Winter Planning

Winter is a time for planning, for re-vamping, and for snuggling in by the fire. Our winter here has been strange. Yes, we got snowed in, and that led to some lovely spinning and knitting time. Since about Christmas when that happened, we have been going back and forth between cold and abnormally warm. We’ve even had a couple of 70 degree days! Craziness I tell you.

While I am thankful for the warmer weather and a chance to get outside and do some of the yard clean-up from last Fall, the warm weather is uncomfortable. Not in the actual physical sense. In that way it is quite lovely. But in the sense that this is not normal. January and February are supposed to be cold and the time to withdraw to inside chores. There was even about a week where we didn’t build a fire in the stove. Just strange to be outside in short sleeves digging in the garden or cleaning chicken coops while I would normally be inside planning the garden, baking, or making something with wool.

I did manage to make good use of the weather and got some wool and some alpaca washed up so I can work on that. I still have a ton to go but every little bit helps. I’ve been trying to catch up on some spinning as I traded a bunch of my yarn for my guard puppy. This was wonderful, but it means my inventory is way, way, down. Somehow winter is just about to slip away and all my plans of building my inventory have not come to fruition. Just the opposite in fact. That is good though. That means I’ve sold and traded goods and now it is time for new stuff. That is a beautiful thing.

Today our weather started to turn cold again and reminded me to get the last of my hay from my hay-man. It feels good to not be down to the last bale anymore.  Now I won’t worry so much about my goats. The goats are about to be ready to harvest fiber from. I’ve noticed some of their hair showing up on a lot more fence posts and barbs. Time to catch and comb the goats to see if they are earning their keep. I’ll also be trimming their feet at that time. I may as well get everything done in one catch. At least as close to it as possible.

Time to work on planning a spinning class I have coming up and I suppose my human children would like to eat dinner as well. I guess I’ll have to get that taken care of. First things first you  know.

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be inspired!!

Love this. Be inspired! Fight your way through and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It will come eventually.

Sheepy Hollow Farm

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Little by little I’m working on washing fleeces and alpaca blankets. I only have a bucket or two that I use so I can’t go too crazy with the amounts. It isn’t like I can throw an entire fleece or blanket in and get it all washed at once. I’ve tried in the kiddie pool and it just doesn’t work. They don’t come very clean. I prefer washing wool to alpaca. Alpacas get all dusty and that dust sticks in the fiber like crazy. Yes, wool is greasy with lanolin but it actually washes out. They both do really, but I’ve worked more with wool so I’m more accustomed to getting the gunk out of wool.

As far as spinning the two fibers I haven’t figured out what I like better yet. They both have their merits. I love the crimpy feel of the wool. It has more elasticity than alpaca and doesn’t droop/hang like alpaca. Sometimes that is what a person wants though. Alpaca is lovely for a drapey (probably not a real word but seems to apply) fabric. I think I like the blends best. This way you get the benefits of both fibers.

Soon I get to add my goats’ fiber into the mix. I’m excited for that. I must say though that these goats had better make some really nice fiber because I am not thrilled with their attitudes. The older one is a royal pain. Neither are very friendly to humans or each other. Sure they like food and I can kind of bribe them this way, but that is about all they like. Food and causing trouble. Cami (the older one) was chasing BB (the younger) around yesterday. Not just chasing, but chasing to then head butt her. So ornery. Cami will also hit the fence after my one dog. The fence doesn’t get hit now that the electric fence is up but it still gets half charged at. The new pup doesn’t seem to get this response. I wonder if it is because the goats have been around guardian dogs before, the dog is just a puppy, and she is the same color (and about as fluffy) as the goats. I’ve even seen Cami take one of my cats. Poor cat was just following me while I did chores and she got slammed by a goat. Geez! Talk about not a fun thing to have happen.

The other goat, BB, is so unfriendly to humans that even though I can now catch her, sometimes I’ve had her butt me and even try to bite me. I had a really good bruise on one knee for awhile after one time and last time I caught her was when she decided that biting was the way to go.

There are ways to handle them without getting nailed for sure. Mostly they need handled more. They have a big D-day hanging over their heads though. No fiber or not good fiber then they go down the road. With the little kids I don’t need livestock of any kind that is not fun to handle. I don’t want animals that are a royal pain to be around. I do like having them around but I don’t see any point in feeding and housing a critter that isn’t half-way pleasant. I try to work with them often enough that hopefully they’ll get better. I do really want to have the animals around.

As far as the rest of the farm goings on…Luna the puppy is proving herself to be a great little (soon to be big) pup. Kyra has accepted the pup quickly and loves having someone to play with. The cats and chickens are giving the pup wide berth. Chickens crack me up. They see the pup and act like they are saying, “Oh dear, oh dear!” The cats just give the pup the evil eye.

