This month turned out to be really busy. I washed and carded mohair and wool the past 7 months and took it to the mill. The natural colored roving is already back and I am spinning batches to determine pricing. Some fibers are gorgeous when spun up and washed. I have learned over the years not to jump to conclusions about the quality until it has been washed.
The above is a Merino Suri alpaca blend. It has a little vm, but it spins up beautifully. It is a great fiber to practise over dying. It is ecru, so has shades of pale yellow will tone down jewel tones.
I just got back from Nevada. My daughter had a a baby girl on August 14. She did a bathtub delivery and it was cool to see the baby pop up. I am glad that I was able to participate.
My next spin in here at the farm is September 4, 2016 from 1-4 p.m. All are welcome to attend, just shoot me an email to let me know; firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just attended a spinning retreat in Massachusetts at Ashley Martineau's of How To Spin Yarn. She spins lovely chunky yarns and has loads of tutorials on spinning art yarns. She has helped me update my website with a new logo and format. I can now be found at www.witherswool.com. I will continue to update this blog for a while, but all of my other sites will direct you to my new website.
Prince Charming was really happy to see me yesterday. I got lots of gorgeous pictures. Some look so good that they look fake! The three young males are now raising their tail feathers but they do not have the long ones yet, so they are only a pale imitation at this point.
The does and kids are on a dry lot now to reduce the summer parasite worm load. We let them out yesterday so we could rake their area. They were really eager and chomped down on the ragweed.
The adult goats are ready to be shorn, so I will start that this weekend. I am selling most of my blacks and some of my reds and whites. If you are interested, now is the time to contact me: email@example.com.
I am also willing to let a few kids go this year.
I am currently listing roving and mohair locks on my etsy page which now shows up on my website. It is really nice to have everything in one place.
I have been playing around with spinning bulkier yarns because I am weaving curtains and rugs for my new rooms in the barn. This one is a Navajo ply in Merino and kid mohair with a red cotton thread. There is not quite enough yardage for a hat, but I have plenty of yarns that will coordinate.
I have officially been accepted into the Maryland Alpaca Show November 12-13, 2016 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. I will be in my same spot in the Dining Hall. Mark your calendars.
I am no longer breeding my alpacas and would like to sell a few of them. This is Maryland, an intact male born four years ago. $1,000 without papers. He was just shorn and had a beautiful fleece. I also have two Huacaya and two Suri females for sale. They will not breed, so think of them as pets.
Four French angora rabbits were born last month. They will be available the first week in August. I also have four 1 year old rabbits for sale. I plan to keep several but, since they are all lovely, i will keep the adults and any babies not sold. We plan to get a rabbitry built soon.
Angora goats and sheep of all ages are also available. This has been my healthiest and loveliest group since our move. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a visit and talk pricing.
Four pea chicks were born this week, I have three males and one female available. that are a year old. They will not be breeding pairs since they share the same parents. Everyone talks about how loud peacocks are. If you are on a farm, you will know that sheep, goats and dogs are much louder!
This chick was born three days ago. There are three more under the hen ready to rest for the night.
If you would like to visit and are not shopping, please be aware that I charge $5 a person for tours. Children under 2 are free.
Yesterday Marc heard goslings cheeping under the goose that has tried to nest the last four years. This year she was finally successful.
I went to try to get photos, but the goose was not budging and the gander started coming after me. I am not a fan of being bit, so I used the zoom on my camera and got some good photos.
This afternoon I saw both geese in a different part of the pond and thought the mom might have been taking a break. Walked over to check her out and discovered that she had 7 goslings sitting next to her.
They all slowly moved back into the water and cruised the entire pond. I was pretty amazed to see them swimming at a day old.
Not sure that the goose will return to her nest. She went back on the grass near her nest.
I am so glad to see that her goslings made it. Kind of sad to see them fly off by themselves every summer.
That fox is now running around the fields where my goats and sheep are. We are filling in the spots where she has dug under fences. So glad she will not be able to get the geese since they will swim into the pond to get away.
Some workmen spotted animals moving in the alpaca pasture. I took this with my 60X zoom lens. He identified them as fox kits playing.
I walked out into the pasture and spotted the mother. She was too quick, so no photos of her. She ran away from where her kits were playing. I moved out slowly and managed to capture one of them on camera.
It just stood there and looked at me. Caught lots of photos but these are the best. The hole to the left of the it is the entrance to the den.
This was the exit to the den.
This is the entrance that the kit was standing next to and which it entered.
