Thursday, August 28, 2008

Colorado Highlights

My Dad was the only one of my relatives willing to ride with me out to see Brenda of Split Rock Ranch. She has some really lovely llamas and I would have gladly taken two of her males home - if I were not already at my limit on animals and dreading the next feed delivery. I called to order on Tuesday and the bags have gone up $1.45 each. That is $162 more per month. It has gone up over $1 each time I have ordered recently. If business does not pick up, I am going to have to downsize. This is Seven Falls. Talk about a steep set of stairs to climb - heart palpitations. Would not do it again!

While I was gone, one of the ducks hatched 4 ducklings. It is funny to watch them.When they hurry they end up on their backs and the mom has to poke them to get them right side up. She must have mated with each of the males, because every single one of the ducklings is a different color.
On the first day that I was back home, one of the chickens started laying. I heard a funny clucking as I was unloading the truck and went to see what was up - I found a lonely egg and a chicken clucking to let everyone know what she just did!

Unfortunately, all is not well here at the ranch. No Size, my prized buck, got injured while I was gone. I am hoping that he will get better, but he can't be used for breeding this year. In addition, one of the ewe lambs from the arena is missing. I suspect a coyote or mountain lion. She must have been taken while I was gone, because her mother has not been fussing and her udders have already started to shrink. I am depressed about it and have decided that I won't do shows that don't allow me to drive home at night. Too much can happen very quickly. The shows in Colorado were essentially a waste of time. If I had not also been visiting family, it would have been horrendous.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Colorado Shows

This is a photo from the first show. Lexie, Jaime's daughter, is sorting the patterns for me. I have to confess that, by the second show, they were already in a mess again.
Business was slow, since the show was advertised to vendors as a craft/art show and to the public as a rubber stamping show. The two groups do not really overlap. I had lots of time to play. Unfortunately, the second show is by the same group, so it has been dull. I spun two jumbo bobbins of yarn and started another needlefelted landscape. I plan to add sheep to the one above.
My landscapes are drawing lots of attention. I have decided that I am going to enter them into a gallery in Tucson. I have enough to cover my booth when I go to shows, so it is time to get exposure elsewhere.

I have done some sightseeing. I will post those photos this evening.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It is a lot cooler here than in Arizona. I only brought 1 long sleeved shirt and pants. It is going to be rainy and cold tomorrow. I am really glad that I am setting up for an indoor show!

I got into the 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair. I will post the booth number once they release them.

No pictures, since I am on someone else's computer!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Busy day

My day started off with Tor shearing the two red kids that I bought from him a few months ago. They were born in January and their hair kept getting caught in their teeth. If someone does not pick it out, their teeth could rot. Marc is not able to get as close to the goats as I can, so he would have been running himself ragged. You can tell when their teeth are stuck, because their heads are down and they can't lift them. Partially shorn.
No haircut is complete without a pedicure!

While Tor sheared, we discussed hermaphrodites and the causes. One of my friend's goats turned out to be one. Interesting... I have never had one out of my goats nor has Tor. Tor calls it a freak of nature. We wondered whether nutrition or stress could have caused it. Since they can't breed, they obviously cannot pass it on.
I set myself the goal of finishing at least one project before leaving. This one was done except for a few embellishments. The two ends are the coolest parts according to many who have seen it. It is called School Days. A definite conversation piece!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cleaning and Packing

I am preparing for a presentation that I am giving to the Old Pueblo Knitters' Guild and decided that I better make a few more samples for show and tell. I realized that I had sold enough that what I had left looked kind of pitiful. My first inclination was to make several small scrumbles. I knitted the above piece in garter stitch and was just going to embellish it and then make a few others. Well. I got hooked on the colors, so I went back to the spinning wheel and started spinning more yarn.
Then I pulled out a few beads (some will not make it in to the final project, because I have to stop somewhere!)
As I spun, I took breaks to knit and crochet and I almost have a scarf finished. Guess I will work on another during my trip to Colorado.

Tomorrow I will be packing up my shop and loading the truck for my trip. I have kind of settled in my mind what is most important and will load that first. When I am traveling so far to do shows, I can't afford to forget the essentials. Some things, you just can't buy!

I will spend Wednesday night with my sister's friend in Albuquerque, Thursday with my Dad and then Friday and Saturday with friends in Longmont. the first show is in Loveland, so it won't be quite so much of a drive. They are going to help me with set up and maybe booth sit a little.

I am looking at the whole thing as advertisement. I have had lots of customers from Colorado, so I know they like to come to Tucson on vacation. Either way, it will be different scenery and inspiration. I have never come home from a trip on which I did not get a few new ideas. Probably all that time driving alone and having to listen to my own thoughts!

