Sunday, April 7, 2013

Knitting in Seattle, goat torture and depression, and planting our garden

Didn't I just say last week that life is never boring around here?  Life proved me right again. Let me start on a non-farm related subject, just to reveal a side of me that you may not know. This side is my non-country-bumpkin-part, the sophisticated European fashionable woman part. There! I said it.

I know, I know. You know me as the manure or dirt streaked farmer, the woman covered in bodily fluids while assisting goat babies into the world, the chick without make up. But I assure you, deep inside, hidden from most people and often form myself, is a woman who loves glamor and fashion. I allow it to come out in one part of my life, and in one part only: Knitting.
So when I saw that Vogue Knitting (the magazine of fashionable knitting design) held a convention in Seattle last weekend, I came up with a scheme to convince Steve that I really, really needed to go. Earlier that week, we had found much sought after barrels for storing pig food on craigslist, and they were located in Puyallup, South of Seattle. I reasoned that the barrels needed to be picked up before anyone else snatched them up, and I would LOVE to do this, and since I already would be down south, I might perhaps swing by the knitting convention, which would involve a night at a hotel room. The scheme worked, and Steve didn't need any convincing at all. I love that man. I packed up the pickup truck and headed to Seattle. To keep with the whole fashion theme, I also got a haircut on the way, to be ready for the city.

I know it's a grainy picture, but the chique hair stylist insisted on taking the picture, and I let him, so I could show off the haircut.  It will never again look this good, because I never style it and blow dry it. 
I picked up the pig barrels that night in Seattle, which took me three additional hours in the pouring rain, and involved dealing with the seller by myself, an old guy who liked to touch me a lot while he talked and helped me secure the barrels to the truck. Tieing on the barrels in the pouring rain messed up my fancy hair, of course, but I was just glad to get out of there alive.
I think I am the only person who showed up at the Bellevue Meydenbauer Convention Center the next day with a dirty old pick up truck loaded with barrels. But I do declare, and I don't know how to say this without seeming to brag, but... the sweater I wore to Vogue Knitting was one of their own designs I had knitted several years ago, and I got compliments on it almost every five minutes. There were thousands of people there (literally!), and I must have been stopped by a hundred people to admire the sweater. The Vogue Knitting people took a picture of me and put it on their page, which is a huge honor. (Here it is.)  So can you imagine how big my Ego is right now?
Going to this convention is like porn for women, I swear. There were dozens and dozens of booths filled with yarns and people who love to knit. There were lectures and classes and colors and textures and fashion shows with real models in high heels.  There even was an angora bunny whose fur was being sold at $7 an ounce.  I felt like I connected with my tribe.

I wish I had an extra thousand dollars lying around to buy pounds of angora yarn.
When I got back Saturday evening, all the glory and relaxation evaporated when I entered my noisy, messy house to greet my wonderful and missed family, and when I found out that my mama goat Gracie had not let her babies nurse for two days. She suddenly rejected them. I went to the barn to milk out the hugely engorged mama and fed the milk to the babies, who were starving, shivering and very, very confused about the monster that used to be their loving mother.
Now, I have to milk the mama twice a day and bottle feed the babies four times a day. This is extra work I had not planned on, but with the help of my human kids, the goat kids are thriving. Learning to bottle feed is hard at first, for both the givers and the receivers, since all of us end up covered in sticky milk.  Look who is glamorous and relaxed looking now...

That's better!  Now he's getting a hang of the nursing thing, and so am I!
Human kids and goat kids are made for each other!  It's never ending entertainment for all of them!

The week before all this drama happened, and before my fabulous trip to the city, we readied the garden for planting when the weather felt almost summer-y.  We got it weeded, roto tilled, and Kai helped to transplant peas we had started in the greenhouse six weeks earlier.  We The boys also planted potatoes.  It is so satisfying to finally get some work out of these lads, after putting so much work into them!  After all the hard work, there are rewards: trips to the river, knitting by the river, or bike rides.

Kai helps ready the pea fence.
Lukas spreads wood ashes and then plants the taters.

And after all the hard work, a picnic at the river.
I get to knit as my reward.

This post is already so long, but if HAVE to tell you about disbudding.  It's a terrible chore for a goat shepardess, because it involves burning off the babies' horn buds, which feels like torture.  They hate it, my helper Rich hates it, I hate it, and it smells terrible.  But it has to be done.  Horns on a goat are dangerous for other goats and for people.  It is unacceptable to have goats with horns around kids.  So I do what has to be done, and am grateful for various friends and neighbors who help out with this dreaded chore.

First, I shave their head so that the hair doesn't burn and smoke like crazy.
Then the burning commences.  The baby will start screaming pretty soon.
And this is what it looks like when it's done.  Believe me, this is important for the goat's future happiness...
I leave you with images of what's going on at my windowsill right now.  May the sun return soon, may the goat mama snap out of her manic depressiveness and may you, and all beings, be happy!


  1. Corina, I love your postings. I feel like I am experiencing what you describe right there with you! Wow! your strip to Seattle to the Vogue Knitting convention was just what you needed! I love knitting too and that would have been a fun thing for me to go to as well. And then returning home to the baby goats needing nourishment and having to be their "mama"! You are so full of energy and care! I am glad to see the children participating in the planting and caring of the food and farm! It will serve them well and will bring a lot of good memories. Knitting by the river is ideal, relaxing, and inspiring! You have a very unusual life for this day and age. I can see how full it is! I love Calendula and it looks like your are sprouting some good alfafas? I love to cook as well and have fun and adventure in the garden. Are you planting any herbs? I also tried to find your scarf pattern on Etsy, the one with the "tie" so your scarf can be secured. I didn't find the pattern so maybe you can tell me how I can buy it. Thanks for sharing your incredible life! You are a super-woman, super-mom, and sexy fashionable, and sophisticated European woman!

    1. Dear Tuyet,
      I thought I already responded to you, but it doesn't show up here. Weird.
      I just want to thank you for your sweet words - you are making my cheeks burn!
      Yes, I do grow herbs in my garden - mostly culinary and medicinal stuff like chives, thyme, orgeano, calendula etc.
      Thanks for bringing to my attention that my Etsy pattern is not up to date. I never renewed the scarf pattern when someone else bought it. Here it is:

      I hope you can find it okay. If not, let me know!
      Have a wonderful day!



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