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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost Christmas



Well so far I still have the computer up and running, will be so happy when son #1 has time after New Years to fix it up for me. We have had such cold weather and blowing snow so have drifts all over the place, so far all animals have survived, you really wonder how at those temperatures. Have been busy baking goodies for the kids Christmas bags, I have to find time to bake something for myself as I can not have gluten.RH finally picked up a tree so will get it put up tonight and then I will be trying to keep the cats from dismantling it. We are going to be by ourselves for Christmas day as Son #1 is on call at work so has to be close enough in case of an emergency which always happens in the holidays, son#2 works in the oil patch so he is working over Christmas and daughter just phoned and said their van died and can not get it into the garage until after the holidays, the older grandson's have serious girlfriends this year so will be spending Christmas day with them so we will all get together later when everyone is free. So we are planning a quiet do whatever we want day with the animals, just hope it is a nice day and no one needs to be out shoveling snow.
I finished the scarf and hat and can not wait to make some more, love the way the colors swirl up on the scarf, the hat is a bit on the large side so might make the next one a bit smaller. Have been busy making small quilted Christmas ornaments for gifts, I sent them off and forgot to take pictures, have to remember to take pictures of the one's I am just finishing.
Son #1 had bought a digital camera last year that has settings galore but decided it was just too complicated for them and they bought another point and shot one so I said I needed a new camera so let me give it a trial run and I will see if it is what I want, the other day I got out the instruction book and it took me ages to even figure out how to turn it on....is that a good sign or what!! The book told you how to turn it off but there was nothing to say how to turn it on. I did get it turned on and took a couple of pictures and actually got them downloaded onto the computer. It has a great zoom factor and I noticed the neighbors cows on top of one of the hills quite far away so went out and took a picture.....wow it was like they were just across the road!! I think I am going to love this camera!!....if I ever get everything figured out...have to do some cheat cards to carry with me until I get the hang of it. I took a great picture of our poinsettia with it so will post it Well better run and get things finished up around here or maybe just lay in a sunbeam with the cats....it is still twenty-eight below but you would not know it with the sun coming through the windows, better enjoy it while we can!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ohhhhhh it is cold out there!!


It has been so cold for the last couple of days, we had a snow storm with strong winds and have drifts all over the barnyard. We had sorted animals around trying to get them all some shelter, we had some of our gift llamas that had taken a dislike to some of ours and would not let them up for food or water, one nasty llama girl does not like the alpacas so she was chasing them and running them off in the female area so we moved goats out of the shelters into the barn and put them in there with a couple younger llamas and a couple of older llamas that the nasty llama was chasing around, the funny thing was the two older llamas were llamas that she came with!! So they had shelters but when RH went out the next morning the alpaca girls decided not to go into the shelters and were laying out by the fence almost covered with snow, he tried to herd them in and one of them jumped into a big drift and she could not get out so he had to dig a path for her to get out, so he closed them into the paddock and fed them in the shelter and last night they stayed in. Until now we have not had that much trouble mixing in different animals but this has been a big worry with the cold weather. The male that came with the herd is on the thin side and was sheared so is really suffering in the cold weather so we put a large animal coat on him and he is better. This is just too much stress!! I am amazed that the animals can survive weather that cold!!
Meanwhile I have been struggling along with my computer problems managing barely to read e-mails and send them but then the computer would not recognize the printer, so could not print anything!! Like what else for goodness sake....I am trying to get my Christmas letter printed and mailed. Oldest Son was coming out yesterday to help me get the computer back online in exchange for a haircut but the weather was too bad but he managed to get out today even though it was thirty below, he did not have time to clean up the computer but he got the printer working and identified some damage the virus did and I will be able to manage until after Christmas when he has a couple of weeks off work and can get out to fix things up and he got his hair cut and we had a good visit.
Now on the knitting front, on the Yarn Harlots blog she had been knitting those scarves with the two colors of yarn and it gave me an idea....that I would dye a solid color of yarn to go with my multicolored yarn and knit a similar type scarf, and I love the way it turned out, I have a picture of when I first started it and it is neat the way the colors swirl along. I just finished it tonight plus a hat to match and will get pictures tomorrow. I knit two rows of the multicolor and then two rows of the solid color in knit one, purl one. On the hat I did the knit one, purl one for five centimeters to start with then knit the rest in stocking stitch in two rows multi and two rows plain. Now can not wait to start the other colors....but I better get my Christmas letter written and mailed and finish shopping for Christmas. For all my nieces and nephews, nineteen of them at this point I make up a small bag of goodies each, I do not see them that often and I feel that doing this makes me remember their names and they remember mine...right..I just use brown sandwich bags and use a stamp of a llama and some cats and decorate them. I also better get baking this coming week as I do up bags for children and Grandchildren full of baked goodies and a jar of homemade jam. Jam is already made so just have to get the baking done up. I am running out of days so I better get a schedule so I can get everything done in time. And "Please" to the powers that be over computers.....keep mine going until my computer fixer son can get at it!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Finally online again!!



