Saturday, December 19, 2009

Six days until Christmas. I finished up my shopping and things I was making this last week. No more trips to the mall. WooHoo! I had done most of my grocery shopping for Christmas before Thanksgiving and put a lot of stuff in the freezer in the spare refrigerator. Right after turkey day I cleaned out that frig and turned it off. Unfortunately I also turned off the freezer somehow and we just discovered everything was lost. All the meat including my beautiful big lamb roast I was planning on for the 25th. Another trip to the dump was in order. I did manage to get the hat finished for my daughter. Now I'm working on a little crochet purse for her that I don't know if I will finish or not. Pix when I do. We still don't have any snow to speak of. We had about 3" this last week, but today its raining and most of its gone now. We got Bella spayed this week. She did just fine. I'm disappointed because I wanted to breed her in a year or so but with all the coyotes up here I was too afraid one might get through our fence and get to her. So now, she can just concentrate on her wonderful guarding capabilities. Already she's a great watch dog. And at 7 mo old and nearly 75 pounds, I would certainly be afraid. I've been reading on-line about a new dyeing technique I'm anxious to try. Its similar to tie-dyeing but with a much different look. As soon as the holidays are over and things calm down again I am heading back into the studio. BTW, here's a picture of my poor bamboo scarf that got 'kitty-handled'. Keep in mind that threads in this are about the size of sewing thread.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brrrrrrrr. Temps much colder than they should be. Here's a sample from around 6am Tues morning. Bella is tolerating the cold by sleeping comfortably outside every night. So does Dolly with the alpacas and goats. I visualize them all huddling together in the sheds. Probably not. I'm trying to get my second bamboo scarf done. I've set a goal of six inches each day. I can't seem to stay on schedule every day but was doing pretty well until I found one of our kitties had sharpened his / her nails on the woven part. What a mess. I will have to un-weave about the last four inches and just hope the warp isn't damaged. The weft isn't so important and it could be replaced. Right now I have the bamboo warp on the Ashford, I'm winding the wool warp in the studio and plan to space-dye it when its all wound off, I have white-brown-black alpaca blended and on the spinning wheel, a hat for my daughter about half done with the knitting, my knitted sox about 3/4 finished, a cashmere knitted hat started, and a knitted scarf from dyed alpaca roving started. Anything else? I'll never remember. In addition, I've ordered two more painted warps and have one I want to paint myself and make a scarf. With only a couple weeks left until Christmas there is so much other stuff to do I wonder when I can get back to my studio. I went shopping yesterday and returned home nearly empty-handed. I can't seem to find what I want and the rest is way too expensive. We have no snow yet, just cold and wind. At least that wind has stopped for the time being. Good excuse to stay in and complete at least one project.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving is past and only three weeks until Christmas. I'd like to impress by saying my shopping is done, but sadly not so. Who knows when that will happen. Its an hour drive each way to town, then shopping, a couple of errands probably and the day is gone. We feed the livestock in the morning so never get away from the farm until around 10am. Change clothes (yes! a must) and don't get back home until around 3 or 4pm. Phew! Makes me tired. Thanksgiving was fun, the only mis-hap was when Bella wanted some Pumpkin Dessert that was sitting on the kitchen counter. She tried to be sneaky and get it herself but only succeeded in pulling it off the counter on to the floor. Broke my dish but we only had a tiny little taste before it happened. One of my sisters lives in Spokane WA and came for dinner. And she brought home-made fudge. Thank goodness. She admired the rayon chainette / cotton scarf I had woven so I gifted her with it. She can't wear wool, so that worked out perfectly. And, its her colors too. Not much spinning or weaving going on right now. Who's got time? I am knitting a hat for my daughter, frogged it three times already but I think I have a good start this time. I will post a picture when its done, after Christmas. Its a surprise and I don't want her to see it. Nights are getting a lot colder, in the single-digits this week. Sunday its supposed to be windy and cold, nearly zero on Monday. Ouch. Animals are all holding up well to the cold. Bella likes it cold and I think the alpacas do too. Glad its them and not me out there. :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nearly Thanksgiving! No, I'm not ready, but almost. Don't mention Christmas yet. We've been getting ready for winter by taking care of all our outside chores, stacking wood, putting away anything that might get broken or puppy would chew up. I ordered some beautiful space-dyed chenille yarn last week. The delivery person so kindly put it somewhere near the front porch where the 60+ lb puppy was so sweet to open the box for me. I found the yarn cone on the other side of the yard with the bottom all chewed out. I'm sure the pieces of yarn will be about 12" long when I unroll it. Oh well, it was only a 2 lb cone! I did finish the 12/2 bamboo scarf this fall that has been on the loom for the last two summers. I sent it to one of my sisters. She liked it! So now I'm working on the second half of that white warp. The