Saturday, May 18, 2024

Finally Done Spinning Wool

 Yesterday I finally finished spinning the big wool commission I've been working on for over a year.  Now I can get back to my cashmere and spinning it, weaving, etc.  No more custom spinning projects unless it's a pound or under.  It's kinda strange not having wool spinning to do on a daily basis.  Somewhat anti-climactic I guess.  I got out the vacuum cleaner and thoroughly cleaned up the area around my wheel where all the vegetative matter had fallen out of the roving as I spun it.  It was quite a mess! I've been having to vacuum after every few skeins, there was so much seed heads and other bits of vegetation in it.  Not a fun wool to spin.  The wool itself was nice and soft, but the vm in it made it very prickly.

  Now I am going to put a somewhat long warp on my floor loom for a run of kitchen towels. I will also start working on my cashmere from 3 years ago.  I have 3 harvests of cashmere to do!  Lots of weeding in the gardens and planting, cleaning of the goat pens and dairy barn.  All the things that go on around a farm on a daily basis.  I've been putting off a lot of things to get this spinning done, so now I can work guilt-free outside. I always felt guilty when I was doing something other than spinning the wool.  Even when I had certain hours for spinning, certain hours for other work, I still felt a bit guilty when I wasn't spinning the wool. Now it's onwards and upwards! :-) 

The two cashmere kids are doing well.  Toffee the dairy doe had twins that are the cutest things. Their ears are so cute.  One of these days I'll get a picture or two of them on here.  They are always on the move when I'm out there, so it's hard to get a good picture of the two of them together.  Out of 10 kids born this year, only 5 survived.  That's the worst record I've ever had.  Most years I haven't lost any, once in a while I'll lose one or two, but half the crop is unheard of.  I blame the genetics of the buck not meshing with the does' genetics.  So he is going bye-bye. I think I won't breed anybody this fall and just skip a year or maybe even two.  We'll see what happens.

We are just starting to harvest a lot of asparagus.  Finally going to have enough to freeze in quantity!  That has been my dream for years and years to have enough to freeze for year-round eating.  It's finally happening! 

The weather sure has been wild this year! So many severe storms from the Rockies eastward.  The question is: how much of that is natural, and how much is engineered.  I would guess a majority is engineered, not natural. We are having a little hailstorm right now.  Luckily it's not more than pea-sized and my peonies aren't in bloom yet. This is nothing compared to what parts of the rest of the country are going through, so I'm not complaining, just observing.  We are living in some very interesting times!  The most amazing time in history. Glad I'm here to witness it all.  

Well, I think that's it for this update.  I'm really going to try and be more consistent and post more pictures of things from now on.  Time is going by so fast, it's hard to remember to post on a regular basis. Hope everyone is having a good day!  

Thursday, April 25, 2024


 This has been the worst kidding season I've ever had in my 22+ years of raising goats.  I only have 1 surviving kid, with one doe left to go in the cashmere side, and one in the dairy side.  There is the one dairy doeling, who is doing fine. I don't know what is going on out there, but all but one doe was way overdue, then had weak or damaged kids that died within a week or so.  Now the one remaining doe is a bit overdue.  Her due date was the 21st.  She's a first timer so I hope there isn't just a single in there.  Miracle was 17 days overdue when she finally had a HUGE single boy.  I had to pull pretty hard to get him out.  But, he came out.  Miracle rejected him so I brought him in the house and got him going.  She was right to reject him, he had some serious issues, so he's gone, too.  Iris had twins in the early morning hours in-between checks and so when I went out there I found 1 dead kid and one almost dead.  I brought her in and revived her and she's going well now.  I put her out with her mom again today and will leave her out there now full-time since Iris is being a helicopter mom, not letting her out of her sight, or more than 3 feet away from her.  I put a little sweater on her so hopefully that works.  She's doing well out there now, at 5pm.  She also has an insulated "kid box" to go into to stay warm tonight.  Hopefully Briquet has healthy babies, or baby, so Sandy has someone to play with.  She'll be pretty lonely if she's the only kid out there this year.  

The buck is going into the freezer.  I've used him two years and both years have not been good, especially this year.  I'm going to take a break and not get any does bred this fall.  Time to downsize and just have the adults for a couple of years.  I want more time to spin and weave the cashmere I get from them.  So, no more custom spinning for a while, either.  Focus on my cashmere and get it all processed.  I have three years' worth of fleeces waiting to be processed.  The time of "Squirrel" is over. 

