Saturday, September 2, 2017

End of an Era

The barn now sits silent and devoid of all activity since the animals have all been rehomed.  I walk to the barn and the silence is overwhelming.  I can hear the sheep and goats in my mind calling to me and wanting me to speak to them, touch them, acknowledge their existence.

I have thrown myself into my school work.  Twelve credit hours is a full-time load and then working 16-20 hours each week pretty much consumes me.  It occupies my mind and keeps me from crying for the loss of my beloved creatures.  I knew they needed rehoming because returning to school would take all my time.  They are better off in their new homes.  I hope they get spoken to and treated as they are members of the family.  They were here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring, Lambs, and What Have You

Here it is, another Spring.  In the 15 years that I've had sheep, I've never had them lamb this late.  My first lambs arrived on March 31st.  A nice set of twin BFL lambs.  One a little ewe and one a nice sized ram lamb.

Then, yesterday, April 3, I had another BFL ewe lamb born.  All lambs are white, except the little ewe lamb from Friday who has a black spot on her front right knee.  The twins are bouncing merrily around as if they own the barn.  By the end of the month, I will have lambs bouncing and chasing all over the place.  I love Spring!


When I came out of the house yesterday, I turned left from the steps off the porch instead of right to be blinded by the large splash of yellow springing forth from under the edge of my wooden porch.  Against the dark green grass of spring, the dandelions screamed, "Pick me!"  But I didn't.  Soon they will become puff balls to blown about by the wind.


For those of you reading this that do not have sheep, goats, or alpacas, the unique thing about finding dandelions is that they are almost eradicated on my farm because they are a favorite with the animals.  They zone in on them and eat them first.  It must be a delicacy to them.  I noticed a couple of places in the yard that are springing up with dandelions not yet blooming.  I'm so glad that I didn't put the sheep and goats in the yard last summer to do my mowing.  The touch of color is beautiful!

Also, one last note on this post.  I have signed up for a booth and a pen on the grass at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, Indiana at the Johnson County Fairgrounds on June 2nd and 3rd.  Just in case you need to investigate further...http://www.hoosierhillsfiberfestival.com/   They always have unique classes and I so wish I could leave my booth to take one!




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Autoknitter with original wooden box for sale

Okay I have an autoknitter for sale. It has 3 cylinders and their corresponding ribber plates and the ribber attachment. It has 2 sets of weights and the original yarn winder as well as a packet of needles. I want $1100 for this circular sock machine.  Shipping will run about $75. I have had this machine in the box for 5 years and not gotten around to using it. I am destashing so I can build a garage so that I don't have to scrape my windshield of a morning.

If there is something else you want ask. I have more to list eventually.  I am building my garage before the the next winter hits.  Please contact me at windsongfibersfarm@gmail.com for pictures.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Brrr! Baby It's Cold Outside!

Happy New Year! The inevitable has happened! Not only have we entered a new year, but winter has returned with the promise of snow tomorrow.  I have mixed emotions about the snow coming.  I am supposed to go a good distance away Friday and pick up a wagon load of hay.  The journey is over winding, narrow backroads that are difficult enough with good roads.  Bad roads present an entirely different challenge!

If you know of anyone interested in having an Angora goat or 2, I have 4 does and a little billy that are for sale for $100 each.  I will be selling everyone off this year from the time lambs hit the ground until all are gone.  I love my babies, but there comes a point in everyone's life that what we do must change.  I have reached that point.  I would like to be able to go see my daughter without begging people to come care for my animals.  Seeing her once every 18 months isn't to my liking.  I am glad that she is so happy living 2000 miles away.  However, it isn't easy getting away at a good time when there is livestock involved.

I also have alpacas.  I have 6 months old up to 13 years old.  13 to be exact.  I love standing and petting them and letting them sniff my face and clothes.  I will miss them very much, but being alone and dealing with 50 pound feed sacks and 70 pound bales of hay is no longer feasible for me. Please pass the word along.

My bluefaced leicester sheep and a few oddballs like Agnes - who is half Clun Forest and half Border Leicester, and Brownie - a Cormo X, also will need to be sold. I am trying to make my life more manageable, less chaotic, and easier to take a trip.  Please spread the word far and wide.  I really appreciate everyone's help in this matter.

kate

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Snow!