We’ve had some crazy warm weather so everyone has been out enjoying the sunshine and getting rid of the cabin fever. Almost all of our snow is gone. I’ve even managed a couple of days in the garden.

I need the weather to turn though so I don’t feel bad about spinning a lot.  I really need to spin a bunch of yarn. I ended up trading yarn for the puppy so I’m more-or-less out of yarn to sell. My day is well on its way to being another busy day so I’d better get rolling and spinning.

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Some plans into action

A few of my plans are getting put into place. Those puppies I’ve been looking at? Well, on Sunday I am making a road trip to go get one. Is it really practical or smart? Probably not. Fun, exciting, and they are soooo fuzzy! The pups are a Pyrenees, Collie, Akbash mix. In other words the pup will be a very large dog. I don’t know if the pup will be a boy or a girl. The puppy will be picked once we are looking at each other.

In addition to deciding to get a pup I went ahead and made a page where you can sponsor a critter. Here is my farm page link with the donation spot and description of the critters: Two Bit Acres.

Today looks like it will be a lovely day to get my office in order and see about getting some fiber prepped for spinning.

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Welcome to 2015!

Whew! I made it through the holiday season mostly intact. Things did get a little hairy there for a bit, but I made it through to 2015. A new year. I’m not sure what happened to 2014. It was overall a good but very busy year. I’m hoping 2015 will be much the same. Good and busy.

I have a few plans in the works.  I am hoping to get a beginning spinning class going for sometime in February or March. I need to get my location and dates lined up and then we’ll be good to go there. In addition to spinning classes I’ll have lots of project baskets in my market booth. It is also possible to special order them if you like. Along with project baskets I am hoping to add notions to my inventory. Knitting needles, crochet hooks, stitch markers and the like. I am partial to keeping the products handmade, fair-trade, and as local as possible so it will take me a little while to find the products I want to carry.

Soon my goats will be ready to comb for their fiber. I’m planning on getting them tested to see if I can officially call it cashmere. Cashmere is the undercoat of goats, but it has to meet a certain micron count or fineness measurement. If it isn’t under that magic number 19 microns then it is mohair and not officially cashmere even if the goat is a cashmere goat. Confused yet? It has taken me a bit to sort it out. Basically if the fibers aren’t incredibly fine and soft then it isn’t legal to call it cashmere. Of course that doesn’t stop some folks because cashmere is worth more than mohair. I’m hoping mine will make it legal for me to call the fiber they produce cashmere.

I’m exploring the idea of getting a couple of sheep as well as the two goats. For personalities and that sort of thing I usually prefer sheep. I think it is probably a product of being a little kid around lots of sheep. They seem to have imprinted their smell, feel, and sounds on me. I am not super fond of my goats. They aren’t the friendliest animals and one is down right ornery to her companion. She makes me mad when she kicks the more timid one out into the weather.  Never seems to fail that when the ornery one gets it in her head to take over the shed the weather is the worst.

I am working on finding a large guardian dog too.  I have found some puppies. They aren’t too expensive, but at the same time they aren’t dirt cheap either. I swear I’m going to have to start a fund to sponsor my critters. Things like hay, dog food, and vet bills never go away with critters.  I love them to pieces though and wouldn’t trade having critters for the world.

Lots of new plans for the new year. Mostly I just need to get my behind in gear. No dawdling or doing other things. You could call that my New Year’s resolution: Less procrastinating.

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Holidays and beautiful weather

Christmas is fast approaching.  Somehow it is coming at warp speed.  We have had unseasonably warm weather for this time of year. Being in the 40s and 50s in December is crazy.  It does make for some nice days out in the garden though, and it makes it very hard to be inside updating things for the holiday season on my webpage.  So, if you need something for Christmas please shoot me an email or Facebook message.  Until I can figure out some code and how to make all the websites and accounts talk to each other like I want them to, this will be the easiest and least painful way to order from me.  Some day I will have an online store that will cooperate with me.  Just not yet. Today is not the day.

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Warming Trend

Morning,

We are warming up for today.  We are supposed to actually get into the 30 degree range.  Yippee!! Maybe I won’t have to haul so many buckets of water or chop so much ice.  That would make me happy.

Because of all that I haven’t managed to get as much spinning or knitting done that I wanted to. A small pair of socks and some wooly balls got made though. Today with the warmer weather I’m hoping to get some spinning done along with setting a bunch of yarns that came off my wheel last week.

At least with the cold weather my goats should have a good coat of cashmere to harvest in the spring. I’m very excited to see how much I get off of them.  They are nice and white too so it should be perfect fiber to take dye. Now if I can just convince them that not everyone is out to eat them.

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