Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pink Tree, Yarn sales and More French Angoras

Hope everyone had a blessed and happy Christmas! We are so thankful to be here and thankful for the Savior... you know, the 'reason for the season'!
Been so busy here... getting some new bunnies settled.. finishing presents..mailing out fleece to new customers and making some yarns!

One of the latest yarns I've made for a custom order was from Cotswold curls...pictured dirty white here...
 and lockspun and all muli-color dyed here! and ready to ship! Turned out so so pretty :-)  kinda proud of this lot! I could spin locks all day!
 AND!! I have added 2 new bunnies to the farm... a new French buck.. and this girl below here... she's a blue seal..her name is Stormy. And she is a sweetheart!
 I've had this girl a little while.. this is Bikerchick... she's relaxing on the couch after I 'plucked' her lovely fiber..shes a big girl... but gentle and so sweet.
I love the temperament of the French Angoras I have... the husband raises NZW,, they are not mean.. but no where near as calm...they certainly wouldn't stand for sitting in my lap for an hour!

and some Christmas cheer.. yes, I have a barbie pink tree!!!

 Topped with an angel that my mom made for me years... and I mean years ago! She still looks brand new though.
So the fiber part of the homestead continues to grow... my sheep fleeces are looking huge.. so are the Alpacas! the bunnies have all been clipped or plucked down so now I need to get to spinning it...

on the wheel currently is some sooth as silk Suri Alpaca! how I love to spin suri! another fiber I could spin all day....
and do :-)
working on adding my own suri boys to the farm!

Hope everyone has a blessed week,,, and has a blessed new year.
Can you believe ... 2014!
and I'm to be 40 in Jan....  wow! and how weird to think of that!

Blessings :-)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fiber Fun

Well can you believe its almost Christmas... I can't.... 
and I'm crocheting & spinning like crazy trying to get things made... on top of the surge or orders for Goat milk soap and skin care... and trying to get our new website ready!!

But its been fun... this is Mr. Blueberry... how adorable, I know... I love Blue animals!! He's still a baby but I am looking forward to harvesting his wool and making some beautiful angora yarn! 
Angora is one of my favorite fibers!!! Even before I was a spinner.. I loved anything made from angora! I could just rarely afford it!

Mr. Blueberry
 In the barn 'modeling' some Fingerless gloves I crocheted from my East Friesian wool... dyed with food grade dye :-) this picture doesn't do the gloves justice... and you can't see the sparkle from the angelina in them either!
I have a few pairs of these I really need to get listed in the store... Its so hard because I want to keep everything! lol!!
Does anyone else have this problem with things they make to sell... then they don't want to sell them...
 My Southdown Babydolls... I adore them... and their fiber... love love their springy fiber!!  I just made my first BD yarn.. its wonderful!!
I got a facebook message today asking me about some goats I had bought... I told her ofcourse I sold them all in favor of the sheep... got me thinking about how much more peaceful my barn yard (life!) is since the goats left,,, its really good...
H-Dog upfront, in the back drinking water , Truffle, little dirty white girl peeking behind H-dog is Princess Twinkle
 Heres some yarns I've spun in the last couple of months... this first pic is actually yarns I plan to put up for sale.. maybe ;-)
Left to right: Cotswold art yarn, Cotswold Tailspun art yarn, Shetland & Bamboo, Romedale Sparkle art yarn, East Friesian, Suri Alpaca & Angora, Border Leicester tailspun art yarn 
 Some yarns I have plans for....
Letf to right: Shetland & Bamboo, East Friesian, Alpaca & East Friesian, Shetland & Firestar, Cotswold & Firestar, Cormo, Tunis & silk threads art yarn
 Some yarns I spun for my first Grandbabys baby blanket...
Alpaca & Firestar, Shetland &Bamboo, Romeldale , Angora & angelina, Shetland & Bamboo
There are more... several more... but thats all I have pics of for now.

I can spin alot faster than I crochet so I really do need to get some more up for sale.

Well back to work... the spinning wheel is loaded with some Romeldale & silk..yummy fibers!
and the crochet hook is ready for the next Christmas present!

Many Blessings!
Till next time....

