Monday, February 29, 2016

Extra time.

 I have never really thought about leap year before. Never thought how we have a whole extra day. 24 hours. Who started this? How do people who were born on Feb. 29th, celebrate their birthdays? Do they even get to have birthdays when there isn't a Feb. 29th? I am going to have to do some research on this. But anyway, we have a whole extra day to do whatever we want to! I think this day should be a holiday. Everyone should get this day off to do something special.  Don't y'all think that's a great idea?

So this is what happened to the bird condo. We have had SO much rain and wind, that it pushed the tree over.

Thank goodness there's a maple tree in the corner that caught it. Or it would have fallen right on the shelter. And the fence. I don't see how it's holding it up, but it is so far.

So my brother is coming over this afternoon to help us figure out how to go about getting this poor tree down. The birds are still going in and out of their little holes.  My husband has wrapped a heavy chain around the trunk and I think we'll use my 4wd Trooper to pull the trunk and get it to fall. It's going to fall on the fence. There's no way to avoid that happening. I have a cattle panel I can put there til we can fix the old chain link fence. But in the mean time, the sheep cannot go over there. We will have some extra firewood from all this. Looks like we'll need it tomorrow. We are in for some nasty weather Tuesday afternoon. Hail and wind and rain. And it's Super Tuesday. And my pottery class too.

Looks like March will be coming in like a lion!

And with all the crazy weather, we have leaves coming out on some things. My elderberry bushes.

And the blueberry bushes are getting lots of buds on them!! I hope I get some blueberries this year. Last year, the darn chickens got them all.

This is what I've been spinning at Mrs. T's while I'm at her house. I love this natural color. Almost like a linen or tweed. It's really beautiful. I left my niddy-noddy at Mrs. T's yesterday, so I can't take it off yet.

Me and the goats and dogs went for a walk out back. It's not our land, but they don't mind if we walk back there. This was the first time I took the goats for a walk. I used to take all my other goats back there all the time. I picked some daffodils and the dogs went swimming in a few ponds. It's a beautiful day.

My oldest grand daughter, Chloe, is taking guitar lessons at a music school on Saturdays. Coryn, the middle grand daughter, wants to play cello. Or violin. Since I have a violin, she can start on that. And I want to learn too. Chloe's teacher has it right now, checking it out and putting new strings on it. He said we could take a class together. How fun! I really want to learn fiddle though. Coryn is in band. She's in 8th grade and has been in band since 6th. She plays clarinet. She want to play in marching band when she gets to high school next year. She will be the first to do that and I am really excited! Dade Co. High has a really good band program. They are planning to go to Chicago next fall to perform in a parade.

Ok, enough rambling. I have stuff to make. I need to get busy and make things for this show coming up in May. More about that later.

So I hope you all have a great extra day today! Have fun and do something special with it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wednesday ramblings.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. My brother is here for a few weeks. He's staying at moms, helping her get some things done there. Wednesdays me and mom always go to lunch and then do a little shopping. We had to bring Mark along with us. And we met Abby and Jason, my daughter and her hubby, my other daughter Heather and my husband, at a really good Mexican restaurant over near where Abby and Jason work, for lunch. Had a good time with the family.

Mark, mom and I then went over to a really big thrift store so I could look for a filing cabinet for my little office at home. I did find a nice big 2 drawer with sides in the drawers! The one I have in my studio has no sides. So I can't hang those hanging files in it. My brother said they make those little cage like things to put inside the cabinet to hang files in. So why don't all filing cabinets have sides? I think that's just crazy. Anyway, I just paid $15 for it. And it fits perfectly where I had in mind to put it. Now I just need a nice warm rug. There's concrete floor in there, and it's cold!

