Thursday, November 1, 2007

It's a Boy!!!

One of our long awaited babies has arrived this morning! Alina proudly presented us with a bouncing baby boy. Mother and baby are doing well. I haven't named him yet because I was expecting a girl instead of a little boy. See what happens when you count your chickens before they're hatched. Here is a couple of photos of the little fellow. Isn't he precious?

Keep your fingers crossed that Jeanne has a girl. I can't wait for it to be born! Tomorrow, I will post some pics of our Finn/Shetland, Finn/Babydoll girls. 'Til then..

Monday, October 29, 2007

My how time flies!

I have been quite remiss in keeping up with my blogging. Give me 20 lashes with a wet spaghetti noodle!! LOL!! It has been very hot here until about 5 days ago. We have had several days of rain back to back and a hard frost as of last night. We are still trying to get the goats sheared. It is very cool and I hesitate shearing them so they can shiver their way into pneumonia.

A weekend ago, we moved all the sheep into their pastures. Galahad is now with his 3 ladies - Ruth, Naomi, and Jasmina. Meanwhile, Henry` is with 8 of his girls. We should be getting babies about about the 3rd week of March. How exciting that we will be starting another season of lambs and fibers!

I've got to get a pictures of Charlie to post. I will be listing him for sale very soon. He is a sweetheart and gets very excited at chow time. I hope to get a picture of him with all 4 feet in the air. He is so funny.

Just wanted all to know I'm doing fine, but have been very busy with ebay trying to raise hay money since about August 10. At first things were slow, but then they became very hectic. I hope I have stabilized now. I will have to keep looking for things to post on their as well as keep everyone here up to-date. I hope everyone is keeping warm. I will do my best to post at least once a week. After Christmas, I should be able to post more frequently. Hang in there and keep spinning, knitting or whatever you past-time delight is just keep doing it! kate of WindSong

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Still Hot

This morning when I started to the barn, I found Katrina, my almost 2 year old alpaca laying in the path dead. It has been so hot and I have tried very hard to keep them cool, but with temps in the 95-102 range repeatedly and no rain since early August (oh, every now and then we get our allocation of 50 drops), it has been very hot and dry. In spite of no rain, the humidity has been absolutely unbearable. In the posted picture, Katrina is the one on the right. The lighter colored one is her mother, Alina. She will be sorely missed as she was a real sweetie.

I don't know if it is normal or not but many of the cornfields are already harvested. Leaves are falling from the trees too. Isn't it a bit early for all this? Just wondering as it doesn't seem like fall yet and I thought all this happened later in the fall. Well, I just wanted to share about Katrina. It will help me deal with her loss. Thanks for letting get this off my chest.

kate of WindSong

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hotter than.....

Wow! The weather man kept saying it was going to be hot today, but I seldom put much stock in their forecasts. However, this afternoon we jumped in the Prius to drive up to Hope to mail some e-bay packages and the temperature outside remained at the 100 degrees mark the entire time we were out. The hottest day of our summer so far and it is in August!

I don't know much about other people, but I know how much I value my friends and the friendship that I have with them. Tonight, I had a rude awakening. I went to a friend's house to pick up some things of mine that I've been trying to collect for the past 5 months, but could never get anyone home or commit to being home. I was met at the back door of this so-called friend's house and given the third degree by this person's husband. He went so far as to call me a bitch because his daughter lied and told him that I was rude to her in a phone call that I had made to their house to try to find them home.

I have been trying to make contact with this person to gather all my items so that they won't be in her way and her husband claims he threw them in the landfill. He threw over $500 of rubber stamps in the landfill!!!! I'm not sure what I have done, if I have done anything for them to treat me this way. But I guess I have one less friend than I thought I had. A real friend would not avoid another friend when they are trying to collect their possessions. I'm sorely disappointed in this woman and I wish her well in spite of her avoiding me for whatever reason it might be.

Well, I need to move on. We haven't had supper yet and I need to fix something even if it isn't good for me.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rain Finally Came!

We have gone a long time with out rain this summer. To give you an idea of how long, we have mowed grass only 1 time. We have almost used half of this winter's hay because the pastures are dry and getting sparse. Then this afternoon it happened.