I think the computer having problems is too stressful!! A virus tried to get in one night through a chatline while RH was on the computer and he did not notice or tell me there was a problem so when I went to shut down the computer before going to bed here it was!! Although I blocked the line it was coming in on and hoped I was o.k. my internet was closed down....I worked for hours trying to get it working...would take a break and then get at it again, RH had some info to send to people before his conference call this coming week plus I live in the middle of nowhere and my computer is my lifeline, specially my daily online chat to sister Jean. Sent an S.O.S to older son who deals with my computer problems but without him being here he could not offer any quick fixes so I was on my own. Finally by going in the back door so to speak I managed to open my e-mail and read messages but could not send e-mails.....o.k. went to bed and tried again yesterday morning...managed to stop all the alerts that something was going to take over my computer and finally....could not believe it...I could finally send e-mails and access the internet. I can not believe I did this on my own!! RH managed to get his info sent!! It still is not great but I am managing so far so hopefully this post will go.
So now what else have I been up to....have to think...this computer thing has consumed me for four days so have to think.....oh..yes..I knit the little doll for my niece's youngest little girl, she was born the day after Christmas last year so is coming up a year old, knit some fingerless mitts out of some llama yarn, two pair....I am really having a mind blank I tell you...will have to go refresh my memory, I know I was knitting.
Meanwhile we have been trying to get the herd of llamas mixed into our herd which is not easy I tell you, the male had always been in his own paddock by himself and we run ours together now we have so much space as it is healthier than being confined in small paddocks, well when we first put him in the main male area he was getting beat on and not fighting back, so put him in the younger male pasture and they beat on him and he would not fight back, finally put him in a small pasture by himself and he went down to a corner and stayed and looked depressed so went down and brought him up and put him in with the geldings in their pasture and so far so good, we were afraid he would start beating on the geldings. Then I noticed one of the females from the new herd chasing my alpaca girls and not letting them up to the barn and the water, so now we are solving that problem by moving goats around so we can get the alpaca girls their own area with a few of the younger llama girls. We have had a bit of snow but any day we could really get dumped on and I would like to have everyone safe and comfy.
Well better get this posted while the going is good. Off to make some bread and dye up a couple skeins of yarn and get my dye stuff tucked away until after the holidays. RH is off to a Christmas party today so I better make the most of the time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where has the time gone??



Although I have lost track of time I have been getting a few things completed. The socks are knit and mailed away. I had knit a little hat with the sheep on it and had it at the guild sale and someone wanted one just a bit smaller for a baby. So I knit one hat with sheep and made one with llamas on it, I think the llama one would have worked out better if I had used a different colored background....I don't know...will have to think about that one. So that is finished. I still had some dye solution mixed up so dyed up some of the mohair/merino roving I had processed up at the mill, I think it felted a bit in the dye pot so will have to see how it works out for spinning, I think if I split the roving it will work...or I will felt some hats with it. Want to dye some mohair locks and then will put all the dye pots away until the new year.
Finally had to get the sewing machine working this morning, RH had broken the zipper on his favorite jacket and it is getting too cold to walk around outside with his coat open so finally got all the stitching picked out (black on black) and then replaced the zipper, thinking to myself how did I do this for a living at one time, I haven't replaced one for years, then his down vest was leaving a trail of feathers as he walked by so mended the vest too and then washed jacket and vest, I am always so nervous about washing and drying down things in the machine...always have to keep checking as I am sure I am going to find the machine full of feathers. Then while I was on a roll I mended a couple pair of his jeans and a shirt so he is good for a while.
Then our llama herd grew again last week by nineteen, friends of ours that bought their first llamas from us years ago had to disperse as she has had cancer the last few years and it is not getting better and he just can not manage to take care of her and the llamas, his health has not been great the last few years either, they did not know what to do so we went and got the llamas and have been trying to fit them in our herd. I had said we would take a gelding llama for another lady as she has to move....and then there is going to be a sign on our gate...."no room in the Inn" we have been trying to cut the herd down for years but it keeps growing.
Our weather has been nice for November which is great, hope it lasts until after Christmas although it looks so brown and dull outside but we are getting outside things done up. Am off to knit a little doll for my youngest niece for Christmas, she was born the 26th. of December last year, she will have Christmas one day and then birthday party the next day!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I am still here...in body if nothing else.


Well fall markets are finished and I am trying to get the special orders finished and delivered...almost done...almost done. The two pair of child's wool socks are knit and ready to pop in the mail, I am just finishing putting the suede on the heels of three pair of men's slipper socks and then they are in the mail, so now just have a pair of thrum slippers and a little sheep or llama hat ordered for a baby. Then I can think about Christmas but before that I better think about some house cleaning, I am seriously thinking about giving two cats and one dog a crew cut.Want to dye some mohair roving before I put all the dye stuff away until the new year, did two pots of wool skeins just before the last market so have enough of that left until the new year. My poor carder is being neglected lately, is just sitting there with bags of fibre around it.
While it has been cold out we have only gotten a skiff of snow thank-goodness so outside work continues when we can, sun was shining today but when I went out it was not warm but supposed to be warmer tomorrow. Charlotte has not returned...do I resort to going around to the neighboring ranches and ask if I can check out their pigeons??? They already think I am the crazy lady on the hill so I do not think they would be surprised. My sister Jeannie says there is something to be said for arranged marriages, we should have found a guy pigeon for her before she had to go looking for one herself. Well am off to finish sewing suede onto bottoms of slipper socks, not my favorite thing to do, I think I have run out of gas lately. Should also put a pot of soup on the stove, made a pot of chicken with rice soup a few days ago and we inhaled it....it was so good. Nothing like a bowl of homemade soup!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Attention to all blog friends!!

