Posted by: clemscritters | May 19, 2012

Frankly speaking….. have you missed me?

Hey there fans ———– sorry it has been so long since my last post.  Spring has sprung and we are busier than one armed paper hangers around here (or three peckered billy goats, but we don’t have any of those here…hheehhehe).  The babies are busy growing up and sneaking out of the stall for extra rations ( something I am unusually good at); there are new litters of bunnies being born, seven chins for Rockstar and Anne Hibbins, and seven angoras for Ganache and Chang;

In some upsetting news, Obsidian is in isolation because she apparently picked up some sort of pathogen at Nationals – Dr. Wilson over at Twin Oaks says it isn’t fatal, and that some antibiotics can clear it up.  The wench told me that she is on the mend, and will be back in the barn on Monday if all goes well. 

I am sending the wench over to Raleigh this weekend to attend the Carolina Fiber Fest and then report back as to the possibilities of me going next year.  Sometimes that wench can be a slacker, so I have to keep on her all the time.  Mountain Top Fibers is a fun business and keeps me in grain, so I have to make sure she is taking care of business, after all I don’t have thumbs, otherwise I’d do it myself.

We’ve been having some secret meetings, away from the sheep, to discuss their future, and it doesn’t look good for them.  ah well.  I’ll let you know as soon as the final decision is made and we have a plan.  In the meantime, we are looking forward to seeing the new litters grow, eating the trees and hanging out on the mountain.  Nigel is settling in and him and Daisy have formed quite the friendship.  He’s a nice sheep. 


kiss kiss — till next time, that’s it for Frankly Speaking — thanks for reading!

Will post some pictures of the babies next week…..

Posted by: clemscritters | March 4, 2011

The 40-year quilt

I have never professed to be able to sew.  My mother and my sister were and are wonderful with a sewing machine; me, not so much.  I try, get frustrated and quit halfway through most projects.  I am quite pleased that now I’ve completed the quilt I began when Daniel was around 12 (he’s 30 now) and given it to him for our February family Christmas.

Every quilt tells a story, I think, even if it is just that the creator loved each fabric, or that the fabric spoke to the artist, or that someone needed to be warmed by a quilt sewn with love.  The story of the 40-year quilt is special to me and so I’d like to share.

Way back (in the day) when I was about 18, I was engaged to Greg Nelson.  Greg was enrolling in Bible School at Pinecrest in Salisbury Center, NY, and we were going to make a quilt for him to take to school.  We went to the old Nichols mega-store in Marcy, and for $1 a yard, we bought six different prints of cotton.  We spent a couple of Saturday afternoons at my apartment, with my first Sears sewing machine, sewing the blocks together (4″ square, each).  The result was totally amateurish, but it served the purpose.  A backing of a purchased blanket reminded him that we spent this time together creating something warm and comforting.    Off he went to school.  God works in mysterious ways, they say, and only He knows why, but Gregory passed away about six months later.  Acute Leukemia they told me,  God’s will, whatever, didn’t make it any easier.  Gene Brown was Greg’s best friend and room mate at school, and he called me right after the services and asked me to come to school.  There he gave me the quilt and said he knew Greg would want me to have it.  I’ve toted it around with me for 40 years.

Fast forward, when Dan was around 12 he was (and still is) a Green Bay Packers fan.  I was in a fabric store around that time and found the Green Bay logo fabric.  Had to buy it, it spoke to me….. so, I started to make a quilt, seeing as by this time, I had actually had a lesson or two about hand quilting.  Started and never finished. Fits and starts. Half finished projects.  It got to be a joke between Dan and me… I’d promise to have the quilt done by high school graduation, then college graduation, then I don’t know what.  I suppose it took retirement to get me going.  Missing Dan so much being so far away, it helped to finish the quilt because I felt a little closer to him with every stitch.

Of course, a Green Bay Packers quilt for a 30 year old might be a little silly.  I put the 40-year quilt top on the other side, so that Dan will always know that his mom sews every stitch with love.  He has a little piece of me from who I used to be, to go along with my entire heart from who I am now

Posted by: clemscritters | December 23, 2010

Some of da boyz

Now that I am retired, I think it only fitting that I spend a little more time with this blog, and get some of the animal pictures posted.   Because today I groomed some of the angora rabbits, I thought I’d start with my three herd sire french angoras:

Clems Oreo Reg. X704J Grand champion pending

Oreo has the sweetest personality; he is of my own breeding (Cherry Knoll Michele x Bashful Storm Cloud) and it didn’t take long for him to earn his three legs for granding.  Now retired from the show circuit, he grows a beautiful fleece and makes awesome babies.

Last year, thanks to Jan DeCooman of Apple View Angoras in Vermont, we added Fuzzie’s Smokey Lonesome to our herd:

Fuzzie's Smokey Lonesome Registration #E745J

Smokey provided us with offspring last fall, and several of his daughters have been added to our breeding lineup.  Only one more grand champion leg to be won by Smokey, and he, too, can join his bud Oreo in the easy life.

Oreo’s son, Clems Bit-o-Honey, has promise for the show circuit this year.

Clems Bit-o-Honey

I am pleasantly surprised that the ARBA District 9 appears to be quite active in their show schedule.  Looking online, I found five shows within reasonable driving distance through May 2011.  I am hoping to get to at least four of them this winter/spring.

These three bucks are currently unemployed, as we don’t have any breeding going on right now.  We are a little cramped in our space, and are just maintaining the status-quo for now.   Hopefully before long we will be able to expand just a little and bring some new generations of bunnies to this mountain.