This year I am spending more time in the gardens and getting them looking nice again. Re-doing the goat pens and shelters and getting this place back in order.  The shelters have been up since I got the goats, the posts are rotten, the only thing holding things up are the boards. Time for some major fix-ups around here!  

I wonder if anyone else out there is having problems this year with kidding, or lambing? I am reading comments again now, and checking in here more frequently, so comment if you'd like.

I hope you are having a great day! 

Sunday, March 10, 2024


 Is that a word? Anyway, no pictures today, just rambling.  Little Jan is doing great, even if she is by herself with nobody to play with except mom. Two months old now.  Seems totally normal. Cute little girl with her mouse ears. Next doe due to kid isn't until around April 5th, give or take a day or two. There are only 4 cashmere does pregnant out there this year.  Toffee, the dairy doe is due the end of April. Iris, one of the pregnant cashmere girls is due close to my birthday, so I've been talking to her about having her kids on my birthday. :-)  I'm hoping she has a boy and a girl.  If she does have a boy, I'm keeping him a buck, if he looks good. She has excellent fleece, and she's also the only badger colored doe I've ever had.  So a badger colored buck would be pretty cool.

Things totally off topic of the farm.  This time change thing needs to be done away with.  It doesn't change the amount of daylight hours in a 24 hour period.  The animals don't go by a clock, so this throws them off a bit, too. Animals are very much creatures of habit, more so than humans even.  They don't really enjoy having their schedules messed with.  They adapt to changes, but it takes a bit. Especially the dairy goats.  I went out a half hour earlier this morning (according to our clocks) and didn't get quite as much milk as normal.  It was nice on the cashmere side, they weren't all standing around waiting to be fed since I was early, so it was easier to start throwing hay out for them. Of course when they saw the hay, they came a running, but at least the first minute or two was easier. :-) 

Skippy ate something he shouldn't have and did not feel good yesterday.  I fasted him all day, and this morning John took him for a hike around the upper half of our place. He had some serious diarrhea but felt much better.  Back to his normal bouncy self.  Hopefully he passes whatever it was that was clogging him up. He gets into everything out there. When the snow melts I am going to have quite a mess to clean up in the yard.  I got spoiled having Rocky and Cloud in with the goats all the time for 9 years.  No destruction of the place. Skippy is everywhere but in the goat pens, except at feeding times, or when I go in there for something.  He has a game he plays with three of the does, it's kind of like watching a cutting horse work the cows. They chase him and he dodges them.  He also runs the gauntlet going out the hay door and through the herd waiting for their hay.  He's getting pretty good at dodging the horns as he runs through. After he gets out into the pen, then he just goes around following his nose to see what all is out there. He does have to watch out for the three goats that go after him. He's been nailed a few times.  

He is the quietest dog we've had.  He doesn't yelp at all, even when getting nailed by the goats. The only time he barks is when the neighbor dogs are barking at something.  He doesn't bark when someone comes here, though. I do hope that changes as he gets older!  He's 8 months old now.  He's a big boy. It will be interesting to see how big he ends up being.

I have a "Christmas" cactus that is still blooming.  It started around Thanksgiving and is blooming on all the holidays till Easter it looks like.  It covers all the holidays. After being repotted it has taken off, tripling in size.  It's outgrowing the window it's in. It likes its new pot!

Yesterday it got all the way up to 50 degrees, with sunshine.  The warmest day of the year so far.  Melted some of the snow. Today is cloudy and cooler with a breeze and a few snowflakes, so the snow isn't melting as fast. I'm in the middle of combing the goats. Deciding who I'm going to keep and who gets to go to a new home or off to freezer camp. Some of them will be easy.  I'm to the age where if I can't handle them easily, I don't want to deal with them anymore.  There are two for sure that will be in the freezer. They are hard to impossible to catch, and once caught are hard to handle. I don't want to get hurt, so off they go.  It's just not worth it anymore.  I want to downsize so I can spend more time spinning and weaving. 

I hope everyone is having/had a good day!  Things are getting more interesting by the day out in the big world.  I'm glad I live where I do!  Well, that's it for now...    

Saturday, February 17, 2024



I wove a colorful tablecloth for our bistro table and a matching bigger one for our folding table that we use when we have company.  I've decided to add a lot more color into our house.  I like bright colors, but like most Americans, I use pretty neutral colors in the house.  After having a helpxer from India here last fall who told me that it was rather sad how dull everything is in America, houses, furnishings, etc. I decided to embrace my love of color into just about everything in my life.  My fiber shed is getting painted this summer with a very bright, wild color scheme. At least I think it will. Could be interesting. :-)  My weaving might get brighter more often, too.

