Sunday, September 16, 2018

Saori Weaving, Natural Dyeing, and the Remnants of Hurricane Florence

No more excuses, I broke down and bought a new computer.  I am still figuring it out but I said "no more excuses". 

Here is a sampling of my new weavings with my Saori loom.  So far I am just using natural fleece or natural dyed fleece and yarn, so I don't have a great selection of colors.  There are many jars of dye bath in the fiber shed so I guess it is time to do some dyeing.  Many wonderful dye plants in bloom too.

We are starting to get rain from the hurricane now so the New England Aster will be beaten down and ready to be harvested.  The goldenrod is lovely this year so that will be one of my yellows.  Still looking for greens but I have some new ideas.  I think I just need to do more experimenting.  Look out the window,  GREEN everywhere so why haven't I found a whole pallet of greens?  

I was supposed to go camping with Rosemary tomorrow so I trimmed 12 hoofs to get that done before I went.  The rain is coming down heavily now so I am glad we postponed and very glad we got the hoofs done because it is going to be hard to do much is the barnyard for a few days.  Another good reason to dye some wool tomorrow.  

This might be one of those times that I go backwards with blogs to chronicle the County Fair "sheep to shawl" demonstration that 10 of us did and maybe a few other things.  

Monday, September 3, 2018

Communications Here and There

I guess I could go to the library to post a blog.

 This computer is becoming very unreliable.  I have gone through 2 used power chargers in as many years.  I think the reason Apple went to a different power hookup was that this one is a bad design.  It is time to to buy a new laptop but I just bought a new loom.

This reminds me of around 40 years ago when I was saving to buy a used car and ended up buying a small sailboat because it was more exciting and fun.

Cars and computers are Not necessities.  Boats and looms fill the Fun need.

This computer is actually charging as I write but  now the cursor is going all over the place.  I can't even find it unless I start typing.

Sheep have such an uncomplicated life!  No computers no phones no communication problems.  If they want me they just BAA.  The geese too, they are just a little louder.

When Gail was here she was taking pictures of the animals and the geese  were fine with it all until she started going toward the sheep.  Then they really put up a fuss.  Did they not want Gail to go toward the sheep OR did they not want to lose the loose attention.

O.K. it isn't always clear to me what is going on with the animals but they seem to understand each other well enough. I wish I could be with those I like to be with more often.  Face to face communication is just SO much better.

It has been a good summer.  Good fiber camps, good get aways,  good visits with family, good product sales,  but I am ready for fall and maybe a new computer since I can't be with the ones I love.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Thousand New Pets

Several weeks ago I had A thousand pets delivered in the mail.  Red wigglers.  Now I bet we have way more.  I real enjoy them; we don't have to let them in or out, I don't think they are much for affection so no petting required, but we do have to feed them.

I ordered the worms to eat our food scraps because there are a lot of things the chickens don't care for and I was tired of feeding the possums (they were messy eaters) and there were getting to be too many.

I am glad Uncle Jim, of Uncle Jim's worm farm, refers to the red wigglers as pets.  When you think of feeding pets you feed on a more regular basis and the scraps don't pile up so high in the bowl by the sink.  Now we have fewer pet fruit flies in the house too.

The worms don't eat everything but most things.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fiber Camps

This summer's fiber camps were very different.  For one thing, we had more varied ages but not on the young side.  This time we had a mother/daughter duo, a grandmother, and a great grandmother who started knitting again after 40 something or was it 60 years.

We had SO much fun.

Our New Toy

Wednesday was the farmers market, Tuesday our new tractor came.  Today, I bushhoged the lower upper pasture- another chore checked off the list.

The exciting thing about this tractor is that it has a front bucket and a BACKHOE.  I have thought backhoes were really cool since I was about 5 maybe.  It was sad to sell the big blue Ford tractor but one can have too many tractors (not spinning wheels but tractors, yes).  Having a bucket and a backhoe makes more projects possible.  I think that is a good thing.  We shall see.