Today it snowed.  At the farm, it looked like we got about 3 inches and it was still falling when I left for work.  I hope it sticks around until after the single digit weather we are to have on Thursday.  Then Saturday the projected forecast is for it to be 51 degrees and raining.  Good old Indiana weather!

Now for some humor.....about 5:35 I made a trip to the restroom at work.  Upon completion of my toilet activity I reached for the toilet paper dispenser only to discover both sides of the dispenser to be empty.  I told myself not to panic, that someone would be in shortly to hand me some toilet paper.  So I sat and waited.  And waited.  When there is nothing left to do but sing, I did just that.  Still no one came in.  At 5:50, I remembered that there was a knitting class here at work tonight at 6:00 PM.  It just so happens that I have her number in my cell so I called her and asked her if she was coming to the Center tonight and if so, what time. I told her of my predicament.  She laughed!  But then said she was 5 minutes away and would bring toilet paper.

I have never been so glad to see anyone in all my life as I was to see her!  I would have had to wait until the Euchre players take a break at 6:30 before anyone would have come to the restroom and that would have been a very long wait!

I have combed the storage closet here at work and still can't find any toilet paper.  I have contacted my boss and he has thrown out suggestions where it might be, but I can only find glassware and cookware and past years' taxes, a Christmas tree and decorations and tons of what I classify as junk.  I certainly hope the night shift janitors know where it is or there could be trouble tomorrow!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Angora X Alpine aka Buttermilk

Last fall, the only billy around was my Angora billy goat.  I ended up with 4 does bred by him and some really nice Angora X Alpine kids, one of which was Buttermilk.

Today when she met me at the gate, I took a serious look at her very fluffy coat.  It is about 2.5 inches long and sticks straight out from her body in all directions.  It is also wavy.  But the interesting part is that she has a very fuzzy undercoat.  I can't wait to comb her in the spring and see if it is like cashmere.  She has lots of it!  So does Flopsy, so named because her ears don't droop or stand up but flop.

This winter I have no billy and there will be no kids in the Spring.  This could be my last breeding season.  Knees aren't holding up so well and it has become impossible to find help for on the farm.  I love kids!  There is nothing any cuter in the spring than curious kids!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Buttermilk and the Broom Handle

This fall has been a challenging one to say the least.  In the spring, Annie, an Alpine, gave birth to snow white twins, one of which I decided to keep and name Buttermilk.  I wasn't paying attention to the growth of the horns and before I knew it, it was too late to dehorn her.

At first there wasn't a problem, but as Buttermilk grew her desire to eat what was on the other side of the fence grew.  One evening when I arrived home from work, I could hear the frantic calls of a very upset goat in the pouring down rain.  I grabbed the flashlight and followed the sound getting soaked in the first few minutes of my quest.

Then the light hit the white goat, body on one side of the fence, head on the other.  She was stuck and could not figure out how to get out.  And she wasn't much help while I tried to get her out as she wanted to go through the fence instead of back out of it.  By then, my clothes were drenched and I was getting frustrated being wet and Buttermilk not cooperating.  Finally, something clicked in her brain and when I tilted her chin up with the points of her horns touching her back, she backed out and raced to the barn not even giving me a look over her shoulder as she scampered away.

Not too long after that episode.  She got her head stuck yet in another place in the fence.  I had read on Facebook of a guy attaching a sawed off broom handle to his goat's horns to deter her from sticking her head through the fence.  So I found my old useless wooden broom handle and took it to work where I sawed off the handle to half its size.  I bought a new roll of Duct tape and invited the grandkids to come and help hold the goat while I applied the handle.

Buttermilk did not like the handle strapped across the base of her horns.  She yelled.  She screamed.  She twisted and turned all the while trying to rid her head of the stick that would not be free.  Ah! All is well with the world I thought.

Then one morning this week as I stepped out on the porch, I heard it again - the plaintive wails of Buttermilk!  I stepped off the porch to get a better view of the barn and the animals.  There was a white goat (Buttermilk) flopping on the ground.  I rushed to the barn to see what the matter was.  Somehow, someway, Buttermilk managed to get her head through the fence with the broom handle still attached.  That really took some doing and I'm still not sure how she did it.  I grabbed her horns with one hand and raised her up so that I could work somewhere other than on the ground.  I worked hard getting the duct tape to release from its captive hold of the horns and the broomstick.  Finally, I managed to free her from the device that I'm sure she thought was a torture device.