Posted by: clemscritters | December 18, 2010

Lookin like Lowville

They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that you’ll be less homesick if, when you move, you incorporate the same colors into your new space.  I suppose I make changes slowly and that’s why the kitchen in my last three houses have been painted some shade of blue.  Can’t do that here because the counters are an off shade of blue/green; however, the dining room can carry through, and here is the result!  Featuring the almost-same color as part of the Lowville dining room, the art-work photography of son Dan, caligraphy of Michael Podesta and most important high school graduation pictures of each child, this place is looking like and feeling like home.

Posted by: clemscritters | December 1, 2010

A different kind of winter

I look at the masthead of this blog and remember with not so much fondness the wintry wonderland which was Lowville.  I have a great respect for mother nature and North Carolina is to be revered as well for it’s weather.  Today I left the house and rushed back with goat and rabbit feed because of the weather.  I declined to travel tonight because of the weather.  I am listening to the wind howl, and know there are flash flood warnings and tornado warnings out for our area.  I am alone on the mountain tonight, Don is driving back from Lowville with the last load of  ‘stuff’.  who knows where we will put it, but it’ll be here by morning I’m thinking…

I’m not afraid to be here alone, the dogs take good care to watch out for me and be great company.  I miss Don though.  I would be much more comfortable if he was here, just because of the weather.  I wish our barn was finished so I would know the animals were safe and dry.  Our starter barn is really great, but there is some standing water down there tonight.  I’m trusting God there won’t be any wet rabbits in the morning!

I have pictures to share of the barn, the site for the garden and everything , but I can’t find my camera cord for uploading photos to the computer, so, that will have to wait.



Posted by: clemscritters | November 11, 2010

Insomnia and Retirement

I woke up this morning at 4:30 am… a little earlier than normal; no work today in honor of the Veterans of this Country (thank you); tomorrow is my last day employed in over 30 years (more like almost 40); retirement is not exactly scary, because I know that I’ll be finding a part time job to keep busy probably within six months, but it is causing some insomnia lately;  list-making in your head is not very productive, especially at this age.  I need to write it all down and tic it off a to-do list as it gets done.

I need to learn some things, like how to upload pictures from my new phone to the computer so I can post some shots of the new barn/shed in North Carolina.  I also need to learn to be not employed.  I think this will be a challenge, when you have gotten up and gone to work for so many years, I am afraid that I’ll not be able to focus on the task at hand, and instead sit on the computer for many hours a day because that’s what I’ve always done.  Why is this keeping me awake?

Posted by: clemscritters | October 31, 2010

Ok, Ok, I admit it…

I’ve been neglecting this site (again).  So much has been going on I can’t keep up. Let’s see:  (1) retiring after 24 years working for New York State; (2) moving to North Carolina; (3) everything that goes with (2).  It’s been busy!  It’s been a long haul all summer, but we are now down to the cadre of critters who will be joining us on the mountain:  seven goats, five sheep, 19 rabbits, two dogs, two cats, 10 guineas, 6 chickens, five parrot fish, two plecostamus and one catfish (these last live in an aquarium and are posing quite the challenge to move).  A forced separation hasn’t been fun, but has shown me who I am once again… Don is in NC building the starter barn and I’m here packing and sorting.  Soon we’ll switch places, and me and the critters will be in North Carolina settling in and he’ll be here in New York packing and loading, saying goodbye to the homestead he built from bare land.

I’m looking forward to retirement; time to do the things I want to do; time to keep up with this blog and maybe write a tad; create some fleecy things; nurture some critters and that sort of thing.

So, it may be a while again before I get back here, but then hopefully I’ll get more attentive.

Posted by: clemscritters | May 25, 2010

babies everywhere!

Derby, born on May 1st

Sheep twins, Daisy and Mini Rambo, born to Katherine April 12th

Tasha, with Maya, born on May 5th

This is Sasha, with her ram lamb born May 7th

April, with twins May and Juno, moments after birth on May 12, 2010

and there is one more baby born to complete the 2010 baby parade, Naomi’s buckling… his picture must be on my phone.

Posted by: clemscritters | May 25, 2010

New beginnings

Spring is a magical time.  Winter is long and boring; a real challenge here in the frozen north.  Now comes spring with babies everywhere and new adventures.  We are in the process of buying a mountain retreat, 4 acres near Sparta so we can move our home and flock there.  I was excited to think of farming a big land mass in Virginia and adding on goats and sheep; I have some trepidation about downsizing severely; perhaps because I don’t give things up easily.  Cows and piggy won’t be coming south, neither will inside fish or outside fish.  The big deal is leaving my son, who I don’t see often enough even though we live an hour away from each other.  Too busy, too fast and not enough time in the day.  I’m ok with it here because I know I can jump in the car and be there in an hour.  Besides, I have a lot to do to keep me busy.  Once I retire, downsize, and move 12 hours away, will I be able to stand it?  Will our time together be more intense and special because it will be less and further between visits?  Will I be able to be quiet with myself and DO the things I complain there isn’t time for?  all pretty good questions.

Posted by: clemscritters | February 17, 2010

Miss Piggy

Well, it had to happen.  Up until last week, we had not had pigs in the barn.  I’ve done a little research and decided if pigs were in our future, it would be a Tamworth for sure – a rare breed, thought to be extinct until recently, having come over on the Mayflower with the pilgrims.  Our friends have tams and I hope to get a couple from them one day.

In the meantime, a piglet came to us last week.  Just a regular landrace common piglet, with BIG attitude and personality.  She liked Hunter right away and showed her affection so that now he is afraid of her.  She is learning the ropes of our barn (we are all re-learning since the horses have left) and is providing some entertainment !  I hope to get her help in the garden this spring. Picture to follow…

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