Category: Blog

Thawing

Despite what Stringer says (“The Wire” reference video removed due to language worse than I remembered), I am enormously thankful for a 40-degree day.

While it was a stressful and tiring week, I’m pleased to report that we came through the snow and cold without any death or destruction. Structures intact, all critters accounted for. Whew!

This weeks expected rain should melt away the snow quickly, but cleaning all the mucky bedding out of the shed is going to be a big job.

And while hunkered down by the pellet stove, I actually got a fair fit of spinning done- you might remember that I brought home a bunch of new-to-me fibers from Florida last month-

So far I’ve spun up two of the three- the white below is Gulf Coast Native

true three-ply. singles spun on Elsa, plied on Moto. Really enjoyed this- smooth and easy spinning from well prepared roving.
light and lofty in luscious berry colors, spun on Moto (3.5), chain plied also on Moto (2.5). This prep was more like combed top. A little compressed- so I pre-fluffed and broke off sections to spin from the fold.

Next up is the Florida Cracker wool! Going to do it up in the same way as the Gulf Coast so I can do a direct comparison of the results- so I’ve got it divided up by weight into thirds and ready to spin

And we just got out garden seed order in to Baker Creek. So exciting to think about the cool stuff we’re going to grow this year. We’re dialing back the tomatoes a bit (still three varieties, just fewer of each), and making space for peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant and celery.

There’s still a lot of winter to be gotten through, but I do find that garden planning helps to keep me moving forward.

Have a good week folks!

Cold is Exhausting

And it is quite cold.

We have about 12-14 inches of snow on the ground and a high temp today of 14 degrees.

The Man and I have expended quite a bit of energy over the last couple of days trying to keep the critters out of the worst of it. But blowing snow is a real bugger.

We’ve fortified the shed with tarps, hung heat lamps for the chigs, and rigged water defrosters.

If anyone is out there looking for a makeshift chicken heater, I think that we might have hit upon something that might help in a punch- seedling heat mats

Didn’t take a picture while I was out there (reluctant to remove my gloves) but you can kind of see on the chicken cam.

You basically wrap one seedling mat around the 5 gallon reservoir, and place another beneath the tray. I’ve got a rubber flooring tile below the bottom mat so that it’s not sitting directly on the concrete pavers. So far it seems to be working well keeping the water in a liquid state.

The sheeps seem to be doing ok, but are a little agitated. Don’t know if that is maybe because we’ve been out there so much puttering and messing with stuff, or maybe they are kind of freaked out by the sounds the tarps make in the wind. But I wish they would cool out and hang in the shed where it is marginally comfier.

That’s it for now. I’m pretty beat. And tomorrow isn’t supposed to be any better weather-wise.

Take care and stay safe folks-

Photos, for the record 😉

Refinements and Repairs

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood- cool and sunny. About as nice as it gets for December in the PNW.

That haze is steam rising. Just a gorgeous scene- fresh and crisp. And still fairly green! I think that might change as this week progresses, though. Forecast is for cold and snow.

But we’re ready for it now that we’ve got a cool new hay shelf installed in the shed- courtesy of The Man.

Here is it with the front panel down for hay bale loading

And front panel up for secure storage

A significant improvement from storing hay over on the chicken side of the shed!

And in the repairs category- I spent some time today to giving one of my favorite old woolens some love. This old Bemidji Wool Mills shirt/jacket is my go-to top layer for a outdoor work in all but the most inclement weather, and so does take quite a beating. Frayed cuffs, missing buttons, etc.

First it got a sudsy handwash. Then I secured it’s fraying bits and replaced missing buttons with some cool antler ones I had in the stash.

A neat look I think! All spiffed up and ready for another year of chores 🙂

And.,,, registration just went live for the 2022 WSU Country Living Expo. It will be virtual again this year (spread out over three days – Jan 28, 29, 30), and I am going to be teaching a Basics of Wool Processing class on Sunday the 30th. First time teaching via Zoom- wish me luck!

There are Sheep in Florida

Or so I am told.

I didn’t actually meet any of these sheep, but I did find some new-to-me wools of southeast regional breeds that should be fun to test drive!

Neat, eh? That’s Gulf Coast Native and Florida Cracker Sheep wool (plus a bit of an undisclosed blend in a colorway I couldn’t resist). Was in town visiting family, and discovered there was a fiber mill right in the neighborhood! So couldn’t miss the opportunity for a field trip.

If you are ever in New Smyrna Beach, check out Pioneer Fiber Mill. Was cool to see what they have going on there- they have beautiful Belfast MiniMills equipment including a De-Veg-er ( I think maybe that is the fiber separator in the website) and a little retail corner in the mill with fiber and yarn.

Also was able to get almost three hats knit up in the travel to and fro.

These thick and cozy caps (and lots of other woolies) will be available next Sunday at the Alger Holiday Market

Have a good week!