Thursday, June 20, 2019

Shave 'Em to Save "Em

Have you heard of the Livestock Conservancy Shave 'Em to Save 'Em initiative?

It is a fun program they started for fiber artist to encourage them to try new wool that are listed on the Conservation Priority List. You get a "passport" and when you purchase wool (at least 4 oz. of raw wool, washed wool, roving, top, batts, or yarn) from a Fiber Provider that is signed up with the program, you get a stamp to add to your passport. 

It is also a great program for those raising heritage breeds, you sign up as a fiber provider and get listed on their website. The feedback from providers has been positive, as they are selling their wool, some for the first time.

I am signed up as a provider and artist! 

I have purchased wool from several breeds but have not yet started spinning it. I plan on working through some of it during the Tour De Fleece, which is starting at the end of June. (another fun challenge for spinners).

Are you participating?  I would love to hear your experiences, whether you are selling or buying.

If you are interested in learning more check out the Livestock Conservancy Website.

I hope you check it out, the more the merrier!

Monday, May 13, 2019

March and April are Behind Us

Where did March and April go? It is so busy on the farm this time of year, the time just flies by.

We have a great group of lambs this year. 

We also have a larger than usual group of bottle lambs. They are cute but they are a lot of extra work.

We have a few dairy goats on the farm. Sophie just kidded this past week. Triplets! They are the sweetest babies. This one wasn't even two days old and went missing. After thirty minutes of looking we found her behind some boards in the barn. They know how to frazzle your nerves. 

Still working through our fleeces.

 skirt, wash, pick, card...repeat... I am not complaining, I love my job! 

I am excited that we added some felting equipment to our mill! We just have to be able to make batts with the carder, which Mike is working on now. Once that is done, we can start playing around with the Felting table. 

I have managed a little time for knitting. I am working with sock yarn for the first time. I am not going to lie, it is a little tedious and I have almost quit a couple of times, but I am determined to finish at least one pair. The yarn came from a thrift shop, 99 cents a skein.

The weather has been less than ideal. The sheep have spent more time in the barn than I can ever remember. Cold temps and rain are the worst. I am still waiting for the warmer weather to come and stay. 

Hope the sun is shining where you are and you are enjoying your Spring.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Wool and Lambs Everywhere

sweet Mabel

March and April are always a crazy time for us on the farm.

The mill washing facilities get turned back on after a long winter break. Just in time for March shearing. 

We sheared early March, a little earlier than normal.

Romney Fleece

We had nice weather, considering it was March but the sheep were locked up in the barn for a few days due to the cold rain that came after. Without their wool to protect them from the elements, it is necessary. 

With our sheep being such woolies, we like to get the sheep sheared before lambing. We can keep a better eye on the condition of the ewes, that wool hides a lot! We also like that we don't have to worry about babies sucking on wool tags and having to fight to find the ewe's udder. 

We had lambing planned for April, but one nice day in March, Mike was grilling and heard some lamb cries. He knew that didn't sound right, but sure enough, there were two babies in the pasture. So that ram did manage to get into some mischief when he got out for that hour!

 It just happened to my birthday, so birthday present for me :)  Two little Border Leicester ewe lambs. Unfortunately, mama rejected one. We do our best to make it work out where mom takes both, but she was aggressive, so the lamb ended up being in the house for a few days. She is our resident bottle lamb, we named her Mabel, after the matriarch of our flock that we lost a couple years ago. 

The rest of the lambs started coming in April (as planned). We are a couple weeks into lambing now,  the weather has been so so, still a lot of cold rain to contend with, so the lambs are being held hostage in the barn. I hope next week we can let them all loose, it is getting crowded with all of those ewes and their babies.

being born is hard work

It has been a typical lambing season, everyone is tired, the house is a mess, and we can't wait until it is over :)

Some of our new lamb (selfies)

bottle baby #2

One of my favorites, a little BFL ewe lamb

not interested in being with me (mama yelling in the background)

Just a few more weeks and it will be over! 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Goodbye February

I am not sad to see February go! It was a rough month as far as winter blues go. Looking forward to Spring after a long winter.

Ice storms, wind storms, losing power, and bitter cold is what I will remember about the winter of  2019! 

-41degrees outside

There were a few things I was grateful for; 

No winter lambs this year! I was glad that we didn't have to worry about lambs being born when it was that cold.

We didn't sell any of our hay last fall, we needed it. The sheep go through so much more hay when it is that cold. It was nice not having to worry about running out.

It was my wedding anniversary, so there was a mini celebration-Thirty years! 

Knitting helps keep me sane during the winter months. I am finishing up my first knitted sweater that I started...well that doesn't matter, what matters is that is is almost finished! (haha)

Handspinning-I finished some BFL top that came with my Sidekick wheel.

Mike spent much of the winter working on his sock machine. There are no YouTube videos, or manuals for these old machines so there is quite a learning curve. He has managed to make some bow socks, working on figuring out how to make a heel, for people socks. It has taken a lot of patience on his part, something I lack! The first pair of socks off the machine will be a huge accomplishment. 

We have many things to look forward to in March- shearing day, 
getting ready for lambs, and Spring!

How did you endure winter? 

If you would like to follow the day to day on the farm...we are on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, January 28, 2019

January on the Farm (2019)

Tunis Ewe

January on the farm has been pretty uneventful. The weather up until this last week was unseasonably warm. This past week has made up for that. We had opened up the barnyard so the sheep have more windbreak. Extra feed and free choice hay to help them stay warm. Today we will be opening up the barn in preparation for some record-breaking lows over the next few weeks.  I am glad we are not lambing right now!

Extra Feeding Time

In the winter we have the wash facilities closed in the mill, but we still have been busy processing wool, and making dryer balls. We are offering a few different sets right now. 


Dryer Balls

Heading into February, I am usually fighting off the winter blues. Thank goodness for spinning, knitting and crafts! I did get an amazing Christmas gift from my family, a Schacht Sidekick (traveling wheel). I have wanted one for quite some time, I feel completely spoiled! It has been fun playing with it. It will be perfect for our monthly spinning meetings and camping trips!

Slipper Socks

Schacht Sidekick

I hope everyone is doing well and able to find a way to keep their animals warm during this cold spell. I know it is going to be a challenge.

Stay Warm!

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