Thursday, April 12, 2018

The winter that doesn't want to end

  We got another 2 inches of snow today.  Just when I thought spring might really be here, it was not to be.  The baby goats were not happy.  Speaking of which, there are 13 kids now, with 4 more does due the end of April and into May.  I don't have any pictures on my computer yet, they are all on my phone.  I do have plenty of pictures on my Instagram page @cashmereannie, if you have an Instagram account. 

  I got one box of my dehaired cashmere back.  It is nice!  I've spun up one ounce so far.  Weaving has taken over my interests for the moment.  On a rigid heddle loom, but it sure is fun.  I am taking a beginning weaving workshop next week end to learn how to use a tabletop 4 harness loom.  I don't have room for a tabletop or any other loom in this house.  Acquiring one will have to wait till after my fiber studio is up and running.  Then I'll have room for a few more fiber tools, and, we will have the living room back!  My fibery stuff has pretty much taken over the whole house now.  The husband is finally getting on board with the idea that I really do need a fiber studio so I can move out of the house and get my stuff all in one place, organized and easy to find!

If the snow ever does melt (there is still over a foot of it on the ground), I will be able to get started on clean up and organizing the homestead.  Lots of projects planned for this summer! 

One of these days I really will get some pictures on here of the kids and everything else that's worthy around here! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

New things for the new year!

I haven't had internet service for almost a month.  Now we got it last Friday.  Expensive, but it's working great so far. Way faster than the old internet service we used to have!   I also got a new "refurbished" computer with Windows 10 on it.  I had Windows 7 before, so this is taking some getting used to!  There are all sorts of differences, some of which I haven't figured out yet.

My horse Lark is doing great.  I can hardly wait till the snow is gone and it warms up so I can really start riding her!  She is such a pretty girl.

We keep getting warm spells followed by cold snowy spells.  Our road is pretty narrow as usual for this time of year.  At least this year all the neighbors are working together to keep it open.  Tomorrow I will be going out and clearing out the turnouts again.  We had quite a storm last Thursday with about 8 inches of snow.  Then it got down to the single digits, so I didn't go out on the atv to do any plowing.  It is just too cold for me to do that any more.  Tomorrow it's supposed to be warmer and sunny, so I will be able to go out without freezing to death.  The road is 4 miles long, and by the time I'm heading home, I am really cold, even when it's warmer out.  I put on as many layers as I can and still be able to move, so I'm warm for most of the time, but the last mile I always get quite chilled.  Good thing the house is nice and warm!  I huddle up to the wood stove and warm right up again.

No babies yet.  The first ones are due around the 25th of March.  Hopefully it's warmed up and the snow is gone by then!  It's going to be interesting what comes out this year.  Jimmy the Boer/Nubian buck I have, got out and bred more does than I realized back in October.  So there is going to be an interesting mix of Cashmere, Boer, and Nubian kids out there.  Could be a good thing, or not.  We'll see!  Might end up sending some to the auction as meat goats.

I've taken up weaving!  I got a rigid heddle loom for Christmas.  I am really having fun with it, and am making all sorts of fun things.  I will be launching a Spring Collection in my Etsy shop in March.  All sorts of good things will be available!  Stay tuned!  

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

2018 is a new year for a new me.  I am changing a lot of things in my life and business this year.  Restructuring a lot.  Last year was not the best year I've ever had, it was one of the worst, financially.  The needle felting made me the most money, the crocheting the least, none of which even came close to breaking even, let alone make a profit.

