Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Life in the woods

Life is always interesting when you live in the woods.  Critters of all kinds and incidents of all kinds are always a possibility.  For instance, this little toad was on our freezer one morning.  How it got there, I  have no idea.  The freezer is in our porch, which is fully enclosed.  I put it back outside in the front flower garden where it could hide quite well.   






This bobcat was caught on the game camera the other day.  That would explain all the barking the dogs have been doing lately.  Glad we have the dogs to keep critters like this away from the goats and chickens. 





We are being taken over by Yellow Jackets and hornets this year.  They haven't been this bad in a good 10 years.  There are literally thousands of them in the garden.  They aren't stinging me at all, just going after the moisture in the grass and veggies.  They aren't eating any of the raspberries, or any vegetable, but going out there is a bit nerve-wracking.  I still harvest things, I just don't look too closely at my surroundings, I concentrate on what I'm harvesting. :-)

On Saturday I witnessed an interesting happening.  I heard a ground squirrel squeaking quite loudly and harshly up on the hill behind the house.  I went up to investigate, and here was a weasel killing it!  A raven was watching the whole thing, till I came along, then it flew off.  The weasel ignored me for the most part, I was about 50 feet away and inside the fence.  The squirrel was bigger than the weasel, but the weasel won, eventually.  I left, so I don't know what happened, if the raven came back and got it, or the weasel got to keep his prize.  I hope it sticks around and gets rid of all the ground squirrels!  That would be nice.  It would eat well, and we would be rid of the pests.  They have started getting in the garden a little.  Ate the lettuce, and some of the carrot and radish tops.  The lettuce was past it's prime anyway, we only lost a couple of meals of that.  The roots are still there on the carrots and radishes, so we'll still get those.

We got some excellent heads of cauliflower this year!  The first time in history that we got actual heads that were big enough to do something with.  The variety of broccoli John planted didn't grow well, so that was pretty much a wash.  Got a couple of quarts frozen, but that was it.  Ate a few meals fresh, but didn't get enough to go through winter with. 

We haven't had a decent rain in over a month.  It is quite dry and hot outside.  Everything except the garden is turning brown.  I think we are in stage 1 fire restrictions now.  Parts of the country are getting way more than enough rain, and other parts aren't getting any.  It sure will be nice when the planet balances out and we have moderate weather everywhere again.  That might not happen for many years, but one day it will.
  We also had a little bat get in the house.  Not sure how that happened, either.  John took his little aquarium fish net and put it over it and gently carried it outside and let it crawl out and fly away.  Life is always interesting around here!   

Monday, July 2, 2018

Is it really July already?!

 My new fiber medium!  I've taken up weaving on a rigid heddle loom and I love it!  I like it better than crocheting by a long ways.  I will still do some crocheting, but this is now my main thing. 
  I haven't done any needle felting for a long time, I think I've lost my enthusiasm for that almost entirely.  I still have a lot of cashmere that isn't good for spinning, so I will get back into felting pretty soon.

This table runner (not a very good picture) is made out of 3/2 mercerized cotton.  Trying different pick up stick patterns.  Very fun!





This is a linen washcloth I made.  I made three of them, slightly different patterns with each one.  I'm using this one and I love it!  Linen is a wonderful feeling fabric to use on one's face. 


 This one is the same color as the one above, but for some reason it doesn't show that in this picture.  I think I will be weaving some more of these and maybe making a gift set with a bar of my goat milk soap included.  Or maybe get really fancy and make a face towel, washcloth and bar of soap in a set.  What do you all think?
This is a table runner I made out of 5/2 perle cotton.  I used some lace techniques on this one. 

This is a table runner and 4 placemat set I made.  My table isn't big enough to spread it out properly.  The table runner is 41 inches long.  I need a rectangular table to set it up properly.  This is made out of cotton, too, although I'm not sure of the size.  More pick up stick techniques. 
 
I'm re-doing my website and changing the pages, etc, to better serve my new direction I'm heading in.  It's a work in progress right now.  I do have a newsletter sign up form on the home page if you'd like to sign up to receive twice monthly updates about happenings on the farm and new creations I'm making, with some behind the scenes photos.  I'll start sending that out the middle of this month.  There will probably be some special deals occasionally for my newsletter subscribers.

I hope you all are having a good start to your summer/winter.  Happy 4th to those in the USA! 

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!