Sunday, July 28, 2013

In the garden

My garden has been almost completely neglected this summer.  But somehow, in spite of my neglect we are on the verge of tomatoes

and cucumbers.

The herbs are doing well and we've harvested a few zucchinis.  :-)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece 2013, part 5

The Tour de Fleece is now over.... here's how the last few days went.

Friday, July 19

Saturday, July 20

Sunday, July 21

I sheared today and spun a little.


I didn't state it as a goal, but I was hoping to finish the full 5 1/2 ounces of cotton.  Then about half-way through the Tour I thought I'd be happy if I just filled the bobbin before the Tour was over.


5 1/2 ounces

4 1/2 ounces

In the end, I'm really just happy that I was able to spin each day... and even one extra day during the Tour.  I had been waffling on whether to participate because I wasn't sure I had the time to dedicate.  I'm happy I did.  I enjoyed the camaraderie and while my cotton is not finished, I am a lot further along.  :-)

But with only one ounce spun in three weeks, I guess that means the cotton will take at least 14 weeks of spinning every day to finish it.  :-o

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece 2013, part 4

It's the end of the third full week of the Tour de Fleece.  Only a few more days to go.

Friday, July 12

Saturday, July 13

Sheared alpacas in Wyoming today, then spun for about 90 minutes.

Sunday, July 14

Sheared for two new clients today.  Not certain I'll get to the wheel... ok maybe just 5 minutes.  ;-)

Monday, July 15 - Rest Day

I didn't realize today was a rest day, so I spun for about 30 minutes before going to work.  I've said this before, but it really is a nice way to start the day.

Tuesday, July 16

Wednesday, July 17

We had a baby.

I managed to spin for 5 minutes too. :-)

Thursday, July 18 - Challenge Day

I decided to attempt to drop my new drop spindle... I was parking-and-drafting last week.  My first spindle is quite heavy at 3 ounces and will spin for a reasonable period of time.  But with it being so heavy, I've been nervous to spin some of my more exotic fibers.  So I found two much lighter spindles at the Estes Park Wool Market last month.  I've been using the heavier of the two to spin the Romney Lamb/Alpaca blend and have not been able to get it to spin for any length of time while dropping.  I thought it might improve as I spun more yarn, but so far, nada.  So at this point I don't know if it's my skills (possible) or the roving (also possible) or the spindle is just too light (not likely).

Old-Heavy on the Left, New-Light on the Right

But I had to go back to my old, very-heavy, 3-ounce spindle to get any dropping action.  ;-/

I'm down to 4 5/8 ounces of Cotton left... which means I spun 3/8 of an ounce this week.  Pretty sure I won't finish the Cotton this Tour since there are only a few days left.  ;-)

But I am ahead one day since I forgot that Monday was a "Rest Day."

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Introducing: Alpacamundo's Silas

It finally happened.

Apple had her cria.

He's a handsome Bay Black boy we're calling Silas.

Silas likes to eat, so he's off to a good start.

All of the dogs have met him, including Mr. Gunnison at 5 months old.

Alpacamundo's Silas is the son of Alpacamundo's Apple, the first cria born under our watch at our own farm and Enchanted Sky's Charlie Brown, our very first alpaca ever.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece 2013, part 3

More Tour de Fleece this week.  :-)

Friday, July 5 - Holiday from the Day Job

Today I had a real, honest-to-goodness day off.  We slept in.  I leisurely goofed around on Facebook and Ravelry for a while.  We did some chores around the house but I did not have to be anywhere or do anything for anyone today.  It's been a long time since that happened.

I got word of a bear in a tree nearby so I went to check him out.  It was a young black bear they think had been spooked by the fireworks.  Parks and Wildlife was on site.  They had the area taped off.  He was snoozing while I was there but came down on his own sometime in the night.

After a great day off, I only really spent about 10 minutes spinning,

Saturday, July 6

A trip to the Farmer's Market had me spinning on my very first supported spindle.  No photos, but a lady we met there was spinning a beautiful wool-silk blend for an eventual sock yarn and let me try a little.  :-)

Then we had a day trip with a couple hours in the car, so I spun a Romney Lamb/Alpaca blend while Hubba drove.  This is my first time using my new, super-light spindle.  It was all park-n-draft in the car, but I will get some more time while traveling later this week.

I'm afraid this is my alpaca for the Tour.  I don't have any other prepared alpaca and the only other camelids I have in roving form is llama.

Sunday, July 7

I started the morning with about 15 minutes of spinning cotton today.  It really is a lovely way to begin the day.  :-)

Monday, July 8 - Rest Day

I spun for about 15 minutes today to make up for not spinning on Day 1.

Tuesday, July 9 - Traveling

Travelling today for the Day Job.  It was such a long day but I was able to have dinner with some friends.  So I spun maybe 10 inches of the Romney Lamb/Alpaca blend.  Not a lot, but it counts.  :-)

Wednesday, July 10 - Traveling

Another incredibly long day.  I spun at the MSP airport while waiting for a delayed flight.  A bunch of passengers were upset about the delays, so there were a couple of Police Officers hanging around.  It seems people have forgotten about the "benefits" our modern Hub-and-Spoke air travel system.  :-/

Weather on the East Coast caused Air Traffic Control to hold flights in Chicago.  Our plane was coming from Chicago.  So while Southwest Airlines does not use a Hub-and-Spoke system, they do use Hub airports and are therefore affected by the traffic backups in the Hub-and-Spoke systems.

Then I spun while waiting at the DEN airport for the shuttle to my part of the state.

