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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I brought him home....

I did it.  Two weeks ago when I was downstate visiting my Mom I brought home the five month old English Angora buck I had been admiring from afar.
 These photos are pre-grooming...he had a few mats around his mouth that needed to be dealt with but otherwise his coat is in great condition.
 I couldn't get him to look at me to get a good face picture...he just wanted to get down and run!
He is a BIG sweetheart!  If you turn him on his back he will just lay there and I could groom his tummy without holding him.  He goes to sleep in your arms laying on his back....I love him already!  The big problem is....I haven't come up with a name for him yet!

The past few days have been BIZARRE to say the least...we've been  under the weather influence of what is called a "Great Lakes Typhoon".  Massive wind gusts of up to 70mph- all those beech trees with beech bark disease are snappping just have to step outside and hear them popping.  We've been without power for two days.  All those candles that Dave and Sabra gave us when they moved have been put to good use!  Will and the kids went to the Big Manistique Lake for water...lake water for flushing and many jugs filled up at the flowing well for drinking and cooking. 

One rabbit hutch flipped over onto its roof (Lavender Brown was in it but is okay and was moved to the massive eight hole hutch), and the portable sheep shelters have blown over so the sheep have been granted access to the barn....they prefer to stay outside but at least I know they can get into shelter if they want to.  The llamas stand defiantly into the wind daring it to blow them over...

Monday, October 25, 2010

People Post

For those of you more interested in the People on this farm  (strange though you are) here are a couple of photos.

This one was taken by Sam- Will has been captured in some very goofy poses this year but that never seems to phase him when he starts mugging at the camera.... (I actually like this one a lot!)
For example....when sister Mary gets out her camera, just look what happens!
I took this one last week...couldn't find him anywhere and then I walked into the living room....

He SAID he was trying to fix the damper.  I think he may have been trying to escape.

Yesterday there was a puppet show that the fourth and fifth graders put on at the Erickson Center.  Our friend Ruthette worked with the kids for ten sessions and each child made their own puppet and the class culminated in a performance last evening.  Lila's puppet is Autumn- she is the blonde on the far left in the photo.
Will had control of the camera for the evening...until the batteries died that is- neither of us thought to pack any extras either.  So, we didn't get any performance shots but he took a slew of photos prior to the show beginning.  The one below is of us getting ready to leave the house, and since I'm getting to choose them I picked the one that shows off the wee Wren in all her glory.  She is starting to look so grown up....

We still have the boys...honest...the proof is in the mess around the fireplace!  

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wool Roving from Zeilenger's!

Last week I headed downstate for a meeting in St.Clair and I just happened to be passing Zeilenger's wool Company.  I had several bags of washed wool in the basement and decided it was time to have someone else process it since there was no way I could work through all of that with my drum carder.  All of the wool is Shetland.  White front center is Nala, going clockwise, the silvery black is Elle, Deja and Petrucio, The dark oatmeal is Cameo, the pale grey is Fancy Pants combined with 20 percent angora (from Blackberry, Mocha and Spice), and the brown is Liz and a bit of Beltane.
I've been spinning the Fancy and Angora is wicked soft.  The Cameo/Oatmeal colored roving is a dream too.  I have a bunch of it and will be putting some up on my Etsy site soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Woolies Beautiful Barn

This past weekend, the beautiful barn was completed!
 All the windows were painted, the door hardware put in place and the inside of the barn gussied up (more pictures for another day).
 I think I mentioned in another post that the french door and the multipaned windows were taken from a cabin on the shore of the South Manistique Lake here in Curtis.  Writing on the door frame says that they were made for J.Grondin in 1924
 The somewhat grubbier windows in the loft I found out by the road in Strongs Michigan.  They were in front of a small mom and pop motel that had evidently gained some new ones. 
 Most of the lumber- including the 4x6 and 8x8 beams are from a mill in Seney and are milled from local white pine.  A few of the larger boards on the front of the barn and the trim along the roof edge are taken from the Lakefield Township hall.  The town hall is owned by our old neighbors and the poor building is falling in.  Cathy was salvaging the tin on the walls and ceiling and asked Will if he could help out a bit.  Behind the tin were long old boards that she told Will he could have for helping her.  They are from 1907.
 We had the perfect weekend to wrap it up- as you can see by the overexposed photo is was sunny!
It was also in the mid 60's which was perfect for painting. 

 I even painted the trim on the chicken coop which improved its appearance greatly.
 Will made all the door handles and latches from scratch.
 The view from a distance.  Those ugly blue tarps covered the tomatoes on the frosty evenings that we have had.  I think they are goners now!
Many heartfelt thanks to all who donated materials, time, food and hard labor...we couldn't have done it without you!  And thank you especially to my indulgent husband....I love you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Help for a fellow Shepherd

A fellow Shepherd, Nancy at Bluff Country Shetlands was the lucky and well deserved recipient of a small business one more person can get the training they need in order to live the dream.  She sould use some help naming her new enterprise so if anyone is interested in helping her out please visit her site HERE.  There is the potential to win some lovely handmade goats' milk soap too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gazing at Freighters

