This Black Sussex hen sat on her eggs under our oil tank. Marc got home yesterday evening and found her in my garden with her chicks. Never had chicks hatch in Tucson. The weather got hot too quickly for them and the eggs cooked.
I have two other chickens sitting in the chicken coop, so I hope to get more chicks. I think Marc is relieved, because I told him I was going to order a different breed, if these hens did not give me chicks. I love watching the chicks run around. This is the first chance I will have to see how the hens do as mothers. At one point all of the chicks were under her. You would never have known that they were there.
I have added a Sunday nuno felting class on June 9, from 10:30 to 1 p.m. I have a wet felting class this weekend with room for a few more. We will be making a bowl that can be turned into a yarn bowl.
On a dreary day last week, I took a walk about the farm. I discovered this turtle on the path that I walk from the house to the animal barn. The face looks somewhat like a face, if you enlarge it. Fast moving turtle. I came back after half hour and it was nowhere to be found.
I finally made it to the pond with my camera. This goose has been sitting about 2 weeks ow, so I hope to see goslings in about a week. Her nest is about a foot above the pond water level and surrounded by weeds.
The beaver is now long gone, but his lodge remains. It is very easy to spot now that everything else has turned green.
Technically, Shetland sheep would not be called wildlife, but they do tend to be distrustful. Spots had triplets and, sure enough, she has not been able to feed them all. This was the little guy that kept getting left out, so I am now bottle feeding him. He has learned to come up to me for the bottle, but he keeps me at arm's length . He does not like being picked up and he runs as soon as he feels full.
I started a new design at the Hampton, Virginia show. It is freeform, so it will not have a pattern.The back is almost done, so I will post a photo next time.
I have pulled the Pantone colors for fall and winter. Currently I am working in shades of natural black and brown to create freeform knit and crochet kits.
I discovered that one of the Shetland/Border Leicester crosses is pregnant. I am currently spinning her fleece. It is one of the blackest to date. And, Columbian is still hanging in there, getting bigger every day. They are the only two left to deliver.
In other news, we lost Pearl last week. She became a pet back when I first started raising animals. I was sorry to see her go. She gave me some awesome lambs over the years. I am castrating her last two lambs and keeping them. They are 1/2 Merino, 1/4 Shetland and 1/4 Border Leicester. They feel like Merino and are a lovely white. Not as sticky as the Merinos, so they will be a lovely addition to my flock.
The name my mannequin contest has been won by Ruinwen. She suggested Rhiannon and it stuck in my head. Goddess of Inspiration - we all need one! Ruinwen - you will need to let me know how you want your $25 gift certificate. I don't have your email.
I have just about finished this scarf which I started the 10th of June last year. I have one piece to attach and a few ends to weave in. Will do that during the Bodacious Bazzaar Show in Hampton this weekend. If you live in the area, come and say "hi."
The last kid of the year was born yesterday. He is a white buck and still looks slightly dirty. Healthy and happy on mom. I am excited because all of my angora goat kids were born alive - none have died! Amazing to get a 100% survival rate. I have lost 4 lambs at or near birth and have one sheep, Columbian still to deliver. Any minute. She is probably waiting for me to drive off tomorrow.
I have designed and written the pattern for a dog coat. I starte dout with the idea of a goat coat, but there is probably not an interest in knitting an expensive garment for a barn animal! I still have to put the photo with the pattern. Will finish and list it for sale next week.
When I got back this evening from the Sugarloaf show in Timonium, Marc and I put up the fence around the front yard. Who wants to mow, when the goats are so happy chomping down? The picture above is looking in one direction. The head of the goat in front was so busy grabbing grass that her head was in motion in the photo.
This is the view in the other direction from the same position. I took a video since the kids were so funny running around. It was the first time that most of them left the playground.
In other happenings, I was interviewed yesterday for the Carroll County News. They had a really good article in the paper today and the photo of me was actually attractive. I was holding the stuffed dog with my latest design - a dog coat. I designed it to also fit a goat, but doubt I will do more than let one model it, since onsies are so much cheaper. You can find the article by going to www.carrollcountytimes.com and doing a search on Kathy Withers.Tried to put a link to the article itself, but I could not get it to copy. Sorry!
