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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Late January


January is typically a slow time on the farm, so there is not much new to report. Days are spent making sure everyone has food and water and a clean dry place to lay down.

This is also a good time for me to spin, dye and knit yarn, as well as send more raw fiber off to the mill to be processed into "roving". Roving is fiber that has been readied for hand-spinning.

Once I have roving, I can sell it to spinners, I can dye it and sell it, or I can spin it myself. I usually do all 3. The photo above is some of my alpaca roving that I dyed this month. I called that colorway "Fruit Salad".

I have also been working on knitting up some small items using yarn I already have spun up to sell and or give as gifts.

Sam and I took a few days off last week to go to western New York and go skiing. We met my brother and his family and my eldest son and his girlfriend there. Then we drove on up to Buffalo and had dinner with our younger son. Family time is important. I hadn't skied in about 7 years, but it comes back. I'm just glad I keep in shape with my daily hikes up over the hills with the dogs, even in unpleasant weather!

We had a pond put in right before Labor Day this year and it is finally full. We got a good bit of rain this past week which topped it off. Watch for photos soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Introduction

I thought I'd give blogging a try. Why not? Anyway, about me. I live with my husband of almost 24 years on a 200 acre farm in southeast Ohio. If you look at a map of Ohio, there is a triangle formed by I-70 on the north, I-77 on the west and the Ohio River on the east. We live almost dead center of this triangle.

On our farm, we raise alpacas and have been doing so for almost 11 years. This is basically my full time job, so their care, etc takes up a lot of my time and thought. In addition to daily feeding, I also scoop poop, give any required injections, wormings, plan and supervise breedings, hover anxiously at birthings hoping I won't have to get too dirty, move bales of hay from the storage loft to various paddocks, mow pastures and much more.

Our property is mostly wooded and my husband, Sam, has a sawmill. All our alpaca barns are hand-crafted by Sam from trees harvested and milled right here on our property.

Alpacas are fiber animals, domesticated in South America thousands of years ago as producers of prized fleeces. So every spring, we shear all our alpacas and I do various things with the fleece. I have spinning wheels and can spin my own yarns. I have a loom and can weave scarves and shawls. I also knit.

In addition to the alpacas, we share our farm with one old Appaloosa horse, Apache, who has been with us for 16 years and is mostly retired at age 24, one Great Pyrenees livestock guard dog, Cheetah, who lives full time with the alpacas, and 2 Australian Shepherds, Rowdy and Ginger, who are our constant companions wherever we are on the farm. Oh, we also have a few barn cats around and one old house cat.

I hope to share some of my daily life as a modern small farmer in this blog. We'll see!