Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kids


 Here are the dairy kids, Max is on the bench, his brother Romeo is on the ground beside him, then Bianca is in front, and Buster is the black and tan one with tiny ears.  They are all healthy and very active!  Max is the friendliest, he comes right up to me to be petted.  The other three aren't so sure about it.  All four have the same dad, my Kiko buck, with Max and Romeo out of Olga, and Buster and Bianca out of Speckles. 

Timmy the house goat was outside, but now he's back in for a few days till it warms up again.  We got 2 inches of snow and down to 22 degrees last night, and it's supposed to stay below freezing at night till Thursday, so he's in till it warms up again.  This round he doesn't have free range of the house, he's having to stay in the big kennel with supervised outings.  He discovered the house plants, and was getting into all kinds of mischief before I put him outside before. Luckily my husband is on vacation for a couple of weeks, so he's taking care of Timmy. 

Yesterday I got to get away for the day and went up to Libby to their inaugural fiber festival they had.  It was fun.  Not a whole lot of people, but enough to make it an enjoyable day. 

I am so enjoying weaving!  Too bad I waited for so many years to start on it.  But, when the timing is right, it happens. 

I'm almost done combing the goats.  Only 3 more to go.  I am spinning up all the icky cashmere I got back from the mill a few years ago.  I decided to spin it into rug yarn and make a cashmere rug out of it!  I will post a picture of it when I get it done later this year.

Well, that's all for now, hope you are having a good spring!  Or, fall if you are in the southern hemisphere. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Happenings...

Winter struck with a vengeance!  After having a pretty mild, mostly snowless early start, February has been somewhat brutal.  We have over two feet of snow, it's been really cold for most of it, with brief warm ups that are actually hard on the animals.  Going from 40 degrees to 0 degrees in a matter of hours is hard on their little bodies.

Timmy is still in the house, will be till spring.  He's pretty lucky being in where it's nice and warm.  His brother is out with the other goats in the cold.  His mom ended up dying in the last below 0 weather spell.  She was old and weak and just couldn't handle that amount of cold.  I had her in a low-roofed house with a lot of hay and straw all around her, but her heart gave out during the night.  So now I'm watching Tommy carefully to make sure he is keeping weight on and is okay.  Neither Timmy or Tommy are very hearty goats.  Tommy is more so than Timmy, though.  I sure hope he can survive out there on his own, I don't think my husband, or me, for that matter, could handle two goats in this little house.  Timmy is now pretty much trained to pee on the absorbent pads, but he still will poop wherever.  He is starting to contain his poops to one or two areas instead of all over, so we are making progress.

One thing about being off-grid, I can't have any heat lamps or anything like that, it takes too much electricity and would ruin our batteries if one was on all the time.  So my goats need to be hardy critters, which, thankfully, cashmeres are.  I sure would like to have a heat lamp out there for Tommy, though.  He does seem to be doing okay all by himself.  He has a low-roofed house with lots of bedding, so he's staying warm.  He eats better than Timmy, too.

My weaving is getting a little better with each thing I make.  I'm still chicken to use my cashmere on the floor loom, though.  One of these days....

I'm spinning up all the ruined cashmere from a few years ago into rug yarn and am going to make a rug with it all.  I think it will work good for that.  I'm spinning it a bit thicker than my normal size, which is a challenge.  I'm used to spinning a fine yarn, and making a thick rug yarn takes some concentration!  Plus, all the pills and noils in it I'm having a hard time just working those into the yarn.  I want to keep stopping and picking them all out, which is impossible.  I will post pictures of the rug when I get it done, which will probably be sometime this summer.  We have a fox around here!  I haven't seen one in years, but it's on the game camera.  Cool!  I'm not worried about it getting anything, the guard dogs will keep it far away from the chickens and goats.  I'm glad it's around, and I hope it stays around.  It will be good to catch all the pack rats that migrate to our place every fall.  We have a neighbor that has a lot of junk at his place that is a perfect breeding ground for the little beasts.  The neighbor doesn't live there, just has a bunch of junk piled up.  Between the bobcats, coyotes, and now the fox, I hope the rat population goes way down, or even disappears entirely from here. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

