Monday, February 01, 2016

Things have Changed

It's been a busy winter! I signed a purchase agreement on my house at the end of October and closed on December 1st. After 28 years living in that house, there was an unbelievable amount of stuff to move, toss, or give away. Thanks to the people who helped me (Sid, Robbie, Mike, Paul, Kerry, and my sons, Matt and Alex).  It was a huge task and I'm still not all unpacked. But what a relief it is to have all my things here in Ogilvie now!
Had to get a photo of my son's "Club House rules" sign in the loft of little red barn at my old house: no stealing, no bullies, no name calling, no swearing, no kicking, etc., etc.

My new studio space is filled with boxes of my paintings, wax resist eggs, empty frames, matboard, art supplies, spinning wheels, and tons of WOOL.  I have high hopes of hosting monthly fiber days and lots of classes in that space.

Sid and I are completely remodeling the lower level of the house.  We put in a new bathroom, laundry room, and pantry last fall.  Now it's the entry, kitchen, living room, and office/guest room. Ceilings, drywall, and some lights went in last week.
Hopefully this week we will get the ceilings and walls primed and install the new kitchen cabinets.  They've been out in my studio all summer -- I can't wait to have them in place!
Sid and I took a nomadic felt rug class at the Textile Center this past weekend. It was good to get away since the house is all disrupted. I haven't had time to make much felt with all the housing issues, so it was a welcome relieve to get my hands wet and soapy again. Mary Riechert did a great job teaching the class and we had more than enough time to finish our small rugs. Mine turned out to be a  birch tree landscape so it will probably be a wall hanging. I plan to needlefelt a few details.  Sid did our cat, Richard Parker, laying on his rug.  He's going to bring out some more details with needlefelting on his too.
Lambing will begin in about 6 weeks, I exposed 10 ewes to Jester, the Teeswater ram. Roxie (BFL/Finn) is due on March 15th. She had beautiful triplet ewe lambs last year (her first lambing), so I expect we'll see some ram lambs out of her this year.
These are Wanda's twin ewe lambs from 2015. They are Teeswater/Wensleydale and a little BFL. I clipped the wool from their faces so they could see.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Spiral Staircase -- first step completed!

Sid and I had a busy weekend!
I did the Fall Fiber Festival in Hopkins, MN on Saturday. Thanks to all who came and purchased fiber and felt! It was my first time vending there, thanks for the warm welcome!
We came home to house guests, Jake and Marie, who had brought a delicious crock pot lamb dinner. Yumm!
Sunday was the big day to install the 25' white oak tree trunk.  This will become the center pole for a three level spiral staircase in the house. The tree was cut early last spring by our good friend, Randy, on his land.  Last June, Sid, along with Randy and his brother, debarked the trunk and it's been drying all summer in our pole barn. It weighed 830 lbs.

After much discussion, plans were made to cut a hole in the north side of the house and slide the tree trunk in; hoist it up to the top beam of the house and then cut a hole in the floor and lower it to it's intended position in the basement. Three guys and 4 hours later, it was done. What a relief!
View from the outside the house...
View from the inside...

Let the hoisting begin! Sid and Randy guide the big end while Jake pulled the chains on top.

It's getting there...the tip eventually was all the way up against the top beam at the peak with the windows.
A short espresso break before cutting the hole in the floor...

Then to lower the upright trunk down to the basement through the hole in the floor..

With the trunk finally in place, Sid gave Randy a big hug. After all the years of thinking and talking about it, the pole is in!

What a great work group, Randy, Jake, and Sid!

And here is the upper portion in the master bedroom upstairs.  Eventually there will be railing and the risers will be installed so we can quit climbing that ladder!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Fall Fiber Festival this Saturday!

I am going through my fiber and finding lots to sell this Saturday at the Fall Fiber Festival in Hopkins, MN.  I really haven't been up to speed on selling my fiber for a couple years and I have so many beautiful natural colors of Shetland combed top and roving!

I'll also have Bluefaced Leicester combed top and roving; some raw fleeces to sell; raw and washed Cotswold, BFL, and BFL/Teeswater locks; felt pelts; tanned sheepskins; Bluefaced LeicesterX, Wensleydale/BFL, FinnX, Karakul, Lincoln, Icelandic, Cheviot, Suffolk, and English Leicester roving and cloud.

Hopefully there will be room in my van for all the fiber, pelts, and some felted hats. It's going to be a fun day, hope you can stop by if you're in the area. Hours are from 10-4 p.m.
In other news, I have a purchase agreement on my house! If all goes as planned, we'll close before Christmas. I'm going to be busy these next few weeks getting everything moved out. Things really accumulate in 28 years of living in a house. I've been working on downsizing all summer, but I think a roll-off might come in handy.

The weather this past week was incredible. I took advantage of the warm temps to get three fleeces felted in 24 hours. My body is feeling it now.

The beautiful fall leaves are history, but it's still so nice and peaceful to work outside by the wood-fired oven.

Sid hatched out 35 baby quail last week. They are SO tiny! We're planning to use them for meat and eggs. I thought it would be fun to make pickled quail eggs to sell at the Farmers Market next summer.

 The breeding pen is set up and my Teeswater ram, Jester has been busy. I'll be breaking them up next week.  He will be available for purchase anytime after November 15th. He's the sweetest ram and his fleece is absolutely amazing.  I hope to get a bunch of ewe lambs from him again this year. I am keeping 5 of his daughters in my flock.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Hobby Farm and Sheep for sale

As some of you know, my place is on the market. Click here for more information on the house.
I love my house, Stan and I built it in 1987.  We skated on the pond...
We planted gardens and fruit trees, built two barns, fenced and raised poultry and sheep.  Being on the end of a cul-de-sac means there is very little traffic, so no worries about pets on the highway. The neighbors here are simply the best, most helpful, caring people.  This place has been perfect for me and my animals... But the time has come to move on in life.

