bringing 'my lovely assistant, Darrell' with me, also. I am very excited about going! I will be leaving the farm in the capable hands of my farm manager.

Little Elle is growing like a weed! She is very inquisitive and energetic, like a cria should be. In this picture, I had my cat, doofie by my side and he has her attention. She loves cats. When she gets close to them, they run away and she jumps in the air. In the evening she will be running circles around everyone and around the pasture. Well, barn chores are calling. "Oh get down, turn around go to town the poop scoop boogie!"

as she line dances away..Talk to you soon, Tammy

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy, Happy, Buzz, Buzz

That is what I have been up to this week. Buzzing around happily, trying to catch up on things. I have been very busy the past two weeks rehearsing for a song performance from the Bye, Bye Birdie production I did last fall with Christ Memorial Productions in St. Louis. It was nominated for Best Production Large Ensemble in the Arts For Life Best Performance Awards for 2011. I was also nominated for Best Performance By An Actress In A Comedic Role for my Mae Peterson. At the Awards Ceremony (which is a black tie affair) each nominated show does a number from their show. I was chosen to do my song from  Bye, Bye Birdie! Needless to say, I have been wearing out my friend Greg Mueller by wanting to rehearse. 500 people, most of who are my peers, were to be in the audience. I was immersed in trying to prepare for it. I was also wearing out the patience of my family. My son got a lot of 'huh's?' and  'you want what?' from me. I wasn't ever paying attention to conversations. I was preoccupied. I was in that place that I go to about a week before a production starts. I spend every waking hour thinking about every last detail of my performance. Each day. Everything revolves around me. Its a wonder I have a family at all and that lets me do a musical each year. I don't think I'd be able to tolerate my behavior. I don't mean to do it. I don't even realize until several days after the production ends that I did it again. So, thank you for putting up with me, family!!  I'm very fortunate to have received this on Sunday:

                               Its half inch thick etched glass on a marble base and it has my name on it!!

All the titles on the front cover of the program were productions done in the St. Louis area in 2011.  This award is pretty darn awesome! 

I usually knit to help calm my nerves during a production. This time, I was in my workshop carding fiber into batts for an upcoming Indie festival that I'm going to.

We've got your basic grey cria.

                                    And some art batts for your spinning pleasure.

And finally, a picture of me with two other 'Box Club' members on Sunday at the BPA's. This year, the awards were put back into their boxes after they were presented. (last year, Jesus dropped his and it broke. it was very sad.)

Sam, Jeff and me.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's Going On?

I have confessed before that I am lacking in computer skills. I didn't notice the past month (yes! a whole month!) that I had been posting in the wrong blog. I feel a little embarrassed. It was brought to my attention this afternoon in the form of a question. "Why hadn't I been blogging the last month?" At least it didn't take me long to figure it out and I reposted the entries into this blog. When I did switch, it looks like I have been very, very productive today and posted 7 times! I will try to stay on track in the future. Sheesh!

                                                            Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Rippin' It At Rendezvous

It was Rendezvous this past weekend. After being transported back in time to the 18th c. all weekend, it has been quite a shock returning to 2012 and trying to upload some pictures of it for this blog. I admit, I'm not all
that adept at computer software. I have been trying for literally an hour to upload these pictures. I don't know if my app is having some problems or if its operator bound. It just didn't want to do it. And I was just about to lose my vigor for blogging when I said to myself that I'd try it one more time...

And it worked! Sometimes you just have to talk nice to your stuff. It does work.

Above is the 42nd Regiment, complete with bagpipes. They are awesome to watch! and hear.

This is the grandson, complete in his frock. Yes, he is a boy. It is a frock. Boys would wear them until they were breeched. That means until they were completely potty trained so you could get to the diaper. After that, they were allowed to wear breeches (knee pants) He has little moccasins on, too. He is eating rock candy that I bought him. Quite a few pictures were taken of him by complete strangers. Under his other arm is a wooden gun he picked out that he drug around all afternoon. By nightfall, he had literally dropped in his tracks. Ahhh! Rendezvous!

