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!  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Horse!!


My new horse, Polly!  A friend gave her to me, along with a good deal on enough hay to feed her for a year.  She's 15 years old and hasn't been ridden in about 6 years, other than just bareback with a halter.  So I need to get her and me in shape slowly.  I haven't really ridden in about 8 years either, just little jaunts here and there on friend's horses in arenas and maybe a half mile ride up in this area.  Could be interesting!  She has a sweet personality, even with not knowing me and being in a strange place and no other horses around.  She hasn't been by herself before.  The goats really scared her at first.  It took over an hour before she was really calm around them.  Since she just got here Saturday mid-day, she isn't totally adjusted to life here yet.  Today she was much more relaxed than yesterday, though.
Polly is nice and short, too, so I won't have to lay on her neck when going through the forest around here. :-)

On a cashmere note, I got my fiber back from Zielingers mill last month, and it was all noiled and pilled and unfit for spinning. 5 lbs of it!  Luckily it needle felts really well, so I will be doing a lot of that.  I like felting with that better than the wool I've been using, it's much smoother, and way softer!  I can get better detail with it, too.  I can't really get any refund or anything from the mill since they say on their website that "cashmere and musk ox may noil and pill when going through the dehairing machine".  Although I had asked for the different batches I sent in to be put back in the bags they came in and to save those bags.  They didn't do that, they put it in different bags, and it wasn't the same batches exactly.  They did send my bags back, plus, they sent me a whole bunch of torn useless bags from other people back for some reason.  So I paid postage on garbage I didn't want or need.  Obviously they don't want my business ever again, which they wouldn't get anyway.  Funny thing is, I used them before I got my dehairing machine and they did a good job, either that or I didn't know any better. It was long enough ago that I don't remember exactly what the fiber looked like when I got it back.  Lesson learned.  At least I sold my very best fleeces raw, so it wasn't a total loss.  Everything happens for a reason, so I must be meant to use cashmere in my needle felting now, and focus on that more than spinning yarn and crocheting.  I am enjoying doing that more than spinning and crocheting right now, so it's all good.

The days sure are getting shorter now.  The fall colors are pretty on our road.  We have lots of Mountain Maples which are nice and reddish gold, and the aspens are mostly gold now, too.  I thank the Universe every day for planting me here.

The great "forest thinning project" is coming to a close.  One more day of cutting down trees, then when open burning season starts, lots of slash pile burning and then it's done.  The whole lower half of our place will be nice and open and the fire danger way down since there won't be much to burn if a forest fire comes through.  We've had three close calls over the years up here, so now we are finally mostly prepared for a fire.  I don't think we would lose any buildings, at least not the main ones.  It would still be pretty darn scary, but we'd survive.

The garden is still producing a little food for us.  We've had a couple of light frosts, but we had covered the green beans, so they survived and there is one more good harvest in those.  It's warm again now, so we should get a good amount of produce still.  I noticed a couple of zucchini plants even have fresh growth!  John's greenhouse is full of tomatoes.  Tons of them.

Well, that's it for now.  Hope you are enjoying autumn!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RIP Dani

 Today my faithful, loyal companion of 16 years died. She was 17 years, 3 months old.  She had a good long life, covering lots of miles riding with me back when I had my horse.  She was very protective of me, even growling at my husband a few times!  She was great at herding chickens and turkeys, baby goats, too.  But, she was afraid of the adult goats.  Dani is the one on the left in the picture.  Nellie, the great pyr is 10 now, so she won't be around for too many more years.  This picture is a few years old.
  The picture below is a large mountain lion that came around for a day or so, then has moved on.  It seems they come around about once a month.  We must be on their rotation of places to get close to.  Thankfully the dogs are keeping it on the outside of the fence.  The cover to my game camera wasn't closed all the way it seems, so the picture is a bit like looking through a porthole.
We are making progress on the thinning project.  It's down to piling all the branches and putting the logs in piles to be cut up later.  Then once fall comes and open burning season begins, we will burn all the piles and get it totally cleaned up.  It looks so much better out there!  I've wanted to be able to walk anywhere on our property without having to duck, go under trees, or around thickets since we bought the place, and it's finally happening, 22 years later.  There will be more grass and brush for the goats to eat, too.
  Well, that's all for now...

