Monthly Archives: May 2015

Weaving the great soil quilt, continued

Or, Microbial Monet.

I don’t know what I was expecting as I pulled my quilt square out of the ground, but certainly not the intense rose and gray with highlights of yellow that emerged.  How does that happen?

My quilt square was folded as you see here, buried about 1 1/2′ below the soil surface and stayed there 15 days.  It was dry when I buried it, then we had some rain, though not a great deal yet at that point.  More has come since then.

I’ll be sending my square back to Erin shortly and will watch anxiously for news of other squares, other observations and other ideas. Here’s some more background on the project:

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Filed under Fiber Arts, Natural world

Lamb update

We’re nothing if not consistent!?  Every year, we breed our ewes to a natural color (non-white) ram.  First two years, every lamb was white, even for our natural colored ewe.  This year, we have 7 lambs so far and they are all dark colored.  I think some are brown and some are black, but I will just have to observe and learn.  This winter when things are quieter, I will have to put some more study into color genetics to understand what is dominant, etc.

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Scout’s new best friend Chaplin

We’re so consistent here that even the cat who happened through and adopted us nearly two weeks ago is also black?!  He is fitting right in.  He is fast friends with the dogs and comfortable with the chickens and the sheep.


Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Research

Weaving the Great Soil Quilt…

My friend, colleague and fellow farmer at Hilltop Community Farm, Erin Schneider, is convening a collaborative art-making project.  I’m curious about how it will turn out and have agreed to participate.

Erin sent me a square of sturdy, off-white fabric and instructions a few weeks ago.  Here are examples of results:

For my contribution to the effort, I selected what I call the ‘driveway garden’ for ‘planting’ my square of quilt fabric because it has special meaning.  This garden is where we have buried two of our beloved pets – Pencil the cat and Banjo the dog.  Ashes of Pippin the dog are also scattered there in order for him to be near his mentor and leader Banjo.

This garden contains native perennial plants and shrubs and far too many weeds.  My care of the garden in recent years has been less than exemplary.  Digging a hole to bury this quilt square at least takes a small step towards removing some of the weeds.  As I worked, our very helpful laying hens began to take notice.  They cannot keep their feet out of loose soil.  I gave one a big white grub found in the hole.  After burying the fabric, I needed to place a few rocks, in part to mark the location, but also to discourage the scratching of chickens.P1000509 P1000511 P1000512 P1000514

I will be retrieving the fabric in 2-3 weeks and will post additional photos at that point.

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Natural world, Research

Spring means lambing season

Our first lamb of 2015 was born 2 days ago.  And she is the first natural color lamb born on this farm!  And, she looks just like her papa.

Hoglah is such an attentive mother that she makes it hard to get any pictures.  Here is one taken inside of the pasture jug.


Most of my attempts today resulted in this:


Hoglah very deliberately placed herself between me and her little one.

But I did manage to catch a glimpse of the two together.  Mama enjoying the fresh green grass and some dandelion blossoms and her ewe lamb testing out her legs.


New growth is popping out everywhere as seen here:


American Plum (Prunus americana) Blossoms


Tamarack (Larix laricina)


Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Local Food, Natural world, Seasons, Sustainability