Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dye Day & Makin' Hay

I planted my basil just outside the kitchen door this year so I don't have to go to the garden to get it.  It is growing very well.  I have a bundle of it hanging on the sunporch to dry.  I also have a bundle of the spearmint that grows wild all over the farm drying .  I had to pick it prior to mowing.  It always smells so good when you mow the mint.  It is quite prolific, however, and comes back in no time.

I have a lot going on right now.  How do I do this to myself?  I am working on judging a Spin-Off, but it is half the size of the one I did back in January and I have plenty of time. We also have a big fund-raiser for the local  Humane Society, with which I am very involved.  It is actually tomorrow, but we have some set up work to do today and Sam is making hay today!  After tomorrow night, I will be able to think more about other upcoming events, such as our annual Labor Day weekend party and the Wool Gathering, at which I will be a vendor.  So I need to dye roving and yarn (I am waiting for yarn to come back from the mill....they promise it will be done by Labor Day).

My spinning guild had Dye Day at the farm of JoAnn Swank this past Saturday.  It is just a fun time to get together with the group and get dye pots going and eat and socialize.  Her farm is very nice.  She has such beautiful beds of perennials all over.  I should have taken more photos.

The small building in the rear of this photo is JoAnn's cabin/studio.  She has 2 floor looms in here and lots of other fibery stuff.  It is quite a nice building with a loft and a woodburner.  She also has this big picnic pavilion sort of like the one we have at the pond, which is where we did lots of dyeing.

 Here's a shot from another angle where you can see items we have dyed drying on a rack.  Some items dyed were T-shirts (tie-dye), a scarf, yarn and roving.  I mostly socialized, but I did dye about 8 ounces of some roving I had leftover.  It is a blend of 80 % alpaca and 20% wool.  I had dyed and knit a red-cabled sweater from some of the same roving 2 years ago.  I love how the colors came out.  

It kind of reminds me of Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe, whadda ya think?  Can't wait to see the finished yarn.  I am envisioning mittens.

Speaking of hay, this morning before coming to the office, I spent some time cleaning out the empty side of the loft.  I forked all the loose hay I could into the little truck to take over and put in the girls' feeder.  I had to put Rowdy's herding skills to work because the silly creatures want to get their heads  into the feeder before I am finished forking in all the hay and I am so afraid I will injure one of them with the tines of the fork.  They are NOT the brightest creatures!  So, I just tell Rowdy to move them out of the area, which he is more than happy to do.  While not formally trained to herd, he and I can communicate in our own way and he is tuning in to me much more than he used to.  He does like to use his teeth, so I try to get him to go easy.  Most of the alpacas are wise to him, though and do not give him any trouble.  They are more than happy to get out of his way.  I think Rowdy lives to hear me tell him to herd.  Instinct is incredible.  

You can see the alpacas under the overhang just waiting for me to start pitching the hay into the feeder.   It's amazing how little hay was actually in the truck.  It looked like a lot, but probably was not more than a good-sized bale worth, if that.  But it will keep the critters busy for a while.

Our chickens are producing  maximum egg output now.  With 13 hens, we have been getting just about a dozen eggs a day.  That's a lot of eggs for 2 people!  But so far, I am having little trouble getting rid of them.  My chicken house, made by my father-in-law, has next boxes that can be accessed from a hinged top from the outside of the chicken house.  There are 6 nest boxes and usually the hens do not use them all.  There will be 3 or 4 eggs in 3 or 4 of the 6 boxes.  Here is a photo of the nest boxes early this morning with one of the hens making her deposit.  As you can see, there are already several other eggs present.

I have finished my bulky lace vest, made from handspun yarn from a roving that was damaged by the processor.  I actually like the looks of the yarn and love the vest.  Maybe i will enter it in the Ohio Alpacafest this fall.  My "dummy" is a good bit slenderer than I am, so the lace pattern does not show up on her too well.  I will fill it out a bit more.  I love the Celtic style pewter pin I bought for it.  

I also have sock #1 finished and have a good start on sock #2.  I have decided I just love hand-knit socks, even if I have to hand-wash them.  I have also learned it is very difficult to take  a decent photo of a sock on one's own foot.  But there you have it.  These socks are handspun Merino wool.  Yes, I bought some dyed roving from a fellow guild member a year or so ago because l loved the colors.  There is no law that requires me to only work with my own fiber!



  1. Really love the vest you made. I think you should enter it in the contest. Also the color does really match the water in the lake. The socks are neat too.

  2. I love the vest!!! where did you find the pattern?