Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Thaw

Spring has properly arrived at the farm. The ice on the pond is breaking up and collapsing. The snow drifts are shrinking. And my snowshoe trail is rapidly fading.

Jonah is standing on the part of the snowshoe trail that crosses the pond dike; now reduce to mud and last year's sheep droppings (or as Jonah calls them, treats). Fortunately there are large snow drifts to the right of the dike and I can pass by that way into the farm lane which still has lots of snow.

The deck of hay wagon, parked behind the pond, has reappeared.

This is exciting times for Jonah, who was born into snow season - grass, mud, poop, all new wonders to be explored.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Outback

I know spring is upon us when the tops of the fence posts appear through the snow in the outback.

The snowshoeing has been fabulous this year and it is with sadness that I await the impending muddy season.

This photo is from the far back corner of the farm, below the knoll. You can see (through the trees) the steep slope of the knoll.

I love hiking back here, looking for the tracks of the other critters that share this beautiful land as their home.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Double Shetland Sock Yarn II

I've been knitting more double strand socks with my Shetland 70/30 Wool/Nylon 1 ply lace weight.

To feed my yarn I drilled a few holes in one of the wood boxes I use at my market stall, so I could place one cone under another, and feed the yarn from the lower cone up and through the center of the upper cone. In the photo you can see I've got two cones of fawn on the left that I use of the topper, heels, and toes, and on the right a cone of moorit feeding up through a cone of fawn for a blended colour on the body of the leg and foot.

The set up shown is with my Legare 400, 54 cylinder, knitting size Small. The yellow yarn on the knitter (and in the garbage) is my scrap yarn.

To begin I've done a reverse e-wrap selvedge, and have just begun lowering the needles into work position to knit the selvedge round.

Then I put on the ribber and swap every other stitch from a cylinder needle to a ribber needle to knit the 1 x 1 cuff.

With the ribbed cuff complete I knit some more rows in the double stranded fawn before switching over to the fawn-moorit combination. Below I have just made the join in the yarn change and am just beginning to knit the first row.

WIth the two tone leg completed I break the yarn to splice on the double-fawn for the heel.

With the heel complete I go back to the two tone for the foot, then back to the double fawn for the toe.

Toes closed, scrap removed, socks washed and blocked:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snowshoe Hare

The trouble with going for a hike in the snow, without glasses, and with only my phone for a camera - I can barely tell if I've turned the camera on, let alone see what's in the frame. Best I can do is point in the general direction and hope for the best.

I was quite excited to see these tracks yesterday when Jonah I hiked into the bush at the back of the farm. These tracks belong to a Snowshoe Hare. They are easy to distinguish from other rabbits because hind feet (which are at the front of the tracks) are very wide. Their feet are also very long but they tend to walk on the tips of the hind feet unless walking slowly.

The reason this was exciting it that its the first time in quite a few years that I've seen sign of these hares. The traditional habitation on this farm was cottontail bunnies around the homestead, jack rabbits in the fields and laneways, and snowshoe hare hares deep in the back woods.

With the waxing of coyote population I stopped seeing hare tracks altogether, and last winter there were rarely rabbit tracks of any kind to be found.

This winter the cottontail tracks have returned to the homestead, the jacks to the back lanes, and now the hares in the bush. Horrah! This means coyote population is waning.

For a sheep farmer....that's a good thing!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yes we have no bananas

I like bananas, but they generally don't like me so I don't eat them often.

But I stumbled on this idea in Pinterest and coudn't resist.

Saute sliced (not overly ripe) bananas in butter until they're browned.

Put in a bowl. Wisk a tablespoonish of honey with a tsp of water and put into the emptied pan, but off the heat. Mix in the dregs that remain in the pan and pour over the warm bananas.

OMG this is good!

The potential for booze with the honey is unlimited.

OK, maybe some fresh whipped cream on top.

Made in China

I try to shop as close to home as possible. When my 20+ yr old traditional snow shoes died 3 years ago I bought a new pair of the aluminum frame modern style. Made in Canada.

At the end of last season they fell apart. Specifically the integrated binding on one shoe fell apart rendering the pair useless. I had grumbled off and on about the constant ice buildup between the sole of my boot and the binding, making for very awkward walking, and also the tendency of snow and ice to clump on the traction cleats on the underside of the shoes.

They weren't cheap. I'm one of those (suckers) who believes you get what you pay for ;o(

I had to replace them for this winter and I wasn't able to find another brand that was made in Canada. Reluctantly, I bought a pair made in China.

This is the Atlas 10 series, for 'mountains and deep snow'. I don't have mountains but I do have steep hills, and deep snow is a given these past few winters.

As I'm only into the first season the jury is still out on how long these will last. But thus far I am really pleased with them.

I get no build up of snow on the cleats, and you can see in the photo I get very little on the toe pad of the binding.

I try to snow shoe at least 5 days a week. Good performing, reliable equipment is important to me.

This is a new style of binding for me and I really like the ease of entry and exit. (My dad used to scoff at any binding that wasn't lamp wick. What a bugger that stuff was!)

I admit I still kind of miss the old style snow shoe. The larger surface area gives a better loft in softer snow, although the larger width means harder work on the hips to walk. And with the frequent icy conditions of the past two years, the cleats on the modern style have been a real plus.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snack Time

It was -30 degrees when we got up this morning. But it warmed up to -18 this afternoon so Jonah and I went for a windy walk up to the top of the knoll. I brought him a snack to have when we got to the top.

I didn't realize the snack (chew stick) would freeze in my pocket so it took him quite a while to chew it.

I also didn't realize I should have brought a snack for me too.