Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shearing Angora kids

I worked up the energy yesterday to shear one of the triplet Angora kids, Babette.  While she protested at first, she soon realized, "Ahhhh! I can feel air on my skin again!"

Then today, I managed to get Brie, Barney, and Dove sheared.  So all the 2013 kids have now had their first shearing.  In spite of the cold coming in, I must spend this week shearing the 3 adults.  I looked at their fleeces today and if I don't get them removed in the next week or so, I will lose those fleeces.  The kids will get to spend time in a stall in the barn far removed from the wind.  I don't want them chilling.
I happened to remember that I sheared one of the BFL ram lambs before sending him to market.  I have 20 ounces of beautiful white BFL lamb fleece that would be awesome blended with some of the kid mohair.  I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Luke
And she brought forth her afirstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the binn.
 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and theaglory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you agood tidings of great bjoy, which shall be to all people.
 11 For unto you is aborn this day in the city of David abSaviour, which is Christ the cLord.
 12 And this shall be a asign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14 aGlory to God in the highest, and on earth bpeace, good will toward men.
 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16 And they came with ahaste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18 And all they that heard it awondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 19 But Mary kept all these things, and apondered them in her heart.
 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
A legend?  I think not.  The story of Jesus Christ is written by ancient prophets in both the Bible and The Book of Mormon.  His story is a true and will inspire your life and bring you closer to God.  To read more about the birth of our Saviour go to http://www.lds.org/

Friday, December 20, 2013

Angora Billy Goats

I still have two Angora billy goats that I need to sell because they are related to all my girls.  Billy will be 2, April 2014.  As a 9-month old, he bred two of my does.  The one doe had a set of triplets (2 does, 1 billy), the other doe being her first kid had a single.  The billy kid's name is Barney (one of the triplets) and he has beautiful fleece and lots of it.  His fleece extends to his face and sometimes blocks his vision so trimming is essential.  Barney will be 1 in June of 2014.

I would like $100 each for these billys or a trade for an Angora billy of similar quality.  I can drive half way (up to 150 miles) for a trade.

As for does, I plan on keeping the two triplet does and hope for a good season again this year.  If interested, any doe kids born this year will be for sale.  This post was updated 28 December 2013.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Silent Night

I try to keep politics out of my blog, but tonight I heard on the radio where a NYC school took the song "Silent Night" and eliminated any religious words from the song and re-wrote it so as not to 'offend' anyone.  I am offended that anyone would even think to do that to one of the most beautiful, but yes, religious Christmas songs there is.  What was their real purpose?  There are hundreds of Christmas songs that are non-denominational.  Why not sing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," "The Twelve Days of Christmas," or any other number of Christmas songs that leave out Christ?

I am tired of our nation's need to ALWAYS be politically correct.  We are so obsessed with not offending anyone with anything.  Yet, no one cares if they offend us.  Take for instance women wearing burkhas.  I don't know about anyone else, but my parents taught me the philosophy of "When in Rome, do what the Romans do."  In other words, fit in and quit trying to stand out.  I see so many people screaming loudly "Look at Me!" through their actions and what they wear (tattoos included).  Is this really fitting in?  Why can't we celebrate the real reason for Christmas?  If we don't want to publicly celebrate the birth of the Christ child, then let's just do away with the holidays and pretend it is just another week of the year.

Oh! Wait! We can't do that!!! What would merchants do without Black Friday and the need to sell stuff to get out of the red?  So I guess we will continue to celebrate Christmas and eventually no one will really know what the holiday is all about.  I hope not.  So I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Please try to remember the Christ is the reason for the season and with out Him, there would be no Christmas.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here it is the day before Thanksgiving (or Turkey day as some folks say).  The weather is nippy out, actually cold, and something outside keeps causing my windows to reverberate with a soft boom.  It is happening too often to be deer hunters unless this fellow is quite a bad shot and has a self-loading chamber.  At any rate, I am still loading items onto my Square Up site (www.squareup.com/market/windsong-fibers-farm).  I now have some alpaca yarns and some wool yarns loaded.  As I remove tubs from my car after my three day long event in Southern Indiana, I am removing items from the each tub, snapping the photo and placing it in my store.  This is a great time to shop with a small local business of American made items.  I appreciate your business.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Here's a head's up for those of you who like hand-made items, fibers, hand spun yarns and other farm items.  I am building a store at Square Up (www.squareup.com).  Go take a look there may be something that floats your boat.  I'm still working on how to get my yarns listed as the yardage isn't consistent from skein to skein.  I am getting rovings listed 1 animal at a time. But not only will I have rovings and yarns listed, I am listing finished products such as my team colored stocking style hats.  Check it out.  Do your shopping with an American small business owner producing American made goods --- Me!  Thanksgiving Day almost 3/4 of all my products should be on Square.  Give good old American ingenuity a try and buy American made.