Goats are peculiar in their behavior.  Mine now know that if they line up at the gate that separates them from the driveway and the barn, I will close the gate across the driveway and let them browse where the arena once was.  Inge follows me everywhere with the rest of the goats close behind in single file with the hopes that I will miraculously pull a grain bucket from my pockets.  It isn't gonna happen.

With the 9 goats I have, life is never boring or dull.  They certainly know how to keep my life interesting!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

What's Love Got to Do With It?

I feel  like I must post my feelings on love.  I see so many people getting married and almost as many people getting divorced.  Why?  What happened?  Not only were expectations not met, but they forgot what love is about.  Love is putting the needs of the other person before your own.  Love is making sure the other person is happy when sometimes you would rather have different results.  By putting your significant other first and treating them the way they deserve to be treated, a longevity factor goes up on the relationship.

Now I'm not expert.  In fact I have several marriages under my belt.  I let stars get in my eyes before evaluating the entire situation with his family each time.  I didn't watch how their dad's treated their mothers.  Big hint:  if your future father-in-law treats your future mother-in-law poorly, chances are you will be treated as she was treated.  RUN! Run as fast as you can in the other direction!  You will wind up miserable and wondering what you did wrong.

Watch for anger issues too.  If the person you think you would like to be married to flares up over little things while you are courting, what will it be like when you are married?  It will only get much worse.  I married a man who I suspected to have PTSD.  He also couldn't handle stress of any kind.  It got much worse with age.  He is still undiagnosed by the VA but a local doctor diagnosed him almost 10 years ago.  She wanted to know why the VA wasn't dealing with it.  Good question.  They have denied his claim when he tried to get help for it.

Anyway, I felt like I had to share this today for some reason.  I don't know why, but it has been gnawing at me since very early this morning.  I hope someone gains something from it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

It's a Boy!

Baby Alpaca #2 was born today after I left for work. 
He was still wobbly when I got to the barn at 8:45 PM but nursing well.  He is red, a standard color here at WindSong.  He will be sold as soon as he gets to be 6 months old.  He has very long kinky fiber today. He is also a big boy as he is bigger than the little girl born a week ago Saturday.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

It's hot here.  So hot that the grass in the pastures is now crunchy under my feet.  I don't like that feeling.  It is a feeling of feeding hay instead of pasture grass through the summer.  It is a feeling of high costs for the season of keeping my animals.  It is a feeling of unhappy sheep who prefer grass but don't like it crunchy.  It is a feeling of farmers dealing with crops that don't have enough moisture to produce a decent income.  It isn't a good feeling.

All my alpacas were shorn in May and I managed to recruit help to get half my flock of sheep shorn.  Where are my shearers?  I have been calling them since Christmas and no one, not one of them, has returned my calls.  Is this common for shearers not to return calls?  I always treated them well and even gave a $50 tip last year.  I guess I didn't molly coddle them enough.

I met someone and we dated briefly for about 6 months.  I really thought we were going places as he was so sweet and kind and I loved being romanced. He always made me feel like a little princess when we were together. Then one day he said he found someone else and no longer wanted to be involved with me romantically.  Yes, he broke my heart a month ago and I'm just now getting to where I can get through a day without crying over the loss.  He is everything I ever wanted in a man.  Unfortunately, I guess I wasn't enough for him. I still think he is an awesome man.  I must be patient.  The right one will come someday when I least expect him. 

Yesterday while shearing, I got a surprise but didn't know it until almost 10 last night.  I had the alpacas locked up so that as we were shearing sheep and turning them out, I wouldn't have to chase the alpacas from the shearing area.  I almost forgot to let them out last night.  It was after 9:30 when I remembered and went to the barn to let them out.  The light was waning and it was grey in the barn.  I opened one door to let them out of the area they were in then ran to the end of the barn to open the barn door for them.  Once they were all out of the barn I walked back to the other area to shut the door and there standing in the doorway was a little brown cria blinking her eyes.  So I picked her up and carried her outside, found her mother and sat her near her mom.  Mom was all concerned and made noises telling her about how sorry she was that she forgot her. 

