Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yeaa, Christmas is next week.  I can't believe how quickly it is coming.  We celebrated Christmas last Saturday because my niece who lives with us was leaving to spend the real Christmas with her parents and other family members.  I got in the spirit so much,  I'm not sure I can do it again next weekend.  I think I ate too much.  Phew!

My daughter has been ill, so I haven't been spending much time at spinning and weaving.  Actually I haven't touched any of it for at least two months.  I've just got to get back into it again.  Probably right after the holidays.

Because my daughter has been so sick, I decided to rehome the alpacas.  The first four went right before Thanksgiving, the last four will be going to their new family this coming Sunday.  I'm so sad and miss them all so much, but I still believe its the right thing to do.  I just don't have the time or energy to tend to them like I would like.

We had our first big snow last month, since then the weather has been dry and cold.  Most of the snow is gone except in the shady places.  Last night we had a light dusting and nothing due in the next couple weeks.  Woohoo.  Nice traveling weather for those who are heading out to spend Christmas with family. 

Here's a pic of our Great Pyrenees Bella playing with our 5 month old chihuahua puppy Emmy.  This can be scary!

Merry Christmas everyone.  Remember the true reason for the season we we celebrate the birth of our loving Savior Jesus Christ.  God bless you all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This new painted warp on my Mighty Wolf loom seems so appropriate for fall.  The colors are bright and the yarns are incredibly soft.  There is enough for two scarves, or one ridiculously long wrap.  Probably one scarf will go as a gift for someone, maybe I will keep the other one.

I have a lot of new fiber to try spinning thanks to Paradise Fiber in Spokane WA.  Since I joined their fiber club I get three different types of fiber each month, each one being around 4 oz each.  If I blend it with anything I can get pounds and pounds!  The fibers are beautiful and a lot of them are not ones I would normally buy.  They are either unusual or the cost might be a little high.  But this way I can try out those and I have to say I've been very pleased with the quality.

Had our first snowfall this weekend.  It only was about and inch or so, but very pretty.  Since we still have leaves on the ground to rake and quite a few left in the trees, I'm hopeful more snow will hold off for a while until we get the raking done.  Our barn and alpaca sheds are finally cleaned out and looking pretty good thanks to some very good friends.  Now if we can just stop the alpacas from 'going' where they are supposed to sleep ...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I've had the pleasure of going to my mom's 90th birthday this month.  There were nearly 50 family members that attended.  I think she looks just beautiful.  Happy Birthday Mom!

While I was there visiting, my daughter got to feeling sick.  We took her to the doctor when I got home a week later and she has been diagnosed with acute kidney failure.  She is now on dialysis and will remain so until a suitable donor can be found.  Please pray for her.

Since things have been so busy here most of my spinning / weaving has been put on hold.  I have plenty of fiber so no worry about what to do with myself these days.  The alpacas are in the process of being re-homed as I don't think I can care for them properly by myself.  My niece is such a huge help but she will be returning to her parents in the near future.  Plus with winter coming on sometimes we can't get over to the pasture with the deep snow and spend a lot of the day just digging out.  This winter our snow is predicted to be heavy and our weather colder than usual.  Our snow blower does a great job but there are still areas to shoveled by hand.  I have been fortunate for the past several years to have great neighbors to help plow us out too!

Here is a picture from a couple years ago when we had over 100" of snow.  This big guy (and six more like him) was inside our property.  The snow was so deep they simply stepped over our 6' fence.  This one saw me and tried climbing up on the roof when I ran upstairs!  They were down here eating my shrubs and fruit trees because the snow was too deep higher up the hill for them to find food.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I finally got yarns and fiber ready to send to Kentucky!  They will be displayed in a farm store there.  I'm hopeful folks back there will like them more than they seem to here.  These two are hand painted, then carded with some glitz and glamour for your spinning pleasure :->  The blue one is a batt, and yellow is roving, both done on my little Strauch Petite carder.  It is time consuming to turn the crank by hand but the results are nice.

