Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fall musings

Time to downsize the buck population around here.  Moonshine and his son Thunder are looking for new homes.  They are related too closely to 99% of the does here, so I can't use them.   They need a new batch of girls to go to.  Moonshine is only 3 years old, and Thunder is just a yearling.  He does need his feet trimmed, which I will don my coveralls to do so I don't end up stinking like him.    

 I made 3 of these "farmhouse" towels recently on my rigid heddle loom.  They turned out quite well.  I'm in the process of making a new warp for my floor loom and using the warping board for the first time to do it.  So far it's working out pretty good.  As long as I remember which way to go around the pegs at the cross, I'll be okay.  Once nice thing about having a sectional warp beam is I only have to do 48 threads at a time.  Each section gets wound on separately, so I think I'll be okay with this!  I must say, warping a rigid heddle loom is much faster and easier I think. :-)
We are, after 24 years, finally getting the driveway graveled!!  This year is mainly filling in the big puddle/pond we have to drive through every spring.  No more having to drive through water!  Yay!!  Even though we are supposed to have a warmer and drier winter than last (thank heavens!) I still think we will have enough snow that in the spring there will be standing water, at least for a little while.  But, not in the driveway!  That is going to be so nice!! I will post a picture or two after it's all done.  If you follow me on Instagram @cashmereannie you can see in progress photos, plus about a thousand other pictures of happenings on the place. 

Jimmy, the boer/nubian buck I had went to a new home and batch of girls this week.  It is so much quieter and less smelly around here now that he's gone!  He was the noisiest buck I've ever had.  He makes some pretty strange sounds when in rut. :-)  He is also a very manageable guy.  Even in full rut, with a doe in season, he let me put his collar and leash on, lead him through the pen, down the driveway, and he jumped right in the back of the truck to eat his little grain treat I had for him.  Then when we got to the veterinary to get his blood drawn, he was patiently standing around waiting for over a half hour without making a fuss, and stood perfectly still while the needle poked into his neck and the blood was extracted.  Then when we got to his new place, he jumped out and walked beside the new owner to his new pen, taking in everything calmly and curiously.  Too bad I couldn't use him around here anymore, there aren't too many bucks that calm and easy going out there!  None of my cashmere boys have been, anyway.

I am now the president of our local weavers and spinners guild for next year!  This could be interesting.  I have a really good vice-president, so between her and I it should be a fun year.  The rest of the board is very competent, too, so I will have an easy job, I think.

Well, that's it for this session.  Hope you are having a great autumn and winter won't be too hard on you, wherever you are.  I am seeing the east is supposed to have a bad winter this year, so I hope it isn't overwhelming to anyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bye, Bye Facebook

I feel so good right now!  I've been thinking about leaving facebook for a while now, and today my account got hacked, which was the last straw, so I deleted my accounts.  I'm on Instagram @cashmereannie, I have my website, email, phone/text if anyone wants to contact me.  Now I won't be wasting so much useless time, and will be more productive on what really needs doing around here!  I might even start posting on my Youtube channel and make some useful content on there. :-)  I think I might get serious on Pinterest, too. We'll see.  Anyway, Bye, Bye Facebook!

Autumn is here!

Autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!  The fall colors are pretty, the bugs are disappearing, the temps have cooled off, it's a great time of the year.