When I planned this trip, one of my sisters was supposed to have ridden with me. I invited another sister to meet us there. It has now grown into a mini family reunion, since their kids are coming and I have a brother living there. I wonder what my Dad's new wife is going to think of all of us descending on her like this?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Majacraft Pioneer

Just got a notice in that Majacraft is going to have a wheel called the Pioneer come out in early September. It looks like a pared down Little Gem/Rose and is going to be less than half the price. If you have been looking for a Majacraft and are on a budget, this might be the wheel for you. I plan to order at least 2. Depending on the exchange rate and the exact retail price, this will be a great beginner wheel. I love the two Majacraft that I have, but they are out of the range of most spinners. Sure am glad that they are finally getting it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A day for bunnies

Last night I was carding white, "red", and kid mohair dyed yellow and decided to throw a few other colors on top to see what would happen. The result was 28 ounces of carded fiber that has burgundy, purple, gold, green, and browns in it. Gorgeous. I am afraid to start spinning it, since I don't have a real plan. While thinking about it, I opened the refrigerator and pulled out some angora to card into a shade of blue. I started thinking about how hot the rabbits were and decided to get one to pluck.
I actually cut the wool off this doe, because it had started to felt on her. We have been hosing the rabbits down to keep them cool. She looks a whole lot smaller. I actually did her after the one on the chair featured in the picture below. The rabbits are pretty docile. You pop them on a chair and they basically stay put. Doing the undersides is trickier, because you have to flip them on their backs. Since it took a while to get the upper part done, I decided to let the belly area go.
For all of the time I spent, I only got 1 ounce off the buck.
I got 1.4 from the doe. Hers is a whole lot nicer feeling than his. They are brother and sister. I might card the two together with some kid mohair in order to have enough to really make something. One is more towards a shade of brown, while the doe's is silver. She is a black German giant/Satin cross. The silver will actually look rather blue depending on the color that I mix it with. I might just go with white. By morning I will be inspired - I hope!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Black kid mohair

Kid mohair is full of static electricity, so it is sometimes a pain to card and then spin.The stuff gets everywhere. I spent today carding different color combinations, so I will have plenty to spin while I am gone. Above is the black kid mohair that I spun yesterday. Washed a dried, I remember why I love the stuff so much - really soft and silky!
A combination of kid mohair spun over the last few days.
A palo verde tree had a branch crack, so Marc cut it off. I could not even make it into the gate without almost getting run over. Marc dragged the branch the rest of the way, so I could block the gate.
The branch is in the middle. I took a few other shots, but thought this one was cool with the view through the shed.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Spinning away

These are a few of the yarns that I have spun over the past week. I am gluing myself to my wheel in hopes of having a great variety of yarn available. Last week was dedicated to white kid mohair(some of which I just listed on etsy), and red kid mohair, Can't let a week go by without coils, so I have a few of those in there also. I spun over 650 of laceweight/fingering weight black kid mohair from my badger doe's first clip. I am going to finish spinning her whole fleece. I have a second bobbin going now, but it is a paler shade of charcoal, since I blended all of the rest of her fleece together. It was a mix of gray and black. Her current fleece is silver and still fairly fine.
Agave and her mother met me at the gate this morning. I saw Agave drinking off her mother, so she must be getting something there.

In case you have never seen this, it is a spitting contest. Brillo, the llama, is winning. Most spitting occurs at feed time, when someone cuts the line. Brillo is alpha and gets first dibs. Jennifer is pretty low on the list and she dared to put her head in the feed bucket. She knows the spit is coming. Notice how far back Brillo's ears are. If you visit and see it, back up!

Marc and I trimmed hooves on several of the goats today. I have sold two that are going to be picked up tomorrow and I always like to check to be sure everything is OK. 7-9 is a buck, so we checked for pizzle rot. Lots of wet damp hair got cut off, but all else was fine. If you do not know what pizzle rot is, write me and I will fill you in.

If you have to trim hooves, the easiest time to do it is when it is wet outside. It softens the hooves and makes them a lot easier to cut. I still manged to get a blister. No Size was pretty mellow when we did his. He did not even bother to kick. We did not have to stand on his horns either. If you visit and notice that his pen has a funny sweet, smell about it, what you are noticing is that he is now in rut. The females have started to cycle into heat. I put Holly and Saffron in with him, so he won't try to take down the walls. Those two goats are more aggressive than the rest, so it saves on pens to have them go in first. Holly needs to be among the first to deliver since she is a dairy goat and will feed babies whose mothers aren't succeeding on their own.