I'm still working on my Hitchhiker. I got a little too much sun and messed up my pattern and had to frog back a few rows. Hence, the Rippin' It At Rendezvous! I am trying to stay out of the sun for a few days. It is very difficult but my lobster skin can't take any more. I got quite a lot done on it in two days. Maybe some time this summer it will get done. I'm hopeful.

On Saturday morning, I'm rushing around trying to get to morning colors on time and looked out in the pasture to see a surprise baby! Sara had a large, beautiful baby girl! I knew she was getting close and should have figured she would deliver on my busiest day. She is very healthy and did I mention large? We are playing "Who's Your Daddy?" My guess, is Blizzard because of her size. All the boys were in on that breakout last year. I had started calling them the "Breakout Kings". Well, Levi and Laredo both have small babies. Which is very good for maidens. (first time moms) Blizzard is large boned and so is this baby. She is pronking around the pasture and kicking up her heels! Welcome, baby girl!

I will leave you with a picture of an Indian that you wouldn't want to come across. I couldn't show you a full length shot because he had a lot of flesh showing and I am trying to maintain my PG rating.

                                              Talk to you soon,  Tammy

A Friendly Reminder

Sometimes, when going through life, you have to remind yourself of things. Things that are important to you. Like your kids. Not the fact that they are important to you--of course you know that. But remind yourself how much a part of your life they are. And that they bring some pretty cool times to your life. Like on holidays. My son and his wife hosted a BBQ on Memorial Day. Its a nice time to catch up with his life. They have a great little farm on 6 acres in the country. New this year are the Moon Flowers shown in the picture at left. Those things are huge! They must stand about 4 foot tall and have dinner plate sized white blooms. Awesome to look at. My son laid the rock for that sidewalk and there is a matching patio on the left side of the house. The big stone rocks lining the flower beds were foundation stones from the original barn on the property that burnt down over 50 years ago. I enjoy looking at details like that. I guess my son comes by it naturally.

He has an iron forge on the side of the chicken house. I know it is at least a hundred years old. The guys had it fired up earlier in the day and were cranking out tent stakes for a dining fly for Rendezvous this weekend.

  These are the stakes they made. Yes, it was hot to be working iron. It was about 94 degrees. But the heat works to your advantage with this. There is more time to work the red hot iron before it cools down. The guys had a blast working the forge.

And I had a little hand wanting to show me the rasberry bushes. I have to admit that I only got to eat one. Those little hands are very adept at getting to the ripe berries! I doubt his momma is going to be able to get enough berries at one time to put any up!

I want to show you how we don't mess around in Randolph County when it comes to BBQ's. We get right down to it:

                                                          Now that's a BBQ starter! lol

The family started playing dartball and ended up playing pellet ball. I was kicked back sipping on lemonade, knitting on a Hitchhiker scarf and listening to the good humored ribbing they were giving each other. We enjoyed good food and good company. This is a friendly reminder to take time with your kids. Whether they are 3 or 33. When they are grown they still need the attention of their parents. And I, as a parent, still have a need to look after them. And I have a need to knit, not play dartball much to the amazement of my hubby. Every sport has their spectators and that be me. But that is another blog all in itself.

Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. May they be many. Happy knitting.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy


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Shearing Goes On

and on. We are down to the last 2 of the herd. Yeah! I must admit, I'm starting to get pretty good at this shearing thing. Tomorrow we are taking it on the road. And Saturday morning we shear our last two. I am enjoying it even though my back complains through my mouth in the evening. (I do whine a bit after I have sit too long knitting and watching Criminal Minds)  It was interesting about alpaca personality dynamics yesterday when we were shearing Vienna. After we put her on the table and I started shearing my son ran into the house to grab a soda and while in there the phone rang and he answered it. Well, he was holding her head and when he left my hubby took it over. I was about half was through the first side when she noticed he wasn't there. She started grunting and groaning. Then squealing. She was becoming quite loud and started stressing. At that point she started testing her leg restraints. I had to stop shearing for fear of injury by the blades. My son could hear her all the way in the house! He ran back out, took over holding her head and calling her, "Vee-Vee". She heard his voice, then saw his face in front of hers and took a big breath and started calming down. No more screaming or fighting restraints. I finished shearing her without another incident. Except her legs. It must tickle or something cause it makes most alpacas jump and wiggle a bit. I am still in awe of Vienna's reaction to my son's presence. That certainly is an alpaca and her boy!