Friday, August 5, 2016

Empty spot in the yard

Today I got done processing the meat chickens for this year.  24 all together, with 10 going to friends.  Now it's rather empty out in the yard, there aren't any white chickens running around being chickens.  These birds got the best life, plenty to eat, free ranging all over the yard and goat pens, they were healthy birds!  These didn't have any leg problems, they were moving around just fine up till the minute I caught them.  They could still run/waddle even!  Some people call them "frankenchickens", but I think they just don't feed them right and let them eat too much and get too weak to move.  If fed right, they act like a regular chicken, eating bugs and greens and walking all over the place.  They sure taste good!  We will be doing this again next year for sure.

I hauled and stacked 190 small square bales of hay, 90 in the dairy barn and the rest in the cashmere shed.  The stuff in the cashmere shed is my "emergency" stash in case I can't get down the mountain this winter when I run out of the big bales I'm getting now.  I get one every week or so.

This summer has been pretty good weather-wise so far.  Not too hot, some rain and cool enough to have the wood stove going Wednesday!  We're in a warm couple of days now, but it is supposed to be cool again next week.

The garden is doing really well.  There are enough edible pod peas to enable us to have peas every day all winter if we wanted.  I think John may have planted too many!  His greenhouse looks like a jungle, too.  The tomato plants are touching the ceiling in there.  There is a good amount of onions and carrots, and it looks like there will be a decent crop of green beans.  Not a super germination rate on them, but it's looking like enough to do something with.  Cabbages are growing well.  I'll have lots of cultured veggies this fall and winter.

Tomorrow I am going up to Eureka for the fiber festival and quilt show that is happening up there this weekend.  It's a small festival, but I like going, it's in a nice venue and the people are good that run it.  There are hundreds of quilts that line main street which looks pretty cool.  I'll be seeing a friend I haven't seen in three years, too, so it's going to be a great day!

Have a good week-end!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hay time

It's that time of year again.  Yesterday I hauled 90 bales of hay and stacked them in the dairy barn by myself.  Where are helpxers when you need them? :-)  Now the dairy goats are set for the year on hay.  This should last them an entire year.  I am getting another load of 90 next week for the cashmeres to have as an emergency stash in case the weather is bad when I need to go get a big square bale for them.  I think I'm done with little bales, at least with the main crew.  It is too much work to stack them anymore.  I am pretty sore today, tomorrow will probably be a bit worse.  Little squares are too labor intensive.  Sometimes I wish I had a tractor that was big enough to move the big bales and stack them, but it's only use would be for that, we live on too steep of a hill to be able to use it anywhere else.  So that would be a big waste of money to have a tractor for only one use.   I will just haul them one at a time and use that one up, then go get another one.  I go to town once or twice a week anyway, might as well haul home a bale of hay at the same time.
  We are having some really nice summer weather this year.  Not too hot, rain when needed, at least so far.  Who knows what August will bring.
  The goat kids are all growing and doing well.  Their cashmere is starting to come in pretty good.  Some of the adults are getting a good coat already, they are pretty warm on the sunny days that heat up.  Haven't got any good pictures of anything on the game cameras lately, just deer and the goats.
   We've started butchering the meat chickens.  We have to wait till the bees go to bed before we can do them.  So just before dark, we are out there.  Can't do too many at a time that way, but we don't have anyplace to do them inside out of the bee zone.  That is on the list of projects, building a butchering room that is bee proof.  The meat chickens taste so good, I like them much better than the dual purpose egg laying/meat breeds.  These are easy to raise, and if they aren't over fed, don't have leg problems.  These are still running around and catching bugs and following me every time I go out.  I only feed them a lot the last week so they have a final growth spurt to get big enough to butcher.  I keep reading about how they only take three steps and lay down, but mine aren't doing that.  They are very active.

I've got my store on Square all up and going.  I have everything listed on there now, as it's easier to buy from there.  It says I only ship in the USA, but I'll ship internationally if you email me and tell me you'd like something.  PayPal is the best method to pay with if that is the case. Click here to see  My new Store 

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool in this heat wave!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Good Heavens!

What a wild time we are in!  People shooting people left and right, the weather has gone wild almost everywhere, everything is shifting.