Rain began falling! I mean a lot of rain, not hard that runs off, but a good steady rain for over an hour. Now as if the voice of the earth is calling, it is raining once again with another steady rain that will soak in and nourish the roots enabling the sheep to eat grass again. We are almost 8 inches behind in rainfall this year. We don't live far from a waterfall and for the past 6 weeks the creek bed has been so dry that there isn't any water to make a fall.

The rain is like manna from heaven right now at a critical time for all the farmers and gardeners. I am so thankful that God hears prayer.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fair Results

Remember the coral colored yarn I have in my last blog? Well, it got a blue ribbon at the county fair. I was the only entrant in that class though so blue is as good as it gets. Unfortunately, my shawl didn't do as well. It got a red. I wore it to church a couple of times back in the spring and must have worked some ends loose. I didn't bother to check it before taking it to the fair. My fault.

I still have "Brownie" for sale. He is a nice ram with beautiful fleece and someone is going to dearly love him and his fleece as it is delightful! I also have 2 white twin Shetland/Finn rams that have absolutely gorgeous fleece! If you don't want a ram and only need a fiber sheep, we can provide you with a wonderful wether with gorgeous fleece also. I love my boys, but we don't have enough pasture for them all.

Last Friday, some knitting friends of mine came out and we did Kool-Aid dyeing. I haven't got pictures of mine, but will have later today to post them. I think you will be delighted in what you can do with Kool-Aid. It isn't dangerous either, but if you are going to do a lot of yarn, it is costly. Makes for a good experiment.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Socks & Yarns

Isn't technology wonderful?! After discovering that my blog with my socks didn't post, I dug up the photos and I'm ready to post them. The white and orange socks were done with some old Kool-Aid that had hardened like a rock. So I soaked the yarn in vinegar water overnight then crushed the Kool-Aid between my fingers while sprinkling it over the socks, microwaved the yarn for 5 minutes, rinsed it and presto! speckled yarn! I wish the picture was clearer but since I'm an amateur photographer, that is the best I could do on this pair.

This pair of socks was made from hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn and then hand-knit using a 2x2 ribbing. I love knitting with hand-spun yarns. For some reason they are more scrumptious than boughten yarn. These are of a lovely red, orange, yellow roving that when spun blended the colors quite well. I really like them and I'm going to have to make some more roving so I can have a pair of socks just like them....well, almost like them as this type of yarn is hard to duplicate.

Now I want to show off my 2 large hanks of hand-spun yarn that I just finished. I forgot to include the smaller hank of 196 yards, but overall, I've had a good spinning week. The coral hank is 348 yards of a wool/silk blend. The other hank is from Shetland and is 398 yards. I hope the photo does them justice as I am very anal about my yarns looking almost like mill plied yarn. Let me know what you think. I just like uniformity. However, I have a friend whose yarn looks like the expensive yarns with twirls and curls and all. I just can't seem to reproduce her yarn.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Carpe Diem

I know that I posted a blog with pictures of the socks I mailed off. However, it isn't here anywhere so I must have not saved it. That's what happens when I get in a hurry. I'll have to dig out the pics and try posting them at another time as they aren't saved on this computer.

As of this evening, I have completed 942 yards of yarn this week. I first completed a wool hank of 196 yards that was from hand dyed red, purple, and yellow roving. I spun the singles on a drop spindle then plied it on my wheel. That was the last of the 1 pound of that roving that I had. Then I managed to get 398 yards of Shetland spun and plied. It is hanging on a hanger drying at this time along with the 3rd hank of yarn that was a beautiful coral color of wool and silk and it made up into 348 yards. Altogether this week, I have managed to ply 942 yards of yarn. That is a first for me. I did get another bobbin of Shetland on the ball winder so that it is ready to ply also. It will be almost as much as the hank of Shetland above.

