Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gotta Love those Critters!

Last evening really reminded me of why we have all these crazy critters!  After a long winter of hiking through snow to get to the barn and going out in all kinds of weather because they need care, it was wonderful to have a great evening with everyone.

To begin with, I was able to come home from work at a regular time - that started my evening off right.  So, I headed out to put a couple of dye pots on in the fiber shed.  While I was waiting for them to heat up I began my evening by herding some chicken escapees back into the chicken yard.  They escaped their fencing and needed to be herded out of the barn rafters and the llama pasture.  Some torn up bread does wonders!  As they walk through the gate back into their pasture, they kind of look at you like . . . that was really mean to "shut" us out of the pasture.

Then I headed into the girls stall to clean.  The girls were very polite and stood in my way and made me walk around them to clean.  They sort of treat you like a maid!  Then the cook, because they really just wanted me to hurry so I could get them dinner.

Then the dye pots were ready, so I put in some dye and some wool and turned down the heat on the pots and headed out to the boys stall.  The boys stall is much easier clean since there are only four of them.  The big guy - Montgomery- laid out in his pasture and supervised me.  Gave me a look everytime I came out of the barn as if to say . .. about time you showed up to clean!  He was very relaxed and comfy as I entertained him and that gives a good feel to everyone outside - just relaxed and happy!

Then it was time to feed everyone.  Jeff and Hoover were walking in the yard and the sheep get all revved up when the dog is out.  The wethers were doing their "popcorn" dance.  Running, jumping and hopping all around their pasture and up and down their hill.  It really is quite a stress reliever to watch those silly sheep play.  I can only imagine how entertaining the lambs will be when they arrive next month!

The ewes were actually contemplating letting me pet them.  Bethany got quite close and was studying my every move without running the other way, so I think we are making progress.

The dye pots - yes I did remember to turn off the heat. . and they are still sitting in the fiber shed.  I will pour off the water tonight and send the wool for a spin in the washer and then lay it out to dry!

All in all, it was a great relaxing evening and I accomplished a lot.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Knitting One Below

So, I need another knitting project . .. yea right!  That is one joy of knitting for our vendor booth - I can pretty much knit whatever I have a whim to knit.  At the Fiber Retreat, Sheila Miller shared a scarf that she had knit using the Knit One Below Method.  Basically, it is a way to knit with two colors but not have to carry the second yarn behind your work and worry about tension, etc.  The title of the book is "Knit One Below" and is written by Elise Duvekot. It is a wonderful book!  Trust me, I don't usually buy knitting books unless they are of real value to me - this one fits the bill!  It is wonderful.  Here are a couple of pictures of my first scarf.  I am using some Knit Picks yarn and it is 100% wool. I usually experiment with commercial yarn before I use my handspun yarn.

You can see the distinct color stripes and there is no yarn carried across the back.

The dyeing that I was going to do last weekend, if you happen to read that post, did not get done.  I managed to cram so much in Saturday that it was 5pm before I was going to start and that is too late.  Maybe okay for a summer evening, but not winter.  So I am going to try to get to some of that dyeing this weekend.  It is quite windy and rainy today, so I think I will take the camp stove down to the "old bunny barn" and do the dyeing inside.  The old bunny barn is in the process of being converted to a fiber dyeing shed so I can dye yarn, fleece and rovings year round.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring is Coming!

What a beautiful "winter day".  Technically, it is still winter - but the sun is shinning, no coats are needed and the chickens are out running around!

We went over and picked up the free woodburner that I found on the yahoo group, free cycle.  It is the perfect size for the fiber dyeing shed and is flat on top and will accomodate a tea kettle.  It needs a little work - some cleaning and painting - but it was FREE!  It will be adorable in the dyeing shed.

I've poured 6 dozen chocolate llamas for a birthday party favor.  The llamas are pink, white and brown, which apparently is the theme of the party.  They are cute and once they are set, I will package them and then ship them to a friend.

Now, I am headed outside to dye some yarn and fleeces.  It is a perfect day for fiber dyeing - no wind, sunny and fairly warm.  I will post pictures after I am done.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sheep Get BETTER Hay

Well, this is what Montgomery thinks anyway!  Montgomery is our big, spoiled gelding llama.  I feed everyone the same hay in the same order each night.  The alpacas and Montgomery seem to think the sheep get better hay, as they always have to taste it.  Anyway, the other night, I had just given the boys their hay and I turned around and was headed for the ewes pen.  When I stopped to open the gate. .. good thing I don't scare too easy. .. . .Montgomery had followed me and his head was above my shoulder, about 2" from my face!  He felt the need to taste the sheep hay just one more time and with as quietly as llamas walk, I never heard him!  What a suprise to both of us.  Of course, he looks at me as if to say "What, I'm just testing their hay".  It put a smile on my face and I laugh when I think of it.  What a goof ball he is!

The sheep have decided to spend most of their time up on their hill.  As the ground softens up and gets squishy . . .that dreaded spring MUD . .. .. they lay on their hill as if they will not get muddy up there.  They have so much wool that they look like puffy clouds that have landed.

Bruiser is sitting here, helping me type . .. always the "little" helper kitty!  For those of you who do not know him. .. . there is nothing small about him. .. well maybe his little pea brain. . .but otherwise he's about a 20 pounder.  Here is a picture of him relaxing.

Better get back to work doing something productive.