Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dyeing Again

Life's Tough
As you can see, we are enjoying life here on the farm.  We are getting the garden in and have enjoyed some of the year's first homegrown asparagus.  There is lettuce starting to come up, potatoes are planted, as are beets.  Squash will be next and tomatoes and peppers as well.  I even picked some rhubarb yesterday and hope to make a yummy dessert with it.  Sam has picked some morels in the woods and he is not sure if they are done or not for the year.

Yes, I am once again dyeing.  I got my 3-ply worsted weight 100% alpaca yarn last week from the processor and while it is a smaller batch, only about 7 pounds, I am happy with it.  Since I am to be sharing a vendor space at the in Wooster Ohio over Memorial Day weekend with my friend Tari, I am wasting no time in dyeing it up.  I am using a different dye technique with this, kettle dyeing.

I am also doing a tonal dye process in which I basically use shades of only one color in different concentrations.  So far I have done 2 batches, one in teal and one in salmon

Since this is the first time I am using these methods, there is some trial and error, but in general I am happy with the results.  I am taking good notes in my "Dye-ary" so I can look back and see what I would change and/or do again.  I am dyeing only 5 skeins in each colorway which is 1250 yards since I have less to dye and the batches are limited to what will fit easily in my dyepot.

The bees are well.  Both Saturday and yesterday, Tuesday, I got into the top bar hive to refill their 1:1 sugar water feed.  On Saturday I also pulled the combs out to look for evidence  that the hive is thriving and was happy to find capped brood, which is the stage of larval development where the larva develops into the adult worker bee.  So things are looking good.  This weekend I hope to open the orchard hive and see how they are progressing with the new box and frames I gave them 10 days ago.  I am anxiously awaiting a shipment of additional frames, however, in case they are ready for another box.

This morning I sent 4 alpacas off to Virginia to a new home, bringing us down to 23 on the farm.  So now I am contemplating breedings for this spring.  I want to continue to breed for fiber production as well as to make some of the females I have more sellable, but I don't want to get to where I have too many alpacas again.  It's a hard balance.  I would like to stay under 25.  There are 6 females I am thinking of breeding for crias for next spring.  I may have 2 due this fall.  Stay tuned.

Our weekend weather was fabulous.  I took advantage of that on Sunday and went horseback riding again.  Rode a fun little paint who was happiest bringing up the rear and who I was warned has a penchant for wanting to get down and roll on the creek crossings.  I managed to keep him on his feet.  It's a bit cold yet for a dunking!

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