Sunday, March 30, 2014


The sheep in the previous blog is Zorra, not Rosa as previously written.  As I mentioned, I did not take the picture.  It looked like Zorra and I wrote her name first but the light on her nose through me off.  Zorra and Rosa look alot alike but Zorra's face is much darker.  I don't know how those people with so many white sheep tell them apart.

The way I could tell I made a mistake was the torn fleece in front.  The sheep rub on one of the hay feeders when they eat and some of their fleece comes off.  I knew Gretta had the gap but I did not know if Zorra or Rosa did.  This morning I noted that Rosa did not so my first instinct was right.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spinning Along

Four more weeks.  I can't wait to see what all the sheep look like after they are sheared, hopefully April 26th.  Rosa, looks like she is wearing a winter coat 3 sizes too big.
Michelle took this picture a couple of weeks ago.

I think this shearing is going to be the biggest wool weight yet.  Unfortunately, there is so much debris in the fleece, but I think I have a solution.  A wool tumbler I saw on the web.  Basically, it is a cage that you put fleeces in which spins around throwing out dirt and debris.  One I saw, used a small cement mixer stand and motor.  I am thinking I will drive it by a spinning wheel which is connected to another wheel that the cage is mounted on.

I picked up a donor bike, yesterday, for the bicycle driven wool carder we are building.  It is almost disassembled.  The bike is another example of looking for something and getting all I asked for and more.  It is the right size, a 10 speed girl's bike (easy to get on and off of) and it is not rusty, easy to take apart and a nice color.  We have most of the materials we will need so I am beginning to get very excited.

Some friends came over last weekend to hold sheep while I trimmed hoofs.  Then they came up to the fiber shed and J. told me what gear ratios I needed and where I could get some gears.  Now, I have to figure out what carding cloth I want to order for the new carder (what do you think, Elizabeth?).

This week looks like it is going to be the week to finish a few out standing projects, and then I can take on some new ones.  There are so many things to do but with my new attitude of "it will only take a few hours to complete each" I am O.K. with the load and besides I remember that last year at this time I was thinking the same thing and then I accomplished a great deal.  My mantra is Spinning Along Under Control, Under Control, Under Control.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Spring 2014

Today was a perfect day.  I did my yoga outside while I let the sheep go down to the lower pasture to graze.  Zorra and Rosa, the most curious of the sheep, looked at me for awhile and then went back to grazing.  Then they all came over to see what I was up to.  Charlotte came up and stomped her foot at me.  She stomps her foot when she doesn't like something but I could not figure out why she would feel threatened or be mad.  I guess I have to do my yoga around them more.  I like practicing yoga outside but there is so little flat area so it adds a new awareness.

 Since John wasn't around yesterday,
this was my brain exercise for the day.  This is the stand that holds the barrel that the rainwater from the barn goes into.  I got it back together without too much trouble so I did a brain exercise out of a book too.

Look what is coming up now that Spring has arrived.  This is by the entrance to the fiber studio.

And in the grass I found these lovely blue flowers.

The forecast is for snow again on Tuesday but if it does snow, I know it won't last because......


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adding Things into Your Life

With all the cold and snow and dreary lingering weather, my sister in law (Cathy) suggested we add 5 things into our life for a few weeks to help us feel better.

1) Sit on the floor more
2) Slow yoga
3) Drink water with fresh lemon
4) Do brain exercises
5) Check off that we do 1-4 each day

Sitting on the floor is hard but it will get me in shape to sit with the sheep in the barnyard when the weather dries out.  Slow yoga isn't hard but takes time.  Drinking water with lemon isn't hard unless you don't have a lemon, I have been substituting a lime until I get to the store.  Brain exercises are hard.  Here is today's.

Let desired wool feed rate be w inches per minute pulled along by a drive wheel of rw inches in radius (the wool moves at the same slow speed as outer rim of the wool drive wheel).

Let desired carding drum rotation rate be d rotations per minute and the drum be driven by a directly connected gear or pully of radius rd inches.