Valwho lives in southern Australia with her pug friends Abraham and Happy has given me "Blogging Friends Forever Award" What a nice thing to do!! Thank-you Val!!

Now to keep the ball rolling I now pass the award to five other bloggers.

Maple I love the pictures of her Alpacas and what she creates with their fibre. I also admire her strength at this time in her life.

Val Love the pictures of her sheep....they are very photogenic and what she creates with their fibre. Val just had an accident which has slowed her down at the moment so we should see a lot of knitting etc. going on. Speedy recovery Val!!

M.J. my creative daughter, check out her beautiful needle felting creations, they are fantastic!!

Shelley enjoy reading about her adventures in sewing for herself and her daughter (the worlds cutest little girl) because I was a sewing maniac before I was a fibre maniac.

Eileen I recently came across Eileens blog and loved the pictures of her dyed yarn....thinking it looked just like some of my yarn I had just dyed and spun up!

Now pass the award on!!

(1) Only five people are allowed
(2) Four have to be followers of your blog
(3) One has to be someone new to your blog or live in another part of the world
(4) You must link back to whoever gave you the award.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting There Slowly



Week is going too fast!! Have been trying to get some things made up for the Christmas Market this coming weekend. Got five wool hats knit up and felted, I always have to hold my breath when I put the knit hats into the mesh bags and toss them in the washer, I stand there trying not to panic and take them back out...are going to felt...are they going to turn into a ball of yuk...but they came out great, it always amazes me how much they do felt as they are so big before I felt them, actually I should have made a few of them larger. But they turned out great!! They are much warmer when they are felted....and I think they are cute. Then I had a pattern for a headband I have wanted to knit, the face of it was knit in cable and although I thought it was going to be too large I thought I would follow the pattern to the letter and was glad I did. After the face of it was finished and sewn together you picked up a stitch every other row with a round needle and knitting a lining as wide as the face then knitting a stitch from the other side as you cast off finished it off. Made a nice warm headband. Will have to make some more of them for Christmas presents. Yesterday and today I managed to have the dyepots on the go so have sixteen skeins dyed and hanging to dry. Tonight I just finished a knit boucle scarf in bright Christmas red and put a fringe on it and the biggest job.....putting a knot in the end of every piece of fringe so it will not fray when washed . Should really cast on for a pair of socks before I go to bed, still have some slipper socks but am sold out of regular socks...have two more days....have two more days..
Now about Charlotte....she has not been around the last couple of days....I knew that Sirus was up to no good!! He has taken Charlotte away to who knows where, he was so sneaky coming around at dusk every night, he has probably taken her to a terrible old dirty cow barn somewhere...then he will cast her off and send her home with fertilized eggs to hatch and raise all by herself in the cold winter weather. We are missing her, specially Maxx (the Jack Russel) I say to him in the morning...do you think Charlotte came back...he runs to the window and looks out then goes to the door and when I let him out he runs to the garage to check...and no Charlotte. And it has snowed tonight...hope she is warm....I know...I know...I should get a life...worrying about a pigeon. But you have to admit...she was a special pigeon. Well am off to cast on a sock and then am off to bed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Should I do First???


Lately it seems all I have been doing is running in circles, at this time of year there is so much to do. If the weather is warm enough there is so much outside work, getting the flower beds ready for winter, we finished siding the garage and just have the big door to put in, have decided to leave putting the floor in until spring as we are running out of time and of course the big problem is.....we did not put a pigeon door in the garage....how is Charlotte going to come and go...now we did put a window in that opens...maybe we can take the screen off and she can come and go that way...plus Charlotte has found herself a guy friend all by herself. He is very sneaky...comes to visit just at dusk...have not caught him having a sleepover...he does not stick around long enough for me to ask his intentions toward Charlotte. We are calling him Sirus.
We had our guild sale last Sat. I had dyed up some skeins of wool which all sold and the hats I knit then felted all sold too and now we have the Christmas market sale and I have to get some more stock made up, have been trying to knit one hat a night, so far have four finished and am working on the fifth. Want to get some dye pots going too, maybe next week. Finished knitting the three pair of slipper socks on order, just have to sew the suede on the heels of two pair and the sole on the other pair and get them mailed off. Have also been spinning some alpaca/merino/silk I carded together the other day, it is a off white color so would like to rainbo dye it and right now am leaning to making fingerless mitts with it, have to see when I ply it what the yardage is. I loved the yarn I just dyed and had the same problem I always have of wanting to keep it for myself, will post a picture. Better get the dyepots brewing again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Doing a Bit of Everything





