Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beware Dust Devils

The following pictures are of my hay barn that was lifted, twisted and demolished by a 10 second dust devil this afternoon. If you see one headed your way, run! Kyle and Michele saw the pieces flying. All I heard was a boom and crash that sounded like an airplane had crashed in the yard. A neighbor dropped by shortly thereafter and told me that was what he thought also.

I am amazed that any of it is still standing. Hopefully, Kyle will take time out tomorrow to pull some of the roof pieces off. They are rattling in the wind and I am afraid that another dust devil will travel through.

Would you believe that our trailer only had minor scratches? It was sitting under the hay barn.

This poor saguaro got hit last year when the roof of the brick shed blew off. It just does not seem to stand a chance. The panels are still in this tree and the ironwood over the ducks, since I can't reach them or pull them out. I am so glad that none of the animals were hurt. All of the damage occurred just short of their areas.

This is a current experiment on my loom. Will let you know how it goes.

This is Elgin. The goats have just discovered that they can climb trees and get to the green leaves. She is one that I will keep. Her hair is already turning silver. I hope a few others will also, but I am not counting on it. She has style.

Mounds had twin rams on Sunday morning. The white one was still not cleaned off by the time this picture was taken. His name is Eager - he was up and at it and very curious. Since it was an E day, his brother was named Eloy.

Cayenne #83, a Shetland ewe had twin ewes in the afternoon on Sunday. They are tiny compared to Mounds' lambs. Michele named them Estrella and Elfida. They are really cute and among the last to be born. I think that two and possibly three in the far out pasture are pregnant.
The two skeins on the right were made this past week. The skein all of the way on the left was the Cowboys Riding into the Sunset from last year. I was planning to list them on etsy, but time is getting away from me.

This is a close up of the middle skein. It has some of everything.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Novelty yarn

The colors above are the usual ones that I pull out for the southwestern sunset. I am making a new freeform yarn based on the colors that I used in the Cowboys Riding into the Sunset skein ages ago. This one will be a lot different based on how the colors blended together. I used more teal and less white this time. I am going to use my signature cowboy hat and boot buttons. It would not be southwestern without them.
The bobbin is already half full. I have already finished the beads and two other motifs, since I photographed the bobbin. I hope to finish it in the morning and then to make a few skeins that will compliment it. The unadorned singles and coils are less expensive, so I make them to provide extra yardage for people, who want to make shawls instead of scarves.

Mounds is still hanging in there. She looks miserable - and not from the heat. I have one more in the arena and two in the far out pasture left to deliver besides Mounds. I will have to start shearing the remaining goats this weekend. Maybe Sunday. I am not going to want spectators for the first one, since it has been a while since I last sheared. I plan to call Tor to finish any that I can't get to in the next few weeks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spinning and plucking

This crazy batt was designed for wet felting and ended up being spun into a coiled yarn after it fell in the dirt at the Pima County Fair. I don't always like spinning the crazy batts, but they usually turn out really well.

I have listed a few felting and spinning in my etsy shop: http://www.uniquedesignsbykathy.etsy.com/. Let me know what you think.
The winners of the Pima County Fair Spinning Competition: from left to right - Michele, Amy (Champion), Shannon, and Judy. We all had a lot of fun with it and have decided that we are going to make it a part of the annual wool festival (October 17, 2009.)
Two of the red bunnies being plucked - they were shedding and we needed to have them ready for the heat this week - 97 yesterday.
Belgian, the last pregnant angora goat, delivered a buck yesterday afternoon. My visitors from Germany named him "Duncan."
I have ordered a solar light to go in the arena with the sheep. Marc went along the entire fence and added more wire dug into the ground in hopes of keeping coyotes from stealing another lamb. I am debating getting a Great Pyrenees, a livestock guardian dog. I don't know that I care for the barking and another animal to train, but I also don't want to lose any more babies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lost one to a Coyote

Came out to feed this morning and I tried to give Pearl a treat. She would not take it. I thought that was strange and started looking around and noticed that one of her ewes was missing. I walked the whole fence area and figured out where a coyote must have dragged the lamb through the fence. I am betting that the wind and out main outdoor light that seems to go out when the wind picks up were the culprits. I plan to leave on arena lights, if the outdoor light does not come on. It usually resets when the wind dies down. Guess I will have to have someone come out to find the short. Anyhow, I was so excited to have quadruplets and now don't. To make things worse, it was an ewe that I would have kept.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday evening

Babies will sleep anywhere. If you look closely, you can see that they already have horns.
Remember Huachuca, the first Shetland lamb? Look how big she is after just a month.