I picked up some fresh strawberries at the local produce stand, Stuckmeyer's, and put up 3 quarts this morning. I just washed them, trimmed off the tops and sliced them in big slices and put them in small freezer bags. The berries in the stores do last longer in the fridge but do not taste nearly as good as these! As you can see, they are ripe all the way to the top. They are so worth the time to put up. I recommend you do it, too.

It has been a weird spring and because of it, we do not have a cherry crop this year. The strawberries are making up for it. I think I'll make some strawberry lemonade and ponder it for awhile.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy


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Or should I call it weeding?
I mean seriously! I do like to work outside. I like to plant things in the vegetable and flower gardens. I am by no means 'A Wonder Woman Gardener'. I seem to be a fair weather gardener. Look at that picture. I swear some of those weeds are 4 foot tall. I should be hiding my face in shame instead of posting it for the whole world to see. But I am admitting to being human and that means that I cannot do it all. I wish I could but I have to make choices. Especially the older I get. So...I'm outside trying to find dirt in the front flo--no! weed bed and there are dirty dishes in the sink. and a pile of laundry keeping them company.

Did I mention that I like to work outside? My youngest son calls it 'fiddle-farting around'. But today the weather is sooooo nice! 70 degrees and a light wind. And the ground is working up very easily. I have been a happy little camper in the front yard wacking down weeds. I used to have some herbs and such in there but I didn't find much in the way of a plant that wasn't considered a weed. Oh! And I can identify most of my weeds. Milkweed and pigweed are the most common. And Rose of Sharon seeds like crazy, too. Sometimes, you find something outside that is quite extraordinary. Everytime I see one of these, I have to stop in awe of its beauty. The luna moth:

She is about 4 inches long from head to tip. The spots on her wings look like peacock eyes. I think I saved her from one of my chickens, though. I put her up in a bush and out of reach.

I did manage to find my purple coneflower. Now that the pigweed isn't smothering it, it might make it.

There were no bugs out today. No biting flies, no mosquitoes. It made for a pleasant day.

By evening, I had this pile to show for my time:

This is one huge pile of whacked weeds. You would think with a pile that big that I would be tired. But I am not. I guess that is the wonder of doing something you love. Your body is dead tired but your mind tells you  that you are not. I like the deception.

Gardening can be hard work. But it is work that is gratifying. Working in the dirt is something I used to do as a child with my grandparents. Grandpa instilled in me what he called a 'Victory Garden'. The definition I got from that today was my victory over the pigweed. Today, I won. Tomorrow, who knows?

This is a picture of my victory. I think some Black-Eyed Susan's would look very nice there. And some weed barrier paper. I'm trying to garden a little wiser as I get older.

                                                             Talk to you soon,  Tammy


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And It Continues...

The shearing continues. On the table is Blizzard, being sheared by hubby. I love to watch the spots come off of the animal! It is quite striking. I know there will be 10 plus pounds when I weigh his fleece. It is a wonderful gift from him to me. I feel lucky to be able to have the alpacas in my world. 

We sheared my precious little Autumn. I will have to get a before and after picture up to give you a little chuckle. She looks very different.

And don't get me wrong, shearing is work. I'm tired today and my back is a bit sore. I was very fortunate to have two of my friends, Julie and Alice, come yesterday to help out. 'Many hands make light work' and they definitely lightened the load. But the animals sure get fed well enough around here because, boy! They are heavy and healthy! lol  That is thanks to my farm manager. He keeps a keen eye and a hand on their back.

I must admit, even with all the work, it is so gratifying to shear my own animals. I feel I have come full circle in alpaca husbandry. I have birthed many, nurtured the young, tended the sick and now shear them ourselves. We are not reliant on anyone else to it for us. Not to say we won't ever hire another shearer in the future! lol
But I have the confidence in knowing that I can do it here if I want to. Or if a situation comes up and it is a necessity. And that does happen sometimes. Yep, I am feeling better about myself today. Thank you, my dear alpacas for needing me. I will return the favor.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy



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