I'm working on more.  I hope to be able to spin up some of the batts I'm making.  I try to tie each bag with a sample of the yarn.  Its much better than feeling the product for sale, as hands have a certain amount of oil and dirt than eventually will make it off-color.  The spindles I use for teaching are perfect for sampling.  Take a spinning class from me and I will give you one with your fiber.

We are trying to get our wood in today.  The weather has turned much colder, with rain off and on for the last couple weeks.  This morning it was a brisk 33 degrees.  Brrrr!   But of course winter is just around the corner.  We usually have snow between Oct 31 and Thanksgiving.  Maybe this winter will be kinder to us and we won't have that much, although everything says we will have lots of snow again.  Oh well.  More time indoors to do fibery stuff, in addition to keeping the paths clear of snow and wood brought up to heat the house.  Love that woodstove!

Mom's 90th birthday is next Wed.  If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, give her a call on Oct 13th or email me for her phone number.  Happy Birthday (almost) mom.

Monday, September 19, 2011

An exciting day today.  We've seen a several acre fire behind our house.  We smelled smoke this afternoon but weren't sure where it was coming from.  Sure enough, it was just a couple acres over.  Fire engines were all parked down on the road but we couldn't see any up the hill from our farm.  Its not that steep, but completely covered with trees and brush.  Probably more than usual due to the long wet spring and early summer we had this year.

We tried to round up the alpacas for transporting in the stock trailer, but they wouldn't cooperate so we decided the pasture was a safe place to leave them.  Not much grass in the pasture this time of year so its as good as any place.  We did move the tractor over in the middle of the pasture as well as our stock trailer, just in case.  Its about 2 1/2 acres in size with no brush or grass, just a few trees now so isn't likely to burn.

Here are a couple pix of the helicopters that were doing water drops on the fire.  Its still smoky in the air but not as bad as an hour a go.  The water drops are still going on but I think they have a pretty good handle on the fire.  Last I heard it was about three acres in size, but I'm not sure now.

The first picture is a helicopter dropping water, you can see it just to the left of the big tree on the right.  Second picture is just some of the smoke coming up from the fire (see how close!) and third one is one of the helicopters with a full bucket getting ready to drop it not far from our property.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our lost Great Pyrenees Dolly has been spotted around here.  We've received several calls this week she was down by the highway.  We finally saw her this morning and although we were very close to her couldn't catch her.  She has always been shy and afraid of cars, and ran into the woods when we would try to get to her.  She appeared to have on a collar with tags, but these are not our tags.  At least we could know where she's been.  Please pray God leads her home the rest of the way.  She's been gone since Feb 4 of this year.

The fiber blending has been going well.  I've been working nearly every day trying to get some rovings and batts ready to sell.  I will be sending some to friends in Kentucky who have a store to see if its something people there might like.  Here is a picture of the blue, carded and turned into roving.  So soft!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With the beautiful warm weather we've had the past few weeks I've been dyeing fiber again.  This time something new was tried.  I put the pre-soaked fiber into a couple of large plastic containers and poured leftover dye in different colors in the jar as I added the fiber.  Then into a black trash bag and sat it in the hot sun for a couple days.  
When I rinsed them afterwards there was a little more color in the water than normal, but they rinsed clean after a couple times.  I don't think any true color was washed away.  The colors were not as varied as I'd hoped.  They pretty much did their own thing together, but pretty anyway.  I think I will try carding them with some of the flash I got a couple months ago.  We'll see what turns out.  I do like the colors they both ended up ... fluorescent pink and electric blue, and a light lime green and soft royal blue.  The computer really doesn't do them justice.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We have a new family member!  Meet Emmy, my daughter's newest addition.  Emmy is about three days old in the picture and is a tiny little chihuahua puppy.  We will be receiving her when she's about 7 weeks old.  The longer little animals spend with mom, the better the start in life they usually have.  We can't wait!

