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Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's The New Year





Grover is a handsome fellow!
Since living on the farm, I have always felt April 1st is like the beginning of the New Year.  Winter is hopefully behind us and it is time to be outside instead of curled on the couch next to the woodburner with spinning or knitting or a good book.  

So spring prep is under way.  I have bees arriving in less than 2 weeks, so I need to get my boxes and frames ready for that.  I hope to get the garden tilled  up when we get a dry day.  Lettuce can be planted in a week or two.   I belatedly sent all my combs and cutters for the alpaca shears out (I usually do that at then end of shearing and I just forgot) for sharpening.  Shearing season is near.  We have mountains of poop to spread on the hayfield.  I expect we will have 2 crias born to first time mothers sometime in May.  I have yarn to dye for the Great Lakes Fiber Show, which is at the end of May.  Oh, and Grover and I have just started a beginning agility class!  We've only had one class, so more on that later on. I have also registered for 2 5Ks in the next 6 weeks, which Grover will run with me. This is a great time of year.

 The tail end of March seemed to bring spring in with it.  We have had some lovely weather in the last week, though it has been rainy the last 2 days.  That is to be expected in spring.  It is guaranteeing that when we do get some sunshine and warmth again, everything will burst into color.   The alpacas were happy to spend a couple days enjoying the sunshine on a fresh pasture.  I only give them a day or two at a time on pastures this time of year.  Can you see the hints of green?





I did some dyeing this week.  I have some alpaca/wool blend yarn that I got back from MorningStar Fiber Mill in February and I have to admit, I plan to knit myself a sweater from it.  I do not have a lot, only 23 skeins of it.  My sweater will likely use 5 of those.  I experimented with immersion dyeing the skeins and then splattering them with other colors once they were dyed.  The results were not as colorful as I wanted, the purples are very subtle and I had hoped they would pop a bit more on the blue.  The greens are more visible.  But this was a test run and I think it will make a lovely sweater for me.  I have the rest of this yarn to dye as well as 48 or so skeins of 100% alpaca.  I need to find 2 or 3 really nice wool fleeces this year because I want to do more of the alpaca/wool blend yarn.  I think it has more practical uses.  


Here is round 4 of the Sock Circle.  I used a variegated green yarn and a free pattern on Ravelry called "Shamrock Sock" in honor of St Patrick's day.  I am considering knitting these socks for myself in the same yarn.  Cuz I have so much free time in the spring and summer. Right.

I also finished up my  Montana Tunic 





Or I should say almost finished. I need to weave in yarn ends and wash and block and sew on buttons.  It has been a long time in the knitting.  I had to buy another skein of yarn.  It used a good bit more yarn than the pattern called for.  I don't usually have that problem.  

Check out the buttons I made for it:


These are cut from a deer antler "shed"  We like to collect the antlers that the bucks shed in January and I chose one I thought I could get good buttons from and went at it with a hack saw.  There has to be an easier way!  It was also hard to get the darn thing in the bench vise I used to hold it while sawing.  And then it was difficult to hold the buttons to drill the holes.  I'd like to make more of these, but I have to find better tools.  These are about 1" in diameter.  I'm quite pleased with them.

Work continues on the kitchen in the guest house.  Sam says it will be ready for me to paint by this weekend.  The ceiling needs painted since when the new roof was put on there were a couple accidents with things going through the kitchen ceiling and those have been patched.  I will only be putting primer on the walls as Mom wants to paint it the same color the paneling was painted prior to the demolition.  She will be here in about 10 days and we will be discussing cabinets, etc.  But the floor tile has to go in first.  That won't be done before Mom visits!

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