Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter, or Not

   Are we all enjoying winter yet?  We've had warm, spring-like weather, the East is buried in snow and cold.  We did get just short of 2 inches of snow last night.  Today the sun is out with a few clouds.  There is a breeze, too.  Now it's more like a normal winter, at least for a few days.  The apple trees are starting to bud out, and there is a robin hanging around up here already!  
  I actually raked up the yard and burned the tall grass out of the iris bed on Thursday.  That is the earliest I've ever done that.  Now it's supposed to get into the single digits tonight, so I am really hoping the apple trees don't die.  At least the snow is covering the tender tiny spinach plants and flowers that are starting to come up.  
  I've got about half the goats combed, I hope the combed ones can stay warm enough tonight and over the next few days.  I'll be feeding extra hay to help keep them warm.  The act of digesting warms them up.  

  I've been driving up our road in 2 wheel drive, unheard of this time of year!  Usually it's either an ice skating rink, or almost blocked with snow.  I must admit, I've been enjoying it, I haven't had to shovel any snow for over a month, and there is little to no ice to break on all the water troughs and buckets for the animals.  

  The Akbash pups are growing up fast.  They are pretty tall already.  Dottie is still ruling the roost around here.  Now that the snow is mostly gone, she is venturing out far and wide if I'm not constantly watching her.  She's caught a mouse or two, along with Reggie the cat.  I'm thinking they are going to make a good rodent catching team this summer.  

  Today I am dyeinig two skeins of yarn.  One a solid blue, and the other a variegated blue, yellow and green.  I'm going to make me a nice hat out of them.  The cashmere is from Emma, who is getting up there in age and her fiber isn't quite in the micron range of true cashmere anymore.  Since this is probably the last fleece I get from her, I decided to make something for me.  It's still soft, and has incredible style, it's just a hair coarser than it should be for true cashmere.  (no pun intended)  The variegated one is mixed with silk.  A little over four ounces with both skeins, so that should make a nice hat.  

  I am out of last year's cashmere now.  At least the stuff I wanted to sell.  I saved the short stuff and coarser fiber to do some needle felting with.  I think I'll make some animals with it.   Someday I want to get a needle felting machine and make some vests and things with it.  

  Well, I'm out to trim the two dairy girl's hooves now.   I hope everyone that is in the cold regions stays warm, and everyone else enjoys the mild weather where you are!  Have a wonderful day!   


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Combing, dyeing and puppies

 Here are my favorite tools for combing my goats.  The brush has a nifty button that pushes the fiber to the end of the teeth, and the comb gets most of the cashmere off the goat pretty easily.  I use the comb first, then the brush to go over the goat a final time after I'm done combing.  I've tried lots of different combs over the years, and these two work the best.  I just got the brush the other day. I had one that didn't have the button on it, but the pups chewed the handle on that one pretty good, so I got this one at Petsmart.
 My dyeing didn't turn out quite like I was expecting, but they are pretty colors anyway.  I had a little too much water in the pan and the dyes kind of blended together.  I started out with a nice blue, peach, and canary yellow, and it's mostly green and tans.  Not what I was trying for, but it turned out good, maybe even better than my original plan. ☺
These are my three puppies, two Turkish Akbash livestock guardians, and a tiny Russell Terrier.  Cloud, Dottie and Rocky.  Cloud and Rocky are a brother sister team, and Dottie is my all around terrorist.  I've never had a dog this small before, always had medium to big ones.  She is the littlest creature on the place, and she's taken over the whole place.  She has a Great Dane attitude in that little body. She is fearless, even around the goats.  I got her to keep the rodents in check around here.  She is best buds with the cat, too.  Maybe they will team up and get the rats, too!  That's what I'm hoping for.   All three were born in October, 10 days apart.  The big pups are already barking at deer  and people that come around.  I think they will be great guardians of the goats.  They don't try to herd the goats, either.  Now I am set for dogs for the next 8 to 10 years!
  Our winter has been fairly mild, over all.  We've had a few cold snaps, but it's been above normal for a while now.  It's rainy today, and supposed to be for the rest of the week.  Last week we were a good 10° warmer than down in the valley, and sunny, too.  They were in a foggy inversion and we were in the sun.  It was nice!  I got a lot of the goats combed then.  I think I'm up to 19 that are done now.  There are 28 left to do.  They seem to be shedding earlier this year.  I've always had a few that started early, but this year everyone is.  Guess that means I'll get it all done and processed earlier, finally! There is less guard hair in it when it's combed out this early, too. That will give me time to get some other projects done around here that have been put off for too long.  Hope I get some helpxers here, especially late summer into fall.

  That's all the news for now.  More as it happens....