I've been without internet service for over a week.  It's back on now, obviously, but it was interesting not having it for a while.  I do have my smartphone, so I could still check emails anyway.  There was a post on Facebook asking if one could live for 90 days completely unplugged from technology if you got $3 million at the end of it.  I was thinking that would be easy, but after this, it wouldn't be so easy, but I could do it since I wouldn't have to worry about my finances afterwards.  It's funny, I grew up without any of this, it hadn't even been invented till after I was way out of school, but now it's so ingrained in our collective lifestyle, that it's hard to imagine life without it.  Probably impossible for some. What would happen if the country's power grid ever goes down and people couldn't communicate easily?  Total complete meltdown, that's what.  With all the crazy things happening in the world now, it's something to think about a little.

My goat renting adventure didn't turn out all that well.  Started out okay, but ended on a somewhat bad note.  I took 16 goats over to a newly bought, overgrown farm to eat down the weeds and grass for the new owners.  The goats were doing okay with it, although they weren't eating it down as fast as the owner thought it should happen, so after 14 days she ended the contract.  Kind of broke the contract actually, but I let that go since I was stressed out not having the goats here anyway.  The day I went over to check on them after she had ended the contract there were a couple of women there with horses and a big trailer.  They offered to take my goats home for me.  Since it had taken two trips to get the goats over there in the back of the truck, I thought it would be nice to have them all home at once.  Not a good idea it turns out.  Some of the goats allowed themselves to be caught and trailered, but there there was one who jumped through the fence and out into the wetlands that are between the farm and the lake.  She was a wild goat and wouldn't let anyone within 50 feet of her after that.  So I left 4 other goats there in hopes that she would calm down and let herself be caught again.  Didn't happen.  I didn't think there were any predators in that area since there are people and farms all over the place and it's pretty open grass and farm fields.  Lo and behold there is actually a mountain lion that hangs out in that area, along with a couple of coyotes!  Cherokee was seen twice after she escaped, then last Saturday morning, early, I had the biggest feeling of dread and anxiety over the goats over there.  After two hours it went away suddenly.  I'm pretty sure that was when she got killed by the coyotes.  Nobody has seen her since.  The area is closed to humans till the 15th for the birds and such to nest in peace.  It's a federal wildlife refuge.  I think I will go over there after then to walk around and see if I can find her remains.  Anyway, I went over on Monday the 4th, and spent 4 1/2 hours with the 4 remaining goats trying to catch them and take them home.  The first two hours were spent just hanging out with them and letting them rest, they were stressed from being there by themselves and probably seeing the coyotes every night on the other side of the fence.   They wouldn't let me catch them, they would come up and stretch way out to get the grain out of my hand, but not close enough to actually get a hold of them.  Misty finally laid down and fell asleep and I snuck up on her and slowly grabbed her horns and caught her, put her in the back of the truck and got more serious about catching the other three.  Finally got a hold of Elsie's back leg and got her, then Snowflake and Zindy Lou were all wound up being only two goats.  They both squeezed under the corral gate, but I got Zindy's back leg just as she was almost all the way through.  Finally got a hold of her collar and got the lead on her, then opened the gate so Snowflake would come back through.  She stuck close to Zindy Lou and I led them both into a section of the barn that can be closed, and tied up Zindy in the back corner, Snowflake went over by her, I closed the gate, and walked up to Snowflake and put a lead on her.  Finally got them all in the truck and back home.  Never to leave here again.  No more trying to make some extra money by taking goats off the place to do it.  Both times it hasn't ended well and I lose a goat or two.  From now on, only goats that are sold or headed for the freezer will be leaving.  Of course the goat I lost was the prettiest one of the yearlings I had, and the only one I kept.   I was looking forward to having lots of babies out of her.  She had nice cashmere in an oatmeal color, too.  Darn.  No more renting out goats.  These guys aren't tame enough for that.  A few of them are, but the majority aren't, so it's not worth it.  I don't like having my goats off our property where I can't see them every day.  It was a 32 mile one way trip to the farm, so it was a bit far to just hop over there and check on them every day.  I did go quite often, though.  I think I spent almost as much in gas money as I got paid for renting them.  Not a good deal at all.  It was nice not having to feed them hay here, though.

We are having a cool rainy spell for a few days.  I am enjoying it!  I have even had the wood stove going most every night.  Kind of strange having the wood stove going in July, but last year I had the stove going at least overnight one night every month of the year.  Even in August!

