Melody’s calf arrived on Monday morning!
Her mom is Melody and she was born out among the pine trees with the birds all singing so we call her Songbird and Birdie for short.
Thankfully, the birth was straightforward and both cow and calf are doing great so far. We are letting her nurse from Melody and we are also milking Melody twice a day. Melody makes way too much milk for one calf so it actually works out for us to share. And it means we don’t have to mess with feeding the calf. There are lots of drawbacks to sharing the milk with the calf, but we are going to try it and see how it goes. So far, Melody doesn’t seem to mind sharing and she doesn’t hesitate to come into the milking parlor. We will take it day by day to see how it goes. Fingers crossed!
And regardless of what happens, we are really enjoying having a cute baby calf in the field and milk in our fridge!
David and I have been up to our elbows in fiber the last couple of weeks.
I’ve got a new baby wrap on the loom that will be a mix of cotton and linen. I am loving the colors in the warp!
I’m using a black cotton/linen blend for the weft and I’m really happy with how the dark makes the blues and greens pop. Here is Danny inspecting one of my joins. He was relieved to hear that those ends get trimmed off in the finishing process.
David has been spinning! Here’s his first ball of yarn – a lovely green combed merino top.
And his second! A blend of wool and silk. He’s on Ravelry if you are into fiber and you want to read more.
It is lovely and lest you think this is all done in a beautiful, serene setting, here’s a picture of the reality. Legos! Spinning! Chaos! Fun though :)
Now all we need are some sheep…
A man who spins a good yarn set me on my weaving path…
and I’ve been weaving…
And my first baby wrap is done! It’s long – just over 5 meters and just under 30 inches wide, it’s a “Size 7″ wrap, the longest size usually sold. I still need to hem it and taper the ends but I’m really happy with how it came out.
Watching the cloth come together on the loom was lovely, but it really bloomed after washing. I used a 10/2 mercerized cotton yarn from Halcyon Yarn – 642 threads each 7 yards long for the warp and 3,952 threads for the weft. Miles of thread! And yes, I calculated it – weaving leaves plenty of time to think. Washing sets the cloth and the cotton threads snuggle up to each other to make a nice strong weave. In the picture above, the swatch on the left is an unwashed sample I wove first and the right shows the finished cloth. The left reminds me of window screen but the right is just perfect.
I can’t wait to get started on my next one even though my babies are big enough to wrap themselves these days.
Pumpkins on the porch.
Pregnant cow in the morning mist.
Fall radishes for fermenting peaking up from the ground.
Morning coffee with a Lego Ewok-ninja-knight-friends-chima-jedi temple.
A little bit of wild comb honey from our hives to get us looking forward to next year’s honey harvest.
David let the big kids do the entire evening milking earlier this week and they loved it.
Working hard together to get the milking cart out to the parlor.
Sweet Melody wondering why we take a million pictures of her.
Zoe opening the gate for Melody. The goat’s name is Piper and Melody does a great job of not letting him get out when she does.
Tommy doing a little hand milking to get the process started.
Working together to get the claw in place. It’s a fiddly thing to get right, even for a grownup. Zoe held up the bottom of it and Tommy put each in place.
Checking to make sure that milk is flowing out of all outlets.
Zoe giving Melody a good scratch with sunflowers reaching for the sky in the background. Melody loves a good scratch.
Post-dip to help prevent mastitis.
Finishing up and letting her out of the stanchion.
Bringing the milk back to the house.
There are several steps of milking I left out of the pictures above and I will spare you the cleaning pictures but they did all of that part too. There might be something to this kids-growing-up thing. :)
And because I can’t resist adding a cute picture of little kids smelling of summer and straw.
Thanks to David for all the great pictures!