Mixed feelings today. We are so happy that Jolt will be celebrating his ram-ness at a new farm, but it's tough to see this beautiful guy go.
He wasn't too sure about riding in a trailer, but we're sure he'll be happy when he gets to his new home, in Snowflake Arizona.
His wether buddy, Rowdy, misses him already!
The girls were curious about the event, too.
Rowdy got moved in with Yahtzee and Onslo, so he won't be lonely.
It will take awhile for them to get used to each other, but mostly Yahtzee wants to make sure he's still the favorite...
I thought I had acquired a reasonably-priced loom for weaving, but what it has turned out to be is an expensive cat toy.
Our new kitten, Ratha, is a barn-cat-turned-house-cat I brought home from Anna Harvey's farm on Saturday, after the Ranch Day event.
Fiber activities will be a particular challenge for awhile, I imagine. I remember from my childhood the boogie-woogie piano tune "Kitten on the Keys" (one my dad used to play) and am inspired to compose "Kitten on the Treadles."
As I write this, she is taking a break from exploring my fiber tools and sleeping in her new bed, which I made from a felted wool sweater. I found the directions to making this clever design on the web and, of course, stuffed it with washed, Jacob sheep wool.
After your exploring stage, will you grow to be a good studio cat, Ratha?
Sure glad I moved the baskets of wool from the floor to hanging from the beams!
We've been waiting SO LONG to have rain. Finally, on Sunday it did. All day.
Wimpy rams sought shelter under the trees.
And we sought shelter in the house, visiting with daughter Alyssa and son-in-law Dave, who were here for two days/ three nights with us.
When they left on Monday, they headed for my favorite place on the whole planet: Silver Lake on the Carson Pass in Amador County.
It's wonderful to pass on your passion for special places to your children!
I'm trying out a new fiber blending tool, the hackle, graciously loaned by my friend, Janet.
With its sharp tines, it is every bit as scary-looking as my other "torture device" fiber tools.
Beginning with some indigo-dyed wool, I lashed some on the tines, filling across with a layer.
Next, I lashed on some slippery, white silk.
Then, some purple-dyed alpaca I've had for years, from West Valley Alpacas in Esparto, California.
I repeated the layers twice more
and then used a diz to take the blended fibers off the hackle, making a lovely roving.
It spins up beautifully and is making a river of color on the bobbin of my Schacht wheel.
Great process! And I thought I didn't need any more fiber tools...
Typically, the sight of a Super Moon would be cause for me to celebrate and enjoy.
However, the bright light from this moon has convinced the sheep for the past five days that at 3:30 a.m. it is dawn and time to be fed. Although I've quite adjusted to a farmer's hours, that's just a tad early for me.
How can I resist these faces, though?
We've all heard of U-Pick farms. What about a "ewe-shear" farm?
My son, Tyler, told me of this recent craigslisting in Missoula:
free wool, You cut off my 3 sheep
i got 3 big fluffy sheep that need the wool cut off of them, i can even throw in some type of produce from my garden.
Its thick and was not trimmed last year, free you cut.
It's a thought; it would save me time sorting through all these bags of wool...
It's about time I got started washing the fleeces I'm going to keep. I started with Rowdy, who is an unusually-marked Jacob, almost albino. His fleece is so white, crimpy and clean.
Here's his bag-o-fleece, one of the MANY decorating the floors of our house.
A closer look:
Next, it's filling up the washing machine with really hot water and pouring a few rounds of Dawn in the water.
I sorted Rowdy's fleece into whites and greys, then put the fleece into mesh bags (so the fibers don't float all over and get tangled) and push the bags into the hot water. Ow!
After a half-hour soak, I put the machine on spin cycle to release the dirty water (this doesn't felt the wool, but you can't let the machine go on agitate cycle!). I lift the bags out and fill the tub again for a rinse. Usually one or two rinses gets all the dirt out. Then it's on to dry outside. I use an old screen door to dry the wool on.
Rowdy's dried wool back is back in the house in a net basket, ready to be picked and carded for spinning. This is just the first half of the fleece, from the left side of the above picture.
It's probably best that this next picture came out blurry, as this picker, my "torture device" as Gene calls it, is a pretty scary tool.
I'll leave these next steps for another day. Time to go choose my next fleece to wash...