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.