*There were some good things last year.  The goats were healthy all year long.  I got a good cashmere harvest off them, which I just got sent off to be dehaired the week before Christmas.  I'll get that back just about the time I finish combing out this years' harvest. 
*I was/am the winter president of the weavers and spinners guild I belong to.  Not sure how good a job I'm doing, but they wanted me to do it again this year, so I must be okay at it. 
*We had a good pumpkin harvest out of the garden.  There are still 4 left!
*I signed us up for Hip Camp, we have two campsites on our place.  Had a couple of campers a week until the fires and smoke ran all the tourists away in late August and September.  Hopefully we'll have a steady stream of campers this year.  We got a late start on it, I only signed up in July.
*We had some great helpxers last year!  Hope to get some more this year.  Lots of projects to do, as usual.
*I got an Arabian horse again!!  I can hardly wait till spring to start riding her.  I need to sell my old saddle and get one that fits her, first.  I have the saddle at a saddle shop in Kalispell on consignment.  Hope it sells before March!!
*I'm learning how to weave!  My Christmas present this year is a 28" Ashford Knitters Loom, which is a folding rigid heddle loom.  John ordered it the day after Christmas. I have always said I would never ever take up weaving, the warping was too complicated and involved.  Then I found out about rigid heddle looms and I got an urge to check those out.  I borrowed one from a friend for a month, then rented the guild's loom, and now am waiting for mine to arrive sometime between the 4th and 9th of this month.  I can hardly wait!  I got addicted to weaving right away.  I've made 9 projects so far.  Scarves and a little bag to hold my sunglasses.  I don't know if I will ever go beyond a rigid heddle or not.  I want to master that before expanding to anything bigger.  I will need a craft studio before I get anything bigger anyway.  There is barely room in this house for a rigid heddle one!  I am encroaching farther into the living room as it is.  We got rid of the couch a couple of months ago, now there are only two recliners in there. :-)   When I set up the folding table to warp the loom on, it takes up the whole living room area.  Yes, we have a very small house! 

2018 is going to be a year to get things done around here.  I am building a craft studio starting as soon as the snow is gone and the ground has dried out a bit.  That is the first project, and we will expand from there.

May this year be the best year yet, for all of us!!

Monday, November 27, 2017

All Kinds of Excitement around here!!

 The first most exciting thing is I have a horse again!  This time she is a keeper for sure.  An Arabian!!!  My all time favorite breed of horse and only one I really want to own.  I felt such a connection to this girl the minute I laid eyes on her.  I feel so at ease around her, unlike the paint mare I had last year for a month.  I never did feel comfortable around her, even though I tried.  I am meant to own Arabians, that's all there is to it. :-)  She's a pretty bay in color.  It's hard to see in this picture, but she is beautiful!   Lark is her name.
The second most exciting thing is I actually wove a scarf!  I made probably every mistake one can make doing this, I tried to cover up most of them.  It didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would.  I do have a very long way to go before I'm good enough to sell anything though.  It is fun, the rigid heddle is fast and easy to warp, it's portable, and it fits in this tiny house!  I think I will master it before I move on to a table loom or anything else.  Maybe I never will go past a rigid heddle loom, who knows.  I've been watching some youtube videos and one can do an awful lot with this kind of loom. 

The third somewhat exciting thing is I re-opened my Etsy shop.  I've decided it's easier to do that than go through the hassle of finding another website host that can handle a real store on it.  I'll have my website for information mostly and the Etsy shop to sell what I make.  Which if you'd like a needle felted Christmas ornament to hang on your tree, I have a small selection, plus some stand alone needle felted animals, and a couple of crocheted cashmere items.  www.etsy.com/shop/PNFCashmeres is my shop.  Free shipping on everything in there now through the end of the year!  Please favorite the shop, even if you don't buy anything.  I think that improves my ranking on there. 

Today John and I added a roof extension to the chicken coop.  I've been wanting to do that since about a month after it was built.  It's only been a little over two years in the making. :-)  Now the snow melt and rain water won't run inside the little door, and I won't have to shovel the snow away to open the walk through door to get in there.  The girls will have some snow free zone outside to go into when it snows.  They don't like walking in the snow, especially when it starts getting deep.  Now that there are 25 chickens in the coop, it's getting a little crowded, so they need some outside space that is covered. 

Well, I think that is all the excitement around here for now.  Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's been a while!

I hadn't realized it's been so long since I've been on here!  So much for me being consistent in my writing! 

We got a new roof put on the house, got the garden cleaned up just in time, right before it snowed.  We got an early snow that doesn't seem to be leaving all the way.  We got over a foot!  The ground hasn't frozen, so it's slowly melting in, but not fast enough to disappear entirely.  The poor trees are leaning over, some have lost big branches, and there have been a few that totally uprooted.  I've had to cut quite a few down along the road just so we could get through.  We're down to about 6 inches left now.  It's been in the upper 30s the last few days, so it's very heavy now.  I heard a branch break this morning when I was out feeding. 

