Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's December already!

This year has gone by so fast, it's almost unreal.  We have a couple of inches of snow on the ground that came yesterday and last night.  Winter might be here now.  A little later than it usually is, but that's okay, it enabled us to get more last minute things done.  It's supposed to be in the single digit temperatures by Wednesday, too.  Brrr!!  The goats aren't going to enjoy that too much.

The thinning project is now officially over.  It's been signed off on, all the slash piles are burned, and we can see through the forest and walk anywhere out in the lower pasture now.  It's actually more of a pasture than forest.  The goats are going to love it next year!  We have quite a bit of firewood for the next couple of years, at least, too.

Polly the horse went back to where she came from.  I am just not set up for a horse around here anymore.  She wasn't overly fond of the goats, the fencing isn't right, I didn't have an area just for her, and she didn't like being the only horse after spending 15 years as a member of a herd of them.  I think maybe next year I will build an area with horse friendly fencing, get a round pen built, a shelter just for a horse and do things right.  Then I will find a horse who is younger, one I can just get on and go that doesn't have any big issues, and that is an Arabian and a gelding.  Geldings are more even tempered usually.  Polly was a pretty girl, the right size, but she had too many issues for me to have the time to deal with properly.  And, I didn't have a good area for her to be kept in.  Everything happened rather suddenly, and I wasn't prepared for it.  I'll get everything set up properly next year and then see what happens.   I really want an arabian again.  They are my favorite breed of horse.  Either a black or bay one.

The Small Business Saturday deal didn't go very well.  There weren't all that many people downtown, and not very many came in the store I was in.  I only sold two needle felted animals and one little skein of mystery yarn I spun up that I didn't know what kind of fiber it was.  Some kind of wool, but I'm not sure what it was.  So, instead of writing a tiny check to the food bank, I donated 25 lbs of apples to them.   Those are a healthy, easy to eat item.

I think I'll start decorating the house for Christmas now.  We re-did things in the living room this summer, and now there isn't room for the tree!  This could be a problem!  I might have to re-do things again.  The joys of living in a tiny house.  At least I stay nice and warm in here.  Every time I go to someone's bigger house, I get cold.  I have to remember to dress in layers so I stay warm.

I was taking care of the neighbors animals while he went to visit family last weekend.  He has a sneaky little dog who is rather mean.  It's some kind of cattle dog, or heeler or something.  It bit me on the hand.  I was petting their other dog, a nice friendly husky, when this dog came over acting friendly, so I reached over to pet him and he bit down hard on my hand!  Thank heavens I had on a leather palmed glove!  Even with that on, he tore a nice jagged cut into the side of my palm, just below my little finger.  I was on my way to town, so I had to go back home, fix up a bandage to cover it, and then head back into town.  It bled quite a bit.  I was glad I only had a couple of quick stops to make.  I am so grateful I had the glove on, or I probably would've lost a good chunk of my hand.  Sneaky, evil dog.  That is the second time that thing has bit me.  The first time was when the neighbor came over here when they first moved here and brought the dog over.  The dang thing nipped me on my rear, on my property!  That was my first encounter with the dog.  It's a very sneaky, quick moving little jerk.  He's nipped at other people, too, so I'm not the only one, although I got the worst of it.  He needs to be neutered.  He also used to sneak up here and get into things, too, until I let Rocky out one day and he went after him and attacked him.  The dog hasn't been here since, at least not that I've seen.

Okay, enough of all the not good things happening around here!  It seems this time of year always has more stress and bad things happen for some reason.  Maybe the short daylight hours, the start of winter, or something.   There is always someone having a worse time of it, though.  I really feel for the people in the fire areas in Tennessee, that is just a terrible thing.  One doesn't think of fires in that region, it's usually more humid and damp.  I send prayers out to them.