I had fun at the MAWS (Montana Association of Weavers and Spinners) conference on Flathead Lake a couple weeks ago.  I took a class on making "bubble crepe yarn"  with Sarah Anderson.  It was harder to do than it looked, but it turned out okay and looks pretty cool.  She is a good teacher, if you ever get a chance to take a class from her, do so, it'll be fun.  I was also a vendor and a volunteer there, so I was somewhat busy, and not very good at any of it.  I wasn't at the booth much, so I didn't sell all that much, and I wasn't able to volunteer as much as I thought I'd be able to, so that didn't work out too well.  Next time I'll only do one or the other, but not all.  It was fun being around a 100 or so like minded people for a weekend.  That was great!  Robyn Spady gave the keynote speech on "Follow Your Path".  That struck a cord with me since my path has taken some unexpected twists and turns lately.  I'm still on it, though, just headed in a slightly different direction that I thought I would be taking.  It's all good.  Life is a journey and I'm having fun most of the time, taking the various twists and turns in stride and carrying on.  Cashmere is still my main focus, just a slightly different angle now than the last few years.  One door closes and a bigger, better door opens.  How fun!    

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mid-June? Already?!

Okay, so where did the time go?  All the kids are born now.  22 total.  There would have been 25, but I lost three of the bucklings, one at two days old, one at two weeks old, and the third at one week old.  Two I don't know why, and the third I did a necropsy on and he had a twisted large intestine.  I have no idea how he got that.  The other two were just laying there dead, not a hair out of place.  Sad, but at least they were all boys and not any of the girls.

Penelope had triplets!  These are her first kids, too.  She is a good mom and they are the cutest little things out there.  Penelope is half dairy and half cashmere.  She's the last kid Dottie, my first ever goat, had.  The kids are 3/4 cashmere.  They were born June first, I wasn't even here, I got home and here were three kids up and wobbling around, all healthy and mom doing fine.  I got home less than an hour after they were all born.
June is the one on the left, Uno is the cream one, and Pearl is the one in the back.  This was taken after they wore themselves out playing on that stump and two boulders just off camera.  
Celeste had her kid on Monday of this week (the 13th).  I missed that one, too!  I rented out 16 goats to a farm to eat down their weeds and grass on Sunday, and I was so concerned with going and checking on them, that I didn't really pay attention to Celeste that morning.  I wasn't expecting her to kid till yesterday, so when I got back home and there was a kid, I was surprised.  Celeste is 10 years old this year, so she's an experienced mom.  Everything was fine, and the little girl I named Celine.
I have a lot of goats for sale this year.  I want to get down to 10 does, and 10 wethers, plus the 3 bucks, and sell all the rest, including the two mature bucks that are related to everyone in some way.   I have 20 sold now, but I still have the bucks, one white and one black, and a couple of does with this year's kids on them.  I really like the kids the two bucks are throwing, but it's time they found a new batch of does that aren't related in any way to them.  They are 4 and 7 years old, lots of life left in them, they've had it pretty easy here.   I really don't want to take any to the auction, I don't like doing that. 
Next weekend I get to go to the Montana Association of Weavers and Spinners conference down on Flathead Lake.  The guild I'm in is hosting it this year, so I get a weekend away from here playing with like minded fibery folk! :-)  I'm also a vendor there, with my needle felted critters and some handspun cashmere yarn.  I am looking forward to it!  Hope the weather is half way warm, and not too much rain.  
Well, back to needle felting, I want to get a few more critters made before next week!     

Friday, April 29, 2016

A short video, Winnie

video
Here's Winnie jumping into my arms.  At least I hope this video came through!   Every few years I get one of the babies that likes to do this.  This is the first time one of the girls has done it, usually it's one of the boys.  Now Olive is thinking about doing it,and so is Ruthie.  I might end up with three this year!  They quit as they get bigger and it's uncomfortable for them to be held, which is a good thing!  A full grown goat jumping into my arms would be a bit too much. ☺

I've sold all raw cashmere that I wanted to, now I'm sorting through and bagging up the fleece I'll send off to a mill to be dehaired.  Now I almost wish I hadn't got rid of the machine!  I liked doing my own fleeces, and being able to do them separately.  But, it is such a slow process that that was all I did all summer and fall was dehair cashmere.  This year I will have time for other things, which around this place, there is never a shortage of projects to do!