I've got to take the 2nd 2 hanks above to the county fair tomorrow. I just love doing things the last minute. In fact I perform better at the last minute pushed on by the stress of missing the proverbial boat. Before I leave with the hanks tomorrow, I will get a picture of all 3 hanks so that you can see my accomplishment. I'm glad that I made getting this stuff plied a priority.
Just wait until you see it in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Too many rams

Wow! It has been almost a month since my last post. I truly didn't aim not to keep you entertained with farm happenings.
We recently spent some time sorting our spring crop. Boys in one area, girls in another. I was a bit surprised as all the bleating afterwards only lasted about 24 ho
urs. I guess we must have done it at the right time.
If anyone reading this post is in the market for a ram lamb, or a lamb for the freezer, here are some choices. I tried to capture the essence of their fleeces so that if you are looking for something to shear, you will know beforehand what you are getting. I especially would like to find a home for the brown ram lamb as he is a beauty and hate to butcher a colored lamb just because he is related to one and all.
As you can see, he is starting to fade, but the color genetics are there to pass on to his progeny. His sire is also the sire to the other 3 ram lambs I have available.

Two of the ram lambs are twin brothers and have pink noses and pink skin under the fleece. Their fleece is very crimpy and at only 3 months old, already has almost 3 inch locks. If you look below, you can see how their fleece falls and how curly the crimp is.

These are two very nice rams. I'm located in South Central Indiana if you are interested in these lambs. Tomorrow I will post pics of the two Angora bucks that will be for sale November 1st.

I've got to get pictures of the socks I'm about to mail off. They are beauties!! They are for a lady in California that likes orange and I really hope she likes them when she gets them. You be the judge. Until tomorrow....

Monday, June 4, 2007

Escapees on the farm

For some reason unknown to me, the sheep and goats have decided to play games with me. First of all, they have appointed me the "go-to" person. If they can't find their kid/lamb/momma, they are to start bleating until I appear and show them where the lost can be found. I don't mind this so much during the day, but midnight is a bit late to be looking for the flock when a 1/2 grown lamb goes to get a drink then can't remember where the others are and I have to lead the way.

Next, they decided to take turns escaping and running over to the neighbors to visit. They always seem to know what the car pulling out of the drive means: time to go visit! Nothing like returning home from town to see a note taped on the gate to let us know the sheep are next door. Next door is about 1000 yards away so by the time we get them home, they are too tired to play escapee for a day or two.

Finally, the lambs tend to follow one momma until they get thirsty. Then there is a lamb scramble with someone always winding up at the gate to the yard screaming his/her little lungs out to let me know they need help because momma can't be found.

I'm not getting a lot done nowdays with all the searches I end up doing in a day. However, if I go down to the studio in the barn, they all follow me there and lay in the shade until I return to the house. Perhaps I should spend more time in the barn. Then I wouldn't be spending so much time chasing sheep.

I'll take the camera out tomorrow and get some photos of my chocolate Shetland/Finn ram lamb. He is a beauty but if he remains on the farm, he will end up being freezer fodder. I certainly hope that I can sell him before that time comes. His genetics are good as his grandma is a quad and quint producer and the fiber is excellent. I can't wait until fall to shear him so I will have some chocolate fleece.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Earth Hues Dyes

I'm so excited! I got my 10 Earth hues dyes in the mail today and I can't wait to finish spinning the Shetland I'm working with so that I can dye it. I need some orange and white sock yarn so lets hope I get it right. Can anyone out there tell me if the Earth Hues dyes (from Woodland Woolworks) can be mixed, painted on, then microwaved to set? I hope so because that is the method I plan to use. I will display my photos next week after I'm done.

Right now, I'm running back and forth from home to the hospital where my husband is. His wreck in February has constantly kept us surprised. He continues to live and re-live the wreck and can't get it out of his head. He has lost 30 pounds and can now hide behind a telephone pole. His health got to the point that he could barely walk. So the next time you are on your knees, include my dh, Mike, in your prayers. Thank you.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Pass It On

This morning after I got back from the milking and feeding, I sat down with a church magazine and began reading a talk about repentance and conversion to the gospel. At one particular point, the article states that "the fruits of repentance are sweet." Then goes on to tell that converts to the restored gospel find that these truths "govern their thoughts and deeds, shape their habits and forge their character." I find this so true. It is much easier to be more like Christ when we dedicate ourselves to Him and His way of life.