Thank you.  kate of WindSong Fibers Farm

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October Surprise!

Can you believe the weather this week!  And to top it all off for about 1/2 an hour this afternoon, the snow came down in flakes as big as small birds and as fast if it was a light rain shower.  Fortunately, the ground is still warm and the snow didn't add up except for car windows.  Quite unseasonable for sure.

Yesterday, October 23, 2013, my 10 year old black alpaca, Jeanne, had her first cria -- a chocolate colored little girl!  I had pretty much given up hope of her ever having a cria as she was bred numerous times, confirmed each time, yet never a live birth.  This chocolate colored little girl is sure worth the wait though.  I have been thoroughly blessed this season with 4 cria babies and three of them girls.




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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 11, 2013 Cria

I knew I had one more cria on its way, but it is hard to know exact days when gates are opened without my assistance and without my knowing.  So the boys were found running around with the girls a couple of times between August 15 and September 25, 2012.

On the morning of September 11, 2013, as I approached the barn, I noticed that all the alpaca girls had their heads peering either out the gate or over the gate eagerly awaiting my arrival.  I greeted them and then did my usual thing of feeding the triplet kids followed by gathering goat feed and alpaca feed in buckets to deliver to the usual feed pens with the goats getting fed first.

As I walked into the alpaca pen, the girls and the two crias milled around in a nervous manner.  I walked around the pen and on the other side of their shelter lay stretched out a beautiful sun-kissed cria.  She raised her head up as I approached and allowed me to cradle her in my arms.  I knew her mother had to be Svetlanaa or Lana as I call her.  But Lana was too busy eating hay to even pay attention.  I carried the little girl to her mother's side and left the pen to give them a chance to bond.

Throughout the day I made various trips to the barn to check on the bonding process.  While I did see Sunkissed nursing a couple of times, I also noticed that she is more aloof with the other alpacas and very unlike the other two crias that are always at each other's side.

Sunkissed is now 6 days old and still not clingy like the other crias.  She is growing quickly and is a beautiful light gold-tipped cria.  This is wonderful to have two female crias born in less than a month.  It has been a good year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cria Playtime)

In the ten years that I have had alpacas, I've never had two babies on the ground at the same time.  With Sonata and the new baby only 9 days apart, I am getting to watch them play and it is a joy to watch them develop relationships and race around and bounce in much the same manner that lambs do in the springtime.  Their innocence is so pure and free.  I could sit and watch them all day.  Unfortunately, I only have today and tomorrow off, so it is back to The Indiana State Fair (http://www.in.gov/statefair/fair/ ) for me on Thursday.  Just too much to do to really enjoy being home these two days.  But after Sunday, I am home until November.  Then it is NAILE (http://www.livestockexpo.org/).

I do my best to help promote agricultural aspirations of my own by demoing spinning and the fiber arts.  I see more and more youth fascinated over getting to make something with their own hands.  I am delighted at the opportunities to share what I love - the fibers, the animals, the tactile experience.  My Father in Heaven blessed me with these skills and talents and it is my job to share the blessings and talents with others.  I hope I'm doing well at sharing with others.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's a girl!!!

Of all the surprises I've had this summer, a little white alpaca girl was not one of them.  When I arrived home this evening from the Indiana State Fair, there she was---long wispy eyelashes and a petite little walk, very straight legs and so, so, so sweet!  I didn't take a camera to the barn so everyone will have to wait until tomorrow evening for pictures.  She is the daughter of WindSong Harmony.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good-Bye Bhyrr!

It is with heavy heart that I have to share with all reading this, that Bhyrr, the mother of my triplets was found dead in her shed last evening at the time of chores.  She was a good mother and a sweet Angora doe.  Her daughters (Tripoli, Little Girl, Brie, and Babette) will carry on her bloodlines as well as her triplet son, Barney.  Her triplets turn two months old the 16th so bottle feeding will supplement them until they are old enough to manage on their own.

