For the past several days the pipeline crews have been preparing the soil over the lines for replacement of the topsoil that had been removed at the beginning of the project last spring. Each day a different machine was out there going up and down the easement performing a different step of the operation. Each evening over the dinner table I would describe the machine and what it seemed to be doing and Rich would give the machines names and explain their functions. There were huge machines running on caterpillar tracks, pushing soil back and forth on large shovels. Other days there would be different huge machines with large barrel like structures rotating in front, using spiky prongs to break up the soil.
I have been snapping pictures with my phone each time something new is happening so that I can both keep a record and show Rich what I was trying to explain. I'm a city girl after all and he's a farm boy who knows about soil moving and conditioning. I have often wondered if the pipeline workers think I am some sort of environmentalist spy as I peer at them through my binoculars and snap pictures from our deck!
This morning there is no mistaking what they are doing now. The machines that appear to be what an urban girl would call bulldozers and diggers, are incrementally pushing the topsoil piles back into place over the work surface of the past summer. It looks like the frenzy of activity in our back field will soon be coming to an end and with the onset of fall we will begin to experience the natural serenity of our country life again.
All morning long the crews have been bringing in more and bigger machines. Diggers, pushers, things that I will have to ask Rich about this evening. In early spring when the work was just beginning I used to text pictures of the equipment and process to Rich and ask for him to clarify. After a while I felt guilty taking up so much of his time, although he was very patient. Now, said machines have become dinner table conversation. This morning they have already removed a large portion of the topsoil hills out back. If the rain holds off, the area should be smooth by evening and we will be able to see the woods and fields beyond.
The alpacas have been curious at times about what was going on back there. Mostly they are unconcerned with anything going on outside of their pasture as they peacefully graze or lay around in the sunshine. They do, however, screech out a warning in their unique style, if they spot the deer coming out of the woods. With the topsoil hills obscuring the view of the woods we didn't hear that warning much since the deer didn't often venture over to our side of the "mountains." I expect that to change with the improved view and the increased deer activity with the onset of fall.
With autumn coming we are gearing up for our annual open house the third weekend of September. The shop will have a new look after this weekend. We have purchased some new display fixtures to better showcase our yarn and will be installing them this Saturday. The shop will be open as usual we just ask that people be prepared to wend their way around obstructions in the shop. The weather is predicted to be perfect for this sort of endeavor since we will have to move much of our more solid merchandise out onto the lawn.
Open house will be held as usual during the National Alpaca Farm Days on Saturday, September 23rd and Sunday, September 24th. We will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days and this year we hope to have as least one baby. The Wurm family's Dora is expecting our Mocha's first little offspring sometime within the first couple of weeks in September. We are as excited as they are for this event.Lisa and I figure this makes our families in-laws somehow!
I recently completed this pair of fingerless mitt out of our brown Leezza's 3-ply DK weight yarn. Her fleece is so fine and soft. I made these for display in the store to show how defined the stitches are with this yarn, and how soft and warm alpaca feels against the skin. I'd like to get a few more pieces done before open house and am trying to enlist some of my knitter friends to help. We also have a yarn sale going on right now on the Etsy store. We are offering 10% off on yarn sales over $50. It's a test run by Etsy and is available to a limited number of shoppers, however we will offer the same sale to in-store shoppers until the end of August. If you shop on Buckeye Star Alpacas, Etsy store, the coupon code is YARN10.
I have started to carry a limited number of finished alpaca items in the store, too. I have commercially produced socks and some handmade (by me) hats for sale now. There will be more items discounted during the open house, too.
More good news! I have contacted Carrie at America's Natural Fiberworks and she has promised to have our 2017 fleece processed and ready to ship before the open house. That means that I will have all of that lovely new yarn for sale in the shop, too!