Friday, November 15, 2013

New yarns, art batts for spinning, messenger bags &.. Alpacas!

I have finally got around to getting an etsy store up and running and adding my handspun yarns & art batts 
I plan to add them to my regular store to,,, but its getting ready to go through a major re-do! So etsy for now :-)

Alpaca/East Friesian handspun yarn

I'm pretty proud of this one!

A Border Leicester/Lincoln art yarn

East Friesian art yarn
 Making spinning batts is so fun to me... its hard to let any go... but I can't spin as many as I like to make!!!
Plus I need to make some money back to pay for the animals food !
East Friesian/Bamboo/angelina fibers batt

East Friesian/bamboo/angelina fibers batt
 I also have got 2 messenger bags made from the animals feed bags... I've sold quite a few of these.. they are so cute!

Along with spinning, making batts and dyeing fiber.... I have added 3 Alpacas for fiber to the farm... I LOVE alpaca yarn!
Also added 2 French Angora rabbits.... I really love angora yarn!!
and a few more sheepies... I'll introduce everyone properly soon :-)

Have a Blessed & wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Randomness on the homestead

Making sheep cheese today so I have time in between ripening , heating... waiting for a curd to break , etc, to do some computer stuff...
The Bald Man & I went up to the New Market sheep dairy to get 80 lbs of sheep milk!! 40 lbs is for our neighbor ..
Due to being so busy with my business, the homestead and the sheep I have made the decision to sell ALL my goats and buy goats milk from my neighbor for the goats milk products and for blended cheese... she has high standards for her goats like I do and it just makes sense to do that instead of keep 2 separate dairy herds... esp. when it seems that the sheep may be easier to take care of  for me... Dairy Goats can be drama queens! and very naughty!! they are really entertaining!!! But when you are short on time like me... its alot less entertaining!
I"ve got alot on my plate so I'm looking forward to the sell out though sad at the same time because the best of the best is left! My favorite and best girl is the last goat standing... she HAS to have a good home!!!

On a brighter note... all our piggies are sold but Gigit.. and the Bald Man is keeping her! Shes the bigger piglet in the pic. I personally do not want to keep a breed pair or pigs... raising pigs is not a good business for a homesteader.. it is much much more cost effective to buy a feeder hog every year... BUT, this breed is so hard to fine and its the only breed we can stand.. so he's 'done the numbers' and maybe has come up with a way to make it ok to keep them.... plus he really really enjoys raising pigs!! who knew???

 Varys!!!! My new Border Leicester wether!!

I wanted to try a long wool breed.. some say they are no more difficult to raise than a regular wool sheep... then again some say they are more difficult!

Gotta fine out for myself though, ofcourse!

His temperament is great... he was a 4-H lamb.
His fleece is beautiful!!! Shorn in the spring its already so long!!

Really like this guy alot.
 All my East Friesian girls are getting so big and grown up!

They are the sweetest sheep.. This here is Curd.

 To the right is my big girl Bo Peep!

She's my largest ewe... just huge! and her wool is growing very fast.

Every morning when I go down to check on everyone the EFs gather around me because they know I'm going to check their fleece... pick hay out of it... brush them off! They love morning 'brush' offs!
Varys doesn't care for morning brush offs though..
silly BL!

 My smallest sheepie... Chablis... her fleece is very fine! very crimped!

Not at all like my other 2 ewes or my ram (Sergent is not pictured because he was to busy talking trash to Varys!) They have more of a med. grade wool.

This smallest darling also has the largest teats!
I can milk some pretty small teats.. I used to have Nigerians and poorly bred Nubians! But bigger teats is a plus :-) when you're hand milking.
 Guineas keets are almost as big as the grown guineas now!

As of right now we have 28 Guinea fowl...

which is fine.. if no predators get them we will be tick free next summer with all these guys working!
 My favorite chicken Bubbles....

she's out mothering the guinea keet she hatched!
 Muscovy ducks... These are my 3 males!

I love the Muscovy's... I love way they whisper ... I and love the weird Muscovy dance they do
when I pick one up and put it back down.. its so funny!!

They fly very well,,,
The little flock enjoying falls last green grasses and herbs.