   

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Small Business Saturday

I really need to post more often on here!  I've been busy getting ready for winter, which we are getting a taste of the last two days.  It's very lightly snowing now, there is about a half inch of snow on the ground.  The ground is finally starting to freeze, so the goat pens will not be so mucky now till Spring.  Not looking forward to that mess come spring. I'll be renting a tractor to clean everything out next year.

The needle felting is going well.  I am going to have a table in the Camas Creek store on main street in Kalispell on Saturday the 26th of November.  I would really like to sell out of everything I have now and start fresh with all new items in 2017.  I don't have a huge amount of inventory, which is why I'm only doing Saturday instead of both Friday and Saturday, but it sure would be nice to sell it all and start fresh next year!  I have a few skeins of cashmere yarn left, the needle felted animals and a couple of crocheted accessories.  Time for them all to go to new homes!  They are all listed in my store, too.  Here is my store.  5% of the proceeds from my sales will be going to the local food bank.  Since I almost had to use their services a few years ago, I like to donate to them whenever I can.  I've taken eggs from our chickens, some produce from our garden, and some items to their second hand store.  I'd like to make a monetary donation, too.  So anything I sell from now till December 27th I will be giving 5% to them.  Everybody should have food to eat, especially in this Country!   So please visit my store or come see me on the 26th, and help feed those in need.  Thanks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rain and more rain

I heard on the weather station this morning that we have set a new all-time record for rainfall in October now!  I can believe it, the goat pens are a horrible mess, the driveway  has large "water features", and everything is pretty much saturated around here.  The grass is green again, it's almost more like spring than fall, except for all the gold on the hillsides around here.  The Larches have all turned gold and look beautiful.  This mountain has an abundance of them, so it's a gold world out there.  Soon the road will be paved in gold.

We have an abundance of apples this year.  I think it's the biggest harvest we've ever had, and we had two trees die on us last year!  I think it's time to get out the apple press and make some cider.

Polly my horse is doing fine.  I actually worked with her a bit yesterday, and I do have my work cut out for me getting her over her dislike of saddles, etc.  I was just using the bareback riding pad, and she didn't want me to get that anywhere near her.  I did eventually get it set on her back, but I didn't cinch it up or anything.  Today it rained most of the day, so I didn't do anything with her. She'll get over it all with time and love, but it's going to take a while.  Good thing I have all winter to get her ready.  She's a nice horse, but she was not treated well at the place my friend got her from.  She had to wear saddles that didn't fit right, pack saddles, too, that slipped and hurt.  So she definitely has a strong dislike to anything resembling a saddle getting near her back.  She's fine if it's sitting on the saddle rack, but once it's coming towards her, her ears go back and she starts dancing around.  I did some energy work on her (EFT Tapping) and that worked quite well!  After I did that for a couple of minutes, she stood still and let me put the pad on her back a couple of times.  I quit while I was still ahead, so now she had a positive experience.  We will build on that, and soon she will be accepting of everything.

I am needle felting a limited series of commemorative bears that are small enough to be tree ornaments, or sit on a shelf or desk.  I am putting the year 2016  on their side.  If one has a new baby, new home, new relationship, etc., and wants to remember the year, these are the ticket. They will be in my store on November 1st.   click here to go to it.  There are quite a few other things in there now, if you'd like to check it out.  Handspun cashmere yarn, crocheted items, and needle felted items are all available, with free shipping in the USA.  I will ship worldwide with the buyer paying for the shipping.  Thank-you!  Everything is unique, each is hand made by me, so no two are alike.  The needle felted animals I'm making as realistic looking as I can.  Black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears and pandas are all in there.  I'm making more every week.  Being made out of cashmere makes them really soft, too.  They are not toys, though.

Well, back to the felting table!  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Horse!!