It's time for my drastic downsizing of the herd again.  Every few years I do that, although this time I'm really downsizing.  Going from 70 some to under 30.  So if anyone wants any quality cashmere goats, get in touch with me.   There are pet quality to breeding stock, including two proven bucks, and one of the prettiest does I have.  I'm developing a smaller line of goats, so all the bigger ones are going.  There are some smaller ones going, too.  A lot of wethers, most of whom are friendly and will be nice pets as well as cashmere producers.  This is going to be hard for me to say good bye to all of them, they are my babies, but our land needs a rest, and so do I.  There are a couple of does with this years' babies on them that are for sale, too.

Rocky and Cloud, my two Turkish Akbash LGDs are wonderful!  Third time's the charm.  They have bonded with the goats, they are guarding well, they are gentle with the babies, and they don't bark unless something is actually on the property and near the goats.  Unlike Nellie, who barks at anything and everything she hears whether it's on our place or not.  I will never get another Great Pyrenees again.  I am sticking with the Akbash from here on out.  It's hard to believe, but Nellie is going to be 10 in July!  Time sure goes by fast.  I still remember the day I got her as a little white fluff ball.
  Dani is going to be 17 on may 17th.  She is really old, but still going strong.  I give her and Nellie both bone broth on their food, and that is really keeping them going.  That stuff is good for pets as well as humans.

Well, I hope this video works, it didn't in the preview, but I hope it does now.  If not, I'll try again.  With Mercury and 4 other planets in retrograde, who knows what will happen. ☺

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kid pics!

 Top photo, cashmere kids, second photo, Bud, one of Lily's kids (dairy).
 Not sure which kids this is, but I love the ear sticking straight up. :-)
 Not sure who this is, either, but there was something really good in that hole.
 Ruthie getting her bottle, 3 times a day now.  She comes running across the yard yelling as soon as she hears me calling her.
There will be more pics soon...

Friday, April 15, 2016

A bit of a break

The kidding is over except for 4 does that are spread out over the next two months!  There are 17 kids.  I've lost two, they just died for some reason.  I don't see anything at all wrong with them..The first one died at 2 days old.  He actually did look like something internal was going on. He didn't move quite right, and he looked a bit different.  The second one was 14 days old and seemingly in perfect health.  He was playing around and doing fine that morning when I fed.  Then I went to town, came home, went out to feed and here he was dead.  Not a hair out of place on him.  Thankfully both were boys and not the girls.  There were 12 boys and only 6 girls born this year, so far. The rest of them seem to be doing quite well.

 Arianna had triplets this year!  I'm having to give the little girl a bottle in the morning, she just isn't quite getting enough milk on her own, her two brothers push her away.  Arianna is not the best mom in the world, either. She's making plenty of milk, she just is mostly rejecting little Ruthie.  She won't let her drink by herself, and she only lets the boys drink for a few seconds.

I've gone and done it.  I joined Facebook again, after a few years of not being on there.  Now I'm trying to figure it all out, like how to join groups, etc.  I've clicked two of the "join group" buttons, but I'm still in the pending mode on them.  I have a business page, Pine Needle Farm Cashmeres and Mountainside Needle Felting, but I don't know if that page shows up on my personal page?  That's why I joined, to promote my business. If you'd like to friend me, that would be great.

We woke up to three inches of snow, but it melted fast once the sun shone this afternoon.  The kids weren't too happy this morning.   They are not big fans of snow, it's cold and wet. ☺ There were lots of baby yells out in the goat pens this morning.

Happy Spring....

Monday, April 4, 2016

A baby day!

This morning at 5:30 I was awoken by a bellowing doe.  Ming was having her kids!  She had twin boys, both are really nice looking, beautiful coloring and cute ears.  Just after that was done, Speckles, the dairy doe was having her twins.  So I ran across the yard to the dairy side of things and watched Speckles have her two.  Actually I got there just after she had the second one.  A boy and a girl. Both are huge and strong, healthy babies.  No wonder she looked so big with those two in there!