I did some small deed the other day for one of my cousins. She wanted to know what it would take to repay me. I told her to go and do some small unexpected deed for someone else; repayment wasn't necessary. She then said it would be much easier to pay me. Ah! Compare the small deed to the ripples on a pond. It takes one small stone to start an ever expanding array of ripples continuing outward until they reach the bank. Our small deeds should be the same. There is a group out there somewhere that began a "Pass It On" movement years ago. I don't know what became of that group, but I felt it a good thing then and believe it is time to start that movement again. With all the evil and meanness in the world, it only takes one act of kindness to make someone smile and remember that throughout their day. Sow the seed, pass it on. Won't you join me in doing a good deed for someone this week?

Monday, April 30, 2007

The last of the lambs

Wow!! It has been 10 whole days since my last post. I didn't realize I was so busy!! LOL!! The first 7 days of coccidiosis treatment has ended and now we are on the weekly dosage. As they say, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'

The last two mornings in a row has been very pleasant. When I went to milk Margaret yesterday morning, one of my Shetland/Finn ewes just finished birthing the 2nd lamb. Both are little ram lambs but very nice. One has very tight curls that makes me think of his fleece as 'mudcloth' right now because the curls are tight against his skin. The other little ram has tight curls across his shoulders but his back and hips have large soft pincurls. Very soft fleece. More Finn came out in him than his brother.

Then this morning when I went to milk, my last ewe was feeding a gorgeous chocolate ram lamb that she must have birthed early this morning because at 11 last night there was no baby at her side. This little fellow is beautiful! I wish he was a ewe instead of a ram. He is related to everyone so I can't keep him. Just take a look at his photo. He is a soft milk chocolate on his head and the chocolate color gets darker until he is a very dark chocolate on his hind end. A beautiful color!! Can't wait to see how he fades as he gets a little older!

We went to a herding clinic yesterday to see what all we have to do to get Mozart and Daisy ready for herding. It sure seems like a lot of work to me. But if I can get them trained, it will be well worth it as I don't like chasing that one errant sheep that doesn't seem to get the 'follow the leader' mentality that sheep are supposed to have. Now with all the lambs we have - final count is 10 - I'm sure that I'll have to whip them into shape so that they too will follow the leader.

I got a phone call from a quilting celebrity for another pair of handmade socks. I made her several pair already and had my mother give them to her at a quilt retreat. Now she wants 2 more pair. Gotta get knitting! Even if it is outside!!

It looks as though the weather will be beautiful this week. I don't want to waste any of the sunshine so I must go and enjoy it. A lot of work to do outside. Enjoy the weather while you can and keep watching for new posts of exciting things happening on the farm.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sheep Life

As I gaze around the farm, I see lambs basking in the sun and resting while their mommas graze peacefully. Sometimes if a momma eats her fill early, she will lounge with her young and enjoy the fact that they aren't hungry but that she can still be close to them. Sheep seem to be a more peaceful, relaxed animal than my Angora goats who always seem to be searching for something and bleating at the sight of humans, dogs, or anything that doesn't belong. The two species are almost like opposites in personality and behavior.

The first photo I'm posting today is of Naomi and Ruth, the Border Leicester twins. Notice how leggy they are. The trunk of their bodies is completely coverd with very tight, tiny "pincurls." Their legs have very straight coarse hair. Naomi is leaning against the white shed while Ruth is curious and always into something. Ruth is one of our bottle babies and very friendly. Her momma lets her suckle now, but hasn't enough milk to support two very hungry girls.

Then there are the 3/4 babydoll/1/4 Finn girls - Violet and Daisy. There momma, Melody, is a 50/50 blend of Finn and Babydoll, but there daddy is a registered Babydoll and is he ever gorgeous. However, he isn't mine and doesn't live here so I can't post his photo, but I can post one of Melody with the 2 girls. Violet is the taller one and standing between her momma and sister.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Farm Animals

Today is a lazy day for me. I've managed to get all of one fleece washed and on the drying rack. Now I'm spending time playing with Mozart and Daisy as well as the our two mini Schnauzers, Duchess and Mikki. My 3 Shetland/Finn ewes still have not delivered and I'm a bit annoyed when I think about the nice couple of days we've had that they could have had their lambs and I wouldn't have to worry about it being too cold. I've even gone out and sat down with them and talked to them about delivery times. I guess they have their own timetable to follow through on.