Our kitty Petey that was missing for three days has returned home.  We found him up in a Very tall tree in the woods behind our house.  We had to get our tree cutter friend to climb up and get him.  He was so ready to come down, didn't fight at all.  I can't imagine why he would go so high unless something like a coyote or fox scared him.  We also have owls and hawks that have carried off at least one of our kitties in the past.

No spinning being done right now.  Its been very warm, 80's and 90's.  With no air conditioning in our house its a little uncomfortable to be handling such warm fibers.  Early morning is ok sometimes, but I'm just not organized enough that early.

Jury duty for me this month, I can't plan anything.  Fortunately I still have not had to go, but you just never know.  Each Friday night I call to see who is on their roster for the following week.  So far, so good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It seems we have lost another kitty.  Petey, our much overweight orange boy has gone missing.  Only since yesterday, but he's always the first one at the food dish.  We are very worried and pray nothing has happened to him.  He is sooo sweet and we've raised him from a bottle baby.  He is a previous foster baby.

Yesterday the three pygora goats were sold to a nice lady from Plummer ID.  I went outside early this morning and didn't hear them calling me to come feed them!  I think I miss them (no!) already.  But they now have eight acres to eat, so should be really happy.

The yarn in the photo is the merino top / cashmere.  It is incredibly soft and spun with the little bits of cashmere making it look 'tweedy' or heathered.  Only four ounces of the merino so maybe I will have to buy a little more so there's enough to make a scarf or something.  I Love it!  These fibers came from Paradise Fibers in Spokane WA.

And I wish I knew how to take better photos, the yarns never show up as pretty as they are in person.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer is here, off and on.  One day 85 degrees, next day 69.  But a little rain once in a while keeps everything green and fresh.  I really don't mind.  My flower garden was looking so good but now is getting a little tired.  The purple flowers at the top of the page are Campanula, this pink one is called Poor Man's Orchid.  They are tiny, about the size of a 50 cent piece, the stalks grow to about 5 feet tall.  Anyone want any?  They are very prolific.

Finally got a picture of the black alpaca / green firestar, but its not a very good one.  It is hard to get a good picture of black anything.  I finally ended up putting it in a sunny window.  Haven't started spinning it yet and hope to get about another 3 ounces blended.  Maybe I can put in on the Etsy shop.

I did get some beautiful soft light beige merino and blended it with super soft cashmere.  Both these were through the fiber club I joined with Paradise Fibers.  It is incredibly soft and spun thick and thin.  The cashmere made the merino top just a little bumpy, so not too much variation.   It would make a wonderful scarf, mittens, socks ... just about anything next to the skin.  I will post a picture next time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spring is here and I hope it stays a while.  Beautiful flowers everywhere.  Along with the flowers we have an over abundance of dandelions to deal with.  So much yard work! 

The green flash I have has been blended with black alpaca.  Wow!  That really makes it flashy, lol.  Also blended with about 10 different colors of wool I had used for a 6th grade class demo that was done last week.  There were only bits and pieces of different things, not enough to do anything with, so they were all blended together with the green flash.  Very nice.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yard sale days are finally here.  One of our favorite things in the summer.  We are cleaning out our own closets and storage areas in the hopes of getting rid of a lot of unneeded stuff.  We've got several big tent-like tarps to set up in the yard but probably most of the stuff will go into the garage, just in case it rains.  Memorial weekend is coming up so that seems like a good time to start.

Our Blanchard Spinners went to Paradise Fibers yesterday.  Not all of us could go, but those of us that did had a great time and found some yummy fibers to put on our wish list.  I bought some green flash fibers that I want to try blending with my alpaca to give it some bling as well as being soft.

The yard is coming together again.  Everything is so green and fresh.  Lots and lots of weeds.  That's the next project for me I guess.  I love gardening, but on this farm there's just so much of it.  Anyone want to have a garden?  C'mon over!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My beautiful, sweet Dolly is still gone ... Since Feb 4, 2011.  In the last couple days I've received several calls about big white dogs who apparently were hit on the road and died.  Funny, these dogs were all quite a few miles from us and all in different areas.