Let desired bicycle rotation rate be b rotations per minute driving a main directly connected gear that is rb inches in radius.

Let bd = (b x rb) ÷ (d x rd)
Let bw = (b x rb) ÷ w

The gear down ratio between the bicycle gear and the card drum gear is 1:bd.
The  gear down ratio between the bicycle gear and the wool feed gear is 1:bw.
I suggest b be 85.

This is the email I got today from the dad of two enthusiastic fiber campers that have been to our farm several times.  I had asked for some help with ratios to build a bicycle powered drum carder like the one on the home page of our website.   I keep reading it over and my mind closes down.  John suggested I start plugging some numbers in to make sense of it.  I will try that in a few minutes but I will have to guess at some of the numbers for now.

This is a very exciting project that many are helping with.  K&R's dad is giving me formulas, Elizabeth is researching carding cloth, Charlie is looking for donor bikes, the guy at the bike shop in town gives consultations, John got a pvc pipe from a guy he knows, John and I are going to build the box and put the whole thing together and the sheep are going to provide the wool.  Talk about adding to your life. 

If anyone else out there has anything they would like to contribute feel free.  I have to go do my brain exercise and check everything off for today.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is THIS the last snow for this Winter?

This morning we woke up to more snow.  At least it was only 2 inches instead of the predicted 5-8.  Even I, the snow lover, am ready to move on to Springtime NOW.

This is my new lettuce and pea bed which is nicely protected from scratching chickens but not snow.

The brave chickens came out of the barn looking for breakfast.

This one paced back and forth on the fence instead of coming over as she usually does.   I finally realized she didn't want to land on the snow

 So I cleared a landing strip and gave them their crumble.
 Soon some hungry birds came to share breakfast.

Zora likes to eat snow.

I think we are all tired of looking at snow pictures.  Stay tuned for Spring pictures in 4 days!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Thousand Words

Since I did not take a picture this morning, I guess I will have to write a thousand words.  Isn't that what they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words"?  It has been so long since I blogged that I should definitely write a thousand words.  Have I used this title before?  After 432 blogs it is hard to remember, but I guess it doesn't matter.

Back to this morning.  I had a table at the camp fair in town, where parents come and see what camp offerings there are for their kids for the summer.  My friend Beverly helped me set up and made the table look beautiful and camp look very inviting.  It was extremely windy and the wind made lugging all the stuff very cold and uncomfortable.  Glad I wasn't alone, making two trips.  Many thanks Beverly!  Once inside, I was warmed by many greetings from parents of last summer's fiber campers who want to return this summer.  I had my camera in my purse to take a picture of the table all set up and then I forgot until I was on my way home.  I almost want to set the table back up, here, but I am too tired.  We had a slideshow, of the pictures we did remember to take last summer, going continuously and we had simple fiber tools the kids have made at camp.  We had 3 small looms in progress, a new knitting (on needles) from finger knitted bulky yarn, a stick & stone drop spindle, homespun yarn, a felted hat on a balloon head, some needle felted pizza and a few baskets filled with a lot of colorful locks, roving, and yarn.  Many adults said they wanted to come to Fiber Camp.

Yesterday, John and I found some fabric we like so I can start the cushions for the wonderful couch he made for the cabin.  Later in the afternoon, I started weedwacking in the lower pasture, to clear out some high stuff the sheep don't eat, and also began cutting out some heavy thatch so the grass can grow better.  The sheep were down there with me supervising but mostly grazing until the afternoon wind and rain kicked up and we all got drenched.

Still waiting for some warmer weather, that lasts more than one day, to bring some new chickens to the farm.  I am glad I am not waiting for lambs in this weather we have been having.  I would love to have lambs around again but first I have to build up a market for fleece sheep.  We are maxed out here for grazing area.  I am glad Karen is going to have MANY goat kids this spring for me to go laugh at and play with.

Not up to a thousand words yet but Jane will question me about the length of this blog if it gets any longer so enough for now.