We've gone back to a real winter now.  Close to a foot of snow and colder temps more like a normal year.  The last two days have been bright sunny days.  This time of year, sunshine is very welcome!

  Lily doesn't really fit in this tub very well.  It's warm and dry, so she's taking advantage of it to stay out of the mucky hay. Goats are the greatest wasters of hay on the planet.  I'll betcha there is at least a ton of it wasted every year around here.  Makes for good compost, though.  We get a new mountain of it every year when I clean out the pens.  Grows great veggies!  

Well, that's it for now.  I'm going to go out and get some of that sun and water everyone while the faucet is thawed out.  

Hope you all are having a great day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

First Kids of the Year

On January 10th of this year, Sprinkles had her first babies, twins. Milo, the top photo, and Jan (because she was born in January). The problem was, Sprinkles came into heat in August and her triplet brothers, who were bucklings, got out and in with her and her mom and sister.  Luckily, she was the only one in heat. So, these two are totally inbred.  Milo wasn't right from the beginning; he would just stand around and not move much. Jan seemed fine.  Sprinkles is a good mom, especially since she is a first-timer.   
These two were born on the 10th, and we went into a deep freeze on the 11th.  One night it was 30 degrees below zero.  For a week I was going out every two hours with a hot water bottle and putting it in with them in their "baby box" day and night.  I didn't even sleep in my bed, just dozed in the recliner each night.  You might be wondering why I didn't have a heat lamp or bring them inside instead of going that route.  We live off-grid, and a heat lamp takes way too much electricity. I figured in the long run; it would be easier to do the hot water bottle.  They survived in fine shape. 
You can see in this photo; Milo is standing off by himself.  He always did that, and when he went to nurse, most of the time he didn't take in much milk. The photo below was on one of the not so cold nights. Sprinkles has her head in by the hot water bottle, and the kids are on each side of her outside.  I did move them inside the box after I took this.  There is a hay bale in front of half the box to block the cold.  Anyway, the kids survived the cold in good shape, with Sprinkles staying warm with her head in the box with them.  After the cold snap ended, I had a good night's sleep in my bed again.  

Twenty-one days after they were born, I went out to feed in the morning, and Milo was gone.  He had passed away during the night.  I figured he would, he was getting weaker by the day.  After I found him, I did a necropsy to see what was going on inside of him.  He didn't stand a chance, a fluid-filled heart that was quite large, and some strange intestine arrangements.  

Jan seems fine, nice and sturdy and full of energy.  I think her brain might be wired wrong, she is very flighty and nervous.  But, when I do get a hold of her, she calms down and lets me pet her.  I just need to pay lots of attention to her every day. Her grandma, Olga, is the same way.  In fact, I am tired of dealing with her. Once Sprinkles' sister Toffee has her kids the end of May, Olga is going to freezer camp. I am literally the only person on the planet that can get anywhere near her, and that is only if everything is normal and in place. If there is another person anywhere that she can see, she heads for the hills.  Once she is in the milking stand, she's fine, and easy to milk, but getting her there is an ordeal most of the time. She's not the highest producing doe, either. She's got some Boer in her and that made her milk production not as much as a full dairy doe. So, after 7 years of dealing with this, I am done.  I can't go anywhere for more than a day trip; I have to be there to milk her. It will be hard to do her in, but at the same time, it will be a relief to be able to have a bit of freedom. 

This is the first time in the 22 years I've been raising goats that I've had kids born in January. Last time, too! Also, the first time I didn't wether the male dairy kids, that won't be happening again, either.  Those three went to freezer camp, too. Live and learn.

Now we are having snow and regular winter temperatures, so all is well.  We had an abnormally warm start to the winter; the ground was bare on Christmas Day. That's rare.  I am looking forward to Spring and the ground being bare again.  Lots of projects coming this year!  Especially to do with the goats. Some big changes coming. 

Hope you are having a great day!      