Luna had her boy around 2 pm, then Heather had a boy around 3 pm.  Just before feeding time, at 5 pm, Oksana had a boy.  Lots of boys this year!  So far there have been 15 kids born, but I lost one.  Little Oscar died sometime in the night two days after he was born.  I went out to feed in the morning and here he was laying in the spool house dead, with Olive standing beside him.  Bummer!  I don't know what he died from.  He hadn't seemed quite right from the beginning, but I couldn't see anything wrong, he just seemed "off" for some reason.  He must have had something internal going on.  At least Olive is alive and well.  She's a playful kid, more than the other ones, so far.  Out of the 14 live kids, there are 9 boys and 5 girls.  Shades of brown are the dominant color.  As soon as I get pictures of everyone, I'll post them on here.  Now there are 5 more does to go, and it will be all over for this year.  Two more are due this week, then one in late April, mid May and mid June.

Today was a long day!  I should sleep good tonight.  No one is due to kid till Wednesday, so I hope I get a good night's sleep tonight anyway.  I'll have pictures up soon....

Monday, March 28, 2016

Kidding season has started!

 Here's Frosty, he was born on March 13th to Mandy.  Then Wilma had Winnie on the 15th.  Both of them are doing really well.  They are so cute.
 Then Oreo had her twins, Oscar and Olive, on Easter Sunday.  They are doing well, considering that
it is snowy and cold out again.  They get chilled every time they come out of their little spool house to eat and move around.  Oreo is a good mom though, and is taking pretty good care of them.  I've had to give all three does some parsley to slow down the milk flow a bit.  Everyone is doing fine now.  Now the real fun begins.  there are 8 does all due in the same 3 days!  Hope they don't all go at the same time, I don't think I could handle that. :-)

I've started the annual spring clean up around here.  It's scary sometimes what shows up as the snow melts away.  It's all gone now except out in the woods in spots.  Well, we will probably wake up to a little bit of white in the morning.

I'm almost done with the combing already.  It's rather strange not having the dehairing machine now.  I'm going to have to send it off to be dehaired.  Not sure where yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Mills seem to come and go pretty often, so I don't even know for sure right now who is in business still.  I haven't been paying attention to that since I had the machine and was doing my own.  Guess I'll have to do some research on it now.

Well, that's it for now.  Happy Spring!  There will be more kid pictures as they come along.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Revised all that's left

I took the big multi-ounce skeins and re-skeined them into smaller more affordable ones.  Each one will make at least a nice pair of wrist warmers, or scarf, cowl, etc.   The purple skeins are still not showing their true color, which is a deep, vibrant, royal purple color.  I tried all different kinds of settings on my camera, and it still isn't showing the true color.   It's so pretty and the yarn is so soft!

I'm still waiting for Wilma to have her kid.  She's showing the signs of eminent kidding, tail is loose, ligaments are soft, udder is full, but nothing.  Tomorrow is John's birthday and I'll bet she will have it then.  He could care less about that, while I've been wanting a kid born on my birthday for 14 years.  The irony of it all.  It won't happen this year, either, none of the does are due anywhere near my birthday. Oh well, such is life....
 
Yesterday I strung out the hose to the water buckets and troughs for the first time.  No more bucket brigades!!  My arms and shoulders can get a rest now. ☺

The first week in April is going to be a busy one.  Most of the does are due to kid that week.  The dairy girls are, too.  Fresh milk again!!  Although since I leave the kids on their mom for 3 months, I won't be getting a lot, but any amount is good.  I usually get quite a bit the first couple of weeks (after the first week when it's still colostrum and her hormones are adjusting and the milk tastes awful) then once the kids start growing well, it drops down a lot.  Since I will have three that I'm milking this year, I'll have plenty of it anyway.  I have found a really good way to freeze the milk, too.  I use a vacuum sealer and those heavy bags for it, to seal the milk in.  I have to put the sealer up on an upside down jelly roll pan to get it higher than the bag, then put a half gallon of milk in the bag, (the amount I use to make kefir with) lay it on it's side, holding the opening up so it all doesn't spill out.  I put it in the sealer, gently push the air out, and seal it.  Then into the freezer.  The milk doesn't separate when thawed like it does when I freeze it in plastic jugs like distilled water jugs.  Plus the bags don't take up nearly as much room as the jugs do.  It's a good thing all the way around.

This coming Saturday is the Log Cabin Spin in over in Couer de' Alene (sp?) Idaho that I really, really want to go to.  But, with three does due this week sometime, two of them are due on the 18th, I doubt I'll get to go again this year.  Maybe next?  I've wanted to go for quite a few years now, and it seems there are always kids being born then.  Next year I am going to make triple sure there aren't any does bred for that time, and everything will be in order so I can finally go!   I'm not totally ruling it out for this year just yet, but it's a small chance that I'll get to go.