I had to come "downstate" to a meeting being held in St.Clair and on Harsen's Island for today and tomorrow.  Today's portion was at the St.Clair Inn on the St.Clair River which runs from Lake Huron (and the Soo Locks) down to Lake St.Clair which connects to Lake Erie (someone tell me if I screwed that up...I don't have a map in front of me).  It has been rather distracting though having freighters, larger than life, pass in front of your eyes.  My room also overlooks the river though it is getting hard to see them now and read their names.  So far I have seen the Tregurtha, CSL Niagara, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Canadian Provider, Calumet, Manistee, Federal _____, and the Indiana Harbor.   Below is a photo of the Manistee sailing under her old name. She's a cutie and was built in 1943.
My hotel room is pretty swanky....the bed is queen sized and (I kid you not) is a canopy bed of the wooded variety.  Not bad, though it has a mirrored headboard which reflects off of the long mirror set opposite the bed on the wall....probably a room meant for (ahem) more than one person.  There is also a TV set into the canopy at the end of the bed (which makes me think maybe the mirrors are for just checking your hair after all) and recessed "reading" lights at the head of the bed in the canopy.  I shall try them out after tucking myself into bed with Terry Pratchet  one of  Terry Pratchets books. (Eric).

However first I shall turn on the idiot box to renew my belief that there is nothing worth watching on TV while carding some wool.  Yes, I brought my drum carder along.  I also dropped off some fiber to be processed into roving at Zeilinger's Wool Mill on my way down and will pick up five bags of roving on the way home!  I  left 18 pounds of raw wool to be made into combed top and two bags of llama fiber to be cleaned picked and dehaired to save my sanity.  The last two will be done in 6-8 weeks.

Finally, if you noticed that there was a previous post that I removed, you aren't losing your mind.  I did take it down by request but will re-post it at a later date.  Thank you Lucky Nickel for your lovely comment- I'll have the cookies waiting for you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Now We Are Six

Will recited the A.A. Milne poem to Duncan this morning on his sixth birthday:

When I was one
 I had just begun
When I was two
I was nearly new
When I was three
I was hardly me
When I was four
I was not much more
When I was five
I was just alive
But now I am six,
                                                            I'm as clever as clever;                                                           
so I think I'll be six now
for ever and ever.
He was quite pleased. 
His choice of gourmet for this evening is "hotdogs on a stick over a campfire".  I suspect there will be smores as well in lieu of birthday cake this evening.  We will have a birthday dinner weekend on Saturday too.

Tham lotht a thecond tooth!

I neglected to post this last weekend....Poor Sam is having issues with corn and apples!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shearing Pygora Fybur

I have been recently educated by a very smart goat in the correct spelling of the word "fybur".  Thanks so very much Lucky Nickel!

**Warning: The following photos contain graphic images of amateurs at work. Professional shearers should be forewarned and those without intestinal fortitude should forego reading this post.

Tea went first.  She was initially pretty psyched about the oats in the bucket.  She later decided it was not worth the initial food bribe.

 We first started on the barrel of the goat.  I started shearing Tea on my own and this worked for a few minutes (while she was busy with the oats).  Once I started getting serious there was much tap dancing going on and the platform of the goat stand isn't wide enough for much sidestepping.  It also isn't conducive to good scissoring.  I found out too, that goats can and will bite when annoyed...see her eyeing my leg?

Did you notice that the shearers are wearing there very best barn clothes?  This is a celebration after all...a harvest of the finest fybur!
Yes, those are Fiskers hand shears.  The sheep shears don't fit my hand very well and these work just fine thank-you-very-much.  The lady at the quilt shop thought it was very strange though when I told her what I was going to use them for.  In my defense, she did ask!
 "What are you doing to me Woman?!?"  "It's the latest in styles Tea.  It is the lumpy bumpy style that the llamas have.  Theirs has grown out a bit so it isn't quite as noticeable.  It was made famous by some llamas in Iowa and is all the craze now in (a small part) of the Upper Peninsula." 
 "Can you quit chattering at the goat and get on with it?  See all that dirt in the background?  I have some earth to move!"  Oh- Ginger came to visit too.
 Gratuitous fall color shot.  Notice that I have switched sides.  I did that a lot.
 Okay.. we need to get some of these curls off of your neck.  I promise I won't touch the beard!  No, really!  I LIKE beards you may have noticed!
 "Hey watch it lady!  There are some sensitive parts down there."  Yes, Tea I can see them.  We are getting close. To being done that is!
 "Tea!  You keep her busy and I'll eat the bag!  I think this strategy will work...she won't have anything to put the fybur in so she'll have to stop!"
 "What?!?  I'm next?!?"
"Oh no!  Don't look at my is worse than lumpy bumpy!"

Yes Twizzler, but I left enough so that you will be warm on these cold October nights. We ended up with 2 pounds of fybur from Tea, and 2 pounds and four ounces from Twizzler.  Tea's fybur felt much finer, and Twizz's was much more dense.  Next shearing is May!

Photo credits go to Lila MacKinnon.  Goat stand credits go to Marilyn Ayers (my mother).
Much credit goes to my husband Will who patiently acted as goat handler while I occasionally complained that his hands were in the way.  He gets all the credit for the barn in the background too.

Destined for Bordeaux

 Surprisingly, I was contacted by a lady from France who wanted to be a CSA shareholder this year.  This yarn is destined for Bordeaux! (the photo is a bit overexposed....)
 The yarn was spun from fiber from Elle and some of what I had left of Petrucio...where did he go?  Read his story HERE.  Petrucio had an intermediate type fleece which added length and spinning ease to this yarn (softness as well).  Elle is a single coated  fleece which is extremely soft and crimpy and she added much of the softness and body to the yarn.
I really like the way that the skeins look, but center pull balls are much more practical for knitting!  This is what a full pound of bulky weight yarn looks like at the end.