My new horse, Polly!  A friend gave her to me, along with a good deal on enough hay to feed her for a year.  She's 15 years old and hasn't been ridden in about 6 years, other than just bareback with a halter.  So I need to get her and me in shape slowly.  I haven't really ridden in about 8 years either, just little jaunts here and there on friend's horses in arenas and maybe a half mile ride up in this area.  Could be interesting!  She has a sweet personality, even with not knowing me and being in a strange place and no other horses around.  She hasn't been by herself before.  The goats really scared her at first.  It took over an hour before she was really calm around them.  Since she just got here Saturday mid-day, she isn't totally adjusted to life here yet.  Today she was much more relaxed than yesterday, though.
Polly is nice and short, too, so I won't have to lay on her neck when going through the forest around here. :-)

On a cashmere note, I got my fiber back from Zielingers mill last month, and it was all noiled and pilled and unfit for spinning. 5 lbs of it!  Luckily it needle felts really well, so I will be doing a lot of that.  I like felting with that better than the wool I've been using, it's much smoother, and way softer!  I can get better detail with it, too.  I can't really get any refund or anything from the mill since they say on their website that "cashmere and musk ox may noil and pill when going through the dehairing machine".  Although I had asked for the different batches I sent in to be put back in the bags they came in and to save those bags.  They didn't do that, they put it in different bags, and it wasn't the same batches exactly.  They did send my bags back, plus, they sent me a whole bunch of torn useless bags from other people back for some reason.  So I paid postage on garbage I didn't want or need.  Obviously they don't want my business ever again, which they wouldn't get anyway.  Funny thing is, I used them before I got my dehairing machine and they did a good job, either that or I didn't know any better. It was long enough ago that I don't remember exactly what the fiber looked like when I got it back.  Lesson learned.  At least I sold my very best fleeces raw, so it wasn't a total loss.  Everything happens for a reason, so I must be meant to use cashmere in my needle felting now, and focus on that more than spinning yarn and crocheting.  I am enjoying doing that more than spinning and crocheting right now, so it's all good.

The days sure are getting shorter now.  The fall colors are pretty on our road.  We have lots of Mountain Maples which are nice and reddish gold, and the aspens are mostly gold now, too.  I thank the Universe every day for planting me here.

The great "forest thinning project" is coming to a close.  One more day of cutting down trees, then when open burning season starts, lots of slash pile burning and then it's done.  The whole lower half of our place will be nice and open and the fire danger way down since there won't be much to burn if a forest fire comes through.  We've had three close calls over the years up here, so now we are finally mostly prepared for a fire.  I don't think we would lose any buildings, at least not the main ones.  It would still be pretty darn scary, but we'd survive.

The garden is still producing a little food for us.  We've had a couple of light frosts, but we had covered the green beans, so they survived and there is one more good harvest in those.  It's warm again now, so we should get a good amount of produce still.  I noticed a couple of zucchini plants even have fresh growth!  John's greenhouse is full of tomatoes.  Tons of them.

Well, that's it for now.  Hope you are enjoying autumn!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RIP Dani

 Today my faithful, loyal companion of 16 years died. She was 17 years, 3 months old.  She had a good long life, covering lots of miles riding with me back when I had my horse.  She was very protective of me, even growling at my husband a few times!  She was great at herding chickens and turkeys, baby goats, too.  But, she was afraid of the adult goats.  Dani is the one on the left in the picture.  Nellie, the great pyr is 10 now, so she won't be around for too many more years.  This picture is a few years old.
  The picture below is a large mountain lion that came around for a day or so, then has moved on.  It seems they come around about once a month.  We must be on their rotation of places to get close to.  Thankfully the dogs are keeping it on the outside of the fence.  The cover to my game camera wasn't closed all the way it seems, so the picture is a bit like looking through a porthole.
We are making progress on the thinning project.  It's down to piling all the branches and putting the logs in piles to be cut up later.  Then once fall comes and open burning season begins, we will burn all the piles and get it totally cleaned up.  It looks so much better out there!  I've wanted to be able to walk anywhere on our property without having to duck, go under trees, or around thickets since we bought the place, and it's finally happening, 22 years later.  There will be more grass and brush for the goats to eat, too.
  Well, that's all for now...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Empty spot in the yard

Today I got done processing the meat chickens for this year.  24 all together, with 10 going to friends.  Now it's rather empty out in the yard, there aren't any white chickens running around being chickens.  These birds got the best life, plenty to eat, free ranging all over the yard and goat pens, they were healthy birds!  These didn't have any leg problems, they were moving around just fine up till the minute I caught them.  They could still run/waddle even!  Some people call them "frankenchickens", but I think they just don't feed them right and let them eat too much and get too weak to move.  If fed right, they act like a regular chicken, eating bugs and greens and walking all over the place.  They sure taste good!  We will be doing this again next year for sure.