In the spring I seeded this little field with chicory, dandelions, mustard greens & clover .. its still green and very yummy to the sheep!

The 2 best LGDs ever  :-)

without them I wouldn't have ducks, sheep, goats, geese or anything!!

They are The Bald Mans babies....
 This is one of Annabelles pups... The Bald Man calls him Hindu because he has a spot on his head..


This little guy is super spunky! Since the Bald Man cares for all the dogs they see him often... I only go down to their area every few days and this guy actually growled and barked at me!!!

Getting started protecting early I guess! lol!!!
at 3 weeks! Like seeing that in an lgd! so cute!

My Ancona flock..... they are so big now...

can't wait for those big duck eggs in the spring!
I washed the wool (cormo & friesian) added some dyed tunis locks... and some embroidery thread scraps I had been saving for years of emb work!...
carded... and spun this gorgeous & fluffy soft art yarn... thats telling me... 'weave a scarf'

I have no loom.... but I ordered one ;-)

Y'all have a great weekend now!

Be Blessed!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Puppies!!! and a Night out!

Been really busy here! Fall is in full swing is warm but pleasant.. I hope its a long fall.... leaves are just now starting to turn a bit... thanks to all the rain my sheep & other grass eaters (geese, ducks and hogs) are still getting to enjoy some pasture. I am hoping for some snow this year too!! 
I've filled my days with spinning, dyeing and washing fiber along with all the livestock care lately... my sewing room could be worked in but I've been totally focused on fiber... planning to get in there soon.. I have a couple of machines to sell as well as other stuff I need to go through... And some great ideals for my embroidery machine..with alot of cloths I really want to refashion from thrift stores... I miss using that machine! And its almost time to start thinking about Christmas presents.. when you make presents you have to think about it very early! Also take note out there for those of you who are my customers I will be having an early sale and gift sets available :-) with introductory prices on Sheep milk sets. yay! starting soon!

Here is an adorable pic of our rock star LGD Annabelles puppies! 2 boys 2 girls! Only one left!!
I should mention we are greedily keeping 2 for us! Good lgds don't come around often.. esp, ones that have 2 parents good with poultry!
Meanwhile all the piglets have been sold and a waiting list has been started for our next litter!
 With all thats been going on we are trying to make more of an effort to get out and have fun more often... homesteading and running a home based business is  very hard and stressful at times... rewarding but hard..
There are NO vacations....So getting out for a day trip or evening is stress relief in a way...which to us could mean fiber farm visits... eating at one of the few restaurants we like (theres like 3... its hard to eat out when you grow most all your food... esp, meats!)
Or going to a comedy club... which is why I"m all 'gussied up' in the pic... wrapped in a handspun shawl spun and knitted by my mom :-)
I like the look of our land behind me... you can kinda see one of the Bald Mans ponds on the left...

Need to get back to the wheel... and check on my husband. He's tanning 3 hides today! His first hide has turned out awesome! I need to stock up on leather needles ... cause it looks like I may have home grown leather to work with in the future... makes me really happy!!! Not only because I like leather, but because its all part of that 'use as much of the animal as possible' we like to do here.
Nothing goes to waste...

Have a Blessed Weekend!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Crochet Techniques and Projects

Well, in between canning processing times..and watching boring movies that The Bald Man rents from red box I've been getting quite a bit crocheting done along with spinning...
Here's just one part of a "winter wonderland" set I'm crocheting out of this nice handspun Jacobs yarn my mother spun. The set is fingerless gloves, a cute winter hat and purse... loving it and I'll take pics of it when ever its all done... I know... winter wonderland set in TN???
But even when it gets down to 40 or 50 degrees here I'm cold! and bundle up! 
so, the need for winter wonderland sets... I have another set I'm working on from handspun East Friesian wool, Cormo and Romeldale!! Its a set scarf, headband so far... maybe more gloves.. I adore fingerless gloves! Making and wearing! Since we have mild winters (usually) I can get away with fingerless gloves... I'm sure if I lived up North I would have to rethink the whole fingerless thing!
Handspun Jacobs yarn, one strand natural brown, one strand dyed with indigo
 New techniques!!! well, kinda,,, before we moved to the farm I had played around with Tunisian and hairpin crochet alittle... I bought a couple of new books on the techniques and have been playing around with them...Here's several different Tunisian stitches  ...