These two babies were born Easter morning, so I am naming them Easter and Pasqua. The ewe is really tiny, but not as little as the ewe lamb born this evening. The lamb born this afternoon is weaker than any I have seen. She is now getting up and moving around on her own, but her mother is a first timer and won't stand still for her. Marc and I have already been out twice to help her eat. If her mom does not get with it by 11, I will bring the baby in for the night. I hate to, but it will help her survival.

Duster, a red doe had a buck at dinner time. She is another "teenage"mom, who is not feeding her baby. She did not even dry him off. I just blow dried him. He did not want to suck. He knows where the teats are, so I am going to leave them be for a while.
Since neither of the last two babies are currently photogenic, they are not pictured!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weather, babies and projects

It is officially spring here. Allergies are horrible, the wind is wicked and rain comes periodically. This is a picture of the mesquite tree going out towards the animal area. I spun yarn this week to emulate the color and looks for future landscape embellishment.
This is the dyed hyperbole plane that I crochet taking liberties with the pattern in Crocheting Adventures. Below is a photo of the item before dyeing. I have already washed and dried it and will photograph how I intend to use it tomorrow. It is an interesting idea. I am not mathematical or scientific, but I do have an inquiring mind. The principles in the book are fairly clear. The formulas - as far as I am concerned, the Greek symbols in them are truly Greek!
Below is the nuno felted shawl that Cheryl made on one of her visits before returning to California. It is lovely and very light weight. She also made a gorgeous purse and a landscape. She wanted to try it all. Friends of hers are coming to felt on Monday.
The birds are nesting in the animal area. I was watching Fairy delivering her babies the other night and saw this saguaro with wool trailing out of it.

The Palo Verde below has a nest made of goose feathers and wool, with touches of mohair. These are all natural colored fibers. I will go check the front of our property tomorrow. One of the mourning doves has been taking the fiber drying under racks in the driveway. Hers is bound to be colorful. I saw her taking purple kid mohair.

The Palo Verde above the geese is fully in bloom.
Pearl and her babies. I feel for her. There always seems to be one attached.they don't let her sit very often! I am giving her extra grain. She needs it.
There are no cities or towns starting with X in Arizona, so I jumped to the "Y"s. I have a Yuma, Yava, Yucca, and Yazzi. If more than one baby is born on the Z day, I will jump to the "A"s again. Thanks to all of you who went checking.

This is a roll of woven material that took Michele and I over 20 minutes to unwind from my loom. It has lots of long and short pieces that are all variations on the same tie up. You can tell when ADD hit, because the pattern or yarn changed. Turns out that I had put 15 yards on and had 13 yards as the final product.
Below are a few close ups of parts of the material. I plan to make cell phone and ipod bags, table runners, and larger bags out of it. Most will be embellished in freeform.

To give you a perspective. Michele is at the far end holding the material from flying. The material is stretched over three 8 feet tables and I had to double it back to get it all on there. The warp was on my loom since right before the wool festival last October. We have already wound another warp and will start tying it on this week.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

X names

I can't find any, and I need 4, two does and two bucks! Xavier is name used, but I did not see it listed anywhere. Do I have to skip it and jump to Y?

I will wait till morning in hopes that someone can help me out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dark Chocolate

She had her babies, one doe Willow and one buck Spring, both black, before 7 this morning and both were dry and had been drinking. She is not a first time mom, so it was less of a concern. The "Witches" babies are looking for anyone to feed them. I went over to check on the babies and Rica followed me and instantly popped under Dark Chocolate for a minute. I grabbed her and held the Witch, so she could drink. ( I am permanently renaming her.)