After I left mom's, I went back over to the pottery studio, to practice. One of the guys, David, was there and only one other person. So had the whole wheel area to myself! I got some really good help from David. And I got to throw 2 really good pieces that I felt good about keeping. He said not everyone has the guts to smash the first things they make, but that's a good sign of a good potter when they can start over. And over and over. He was a really big help to me. It's funny how everyone has different ways of teaching. Like the lady who first tried to teach me to spin. She just was not the right person for me.  David took pictures for me and was supposed to post them on their FB page, but I don't see them yet. I made a little bowl that I will use to scramble eggs. He made a little pouring lip on the side for me. I love it! Then made a little mug like cylinder. I'll see what it becomes in a few weeks. He also said I should make several balls of clay ready for next week, so I don't have to spend so much time doing that. So I feel better about pottery now, just having that time yesterday to practice more.

And my friend came yesterday morning and got Big Red, the rooster! I caught him the night before and had him in a crate on the driveway, ready for him. When I got home last night, my husband said I gave them the wrong roo. It scared me because I just knew I grabbed Big Red, not Black Bart. But he said that rooster crowed ALL day, right outside the window where he sits. The roo and hens love being up at the house, right under the living room windows, where he crows all the time. He follows me around, crowing too. It really hurts the ears.

So I am home all day! I will hopefully finish that shawl. I did go to the yarn store. I had to buy another cable. She said she wouldn't trust it to hold much longer. So now, I have to transfer all those 1000's of stitches over onto the new cable, then knit a few more rows, then bind off. Then weave in all those ends and block it. Can't wait to see how big this shawl will be. Probably big enough to wrap around me twice at least!

I've been spinning the last of Buttercup's wool. I had so much on this bobbin, it would not turn anymore. I ended up with 217 yards. That was way too much. So far, I have 197 yds, 148 yds and 217 yds. And I am working on the last bobbins to get ready to ply. Then done with Buttercup wool! It is SO soft and pretty too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Oh no!

A few days ago, I am knitting on this shawl, which I am just a row or 2 away from binding off. I am counting and was at 330 when I was pushing on what I had just done and the cable broke! Oh my goodness, I almost screamed. There were at least 30 dropped stitches, just hanging there, as I am trying not to go crazy. I got my glasses on real fast, but carefully, so I wouldn't lose it all together. Got all the stitches back on, with a few little mess ups that I hope to be able to fix. And I got the cable back in as far as I could. But there's still probably a 1/8" that should be inside the little metal thingy. It's rough. I can't do anything right now. So I will take this little mess to my little yarn store in Chattanooga this afternoon and see if they can fix it for me. It's the longest cable too, because I think there must be 1000 stitches on there. Geeze, it's going to take me a month just to bind this off!

                                              The owls look really worried, don't they? I am too.

And in other news, last night was my first pottery class! I was SO excited! There are 7 of us, all women. With a man instructor. He wanted us all to practice working with the clay, pounding out any air bubbles on the table. I tell you what, that first cut of the clay to get a bit off was amazing. I had seen people do it, but to do it myself, well, that was really cool. And the clay was so soft and smooth and felt so good on my hands too. Just a cool thing right there. I was amazed the whole night really.

So we went to our little wheels and plopped that cone of clay down in the middle and practiced centering it. That took awhile. And I'll tell you again, my left hand hurt! So got mine centered real good.

Then the fun part! Making a hole. I just really enjoyed every part of this experience. He wanted us to make a cylinder. Well, we were all over the place! Every one of us. We had bowls and plates and all kinds of shapes. But no cylinders. Mine was pretty much a wide cylinder, with the bottom way too small. I was going to keep it, but after getting it off the wheel and onto a board, the more it sat, the more wonky it got. By the time I was ready to leave, I went over and smashed it up.

I did get to practice on another piece. Did pretty good, but smashed it too. It's hard! I had no idea. But the instructor, he was whipping out bowls and cups and tall cylinder-like vases and cups. Then he'd cut them in half so we could see the way ours should look. Then he'd smash them up and start on another piece. Oh to be like him some day. But it will take SO much practice. They encourage us to come during the week to practice so believe me, I will be going! I really want to do this. I want to make yarn bowls.