I dedicated this freeform skein to spring flowers. Even dandelions, the harbinger of spring and a nuisance to many, has a redeeming value. The sheep and goats will eat them!
I have been experimenting with letting a select few of the sheep and goats out to browse on the grass in front of the house. It is tall and gorgeous. It would be a shame to use a lawnmower on it. The dairy goats hang close to each other and do not wander, so they were among the first. We have discovered that Rose Mary produces a few more cups of milk when she is allowed on the green grass. Guess hay, grain, and water just don't do the trick. Of course, the angora goats have figured out what I am doing, so they are crowding the gate and escaping. Marc and I are going to use our electric fencing (minus the electric) to enclose this area. Anything to not have to mow!
If you are following me on Facebook (Kathy Withers) or Unique Designs By Kathy, you will recognize this picture. Pearl and her two boys were also let out to roam. One of them was a bottle baby, but he is not quite as much now. Mom's milk and the green grass are a lot more satisfying.
I set up my booth at the Maryland State Fairgrounds for another show. I am hoping to make enough to cover my feed bill. I am going to keep this year's kids on pellets and hay till they are six months old. I want them to be strong and healthy. I am in business to keep them fed. Such hungry critters. They sound like locusts when they are eating.
Shetland lambs have been popping. Six have been born so far today. They are all really cute and worth the wait. Shetland moms are so much easier than the angora goat moms. Babies are stronger and their instinct to drink is more developed.
I have already set up my booth for the Sugarloaf show at the Gaithersburg Montgomery County Fairgrounds. I have already met up with several of my friends and my booth neighbor is a friend, so it will be a fun weekend. Hope to make some sales of course. I have displayed my yarns in a different way, so you will be seeing them as new.
This is the front area with the art yarns. It will change first thing in the morning, since I forced myself to price three pounds of new yarn. More fun to spin than to do the administrative stuff. If I could transfer what is in my head easily to someone else, I would hire someone to do it for me!
Classes here at the farm for the next month are listed below.
April 18—Nuno Felting 10-12:30 $80
April 20—Nuno Felting 10:30-1 $80
May 8—Pleats 10-11 $15
May 10—Crazy Lace 10-noon $75
May 11—Nuno Felting 10:30-1 $80
May 14—Freeform Art Yarn Spinning 10:30-2:30 $100
May 18—Wet Felting 10:30-1:30 $25 instruction plus supplies
May 25—Freeform Knit and Crochet 10:30-2:30 $75
June 1—Drop Spindle 10:30-noon. Free with purchase of drop spindle and 3 ounces of fiber.
Nuno felting and wet felting classes are limited to 5 students, unless you are able to bring 6 foot plastic tables.
You may also schedule a class for yourself or your group at a different time.
Today is the anniversary of our arrival in Maryland. Can't go running off to celebrate anywhere because lambs and kids are popping again. Three moms delivered today. A black mom had a black buck, a white doe had a white doe, and a moorit Shetland had a black ewe. This last one does not even weigh 2 pounds. Fits in the palm of my hand!
My sisters came from Massachusetts and California to visit this past week. No one can sit idle here at the farm and all got involved in helping feed, bottle feed and milk. Nadia is above left. Shirley is to the right.
We have named the black bottle baby Raven and Pearl's ram is going to be Pearl's boy. He is half Merino and feels luscious already. Paula is on the right.
Shirley took to milking right away. Marc taught her, not me! She milked half of the time she was here, I milked twice and Marc did the rest, with Drew, Paula's son doing it once.
We had a blast and I hated to see them leave this morning. Shirley has decided that she needs to move to a farm now. She wants space and a dairy goat. She would have taken either Rosemary or Parsley and been happy. Paula is contemplating moving to Maryland to help out and maybe start her own business.
I am listing yarns as well as wearable art on my eshop as time permits. Take a look, since I now have traditional yarns millspun from my animals and some new textured yarns.
I have also finished my Random Pleat Scarf and published the pattern on etsy, Ravelry and my eshop. It requires 300 yards of sport weight yarn. I have embellished the scarf with vintage earrings. The scarf model will be for sale in the fall after Stitches East.
My mannequin contest is still ongoing. I am getting some really good names. I might have to put them up for a vote at the end of April.
Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the past year. It has been a wild ride and time has flown by!