                                              Pretty sunsets, which happen all year, actually.
               The last of the flowers in bloom, they make me happy every time I walk by here.
 The onion harvest this year.  Not a bad one at all.  I made an onion pie last night and it was quite tasty!
 And most exciting, I got a floor loom!  A four-shaft older Leclerc Nilus.  I am having fun exploring all the possibilities with it.  This is my first sample.  I got the loom at an estate sale, along with a rather substantial stash of yarn to go with it, plus some other fiber related items and books.  Quite a haul!  The loom hadn't been used in quite a few years, the woman had been dead for a good two years, and she hadn't been able to use it for a while before she died.  It needed a good cleaning, and it was ready to go.  In the yarn stash I found some already chained warps, so I decided to start with one of those, and use the tie-up she had on the treadles as is.  Since I don't know what I'm doing on this yet, I decided that would be a good way to go.  Turns out it was set up as a twill, and I really didn't warp the loom right.  It has a sectional beam, and I didn't know that was done differently than a regular beam, so I didn't get enough of the threads on there to begin with.  I was wondering why there were left over bundles, now I know. :-)  But, by the time I figured that out, I was too far along to unwarp and start over, so I went with it.  It's okay, but I know what to do a bit better for next time.  It's a 15 yard warp, so I have lots of sampling to do with it yet!  I think I will re-tie the treadles in a different way and see what happens.  So much to learn!
This is from a person who said not too long ago, "I will never take up weaving, it doesn't interest me at all, the warping is way too hard".  Ha!  Never say never.  It was strange, I went over to a friend's house that has a floor loom and was helping her tie up her treadles and get it ready for weaving, and the fear seemed to melt away and everything became an interesting challenge to figure out and do.  So, here I am, with both a rigid heddle loom and a floor loom.  Once I get a studio so I have room for everything, I will probably get a table loom, too!  I'm going deep down the rabbit hole with this!  Our little 765 square foot house has been taken over by my fiber things.  We don't have a living room anymore, the looms have claimed that.  Every room is half full of fiber related things.  I think the kitchen is the only room that doesn't have something related to fiber in it at all times.  I do wash fleeces and dye yarn in there, though.  I just get everything cleaned out and up before I do any cooking of food.  Anyway, I really, really need a fiber studio so I can everything in one place and we can have the house back! 

It's looking like we are finally, after 24 years of living up here, going to get the puddle/pond in the driveway filled in and the driveway graveled!!!!  No more lake to drive through in the spring!  It won't be so dusty, either.  The dirt around here turns to talcum powder when it's dry, so everything is thickly coated in dust.  It turns to slime when it's wet, too.  Gravel is way overdue!   The one new neighbor is willing to pitch in to get it done, so away we go.  Before this, nobody else wanted to spend the money to get it fixed, even though all our lives would be much better and easier with it done.  Now finally someone besides us is willing to do it.

Anyway, happy fall to everyone! 

Monday, August 27, 2018

A little rain!

We finally got a little rain overnight!  1/4 of an inch.  It was quite chilly today, one can tell summer is on it's way out.  The air is clean today.  No smoke here for the first time in weeks.  I have the wood stove going.  The heat from it feels good.  It was nice today to be outside with no yellow jackets around!

 A week ago last Saturday, I got stung right in the inner wrist on my blood vein by a yellow jacket.  The venom got main-lined into my bloodstream and I had an interesting reaction to it.  I was in the middle of doing chores, luckily I had finished with most and only had the dairy goats to feed and milk, and the eggs to gather.  After a couple of minutes, I started itching and burning like mad.  I went in the house and looked in the mirror and saw I was getting hives all over me!  I put some of my magic lotion on that, and it took care of the burning and itching.  Then I decided to soak my wrist in some Epsom salts to see if that would draw out the venom a bit.  As I was doing that, I all of a sudden got quite dizzy, the world started to fade around the edges.  I barely made it to the recliner, where I kicked back and either passed out or fell asleep for a bit.  I had a weird whooshing/ringing in my ears, too.  I sent up a prayer for the healing angels to come down and remove the toxin from me.  I checked in with muscle testing to see if I was dying.  It said I wasn't, that I would be better and able to milk the goats at the proper time, and that I would be fine by the time John got home.  Since I wasn't going to die, I decided to just deep dive into the experience and see what happened.  It was an interesting experience, for sure.  When I came to, I felt good enough to go milk, etc.  By the time John got home at 11 pm, I was feeling pretty much back to normal, except for my forearm was very swollen and itching like mad.  The hives were completely gone, couldn't even tell I had had them.  I think I was "out of it" for about 15 to 20 minutes.  The next day my arm was still really swollen, it looked deformed.  By Tuesday, it was back to normal and everything is good again.  I've been stung twice more since then with no reaction at all.  Those yellow jackets are mean little buggers!   All the traps, ammonia water, etc, is finally starting to noticeably thin out their numbers.  They still are plentiful around any water source, but are gradually getting out of the garden area.  The hum isn't nearly as loud as it was a month ago.  I also got stung by a Bald Faced hornet on the back of my neck.  Except for the initial sting, that got no reaction at all.  Not even very painful.  Seems every year we get some kind of pest/plague around here.  Last year it was rodents, this year buzzing beasts.  Deer have been plentiful in past years.  Stink bugs.  Always something.  At least it's only one kind at a time! 