It seems at this time of year there is so much to do and all you hope is the weather stays nice enough it will get done. The garage is going up slowly, so many interruptions, it was the llama convention so RH was off to that for four days and I held the fort at home, chores morning and night and RH had brought home a large case of plums and a large bag of apples from the market so when I wasn't doing chores I was making plum jam and making and freezing apple pies thinking when am I going to get things made up for the two sales coming up pretty soon. Charlotte is still here...taking over the place, has gotten so tame but stays an arms length away from us, she is getting too brave marching around on the ground and for some reason she is not afraid of power tools, she just sits there supervising. I think we have ourselves a pigeon friend. We started putting the siding on the garage today, side door and windows are in, I keep thinking we should put a pigeon door in somewhere too.....but do I dare mention it to RH??? Now he has a conference call tomorrow morning for a couple of hours, please let the weather stay nice. While he is doing that I will make some pickled carrots, I picked and sorted some carrots last night and there are some nice long thin one's that are going to be great to fit in the jars, they are washed and ready to go so will not take me long. Meanwhile every spare minute I am carding fibre on the new carder. I did well on the entry's I had in the llama conventions fibre show. The two oz. of llama fibre I cleaned for the handspinners choice of which they spun one oz and displayed it with an oz of the unspun fibre I placed first, I placed first and second in the fleece show and I placed first for the 100% llama spun skein and first for the llama blend skein and placed third with my knitted item. I donated a pair of slipper socks knit from alpaca for their silent auction and the man that bought them phoned me on Monday and ordered three more pair, so that is what I am trying to do right now all the while thinking I should be at the dye pots. Have started on the second pair and hope to have them finished by the weekend and then one pair to go. It never ends, never enough time. Have to sit down and make a list and get organized....right?....right!! Will get right at it....in my spare time...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Her name is Charlotte



It is already the first of October, where did the time go? thank-goodness we have had some summery warm weather this week to try to finish up outside things. Got the onions out of the garden because the ground was so wet some them were turning mushy, have them drying in the furnace room. Still have to dig the potatoes (what the gophers have left me)and the carrots. Wanted to get at the flowerbeds too and split up some of the Iris's, will see if the weather holds. We are building a garage beside the house, I need some where to sort my fibre, moved my sorting table in there as soon as the sheeting went on the roof. So have been in there working while RH is pounding on the roof nailing the shingles on it, it is so great I have claimed it as my work room, I do not think a vehicle is ever going to be parked in there. So far it only has a dirt floor but will eventually have a cement floor with underfloor heating, I am so excited am already planning to put a stove in it to dye my yarn...great plans going around in my head. But someone else arrived at our house that thinks she should move in too....a lost homing pigeon...but I said no diapers...no pigeon. We have been trying to get her tame enough we can read her leg band and then we can find out who she belongs to, meanwhile she is checking the place out. Found her sitting beside Maxx the Jack Russel yesterday morning and in the afternoon she was walking around with both dogs, gave her a good talking to and told her to get off the ground and get safe!! The problem now is....we are bonding to each other....her name is Charlotte...how can we give her back if we find who she belongs to....it is running through my mind.....that I should clean the chicken house that the chickens do not live in and make a winter home for her....and then what do you do for a lonely girl pigeon.....you have to get her a boy pigeon...and then you know what happens....when you put a boy and girl pigeon together.....I am just saying...will keep you posted.....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Back Again


















Well I guess it is about time I wrote again, time seems to fly by. So to continue from last post....how did I place in the fair. Well the baking was eaten a while ago and no pictures. I only baked three things, the Saskatoon pie, the spice cake and some squares. Now three years ago a family in honor of their mother donated a special of five hundred dollars for the best Saskatoon pie, that year I came in second, last year being the hundred year anniversary for the fair the prize for best Saskatoon pie was a thousand dollars and I did not even place, berries were so terrible around here, now...this year it was a hundred dollars....AND I GOT FIRST!! for my Saskatoon pie! I got first for the spice cake and second for the squares. Then on my fibrey items I entered I got first and best of section for my vest I knit out of the painted knit tube of wool and for the rest I have the ribbons on the items in the picture. I had entered four llama fleeces and I got first second, third and fourth in the class. So did not do too bad, was such a hot! hot! day. Then I had time to play with my new carder and I love it, the picture shows the first fibre I carded on it, some grey alpaca in roving and a skein spun, you can see by the drum on the carder I was already into brown llama. I am entering a skein of 100% llama and a skein of a llama blend, the blend is of llama, superwash merino and a bit of tussah silk. Now have to get them spun up, am also entering the feather and Fan scarf out of llama and I have three llama fleeces to go into the competition at the conference. Then I carded fibre and I carded fibre sometimes long into the night and I spun the fibre and spun the fibre..long into the night....no wonder I have had this headache for the last few days. I had a lady ask me for some insoles for her boots made out of alpaca fibre, now I am not a felter unless I have knit it first....and then just toss it in the washing machine, but I said I would try it, so I made felt...did you read that....I made a big piece of felt...and it did not kill me. And I just cut some insoles out of it and they look so warm. So now I will be felting too. Daughter M.J. the felter said now you have caught the bug....I said NO! NO! not another fibre bug, I am wondering if you can be done in by fibre bugs. I also knit some heavy socks for this same lady, just finished them and they are washed and blocked and ready to go. Mean while I have been picking beans and getting them in the freezer and enjoying the lettuce, carrots and potatoes out of the garden. Loved the colors of the lettuce, had to take pictures, some of it was too beautiful to eat!! Was so glad I took pictures as we had a hail storm come through the other afternoon and the lettuce is not so pretty right now.Just finished the chores, RH is at the farmers market today, hope he did not have to set up the tent in a mud puddle as it really rained last night. I should get busy and clean the house a bit before I start naming the dust/cat hair bunnies rolling around, cats have really been having their tussles lately, they are not young, should not have all this energy for tussles, right now they are sleeping peacefully in a sunbeam

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where have I been and what am I doing!!


