Monday, January 31, 2011


Ravi, one of the Anatolians, was enjoying yesterday's unseasonably warm temperatures and pleasant sunshine.  Sadie, who has just turned 8 months old, would have none of that.  She knew it was a perfect day to play.
Everyone, of course, went back to napping after a few quick laps through the back yard and a good tussle or two.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It was easier to bring a square bale up from the barn than to move a round bale with the tractor because of the mud.  I brought the bale to the front of the house where the donkeys live but then got distracted with something or another.  Mind you, no one ever runs out of food around here - I was just bringing hay up for later in the day. Zeke and Esther didn't feel like waiting so helped themselves.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Trouble, Again....

Yes, Jeff, the Angora buck, has a problem.  I passed him in the barnyard and he was just nibbling at a hay bale.  I was in the back for about fifteen minutes gathering eggs.  This is what I found on my return.  He had managed to find a triple loop of high tensile fence line and apparently had stuck his head through the loops and then also manage to step through the bottom of one loop.
I set down my egg bucket and spent a moment or two flipping the loops back over his horns and then dropping them down so that he could step out.  Sadie, who had accompanied me to the back, thought this was the perfect opportunity to sneak up on the egg bucket.  But I was watching.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Dyeing

Even though it has been raining, the temperature is milder so I've been able to do some dyeing.  This is sock yarn from the point where I've finished steaming it, rinse it and then once it is dry, wind it into a nice skein.  I think the little bit of rust sets off the green nicely.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Rainy Morning

The weathermen have been yee-hawing for several days about our big potential storm.  They are loving using the footage from the bad weather a few weeks ago as they talk about what might happen.  As it is now, looks like they will have to be content with just a slow, steady rain which suits us fine.  I've been working outside much of the morning so thought I'd share some of what I've seen today.
We'll begin with Ravi, our best $20 dog ever, who can look at me without shame (see yesterday's post on little Sadie...).  He is a fancy, papered Anatolian Shepherd who is quite the gentleman.  We found him needing a new home and were happy to take him on.  He's been with us over a year now and is mostly perfect.
Sequoia, our Navajo Churro, had ended up on the wrong side of the fence when Al moved hay in the dark last night.  In fact, I could hear him hollering at me as I walked to the back of the property.  He had apparently heard the door to the house open and close so knew help was on the way.  He did not want to stay in the barnyard but wanted returned to his usual pasture.  I returned him and then fed a little extra hay.  Sequoia is that big fellow on the left corner of the photo.  Years ago we had to saw the tip off of his right horn as it was curling into his eye.  Otherwise, he's a strong, healthy, personable old boy who started life as a tiny orphan on a friend's farm.
The sheep don't mind the rain.  They were all studying to see what might happen to that bale of hay I'd laid on the other side of the gate.
The goats, however, were standing pitifully under the eave of the tractor shed.  They despise the rain or any form of precipitation falling from the sky.  One time I was irritated at goats bothering me as I tried to work outside.  I dispersed them with a good shot from the garden hose.  Whatever works.

And as I walked back through the barnyard to get another bucket of yarn to dye, I passed one of my favorite old sweethearts, Jezebelle.  She has the biggest mouth of any of our sheep, rivaled only by her daughters who have inherited her wail.  She loves attention and always makes me smile.

Monday, January 24, 2011

This is not an innocent face....

I carefully butchered out 5 of our own shoulder roasts so that I could use the meat in a pot of Hungarian goulash.  I saved all of the scraps to cook up to add to dog food and then roasted the bones for the livestock guardian dogs.  They are the nice round bones that don't splinter so it is always a welcomed treat.

I tossed the meat scraps in a skillet to cook and ran downstairs to check something.  I purposefully used the back burner on the stove so as not to tempt little miss Sadie who had watched me as I worked in the kitchen.