Today that little girl is basking in the sun and suckling as nothing ever happened.  I'm glad she is well and she has a good mommy.  And so the summer goes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Here we are in the last half of October.  The weather continues to play the hot/cold game.  We have had a hard frost just a couple of days ago and winter is breathing down our necks.  Normally, I look forward to winter, but this year, I am dreading it.  I don't like being cold and last winter I don't think I was ever warm except when I went to someone's home that had a woodstove.

My home needs insulation in the worse way, but when I got a quote on the insulation necessary to stop the scratching in the walls, I about fell out of my chair.  $6,000 for the spray in foam insulation that eliminates bugs and all.  The problem is that because I'm in an existing home, the dry wall will need to be removed.  So I'm thinking that $6,000 will be more like $10,000.  I don't have either amount so I've dismissed that idea and will just need to keep knitting, baking, and snuggling under the covers with layers of dog and cat.

I so need more time before winter gets here.  I've got to get a shelter of some sort put up for my alpaca girls.  I have some lumber, but have no clue what to do with it.  Where do I go from here?

I need to get started relocating stock tanks and running extension cords for the tank de-icers so that I'm not doing it in the freezing cold.  From the looks of the weather projection, next week looks like a great week to do that.

Well, I need to get off here as I have to get ready for work.  Tomorrow I work an 8 hour shift.  That will be awesome as I could sure use the extra income even though it will only be $40 more.  Until next time....Bye!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

It was bound to happen and I don't like it one bit! The Dog Days of Summer! Hot! Hot! Hot!  I want to go see War Room at the theater, but it is so hot out that just going to the car and being in the heat is too much to even think about!  I don't do heat and it looks like the 90's are here until at least Wednesday.  I just took a look at the projected temperatures for today and it looks like it will be 97 by 4pm.  I know that those of you in the West think that 97 is nothing, but the humidity of 60%+ makes it feel like 115 or more.  All the creatures on the farm are in the shade lazing around.  I'm in the A/C trying to spin and decide whether to go see the movie today or Monday.  It doesn't matter.  Looks like Monday's forecast is a duplicate of today.

I bought a webcam to use with my laptop so that I can video knitting lessons for The International School of Beijing since knitting instructors don't exist there.  However, I can't get it to come on.  I've installed the software, but it won't let me click on anything.  I'm kicking myself for not using computers as much after I retired as what I did when I was working full-time.  It's like there is a disconnect in my brain and I can't comprehend what the problem is.  I used to be a great trouble shooter.  Now, I'm in the dark.  Can anyone send me an email and tell me what I'm doing wrong?  It is a Logitech c615 HD Webcam if that helps any.

Well, I think I will clean up and go see the movie.  I will let you know what I think when I get back.  War Room  has 5 stars and I've seen previews.  Until later (I want to catch the 3:00 movie!).....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Woo-Hoo! I got a trailer!

While it may not be much of a challenge to many of you, I found a horse trailer for $900 and they will let me pay on it each month while using it!  This is a big feat for me as I have struggled to load lambs and sheep in the back of the truck.  Now if I was a big hefty guy, that might not be to hard, but considering that I'm 4 feet 9 inches tall, it is a major task for me.  Of course, it is rusty and needs work, but it is usable and that was the biggest requirement!

Oops! I didn't get a picture! Here it is dark and late.  I will have to get a picture in the morning before I go to the hardware store for some clamps to hold my ductwork in place under the house so that my air conditioner doesn't have to struggle to keep up with the heat.  Duct tape for now, but this isn't the first time the ductwork has fallen down.  Hose clamps should keep that from happening...I hope.

Did you go to the Indiana State Fair this year?  If so, did you go on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and go through the Family, Home, and Arts building?  You may have seen me sitting there spinning yarn like crazy.  It is more than a hobby for me.  It is a way to raise money to feed my animals.  With hay now at a stable $5 a bale and me going through about 500 bales a year on a retirement check, my animals need to feed themselves.  It is the only way that I can feed them is if I spin their fibers, sell their fibers and yarn that I spin, and sell the lambs produced each year.