I refuse to give up looking for her.  I just have the feeling she is close by, possibly being cared for by well-meaning folks.  If she is, knowing Dolly she will find a way to ecape again.  Praying God will lead her home.

In the meantime, I have my two beautiful other companions, Bella and Jessie.  We love these huge, gentle beasts.  They love playing together and with my niece.  Its so comical to watch the two of them rolling around all over each other.  Maybe I can get a video going on soon.

Our Blanchard Spinners group is heading off to Paradise Fibers in Spokane Sat morning.  Most everyone hasn't been to the new store, so we will all go together in a couple vehicles and I will show them where it is.  I Love the new store.  So many fun things to look at!  Better leave my checkbook at home, I'm always so tempted.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shearing Day!  Alpacas usually are sheared once a year, our goats twice a year.  Its always a hard day, pretty dirty too!  I just had knee surgery on Wed, so had a very good friend come over to help my daughter and my niece.  Also my niece had a friend from school there and the two little girls did a super job.  Our wonderful shearer Clint did a great job and was able to get everyone done is a fairly short time.

I got to sit in my chair and be the picture taker for the day.  So much easier than bending over to gather the fiber off the tarp. 

I will be selling the 2nds right out of the bag, if anyone is interested.  Probably around $2 oz, unwashed but since it doesn't have lanolin like a sheep fleece, it may be dusty or have a little VM still in it.  Let me know if any of you would like some, its extremely soft.  There is a lot of white, a good amount of brown, and one bag of black.  Oso is a true black and has no white at all in him. 

All in all a very good day.  The weather was good, a little windy at times, but warm (finally) and it didn't rain.  Woohoo.  We're done.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paradise Fibers Fiber Club Subscription

Paradise Fibers Fiber Club Subscription
What a great idea!  For $35 or less per month you can try out three new fibers from Paradise Fibers in Spokane WA.  Made a quick phone call to them this morning and (of course) it depends on the cost of the fiber as to how much you get.  But, the total amount should usually be between 12-16 oz for the three.  Increase your stash or try out something new! 

I bought some Punta fiber a while back ... WOW.  My new favorite.  Never would have considered it if a friend hadn't recommended it to me or I had been sent a sample to try.  Thanks Paradise!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here it is mid-April and its snowing this morning.  Light and fluffy so hopefully it will disappear soon.  It was in the mid-20's this morning when I got up.  No fair!

We got five new babies shortly after we lost the first two little ones.  Three black girls and a white boy and a beige girl.  All doing well, thankfully.  Their eyes have opened and I think they are beginning to hear a little.  They sure can smell when one of us is around though.  waaaaAAAA!

I'm working on new fibery stuff for our spinning group.  New colors, different blends.  So much fun.  The shearer is coming on Friday to give everybody their summer haircuts.  Unfortunately, last week the goats B-E-utiful long lustrous fiber went the way of dreadlocks.  The little boys were rubbing against the fence, and all their fiber felted into a tangled mess.  I'm sick about it.  Just a couple weeks ago I was admiring how beautiful they looked.  All that work and expense for nothing ... again.  After they get cleaned up Friday I think I will put them up for sale.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sad news today.  In the last two days we lost both the new baby kittens.  The little orange one went peacefully on Friday, the little black one went Saturday.  They were so tiny, so delicate.  RIP little loved ones.

This one was named Pumpkin.  I couldn't bear to take a picture of the little black one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

They've arrived!  The first two babies for fostering by my daughter.  She is the one that does all the feeding, loving, playing and cleaning of these little beings, along with lots of help from my niece.  The shelter likes our foster babies because they are usually so people friendly.  How could they not be, with three of us always kissing, touching and holding them.

These two are just 24-hours old.  They arrived Tuesday evening still wet from being born, and one even had the after-birth still attached.  They will live here with all the rest of the ones (to come) and at about 12 weeks be returned to Priest River Animal Rescue shelter to be adopted by some very lucky family.