So this is the ancient pottery wheel my friend Daryl gave me. It's heavy. And foot pedaled. What fun, right? We just have to figure out how to get it all together. And what is that half round piece of metal for? Can't figure that out and Daryl couldn't remember either. And it needs a seat. We can just make a seat out of plywood I think. And then I might can practice more on this.

I just hope we don't all float away from all the rain we've been getting here. I woke up early this morning and it was pouring. Thunder and lightening all around. And more rain to come! Yay! I guess this is a good thing. For ducks maybe. And rivers and streams and lakes. But I am sort of over it all, thank you. And I have got to get new boots. Plastic bags don't last very long.

Monday, February 22, 2016


About an hour after I put the ad on CL I got a call from a guy from Dalton. He and his wife came up in their little 4 door hatchback about 12:45. We went ahead and got Oden loaded up in the back of the car. Then he saw the sheep and asked if I had any for sale. I told him I'd been thinking about selling Adele and her daughter Cassidy for awhile. Their wool is not really that good because Adele is half hair sheep. He said ok, let's get them caught and load 'em up. So just like that, he had 2 full grown wooly sheep and a big buck loaded in the back of his little car. With his wife in there too.

But it took about 30 minutes to catch those 2 crazy sheep. Adele has never let me touch her. Like ever. Cassidy is friendly. She's the one who always got in trouble. So I got all the sheep over in the North side and got most of them in the stall with the door. But not Adele. She went the other way. Then Cassidy did too. We got them around the back of the little barn and he caught Adele as she was flying over his head. Good catch! Got her loaded in the car. Then went back for Cassidy. She went in the stall and he caught her as she flew past him into the wire at the top of the wall. Another good catch! That poor guy was covered in mud.

Sheep are crazy when they are scared. But all was good. And they drove off down the driveway.  And all is well in the kingdom again.

Or will be tomorrow when my friends come to get that darn rooster.

Oden, the buck.

 Oh this buck. He's back. And he's a jumper. He's already jumped out of the back yard. Then I had the does in the back stall again for the night and this morning, he had to jump over that gate and got in with them. And he's a pig. He didn't like his bowl of feed, he wanted theirs. He's a mess, this buck.

He's been gone for about a month, visiting other does. He went straight from one farm to another one last Sunday. But they brought him back yesterday. I have been trying to call the butcher, to see if they had a spot open for me to bring him in tomorrow. But the phone's been busy all morning. So I put ads on Craig'd list and on FB.

Just had a call from a guy from Dalton. He's heading over right now to get him! I hope. Sometimes CL is not all it's cracked up to be. I hope he shows up. Because I have all the goats in the back stall, so I can catch the little bugger. I just do not need a buck around right now. The does are due in a month and I really don't want him around then. And he's just annoying.

This is the 1st skein of yarn from Buttercup. Isn't it beautiful? I so need to learn to dye now. I will. I have most everything to dye with. Just need that little push to actually do it. Then I think I will be hooked. I have another skein and am working on getting the rest spun and plyed. Then on to another fleece! I have SO many!

This is a fleece a friend gave me a few months ago. It's been in the milk room since. I had no idea what it was. The paper on the bag just said 'nice and soft" Patches 5-8 lbs. And the date from 2014. I laid it out on the skirting table to look at it closer. From what I can tell, and seeing pictures, I think it's Jacob. It's really pretty. So many variations in color too. I decided to wash half of it after skirting it.

And when I was done and ready to put it back on the screen to dry, I saw all these little dots of things. Like dandruff. I thought it could have been the Borax powder, but only used it on the 1st wash. So I threw it all out. It scared me. So it's out of the studio. Going to the dump now.

My brother is here visiting from Colorado. He's staying with mom, then he's going other places for work. So will be spending time with him this week before he has to leave.

And we are due for more rain this week. And BOTH my boots decide to get holes in them, at the same time! Right on the tops of each boot. The way I knew is that I had a boot full of mud after a few steps. UGH! So now, I have to put my feet in plastic bags. Isn't that so cool? And rednecky farmer? Til I can get some more, this is the way I shall have to wear those boots.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

THIS, Eric Miller.