John scraped the driveway to his garage.  That had been completely covered over in weeds.  I want to dig the puddle pond a little bigger, John wants to make steps down to his garage,  he is also going to dig out the fire pit and make it nice.  I want to rearrange some soil by the compost pile and dig out some poison ivy.  I would also like to level some areas in the barnyard.  We may need to make a list with priorities.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Catching Up take *%(&$ (Farmers Market)

With SO much time between blogs I could title them all Catching up. Maybe I will just do several at once and release them a few days apart.

I always find that it is easier if I start with yesterday and work my way back.  Yesterday, I went back to the farmers market after being away for two weeks with fiber camps going on.  It was a hot day with just enough breeze to be comfortable most of the time.  Lots of people coming through and again many interesting conversations.  It is fun when there are so many people interested in what I do.

Yesterday's theme at my booth was "the insulating properties of wool".  Wool is not just for winter.  I wet felted some sleeves for milk bottles because so many people get their milk share every week.  This was a suggestion from a couple of customers.  I tested them on the front porch in the shade with two bottles of water next to each other, one with a sleeve and one without.  After an hour, the one with the sleeve was almost 10 degrees cooler than the one without and only slightly warmer than when I put the sleeve on.  Unfortunately, the milk people came by with very brief conversations about something else.  At least I won't have to make more before next week.  Who would think that on a hot day the best seller would be dryer balls.

I have been in the research and development phase of farmers market products for awhile and have finally decided what it is that I want to bring to the market.  For the most part, I will be producing "fun functionals".  (pictures soon)

I put some mulch fleece on one of the potted lavender plants that one of my market buddies was selling and a few minutes later a master gardener that was going to be doing an herb workshop came over and bought an ounce to give her students with  their take away herb plants.  (future customers)

I am not making millions yet but John loves it when I come home and tell him I made a lot of great contacts.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Catching Up

Where to begin...  Spring waited until I got back from the road trip out west but then immediately sprang.  So much to do.

The sheep were sheared on Tuesday but they have figured out who is who and barnyard life goes on.  We lost two of the new goslings at a time when I was feeling particularly sensitive about all the sadness that is going on in the world but I was able to use my accumulated spiritual resources, put things into perspective, acknowledge the world's grief, and reset.  I wonder if the animals think they don't have control of what life brings OR do they believe that everything that happens they brought to this life for a reason. 

Yesterday was the 3rd week of the outside farmers market and a very interesting day.  The day started off slowly and then so many interesting people came by to talk about wool and spinning and all sorts of things.  There was a woman visiting from England who told me that many things that get delivered from farmers are wrapped in wool to keep the goods cool.  Then she can send the wool back the next week or put it on her garden as mulch.  Many sheep in England and the English have lots of ingenuity and common sense in my book.  Then there was the woman that has a wolf (3/4 wolf blood).  She has a significant amount of fur from him which she would love to have made into a blanket.  Another woman wants to start spinning again but need to get her wheel from Richmond.  She may bring it over to fashion a new drive belt and see what else it needs.  One woman bought 3 skeins of yarn from Gretta's fleece.  Was she the one that wanted to be added to our spinning group or was that someone else?  Can't remember which story goes with who.  Many interesting conversations and a decent monetary day.

Research continues on natural dyeing so many beautiful pictures should find their way to this blog in the next few weeks.  There are three jars with 3 different lichen soaking in the fiber shed.  They have to ferment for at least 3 months (that will be Fiber Camp in June).  

Spinning, wet felting, and weaving have also taken some of my time lately.  I continue to give Mira her apple cider vinegar most days.  It seems to be helping with her arthritic symptoms.  She didn't like the golden raisins soaked in gin remedy; to sticky. 

The above was written 4 days ago.  Since then Helena hatched out 3 goslings but one went missing the first day.  Now we have 4 adults Sal's gosling that is about 2 +weeks old and Helena's 2.

Sal's gosling is very interested in the little ones.  He is already 4 times bigger than they are.  Hard to remember him being so small.  They all travel  in a group but sometimes Cirrus pecks at the little ones and then Prince steps in.  The older gosling hangs out a lot with Cirrus and one day went after Prince when Prince was going after Cirrus.  That was pretty funny. 

Time to take pictures of the goslings before they are all full grown. Stay tuned.