There is no word yet on Dolly.  I can't give up looking for her.  New flyers to be hung on every post and pole around.  Now I'm resorting to driving up to farms and houses asking if anyone has seen her.  That's a lot of territory to cover, but like I said, I can't give up.

I've been dyeing alpaca roving this week.  I dyed some brown alpaca with indigo in spots.  Very interesting and I think I need to card it to distribute the colors throughout.  Then I put white alpaca roving in the nearly-spent dye pot and it came out a very light blue denim.  We'll see.  Pix when I get them spun up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is true love in action.  Bella and my niece certainly love each other and spend every waking hour together.  They are so cute.  And niece keeps Bella on her toes.

Bella is doing her best at being a livestock guard dog these days.  No word yet on Dolly, but I got a phone call today there was an ad on Craigslist about a big white fluffy dog.  I emailed the craigslist address and we went to where the dog had been seen. 

We didn't see any white dogs but talked to a Sheriff and possibly he can pass the word on Dolly.  When I got home there was an email response from the person that put the ad in.  She said a large white dog had walked through their back yard today but she was unable to catch her.  After sending her pictures she thought it had been Dolly! 

Tomorrow we will go back up there and hang flyers on everything we can with Dolly's picture on it.  Hopefully someone will remember seeing her and give us a call.

Our spinning group is still going.  We are meeting twice a month at the Community Center.  Had a call from someome today that may join our group.  Last Saturday we went to the spin-in that is a once a year event.  Its so much fun to see other spinners and weavers, knitters and of course the vendors who have all the 'must have' things for this wonderful art.

I'm currently spinning a blend of black and brown alpaca from my own herd.  Its mostly black with brown highlights and is being spun thick and thin in a somewhat modified woolen type yarn.  Its dark and rich looking, sightly fuzzy and very interesting.  It looks to me like mink or something rich.  Pix when I get a chance.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This morning I have added a YouTube video my daughter did of our beautiful, funny alpacas.  The four white ones are Harley (the little one), Wasabi, Apollo and Diego who was my first one along with our black alpaca Oso Negro, who has the most beautiful black fiber.  Very soft!  The brown two aren't in there much but are named Coop and Raulito.

She even got the pygoras in there.  Snowball is a sweet little female and has horns.  The other two are wethers, LoverBoy with the red collar and Toby, his twin brother.  We call them the 'naughty boys' because they are!

All these animals have incredibly soft, fine fiber.  Right now I'm blending some brown into Diego's white fiber making really nice, soft, light tan batts for spinning.  These are undyed and all natural.  Unlike wool, which many people are allergic to, these won't cause any discomfort to most folks.  A dream to spin.  These will go on my Etsy shop for sale.  I have the shop set up but nothing for sale yet.  The link will be posted when the shop is ready to go.

No further word on Dolly, our Great Pyrenees.  I am still praying she will find her way home.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

10:00 a.m. Update ... Sorry, it wasn't Dolly.  It was a beautiful white and brown short hair dog ... probably some sort of pit bull mix.  Very large, but not Dolly.  We will keep putting up flyers and praying for her return.

                  *                   *                 *              *              
 A very short post this morning.  Last night someone called to say he thought Dolly has been caught!  THEY MAY HAVE HER!!!  We are so excited.  We are heading up to the water treatment plant in Newport this morning.  Apparently they have a place there where they keep found dogs, and have a contract with the Sheriff's office.  They can only keep them for three days then they turn them over to the main shelter to be euthanized.   You all will be the first to know if its her.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I've no idea what fiber this yarn is made from.  Its fairly soft, looks possibly handspun, but not really sure.  There are short guard hairs in it, but it makes such an interesting yarn.  Not scratchy.  It was inherited with the cormo and the rest of the things when I purchased the Mighty Wolf loom from some friends.  The skeins were such a mess I didn't really know what or how much was there so ended up using my swift and ball winder to help straighten it out.  Guess I better show it to a friend who knows much more than I do.