The hay shed is torn down and the new section put up.  It looks so much better.  We have decided to add on one more section again for the ATV and trailers that go with it.  The hay bales need a bit longer space to fit in, so one end won't be out in the weather. 

The Hipcamp thing went well this year.  I think we are done for the year now.  We don't have any more bookings, and it's getting late enough in the year, that I doubt anyone will come now.  It was fun meeting all of them and visiting with them a bit.  All were very nice, and left clean campsites.  The extra income came in very handy, too!  And, if there hadn't been yet another fire in Glacier Park that closed down the west side, we might have had one or two more campers.  Oh well.  Hope next year there aren't any fires anywhere!

Well, back to needle felting 12 little bears for an order I got.  I'm almost done with the 4th one, so I will finish that tonight, and work again on them tomorrow.         

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Some pictures

The poles from the roof of the hay shed.  Going to make some great firewood!

 Almost done tearing things down.  As you can see, things are leaning a bit.  So much clean up to do!  Out of destruction comes a new, nicer set-up.  It just takes a lot of work to get there!
 The porch garden this year.  Flowers are so cheerful.

A couple of the garden beds.  The cabbage is doing well this year!

 The last and my favorite, tree lily to bloom this year.  I love this yellow color!

So Smokey

This seems to be the norm for summers now.  About August we get forest fires going and then get smoked out.  Seems the whole West is on fire again this year.  I really feel for everyone being burned out.  I am so glad we did the major thinning around here that we did.  I feel a bit safer now.   

Despite the heat and dryness, the garden is doing well.  Zucchini is producing quite a lot, after waiting so long for the first one to grow, they are coming on strong now!  We will be getting a second crop of peas this fall.  Did you know that if you don't pull up the pea plants after the first harvest, they will produce more again in about a month or so after the first crop?  Most of the plant dies off, but there is a little new growth that comes on and produces a new crop of peas.  Not the prettiest plants in the garden, but they have food on them!

The yellow jackets are still around in droves.  We found a nest when we tore down the hay shed that was quite large.  Got rid of that, but it didn't seem to make much of a dent.  Then I put out water with ammonia in it, that kills some. I put that up off the ground so the toads don't get into it.   I have 6 of those yellow traps set out, those are catching a lot, but there still are thousands.  I don't know where the nests are, but man, they keep coming!  The hornets have thinned way down.  There was a large nest way up in an Aspen tree down by the hipcamp site that we got rid of.  That seemed to help a lot.  There are still a few, but not nearly as many. 

The major project for this year is tearing down the hay shed that is rotting away.  Every post is rotted, so the whole thing won't survive another winter.  We tore down the majority of it, up to the combing room.  We re-enforced that and kept it up, but everything else came down.  Now I am going to add a smaller addition to house the straw and the one big bale of hay I get at a time these days.   It's amazing how much stuff accumulates around here under roofs.  John made a dump run yesterday with all the stuff that wasn't needed, and was pretty much just junk that was stored in the shed.  Lots of wasted space.  I built it back when I was getting small bales of hay, 780 a year.  Now that I'm getting the big bales, I don't need all that room.  Plus the dehairing room was in there when I had the machine, too.  Now, I'm just adding a 10 foot by 18 foot addition onto the combing room to keep the straw dry, and to hold the bale of hay.  It should work good.  Then we will have a lot more parking room in the driveway, too.  Room for more snow.  Things get a bit tight around here when we have winters with a lot of snow.  I'll post pictures soon of all the changes. 

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!