The sun is playing peek-a-boo with us and all the animals are stretched out lazily in the grass enjoying the elusive rays of warmth this afternoon. The wind is brisk and chilly, but close to the ground with the sun out is warm.

I managed to snap a few photos of the sheep and a couple of alpacas before everyone came to check out the camera. The two alpacas are Alina and Katrina, her 2005 daughter. I have other photos to post tomorrow that I took today. All of them of my sheep.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fiber Fest Hand-Dyed Yarns

Ahhh! I keep forgetting to post this photo of the yarns dyed at the fiber festival. These were all done with Natural Dyes, no acid dyes. Some have been dyed twice, some once, some three times. All are beautiful, colorful yarns and fibers.

Notice the white places in some of the yarns. This was accomplished by tightly twisting the hanks so as to create a resist effect on the yarn that wasn't directly exposed to the dyes in the pot. I've learned a lot and hope to get my own dye pots up and running shortly. First I need to gather up all the fibers I'm going to dye and throw them in a bucket of mordant so that I have plenty to dye. Then I will get the dye pots going. It is nice to be able to blog my progress so that I can share my growth with others.

New Members of the Family

It is no secret to people that know me that I've been on a search for Corgis. I'm not looking for just any Corgi, I'm looking for Pembrokes that come from working parents. Well, through some stroke of luck, we happened into some folks that knew of a place not more than 80 miles from us who use Corgis on their farm. We went today to look at them and just couldn't resist bringing Mozart and Daisy home with us. Yes, I brought home 2 adorable little Corgis.

Anyway, here we are 15 minutes after arriving home getting our first photo shoot. I look a fright as it is very windy here today and I've been up since 6. But the pups take very good photos.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Classes at The Fiber Event

After two days of driving back and forth for two hours each day for classes at The Fiber Event, I am exhausted! Each day my class began at 9 a.m. which isn't too bad even with the two hour drive. But with sheep, goats, and alpacas to care for, I had to get up at 5:30 to care for everyone before leaving for the show.

On Friday, I took "Natural Dyeing - Using 2 and 3 colors" taught by Stefania Isaacson. She is a very good instructor and one can never get enough from her classes. I always leave wanting more. Then today I had a class called "Llama, Mohair, and more..." also by Stefania. I learned a lot about blending hair fibers with wool and how to know which type of wool complements each hair fiber best. I got to spin fibers such as camel, guanaco, alpaca, and more. Each fiber was a tactile experience that made me want to just sit there and stroke the fibers. However, if I had only stroked the fibers, I would not have learned how great the blending of the fibers can be. At this time, I don't have pictures. Everything is still in the car as I was too tired to unload the car when we returned home today. My little Prius is loaded to the gills with fiber, my wheel, chair, and purchased supplies including a super picker and a carder I just purchased. I am now in the business of mixing fibers and trying to make a little cash once in awhile with what I have designed. I am SO excited!!! Yippee!!! I finally have a carder!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sharing the Farm

It only seems natural to have a blog and share with others the joys and pains of owning and raising fiber animals. So far this spring, my flocks have increased by 9 animals. My 2 year old Saanen doe, Margaret, was bred to a Boer buck in late fall. I bred her to a Boer because she failed to produce anything last season and the vet feared she was sterile. Since the neighbors have Boers, it was much easier than driving 45 miles to have "crop failure" again. However, Margaret surprised me with a set of twins - one doe, one buck. Margaret was a character as a kid and last summer was the "babysitter of choice" by all the other mommas in the pastures. She did her best to teach all the "kids" in the pastures how to escape, open gates, etc. I can hardly wait to see if her kids are chips off the old block. As I get more pictures of the sheep, lambs, alpacas, and kids, I will try to keep this site up to date.