I did not spin on the plane because I was in the middle seat and didn't think it would be kind to elbow both of my seat-mates for two hours.  I also did not spin on the van because it was way too dark and frankly, by then the only thing I could think about was how anxious I was to see my pillow.

Hubba and the dogs gave me a great welcome home.  I'm pretty sure they love me.  :-)

Thursday, July 11

After the late night, I was able to sleep in a little and spun for about 15 minutes while making coffee before logging on for my first meeting.

I am no longer down a day and I have spun an alpaca blend.  So I'm feeling pretty good about my Tour de Fleece goals so far.  :-)

But last week I spun 1/2 ounce of cotton, this week 1/4 ounce of cotton.  Only 4 3/4 ounces to go.  Yes, there was other fiber involved this week, but I don't think I will finish this wad of cotton before the Tour is over in about 10 days.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I was Incorrect

As of this moment Apple is still pregnant.  Today is her due date. So I was incorrect, she will not deliver early.

These maidens are hard to judge.  This is her first time down the pregnancy road and it was clear she wasn't comfortable with what was going on.  I thought she was going to deliver about 2 weeks ago...  I was never in the, "It's going to be today" mode but I was certainly in the "we're within two or three days of this happening" mode.

Then about 10 days ago, I noticed her momma hanging out with her more.  This seems to have relaxed her.  She's spending a lot of time in the shade and joins the others when I bring the water hose out and of course joins every one at feeding time.

She's progressing and I'm back in the "this could happen in the next few days" mode.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece, part 2

As I mentioned last week, my bobbin of cotton was started before this year's Tour de Fleece.

Saturday, June 29 - sheared alpacas

No spinning happened today.  I was on the road before 6:00 am, shearing by 8:30 am, finished at 7:00 pm and home at 9:15 pm.  I sheared a personal record of 18 alpacas in one day at a farm about 2 hours from here.  So by the time I was home, clean and said hello to everyone, the spinning just wasn't going to happen.

Sunday, June 20

My Tour is underway and I managed to see a little coverage of the race as well.

Monday, July 1

Tuesday, July 2

Wednesday, July 3

Literally only 5 minutes available for spinning today, but I did spin.  :-)

Thursday, July 4 - Independence Day, Holiday from the DayJob, Sheared Alpacas

I sheared a for new client who is also relatively new to alpacas and gave one of their boys a Mohawk which I think turned out pretty good.  ;-)

Then I managed about 90 minutes of spinning.  :-)

At the end of the first week, I am down one day and I have spun a 1/2 ounce of cotton.... only 5 ounces to go.  I'm thinking I may not finish this ball before the three weeks are over.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday, and Happy Independence Day weekend if you are State-side.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Slow Living; June 2013

Usually I'm very prepared for these monthly reflective posts, but today has me surprised it's July.  I think this year is taking off without me.  ;-)

Anyway, here's my June installment for the Slow Living Project (link updated).

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

The cleanse is over, the Farmers Market has started... so the eating has been pretty good this month.  :-)

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

I got off to a very slow start in my garden this year, and missed the window for beans and peas. A few people have suggested giving them a try anyway, but I think it's too hot now.  The back garden is as planted as it's going to get and the front garden is waiting for some time and attention. :-(

We bought hay and had it delivered.  This will feed our alpacas until the end of August.

Most of my non-dayjob time has been spent preparing for and shearing for clients.  I am still booking new clients and have had to make sure that my sharpening rotation is ahead of my shearing schedule.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

We reused baling twine, T-Posts and wood stakes in the garden as well as many of the plant markers.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

Hmmm, I have no idea.  I may have said that last month too... must spend some time thinking about this one, because I know we're not as green as we could be.  :-/

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

The back garden is planted.  We have tomatoes in progress, the herbs are looking great and we'll be harvesting our first zucchinis in a few days.

Also Miss Apple is VERY pregnant.  Her due date is still a week away, which means we really could have a brand new cria at any time.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

The knitting, spinning and kombucha are still happening, but are taking the back seat to shearing and spending more time outside.  However, the Tour de Fleece started last weekend so spinning is ramping up a bit.

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

One of the things the Nutritional Cleanse taught me is to take time in the morning.  To take an easier, softer, slower approach to the day.  This may sound silly but before the cleanse I was waking up, making coffee and going to straight to work.  During the cleanse I had to be mindful about eating breakfast and I found that I enjoyed the process of making and eating breakfast in the morning.  So rather than having less than 15 minutes between waking and working, I was spending closer to an hour.

Since the cleanse, I'm back to drinking coffee, but I am still making and eating breakfast.  Now I am also spending time reading non-electronic media.  I'm thinking about re-subscribed to a couple of favorite magazines and have started into the books on the shelf that have been waiting patiently to be read.  I think this is putting a better intention on my day.  So rather that starting with the stress, chaos and electronics of my IT day job, I am starting with ink, paper and subjects that are important to me on a personal level.

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

Shearing season continues.  I've met several new clients this month and have helped them with their alpaca fiber harvest and in one case, their first-ever alpaca fiber harvest.  I have also done a little mentoring for a Cattle Shearer who is interested in learning to shear alpacas and llamas.

I was on the receiving end again when our neighbor gifted me with some extra squash seedlings.

I donated a truck load of spent hay to my friend's garden.  She came and helped me rake up a couple of the alpaca corrals and load the truck, then I helped her mulch her garden beds.  It was a very fun afternoon and a win situation for the both of us.  :-)

We've also collected Tibetan Mastiff fiber to be spun.

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

Met a friend's momma that was visiting, had visits with family I don't see nearly enough, spent some time with Gunnar's breeder, gardening, fibering, sunshine, wool festival and art museum. June has been pretty full.