I've dyed up the rest of the cormo yarn this week.  The new dyes work so beautifully!  Since I wanted to see what they all looked like these yarns are multi-colored but I think as a winter hat or scarf they would be great. 

My Etsy shop is nearly ready to open.  Now that the shop design and payment options are ready I just need to price some fiber batts and yarns ... that's the hard part.  Never knowing what to charge for something I love so much.  I can give them to friends and family but sell ??  Well, empty nest syndrome and all that I guess.

Dolly is still gone.  This week we are making up new flyers with a different picture of her and hanging them all the way up and down the highway where she's been spotted quite a few times.  We still pray she will come home of her own accord, that God will show her the way back.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We've been having a blizzard since last night.  The wind is so strong.  We all thought just maybe(?) winter was over.  The last couple weeks have ranged between 40's and even 50's one day.  Oh well, -12 degrees F isn't as bad as it could be.

The alpacas love it, Bella seems not to mind it ... she was lying out in the pasture near the gate watching for any sign of life in the house this morning.  The goats seem fine, although Snoball, in the pen by herself, was shaking a little this morning when the girls went to feed.  My daughter put in more hay but I think that shed may be too drafty.  We will have to put a tarp of something around the outside when the wind dies down.  She was eating and drinking alright and not crying so I think she's ok for now.  The cashmeres used to shake a lot but never got sick.

The yarn balls are the Cormo I dyed the other day.  I was just needing to see how it would look as a hat or pair of socks.  So soft and pretty.  I like the colors much better mixed together in the balls.  After the 'four-year sox' I finished last year I said I'd never make another pair.  Now I'm not so sure.  We'll see.

Dolly is still missing.  I still get an occasional phone call that someone has seen her.  I think everyone in this area is looking for her.  I just pray she is ok.

We had another cougar sighting yesterday on two of the roads leading up to our driveway.  Called F&W but they won't do anything until damage is done (what does That mean??).  Finally called a referral from that office and he indicated he'd come down if there was a problem.  Hopefully the lion will keep movin' on.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dolly is nowhere to be found.  The last call from someone was last Sunday, and no sightings since then.  I am praying God will bring her home showing her the way.  Just like us, He shows us the way.  The choice is ours.

I dyed two skeins of the beautiful Cormo yarn I had.  There are several more (8?) to dye and I wanted to see how a new brand of dye worked.  What beautiful vivid colors.  I hand painted the skeins in five bright colors so it looks like something just right for a child or winter cap.  Next time I will be a little more subtle, which is how my dye jobs usually turn out.  These skeins are mill spun 165 yards each 2ply sport weight.  330 yards would certainly be enough for most projects.

Our new spinning group at the community center is getting off to a rather slow start but its fun and certainly worthwhile and I've met some very nice ladies.  We are planning a field trip to Paradise Fibers to check out what interesting fibery stuff they have.  I love that store!

If I didn't tell you before, my 11 year old niece got one B and the rest A's on her semester report card!  Such an improvement.  We are all so pleased with her progress.  A new cell phone for her was promised and received for the good work.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We continue to search for Dolly.  I had a man call last night who had seen her for the last two days in Blanchard.  We drove his road last night in the dark with flashlights, also today for several miles up the road but didn't find her.  We ended up at this person's house and he indicated she was spotted about three miles north of town also.

I'm beginning to think she just doesn't want to come home.  Everywhere she has been seen, she's had to pass somewhere near the farm.  Oh well.  We have done everything we can.

I was able today to work on my etsy shop.  I think I've got just about everything set up for the shop with the exception of something to sell!  There is some beautiful soft Cormo yarn ready for the dye pot so I'm hopeful I can get it in tonight, then let it sit until tomorrow when I can rinse it out.  You all will get the etsy address when its ready to go.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No news isn't necessarily good news, but at least its not bad news.  I've had two more people see Dolly, both in approxi- mately the same place as the first three.