As I say every time I log into post "where is the time going"!! Has been so busy lately have to think back to remember what I did first. The exciting thing is I did get my new carder and the big problem I have been having is finding time to use it, I have carded some adult alpaca on it and can not believe the beautiful job it does in one pass, I wanted to add some merino to the alpaca so I put it through the carder a second time and then a third to get everything mixed together and it really mixes the different fibre together. I could have eliminated one of the cardings if I had layered the merino with the alpaca on the first pass, will remember that the next time. I took the carded fibre off in rovings and it spun so easy. I ordered a picker too and it just came yesterday but have not had time to take it out of the box yet. Then it was my mothers birthday and my sister was having a get together at her house, usually we have it in the town hall but not that many could make it as they had other commitments for the weekend. I took a day to go into the city to do some shopping and stopped in town to fill the car with gas, when I got in the car from gassing up I happened to look down at a pair of gloves between the car seats....AND....was that mouse droppings!! IN THE CAR!!! Then I looked at the floor under my feet....IT LOOKED LIKE A HERD OF MICE WERE LIVING IN THE CAR!!!! I did not have time to go back home and knew that RH was in the yard so would not answer the phone or I would have had him bring the truck down for me to use. So I had to keep going....wondering if I had something in the car (did not take my knitting as I was driving) to tie my pant legs closed, so shopped all day hating to put my bags in the car, where could I put the apple I brought with me so the mice would not get on it etc. etc. I never even thought when I grabbed my cloth shopping bags as I went in for groc. that they could have been a mouse in them...it wasn't until after I put them up on the counter that I thought of it and was so relieved nothing jumped out when the girl packed my groc. Can you imagine the excitement if that would have happened!! So managed to get everything done and get home without a mouse siteing. I told RH that I had to drive around all day with mice in the car....he did not believe me until I had him go out and look....then he came in with a panicked look on his face... he said how could they have gotten in... there is no food in there... I said there is enough crumbs from you eating on the go in the car to last them for months I said they probably got in when you decided to take the garbage from the barn to the dump and used the car instead of the truck, the barn is running with mice this year. I had him take the live mouse trap out with some dry cat food in it and in about an hour there were three mice in it. Now he knew I was going to go down to my sisters on the weekend and the car needed the brakes fixed plus when I got up to speed on the highway the car shook all over...it needed a wheel alignment...how can he drive like that, I had not driven it for ages. So I said I was going to take the truck when I went, we just got a new one and I had not driven it yet, I do not think he thought I would....well the weekend came around....he had not taken the car in to be fixed....so I took the truck and oh my goodness!! It drives so nice...people give you more respect when you have a truck instead of a small car...I do not think I want to drive the car anymore. Anyway got down for my Mother's birthday party, my sisters horse had her baby the morning before I left so got to go admire it, then stopped at other sister's and got to admire her beautiful house plants, her bottle calves and her cutest little dog in the world, and then came home. Was worried as my pygmy Mom's had not kidded before I left but I thought whatever happens happens, one girl had her kids without a problem just before I drove into the yard. one more had her kids a day later which left the last one who looked like a balloon. We had friends stop in and stay the night, they were on holidays, had a good visit, had not seen them for years. Then it was get the llama show organized for the fair, plus I had entered some fleeces for the fleece show and some cooking for the bench show and some of my knitting and spinning. so got everything ready to go for the weekend. As I have run out of time for now I will let you know in the next post how I made out at the fair. Will leave you a picture of a couple of the new kids.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer is going too fast!!






Well I am still doing a little bit of everything, running in circles. I dyed a pot of wool fleece, it was quite dirty and matted even after I had washed it so put it in a pot on the stove and sprinkled some dye colors on it and poked it around a bit. When it was finished I rinsed it and spun the water out of it and put it to dry on my drying rack, as it dried I teased it apart and then when it was almost dry I took it out on the deck and teased it apart some more, the matts came apart and most of the debris fell out, now to decide what to do with it!! I finished knitting the feather and fan scarf out of the llama yarn, now just have to wash and block it. The llama club was gifted with some cones of llama yarn for a fund raiser, there were two cones of a light tan color so I bought them and skeined off a skein from each cone, one was a darker shade of tan and thought I would paint them and see how they came out. Well first of all.....100% llama does not grab the dye like wool does and I ended up with toooo much dye on the skein so there was a lot of blotting of extra dye and the dye ran together which concerned me a bit but in the end it turned out not too bad, the colors are dark as when I thought the yarn was not going to be dark enough to cover the natural color I added more concentrated color. I am wondered if I should have used a thickener in my dye so that it would not have ran together so much before it had a chance to absorb into the yarn??? Have never used it before so do not know....will have to investigate.. Now what to make with the yarn, I have not knit that much lace weight and this yarn is really lace weight so have been knitting a few patterns of different lace patterns. Might just do the feather and fan pattern and make a scarf to get used to knitting with it, are there lace needles?? I find I am having a hard time not splitting the stitches, knitting with the needles I have it is a slow process. That is another thing I will have to investigate. The fleece sorting is an on going thing, so far I have all the alpaca fleece sorted and am working on the llama fleeces, had stop the sorting for a bit and get my two oz of llama fibre dehaired and pick out the debris for the entry for Handspinners Choice Competition in the fibre and fleece section at the Llama Conference the end of Sept. I have to have it in by the end of July as they have a spinner spin one oz and it is displayed with the unspun oz of fibre. You do not realize how much two oz of llama fibre is until you start weighing it. But it is done and ready to go!! I could not wash it so for the competition but as soon as I got my two oz sorted I washed the rest of the fleece and it is so much easier to work with, just had to spin up a tiny skein this morning to see how it will spin and it is so nice, now to get it carded and spun. Now before the conference we have the local fair so have to decide what I am going to enter in that as the deadline for entry's is the first of Aug. might have a few things already made that I can enter, better go check. I had ordered a Pat Green supercard carder early in the spring, they were so backed up on orders and said it would probably be later in the fall before I would get it.....guess what??...Paula phoned me yesterday and they will be sending my carder out on Wed.(picture happy dance here) I have had one of their smaller carders for years and love it but this one is electric (another happy dance)the best thing is I can take my carded fleece off in rovings if I want to(another happy dance) Then of course I have been taking many pictures of my flowers, everyday someone else is popping a flower out that needs it's picture taken and I am still battling with the gophers in my vegetable garden, will not have any peas this year because of the mice and the gophers but am guarding my carrots and lettuce and beans so far o.k. Well am off to wash the lettuce I just picked from the garden and then decide whether I should sort more fleece or spin the llama fleece I just washed. Hope everyone is having a great summer!! For me it is going tooo fast!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where has the time gone?





