Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sheep faces and yarn






I feel like I accomplished something today, I hooked up my scanner and got it working again. Yeah! The first thing I did was scan a few photos that my friend Patrice took while she was here before Thanksgiving. She has a great big zoom lens for her camera so she gets some great close up shots. She uses real film and had doubles made, I was fortunate to get copies too. Thanks Patrice! Pictured here are: Windswept Boggart, mioget ram born in Feb. 2006; Bramble Gillian, 9 year old moorit ewe with lots of wool on her poll and cheeks; and Minwawe Donder, yuglet sokket ram, sire of all our 2006 lambs.
Also, I've been spinning that dyed top and I'm loving the resulting yarns. I've spun up some of the reds and now I'm working on the purple. I'll try to get a photo posted soon. I want to use some for felting too, but it's so much fun to watch these colors go by on the spinning wheel and I only got 8 ozs of each colorway.
We're hoping to talk to our neighbor about that 8 1/2 acres this weekend. Weve decided we could sell 20 of our Ogilvie acres and still keep about 10 acres of hayfields. Then we'd have our hay and the sheep could eat it too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Spaced Dyed Top now Yarn

Here's a shot of the the plied yarn from the Violets Northern Lights top from Louet. I just love those colors. Also shown are the socks I started. I want to spin another bobbin of "violets" and navajo ply it for more vibrant color. Another option would be one strand of this plied with a strand of black shetland.


I also took a photo of the boys this morning, at least they are still in their paddock!
And last, here's a shot I took this morning of the back pasture we're thinking of buying from our neighbor. It's about 8 1/2 acres and if we buy it, we will probably have to sell our 40 acres in Ogilvie. Decisions, decisions! It would be much easier to just stay here on this cul-de-sac with no traffic issues and no predator problems -- so far. But those 20 plus acres of pasture are so tempting over in Ogilvie.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Spinning



The last days before Christmas have me busy wrapping gifts, baking and planning the menu for Christmas Eve. I took some time out this afternoon to spin up some space dyed wool top and listen to Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion". Of course, with two kittens in the house, spinning is a little more difficult. They kittens learned not to go near the wheel, but they love to grab the roving and fight it. Knitting is downright frustrating with them biting the yarn and the circular needle. So I have to wait until they're sleeping to be able to knit in peace. I started a pair of socks, using KnitPicks Simple Stripes.
Our black kitten, Spector, will be leaving after Christmas, hopefully that will reduce the carnage around here.
Speaking of carnage, my wonderful mioget ram, Boggart, managed to butt the chain link fence enough to flip the latch and he, Donder, and Bombarde, were over checking out the ewes this afternoon. I think Cordelia may be cycling, because this morning she and the BFL ram were being very friendly through the fence. She was with Donder for over two weeks and then with Boggart for three weeks so I thought she'd be bred. But it sure seems she's not. I would love to put Cordelia in with the BFL ram and get a few more crossbred lambs. I'm hoping to some nice sized market lambs next year.
Thankfully all my wayward boys are good on halters and all I had to do was walk them back to their pen one at a time. I've tied the gate this time and just hope it holds up if he decides to bash it some more. Those darn rams!
Oh yes, back to the spaced dyed top. I got these four colorways from Louet and couldn't wait to try them out. I have "violets" on the Traveller now. It's a corriedale type wool and very easy to spin. I can't wait to see how it looks when plied.
Well, I'd better get back to the Christmas preparations. I'm making that great pretzel recipe that Nancy Larson of Sheepy Hollow Shetlands shared on the Shetlands list last summer. It calls for one bottle of Orville Redenbacher's popcorn oil, one package of Ranch dressing mix, and two tablespoons of garlic pepper. You mix those ingredients and pour them over two bags of small pretzels. Stir for 20 minutes and then let dry for 20 minutes. Very easy and they are so addicitive!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And then there were two/Dyeing Fiber



Apparently this is a good time of year to find homes for indoor kittens. We have only two left and we wanted to keep them both, but the black one is now spoken for too. In a few weeks, momma kitty will be spayed. She's been a great mom, but 7 kittens was plenty to bring into this world.

I've been dyeing fiber like crazy the past three days. First I did handpainted roving in the microwave and then two days of stove top batches. And there is still plenty of dye in the water, so I guess I will keep on until the dye exhausts and the water is clear.

I wanted the colored wool for felting, but now I'm thinking of making a Fair Isle sweater from it. I dyed all of Hetty's roving, thinking it wasn't the best stuff. But it turned out so pretty, now I think a final tribute to poor old Hetty would be nice. Maybe I can incorporate some her daughters' fleece too. She was my only ewe to produce twin ewe lambs last spring.

I finished up a pair of felted slippers last night, they were so easy! I plan to make some more as Christmas gifts. The pair in the photo is made of dyed black iset Shetland fiber, it looks so cool when felted because the iset fibers fuzz out so much. And they're warm too.

The sheep are all back in their own paddocks. The rams are getting along quite well after their exciting reniting on Sunday. The ewes are calm and hopefully pregnant. And the BFL's have their own paddock too. Life is much easier with fewer pens to feed and water twice a day. The 11 hens are laying like crazy and now we're getting green eggs too. It's hard to remember this is December, the weather has been so warm! I'm just relieved to have gotten my frozen electronet out of the ground.

Oh and today is Stan's birthday, I just took his cake out of the oven. That means I'd better start thinking about the Christmas cards...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A few more Kitten photos, 6-7 weeks old





Here are a few more shots of the kittens. They are ready to go to new homes now that they are 7 weeks old.

I broke up the ram's breeding groups this morning and the ewes were so happy to be back together. The ewe lambs were hopping and having races. The boys on the other hand, were busy establishing dominance with each other. So far no serious injuries, but there was some nasty headbutting between Donder and Boggart. Donder won out, but Boggie knows he's still up there and is letting all the others know it too.
Thankfully we had some warm weather today and yesterday. I was finally able to get my electronet taken down with the help of lots of buckets of HOT water. Oh what a relief that is! Memo to self, don't use electronet in breeding groups next year. And don't have four breeding groups again!