I came back upstairs in less than five minutes and went to stir the scraps in the skillet.  The skillet smelled hot as I entered the kitchen. The perfectly empty skillet was quite hot and there wasn't a scrap of anything in it.  Nor was there a dog in sight.  Sadie had slipped off to the living room where she was perched at the top of the steps shyly watching to see if she had been discovered.  I will obviously need to be much more vigilant when I make the goulash.  And Sadie can almost not bear to make eye contact with me right now.  Bad baby.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Few Observations on Color

All three of these skeins started with the same dyed roving.  Simply spinning up the original roving gave me the middle skein.  For the skein on the left, I randomly added strips of a more persimmon-colored roving as I was spinning.  The skein on the right is made with a ply of camel-colored alpaca and a ply of the wool from the combination for the skein on the left.  Lots of variety out of a pound of dyed wool.
And while we are comparing colors, I had to add this picture taken in the corner of the pasture.  These hens had sorted themselves by breed.  If they weren't all hens, I'd think they had gotten tired of the rain and were pairing themselves off for a ride on the ark.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Days

I've got a project for today.  I want to spin up the roving I'd dyed as our snowstorm was starting.  I've already completed one skein and have about 12 more ounces to finish up.
Each day a little more snow melts but then freezes to an icy coating in the 20 degree night.  The ice coating this morning was thick enough to hold the weight of a small Shetland ewe who tried to follow me down a hill.  I was halfway down, crunching through the ice and then having a pretty steady footing in the snow below, when she noticed me.  She ran toward me from the top of the hill and then froze.  She literally skied all the way to me, crossing a good thirty feet of snow without ever moving her feet.  She'd locked her legs in panic and slid down the hill with a befuddled look on her face.  She looked so relieved when her feet broke through a weaker spot and she could gingerly go on her way.
And, although the lighting was not good for this picture, I want you to see the beautiful square bales stacked in the old barn.  Just yesterday the sheep finished off their round bale so Al carried a few squares out and laid them in the snow this morning.  The sheep are thrilled with their newest treat and we are pleased that we don't have to make a mess by schlepping round bales through the snow with the tractor.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poor Babies

We have plenty of shelter but sheep are just not as concerned with weather as goats tend to be.  We've also found that if they can keep their heads buried down in a round bale as they eat they don't seem to worry about how wet the rest of their body is getting.  So they have been wandering around eating as usual, seemingly unaware of how they look right now.  Pretty Girl, one of the Angora goats, has also been out in the weather and was letting me know by the look on her face how distressed she was.  It was, of course, her choice to go wander around in the weather in spite of all the nice shelter we provide.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


We've lived in South Carolina for over 12 years now.  This is the grandest snow we've had so far.  Since we had plenty of warning we made sure we had all the hay and feed we'd need for quite some time.  Now we are just sitting tight and enjoying the weather.  I've done a little spinning, some felting and some cooking.  Much of the time has spent letting the house dogs in and out.  They want to explore in the snow but then need to come in for a quick warm up and nap.  It is nice to have a little weather now and again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Perfect Timing

We do not usually buy our hay in square bales but got 100 barn-kept bales at only $3 each so couldn't pass up on this deal.  We loaded them into the barn Sunday afternoon as the weathermen were predicting a serious snow storm.
The snow started around midnight.  Come morning, the boys moved the sheep,
built a ramp with a few of those new square bales and got busy playing.
Farm children are so easily amused!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have decided to work through some of the fibers I've already got processed here.  I chained some white wool to dye but then got occupied with other farm chores so that is all the farther I got.  Perhaps today?
I tackled a pile of mixed wools & managed to spin two skeins before bedtime.  This was just odds & ends grabbed up & carded.  It is rare that my wool coordinates so nicely with one of the cats.  Luckily, Lola is not one of my fiber-eating cats.
It was windy & cold outside.  We are awaiting some sort of a snow & ice storm but it looks like these two are comfortable. Once the weather begins they will probably just prefer to snuggle under shelter somewhere.  Good thing we have plenty of nice spots to choose from.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I have been having problems with my spiffy little asus computer so haven't been able to work on the blog.  It is one of those annoying things with the battery charging that would cost about 25% of the original price of the computer to fix.  My sweet husband took the computer to a few places & then decided to fix it himself.  So far, so good.

I have been busy dyeing some silk.  It is just the nastiest looking stuff while it is in process but it should be very nice in a few days once it has dried & is spun up.
Between rain showers I've spent some time outside with the creatures.  Before the rain really set in, Al took the tractor & delivered new round bales to all of the pastures.  The goats & dogs seem to see a hay bale as a combination meal and playground.  The sheep simply eat.  After a drizzly few days, everyone was happy for a sunny morning.