Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our Simple Homestead Hop #14



  

Welcome to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!



Lets Get Started....


 Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)



Being on vacation, I do not have any featured post this week.

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
blog button


You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, Homemaking, and Homeschooling! There are just a few little rules to follow:

  • Family friendly posts only!

  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.

  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.

  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here!

  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on any host’s blog... in your post, side bar, or blog hop page) with the button or a text link!

  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.

  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.

  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.

  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted


Lets Start Hopping!




Thursday, August 20, 2015

Our Simple Homestead Hop #13



Welcome to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!
Lets Get Started....


 Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post


My Featured Post




Delicious and Cheap Strawberry Syrup - Stone Family Farmstead


Congratulations!
We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. 

      
Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
blog button


You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, Homemaking, and Homeschooling! There are just a few little rules to follow:

  • Family friendly posts only!

  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.

  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.

  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here!

  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on any host’s blog... in your post, side bar, or blog hop page) with the button or a text link!

  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.

  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.

  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.

  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted


Lets Start Hopping!



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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pasture Happenings-Summer



This summer has been fleeting, and I for one am not ready to move into Fall. Not that I don't love Fall, I do....I just dread what comes next!

Mike mowed the pastures twice this year, trying to rid our fields of the thistle and burdock. We are hoping that it helps in the long run.




The sheep have had an abundance of grass and browse this year. With the temps being moderate, we really didn't experience a slow down of grass growth, like we normally do in the heat of summer.








 We will be sorting lambs again this week, the plan is to keep all of the ewe lambs to grow the flock.








We have had some hot, humid days this week. You can usually find the sheep in Mulberry row during the heat of the day, and out browsing during the evening when it cools down.






This is our one and only Blue Faced Leicester. I bought her from another farm this year, she is "middle aged" but I am happy to have her here. We are trying to find a BFL ram to breed her to this fall, so we can have some BFL lambs. I would like to have a few more in the flock. 




Earlier this summer we noticed a plant growing in the barnyard that I thought maybe was squash. We finally figured out what it was...Pumpkins. We threw some pumpkins out there last fall...how nice that we were gifted with some new pumpkins this year. It was a fun surprise!


How do you feel about summer winding down?




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Monday, August 17, 2015

Choosing and Buying a Fleece



It was a busy week with fair, but we still made the trip to the annual Michigan Fiber Festival this year.

Fiber animals,  fleece and skein competitions, herding demonstrations, and a lot of vendors with all sorts of fiber goodies!  It was a nice break from the everyday.

I always enjoy the sheep show, so many lovely woolly sheep to admire. I have told myself no more new sheep... but, that doesn't mean I can't buy their lovely fleeces. One of the farms that were showing their sheep, had some raw, skirted fleeces for sale- Leicester Longwool, and CVM/Romeldale fleeces, two types that I have never processed before.

We have bought quite a few fleeces over the last two years, some that we were thrilled to have and others that ended up being not so nice. I have learned to look through the fleeces more carefully, especially when you are buying from someone who really does not know much about wool.

What I check for when buying a fleece-

Acceptable VM (for me)
1. Cleanliness- How clean is the fleece? Wool is typically dirty, especially raw wool, which has not been washed. I expect to find lanolin/grease and some VM (vegetable matter). How much VM, is what I am looking at.   I have purchased wool in bags, without pulling it out. I was told it was reasonably clean, and from the surface, it looked pretty clean.  Then comes the disappointment when you lay it out on the skirting table and find so much VM, that the wool is not really usable except for garden mulch. After experiencing that twice, I pull the fleeces out of the bag.

Unacceptable amounts of VM (for me)


2. Soundness-You want to buy a fleece that is structurally sound. We remove a lock of the wool from the fleece and look it over. Check the crimp,  give it a tug to check for breaks. Mike does the "sound test" he puts it up to his ear and listens for a kind of "ping" sound when he snaps the wool. You do not want to hear a crackling sound, which means weak fiber.




These are the first two things we look at when considering a fleece.

Some other considerations-

Staple Length; When I want to process the wool into roving, I need to keep the staple length in mind. My carding machine does not like wool  locks that are over 7-8 inches long. I also do not like working with wool that has a short staple, less than 2 inches.

CVM Fleece


Breed of Sheep: I am interested in trying all types of wool, so if I have not yet processed it, or spun it, I am interested in trying it.
But, it if  you are buying wool for a project, breed may matter. You probably would not buy a Karakul fleece if  you are making a next to the skin garment, but it may  be a great choice if you wanted to make a rug.  If you are looking to needle felt, some wool would work better than others. So if buying a fleece for a specific project, you would want to do some research before choosing a fleece type.

Skirted Fleece: I have purchased fleeces that have not been skirted, which means that the undesirable wool is mixed in with the good parts of the fleece. That can include, dung tags, belly wool etc.
I prefer, at least, a lightly skirted fleeces where those two things have been removed. Who wants to pay for sheep poop? Not me! The fleeces I purchased this weekend were skirted.

Some others things I  look for that would affect the quality of the fleece-

Second cuts-this is done by the sheep shearer and leaves shorter pieces of wool throughout the fleece. If the fleece has a lot of second cuts, I  pass it up.



Scurf- Flakes of skin on the wool. It does not wash or card out of the fleeces. It is caused from a condition on the sheep (mites) Pass!

Canary Stained Wool-An organism that causes yellowing in the fleece. It causes a gummy substance in the wool and will not wash out or dye. It is a bright yellow color, unlike the pale yellow you can get from lanolin. It weakens the fleece as well.


Over the years I have purchased some "cheap" wool and more times than not, it was worth just about what I paid for it, sometimes less! I have learned to be more careful when selecting a fleece. I pay more, but what I end up with is  more usable wool and it  is worth every penny.

I have been cut off from buying more sheep, but that doesn't mean I cannot enjoy all of the types of wool that are available. Fiber Show anyone?




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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop #12


Welcome to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!

It is fair week, so the house is  a wreck, we have accomplished nothing this week on the farm, and we are all tired!  Last night was our last show, so we can breathe a little easier now. Just a trip in every day for daily chores. We might even get a chance to look around today!

Lets Get Started....


 Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post



farming and food
Congratulations!
We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. 

      
Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
blog button


You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, Homemaking, and Homeschooling! There are just a few little rules to follow:

  • Family friendly posts only!

  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.

  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.

  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here!

  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on any host’s blog... in your post, side bar, or blog hop page) with the button or a text link!

  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.

  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.

  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.

  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted


Lets Start Hopping!





 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop #11



Welcome to Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!

We have been busy getting ready for our county 4-H fair. It seems no matter how early of a start we get, there is always that mad rush at the end! Wish us luck!

Reminder: There is one more day to enter our Soap Felting Kit Giveaway.

Lets Get Started....


 Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)




My Featured Post





Congratulations!
We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. 

      
Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
blog button


You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, Homemaking, and Homeschooling! There are just a few little rules to follow:

  • Family friendly posts only!

  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.

  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.

  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here!

  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on any host’s blog... in your post, side bar, or blog hop page) with the button or a text link!

  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.
  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.
  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted


Lets Start Hopping!




 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

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