So that lets us know that she is still out there somewhere.  We have had some cold weather but with her full fiber coat, I'm sure it feels pretty balmy to her.   I have talked with many people about her.  Everyone is so nice!  One lady has been praying for Dolly to return, and didn't know who we were.  I met her just by chance on the road tonight.

We have been stopping folks driving down the local roads near our farm and just asking them to please watch for her.  Then they want to know about her and we are off and talking!

Tonight we spent about an hour driving up to the crossroads where she's been spotted and dragging an old pillow case with some of our fragrant poopy goat hay in it.  We still have ice and snow on our roads up here but that stuff is so stinky I'm sure it will not be gone for quite some time.  Dolly is absolutely in love with one of our little wethers, LoverBoy, so I'm hoping it was his that I was able to scoop up and put in the bag.

Thanks to everyone who has been leaving me messages and comments.  I surely appreciate them.  It makes me feel so good to know there are nice people out there who care.  :->  Thank you everybody!

And this is an earlier picture of Dolly playing with Bella when Bella was a puppy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just an update ... we talked to a man yesterday after church at a gas station in Spirit Lake.  My daughter asked him if he'd seen Dolly and he said YES!  He had seen her Sat night heading up the big hill towards town.  That's about 7 miles from our house.

Tonight I just got a call from a lady that said she saw Dolly yesterday at about the same time in the very same place.  So my daughter went up there a while ago to sit and wait for Dolly.  I pray Dolly does the same thing for the third night.  And not too late, its just now 7pm.  C'mon Dolly.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I am heart broken tonight.  Our beautiful, faithful old Great Pyrenees Dolly has been missing since Friday Feb 4 around noon.  She escaped from the pasture and trotted down our little dirt road.  She has done this before but always comes back a few hours later.

We've called and called for her.  We hung posters on posts and poles around here and I even stopped at a few houses asking if anyone had seen her.  I called the sheriff in both counties around us, police depts in several neighboring cities.

Anyway, we've done as much as we can.  We have been praying ever since yesterday when she disappeared and prayed together tonight before dinner so we are all hopeful she will come home soon.  I love her so much!  And God is so faithful!  Thank you Jesus.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Our alpacas just love this snowy cold weather.  They will lay out in the pasture when its snowing instead of inside the sheds.  Here is a picture of Apollo, behind him is Diego (one of my first two) and one of the brown boys just behind him, but I can't see who it is. 

They are so sweet.  They're the ideal farm animal I think.  No, we don't eat them.  But we do harvest their beautiful fiber once a year usually in the early spring.  Then they are cool all summer and start getting some length on their coats towards fall. 

One of the things they really like in the summer time is when I get out the hose and squirt their feet and legs.  Sometimes one will get so happy he will stick his entire head in the stream of water, open his mouth and get a nice cold drink.  All I have to do is head towards the water faucet and they are there.

Their fiber is extremely soft and warm.  Some of the most beautiful yarns come from these guys.  Here's a picture of Wasabi's fiber when he was only about a year old.  It was dyed blue and green, spun and plied to about a sport weight yarn.  Haven't made anything out of this yet, but it would certainly make a soft scarf or socks.  It feels like butter.

I have some new ideas for this year as far as using the natural colors of my animals.  I hope they turn out as I imagine them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My niece had a great time space dyeing her merino / silk fiber she bought with some Christmas money she received.  We used Country Classics dye which don't require any additives other than soaking the fiber in a little Synthropol before dyeing.  The colors were a little tame for her (she likes zebra stripes and hot pink!) but all in all its very pretty. 

I started putting a Verithane finish on her wheel to protect the wood but couldn't find the sandpaper needed, so finally got some yesterday and hope to have the wheel finished by this afternoon.  Being a Kromski Minstrel it has so many little pieces that make it so fancy so it takes a while to get them all coated.  She's anxious to use it so guess I better hurry up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I started blending some yellow superwash fiber that I don't really like the color of, with some beautiful white Punta.  It needed a little pzazz so some salmon-colored nylon icicle was added in big streaks.  I think it turned out pretty nice.  I wanted to see what it was like so its on one of my student spindles right now.  I love the way its turning out.  Hopefully others will like the batts and try spinning them.

