Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: Breeding Season




We have pretty well behaved boys (rams) for the most part, but this time of year all bets are off. I always remind everyone, AGAIN,  that even the best behaved ram can show signs of aggression, especially during breeding season.

We have 10 days left before the rams will be put in with the ewes. I can't wait until then! Our Tunis Ram has been a real troublemaker this past week, he keeps busting out and getting in with the girls (which we do not want). Emmet, our Border Leicester ram, is usually  a real sweetheart, but even he has been drawing his ears back and acting like a rascal during feeding time.

They are not any better when they are put in with the ewes, but at least we can stop worrying about them breaking out of confinement.

What are we doing to get ready for breeding season? 

We do a check of all of the ewes to make sure they are healthy.

You really need do a hands on check of body condition. You cannot tell, with all of that wool, if they are a little thin by just looking at them. If the ewes show they are a little thin , we can give them some grain for a couple of weeks before breeding, which is referred to as "flushing"

It is a good time to look at hooves, and make sure they do not need trimmed. We are fortunate that our ewes rarely need a trim, but if they do, this is a good time to do it.

Our sheep will be given a dose of dewormer, when we do the body condition check. That is not always needed, but I feel this year, it is.

We will also take the ewe lambs and separate them from the rest of the flock. If they do get bred their first year, it will not be until  later.

I am digging out the Ram Marking Harness, making sure I have crayons/markers to use with them. I like using the Harnesses because I know when and if a ewe has been bred.  With this being the first year with this Tunis Ram, it will be nice to know if he is actually doing what he is supposed to be doing.

The Tunis ewes will be put in the barnyard with the Tunis Ram, and our Border Leicester Ram will be put out on pasture with the Border Leicester ewes. I admit, I miss the days of ONE ram, but with the two breeds, we have opted for two ram. It makes things a little more difficult, but it is manageable.

Only ten more days...hopefully the boys will not cause too much trouble before then!





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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dyeing Wool With Sumac & Giveaway Announcement

I have been having too much fun experimenting with Natural Dyes. This past week, I tried another, Sumac. (non poisonous, of course)

Autumn is a perfect time of year for foraging, I love having  an excuse to walk around the woods and the tree rows bordering the hay field. It didn't take long to fill up some baskets with Sumac- berry heads.



Heating up the Berry Heads


You would think that the color that you get from these red berries, would be red, but it turns out you get a tan/beige coloring.

Out of the Dye Pot-Before the Rinse


It is a ten to one ratio (sumac being 10). One of the nice things about the Sumac is you only need to prewet the fibers before adding to the dye bath.  There is no need to pre mordant the fiber, as I had to do, with the Goldenrod and Pokeberry.

You can add the wool to an iron, after bath to get a grey color, but since I have plenty of Natural Colored Greys from the sheep, I chose to leave it the tan color.


Drying after the Rinse Baths

I used yarn that I spun from Corriedale roving that I purchased at the Michigan Fiber Festival.

And speaking of Fiber, I wanted to announce that I am going to be doing a Giveaway, later this week, which includes a Drop Spindle and some of our wool roving. So check back in on Friday!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

HomeAcre Hop #92






It has been a gloomy week, rain and more rain.

I have been playing around with wool,-spinning, dyeing, knitting...
What have you been up to?

I hope you take a minute and share your Homemaking, Homeschooling or Homesteading post with us.

HomeAcre  Host
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Tracy@Our Simple Life
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
Heidi@Pint Size Farm
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal

Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the 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!)



rendering lard


Congratulations!

We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week.

Clearwater Farm Journal
Featured



You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button, text link, on the post, your side bar,or blog hop  page and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.

     Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

 
Clearwater Farm Journal

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dyeing Wool with Goldenrod


Spinzella has come to an end! 3,204 yards of handspinning, and even though it was fun, I am spun out but, I have plenty of yarn for some winter knitting projects.

Most of the yarn I spun was Natural Colored,(greys) but I did throw a pop of color in there, spinning up some roving dyed with Goldenrod.

My second attempt at dyeing with plants.

Goldenrod is abundant in our area, and it would have taken me a short amount of time to gather enough, if I had done it a couple of weeks earlier. I had to do a bit more foraging to find some bright yellow flowers, but I did manage to gather enough. It is a 10-1 ratio, Goldenrod being the 10.



I didn't have any light colored yarn, so I dyed some Tunis Roving that I had.




I have decided that I like dyeing yarn more than the roving. The roving seems to felt a little bit and it made it harder to spin. 



Tunis Dyed with Goldenrod




Overall, I really enjoyed dyeing with the Goldenrod. I love the color! It was no where near as messy as working with the Pokeberry, but it did take a lot of rinses to get the extra dye out.

This week I am trying Sumac, I will let you know how it goes.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home Acre Hop #91





Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop!

I hope you are enjoying your week and will take a minute to link up some of your blog post.

I have been a handspinning fool this week, and my messy house is proof, that I have not done much else! Oh well, it is Spinzella, and that is only one week out of the year. I can clean next week!

HomeAcre  Host
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Tracy@Our Simple Life
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
Heidi@Pint Size Farm
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal

Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the 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!)

Featured Post

grafting-fruit-trees-124-copy

Congratulations!

We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week.


Clearwater Farm Journal
Featured



You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button, text link, on the post, your side bar,or blog hop  page and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.

     Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

 
Clearwater Farm Journal





 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gone Spinning...Be Back Next Week


 
 
Ready, Set, Spin


This next week I will be spending a lot of time at the wheel. I signed up for Spinzilla!  


What is Spinzilla?
It is a Monster of Spinning Week, a world wide competition where teams and individuals challenge each other to see who can spin the most yarn in a week. An Event designed to share the Joy of Handspinning!





 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dyeing Wool with Pokeberries

Border Leicester Handspun Yarn Dyed with Pokeberries, just taken out of the dye pot-before the rinse.


I have wanted to dye wool for quite some time. When I was visiting our small town library, the librarian told me she had a new book about dyeing wool, using plants. ( love small town libraries) I checked out the book, Harvesting Color.
I love it-it was the motivation that I needed to get started. The next few weeks were spent collecting up supplies. 

My first choice for a dye project was Pokeweed . I loved the color and we have Pokeweed on our property. I was told that Pokeweed wasn't colorfast, but according to the instruction in this book, it can be, so I decided to trust the book. 

What I learned:
~Pokeberries are messy! 
~It takes a LOT of Pokeberries...
~It doesn't smell all that great-the hot plate, I purchased made it possible to do it in the mill and not in    the house.
~I need a sieve, the strainer I used let some of the seeds stay behind in the dye pot. Something I   discovered  when I was rinsing the yarn.
~It takes a lot of time,  most of it is spent keeping an eye on the temps, in the dye pot.

I am sure using commercial dyes would be less trouble, but I found the whole process satisfying. I enjoy spending time in the woods and fields foraging for plants, I love the natural colors, and I will definitely be doing it again. 

I have some Goldenrod in the dye pot now...



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