Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shearing Time is Here Again!

Poor Rowdy.....I HATE to have to have him clipped down, but he has such a heavy coat and he loves to be in the water and he never really dries out.  So, he begins to mat and he is redolent of mildew.  Time for a haircut.  He always seems depressed the first 2 or 3 days following his trip to the groomer, but then I think he is happier.   And he will be gorgeous again by fall (with no matting!)

A trailer load of hay is a playground for chickens
Things are starting to get crazy busy.  Saturday we went to the farm of an alpaca friend who has had to disperse her herd after 10 years.  She kept her alpacas on her son's farm and he decided it was time to sell, so Ann had to have all the alpacas out and the place cleaned up by this past Monday.  We bought her leftover hay and anything else she still had that she and/or her alpaca buyers did not want.  So we came home with a load of hay and some fencing and lots of fence posts and some buckets and fans and other miscellany.   I am sure it was hard for her to part with her animals, but now she will have more time for other things and she definitely plans to continue her "fibery" pursuits. 

Sunday we started shearing.  We always like to start out with a few just to make sure we have everything we need and have the barn arranged to suit the purpose.  We only sheared 6, which was a good start.  We will likely plan to devote this Saturday to shearing, so anyone reading this who wants to come, we'll start once the dew is off the alpacas, usually around 1 pm.    I have no shearing photos yet because my hands are kept too busy to take pics when it is just Sam and me.  I did get 4 of the 6 fleeces skirted on Monday.  Need to have my yarn fleeces ready to go to the mill Memorial Day weekend.

Bee update:  the new hive seems to be doing all right, despite my novice efforts to do the right thing.  I did get stung for the first time this week.  There is a feeder attached to the front of the hive which consists of a mason jar on a base.  I put sugar water in this to make it less effort for the new hive to feed themselves.  Well I thought I could just swap out the empty jar for a full jar early Friday morning without disturbing the bees so I did not put on my bee jacket.  I was wrong.  I got stung once, right above the right eye.  Ouch.  Lesson learned.  By the way, I do keep an epi-pen on hand.  It had been so long since I was stung by a honey bee, since I was a child, I am sure.  Living in the country I get nailed on a regular basis by wasps and yellow jackets and hornets, but not usually honey bees. I will be  more careful from now on.  Probably this weekend I will be adding another box and more frames to the hive to give them room for expansion.

We get some funny eggs from time to time, but this is the first time we have ever gotten one like this!  So small!  I never realized how different eggs can be, different colors and even shapes.  Some will have soft leathery shells which break when they are laid.  My whole experience with eggs was usually supermarket eggs.  Let me just say that these are much more interesting.

We had some asparagus from our asparagus patch the other day.  I'm not sure if the weird weather has affected it or if our patch is still in the beginning stages (3rd year?), but we aren't getting a lot.  Maybe it is still too early.  I need to research it a little.  We also have lots of garlic coming up and lettuce and potatoes.  Beets and squash are planted but not yet up.  Some tomato and pepper plants are in.  I need to get some basil going.

Once again we had torrents of rain Monday night and the creek was raging Tuesday morning.  The alpaca barn was also full of water.  Ugh.  That happens when you build  at the bottom of a hill.  No matter how much time you spend ditching, etc, eventually the water comes in.  You can keep it out for a while, but nature always prevails.  Just more work for me. 

The fiber festival I at which I am a vendor is in less than 2 weeks!  I am pretty well ready, I just need to make sure everything is tagged and I have all my "stuff" together.  here are the 6 "colorways" I have done up in 100% Ohio grown alpaca yarn.  I have 6 skeins of each color for 3 dozen skeins total.  Plus I have lots of dyed and natural colored roving, more yarns and of course rugs. 

 I just took 3 rugs off the loom today and am very pleased with them.  I need to cut them apart and tie/twist the fringes sometime in the next week.  The fringe is more time consuming (tedious) than the weaving it sometimes seems.

 Here are 2 of the rugs.  

I place  cardboard between them on the loom to measure out the correct amount of warp to make the fringes. 

I finished the 25" of plain black knitting I was working on last week for the satchel for the Humane Society fund raiser so I rewarded myself by starting on my second sockI should finish it up in the next couple days and then I need to address another part of the satchel.  This will be more interesting because it will have a pattern and keep my attention better!


  1. Hi Cathy. I have been enjoying your blog for a couple of months and I am beginning to feel like a stalker so I thought I should introduce myself! I am originally from Woodsfield but currently live in Troy. I am looking forward to the fiber festival later this month and will look for you there so I can say "hi" in person. Hope you have a great show! Merrilee Dillon

    1. Hi Merrilee,

      Small world! I just now saw your comment so sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, be sure to say hi this weekend.


  2. we do the same thing with shearing, start with a few the first day to get back into the swing of it. Then aim to do more the next time. Ah fresh fiber!!


  3. Rowdy looks more like a cattle dog with that hair cut. Skeins look really nice, they should sell well.I'm making some soft chevre' and have made some St. Maure I want you to try, maybe next week I'll stop by the office. I have a ton of things to get ready for GLFS. Lots of plants for dyeing and some herbs.

    1. I am sure you are busy getting ready. It seems there is so much to do to prepare to do a fiber show.

      I will be at GLFS on Sunday. Taking a class in the afternoon, so will see you in the morning.