...And Yet More

Yes, we have more babies!  Fern had a calf on Wednesday morning, a little blond boy.  We haven't named him yet, and we're open to suggestions.  He looks to be healthy and happy, Caleb has seen him nursing, and actually swooped in pretty quickly and got a weight with our new scale and sling - ~40 pounds, a nice size for a Scottish calf.  We probably won't catch him again, Fern is pretty nervous, but it's still helpful to have a base weight for any other calves, since we've never weighed one before.  We really can't blame Fern for being skittish, either - she's the poor girl that literally lost her calf last year at a week old - just vanished overnight, and we never found it.  It was suspicious enough that Caleb made a report with the Sheriff's Office.  I really, really hope everything goes well for Fern this time, she was a great mama for that week last year, and bawled for her baby for 3 days after it disappeared.  

He also got a second weight on Bonnie, 5 days after the first.  Since then, we haven't had a WWOOFer and it's not possible to catch her alone, so the first two will have to do.  She started at 15.5, and was 21 lbs only five days later, so aat a pound-plus a day, I'd say she's nursing well also!  She's been really frisky the last few days - several times a day she just runs all over the pasture, jumping feed troughs and swooping past her mama without stopping, much like Fiona used to do in her energetic younger days.  

In the duck world we have had some ups and downs.  The first mama duck has been mostly keeping her 8 babies on and around the pond, but she's lost 2 and a foot on a 3rd, probably turtles or something like that.  Caleb put out a live-trap, but I'm not sure it'll do anything for turtles.  She has been over in the duck pen more, maybe she''ll realize that's safer and just stay there.   The second mama with 3 babies appears to have lost all 3, but a third mama (the sister to the first that tried to hatch a nest with her several years back) just showed up yesterday with a lone brand-new duckling.  Hopefully this one makes it as well as the other 6 - not that we need them, we already have more ducks than strictly necessary :) but they sure are cute.  

In the final mama news - I am still waiting.  I am at about 39 weeks, so it could be anything from today to 3 weeks from today.  I'm sure hoping it's the near end of that range!  I'm getting pretty ungainly - any of you who know me know I get awfully big towards the end!  I generally get people joking along the lines of "it's just one, right?" but this time they are adding "I mean, have you checked?  You know for sure it's just one, right?"  Thanks y'all, and for the record - yes, there's only one, I'm just really really big 'cause I grow big, healthy babies!

I've pretty well put the brakes on my usually busy life until the baby arrives, and am taking things pretty easy (other than the farmer's markets).  I've converted to knitting mode the last week, and finally finished up several projects I had hanging around and started some new ones.  I finished the last literally 1.5 inches of the scarf-hat I started last winter that has been sitting in my "active projects" basket for months without being touched, and also a light accent scarf that was mainly the means of finishing off the last bit of an entire cone of yarn that had also made a large shawl and a little bolero jacket (yea, an entire cone out of my yarn chest!!).  My new projects were/are:

I made a cute short-sleeve infant girl's cardigan out of feedsack strings, I still want to dye it before putting buttons on it so final pictures will be forthcoming.  The little Aran-knit baby boy's sweater I made a couple years ago out of feedsack strings is by far the most commented-on item on my market table, so I thought it time to make another one.  

i found a pattern on Ravelry.com (a fantastic knitting and crocheting site if you're looking for one) for baby booties that look like combat boots.  They were adorable, and after examining the pictures, I realized I didn't have to pay the $3.50 for the pattern, since it looks to be an adaptation of the standard baby bootie-sock I already make.  I gave it a shot, and they turned out great!  I've got some girly colors of yarn, so in contrast to the combat boot style of tan with dark soles for baby boys, I'm going to find some fuzzy white yarn for the top, and make little infant furry  "snowboots" for girls.  

I found another pattern for crocheted baby Converse Allstars, and made a red one so far that also turned out really well, I'll get to the second pretty soon here and take a picture of everything.  I have quite a stash of small balls of yarn - either tails of larger ones left after other projects, or, in the case of both yarns used for these baby booties, a striped wool sweater from Goodwill that I pulled apart for the yarn, so each colored stripe wasn't that much to start with.  I need to use them up (clutter!) so I went looking for tiny projects, and cute baby booties are the answer!

I also have some lightweight wool yarn that I thought would be well-suited to a baby sweater, so I started a quick-knitting cardigan with that, and will probably finish that in a few days.  It's a very plain pattern, but after a test knit, I'll figure out how to add some knot panels or cabling, or knit it in a patterned/textured yarn to make future ones more interesting.  

I also felt like having something very intricate and delicate to be working on, so I searched Ravelry for lacy shawl patterns.  I have several cones of very fine yarn, basically thread, that are nicely suited for a lacework shawl, so I started a gorgeous black one that should keep me busy for a while.  

I also started a cabled sweater for myself, using the millspun Suri yarn from Solomon that I have over 1000 yards of taking up my storage space (and 3 subsequent shearings sitting untouched in bags in my fleece room - ack!).  I''m almost done the first sleeve, and will start on the body "next".

I usually do knitting projects this way - I need to have at least 2 large, long-term projects, ideally one very intricate and challenging and potentially taking "forever" to finish, and one simpler but still not mindless, with a closer deadline (a sweater for this winter).  Then, at least one project that's more utilitarian - baby booties/socks/hats/sweaters for my market table, or something similar, generally a simple and mindless knit I can work on while watching a TV show in the evenings, or riding in the car, or (very soon) nursing on the couch.  This usually comes to about 4 things at a time - I finish and re-start small projects throughout the time I am slogging through the big ones, but it seems 4 is my magic number.  Right now, I have the shawl, the sweater, the baby cardigan, and the second Converse bootie.  Once I finish the bootie, I'll probably start a pair of little snowboots, and then just keep going from there - taking the summer off from knitting always gives me a burst of inspiration and drive to get back into it for the fall and winter!  


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