House Goat

Meet Timmy, a 9 month old cashmere wether kid.  He's now in the house till Spring.  He came in last December, a very under weight bag of bones.  I hadn't been paying too much attention to how thin he was.  His mom is my oldest doe, she had twins this last year, and while they weren't the most robust little guys, they were holding their own, at least that's what I thought.  I had moved Ming (the mom) and her kids, plus a couple of other does and their kids, plus Inky, the bottle baby/kid into a pen of their own so I could feed them more and they wouldn't be jostled around by the rest of the herd.  Everyone but Timmy here improved and were doing fine.  Then we got a real cold snap in December, and I noticed Timmy was pretty weak.  I actually caught him and felt him and he was a bag of bones.  It was hard to see just how skinny he was with all his cashmere.  So, I brought him in the house, warmed him up and have had to keep him in here now, since it's cold and snowy outside and he's all used to the warmth in here. 
I have him pretty much paper trained now.  Good thing Costco has big boxes of the absorbent pads used for puppy training!  That's what I use with Timmy.  He's learned to pee on one of those, then he gets a treat.  Only occasionally does he miss the pad, or go somewhere not even close to the pad.  He still poops where ever, but at least he's not peeing everywhere.  There will be some new flooring this year, after he's back outside with his mom and brother, who are both doing well. 
  Having an older kid in the house is way messier than having a bottle baby.  There is hay involved, which seems to be getting all over the house.  I spend half of every day cleaning up after him.  I do have one of those big wire dog cages set up in the bedroom where I feed him his hay and a little bit of grain.  But the hay gets stuck on his hair and there are pieces of it everywhere.  I will be glad when spring arrives and he's back to being outside!  Although he is cute, and he doesn't chew on things like a puppy does.  It's kinda like having a puppy in here.  It's also kinda like living in a barn with him in here! 
He is gaining weight and getting stronger.  He's not jumping on things yet, but he can get up on his hind legs to check things out on tables and  kitchen counters now. 
The blue eye you see is just from the camera flash, he has normal goat eyes and can see quite well.

February has turned into the month of winter!  We have 20 inches of snow and counting, it's snowing all day today.  It's been cold, too.  Single digits above and below 0.  Luckily we are not getting all the wind that the valley is, just a gentle breeze, so we don't have a big wind chill to deal with, too. 
Guess I'll go out and start digging out before it gets too deep.  have a great weekend! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New focus for the New Year coming up

After much thought about it, I've decided to really change the direction of my little business.  Since there are only so many hours in a day in which to get things done, I am going to simplify and concentrate my efforts in fewer places and perfect what I do.

In 2019 I am going to focus on improving both my spinning and my weaving.  I won't be doing any needle felting, or crocheting, or at least very, very little of each.  Those two crafts are okay, but what I really, really love to do is spin yarn, and now weave.  So those are the two crafts I am going to do from now on. 

I also want to get this farm really looking nice, get my flower gardens re-done and expanded.  The goats are going to get more care next year, and I am going to ride my horse a little!  The last few years I've been trying to do too much and therefore, nothing was done well.  Since my husband is the one working off the farm to pay the household bills, I stay home and keep the place going.   My income only comes from what I can make and sell.  And that has to be enough to buy all the animal's feed and care, plus any supplies I need, etc.  I've been falling a bit short every year, so I really need to concentrate on making things that people want and need, like kitchen towels, wearable accessories, etc..  Kitchen items out of cotton and or linen, and cashmere, silk, and combinations of those for scarves and shawls.  Once in a while there will be something made out of wool or even acrylic for those people allergic to wool or cashmere.

So be watching for changes to come to my website soon!  I have changed up a few things already, but I'm thinking of overhauling the whole thing.  Any ideas for improvements would be appreciated!
Thanks!     