first scarf was woven with a beautiful yellow, the second one will be lime green. I've also got three more warps ready to go when I finish this. The big Herald loom has steel heddles and I'm not sure if I want to stress the warp on it like I did with the Leicester Longwool scarf. Of course that was handspun which made it a little more fragile that these will be. Here's a pic of the yellow bamboo one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brrrr, a little chilly this morning. Foggy, damp and around 38. Not as cold as its been but with the dark skies it sure seems so. All our four-legged friends are doing well. The alpacas and goats have been famished when I feed in the morning. Wonder if they are putting on extra weight because its going to be colder or something this winter. We've taken in another motherless litter of kittens. We lost one right away, then another wasn't doing so well. We did take them to the nice vet and got some medicine, put an extra heater near their cage and lots of TLC. The two are doing so much better. One we named Big Mike. He's so big and robust and bright orange, and can play with Angel, the little kitty I found in the pasture one morning. The other little girl has been named Mini because she is. She's a tortoise colored mostly black with a tiny little orange nose. She is so much more fragile and apparently isn't as advanced as Big Mike. She prefers to sit in the cage and watch most of the time. I finally got my black alpaca yarn spun and washed. It is so soft. I want to either knit a hat or will weave a scarf. Pix if I ever get it done. I tried getting pix of the two little ones this morning, but they are too fast. Here's one of Angel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The wind has been blowing all night. It was so noisy at one point I got out of bed to make sure we didn't have anything 'bad' going on outside. Flashlight in hand I made it downstairs only to find all the motion lights outside were on. I guess when the power went out and came back on a few minutes later it tripped something and they had to all be unplugged this morning. At midnight, I wasn't about to go out and do it. The only mishap (so far) has been my beautiful little maple in the front yard. I have always suspected it would split but thought it would be several years before that happened. When it stops blowing later this week I will be out doing cleanup on the property. I always pray none of our big trees comes down on any outbuildings. Last year one did come down on the fence and just barely missed my neighbor's house by inches. God is so good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things are going slowly right now, we are trying to get everything done outside before the cold / rain / snow hits. The days have been so beautiful here, 90's last week, 70-80's this week. A person could just forget how fast winter comes to north Idaho. All the fun inside stuff will have to wait for now. We got 90% of our wood in the carport. Decided to do the sawing and chopping later as its all inside. There was a lot of stuff left when the workers all finished up so just deciding what goes to the dump, what might sell and what we want to keep is a task in itself. In the studio I'm winding a warp of the nice wool yarn a friend gave me. I dyed several different pieces of it last week just to see what it would look like. I haven't decided for sure what I will make yet but I'm thinking of maybe a lap robe or small blanket. Its not 'next to the skin' soft but will be nice. I've got some black alpaca on both spinning wheels; the Ashford has the single and the Sonata has the double ply. I ran out of one of the single bobbins while plying, so that's why I started another one. Then I decided to see what the black / brown / white alpaca would look like blended together so that's on the carder and started on a bobbin for the Ashford. Really nice looking! When I get ready to weave the black alpaca scarf I want to do a stripe of the blended just for an accent. Since I had some dye left over from the wool yarn, I took a small piece of the blended alpaca and put one in each of the little dye pots. What an interesting color combination it made. I can't wait to get some of these projects done so I can continue on with the rest of them. Alpaca is on the bottom, wool is at the top of the photo, same colors used.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Labor Day is past and the weather feels like we're back in July. Near 90 this week. The nights are cool but it feels pretty good after a hot day. We took Bella to her first doggie training class last week. She seems to fit right in. So far she's learned she get treats if she listens to whoever is on the other end of that darn leash. One sad note, my daughter's beautiful white kitty disappeared the other night. I let him out, a short while later when he should have been coming back in, he never showed up. We've looked and looked but can't find any trace of him. So sad. My spinning, dyeing, decorating the new studio ... all of it is going pretty well. I keep re-arranging stuff. One of these days I know I'll get it right. Its so nice to have a place to go to when I just want a little quiet time to spin. There's just so much to do outside right now I feel guilty doing anything else. Winter will be coming, that's for sure, so we need to get all the outside chores done in just a few weeks. I had someone come over and grade the driveway getting it ready for gravel. He is so good with the loader / grader and he gave me some pointers on my little tractor. I tried them out this afternoon and actually was able to do some things like moving all that poopie hay that's been piling up. Thanks Jeff!