I don't know whether it is because of the late start with our spring but time is going fast and all I am doing is trying to catch-up. Was out working in the front flower beds but a rain and a bit of hail storm blew through, it looked pretty bad but moving fast so we only got the edge of it so no damage thank-goodness. I could not believe how well I did at the fleece show at fibre week at Old's College. I had to enter the fleeces before we sheared the animals so just had to wing it and when we sheared the fleeces were so full of trash I did not have time to pick it all out so I entered fleeces that were easy to clean up. The fleece from our girl Ginger-Spice was not that long, barely making the three inch minimum, in fact I thought it would be too short but surprise!! she got first in her class and then took the grand champion. I should have got a picture of her. The shearer came and finished shearing the Alpacas as we were having trouble with our clipper and I have got all the alpaca fibre sorted and ready to go except for baby Blackberry, because his fibre is so fine it has some debris that needs to be picked out. Now have to get at the llama fibre and get it sorted but have gotten carried away sorting things and cleaning up downstairs. RH was at the stampede grounds in the Llama section for most of last week so on Monday I had him back the stock trailer up to the doors downstairs and load up the dead treadmill etc. etc. and do a dump run so today I vacuumed and tidied up as we want to finish up the flooring down there, which is a job for rainy days. I finally took the sweater hat out of time out and took it's picture, then I have been knitting a pair of socks out of the grey alpaca mix skein I had overdyed red, I love the red color, because of the dark and grey mix of the alpaca yarn there is dark and light red in the yarn. Then I have been knitting a scarf to put in the show at the Llama Conference in Sept. I am knitting it in a fine yarn made of 100% llama, I bought the skeins off a friend that had her fibre processed at the mill, the yarn did not have enough twist in it so I put replyed it and it came out great. Could not decide what pattern to use, finally decided on the feather and fan pattern, I added another pattern across as I thought it would not be wide enough and I really did not have to but it will make a wider scarf...but it is more knitting!! Have not decided what else I will enter. The llama club was given some cone's of llama yarn for a fund raiser and I bought two cone's of a fawn color and skeined off some of it and am going to overdye it and see how it comes out, it is a lace weight so is very fine....have to look for some patterns. Well I am on chore duty tonight and I hear my kids in the barn calling me, I am watering down their noon bottle as I will eliminate it pretty soon and get them down to two bottles a day, they are growing fast and eating grain and grass so do not really need it (but they think they do) I am still waiting on my three pygmy girls to kid, they look like any day, just hope they only have twins as I do not want to be tied down to bottle duty all summer and fall although pygmies are very portable, a few years ago I had two of them on the bottle and we had to go into the city so we tucked them in the dog carrier and took them in the back of the car with Maxx the Jack Russel to keep them company along with their bottles, had to find a shady car parkade to park while we did our business and then on our way home find a grass area for them to get out a bit and give them their bottles. Off to feed the kids!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Rain Day



We are having a few rain days and we needed them as we had a couple weeks of heat and things were starting to dry out, the rain gives me a break from watering. Iris's have been blooming and some of my lilies are starting to bloom and it is going to be quite a show as I counted over sixty blooms on the one bunch of plants. We had hail a couple of nights ago but ended up with just white spots on the leaves thank-goodness. I thought for sure after all that wet snow on my plants this spring I would not have any flowers at all. Not much on the knitting front, I did finish a scarf and hat set I was working on, it was a no-mind knit as it was just garter stitch, just have to put the fringe on the scarf. Also finished the sweater hat (headache hat), haven't taken any pictures yet as it is in time out until I feel more kindly to it. The Llama Conference is coming up so am thinking about what I should enter in the knitting etc. classes, took some skeins out and looked at them the other day but should decide on some patterns pretty soon. They also have the class where you send two oz of llama fibre picked free of guard hair and debris. I won the class last year with one of our young males fibre, but we sold him last year, have to look at the fibre of the three young animals we sheared this year, it was so trashy I could not send their fibre to the fleece show but will look and see if I can clean up two oz. As it is going to be cool today I have bread going in the breadmaker, baked bread yesterday too but we were having trouble with the power going off and on and did not know if it would get baked but it held in there and bread turned out great. As we can not work outside we I am getting some flooring put down in my work area downstairs, it will be a treat not to standing on concrete!! Hope everyone is enjoying the summer...it is going by fast!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer is Here!!







