Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Great North American Afghan

I am now on block 13 of The Great North American Afghan. However, I skipped block #12 since the needles in my hands at the end of block 11 were the same size needed for block 13, I bypassed #12 until a later time. A precursor to each block is thoroughly reading the instructions and typing them up to fit my knitting style. I usually type up several blocks at a time so that I don't have to stop between blocks and type some more.

Knitting this afghan is a journey for me. Each block on average is taking 6-8 hours of my time. But the beauty that grows with each row is so exciting that I can barely wait to get to the next block. With all the other activities that go on this time of year, I don't expect to get this afghan completed before Christmas. The blocks that are done will have to go into a box and and I.O.U. on the top. The recipient will just have to settle for an unfinished afghan with the expectation of getting it before summer arrives.

Meanwhile on the farm, we didn't expose our ewes to the rams until Dec. 1. While having early babies was fun this past year, we bred late in hopes that we lose fewer lambs since the weather should be more agreeable to lambing in April and May. The ewes are so fat and sassy right now.

In spite of space between the Shetland/Finns and the Border/Bluefaced Leicesters, Galahad, the B/B L ram has been standing at the fence jealously eyeing Bob the Babydoll/Finn's flock. Bob is a cutie. He is friendly and easy with the girls as well as easy to handle when time comes to remove from the flock. Galahad is also easy to remove from the flock with a call to come. So like a big dog, he lumbers to the space given to rams that no longer need to be with the ewes.

Now to get back to knitting Christmas. I do not see anyway possible to get everything knitted or stitched before Christmas, but I will do what I can to get as much as possible completed before the big day. In the meantime, onward and forward!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photo Updates of My Babies

My digital camera and I spent some time together the other day to snap some photos of curious sheep. I thought it would be hard to get pictures, but not the way it was. I found it hard to get good photos because everyone was curious what the "Great Food Meister" was doing among them. My one little ram (babydoll/Finn/Shetland) wanted to nose the lens and since he is a ram in training, it wasn't real safe to squat down. I have been gently butted, but only because I wasn't doling out the candy corn fast enough. So I went back into the house and when I came back out, I rounded the corner of the house carefully and got this side view photo of him before he saw me and came running to me looking for a handout. I am planning on using this little guy on my 50/50 Shetland/Finn ewes this fall. That should improve the crimp and productivity in preparation of using a higher percentage Babydoll ram next fall. So what do you think of my little guy? He is stocky, small, short crimpy fiber, easy to handle, and a big baby.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So Much To Be Done

Here it is a day away from October and I'm not ready for winter. I have 3 shelters to build for the sheep and goats and a hen house to winterize. I also have about 8 extra ewes and 2 rams to find homes for. I really hate to part with those ewes as I am really pleased with the fiber I'm getting. I have a 2-fold breeding program.

The first program I'm breeding a 50/50 blend of Border Leicester and Bluefaced Leicester for a silky long lock for durable yarns. The next program is more complicated. I love Babydoll sheep but only have 3 but they are mixed with a percentage of Finn. They still have the babydoll type fleece. The only problem is that the fleece is short. Now I'm not complaining about the crimp, mind you, only the lack of length. So I introduced a 50/50 Shetland/Finn to my Babydolls last fall. I didn't get the typey fleece from my older ewe who is 50/50 Babydoll/Finn. However, her 2007 twin daughters who are 75/25 Babydoll/Finn presented me with very crimpey/longer-fleeced youngsters. The feel is luscious. The little ram even has close to a babydoll face and the size is just a fraction more than the original babydoll breed. I will get some pictures to post this week. I want longer fleece with the babydoll crimp and softness. I am continuing my breeding program this fall to improve on what I have. I want fibers that yearn to be next to the skin. Let's see how well I do. Until next time......kate of WindSong Fibers Farm

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fiber Festival Preparation

I don't know if I've mentioned it or not in my prior posts, but I am a board member this year for the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2008. This will be its 4th annual gathering at Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin, Indiana on June 6th and 7th.

Now I've never been a board member for anything before, but I can tell you this much it is a lot of hard work planning a festival. My baby is getting the booklet and handouts completed as well as floor layouts printed up so that everyone has something to hold onto so as not to forget us for next year.

On top of all that, I have my own brood of sheep, alpacas, Angora goats, dogs, and spouse to care fore as well. My lambs think I'm the mom finder and do their best to bleat as loud as they can so that when they need a drink and can't find mom, I will come rushing out of the house to their aid in their "mom" search. After 8 weeks of this, I'm getting pretty calloused to it though. I try not to hear them in spite of their high-pitched calls for help. Only if one persists for an extended period of time do I go check to see if there is something really wrong other than they don't want to move from a particular spot and want their mom to come to them.

I am proud to say that this year, I have some really nice lambs I will be selling at Hoosier Hills...or should I say that my darling hubby will manning the pen. I will have all the information he needs along with paperwork so that he can tell interested buyers what mix the lamb is or so he can call me on the cell and have me come out and talk to potential buyers. I have 50/50 Shetland/Finns, 50/25/25 Finn/Babydoll/Shetlands, & 37.5/37.5/25 Finn/Babydoll/Shetland blends. I have posted a photo of one of the 50/50 ewes I will be selling. Her 1/2 sister from last year blessed me with a beautiful black ewe this year. All their fibers are awesome and I can't wait for the couple of lambs I'm keeping to have fleece long enough to shear. By festival time I may also have some Border/Bluefaced Leicester lambs, but they haven't arrived yet. I will have an Angora kid buck for sale and maybe a doe. I haven't made up my mind. But the doe and the buck are twins from this year and they are soooo cute!!!!

I missed church this morning because yesterday we sheared 10 alpacas. There was a crew of 5 of us and we started about 10:30 and went until near 7 p.m. I am sooo sore that I couldn't get out of bed this morning until almost 10. It took me an hour to get loosened up so that I could move. I still ache and hope I feel better tomorrow. I don't like being stiff and sore! lol!!! If you read this blog and would like to see the lambs before the festival, feel free to drop me a line. kate of WindSong

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lambs & kids

Is it April already??!!?? It doesn't seem like I posted so long ago. However, as with all farms, the seasons change rapidly and there is always something new going on. This spring I am blessed with an abundance of lambs and so far a set of twin Angora kids. Like last year, it seems that my lambing and kidding comes in 2 waves. The first wave, now over for over 3 weeks, has left me with cute, noisy little voices that already recognize me as the "Food Meister" or "she who brings the grub."

I am also the one who finds momma when all hope is lost that she is anywhere in the pasture. The lambs are confident that I know where she is and who momma really is. I'm glad they have that much faith in me, but if I don't get some eartags in them soon, I won't know who came from where as they are beginning to all look alike.

While I don't have any pictures of my chickens yet, I now have chickens. My last encounter with chickens was growing up on a farm. I didn't realize they had personalities. Now I'm finding that my own chickens don't mind using my hand as a place to sit and visit. They are only about 8 weeks old, but I have already named the gorgeous golden one, a Buff Orpington, Beauty. She is so silky and gorgeous. The 4 Rhode Island Reds are noisy and energetic always trying to fly out when I open the door. I haven't the slightest what to name them at this time. Then there are the 3 Plymouth Barred Rocks. They are inquisitive and collected. None of these guys are afraid of jumping on my arm to sit. I did have to teach them what their roost was for and now they think I'm an extension of the roost. Geez!

I have included photos of my twin Angora kids for you to ooh and aaah about. They are adorable and are so mischievous. I am constantly laughing at them. They will be registered with CAGBA (Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association) and the little boy will be fore sale. He is a fine specimen of his father.