Need an Angora buck?  I have two for sale.  Billy Junior, the father of the triplets and Barney, one of the triplets.  Pictures to follow as soon as possible.  Billy Junior - $150 because he has proven himself as a junior buck, and Barney - $100.

Billy Junior, 3/15/2012, is a faded red, CAGBA registered buck.

Barney, 06/19/2013, is white and one of a set of triplets.  The other two triplets are little does.  They are also white.  Barney is eligible for CAGBA registry.

Welcome WindSong Sonata!

This little fellow was born Friday, August 2, 2013 shortly before noon.  He is the 7th cria and 3rd son of Alina, his momma.  He has the straightest legs I've ever seen on any of her babies and he is so calm and sweet.
 As you can see it will be a light to medium fawn color and will be sold as soon as he reaches 6 months old and weaned.  Alina tends to need help weaning her babies as she doesn't like to admit that they are growing up.   A down payment of $100 will hold this little guy until then.  Another $150 at time of pick up will complete the transaction.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's Agnes knocking!

Agnes continues to surprise me.  She has now learned that if we are in the house and ignoring her, all she has to do is scratch on the door and baa to let us know she wants in.  Oh! If you haven't read previous episodes on Agnes, she is a black lamb born June 2 and now belongs to us through a trade with my friend in Kentucky.  I still have to deliver one of my black lambs that wasn't a bottle lamb, but Brigitte agreed that Agnes could stay here since she has come to believe she is a Corgi instead of a lamb.

So the next time anyone reading this gets a bottle lamb, be careful or you too, will have a lamb with an identity crisis.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Identity Crisis

Agnes came to me in early June from a friend's farm in Kentucky, Wandering Ewe Farm & Fiber Mill. My friend found her frantically racing around the pasture trying to get a ewe to claim her as well as her first meal.  With no four-legged volunteers stepping forward and the clock ticking down, my friend called me.  She knows I have a soft place in my heart for ophans, which I call "bottle-lambs."

After talking to her, we decided it best for the lamb to come here where she could be nurtured and loved, fed and played with.  Keep in mind a newborn lamb is usually around 5 pounds.  I keep my bottle lambs in the yard to facilitate bottle feeding every 4 hours the first week.  Agnes was supposed to buddy up with Iris, a Bluefaced Leicester cross, who was a couple of months older. But I got to noticing that Agnes, instead of sleeping in the wooden shed, was sleeping under the porch on the big dog pillow with the Corgi.  Somewhere along the line, this lamb started identifying with my Welsh Pembroke Corgi.  I didn't quit catch on to this in the beginning and just thought the Corgi sensed Agnes's helplessness as a lamb.

Then someone who has raised sheep for 40 years came to buy Iris.  After standing and watching Agnes for a little bit, she said, "That lamb has an identity crisis.  She thinks she's a dog."  So I started paying more attention.  My dogs dislike cyclists on the road out front and run around the house barking.  Agnes runs around the house with them baaing.  When the dogs sit on the porch waiting to be fed, Agnes stands there with them waiting for a hand out as well.  She curls up with Michaela the Corgi on the big pillow underneath as if her life depends on this dog.

I'm not sure what the dog is thinking.  As a Corgi, her instinct is to herd sheep.  I see Michaela putting all the other sheep in their place, but Agnes isn't herded.  At least not yet.  The day is fast approaching when I will have to return Agnes to Wandering Ewe Farm.  I know this will be hard on all concerned.  How does one tell a sheep that it is time to be put out with the flock?  She will be sorely missed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ponderings of a Hoosier

Last night I heard the sure signs of the waning of summer, coon dogs on the track of a coon.  I am always astounded at how fast summer comes and goes.  I call myself a "truck" farmer as the minute the farmers start turning the soil in the spring until the last ear of corn is off the stalk, I like driving around and watching the progress of every field.  I am astonished at the speed at which corn grows.  The seed breaks ground and falters a day or two and then slowly starts its journey towards the sky.  At about knee high, the farmers come through with a shot of nitrogen and whish! the corn starts shooting upward.  What other plants are there that grows 8-10 feet in twelve weeks or less?  I know of none.

The stalks stand stately in the field like sentries watching for the signs of fall so that it can begin the change of color from green to brown, drooping and growing the ears that are like golden treasures on each stalk.

