Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spinning and dyeing

Here's my latest adventures in dyeing.  The second one in on the left is actually a nice dark red wine color, not black like it looks in this photo.
  Now that the days are so short, I have more time in the evenings to do the fun stuff like spinning.  I'm finally almost done with the dehairing, too.  Now that the batteries are worn out, I really have to wait for some sun before I can run the machine.  I'm going ahead and running the generator twice a day for the next few days so I can get the rest of the fleeces dehaired and then put the machine to bed for the winter.  Next year I will not accept any fleeces for dehairing after September 1st.  

  I've got all the does bred now, except one.  I keep missing her cycle!  I'm watching her very carefully this week so I can put her in with a buck the minute I see she's in heat.   After she's bred, that will make 13 does that should be pregnant and have a kid or two in the spring.  The first week in April is going to be a busy one!   Once again it doesn't look like there will be a kid born on my birthday.  One of these years it's going to happen!  That will be a very special present for me when it does. :-)

  I am enjoying the lack of snow so far this winter.  We got about a half an inch this morning which didn't melt off today, so the ground is white.  We've been getting quite a bit of rain this month.  A couple of snowflakes, but no big dump, which is nice.  The only problem now is the ground is starting to freeze pretty good, and with all the mud, it's freezing into a very lumpy, bumpy area out in the goat pens.  Rather hard to walk on when I'm pulling the wheelbarrow in to feed these days!  The goats have made their little trails everywhere, so they aren't having too much of a problem, but I'm having a grand time staying upright in there. :-)

   Hunting season is now over for this year.  The dang road hunters are really annoying!  Our fs road was like a major thoroughfare, with lots of vehicles going up and down it every day.  Silly people, as I was going down, I would meet four or five rigs just far enough apart that they couldn't see each other.  Too lazy to get out and actually hunt for a deer, they just drive slowly up and down hoping one will jump out in front of them.  Besides being illegal, it's not very sportsman like.  They wouldn't get out of the way very fast, either.  One of the joys of living out in the woods. :-)  At least the season only lasts for 5 weeks.  I was bummed, nobody got the garden eating doe around here.  I was so hoping someone would.  I'm not overly fond of venison, or I would've tried for her.  Plus we have enough goat meat to get us through.  I'll just have to outsmart her with better fencing I guess.  I have a new plan, we'll see if it works next year.

   This year's kids sure have some nice fleece on them!  I can hardly wait till harvest time in the Spring!  Lots of soft kid fleece to play with.  They all have nice coverage on them.  Midnight is turning out to be a really, really nice buck!  He's throwing his great yield and style in his kids.  Lots of crimp, and good length.
Well, that's it for now....  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Almost ready for winter

Here is one of many loads of firewood we've gathered this fall.  I got the last of it cut up yesterday and stacked down by the wood splitter to be split later on, as I need it.  The woodshed is almost full, plus there are little stacks out in the woods, and there is almost two cords down in the "round pen" woodshed.  I think I just might have enough to get me through the whole winter this year.  I'm hoping it's a mild one like the forecasters are saying it will be.  I'm thinking it's going to be an icy one.  We haven't had one of those for a couple of years now, so we are due again.

  It's breeding season around here.  There will be kids born starting in late March and going all the way through May again.  I've been missing some of the does in their heat cycles, I'm not watching them close enough this year, too many other things going on.  Guess I'd better pay closer attention to them!  The way I have things set up, I can't just put the does in with the bucks and leave them there, so I have to be watching for the signs they are in heat and then hurry and grab them and put them in with the appropriate buck.  Some day I'll have a different arrangement, but for now....

   We are supposed to get snow starting on Thursday, so I think winter is about here.  I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be for it.  It's supposed to get colder, too, so it's a good thing all the animals have their winter coats grown out.

   I hope the survivors of the superstorm Sandy do okay.   I hear there is another storm heading their way this week.  Just what they need.
  People do need to quit thinking the government is going to rescue them, though.  Everyone needs to look out for themselves and each other, and not rely on outside help for anything.  Community is what gets one through something, not the government.  Community meaning different things for different people.  Neighbors helping neighbors is what gets a person through a challenging time.  Being part of a community, whatever kind that means, is key to all of us.  No One is an island, even though I think I am sometimes. :-)  Just when I think I can handle anything anywhere, something happens and I need to call on someone for help.  Luckily, I am very, very blessed to have a good network of friends and community that will help me whenever I call!  Life is so good!!!

  Okay, now I'm off my soapbox. :-)  I'm spinning and crocheting again now that it gets dark so early.  Evening hours are good for that.  The dehairing is just about done for the year.  12 more fleeces to go, (4 are someone else's) and then the machine gets put to bed for the winter.  Our batteries for the solar system are about worn out.  They don't hold a charge very long anymore, so running the machine on cloudy days is out.  This time of year there aren't very many sunny days anymore, so I'm glad I'm almost done dehairing.  We aren't going to be able to get new batteries until a year from now, (got to save up some money for them), so I have to run the generator every night for a couple of hours to charge up the batteries for the night.  That could get a bit expensive, what with gas prices like they are!  These batteries have lasted 9 years, and have been abused a bit, so I guess we are due for new ones.  When I first got the machine, I didn't do things right and ended up really deep cycling the batteries too many times that winter.  This machine takes quite a bit of electricity to run, and we didn't have a lot of sun that winter, so the batteries got overworked way too much.  Live and learn.  Last winter I didn't do that, but the damage was already done.  I'm praying for 12 more sunny days this month so I can get the fleeces done in time for Christmas sales!

  Pray for sunshine...