THIS is why I have sheep.

The last time I had lambs here was a few years ago. I had 12 ewes. 5 were my wool sheep and 7 were hair sheep. I think all but 2 had lambs. They had 22 lambs. 2 died and I had to bottle feed 3 ewe lambs. 1 set of quads, lots of twins and some singles. It was a really cold wet winter too. They started lambing in late Jan. through April.

The hair sheep did pretty good. But the wool sheep got sick a day after lambing. Plus I had several goats that had kids around the same time and some of the does were not doing too good either. I was doing everything I knew to do for them. But they weren't much better. So I called the vet to come out.

The sheep were up front and so were the chickens. First thing the vet said was it wasn't good to have chickens around goats and sheep. After checking the sheep and giving shots, he asked me why I had sheep. I came back with generic answers. But it always stuck with me. Why did I have sheep? During all this, I was ready to sell them all. It was very overwhelming for me. With ewes being sick and so many lambs and goats sick too. I was thankful to have the goat milk though.

I did keep the sheep. But knew I would have to sell some of them because 32 sheep was just way too many for the small amount of pasture I had. So I debated over and over about which sheep to keep. I liked the hair sheep because they were so much hardier than the wool sheep. They never got sick. And never had the worms like the wool sheep did.

But in the end, I decided to sell the hair sheep. I just kept my 5 Finn sheep and their lambs.

And I am so happy I kept these girls. I love them. I never would have thought even 10 years ago that I would have wool sheep. Or be spinning wool from my sheep into yarn. But I think it was in my blood.

So today I took my spinning wheel out to the pasture with my sheep. It was a beautiful day. Even warm. I actually got sunburned! I sat out there and spun wool from Buttercup, one of my younger ewes who I cannot ever pet. She's very skittish. Always has been. But I love her. And her wool is amazingly soft and easy to work with. I just enjoyed being out in the pasture with them on the first really nice day of the year. It was so peaceful, listening to them munch on grass. Then lay in the sun. Just nice.

And when these 3 girls came to me to watch me spin, it made it all worth it. These are my 3 bottle babies.

And this view is amazing too. Here they are, 5 up and 5 down. I thought that was pretty cool.

                                     This is the end result, 197 yards of 2 ply hand spun wool.

So yeah, this is why I have sheep, Eric Miller. Just so you know.

Some goat maintenance. And some silly sheep escapades.

I got the milk room semi cleaned this morning so I could get the goats in there. I gave them both CDT shots and trimmed their hooves. It had been awhile since I'd done that. And they haven't been in the milk room in several months. If I'm not milking, they don't go in there. And it was a bit of a mess. I get lazy during the winter when it comes to that milk room. But I will get in there and get it all ready for milking in the next few weeks.

Sometimes when I look at these guys, I don't think they're pregnant at all.  But I see Freya's udder is getting bigger.

And if you look really close, you can actually see teats on Olga!! And a little udder. But she has some good teats so far. She really needs a good hair cut. But I'll wait til a little closer to kidding. And hopefully, it will be a little warmer. But she's a hairy girl for sure. Don't want any of it in the milk.

I am excited to be having some cute little kids running around again here. It's been a few years.

And there's always something crazy happening around this farm. Especially when it comes to sheep. I had my 2 water buckets outside the studio. I heard the awfullest racket awhile ago. It sounded like one of the sheep had a bucket on their head and was running around the house. It was Cassidy. But the bucket wasn't on her head. It was being dragged behind here on the hay string that was wrapped around her middle. Misha, the alpaca, was chasing her all around the house. The other sheep were running the other way. So I had to go get some more feed and try to get that string off of her. I thought it was wrapped really tight but I was able to pull it off her.