It is not windy yet, which makes going out pleasant. None of the ones that I was expecting to deliver have.

Mounds is looking huge and I am now thinking that she is going to have twins. She had been looking peaky, so I started giving her grain. She became very alert, so I plan to supplement her diet extensively till she delivers. I think I averted a case of ketosis.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nuno felting

This is Pearl with her babies. I am going to let her out of the pen in the morning. I wanted to make sure that she got enough grain and that her babies were getting enough milk before I let them out. I have named them Ute, Utting, Ubanks, and Utevak. Hope I can remember them!

The llamas have been hanging out on the other side of the fence watching them. I think Jennifer wishes that they were hers. I saw her earlier today with her nose checking out one of the red kids in the main area. The kid was just looking at her.

Kat, a black doe, had triplets this morning. One did not make it right from the beginning. I was afraid that I had another "witch" on my hands, but she settled down in the shed and I managed to get her kids warm enough for them to eat on their own. I have named them Valentine (doe) and Verde (buck.)
My friend, Michele, has been helping with the animals this year. She is considering raising them herself, so wanted a first hand experience. I think the Friday a week ago with the birth of the black triplets and several other babies all at the same time gave her a real taste of what it could be like. She has survived it and is seen visiting here with the triplets - Rio, Rica, and Ruby. She has been a lifesaver - for both me and the animals - several times.

I started playing around with nuno felting last November and have now started teaching it. Seems like it is not as big elsewhere as it is here in Arizona.
This particular one is currently my favorite. Since I am teaching a class tomorrow, I might have a new favorite by evening. This one is twice the width of the blue one and has mohair locks. I only had to needlefelt three locks that I did not secure well enough in the felting process.
This is a smaller scarf that I felted last week. All three are available in the shop and might get listed on etsy depending on time. I am hooked on carding right now and have a huge pile of bags with batts ready to be spun.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Catching up

Pearl had her lambs this afternoon. Looking at this picture, you would assume that she had two lovely rams and that they were resting up after birthing. I took this picture and then went inside to change clothes. I was sure that I was going to have to pull a lamb. As large as Pearl was, I was positive that she had another and that there was a problem.

I came back out 20 minutes later and discovered that Pearl had delivered an ewe lamb. I went back in the house thinking that I would catch up with my emails and then go back out and look for the afterbirth. Imagine my surprise when I went back out and had gotten no further than the geese and I could tell that there were four bodies floating around Pearl.
Sure enough, she had had another ewe lamb and this time the afterbirth was coming out. I had been telling the Freeform Spinners of Tucson that morning that I was betting that she was big enough to have quadruplets. Guess I was right - that has not happened often this season! Since today is an "U" name day, it is going to be hard to come up with some names that I will be able to remember. I need two male and two female names. Arizona cities and towns, if you know any.
I have had some lovely "red "kids this year. These are Cinnamon's two bucks. They are easy to catch.
This is a photo of Badger Doe taken yesterday morning. She had her twins (picture lower down) later that afternoon.
I am pretty sure that Mounds is pregnant. I caught a bunch of the goats jumping on her yesterday. She sat for it about 5 minutes before she finally got up.

These are Barbara's kids: Avra and Valley. I think I have 6 different shades of red right now.

Badger Doe's kids - a fading red doe and a black buck. He was full and lying down under her with his mouth on hr teat.Below is my studio cleaned up one more time. Caroline and Michele assembled the racks, while I sorted and carded fiber that was all over the place. I have to admit that it is a lot easier to find colors now and I can tell where I need to do some dyeing. This is just a portion of the mohair. The wool is in another closet and there is still more to sort!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Badger Doe

She finally had twins today: a fading red doe and a black buck. Hope he fades to silver, but won't know for a while.

I am still having to hold Ruby and Rica's mother, so they can drink.

I took photos, but have to go to the gym, so will post later or tomorrow.