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Having fun weaving

 Here are some of my weavings.  The top one is a silk cashmere scarf.  I sold that.
 This one is a yak/silk blend scarf, with the warp being commercial silk yarn, and the weft is some yak/silk that I spun up.  I was a bit nervous using this nice handspun yarn in my second scarf made from handspun, but it turned out beautifully and is for sale on my website.
This third one is the first one I wove out of all my handspun cashmere, both warp and weft.  It's a nice dense (translate very warm!) short scarf perfect for tucking into the open collar of a jacket to keep you toasty warm. It too is for sale on my website.  There are a few other items on there also.  All have a holiday discounted price. My website

  We are having a mild winter, compared to last year.  Only a little over an inch of snow on the ground, which came last night and today.  I guess since it's the first of December, a little snow is in order.
  November was quite the month physically, for me.  The first week I slipped and fell flat out on my back.  That actually re-aligned my entire spine, I felt pops and shifts all the way up and down.  The second week I had a metal t-post for fencing fall over and hit me square on the bridge of my nose.  I did not even see it coming.  That hurt!  Thank Heavens it didn't hit either of my eyes or break something!  Third week I pulled a groin muscle reaching with my leg and foot over to let the friction brake on my floor loom loose.  That only lasted a day and a half.  Then I fell asleep at my computer and hyper stretched my neck as my chin went onto my chest, and totally froze everything.  I'm still recovering from that.  I went to an acupuncturist on Thursday, which helped immensely.  I'm almost back to normal.  Except I can't turn my head to the left or right.  I have another appointment on Wednesday coming up, which should get me completely flexible again. December has got to be an easier month on me!
  All but one doe who I'm waiting on, are now bred.  I only bred 7 does this year.  I don't need a bunch of new goats next year, I have too many things going on to take proper care of a big herd now.
  I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season this year! 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Almost Thanksgiving already

Man, this year sure has gone by fast!  T-day is next week!  We just have a little bit of snow on the ground in places.  There is a lot of bare ground now.  Sunshine is in the forecast from now until Thursday, when there is a slight chance of a little snow shower.  The forest service road is icy in a couple of places.  I had the studded snow tires put on Wednesday, but when I went down today, the truck still slid a bit in a couple of places, and I was going slowly.  Luckily it's only a couple of short sections that have ice, the rest is pretty bare. 

We got the puddle/pond filled in with gravel!  It is sooo nice to drive through there without having to go through water, which would be there now, if it wasn't filled in.  The neighbors pitched in and helped pay for it, too, which was nice.  Now when we have hipcampers next spring, they can get to our place with no problem, in any kind of vehicle. 

Today I put some plastic up around the top section of the hayshed where the plywood didn't quite reach the top, and also put a couple of tarps over the two openings so when it does snow and blow, the whole shed won't get covered in a layer of snow in there.  That will also keep it from being a wind tunnel in there whenever the wind blows.  My dream is to have a real barn one of these days!   Next project is to rebuild the west wall in the animal part of the shed so there is more room in there for the horse.   Since my husband seems to slide backwards down our driveway every year and take out a portion of the fence, tomorrow we are going to take the whole fence down and move it back behind the line of trees so that doesn't happen any more.  My poor truck is looking pretty beat up. 

My weaving is improving little by little.  For the rest of the month I need to focus on getting 9 Christmas ornament bears needle felted for a couple of orders I have for them.  Then it's back to weaving and spinning cashmere!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the people and animals in the path of the wildfires burning in California.  Seems every year CA either gets mudslides and floods, or more often than not, forest and wild fires!  It makes me think we have to do some more thinning around our place so if/when we get a forest fire out here, we will survive it!  We've done a bunch of thinning, but the trees have grown quite a bit in the 5 years since the first area was thinned, and there are some more trees that need to come out in that area.  Since we are supposed to have a drier, milder winter this year, I think we should be doing that all winter so we are prepared for next summer.  All the surrounding land is thickly forested, so we need to have a good buffer zone around our perimeter to counteract that if we do have a fire up here.

If you would like to see lots of pictures of the goings on around the farm, please check out my Instagram feed @cashmereannie.  I have over 1000 pictures on there now. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans reading this!

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!