I'm in a relationship with an amazing man who can build and fix anything, is an excellent cook (Italian), and he actually wants sheep! But most important, he makes me feel alive again. Life is about moving forward, not living in the past.
Sid's noodle-free lasagna made with zucchini, eggplant, and wild mushrooms from a neighbor's yard.
So I am relocating my studio and animals to Ogilvie, MN.
We built a nice pole barn, but we have no pasture there yet.  We still have to fence and the sheep will have to clear out the woods.
I have decided to sell four of my registered Bluefaced Leicester ewes and my yearling Teeswater ram, along with some purebred Shetland, TeeswaterX, and BFLX ram lambs.  I also have two small Teeswater/BFL ewe lambs for sale. They were the smallest in sets of triplets. Very sweet friendly girls with beautiful lustrous locks, but too small for breeding this fall. Please check my Sheep for Sale page tab above for details and pricing.
I will be heading to Jefferson, WI for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival September 11-13th with as many sheep as I can pack in my new-to-me miniature horse trailer. I will be teaching a Raw Felted Fleece class there on the 13th, so I need to leave enough room in the trailer for all the class supplies too.

I'll have two pens in the Stock Exchange barn at WSWF.  I hope you will stop in and see the sheep, I can't wait to see everything and everyone at Jefferson!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Another Ewe Lamb!

Some things are moving along at a snail's pace it seems and others are going way too fast. I have moved ten lambs to Ogilvie and the remaining 25 sheep are still at my place.  We haven't gotten fencing done because we've had to wait for the dirt work to be finished around the new pole building and the rain keeps delaying the dirt work.  The lambs are in the lean-to portion on hay for now.
Lambs at Ogilvie. Lucy in the center is 3/4 BFL 1/4 Shetland. Pi on the left and Clyde on the right are purebred Shetland ram lambs.
We plan to build another cattle panel and T-post shelter for the ewes at my house to get them out of the pole barn. That way the pole barn will be clean and dry and ready for potential buyers. :-)
Good news! River Oaks Mystery delivered a 7.8 lb. single ewe lamb unassisted on July 25th (she's a first time mom at age four). She's a great mother. I am SO happy that her lamb was sired by Jester, my Teeswater ram! You can see the resemblance in these photos.

I can't wait to see the Shetland/Teeswater fleece!

Grazing the side yard in Mora. The lambs are getting bigger!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

4th of July Already?!?

I can't believe it's already mid-summer. Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. Sid and I went to Wahkon to watch the fireworks on Mille Lacs Lake. Half of the fun is sitting on the lakeshore watching the people. The other half is watching the fireworks going off all around the lake. We've had some beautiful weather so far this year.

The strawberries did especially well, and Sid's homemade cranberry wine turned out excellent. Life is good!
Sid in the new barn weighing one end of the 26' white oak tree trunk.
We got the center pole for the spiral staircase this week. It's a white oak tree trunk. It came from our friends' farm and weighs 890 pounds. According the rings, it's 84 years old. It will be the focal point of the main floor here in Ogilvie, but I'm afraid we need to make a hole in the north wall of the house in order to get it installed.
The new barn in Ogilvie is finished, but we still need to do some dirtwork before we can put up fencing for the sheep. I can't wait to get the flock moved to the new farm and see how fast they clear the brush. I will need to invest in coats for all of them.
Good news! It looks like Mystery is pregnant after all. She's bagging up and her belly is looking pretty big. The bad news is she chose to wait until after Elvis (the Shetland ram) left. So the sire of her lambs is either Mason, my Bluefaced Leicester ram who jumped the fence at the end of January and stayed with the ewes through February -- or Jester the Teeswater ram. I'm keeping a close eye on her because she's 4 years old and this is her fist time lambing. I didn't intend for her to start off with crossbred lambs.
I've decided to sell all my registered Bluefaced Leicester ewes. I have three 4 yr-olds and two yearlings. Ruby, a triplet yearling out of River Oaks Rita, is in the photo above. I love the Bluefaced Leicesters, they are all excellent moms, but they all delivered healthy triplets last March and I really do need to reduce my numbers.
I am really excited about the Teeswater cross lambs' fleeces.
I will keep most of the TeeswaterX ewe lambs and my BFL/Finn and Wensleydale/BFL ewes.  Maybe a couple of my favorite Shetlands too.
Watching the TeeswaterX lambs grow is interesting. Some are growing quite quickly and others are staying small. Of course the triplet factor may be part of that.
Jester has filled out and become a very nice looking ram. He's pictured above grazing with Mystery and below grazing with one of his sons (this is one of the larger lambs).

I have two Jester sons (Teeswater/Bluefaced Leicester) that are looking good as potential wool flock sires. They are triplet brothers out of River Oaks Rita, so they carry color. I will be at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this fall and can deliver sheep there.
I found a new little horse trailer so I can haul rams and ewes separately -- plus all the supplies necessary for the Raw Felted Fleece class I will be teaching there on Sunday, Sept. 13th.

I taught a class for the Minnesota Feltmakers Guild in my new outdoor class space last month. It's always a fun class and everyone learns from the fleeces and from each other.
First step -- evaluating the fleece. Photo by Micah Kinder.

Students lay out fleeces as the wood fired pizza oven gets warmed up. Photo by Micah Kinder.
Micah and I working on her fleece layout. Photo by Sid Frantz.

Sid served up some delicious pizzas. Photo by Micah Kinder.
Thankfully everyone was stilling smiling during the rolling portion of the class. 
Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the finished projects from the class. But two days later I hosted the Artrageous art group here. It was a bit chilly, so we all snuggled up under my raw felted fleeces.

Photo by Thelma Olds