The corn is currently tasseling and that saddens me because fall is not far behind when the tassels start popping atop the stalks.  The brilliant emerald greens that stand on Indiana soils are the brightest we've had this year.  Crops have been stunted the past few summers, starved with drought.  Our reward is a typical Indiana summer this year with moderately hot days, some cooler days, rain and all that makes this Indiana.

I have only strayed a few miles from where I grew up and often wonder what it would be like to live somewhere other than here.  My roots are deep.  For 25 years, I have walked the path from the house to the barn, watching the crops of a morning and the stars at night.  The quiet of evening often rewards me with the hoot of an owl.  In the spring, the "spring peepers" sing their chorus of songs and reward me with the first sign of spring.  Are there spring peepers elsewhere?

I have heard it said that 'home is where the heart is' and wonder if I am destined to spend my life here on the farm.  I know the sounds and sights and neighbors.  I have to wonder as I look out and wonder what is next in my life.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Triplets!!!

As my day would have it, in the middle of shearing my 8 alpacas, Bhyrr, my 10 year-old Angora goat dropped a set of triplets - 2 does, 1 buck - and decided not to be their mom.  I don't know how an animal does that, but I guess it is the same mentality that women have who decide not to be a mother to their kids.  However, she doesn't get off that easy.

I had to stop shearing long enough to milk enough colostrum from her to feed her very tiny kids to ensure they had the strength to make it through the day.  Every 4 hours since then, I have milked the goat, fed the babies.  Momma and kids are confined in a stall so that she has to smell them and look at them and they get to climb on her and lay against her.  The little billy while eager to suckle, just doesn't understand what a teat or nipple is for.  Early this morning, I think he finally got the knack of the nipple, but, even though a coated the teat with a layer of momma's colostrum, he still didn't grab on.  It's gonna be a long, long week!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, Inc. Bound

June 4, 2013

New kid on the block:  Cute little girl, huh?
Her name is Dove and she will be going to a new home in September.  She was very tiny at birth and had to be bottle fed the first 24 hours.  Now she is a zippy, feisty little girl who I have to chase.  She thinks it is funny!

May 29, 2013
The weatherman says we could have thunderstorms and wind Friday and Saturday.  Now I need to figure out what to do about taking lambs.  I can't risk getting the canopy tore up with wind and I can't risk my babies getting rained on for two days and drenched.  I guess I can keep an eye to the sky between now and Friday morning.  Who knows what the weather holds.  This is Indiana.

However, come by my booth and check out the white ($10.00 per pound) and black ($15.00 per pound) rovings I have for sale.  Very nice and very clean.  I will also have some yarns and fleeces for sale.  They are last years fleeces and are a bit yellowed from the heat  $7.50 per pound for the Border/BFL fleeces and $13.00 per pound for the Cormo X fleeces.  They clean up very nice and dye well.

May 24, 2013
Whew! I'm now in the process of trying to figure out how many lambs I am taking to Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival, Inc. (www.hoosierhillsfiberfestival.com).  They will be out on the lawn in front of Fitzpatrick Hall.  I know that I'm bringing a minimum of 3 Blue-Faced Leicester (also known as BFL) crosses (other half is Border Leicester crossed with BFL). Whiskers, Lambchop, and Iris all deserve long term loving homes.  Iris and Lambchop are full brother and sister.  Whiskers was born in the mud (read March excerpt below). They have been bottle fed and spoiled by getting lots of attention.  Then there is Ena.... She is half Cormo and her momma is 1/2 Babydoll and 1/2 Finnsheep.  Ena is one of a set of triplets.  She was not told she is a sheep.  I believe she thinks she is a dog as she follows me into the house when I have my arms full.  She craves being petted.  Very cute smiley face.  Then I have some black lambs.  My lambs and fleeces have never been as nice as they are this year.  Maybe it's the wet season with all the green grass, but my February lambs are almost as big as their mommas already.  Their fleeces are growing so fast! Whiskers fleece is already over an inch long and silky soft!  Indigo, my Blue-Faced Leicester ram, has really stamped his babies with coal black noses and the blue skin under their white faces.  At least come by the lamb pen at Hoosier Hills and pet one of the lambs.

