Thursday, January 8, 2015

Animals in the cold.

     So, all the animals made it through this bitter cold night. I think I was a little worried about the chickens. I have not put up the plastic around their coop at all. I have been adding more and more straw to the bottom though. I did have to move one lone hen over to some other hens. She may not have made it all by herself. So this morning, I went out there and they were all outside, scratching around. And laid 2 eggs to boot! They were just fine.

     And all the old cats were fine as well. I have 6 cats that are between 8 and about 12. Maybe even 13. Last year, I let them go in the little house when I had hay over there. But now it's my studio and ain't no cats going in there! They have the room next to the kitchen that we call the cat room. They are fed in there. And there are lots of nice boxes with pillows and blankets and things. They are quite toasty in there.

    Of course, the 2 dogs are inside. because they are inside dogs. When Bubba was a puppy, 6 years ago, he was an outside dog. But it was so hot that summer, he got sick. I took him to the vet and they kept him a whole week. He had pneumonia. Really bad. Poor dog. And so now, he hates the hot weather. So he stays inside. And so Stella, his best friend, stays inside with him. Because, she has to be right by Bubba's side at all times. And, when they do go outside, they bark. At anything. They bark a lot. And when they  bark, they look back at the house to see if we're looking. Because they want to be inside. And we let them in.

    Then there are the sheep. They are such sheep. They are fine in this weather. Unless it's windy. Which it was last night. So they wanted back over in the smaller pasture with the stalls. And since the wind was blowing from the North, the stalls are facing South, so they had protection from that wind. And they were happy. And they have the most amazing warm wool coats on. So I do not worry about them. They are out back tonight, laying under the trees and stars.

    And the alpaca boys are with the sheep, so they are happy too. They love their sheep so much. They make the saddest noises when the sheep leave them behind. Which isn't much. But they are always the last ones through the gates.

   The bees now, I am not too sure. I did wrap them up yesterday. This morning, I went to check on them. I did see a lot of dead bees in the entrance. I opened the entrance reducer and there were more laying on the bottom board. I know that's probably normal this time of year. But until I can see them getting out again, I will worry about them. I hope they'll be ok.

    So that's the wrap-up on the critters. Now tonight, it's still freezing, but only 17. If they all made it through 9 degrees, this will be a piece-a-cake, right?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

All tucked in...

 for the night. I had to do something to help my poor cold bees. It was so windy today. The wind was blowing so hard from the North, so I put that board there. Then later, I got this old heavy quilt and tucked them in for this freezing 10 degree night. I hope it helps. It's going to be 17 tomorrow night and 16 Friday night.

I was over in the studio spinning til almost 8 tonight and the ground was already frozen when I walked back home.

I went out after covering the bees to pick kale for dinner. It was frozen.

The sheep and alpacas will be just fine with their nice wool coats on. I put them back over here for the night, so they can get out of the wind in the stalls. They seemed happy to be there.

I am ready for spring. How about y'all?

P.S. I just left a comment and went past the robot thing and just clicked publish. Went through.  I have tried everything I can to get rid of that, but it's still there. So, if you would like to comment, just ignore the robot and hit publish. Just that easy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Freezing nights and honey bees.

My good friend Beth gave me this cute little hand blown bee hive ornament she found at Tuesday Morning. Made in Poland. I just love it. I hung it in the window in my studio.

It's going to get to 10 degrees in a few nights. And it's been in the 20's at night. I hope the bees make it. I wonder if I should put something around the hive to protect them. It's supposed to be really windy too. I have an entrance reducer on already, with only the smallest hole open for them.  I tried to lift the top a few days ago to see if they've eaten the fondant I put in there for them and it's been sealed shut by the bees, which is a good thing. I suppose they know what to do. Bees are really amazing smart creatures. They've made it so far with not too much help from me. But I am a little worried about these extremely freezing nights coming up. 

Does anyone else have bee hives? What do you do when it's so cold at night for them? Or do you just let them be? 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hand spun Shetland

 I bought this Shetland fleece in November. I went on a crazy fleece buying binge and bought several different kinds of fleece. I wanted to try Shetland too, so was glad I got this one. I also bought a Shetland ram lamb fleece at the fiber show in Tn in Oct. too. It's a brownish-red. I need to get it washed. It's so soft.

Sp anyway, I washed this. I washed some in Dawn and some in Orvus Paste. They were both about the same, couldn't really tell a difference. But I wasn't happy that they didn't get white, like I thought they should. I really want to get some of the Unicorn scour cleaner. It's on my wish list. Along with some wool combs and a blending board.

So finally started carding and spinning the last few days. And I am so loving this fleece now. It's got this pretty brown undertone all through it. My eyes are really getting bad. Plus bad lighting in my studio. It looks like cinnamon sugar. It's so pretty.

