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!

  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Surprise kid!

Ivory had a kid on the 13th!  I didn't think she was pregnant, since she was actually due back in April and nothing happened.  Her udder got milk in it back then, but she didn't have a baby.  Then when I went out to feed the morning of the 13th of this month, I heard a little kid crying.  It sounded too young to be one of Louise's, so I looked around and found this tiny little doeling curled up behind the water tub in Ali's pen.  Then I thought to check Ivory, and sure enough, she had had a kid.  So, after 8 months a kid popped out!  Normal gestation is 5 months.  The little girl is cute as can be.  Lively, too.  I named her Miracle, for obvious reasons.  These two pictures were taken when she was just a day old.  Her one folded ear has now straightened out and looks like the other one.  She is a bouncy little kid!  I almost sold Ivory the night before she had her kid,too.  Glad I didn't!!  Little Miracle looks like she is going to have a lot of wonderful cashmere on her.  Ivory has some wonderful fleece, so I'm expecting Miracle will also have that.  She's pretty curly/wavy, which usually turns into a lot of fleece as they get older.

  The Hipcamp thing is working out pretty good!
So far we've had the field scout with her group,  one other camper a few nights later, and there is one heading our way right now for 3 nights!  They've all been very neat and tidy, leaving the campsite clean like they found it.  I like doing this.  It's not very labor intensive at all, and the extra money I make with it will come in very handy around here!  Plus, I get to meet more people from different walks of life.    We are fixing up the main site more, and we've added another campsite up the hill.  Both are private, yet accessible by vehicle.
  Well, that's it for now.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summertime and Hipcamp

Summer has arrived after a long up and down winter and spring. It's hot out, although to most it's probably not all that hot.  For me, anything above 75° is too hot, and it's in the mid 80's now.  There is a slight breeze which makes it nicer.  A good day to hang clothes out on the line to dry!

The babies are all growing. Louise's are a week old today.  They almost didn't get back in last night.  I let the goats out into the pasture and Louise took her kids out.  They got worn out and curled up together out in the forest and didn't wake up when everyone went in for the night.  They were sound asleep.  I couldn't find them right away, but eventually found them next to a tree down towards the bottom of our land.  They barely woke up when I picked them up to carry them up to their mom.  Louise was very glad to see them!  She had been standing up in the pen calling for them for quite a while.  I am so glad I found them!  The dogs weren't much help.  They came out with me, but didn't even go near where the kids were, they were too busy going after the ground squirrels that are taking over the place since we thinned it out. 

I have come to the conclusion that the ravens tell other animals when something is good.  Like telling the ground squirrels there is open ground up here now.  We didn't have very many at all before the thinning, and now there are probably over a hundred out there.  I guess we will start trapping them.  Good thing I don't have a horse anymore, it would get a broken leg stepping in one of the many holes out there.  

Yesterday I adopted a new kitten.  She's sleeping and purring in my lap right now.  After hiding out all afternoon and night yesterday when I brought her home, she's come out to play today.  John is gone, so she came out.  When he's home she stays hidden. I didn't know kittens could still purr when they are sound asleep.  I'll post a picture soon.  She's been moving around so much I can't get a good photo, and now I don't have my camera or phone anywhere near me while she's still.  I named her Tabitha.  It was Sneakers, but that name makes me think of smelly gym shoes, so I changed her name. ☺

The big thing of the week is I signed up with a website called "Hipcamp".  They get landowners to rent out camping spots on their properties.  Like Airbnb for campers.  They handle all the bookings, payments, etc.  We made the round pen area into a nice camping spot.  Turned the shed part of the woodshed down there into a little restroom with a composting toilet, built a shower stall for a solar shower, and I am going to build a covered kitchen area very soon.  There is a fire pit, a grill to go over it, and a good amount of firewood all ready to go. We provide water, too. I flagged the trail up to the "Rocks" better so anyone can follow it.  The field scout and three of her friends came up and camped Wednesday night.  She wrote a good review, and they enjoyed camping, even though the weather wasn't all that great.  We kept getting short showers off and on.  The kind that is just enough to get you nice and wet, then it quits, the sun comes out, and then it rains briefly again.  They still managed to have a campfire, play some games, and hike around a bit.  They got to hold the baby goats and see everything around here.  Here's the link to our campsite. https://www.hipcamp.com/montana/pine-needle-farm-cashmeres/pine-needle-farm-cashmeres.  Hope this link works...

We are only an hour and a half away from Glacier National Park, so if you want to see the park without staying in a crowded campground, it's a good day trip up there from here.  We've done that many times over the years.  It's a long day, but quite do-able.  




Friday, June 16, 2017

Baby Goats, Helpxers

 Wildflowers are blooming all over the forest now.  This was taken up on the "Rocks" behind our place, with Haskill mountain in the background.
 The two oldest chicks hatched so far.  5 and counting.  There should be some more on Monday!
 Carl, one of the cashmere boys.  I think he's "buck quality"!  His coat is softer than the others, and he's a good looking boy.  We'll see how he looks in a few weeks, but I'm thinking he'll be a great buck.  He will also be for sale come September.

We had a great couple from Missouri here for 10 days a week or so ago.  They helped us a lot while they were here.  I also gave them spinning lessons, both making a respectable yarn first time ever spinning.

The wood stove is going, has been for two days again.  It's a cool, damp June, which is normal. The flowers sure are blooming well this year!  All the rain we had earlier and now some more, and they are going great.

I'm going to have a booth at the Glacier Farmers Market in West Glacier starting a week from today!  It is Fridays from 3 to 6 pm in the town of West Glacier, right outside Glacier National Park.  It runs till September 8th.  Should be fun.  There were some neat booths there last year.  Both food and lots of crafts.  Some of the best pies around are there too!  If you are in the area, come check it out.