 I like Tunisian crochet... it does look alot like knitting... which is cool for a different look on some things I like to make.. and I hate knitting... so I can get the look without having to knit (ick!)

Below is some hairpin crochet ... I love the look of hairpin crocheted things!!! Its a technique I would really like to get good at... someday :-)

Also in the works ... a new sweater! which will be done.... well, at some point!
Its my own pattern so it will take awhile... I'm using a commercial yarn I had in my stash but also incorporating some handspun from my Friesian sheep... 
I've made up scarf & glove patterns before but never a sweater! Its a lightweight short sleeve sweater... doesn't make it any easier though!

Ok,,, blackberries all canned and sealed.. yay! Time for the Bald Man to cook up some lamb chops :-)

Have a Great weekend!!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall babies, projects and harvests!

What a lovely time of year... the temps have cooler here... things are busy but not to crazy... babies are exploding everywhere! My hen Buff hatched out 5 baby chicks... my d'uccle hen Bubbles (meanest chicken ever!) hatched out 2 keets... Our star LGD Annabelle had much needed puppies (whoo hoo!)and our American Guinea sow Phebe had piglets!!!!!!
She had 7, one died, she laid on her :-( but the others are thriving and growing so fast!!!! Here they are a couple of days old.... cutest baby animals!
Phebe and her piglets
 Our wonderful Guinea flock hatched out over 20 keets! They are incredible mothers! This batch of keets already flies, forages... best batch of keets we've had! Looking forward to them growing up. They provide the best tick control... without them, we and out livestock would have a very bad summer...
Guinea hen and a few of her keets!
 My herb garden... almost 3 years in the works... its a hot mess this fall. So time to clean it up! Laying newspapers then mulching... works better than anything else we've tired in the battle of the weeds here!
Fall herb garden project
See how pretty its gonna look... and see what a mess I have left to deal with! I work for an hour a day till its done..
alot of work to go....
 My spinning wheel has been busy... anytime I come in for water I hit the wheel for just a little bit!
and I have made quite abit of yarn :-)  I bought my wheel in Gatlinburg, TN at the Spinnery.... which was the best thing because she let me try any wheel in the store! Made choosing a much better process... and I got the right one! I was in there for about 2 1/2 hours, trying wheels, different fibers...... the people at the Spinnery are very nice, patient people!
My spinning wheel!!!!! Ashford Joy! 

I Love the fiber below... and the yarn it is now.. I tried going for a thicker yarn... like a sport weight...
Wool & Seacell blend.. Thanks Mom!
It spun up easily and beautiful! Now I need to find a crochet project for it... its very soft!
Made beautiful yarn!

Romedale samples from Wild Hair Fiber in Crossville.... I loved spinning the Romeldale... spun up fine and thin...and pretty easily... next to the skin soft...I am hoping to buy about 12 oz. of this to spin.

Romedale samples... a Romeldale ewe may have a future here :-)
My moms friend Marilyn has the biggest fig tree in TN! I have been lucky enough to get figs from her this year and I am so grateful! I really love figs... I made Italian fig cookies... a delicious Fig Pie and canned Red Wine Fig compote.... and ate figs til I thought I was gonna blow up! 
It was great! Looking forward to opening that first jar of Fig compote this winter :-)
Figs explode at my mother friend Marilyns!!! Thank You Marilyn!!!!
 And MUSCADINES! Oh! my goodness! could there be more muscadines this year... my moms vines are exploding... and even some of the Bald Mans young vines are loaded!
I froze 4 gallons to make wine this winter and canned some muscadine juice... and ofcourse ate a ton ;-) They are soooo good...
Muscadine juice

2 Muscovy Males
 Muscovy ducks are one of the favorites on our place... so beautiful.. so quite..I love the little whisper noises they make... watching them fly in to land on the pond is a nice site! Hope to add more this fall or next spring. They are a great bird for the homestead...

The boys... where the girls at?????
My boys... getting ready for breeding season! Head butts and trash talking... thats what the rut is all about!

Its gonna be a Blessed day...

Have a Great One!