Saturday, February 18, 2017

Not so bad

Well, the storm wasn't nearly as bad as predicted, although we got quite a bit.  We didn't get snowed in, although it was close.  The road is a very narrow one lane with no turnouts for the entire length, so it's interesting traveling it.  Had quite a time the other day coming home, when the neighbor ended up coming down at the same time as I was going up.  Trying to get around each other, we both ended up stuck, I had to pull her out twice.  I ended up putting on one chain on the front tire to get a grip on the ice, and then things got way better.  I did end up backing up for over half a mile till I got to a spot that wasn't quite as narrow with less snow than the rest of the road.  She barely got around me, and I barely got out of that snow bank. but I did and made it home finally.  This weekend we are going to all get together and widen the road and make some turnouts.  At least that's the plan.  We have had a major warm up and about half the snow has melted, so it should make it easier to widen the road.  It rained on top of the snow, so now the road is an ice skating rink on a hill.  Glad we have the truck and chains!  I haven't been out since Wednesday, and won't be going anywhere till Tuesday.

I'm back to combing goats.  Four more are done now.  They aren't all shedding yet, so I'm out there plucking at their sides as they walk by checking to see who's ready to be combed.  That isn't going over too well with most of them. :-)

I'm crocheting a baby blanket for a great-nephew who is due to arrive into the world in March.  I haven't done much crocheting lately.  Mostly needle felting is all I've been doing since last fall.  I did make a cowl and a scarf, but that's it.  I haven't spun anything for a long time!  Time to get back to that pretty soon.  So many things to do....

Saturday, February 4, 2017

It keeps snowing...

I think we could end up snowed in by Monday evening.  We are pretty close to being there now.  John drove the truck today to work so he could make it home.  The neighbor isn't keeping up with the plowing so there was 7 inches of new snow to go through.  The forecast is for up to 2 feet of snow by Monday night!  We will be snowed in then.  Good thing John has Monday and Tuesday off.
 We are seriously running out of room to put the snow up here in our part of the driveway.  It's getting pretty small.  I am filling in around the loop at the bottom of our hill now.  I'll leave just enough room to get to the canopy holder for the pickup so I can take that off when I get hay, and the rest will end up filled in.  A snowblower is really what we need.  Seriously what we need.

I have 6 goats combed now.  I've stopped for a few days now, waiting for it to quit snowing and get back up into the 20s.  So far the cashmere is looking really nice this year.  No dandruff, lice or anything besides some hay bits.

   This is Shadow after and before combing.  She shrank quite a bit! :-)  Beautiful soft fleece.  With the combing instead of shearing, they still have their guard hair to keep them warm, so they are all doing fine without their cashmere.  I think once it starts letting loose, it doesn't give them the warmth it did when it was still growing and attached to their skin, so it feels good to them to get it off.
  Well, that's it for now.  Back to shoveling trails and plowing. :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New things!

 Our new bathroom!  After having carpet in there forever, the new floor is rather cold.  I am getting, or maybe making a rug for in front of the toilet.  I like the floor, though.  It looks pretty nice compared to what used to be in there.  The new vanity is really nice.  The first couple of days I kept thinking I was in a hotel when using it, it's so much nicer than the funky homemade one we've had up until now.  :-)  We've decided to do the kitchen floor in the same stuff, we like it so well.  It should look nice with our rustic wood cabinets and the wood cookstove.
 This is a needle felted horse I made for a friend of mine.  It's in the likeness of her horse "Sly Enterprise" her reining horse.  It's a pretty close resemblance.  I couldn't match the colors exactly, but it's all pretty close. I got the marking on her forehead right, so that counts. :-)

I'm glad it's warmed up into the 20's during the day and the teens at night.  That arctic air was just too much.  We didn't get as cold as other places around here.  We seem to be at the right elevation and in our little bowl that keeps us warmer than down lower, or up by Marion.  The coldest we got was around -12, and up by Marion it was down to -38!  The Valley got colder, too.  Last week when the valley was in an inversion for days and all cloudy and cold, we were basking in the sun and above freezing temperatures.  Life is good! :-)

I'm going slowly on the combing of the goats.  I don't like to take off their cashmere when it's cold, but they are letting loose of it, so I must.  They still have their guard hairs and some of the cashmere.  The one I've done so far is doing just fine and she's just a kid still.  For such a little goat, she had a lot of cashmere to give me!  It's got a nice fine crimp, too.  I'm glad I kept her!

Boy, the country sure is having some wild weather!  The tornadoes in the south, the warmer temps in the north, it's very interesting.  My prayers go out to the people affected by the tornadoes.  The animals, too.

Stay safe everyone!

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!