Sunday, January 15, 2017

Doing some remodeling

After living in this house for almost 20 years now, (where did that time go??), we are remodeling the bathroom some.  We bought a vanity and new toilet, and also a new floor!  It's a slow process getting everything just right, but it's coming along.  I am really excited about the new floor.  It's a floating snap together walnut looking one.  I think it will be nice once I get it done.

We've had a few really nice, but cold, days now.  Sunny every day.  The snow is still light and fluffy, which is nice when shoveling things out.  The goats have adjusted to the cold temps, so they are all doing fine.  I'm going through more hay than usual.  Eating hay keeps their digestive tracts working, which creates heat in them.  So, I have a bunch of chubby goats now.  Better they have some extra weight than be too thin in this cold weather.  They are starting to really let loose of their cashmere now.  I'm hesitant to comb them, I don't want them too cold, but I also don't want to lose the fiber.  They will still have their outer guard hairs, so it won't be like I sheared them anyway.  It's supposed to warm up later this week, so maybe I'll start combing the ones who are the most ready.

Next post I'll have some pictures to show.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter business

I think I am ready for spring now, and it's only the beginning of January!  We have quite a bit of snow, and the temperatures are colder on a more consistent basis than the last few years.  I seem to spend a lot of time shoveling snow lately! :-)   Our road is getting very narrow already.  We have the neighbors plow this weekend, so we are going to widen the road and get some turn outs on it.  For some reason, he only went up and down it once, even though we got 7.5 inches of new snow.   Right now it is almost 4 miles of narrow one lane with no turn outs!  We're out of luck if someone else is on the road!  Someone is going to get stuck.  So, I am going to widen the road and make some turn outs on it so we can get around each other.  I think it's time we bit the bullet and got our own plowing equipment and stop depending on other people to do it.  Now I just have to convince the husband. :-)

I've spent the last couple of days re-working my website and closing my Square store.  Now I have set-up PayPal buttons on my website so one can buy directly from my site.  One doesn't have to have an account with PayPal, either.  There are two easy options to follow.  I think I've been too scattered over the internet lately, so I consolidated and focused on my website.

I've been spinning more lately, too.   I have a stash of fibers other than cashmere, so I decided to work my way through them and see what I end up with.  I'm doing some needle felting, too.

The goats are doing well.  I have six girls bred for this year.  Babies will be due in April and May.  They aren't too happy with all the cold and snow.  There are little trails leading from their houses to the feeding areas with vast expanses of untouched snow everywhere else in their pens.  The bucks really haven't gone out into their pens at all.  A little trail to their water bucket and back to their house is all the area they go in.

That's all that is happening around here for now.  Hope everyone is safe and warm!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

 Winter 2017, more of a "normal" Montana winter than the last few years.  We still have milder winters than, say, Chicago, or Minnesota, or even the New England states.  At least Western Montana does.  The goats are full of cashmere and some are starting to let loose of it.  I will wait till it warms up a bit before starting the combing.  Below zero temps are too cold to loose one's winter coat just yet!
 Rocky the Turkish Akbash looking out over the snow.  Him and his sister Cloud are very good livestock guardians.  Rocky takes his job too seriously sometimes.  He gets a bit nasty with his sister whenever anything is going on with the goats.
 One of the buck pens.  You can tell he doesn't like to go out much when the snow is deep.  His private parts could get froze off!  The indents you see are from the dogs going out there before the last storm we had.  Jimmy hasn't gone past his water bucket all winter.  Below is the sunset tonight.  It wasn't spectacular, but it was pretty.
May 2017 be a great year for everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Coming to a close

Winter is definitely here now.  We have about 16 inches of snow.  I'm tired of plowing already and we've barely begun!  The forecast says we are about to have another arctic blast next week.  Oh joy.  This winter is more like the winters of 20 or so years ago.  1983 was the year we moved to Montana, and that was a record setting winter!  Lows of -20 and -30 degrees, without wind chill.  Coming from the desert area of eastern Oregon, where snow was scarce , and cold was 10°, it was quite a shock to the system!   We survived, I learned how to cross country ski and got some snowshoes, and away I went. :-)

I am enjoying needle felting so much, I sold one of my spinning wheels!  Until I get my fiber studio built, I'm just going to have the one wheel, a Louet D75.  It's a good all around wheel that I can spin anything on, from a thread to a rope.

It's almost time to start the annual cashmere harvest.  The goats are full of fleece, which is good since we keep getting these cold spells.  I sold 6 more breeding does, three of which were bred, last week, so now I am down to 30 cashmere producing goats that I can use the fiber off of.  I have 45 goats all together. I've bred 6 does, so there will be a few babies come May.  Chores sure are easier with fewer goats!  Especially the fewer water buckets.

The goats are sure going to enjoy the lower pasture next year. Now that's it's actually a "pasture" instead of a forest, they will have lots more grass and brush to eat.

This is the second year in a row that I haven't seen a bear up here!  I didn't see one anywhere this year.  I didn't even see any tracks.  I admit, I didn't go off the property much, either.  But I didn't see any tracks or scat along the road, which is unusual. I didn't see our little herd of elk around at all.  I did see a few tracks along the road, though. I think it's time I got a horse again that I can just get on and go, and start exploring again.  All the trails I used to ride are probably overgrown, but a little saw will take care of that.

2017 is looking to be a good year, I hope it is for all of you, too!  

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!