Cassidy seems to be the one who gets in the most trouble. The sheep were out in the garden last month. I had put the electric netting fence around my kale garden so they wouldn't eat it. But Cassidy didn't care that there was a fence around the kale. She had her head through that fence anyway. Then she couldn't get her head out. Then she panicked and got it all wrapped around her. I finally got it off. But the fence is a mess. And she was just fine. A little embarrassed. She's a mess, that girl.

It is a beautiful day today! Blue sky and sunshine! I am taking my wheel outside on the porch and will spin out there. Yay! I have Willie Nelson on Pandora. Greta list of music going. So I am good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A rainy Tuesday in the studio.

 I have been so cold all day. It started out beautiful, with bright blue sky ans sunshine. But as the day went on, it got cloudy and then started raining. A cold rain. So I have had heaters on over here in my studio all day. And I'm still cold. Ugh, I am So over this cold already. And wet mucky mud. SO over it!

But I have all this warm beautiful wool with play with! So much wool. I've been working on Buttercup's wool. Lots of combing. And more combing. For days, I've been combing her wool. And that was just 1 tote full. I still have one more to go of hers!

And I've been spinning her wool, for days. It takes a few days to get just 1 bobbin full. I just now finished the 2nd bobbin. I weighed each one and they are 10.60 and 10.70. Pretty good, I think. Now to ply them. But I don't think I can sit and do any more tonight. It really hurts my back.

I thought I was all done washing wool. But I found a little tote under some others a few days ago. So got it washed and it's so pretty. Can't even remember where it came from. Or what it is. I love the colors.

I've also been combing some of that gorgeous Romney fleece. I love this and can't wait to spin it soon.

And I have got to get this blanket finished. It just needs a little bit more around the border. That's all. So I brought it over here to do. I just keep piling more and more on me to do. One day, it might all be done. Then what will I do?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Still funny...

I got this birthday card years ago from a friend. I have kept it this long, because it still cracks me up when I see it. It's just funny!

Just thought someone else might need a good laugh.

Chickens camping...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Officially finished!

I am now officially finished washing all of the 2015 wool!!!!!! Found 1 more bag of Darla wool, so got it all washed up. So that is all the wool from last year done!

Look at this wool. This is Darla, who is Suffolk-Finn. So pretty. And makes really warm leggings too!

                                      Most of her wool is at least 6". And it washed up really pretty.

I got a wild hair yesterday and started making this 100% wool pillow. It's made with old thrift store sweaters and stuffed with mt sheep's wool. It has 4 pretty ceramic buttons too. I love it. It' 7.55 oz. and is 11x14". It's for sale for $20 plus shipping if you'd like the very first Outback Farm 100% wool pillow.

I'll be making lots more of these.

I posted this on my FB page and someone said I should find a local potter who makes buttons to use on the pillows. Well, I have signed up for a pottery class that starts Feb. 23rd!! It goes for 8 weeks. On Tuesday nights, which I'm not thrilled about at all. Plus it's like 40 miles from here, around the mountain. I hate driving at night. But it'll start getting lighter soon. It's a 3 hour class and they want us to come in at least once a week to practice.  I am so excited about this because I have always wanted to learn to make pottery. The lady I take care of was a wonderful potter. She still has 2 kilns. I asked about about the smallest one. So who knows? And I am getting a wheel from a friend who doesn't want his anymore! Yay! So, if I am any good at this, I hope to be making my own yarn bowls soon. And mugs. And bowls. And plates. And buttons. And....

Also going to a basket weaving class in March. Fun!

My oldest grand daughter starts guitar lessons tomorrow. My son-in-law found her a beautiful Fender guitar with a lot of extras for just $100. She will love it I'm sure. Now I need to find something for the middle grand daughter to do. Maybe we could take archery lessons together?

Y'all have a wonderful weekend. It's gonna be freezing cold here and more snow Monday. Ugh. Ready for spring. I am so over this freezing coldness.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sweet little bird.