I am going to learn to weave!  I'm going to start on a rigid heddle loom and see how that goes.  This house is so small, a bigger one just won't fit in here.  Once I get my craft studio up and going, then I might have room for a bigger one.  I'm pretty excited!  On Wednesday the guild I'm in is having a demo on rigid heddle weaving from a non weaver's viewpoint. I'm going to bring home a loom and see how it goes.  I went to my first weaver's meeting last Wednesday and wove just a little bit on a 4 harness table loom.  That was fun.  The warping is what has kept me from doing this before now.  I guess warping a rigid heddle isn't very hard or time consuming, so that is the main reason I'm starting with that kind.  We'll see how it goes. If I get good at it, I'll have another outlet for my cashmere.  Cashmere scarves made from handspun yarn from my own goats.  I'm thinking a shawl or two, too...

I'm slowly getting the fleeces washed and ready to send to the mill for dehairing.  I'm also doing some needle felted orders for people.  I'm making a Bolognese dog for someone now.  Then I have some mtn goat kid tree ornaments to make, then my 2017 bear ornaments.  Time is going by fast, I'd better get to it!  I can't believe it's November already!  Where did this year go? 

Hope everyone is doing okay and have a great day! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

My critters are in an Exhibit in Bigfork!

 Exciting times!  4 of my needle felted animals made their way into an Exhibit at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center called "Uncommon Thread". It runs till mid-September.  There are so many seriously talented fiber artists in this area, it's amazing.
 I didn't get pictures of everything, just the main waterfall and my animals. There are some amazing felted, knitted, crocheted, and woven items in this exhibit!  The walls of the room are covered in beautiful, gorgeous wearable articles, and wall hangings, too!
 My four contributions are a mountain lion (below), a mountain goat and grizzly bear on the top of the waterfall, and the three bears sculpture in the first picture.  I was afraid they would look awful, but they fit in okay.  Mine are some of the smallest felted animals there.  One thing about it, even though there are three or four other needle felters there, we aren't competing, each of us has a different style that is unique.  Even if we made the exact same thing, it wouldn't look exactly the same.  I really don't think there is really any competition in the fiber arts, or any arts.  Each artist is unique and has their own style.  There is room for everyone...
I do need to work on my marketing though.  Mine are the only ones without a hang tag on them!  I do have cards and a brochure out there, but they aren't attached to the animals. Something to work on in the next month or so....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A little Rain finally!

We are finally getting some much needed rain, the first since June 15th!  So far it isn't much, but it's better than nothing, and it smells so good!

I am having fun doing the Glacier Farmer/Crafters Market up in West Glacier.  Started out slow, but the last two weeks have been good!  It's a bit of a drive to get up there, about an hour and a half from here, but it's a pretty drive and I like my fellow vendors, so it's worth it.  In July, there were 1 million! people that went through Glacier National Park.  A fraction of those came to the market, but the ones that did spent some money there.

The Hipcamp thing is going well.  There is another group coming in tonight.  I have two separate sites listed on there now.  Now that we have the infrastructure up, it's pretty easy to take care of things around the sites.  We will continue to make a few improvements this year to make things even nicer for the campers that come next.

I'm making cheese again now.  I'm also starting to process the meat chickens we grew.  I'm about half way done now.  These chickens have had the best life a chicken can ask for.  Organic food, free ranging, living the great chicken life.  I always thank each one as I carry them up to the cone for feeding me and I tell them they are going to chicken heaven now.  These birds don't have the leg problems that most of them do.  They don't get overfed, they are able to run around all over the place, and they are fed organic layer mash, not the really high protein feed recommended.  That seems to keep them very healthy and active up to the end.

The goats are all well.  I am down to 38 total now.  I haven't had that few in quite a few years!  I have three varieties now.  The cashmere herd, a small meat herd, and the dairy girls.  I'm getting into the Kiko goats a bit.  One purebred buckling, and a purebred doe and her daughter.  They seem to have cashmere on them, so we'll see next spring if they really do!

There are some fires in the area, but we are safe for now.  It's been pretty smokey, but this rain has cleared the air.  I can see the mountains again!  I"m sure once it's over, the smoke will be back.  I hope they can get the fires out soon.

Well, that's it for this installment.  Hope you are having a great day or evening!