And I don't know if it's the Shetland or I am just getting better at spinning, but I got this really thin. It took so long to get one bobbin full. And I did 2 full bobbins so far. I have plied both those bobbins into 2 skeins of around 70 yards each. I am now working on another bobbin. My legs started really hurting so had to stop. Or I'd still be spinning.

I am really impressed with myself on this spinning. It is amazing and soft and I love the color. I want to knit a cardigan now. I can just imagine me wearing this.

I just love natural colors. I like the colorful yarn ok. But not all the glittering shiny stuff that's in them. I will just stick to natural fibers. And mixing the colors when I feel like it. And if I do start selling my yarn, people can dye it themselves, right? To get the colors they want. But for now, I'll just stick with what God put on these wonderful animals.

Happy 1st Monday of January 2015!

And it's beautiful outside! Cold, but the sky is blue and the sun is shining! There are birds flittering around all over. Checking out nesting houses. The Blue birds never leave. We have several pairs that stay here all year.

Can you see them in these trees? And look at the leaf buds already.

Here are the 3 bird houses that are really busy this morning. For the past several days, the birds have been looking at them. Might even be some moving in. The sparrows always get these houses and the blue birds end up in the trees.

Here is a fat fluffy Mockingbird, my favorite bird. They can be annoying, but I love them. Yesterday, sitting out on my studio porch, there were some blue jays, making a lot of noise. So lots going on out here on the farm. Maybe an early spring?

And yesterday, the honey bees were out and about. Very busy ladies. I went out this morning to check to see if they were out yet, but it's still too cold for them. They will be out later, I'm sure. I'm so happy this hive is doing so well and that I still have bees here!

Campbelle says good morning to all my blogging friends out there. And we both wish you all a very happy first full week of 2015. We hope it's going to be a great year for all.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thankful today...

for all the usual things. Like a roof over my head. A warm bed. A wood stove to keep us warm and so much wood. A husband who takes care of all that. A beautiful area where we live. I love it out here.

But for the past few days, it has rained. And rained. And rained some more. When it does this, it reminds me of a movie I saw, years and years ago, of a planet where lots of children lived. I can't remember if there were any adults. But it rained every day of the year except one day. It would stop raining and the sun would shine for the whole day. They all looked forward to that one day and made a celebration out of it. One year though, someone locked one of the girls up in a room and she missed that whole day. It was so sad. I cried for her. I cannot remember what the name of the movie was. If anyone else ever saw it, I'd love to know it. And maybe would like to see it again.

With all this rain and mud and muck outside, it's hard to remember what sunshine feels like. And how much a person can miss it. And how there are so many people affected by that seasonal disorder, where they get depressed with all the dark dreariness.

Yesterday, I had slept later than usual. Had a late breakfast. Went over to my studio, in the rain, with my umbrella. I worked over there all day. About 7 hours. Spinning and plying yarn. Didn't even realize what time it was. I was getting hungry, so went home to fix dinner. I left my umbrella over there. And some lights on, thinking I'd be back after dinner.

But it really started raining then. And did not ever stop at all. It poured too. So I never got to go back over. And everything is over there now. All my yarn and knitting and crochet stuff. So I had nothing to do.

So anyway, I am SO thankful that it has stopped raining!!!! AND the sun has popped out to say hello a few times so far this morning! It feels so good to see the sun again. It did feel like a whole year since it's been out. I know we need rain. But good grief I think that's enough for awhile!

It's also not cold. But this week we could have some nights near 10 degrees. I do like frozen ground better than mud.

This picture is of some of my metal stars hanging in the dining room, reflecting on the wall, from the sun. So pretty. I hope you all have a great first full week of 2015!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Amarillo and Abraham

More spinning in the studio the past few days. I was doing this last night til about 10:30.

So the brown is from my ram Abraham. He's long gone, but his wool is finally being spun. He was a nice brown-red color and had nice wool. He's the father to all my lambs. So I decided to spin some of his with Amarillo's. She's in the photo below. She's the ewe that had the quads. I think it turned out really nice. I love the natural colors myself. I did one skein yesterday.  Today, spun another bobbin of each color. I had to stop because my shins are hurting, from all the treadling.  And my right hand too. I love spinning, but need to take breaks more between spinning. I'll ply these other 2 bobbins tomorrow. I'll get 4 skeins from them. This would be a pretty sweater, I think. This also has some black alpaca fiber in it. I love alpaca, but can't spin it by itself. It's just too fine for me. So I'll add it to the wool. And some of this wool needs alpaca for extra softness.

I tried to fix the robot thing. I hope I got it right. And thank you, Kimberly, for your nice comments!