Thursday, May 21, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #121





Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop! 

Thank you for stopping by the hop and sharing your Homemaking, Homeschooling, and Homesteading post.

HomeAcre Host

and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


  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 love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


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


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lambing 2015




2015 lambing has ended. We had a higher twinning rate than last year, less bottle babies, and no losses. So other than the mishap with the Tunis ram and some unexpected crosses, it was a great year.



We have a few old girls, that had to have some help raising twins this year.
 They have given us many wonderful lambs through the years.



White lambs are becoming a rarity around here, this year we only had two.
Red lambs and Black lambs dominate the pastures.



We had just one rejected lamb, the rest of the lambs were raised by the dams.
I love good mama's.




I love the Romney crosses, They are soooo cute!

I have to thank Delaney for the pictures. I have been dyeing wool, and working in the mill.
She has been keeping an eye on everyone for me. She is a great shepherdess! 


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Washing and Dyeing Wool Locks



Some of our Border Leicester locks are up to 8 inches long. Our carding machine does not like them that long. So, I needed to come up with an alternative for these fleeces.

I started with a 10 pound white Border Leicester fleece, one with up to eight inch locks.

I layed out some towels, and started sorting the locks. (Great time to put in your favorite movie).

Washing the locks came next. It was a little more time consuming than how we normally wash our fleeces. I filled the sink with hot water, just enough to cover the locks. I then, set the locks out in a single layer, and soaked them for 15 minutes. I removed the wool from the sink and gently massaged the wool wash into the locks. I changed the water out, and placed the locks back into the sink, and set the timer for another 15 minutes.  I repeated the soap and rinse cycle twice.

After the last rinse, I carefully placed the locks into a mesh bag and removed the water with the extracter. (I heard a Salad Spinner works well too)

I laid them out to dry.

Now what?

This fleece had some discolored tips, so I decided to dye them. I have dyed larger amounts of locks using the kettle technique, locks that were later carded into roving, so if they were a little disheveled/tangled, it didn't matter.

After reading some tutorials, I decided to try the method of dyeing that uses a microwave to obtain the heat needed to set the dye. I was more than happy to give up my old microwave to the dye studio, once used for dyeing, it cannot be used again for kitchen use.

The microwave method is quick, much quicker than the kettle dyed method. It is great for small quantities. I dyed about 2 ounces at one time, One batch with Robin Eggs Blue and another with Salmon.




The results-
I love the shade of blue, but dissapointed that it didn't hide the discolored tips as well as I would have liked. They look a little green.



The Salmon, turned out bright, and dark enough to hide the discolored tips.


I decided that I need to order more dye colors... I have a LOT of locks. I may try hand painting the next batch.



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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #120




Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop! 

Thank you for stopping by the hop and sharing your Homemaking, Homeschooling, and Homesteading post.

HomeAcre Host

and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


  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

terri camera oct 2014 1295






Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


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




Friday, May 8, 2015

Learning Curve



Learning is Experience. 
Everything else is just information. 
                                                                                    Albert Einstein 

I have learned much on our homestead. When we moved here I  knew absolutely nothing about raising livestock, baling hay, or processing wool.

We have spent many years pouring over books, blog post, and magazines, reading  whatever we could on the subjects that interest us. There are great  video tutorials which make a great visual for when you are trying to learn a new skill. We have had great friends/mentors who have been kind enough to disbud our goats, and then teach us how to do it. I have taken classes on how to handspin wool, knit scarves etc., from experienced teachers who are more than happy to teach others their craft.

I  have learned that most skills, are not achieved over night and come from much trial and error and practice.

My first loaf of bread was a brick.  My first  handpun yarn, looked more like rope. My first knit scarf started out with 20 stitches per row but somehow ended up with an extra 9 stitches, my first attempt at milking a goat, there was more milk on me than in the milk pail. I could make a several page list...

You get the idea.

The last couple of days we have spent many hours in the mill, trying to turn  these beautiful hand dyed green Border Leicester Locks into roving.  Border Leicester is a little more difficult to process than Tunis or Corriedale, but we have done it. But this particular fleece, will not run through the carder  properly. We know Border Leicester is a slippery wool, and sometimes we have to fudge with it to get a nice roving, but no amount of "fudging" was going to make a difference this time.

After multiple attempts, what we have deducted, is that the wool is too long for our carder.(some of the locks being 8 inches)  It was a disappointment, as it was earmarked for selling. We also have more wool that is similar in length, that needs processed and we foresee the same problem. So back to the drawing board as to what to do with the longer wool locks that we get from some of our Border Leicester ewes.

The mill has been our biggest challenge, thus far, more so than raising sheep and goats, putting up fences, and all of our other homesteading endeavors. Primarily because there are no "how- to" videos, no mentors, and no books. It has been all  trial and error.

On the bright side, the wool is still usable and has made it's way into my spinning basket. After spinning into yarn, I may be able to knit it into a wearable garment. (more practice)


Have a great weekend!




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Thursday, May 7, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #119



Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop! 


May is here and life with the sheep is a little easier-the grass is green, lambing is "almost" finished, and Newt our bottle lamb has found a home.

I hope you get a chance to link up with the Hop this week, I always look forward to your Homeschooling, Homesteading, Homemaking post!





  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




Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


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



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pasture Happenings


Things are greening up, including the pastures. We still have a round bale out for the sheep and goats to eat, but they ignore it for the most part. Green grass is more preferable.


We found Newt, our bottle baby a new home. He went to a Michigan Farm as a fiber "pet". He will be missed...   His adventures can be followed at Davis Dirt Farms








We still have a few lambs that are being supplemented with a bottle a day. They are out on  pasture with their dams, the ewes are our aged ladies and they need a little help keeping up with twins.

This guy "Janson" was not happy when he realized Delaney was carrying a camera and not the anticipated bottle. I love that face!



The goats have not been on my good side. They have been such trouble makers! That is life, when you raise goats....



This little guy, was born Thursday, to Ethel, a first time mother. I am happy we were here for the birth. I knew she was in labor, and it was her first time, so I kept my eye on things. I went out when I seen that she had lambed. The lamb was pretty non responsive. I cleared his mouth, and after a few minutes of stimulation, he started making noise and was holding his head up. I let Ethel take over. I stuck around until he was standing up. Thankfully, he is doing fine. Now, he just needs to grown into those ears :)




The March Lambs are growing like weeds. They spend their days frolicking around the pastures.




We have two more ewes that we are waiting on to lamb, and our 2015 lambing year will come to a close.

After the long season of winter chores, this time of year is like a breath of fresh air.




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