I hauled and stacked 190 small square bales of hay, 90 in the dairy barn and the rest in the cashmere shed.  The stuff in the cashmere shed is my "emergency" stash in case I can't get down the mountain this winter when I run out of the big bales I'm getting now.  I get one every week or so.

This summer has been pretty good weather-wise so far.  Not too hot, some rain and cool enough to have the wood stove going Wednesday!  We're in a warm couple of days now, but it is supposed to be cool again next week.

The garden is doing really well.  There are enough edible pod peas to enable us to have peas every day all winter if we wanted.  I think John may have planted too many!  His greenhouse looks like a jungle, too.  The tomato plants are touching the ceiling in there.  There is a good amount of onions and carrots, and it looks like there will be a decent crop of green beans.  Not a super germination rate on them, but it's looking like enough to do something with.  Cabbages are growing well.  I'll have lots of cultured veggies this fall and winter.

Tomorrow I am going up to Eureka for the fiber festival and quilt show that is happening up there this weekend.  It's a small festival, but I like going, it's in a nice venue and the people are good that run it.  There are hundreds of quilts that line main street which looks pretty cool.  I'll be seeing a friend I haven't seen in three years, too, so it's going to be a great day!

Have a good week-end!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hay time

It's that time of year again.  Yesterday I hauled 90 bales of hay and stacked them in the dairy barn by myself.  Where are helpxers when you need them? :-)  Now the dairy goats are set for the year on hay.  This should last them an entire year.  I am getting another load of 90 next week for the cashmeres to have as an emergency stash in case the weather is bad when I need to go get a big square bale for them.  I think I'm done with little bales, at least with the main crew.  It is too much work to stack them anymore.  I am pretty sore today, tomorrow will probably be a bit worse.  Little squares are too labor intensive.  Sometimes I wish I had a tractor that was big enough to move the big bales and stack them, but it's only use would be for that, we live on too steep of a hill to be able to use it anywhere else.  So that would be a big waste of money to have a tractor for only one use.   I will just haul them one at a time and use that one up, then go get another one.  I go to town once or twice a week anyway, might as well haul home a bale of hay at the same time.
  We are having some really nice summer weather this year.  Not too hot, rain when needed, at least so far.  Who knows what August will bring.
  The goat kids are all growing and doing well.  Their cashmere is starting to come in pretty good.  Some of the adults are getting a good coat already, they are pretty warm on the sunny days that heat up.  Haven't got any good pictures of anything on the game cameras lately, just deer and the goats.
   We've started butchering the meat chickens.  We have to wait till the bees go to bed before we can do them.  So just before dark, we are out there.  Can't do too many at a time that way, but we don't have anyplace to do them inside out of the bee zone.  That is on the list of projects, building a butchering room that is bee proof.  The meat chickens taste so good, I like them much better than the dual purpose egg laying/meat breeds.  These are easy to raise, and if they aren't over fed, don't have leg problems.  These are still running around and catching bugs and following me every time I go out.  I only feed them a lot the last week so they have a final growth spurt to get big enough to butcher.  I keep reading about how they only take three steps and lay down, but mine aren't doing that.  They are very active.

I've got my store on Square all up and going.  I have everything listed on there now, as it's easier to buy from there.  It says I only ship in the USA, but I'll ship internationally if you email me and tell me you'd like something.  PayPal is the best method to pay with if that is the case. Click here to see  My new Store 

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool in this heat wave!