Friday, August 28, 2009

So in the process of packing up and moving my fiber stash and equipment over, I kept hearing this little scratch-scratch going on. We have six kitties so I figured it was one of them. Willie was hiding in the big picnic basket full of exotic fibers that need spinning. He's so funny. Must be part Siamese because he 'talks' all the time when he's playing or wants something. I met the most interesting lady at the craft fair a couple weeks ago. She visited the new studio the other day and has gifted a friend and me with some beautiful wool yarn from sheep she used to raise. All spun and on cones. I want to wind a warp, then do some dyeing (fiber painting) before I put it on the loom. Not sure yet what to make, maybe a large shawl. Its way too delicate for a rug. Good news, yesterday we went to the Fair and I won a blue ribbon for my bamboo scarf. That thing was the hardest pattern I've ever tried. Worth it however, it turned out so beautiful. We had fun and ate a lot. Couldn't believe I was hungry again last night. Today I will try to get a project finished in the studio. There are so many going on, I don't know which one to do first. I've just about got all the black alpaca from Oso spun up, and had this idea I'd like to see a little brown / black / white tweed yarn to use with it. So I lightly carded some together and am spinning it now. I think when its plied, it will be pretty in the black alpaca scarf I'm going to weave. I've got Mawata silk hankies to dye, more pygora, alpaca, bamboo and wool sitting there calling me to dye ... so much fun!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Its so nice to have some time finally. After a long summer of so many things going on here at the farm we've finally reached the point where I'm getting my house back in order. We've managed to take most of the studio and shop furniture over to the new building and at last I'm able to find my living room floor. As is my norm, now that I have time to finish up a few projects I'd already started, I have a bunch more in my head I can't wait to start. Room for dyeing, new warp on the big loom, finish the warp on the little loom and maybe even get my tapestry loom up and running. I did finished the bamboo scarf for the fair. We're going on Friday. I'm always afraid to see what the judges say about my things. Mostly they are so nice. I also re-homed my chicken flock this morning. A very nice lady from Spokane WA came over and picked them all up. Wow, finally I can sleep in without hearing those silly roosters seeing who can cock-a-doodle-do the loudest. Ah, peace and quiet at last. Bella is doing so beautifully. What a sweet and gentle little girl she is. We just love her. Here's a more recent picture of Bella doing what she does best ... what a ham!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wow, what an awesome and busy month we've had here on the farm. The studio and shop were finished just this weekend. Blanchard Daze went smoothly and we met some super nice people. Lots of interest but so many are so busy with other stuff. I don't know why we do it to ourselves. I for one have had to learn when to say 'no'. I've nearly finished the bamboo scarf I started last spring ... that's a year ago last spring! Beautiful pattern but difficult for me. To many different repeats. Maybe I will finish in time to enter it in our county fair. The yarn I took to the show was very well received and now I have room to make more. Oh boy. I hope to get some new storage areas to put fiber and yarn in. I got my big Herald loom moved over already. Both spinning wheels, all my dyeing equipment, and now I just need to get the bags and boxes of fiber that have been taking up all the room in my house moved. And I'm having so much fun! Pictures later this week when things are cleaned up. All the animals are doing so well. The weather was so hot for so long, then a nice cool break with rain for a week or so. Now its getting hot again but everything has greened up. If the lawnmower and lawn tractor hadn't broken at the same time my yard would certainly be mowed. What a good excuse not to!