Friday, February 9, 2024

Finally, Some Pictures

                                           Here's a cashmere shawl I wove. Totally handspun and dyed yarns. This is in my Etsy shop, and yes, it's expensive. It's a nice size, 81 inches long and 22 inches wide. It's warm, too.
                                        A Cashmere clasped weft wall hanging I wove, all handspun and hand dyed. This is at a friend's lake cabin. Traded this for a spinning wheel.
                                       Another Clasped weft item I wove. Handspun yarn and hand dyed. This is now in London, England. A commission.
               A HUGE spinning commission I'm still working on. Should have it all done by the end of May. Southdown wool off 14 sheep.  
                             A Tencel scarf I wove out of handspun yarn.  This was fun.
                           Cinnamon and Skippy. It took Cinnamon, the smallest goat on the place, to stand up to Skippy first before any of the other goats would.  She was Rocky's buddy, always beside him, and so when he died and we got Skippy last fall, she just accepted him as the new guardian dog.  Since he was just a puppy, guarding wasn't (and still isn't) top of his list.  He's now 7 months old. Starting to think about actually protecting the place, but not entirely.  He's not confident enough yet to be of any real service.  He does bark once in a while, but not much.  Which is a good thing, for now.  He has a very big, deep voice when he does bark.  I think once he's an adult, he's going to be an incredible guardian.  He is very smart.  Understands everything I tell him, catches on to things very fast. And, he's going to be huge!  He's a Grand Shepard, which is a mix of Anatolian, Saint Bernard and Mastiff. All giant dogs. Should scare everything and everyone away.  If we both survive his puppyhood stage, we'll be set. This morning he crashed into my leg and did some damage, I felt some ripping going on.  At least it was below my knee and I can still walk ok.  A couple of months ago, he crashed into my knee and threw everything out of whack. I couldn't walk after that one.  Had to use crutches for a while. He was trying to get away from Olive the goat, both times.  She has it in for him every time he goes in the pen.  I told him this morning he has to stay at least 20 feet away from me from now on when we are in the pen. We'll see if that happens.  He goes in there while I'm feeding.  

Well, that's it for this post.  I will be posting a bit more regularly now, with pictures. Have a great day!    

Monday, December 18, 2023

Time is just flying by!

 Sorry for not answering the comments.  I haven't even looked at this since I wrote the last post.  Quinn, I hope your wether is ok.  I haven't ever had that happen with any of my goats. 

I still haven't added any pictures on my computer.  I just haven't been in a blogging mode at all this fall. I will try to be better next year.  Hard to believe it's the end of the year already!  Christmas is a week away!

On a sad note, we lost Rocky, our other guard dog in October.  Here he is with Cinnamon, his best buddy, and Junior, one of the other kids.  Cinnamon hung out with him more than the goats, and she really didn't know what to do when he died.  When I went out to feed that morning, she came out of the stall where he was yelling and yelling, telling me he was gone.  I went in there, and sure enough, he was laying there dead.  He went downhill pretty fast.  He had an enlarged heart, something myocardiopathy.  We did get a new puppy, but he's got a long ways to go before he'll be a guardian. Luckily, the neighbors rescued an older Great pyr this summer, so she's been keeping the predators away all along their property line, which is the direction the predators used to come in from. Skippy only 6 months old. I don't have a picture of him on here yet.  He's a Grand Shepard, a mix of Anatolian, St Bernard and Mastiff.  He's a fawn color with more of a st bernard face.  I have him in the yard instead of in with the goats.  Instead of just being with the goats, I'm going back to having a "property protector", so he'll take care of everything.  Like Nellie was.  He's already been attacked by the adult goats.  The kids he's wanting to chase some, so that is not good. It took Cinnamon to stand up to him and butt him in her little way before the adult goats would stand up to him.  They ran at first.  The dairy goats still run from him, they haven't had any guard dogs over by them since they have a barn that can be closed up.

Dealing with a puppy is a lot of work!  I haven't had to do that since Rocky and Cloud 9 years ago. Skippy is a fast learner and knows the word no pretty good.  He also sits on command.  We're getting there, but this next year will be interesting. I hope we both survive!  Skippy is going to be a huge dog, he's already very solid and heavy.  He crashed into me trying to get away from one of the goats while we were in the pen feeding just before Thanksgiving, that bungled up my knee pretty good.  It's finally good enough I can walk normally and weave and spin again.  Still a bit painful, but it is improving slowly but surely. Now I keep an eye on him all the time, since he's not the most coordinated beast yet.  Although for his size and age, he's somewhat graceful at times.

Well, I hope everyone has a good rest of the year, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!  I'll try to be more consistent in posting next year, and include lots of pictures, but who knows.  Time goes by so fast, it seems it's a couple of months between postings!  Who knows what next year, or even the rest of this year, will bring.  Hang onto your hats!