I hope everyone that has the daylight savings time set their clocks ahead last night.   I think I'll go take a short power nap to catch up on that lost hour ☺..........  


Thursday, March 3, 2016

These are all that's left.

These are the last remaining skeins of PNF Cashmeres hand spun yarn for this last harvest.  Each skein will make anything from a pair of wrist cuffs, to a scarf or cowl.  The two little skeins will each easily make a pair of wrist cuffs.  I'll list the prices and who's fleece they are:
The dark colored skein is from Mandy, it is so soft,  there are 2.3 oz and 214 yards. $96  A nice luxurious scarf or cowl can be made from it.  Mandy is the sweetest goat towards people, but she is quite ornery to other goats!
The off-white skein on top is from Wilma, it has 1.7 oz 160 yards and is $71.  A scarf can be made out of this skein.  Wilma is my little misfit goat.  She is small, and doesn't seem to be friends with anyone in the herd. She is going to have a baby any day, so at least she will have company now.
Below Wilma's is Misty, it's 2.4 oz and 190 yards for $100.  Misty is just one of the crowd it seems.  She doesn't stand out and tries to get along with everyone, although she can be pushy when she wants to.
The skein at an angle to the side of the little skeins is Fiddle at 2 oz 216 yards for $84.  This is Fiddle's kid fleece.  He's a buck, so the only fleece I'll ever get to use off him is this one, he's a mature boy now and stinks to high heaven.  I'll never be able to use another fleece off him.  Hopefully he will throw nice kids with his kind of fleece.  It's soft!  The kids being born this year are his first.  
The little skein on top is Sara at 1.1 oz and 89 yards for $46.  Sara is a dainty goat, and Misty's mom.  She is one of the few true white goats that I have.  Wrist cuffs can easily be made from this skein.  Oh so soft and comfortable!
Cherry and Chocolate are twins, this is their kid fleece, it's really soft!  .7oz and 79 yards for $29,  These two are the biggest pains at feeding time.  They have to be right there in the wheelbarrow as I'm trying to throw the hay out to everyone.  They are cute!
Heather has the biggest skein coming in at 3.4 oz and 274 yards for $142.  She is close to the top of the pecking order in the herd, and if you happened to see Santa's in the Barn on TV this  past holiday season, the goats used were mine.  Heather was the one who looked at the camera when the one Santa said they were ornery. :-)  She can be very pushy at times.  She's nice to people though. Just think of the generous, luxurious scarf you could make out of this, and it's so soft, you'll never want to take it off!
  The prices might seem high, but if you stop to consider the cost of feeding them for a year, the time it takes to care for them every day, plus combing the cashmere off, washing, dehairing and spinning it, this is a bargain!  I do love my goats and I feel so blessed to have the job that I do!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February, Already?

So, wasn't Christmas just last week?  Seriously, this year is already going by faster than last.

I'm getting more cashmere off the goats.  I'm about a third of the way through.  We had a cold spell for a week or so and now it's back up in the 40's.  The snow is melting.  The road is getting a little icy, but not bad yet.  It's nice and wide this year for a change.  Not much snow, and it's being plowed a little better than the last couple of years.  We have a nice teamwork effort between the neighbors to keep the road in good shape, and it's working pretty good.

I'm needle felting, spinning and crocheting quite a bit now.  The cashmere coming off the goats is looking really nice this year.  Not sure if that is because of what they've been eating over the last year, the weather, or what, but it's lookin' good!  But, since I don't have the machine anymore, I'll be sending it off to one of the mills to get dehaired.  I won't have the individual fleeces this year.  I'll be like everyone else and combining the fleeces.  I'll match up the colors as close as I can, and also the style of the fleece.  I'll keep family lines together, since most of the time, their fleeces are quite similar.

I am rather bummed.  I had planned on going to the Log Cabin Spin in the week-end of March 19th, but now it's looking like that probably isn't going to happen.  When I was combing Miss Kitty, I got to thinking about when she was due to kid.  She wasn't supposed to be bred this time, but the bucks got out and got 4 does, two of which took.  So she is due that week-end!  So is Mandy, who I wasn't wanting to breed anymore at all.  So unless they surprise me and have the kids a few days early, which looking at their records hasn't happened, I won't be going.  I was really looking forward to that!  Everyone send out positive thoughts for them to kid a bit early please! :-)  I really really need a change of scenery for a week-end and to be with other spinners sitting around chatting and spinning would be a wonderful change of scenery indeed!