Here it is May and lambing is over! My lambs are the nicest this year than they've ever been.  Last fall, I got a new hay supplier.  It is top notch orchard grass for alpacas, but I'm feeding it to everyone.  My ewes didn't look haggard after giving birth and my lambs were well-developed.  In fact I lost 3 15-16 pound lambs due to extended labor.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a lamb by yourself?  I have some nice lambs I want to get posted, but I either get the back end as the lambs move around or the midsection.  I need to find someone who can help hold the lambs while I snap the pictures of vice versa.  All but one or two lambs are for sale.  I have a bottle lamb named Ena (Cormo X Babydoll/Finn) who most likely will stay here since she is a real pest.  She will only be sold to a long-term home that can pay the extra attention to her that she likes.  As for Whiskers, he is still intact and has a beautiful, silky coat that is already over an inch long and he is only 2 months old.  Both my rams did an exceptional job with the lambs this year.

March
It's another lamb!  This time a nice sized ram lamb BFL(Blue-Faced Leicester) (about 62.5%) X Border Leicester x BFL.  He has really long legs and when I picked him up to dip his navel seems to be of an appropriate weight.  No pictures at this time as he wanted to lay down as I found him about 15 minutes after his birth and I want Momma and baby to bond before I go messing up the family relationship.

My goal this year is to have a minimal number of bottle babies.  One year when everyone was having 2-4 babies each, I had 12 bottle babies, but I also had 32 lambs out of 14 ewes.  They kept me hopping that year!

Whoa! Another news flash!!! About 11 p.m. one of my ewes, who did not bag up until last night, dropped a set of twins on me in the mud.  She claimed the little girl, but the little boy was delivered in very muddy circumstances and was cold and weak so I am now bottle feeding the first lamb of the year! No pictures yet, but he is a nice sized boy compared to the little girl.  All three born today are BFL x Border Leicester/BFL.  The little guy in the house looks almost gray with his black skin.  Near as I can figure, he is about 75% BFL.

Tail docks today and tetanus for all 3 born yesterday.  These guys grow fast and tails have to be banded early or within a week or so, it is too late.  Pictures will be posted by Monday of these 3.  It is just too muddy to wade out there to do it.  I had mud to the top of my boots and my pants were covered in mud as well.  This is sucky mud, the kind that holds onto the boots.  I hate losing my boot(s) in that kind of mud.  Oh, well.  More rain tomorrow.  I think I'll herd the entire group of ewes here on the west end of the farm down to the east end where the barn will keep the babies warm and dry.  Everyone is happier (including me!) that way.  Babies will be warmer even though Border Leicesters tend to be hardy.  I don't want to lose any lambs this year.  Indigo did a great job of putting lambs on the ground.  3 in one day for a young ram is a great job.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's a girl!

It's another girl! This little lamb is still learning who momma is and is still wet! I just missed the birth of this little one.  She has a diluted white patch on the top of her head (look just above the ear and you can see a not so black area on her head) but other than that she is all black.  Since so many of my lambs from previous years are turning gray, I believe this one may be also.  First fleece is always black, second fleece is turning and by the third fleece a gorgeous silver.  This little one has a mother with a distinctive name---Polecat! 

This first year Polecat lambed, she did not like her baby one little bit.  So I confined her to a stall and every 4 hours had to pin her to the wall with my knee in her shoulder so 'Lyka' could eat.  My adopted son-in-law came one day to see the lambs and help with the feeding time asked what her name was and I replied I had never named her.  "Well, she is a stinker like a polecat!" and hence the name "Polecat" has stuck ever since.  She is a Shetland/Finn ewe (old style-look at her crooked horns!) and this little lamb's daddy is a registered Cormo.  Think fleece with length and softness.  AWESOME! I love this blend of fleece as it is luxurious!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Lamb Has Arrived!

Spring is officially here on the farm!  My first little lamb, a ewe, has hit the ground!  Several ewes appear ready to pop as well, but I think they like me making trips to the barn every four hours as their udders are bulging and so are their sides, but still no more lambs.  Picture above shows the new lamb with her mom looking on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here it is the first day of 2013! Wow! Time is flying by so speedily.  I now also keep up with the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival blog.  By keep up, I mean I'm the one to put in the information.  Then I also help orchestrate the Columbus Bring & Brag Fiber Arts group.  This month we are going to teach knitting and crocheting.  We have so much planned for this group for 2013, I only hope I can keep up with all of the activity!

The ground is snow covered and the temps are in the high 20s here.  In just 8 short weeks, spring will be knocking on our door and lambs will begin hitting the ground.  This is my favorite time of year.  I love the lambs and their innocence.  Is it any wonder that they are born near the same time as Easter?