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm so excited. We have two new members added to our household. A few weeks ago we fostered three more kittens without a mom. After turning them back to the animal rescue, last week one of the kittens wasn't doing too well so we brought him home again. What a difference a little TLC and some different kitten food makes. He's now thriving and terrorizing the entire house. The other little person is a new Great Pyr puppy. She is around 10 weeks old I think, just a beautiful little miniature of our Dolly. She's got dark spots on her head, ears and body. We're thinking of calling her Bella because she's so beautiful. I've been working hard getting my fiber and yarn ready for Blanchard Daze which is Aug 15. We have a booth this year and I'd like to get more people interested in spinning fiber for yarn. I plan to do demos and it will be a hands-0n type booth where you can purchase handspun yarn, fiber to spin your own, and also Ashford spindles with which to spin the fiber into yarn. I really want to show that you don't have to spend a fortune to get into this wonderful relaxing hobby. The turquoise and white merino / silk shawl shown below was spun on a spindle. Our new studio and shop are nearly finished so I will finally be able to clear out my house. Right now you can just barely walk from room to room for all the fiber-y piles of stuff. Here's a pic of Bella ... she's so cute!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One more added to the herd this month. Here's Wasabi. He is so cute! What a little sweetheart. He and the two other little guys Apollo and Harley, always are together. When they eat the adult white alpaca joins them. Seems funny but the white ones kind of stay together and the other three are content to stay with each other. Everyone gets along for the most part. Once in a while someone has to have a 'time-out' because he is getting a little too rough, but they all live and sleep together. I've been spinning a lot, mostly Oso's black fiber and plying that with some beautiful spun silk. I was so impressed with the colors of the silk I decided to try dying some on my own. It turned out very nice ... red and yellow with the colors blending in the middle. I like to think of it as Tequila Sunrise. Pics when I get it done. We've had a busy summer, remodeling the oldl guest house into a new studio for me and a workshop for daughter. Now we can get our 'stuff' out of the house and out there where we can really make some messes. Uh oh, now I have no excuse for my house being messy. Hmmm, where did I go wrong? I'm learning to make videos with my camera so maybe I will do one for the blog soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

They're finally here! Apollo and Harley were sheared and brought home Saturday. How cute are they? You decide by this picture of them. They are quite a bit smaller because they are so young and are a little intimidated by the 'big' boys. They seem to be blending in very well, each day getting easier for them. Nothing is quite as soft as baby or yearling alpaca fiber. Right now I'm working on some of Oso's beautiful black fiber from last year. I've spun a single and plyed it with a single of some Mawata silk hankies that were dyed a beautiful dark turquoise and purple. Wow, with that black alpaca, its really striking and extremely soft. Guess I better do some more of the same. We're remodeling the old house on the property and will make it a garage, two shops with a small bedroom and bathroom. So much nicer. Now my studio can be out there instead of upstairs.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I salute all our veterans including my brother Dave, for their service to our country. May God bless each and every one of them. Thank you. Yesterday we got the four alpacas sheared. Finally! I'm sure they were all so happy to rid themselves of those hot sweaters they have been enduring. The temps have only been in the 70's but even so, they were too warm. I got over 12 pounds of blanket fiber off them plus the 2nd and 3rds. We keep it all separated; I will send the blanket fiber to Going To The Sun Fiber Mill in Kalispell MT and do something with the 2nd and 3rds myself. GTTS does such a fantastic job. So far I've gotten rovings and lace-weight yarns done. Thank you Diana! I will spin the 2nds and maybe try a little felting work with the 3rds. We got the goat side of the barn finished this weekend. Now the alpacas and the goats each have their own areas to eat and sleep in if they wish. Most of the time they prefer to be together, but when they eat its so much better to separate them. Dolly seems happy no matter which side she is on. She's so sweet and calm. Nothing disturbs her except loud noises or strangers. Such a love. Here's a picture of coming home after taking them to be sheared. The gray alpaca is really my white one after rolling in the dirt because it feels so good!