I am pretty sure that this is the third goose that came this spring which we have not spotted in a while.
Anyone know what this skin is? Looks like a fox skin, but I am not sure. It was next to their exit hole and dried up, so it has been there a while.
I moved the sheep out of that area a month ago when I saw a fox hiding in the shrubs. It would not have been able to take down one of them, since they are adults, but moms sometimes pop lambs when you are not expecting them. We just let the kid goats onto the large pasture and I will be running them into the barn every night. The kids are not great about hanging with moms. My Great Pyrenees are pretty good about keeping predators out, but there is no reason to tempt the foxes. I believe in letting wildlife be as long as they are not bothering my animals. My birds are also in aviaries, so no worries there.
I try to finish a new pattern for each show. This dusty gradient shawl was designed in time for the Maple Sugar Festival in Virginia last month. It is available on my etsy shop as a pattern with lots of gradient yarns to choose from. The finished shawl is available on my Artweaving page.
My next show will be the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the first weekend of May. I will be in the last row of tents just before the sheep dog trial area. Come visit and fondle the new yarns!
The outside barn renovation is almost complete. The barn roof still needs a few patches and then the walls will be repainted red. We already have someone lined up to start working on the inside.
I am starting to schedule classes here at the farm. May 14, 2016 will be my Art Yarn Spinning Class and May 17 will be my Freeform Art Weaving Class. Email email@example.com for additional information. I am offering private sessions on all of my classes for the same price as the workshops. I can teach most of what I have for sale. In a few cases, like the classes above, you will need your own equipment.
Baby season is almost over. I have three more does left to deliver and about 8 sheep. With the warmer weather, they are scampering all over the front yard area. I am going to be selling most of my colored angora goats and a few of the white. Let me know whether you are interested. I am looking for spinners rather than a lot of breeders, but don't hesitate to contact me/
If you are looking for gorgeous sheep with very fine fiber, Merinos are the sheep to have. They are placid and easy to move with a bucket of grain. They have been taught to come for grain and move away from clapping hands. I still have a few Shetlands for sale. They are a lot smaller, but I have to admit flightier. Most will come when called. The Merino Shetland crosses are a lovely combination. They are smaller, more docile than Shetland and have super soft fiber. They tend to be more parasite resistant than the pure Merinos.
Storms just seem to love the channel beside the house and to the left of the barn. When the locust tree came down on Saturday night, we decided to take out any threatening trees near the house. Two photos above you can see how cleared out the area is next to the house. We now have doubled the size of our wood chip and firewood piles, but the reward is how much quieter the wind is. Amazing how noisy those branches were! I had a hard time sleeping. Now I can barely hear the wind.
I encourage visits to the farm. Just call or email to be sure that I am here. Don't wear your best shoes, since the goats and sheep pasture rotate and don't be surprised when I charge $5 for adults and $3 for 4 year olds and up, if you are not coming to shop.
Sunday morning the East Friesian had a ram lamb weighing over 9 pounds. I was thinking that she had twins based on size, but nope! Just the one big lamb.
Last night I did my final check at 8:30 and discovered that Cloudy (mom) had twin babies. Thought for sure the the ewe lamb was dead and the ram just about. They both cried when I picked them up, so I spent two and a half hours drying them with a blow dryer and waring them up. Then I finger fed them colostrum that I saved last year and got them sucking. By 11 the ram was standing. I held both of them on the mom to drink and then left them to settle in. I went back out at 1:15 and both babies were walking around and popped onto mom when she stood. I have had to supplement today. They are very small for Merino babies.The mom was in the barn and front yard area where I have been feeding grain, so I think she had them prematurely. She is a first time mom and was fortunately relaxed enough to let me handle her and her babies. I am naming them Angel and Candle in honor of the Christmas season.
Our barn renovation is moving along. the front is almost done, the downstairs windows are in and big picture windows are behind the blue tarps.
I plan to move my shop to the area behind the french doors, so that will be the first thing that people see when they come into the barn. I am going to turn the current shop space into a studio, so I can work in the barn and heat only a small area. We plan to put a catwalk around the upper area for roving storage.
I am busy weaving on my Majacraft loom. I have decided to turn the piece into a vest. The back is done and I am a fourth of the way down the front.
I managed to get close up photos of the peachicks this morning and I can now tell that I have three cocks and one hen. The mother is the second from the right and the hen is to her right. You can tell by enlarging the photo that their wing feathers are the same. The cocks have speckled feathers like their father.