We had our first spinning group the our local community center this Tuesday.  There were three ladies there plus myself.  One was a spinner but its always so much more fun to spin with others.  Its also a great way to discover new techniques.  The other two are using the student spindles and seemed to have fun.  They caught on very quickly and picked out some of the dyed / blended wool samples I brought.  Hopefully there will be more spinners in the future, but for a first time with instruction from me going on, three was quite enough.  Any more might have been too much.

Snow continues to fall in north Idaho and now a freezing rain is predicted after there were many pileups and collisions on our local roads and our one freeway.  Guess its a good day to stay home.  We were supposed to go pick up alpaca feed and then take our remaining two rescue babies up to the shelter in Priest River.  Everything is on hold until at least tomorrow.

What a good day to stay in the do some dyeing!  Already have fiber in soaking that my niece bought with her Christmas money, some merino and silk from Paradise Fibers.  So soft.  She spun a little already and was able to see the beauty of the fibers and the ease of spinning it.  We will do some rainbow space dyeing this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back in October I dyed some fibers for a spinning class I hope to be giving at our local community center.  I showed on that post some bending nylon in the dye pot with some dabs of color applied at random, this picture is after rinsing and on the drying rack.  It can be difficult sometimes to imagine just how the fiber will look once its dried, spun and then incorporated into your project.  That's what is so much fun about this craft ... seeing the final product made from your imagination.  Sometimes I start with what will be a planned project, but what I end up with is entirely different.

We are having a studio and shop day tomorrow.  Who knows what will come out of it.  Maybe a couple of real masterpieces :->   We are supposed to get up to 18" of new snow tonight and tomorrow, so it sure sounds like a good day to stay inside.  This morning's temp was just about -10 degrees so you know who wasn't outside, at least for too long.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

There is usually a bright side to most things.  As snow continues to fall off and on here and the outside temps run between -10 and above 20 degrees,  my niece loves it and it doesn't matter how cold.  She was out playing with the dogs a few days ago and made her very first snowman.  We didn't have any carrots for his nose and since the woodstove was already going we couldn't dig for pieces of charcoal for his mouth so we made do with some green candy kisses for his eyes and a stump of broccoli for his mouth.  I thought he was cute.

The pink and white punta & BFL yarn is finished and plyed now.  I actually got two nearly full bobbins of finished yarn.  Today I'm trying to get it measured on the niddy-noddy, weighed and washed to set the twist as they say.  After drying it will be hung with the rest of the hand-spun finished yarns and hopefully end up in my etsy shop.  I've had the etsy a while but never have put anything in there yet.

The tan Polworth with the pink glitz is still on my Sonata wheel so am hoping that will be finished up this week.  Just a little more to spin and then the two bobbins will be plyed together.  Its beautiful but a little coarse for what I like but it may soften up when finished.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


After a very nice and quiet New Year's Eve we also spent an energetic and peaceful New Year's Day.  I always feel like cleaning house on the first of January.  Sort of like cleaning up my life for a new start.  The temps are still below 0 during the night but doesn't seem to bother the animals.  Except the kitties.  No One wants to go outside.  They sit and look out the glass door but do not try to open the door or they will run.

After getting the house in some semblance of order, I was able to re-card some fiber for the third time.  I like it a lot better now.  Also the pink BFL and white Punta is spun and in the process of being plyed together for a pretty soft pink yarn.  Not sure how much I will have here but certainly enough for a nice baby sweater set.  Maybe I will try to do some baby blue also.

I gave my niece a gift certificate for Paradise Fibers for Christmas so we are making plans to go over there one of these days.  She doesn't have school on Fridays so that might be a good day to go providing the weather isn't bad.  Looks like our cold weather will last until the middle of the week, then more snow which means warmer temps usually.  She's doing so well at blending and spinning her fibers.  Usually I give her some of my stash but now she will be able to purchase her own and get what she wants.