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring, finally. The last week or so has been much warmer. We're shearing the alpacas this Saturday. I'm sure they will be so happy to get rid of all that hot fiber. And I'm getting two new babies the following Saturday. They are young and named Apollo and Harley. So cute. We will shear them when I pick them up. Finally got another side put on the barn. Now the alpacas and goats can be separated for eating and it gives them so much more room without them having to go inside the barn. I plan to use the barn this year to store hay. That way I won't be carrying it over to the pasture daily. I can carry almost enough for one day, but with two more boys, that would mean two trips. Since I have a booth this year at our local fair (very small), I really need to get busy preparing my fiber and other related things. Hopefully more folks will get interested in spinning and weaving. Right now I'm still working on spinning the black alpaca fiber and also some beautiful dyed silk hankies. Both of these will be yarn for sale in the booth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Good grief, April already.  Where is the time going?  Three days into spring!  Since we've had snow every day this last week it sure doesn't seem like it.  Went to a friends a couple weeks ago, here is a picture.  The babies are so cute! My babies are all getting along well.  I think today is the day we shear the little goats.  Its been so cold I've been holding off, don't want them to get chilled.  The weather is warming up now so hopefully everyone will be ok.  We have been going to garage sales and went to a swap meet yesterday.  I bought three old pickle crocks for nearly nothing.  They are great for holding fiber-y stuff.  I will have a booth at our local fair this summer, so always looking for stuff for that.  I've been working on my spinning, trying to get some yarn made up to sell.  Its hard for me to knit any more but I do love the yarn.  Pics when I get some done.  I like dying and spinning and blending fibers.  I guess I'm partial to a tweed-y type yarn.  Its so pretty when you make something.  Come on summer!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Well, tomorrow is the first of March. I just realized I haven't posted here for some time. I've been busy trying to keep on top of things at home, get everyone fed morning and night, and trying not to make my back any more sore than it is already. Today I finally bought a tractor to make things a little easier in cleaning up around here. With winter's end approaching rapidly, there will be plenty to do with the animals. In the past I've done it all by hand with my daughter's help. This year hopefully the manual part of the labor won't be as much. Its a cute little Kubota, just my size with a bucket on the front and a snow blade. WooHoo. The chickens are getting big enough to butcher. Since I've got only two hens out of my remaining 11, I won't be sorry to see and hear those roosters go. They are so noisy and start crowing around 3am every morning. Between them, the coyotes that run past nightly and howl, my big pyr barking to warn them, and the wild turkeys that are now back, its a cacophony of sounds all night long. I finally found out where the moose were entering the property, its along the fence all the way in the back. Two very large trees came down on the fence and broke it in several places. How easy for them to just walk over the downed fence in the very deep snow and just keep going. I can't fix it yet as the snow is still too deep and the ground still to frozen. Welcome spring ... hurry hurry.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Check this out! This guy was hanging around my house for the longest time. I had gone down to the chicken coop with the border collie when she started barking and barking. Just about the time I told her to stop and come back, this guy peeked around the corner of the coop. I ran as fast as I could back up the driveway. I was so scared! I decided to go feed the alpacas and the goats over in the pasture instead and when I came back, here was Mr Moose camped out on my front porch. Waiting for his breakfast I guess. Mom and I were inside taking pictures (without the flash on). This one I took from upstairs. When he heard me open the window for this picture, he put his big front foot on the edge of this roof and looked like he wanted to climb up. Our snow is so incredibly deep that he was nose high with the edge of the porch roof. I was on my way to Arizona that day and wasn't sure I would be able to make it out of the driveway. If he decided to stand in my way, I don't think my little car would have been a match for him. Luckily he decided to go eat somewhere else.

My trip to Arizona was fruitful. My mother-in-law passed away and I needed to get a lot of paper type work accomplished. I met some wonderful people in the process. The weather was cool and very windy but nothing like ours here. It was 12 degrees this morning when I got up. Quite a change from 70! I had almost (almost!) forgotten. I'm so glad to be back home. All my little animal friends were so happy to see me ... even J2, my snooty male kitty came and made himself comfortable on my bed last night. Hopefully now I can settle back down and get some spinning done before this winter is completely over.