The other day I was outside with the goats and had my phone with me so I could take some pictures and a video or two.  I lucked out and got a great video of Bart getting nailed by Miss Kitty as he was butting heads with Zindy Lou and he got it good!  He did a complete somersault, got up, and him and Miss Kitty had a brief exchange.  It's on my Instagram page.  He didn't get hurt at all, and it didn't slow him down any.  He has quite the attitude these days.  Today I separated him and three other 2 year old wethers into their own pen.  The other three get along fine, share food piles and everything, but mister Bart is aloof.  I had him in with a couple of the bottle babies from the same year as him, and some others, but he was getting too aggressive with the pregnant ones.  The other wethers were getting a bit too rambunctious, too.  They were in the main pen where most of the pregnant does are this year.  So now I'm rearranging most of the goats and getting the pregnant ones in a pen by themselves so I can up their feed intake a bit, without letting the rest of the herd get fat.

I'm done milking now till after the kids are born.  A nice break for the first time in two years.  I ran the dairy girls through, as it's called when they only get bred every two years and get milked for two years straight.  Hope I froze enough milk to get me through the dry period!  I mostly make kefir with it now, so I'm hoping I froze enough.

That's all the news for now.  Spring is just around the corner!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

It's Harvest Time!

I am combing goats already!  I've done 5 so far.  I am going to be able to dehair them by hand this year!!  At least these I've done so far.  There are very few guard hairs in it.  It looks like it's been run through the machine about 3 times already.  So with a little time, I can get these dehaired myself.

I am on Instagram now.  Cashmereannie is my name. :-)  Please follow me if you are on there, too.  You can see more pictures of things happening around here, than what I take with my regular camera.  Technology.... My smartphone takes pretty good pictures, and it's easier to just post on Instagram than download the pictures from the camera onto the computer and then put them on here, or my website, etc.  I might be getting lazy in my old age. :-) Not that I'm old or anything, but you know...

I have 16 pregnant does out there!  That's going to be somewhere around 20 to 25 babies!!  What was I thinking?  I'll have some goats for sale come July.  I'm even going to sell some of the moms and babies this year.  Time for a major downsize of the herd.  I'm not going to get rid of all of them, but most of them.  I have some new plans in the works and am not going to have time to take proper care of this many goats.  I'm keeping my very favorite ones, and the rest will go to new homes.  I don't want to take them to the auction, their fleece is too good for that, they need to be in a fiber person's home.  Even though I have this many, they all have names and are my babies. ☺  So if you are thinking about getting into cashmere goats, keep me in mind and come July there will be a good many for sale here.

I've been doing a bunch of needle felting.  That is really fun to do!  I'm spinning more yarn, too.  Between combing the goats, needle felting and spinning, my days are pretty full now.  I'm staying home for the next week or so and really getting a lot done around here.

Happy full moon!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

More Needle Felting

The latest bunch of critters made.  These guys are heading for New Zealand in February!  I am really having fun making these little creatures.

I'm also spinning up my cashmere  from last year's harvest.  I was trimming goat hooves a couple of days ago, and noticed they are starting to release their fleece already.  Time to start combing!  I was going to seriously downsize the herd this year, but after seeing how nice the cashmere is looking on most of them, now I'm having second thoughts.....  There are 14 pregnant does out there all together.  Celeste got bred yesterday, so she's going to have the last babies in June.  The first week in April is when the majority of them are going to pop out.  A fun time!  It's always exciting to see what comes out. :-)  

It's snowing again today.  We are supposed to get 2 to 4 inches.  We have about 10 inches on the ground right now, so a couple more won't be too bad.  The road coming up here is looking the best it ever has.  It's plowed nice and wide with plenty of turn-outs, so even if we get a lot of snow, we should be able to get up and down it with no problem the rest of the winter.  Usually we end up with a narrow tunnel the last mile and a half by spring.  The snow line is about that far down the road, so it's always deeper up at this end, and the road is narrower to begin with.  This year it shouldn't get bad at all.  Yay!!!

Well, back to the spinning wheel.  It's a good day to be inside!