Speaking of which, I still have Barney, the 2-year old Angora billy goat for sale.  He is a big pet and shares "the compound" with Snow Prince the alpaca.  It is the only pen that has a wall tall enough that Snow Prince can't jump it.

If you think you might need some yarn a certain color and have a swatch of fabric that you would like the yarn to match, I can do it.  I've been doing it for a couple of years now for a friend and enjoy tampering with the dyes to get just the right color.  A pinch of this, a dash of that, and a smidgen of something else.  It all blends together and changes the depth, hue, and intensity of the color that way.
Well, it is time to sign off.  I hope all are enjoying the summer weather.  Until next post...bye!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Whew! Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival is a year away!

Whew! While I look forward to Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival each year, I'm glad that it is over for this year.  Vending at HHFF is a lot of work.  It takes months preparation and many trips to the fairgrounds to get everything into the Prius and placed in my booth, even the sheep get first class accommodations riding in the back of an air conditioned Prius, even though they are in a dog kennel.

I want to take this time to thank each and everyone of my readers who made it to Hoosier Hills and helped make this event a success and ensure the future of WindSong Fibers Farm.  While I am only a small cog in a big wheel that helps insure that HHFF happens each year, without YOU, the consumer of fibers and fine crafts, the event would not succeed.

Vending fibers, yarns and other items helps me feed the animals on the farm.  The money goes to buy hay and grain to keep everyone fat and happy so that they produce luxurious fibers for the next event.  Once again, without YOU, I could not continue raising luxurious fibers and sell lambs to others interested in raising fiber animals.  I love my lifestyle of going to the barn, watching the life cycle of new lambs, goats, and other animals give birth and care for their young.  I love my animals calling to me when they see me outside.  I love them running up to me, although sometimes a bit rambunctious and overly eager almost knocking me off my feet, when I walk down to check that all is well.

But most of all, I love my customers! They share with me the projects they hope to make using my yarns and rovings and top (if you didn't get an ounce or two of the Cormo/Alpaca top I had at HHFF, you missed it! It sold like hotcakes!).  I try my best to provide what I think will make you happy knitting or spinning.  Sometimes, I don't like what I get back from the mill.  It doesn't always turn out as I imagined it. So I sell that item at reduced rates.  There is always someone who loves what I don't.  Isn't that the nice thing about everyone?

Well, once again, thank you for making HHFF successful for the vendors and the board of directors as well.  As a "not-for-profit" entity, HHFF will be able to afford another event next year.  I hope to see everyone then!  Thank you!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

2015 Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival - A Carnival of Fibers!

Here it is that time of year again - it is time for Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival!  I have made two trips hauling 4 lambs in a dog kennel in the back of my Prius to Franklin getting ready for the festival tomorrow.  I should have made a third trip, but didn't because my booth is such disarray.  I could barely stay awake coming back from the second trip and after sitting on the sofa to put my shoes on and dozing off, I decided it was time to stay home.  That means I have to get up at 5 in the morning to milk the goat and feed everyone before heading off to spend the day at HHFF.

I am excited! This year, we have an ice cream vendor!!!! I've been harping for nigh on 7 years that we needed someone to dispense ice cream. Now we have one!  I love ice cream, especially if it is Blue Bell, which means I haven't had a lot of ice cream lately.  I sure do miss Blue Bell ice cream!

Back to HHFF.  I'm in Fitzpatrick Hall at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.  I have 4 lambs.  I didn't even realize until I made the second trip to drop 2 captives off that 3 of my lambs this year are natural colored.  Two of them are black and white and marked like Pandas.  One is solid color except for light white streak on the forehead.  No pictures available at this time as I have spent 3 days getting ready for this and all of today just hauling lambs or helpers.

I do have some really nice dark brown top for sale this year.  It is from Charlie, my Cormo ram, and Jeanne, my almost black alpaca.  It is very soft and feels like velvet.  I also have slate colored mohair for sale this year in roving form.  It will be the last year I have this as Bacardi, the provider, is no longer with me.

Well, no time to post more.  I need to go milk and deliver eggs.  I hope to see many of my readers at the festival!  Bring the kids, pet a sheep, check out all the gorgeous color ways of yarns, rovings, etc.  I am lacking in color this year, but hope to remedy that for next year.  Stop by and say "Hi" so that I know you've read my blog.  See you at the HHFF!