Saturday, June 30, 2012

Quick Catch Up Post

 Sorry I haven't kept up with the blog.  It seems there's always so much to do around here.

Leta and her ram lamb born on June 7th.  Another yearling BFL who is an excellent mom!
Sheep News_ 
Lambing Done- 12 lambs born, 7 ewe lambs, 5 ram lambs.  Two Shetland rams are for sale, see the sales page for photos of them in their younger days.  They are both friendly, with fine, crimpy moorit fleece.  One polled gulmoget.  The other is horned, very solid, good horns.  I want them to go to good homes, will entertain offers.  Also have three crossbred ram lambs if anyone is interested in using one for breeding or fiber.  All the ram lambs are very sweet-natured and friendly like their sire was.

I'm still trying to decide about the ewe lambs, which include a beautiful solid black gulmoget, two emsket gulmogets, an AG grey gulmoget with exceptionally soft fleece, a beautiful musket, and an English Blue/gulmoget crossbred (BFL/Shetland).
I'm so glad lambing is over.  I'm reconsidering if I should breed any ewes next year.  I am not in the market for a ram, but I may consider leasing one or using the UK BFL semen I invested in a couple years ago.  My yearling BFL ewes were excellent moms.  I'm so impressed with them!

Weather News-  very hot and humid here. Supposed to be in the 90's for the next 4 days. Sheep are not happy in hot weather.
Had a big willow tree come down on the corner of my house in a storm last week (while I was at the vet's office with the Ag grey gulmoget ewe lamb).  Lots of work cleaning up. No insurance reimbursement. The insurance guy says my other willow must be cut down too, because it's leaning over with sod ripped up.  If it falls on the pole barn they won't cover the damages.  Dang, those insurance companies!

Poultry News-  A fox got two of my Buff Chantecler hens and something else killed three of the orphaned chicks -- all within just 8 days.  I have six adult chickens and six chicks left.  The last remaining Buff Chantecler hen just went broody again.

I got six nice young ducks at the weekly auction in early June.  Two Saxony ducks, one Blue Swedish duck, and the other three are drakes. I just love ducks!  Hopefully they will get to spend their days down on the pond later this summer.  I'm just too worried about that fox to let them out now.

Memorial Day- 
I decided it was time to spread Stan's ashes and plant the Blue Spruce I received at his funeral.

The boys and I sprinkled ashes over the white pines Stan planted on the east border of our pasture a couple years ago, and some over on our 40 acres in Ogilvie.
The Blue Spruce went to the "ranch", where Stan spent so much time with his best friend Dick.  Dick and his wife Kate had prepared a special spot for it. Now whenever we drive by we will be able to see that tree.
Stan's best friend Dick on the right and his wife Kate on the left with my boys.

We sprinkled Stan's ashes under his favorite deer stand and Dick brought some up in the stand too.  It was my first time seeing Stan's deer stand at the ranch. I was never interested in deer hunting myself. But once there, I could see why Stan loved it so much.  Dick and Kate were/are very special friends.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Spinning Wheel Find and another Felted Vessel

I went out to garage sales and plant sales this weekend with my oldest son, Alex. (The youngest was in South Carolina all last week for a wedding.  He had a great time, got to swim in the ocean and even got to go para-sailing -- glad I didn't know about that ahead of time.)

I came across this little double drive saxony wheel at one of the sales.  It was very reasonably priced, but it didn't have a drive band installed, so I couldn't really test it out much. The single treadle worked well and I could see the bobbin was broken. I made an offer an brought it home, much to the chagrin of Alex  -- some people just don't understand the need for multiple wheels or the excitement of finding a spinning wheel in the wild.  There is nothing but the initials O.T.S. on the bottom.  I wonder how old it is.

When we finally got home and I installed a drive band, I found that the double drive doesn't work with that broken bobbin, so I improvised a scotch tension string and spun up two ounces of BFL yarn on it.  I oiled it, tweaked it, and used the little wooden peg to stabilize the mother-of-all.  It spun really nicely!  I'm not used to single treadle wheels, but this was pretty easy for me.  I spun one bobbin full and then made a center pull ball and plied it. Plying was a little more difficult with my makeshift scotch tension, but I did a reasonable job.

I left the broken bobbin at the Fiber Co-Op, hoping that Winnie's husnband, Russ Johnson can make me two or three new bobbins. Then I will be able to use the double drive. Yeah! :-)

I worked at the fiber co-op yesterday.  It was a hot day and not many customers came in, so I got started on making another vessel.  I hope to make a cover for it today.  This one is made of Gotland fiber (from Louet), BFL fiber (from my flock) and a BFL/Gotland cross fiber from Judy Colvin's flock.  The cool thing is that I make my birdhouses with the same template I make these small vessels.  Felting is so versatile!

Next post, photos of Leta's ram lamb and my new DUCKS!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

RIP Mama Hen

My best Buff Chantecler broody hen disappeared without a trace on Friday afternoon.  Her nine 2-week old baby chicks alerted me to the fact that she was gone. There was no sign of attack, except for possibly two little downy feathers, so I'm pretty sure it was a fox.  My neighbor saw a fox that afternoon.  I was gone working my part time job.

She did such a good job with all her babies, she went broody three times last year.  She taught all her chicks how to get up the steps into the barn and to take cover when the big birds flew overhead.  The chicks are getting along pretty well without her, but the first two days they were so lost and chirping for her constantly.

She died doing what she was meant to do, protecting her chicks. She could get pretty ferocious after her chicks hatched out.  A life well lived, but too short. 

Getting ready for Christmas Markets!

  I'll be doing two Christmas markets this year. The first one is at Sapsucker Farms in Brook Park, MN Nov. 18-19th. And the second one ...