Well we finally have summer and sunshine......and all the work that that brings....but I am not complaining. A lot of the perennials are starting to bloom, birds are singing and my little frog came back to live in the flower bed....I think it is the same one....but how do you tell. of course there is also a gopher living under the front step that has been munching on some of my plants...have to figure out how to get him out of there. Have not done much knitting the last while with all the outside work, am still knitting on the headache hat but am almost finished. Did take some time to do a couple of dye pots. I have the grey and light brown colored yarn I had processed at the mill this spring and I thought I would try some over dying and it turned out great!! Love the colors!! Have to get a couple more pots on the go. The last week we have been shearing the llamas and shearing alpacas for the first time, we sheared twenty-four llamas and three alpacas. Some spitting, some screaming, some jumping over panels and having to shear some laying down. We still have seven alpacas to shear but are going to see if we can get the guy that shears in the area to do them. RH had got the blades and combs sharpened for our clipper but who ever did it did not do a great job so it was a real pain getting the clipper to work properly and with the alpacas with their denser fibre it was not doing a good job. I know the guy that shears in our area is so behind because of the rain, and if he can not fit us in we will just have to shear them ourselves. The farmers markets have started for the season, we go to two of them,one Thursday afternoon and the other one Saturday morning so that keeps us busy too. RH does the markets and I stay home and tend to the animals. We have three female llamas we are waiting to have their baby's, they are overdue so am keeping a watch on them plus the three pygmy girls are due any day. I had entered six llama fleeces in a fleece show and because of the rain and not getting them sheared before the deadline to enter them I just had to wing it, now that we have sheared them I think I am going to have to substitute some of the entry's if they will let me, as some I entered have too much trash in them. So I am off to sort through fleece and decide what to do, plus I better go down to the garden and see what the gophers have been up to!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The rain has not ended!!


Thank-goodness I did get the garden in before the rains came or it would be so late even though the mice ate the pea and bean seeds on me, actually we had a couple days when we did not get rain and the top of the ground dried off enough I could poke a few more pea seeds in and sure enough the mice were munching again. We have the mouse bait in pieces of plastic pipe but the mice were taking the bait out of the pipe and taking it home with them......all I hope is they had a party and invited all their friends. Now I have rocks against the pipes so the mouse can get in but they can not take the bait home with them, I was down at the garden yesterday and it did not look like any more mouse activity lately, even a couple of seeds they missed were growing. I think I will soak the bean seeds (I had to go buy more) overnight before I plant them. I was talking to a guy that has had the same problem with the mice and he has made cute little bird houses without the hole for the birds to go in and just put mouse holes at the bottom and he puts the mouse bait in them, that sounds more attractive to me than old pipe laying in the bed. I have all those tomato plants growing under lights....when will I ever get them in, it has been too cold to even harden them off, I need a mini greenhouse thing I guess. I also have pumpkin and squash plants growing under the lights ready to put out. Now on the knitting of the cute little sweater hat......I am keeping at it but it is not going fast!!I have now separated the stitches and am working on the front and back on straight needles so is so much easier, is so hard to see your stitches when they are scrunched up on the round needle, I think the other hats I have knit in cables have been knit on two needles and then sewn up, I don't know whether this pattern could be knit on two needles....will have to think on that!! Yesterday I took a skein of my grey alpaca/mohair/wool mix that I have been using for socks and dyed it blue, it turned out so nice so decided to do a dye pot of five skeins today, when I added the dye to the pot........I forgot I did not used the amount of dye for the dark color.......I used an amount between the dark and the medium....so these skeins are not the nice grey/blue color I wanted......they are blue!! blue!! I did a sample pot using red dye but I think I put the right amount in that dye pot. The dye pots are just finishing up so will take pictures tomorrow when they are dry. I better write myself some notes and underline them!!All our big goats have had their kids so now are waiting on the pygmies and the Angora/pygmy cross goat that the buck caught when RH left the gate open, he did that three times so I guess we are lucky only one accidently got bred!! Am off to take the dye pots off the stove and get the bottles ready for the kids in the barn. Will post the rainbow that we had after yesterdays rain.

Monday, June 2, 2008

This might be spring??