Can you see that cute little bird on top of the white gate inside the barn? Just to the right of the hay? I saw it last week. The barn is right out back from my studio. I was going out and saw this cute lil bird. I started talking to it. I thought it might be in there making a nest. A Barn Swallow. There are a few nests in there from last year. I was going on and on with this bird. Got my camera to take a picture, so walked closer and closer to it. It never did move. Not at all.


Oh my goodness, I felt just like Mrs. T. when she tries to get me to look out the window at the imaginary critters out there.And I keep telling her no, I don't see anything. And she keeps on and on about it. The bird is just a piece of wood sticking up from the gate.

Geeze, I think I might need to go get my eyes checked!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spinning and Romney wool.

 This is that Romney fleece before washing it. Pretty clean really. It's beautiful and soft!

                                    This is after washing it. Can't wait to start spinning this now. Amazing!

                I just finished plying the blue and white together. Now I can get busy spinning more.

It is freezing outside. And the wind is blowing. I actually walked over here with my "regular" shoes on. The mud is frozen solid. But I cannot spin with shoes on. I have to be either bare foot or with socks. And I think I need to put my wheel on a little rug. It likes to go for a wlk when I'm spinning. Very bad wheel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It's snowing!

 Last night, the sheep wanted to go back to the North side and the shelters. They knew it was going to snow. But there's no hay over there right now. It's in the south pasture, out in the field. They don't mind snow and light rain. But the wind they don't like. The alpacas head to the barn when it starts raining though. They're so funny, those guys.

                                                Can you spot Sugar in this group of sheep?

                                                         Misha looks so cute with snow on him.

My very favorite ewe, Campbelle. She's the sweetest girl. She likes to eat out of the container, so I have to save some for her. She's the smallest ewe, so she has the hardest time getting to all the feed in the trough. So she's special and gets a little extra love.

                                    This is the goats, running out to say hello to me this morning.

Then they quickly realized it was snowing and cold, so they turned right around and went back inside their little goat barn!

Here is a beautiful Romney fleece I bought last year from Windswept Acres. It mush have been coated, because there was hardly any VM at all. Isn't this beautiful? I really want to look for a Romney ram soon to breed my Finn ewes. I just think that would be some amazing fleece.

Well, now the sun is out and the birds are singing! Snow is all gone. But it's SO COLD! And windy. Great day to stay inside and play with wool, right?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Making rolags

 I think that's what these little balls of roving are called. Whatever they are, I love them.

But I do not love these evil combs. If I'm not careful and get to going to fast, I get stabbed. And it hurts bad! But I do love how it makes this messy wool into something so beautiful and soft, so fast. With not too much waste. I think I'm going to make pillows with the thrift store wool sweaters and use all the waste from combing for stuffing. Just gotta get started. I also have a few fleeces that aren't very good to spin with, that I could use for stuffing pillows with.

Isn't this amazing? I wish you could feel how soft it is. And I really love spinning this too. There are no bumping places and it also gets out all the little bits of stuff that I can never seem to get all out of the wool.

This little thing I am using for a diz is a glass piece  that was a key chain a friend brought me from one of her trips to another country a few years back. It makes a perfect diz for making the roving. And I use the smallest little crochet hook to pull the wool though the hole to get it going.

I have already spun the basket full of rolags I made last week from Buttercup's wool. Need to make more now.

I went to town today to shop and pay bills because the next few days are going to be COLD and we might get some snow. So I am staying at home! I do not like getting out among the crazy people who do go out in weather like that. So I shall stay home and work here in my studio til it's done. It's only supposed to be in the 30's and 40's all week here. My last electric bill for my studio was twice as much as our house. We heat with wood over there and the bill was just $80. Here in my studio, I have wall heaters (old ones) and a new radiator type heater. I just ran 1 wall heater and the radiator heater to keep it warm over here. This past bill was $161. UGH! The man that built this house used a little pot belly stove, so there was a little hole in the roof for the pipe. But when we had the new roof put on, they went over it. I'd love to have a little wood heater over here.

I hope y'all have a great week, where ever you are. Stay warm!