Well we went from winter to summer heat and then to a monsoon, the rain started and lasted about ten days, I was so glad I had got my garden in before it started raining........or so I thought.....when it dried up enough I could get down to the garden, I was so excited to see what was growing....what I found was the mice had dug all my pea and bean seeds out of the ground and ate them, at first I thought the birds did it but the more I thought on it....there were no bird feet tracks and the seeds were dug out just like I had picked them out of the dirt....I defeated the gophers by putting in raised beds with chicken wire around them and mesh wire under the beds so they could not dig under....now what??...this never seems to end!! Now we have mouse bait in pieces of plastic pipe in every bed and they must like it as when I went down yesterday they had drug the squares of bait out of the pipe trying to take it home with them, let us hope this is going to work. They also started digging up the beet seeds must must not have liked them as they just left them so I replanted them. I had ordered special pea seeds as we have a problem with powdery mildew on the pea plants so only get a couple of picking, so ordered a mildew resistant pea seed. Now the mice have never bothered my pea and been seeds before......why now. After the monsoon we have had pretty nice spring weather. More goat babies, we only bred four of the Boer/Dairy does and we ended up with a set of quads, a set of triplets and two sets of twins, the three pygmy does we bred should kid pretty soon. And I have been "trying to knit" the cute sweater hat!! I got the twisted rib brim finished no problem, and it is double so takes a lot of yarn and a lot of knitting, then it was on to the pattern &*^%$#$% I have knit a lot of cable knitting in the past and never had this much trouble, first of all they had a chart to knit from in which a lot of the symbols were so similar it was hard to tell the difference so after I ripped it all out the first time I color coded the symbols, which worked better although I found it really hard to knit the pattern on the cir needle the stitches were either all scrunched up on the smaller needle or too far apart on the next longer one, so after ripping back at least three times I think I am on my way but this pattern is a lot of work, takes forever to knit a row, is getting easier now I can see where the pattern is going. Have found a mistake way back and I am not going to rip it all out again, I will just emb a flower over it or something because if I rib it back one more time it is not going to be a hat....it will be a headband!! If I knit it again I will redesign the cable pattern....it does not need to be so complicated. Well I am off to do a couple more rows on the headache hat!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

From Winter to Summer!!



It seems just yesterday we were shoveling snow and all of a sudden it is hot and dry....what happened to spring?? They say it is supposed to rain in a few days and we really need it after days of heat and dry winds.Finished putting the garden in today so some moisture would be welcome......as long as it is rain and not snow.. Will water the garden good tomorrow...that usually brings the rain. The babies have started to arrive, Boer Mommy had triplets the other day, last year she had quads, she was not feeling well before the kids were born but after a couple of shots of penicillin and some vitamins she seems to be feeling a lot better. Right now we take a bottle of milk out and feed who ever is hungry. Babies were small but are doing great. We only have four Boer and Boer cross does to kid this year and three Pygmies does, we have never had so few, the days of ninety-two kids, thirteen sets of triplets and two sets of quads, leaving me with twenty-two kids on the bottle are over!! Can not do it anymore!! on the knitting front I am working on my sixth pair of socks for the market stash, using some of the merino yarn I recently dyed and some of the alpaca/merino I got back from the mill. Am almost socked out so have to decide what to knit next. Maybe a few hats, found a cute hat pattern in a book my daughter gave me, it is made like a sweater and you wear it with the arms tied on top of your head. Hope everyone is having a great long weekend!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Snow Day or two again!!



Well we still are having snow days. Yesterday this is what we woke up to, you can barely see my yellow tulips peeking out of the heavy wet snow. Thank-goodness by noon most of the snow had disappeared with no harm to anything and it did not freeze last night. Today was cool but no snow but they are forecasting bad weather again the middle of next week, things are growing so slowly the season is going to be over before we know it. I have been sock knitting, there must be four or five pair stacked up ready to wash and block and put in the market basket. Have spent most of the week at the Dr. office with xrays etc. of my back as I have been having so much back pain lately. The Dr. asked me if I had been doing anything that caused it and I could not think of anything but it started just after Christmas. This morning as I woke up I remembered what probably started it......we had to load some goats into the stock trailer on Dec. 13th (I had written it in my blog so I looked it up) now RH just can not catch goats, all the running and almost getting them etc. etc. and pretty soon goats are flying all over the place so I went out to help him and was helping him push a goat in the trailer, he had it by the horns and I was pushing and he yanked it so fast I lost my balance and hit my head into his back and my neck went crack. I moved my head and neck and it felt o.k. so I forgot about it. Now we try not to be in the barnyard at the same time or if I have to be there I try to stay at least three feet away from him as he never notices I am there and I have had to have eye surgery because he ran into me and pushed my glasses into my eye, I had a bad bruised leg from him running at a goat I was holding for him etc. etc. It was funny but really it wasn't, when I went to the Dr's office after my eye surgery to renew a prescription for eye drops there was a student Dr. in the office and he read my chart and said what happened to your eye and I told him about RH running into me and he looked like he was going to report it to the authorities as abuse and I said it wasn't on purpose, if it had been on purpose you would have had two patients sitting in front of you.......he did not have a sense of humor. Hope everyone has a great Mothers Day tomorrow and spring arrives soon....soon....soon....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is It Spring Yet?





Well the snow has been disappearing the last few days, the flower beds are almost clear and the plants that were coming up are squashed at the moment, tulips look like they are perking up but some of the iris leaves are broken so hopefully they will shoot out new ones as the weather gets warmer. My poor rose bush is pretty crushed, I had pruned it back before the last snow fall, the largest stem is bent over against the house, have to go out and see if I can put a stake in and tie it upright a bit but the surprising thing is there are small leaves coming out on the rose bush all along the stems....good grief....you would not think that being covered with four feet of wet heavy snow would encourage it to leaf out would you. It is cooling off and the sky is becoming overcast so let us hope it is rain and not snow, the season this year is going to be so late, let us hope for a long warm fall!! This morning when I woke up the birds were singing...do they know something....that we are really getting spring....let us hope so...anyway all that tweeting was beautiful music. On the fibre front I have been knitting a pair of socks and sorting out some llama fibre that I am putting into the pet pillows and look at the pest I found in my fibre when I left it unguarded for a minute!! Am also posting pictures of the resident animals enjoying their pillows... in one picture Maxx does not look too happy as Grey Kitty is on his bed and does she care....does not look like it!